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What Makes a Great Teacher?

Gripping story of an effort to use data to predict teaching excellence. As Teach for America began to identify exceptional teachers using this data, Farr began to watch them. He observed their classes, read their lesson plans, and talked to them about their teaching methods and beliefs. He and his colleagues surveyed Teach for America teachers at least four times a year to find out what they were doing and…

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

Excellent feature about Roger Ebert’s bout with cancer. (Ebert’s own words on his cancer are also worth a read.) When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be. He is a wonderful writer, and today he is producing the best work of his life. In 1975 he became the first film critic to…

Critical Code Studies Working Group — Colossal Cave Adventure Annotation

This week, I’ll be facilitating a week-long collaborative annotation project, as part of the Critical Code Studies Working Group online conference, on the source code to Crowther’s original Colossal Cave Adventure (a classic text-only computer game from the 1970s). According to Donald Knuth, designer of the “literate programming paradigm,” Colossal Cave Adventure is the “ur-game for computers” (Knuth 1998/2002). Because computer games have, for decades, been a point of connection…

Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service

“People thought what they had was an address book for an e-mail program, and Google decided to turn that into a friends list for a new social network,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group in Washington. “E-mail is one of the few things that people understand to be private.” Mr. Rotenberg said that his organization planned to file a complaint with the…

Restored 'Metropolis' to stream live

This eagerly awaited restored version of Fritz Lang’s silent classic uses what it said to be nearly an hour of footage long thought to be lost.This is one of the the most important film archival discoveries in history, as surprising as if the missing ending of “The Magnificent Ambersons” were found. –Roger Ebert According to Ebert, the restored version will start streaming in Berlin at 8:15pm, but US viewers may…

Wi-Fi Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall

[O]n this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops. Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92′s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an…

Peter West, Trying the Dark: Mammoth Cave and the Racial Imagination, 1839-1869

Interesting examination of role-playing, illusion, identity, and power in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, one small branch of which was the inspiration for the 1976/7 computer game Colossal Cave Adventure. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave was a popular tourist destination for travelers from around the United States and beyond. The cave also functioned during these years as a dynamic symbol in the national imagination, appearing in…