Change or Die: Scholarly E-Mail Lists, Once Vibrant, Fight for Relevance

Listservs, a trademarked software for running e-mail lists whose name is often used to refer to the lists themselves, were once a “killer app” that tempted many professors to try the Internet in the first place, back when many established scholars were skeptical of computers. A Chronicle article nearly 15 years ago proclaimed the exciting new world of academic e-mail lists, calling them “the first truly worldwide seminar room.” “This…

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Restore the noble purpose of libraries

David Stanley pointed me to this thoughtful essay. Modern librarians who prioritize information over knowledge perpetuate a distraction from the real purpose of a library. A library facilitates the patient gathering of knowledge – whose acquisition is superior to almost every other endeavor. Religions have adapted to technology for the most part without being destroyed by it, so why can’t libraries? It might not be too late. Information on the…

Adobe Strikes Again, Ruining the Lunar Landing for my Son

I’ve blogged before about how much I dislike Adobe’s arrogant use of popups that take over your computer while you are trying to do something else. This morning, I set up the computer my kids use so that my son would be able to follow the simulated progress of Apollo 11 on wechoosethemoon.org.  That meant upgrading to Flash 10.  I made a mental note to make sure that the upgrade…

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Forty Years of Lunar Lander

Lunar Lander — the game — at 40. Among the millions who watched the Apollo 11 landing was a 17 year old Massachusetts high school student named Jim Storer. In the fall of 1969, around the time of the Apollo 12 launch, Storer took his inspiration to class with him. There, he programmed a simple text-based simulation of humanity’s greatest technological achievement on his school’s Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-8 minicomputer…

Op-Ed Contributor – One Giant Leap to Nowhere

Tom Wolfe (author of space program biography The Right Stuff (which incidentally was the movie I took my first-ever date to see back in 1983) ) describes how the Cold War derailed the grand adventure of space exploration. Shockingly, the decay started while the Apollo program was still underway. [I]n October 1969, I began to wonder … I was in Florida, at Cape Kennedy, the space program’s launching facility, aboard…

Blender Tutorial: Rigging

This tutorial shows how to rig the fingers in a very clever way. I’d seen this technique described in a text tutorial somewhere, but after seeing it here, I understand it. I also appreciated seeing how to adjust b-bones so that they only rotate, without bending (which results in noodly-looking joints). I really love Blender, since it’s forcing me to develop the visual side of my brain. The summer is…