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At 13,000 years, tree is world's oldest organism

The Jurupa Oak tree first sprouted into life when much of the world was still covered in glaciers. It has stood on its windswept hillside in southern California for at least 13,000 years, making it the oldest known living organism, according to a study published today. –Independent Reading this story reminded me of a story of a different tree. I heard it from the mother of two sisters I knew…

Game Studies – Novices, Gamers, and Scholars: Exploring the Challenges of Teaching About Games

I’m gearing up to teach Video Game Culture and Theory for the third time. It’s a 200-level elective, with no prerequisites. Students will have taken a basic comp course, but some won’t have done any academic research yet. I’m conscious that some students may have difficulty switching from playing the games they want to play, as intensely or casually as they wish, to playing a (small) selection of games closely…

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The best walkthrough of Myst I've seen so far

The first part of a walkthrough of the classic (1993), a moody, contemplative point-and-click adventure that defies the stereotype of games as violent and chaotic.  Popular with women and causual gamers, but also appreciated by expert gamers for its puzzles and graphics (photo-realistic CGI, with pre-rendered animations), it was the top-selling game for nearly a decade, only being overtaken in 2002 by a different non-violent game with a broad appeal,…

Matching Teaching Style to Learning Style May Not Help Students

Do students who report enjoying a teaching style actually learn more from that style? This study suggests that there may be an optimal teaching method for a given task, and that whether students like it or not, that optimal method does a better job teaching them.  (As usual, beware of any new article with “may” in the headline, especially when it mostly summarizes academic research.) Among the students who are…

Clicks vs. Bricks

Is this for real? On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. –Amazon.com Hold on, though… who goes online to shop for more books on Dec 25, before the spines have been cracked on the new books that were under the tree?  Amazon was heavily promoting its Kindle as a holiday gift, so we can imagine that lots of people went to…