Obama Warns Grads of iPad Perils

The Crackberry-addict-in-chief warns graduates about a bunch of different, non-Crackberry gadgets, that are bad, apparently because they aren’t Crackberries. “With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” Obama said at Hampton University in southeastern Virginia. –FoxNews

The Marshmallow Challenge

The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. –Marshmallow Challenge Kindergartners regularly beat business school graduates, in part because the suits spent time jockeying for position within the team, they planned and executed what they thought would be the perfect…

Facebook's Gone Rogue; It's Time for an Open Alternative

Clearly Facebook has taught us some lessons. We want easier ways to share photos, links and short updates with friends, family, co-workers and even, sometimes, the world. But that doesn’t mean the company has earned the right to own and define our identities. It’s time for the best of the tech community to find a way to let people control what and how they’d like to share. Facebook’s basic functions…

Cognitive Bias Song

I spend a lot of time asking students to keep bias out of their writing, and I remind students that the adjectival form of “bias” is “biased.” But it occurs to me that I haven’t really spent that much time explaining what bias is, or talked about the numerous different ways that people can be biased.

Professors and Social Media

The data suggest that 80 percent of professors, with little variance by age, have at least one account with either Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, Slideshare, or Google Wave. Nearly 60 percent kept accounts with more than one, and a quarter used at least four. A majority, 52 percent, said they used at least one of them as a teaching tool. –Inside HIgher Ed


Engaging a Distracted Student

Today in class, I caught the same student texting three times, within ten minutes.  I used nonverbal responses and slowly escalated, in order to keep my reaction from interrupting the flow of the class discussion.  Yes, we want to treat students like adults; yes, whatever was distracting her may really be serious; yes, she has paid her tuition and it’s her choice whether she chooses to make the most of…

I'm quitting the Internet. Will I be liberated or left behind?

I sometimes ask my students to do a “media fast,” in which everyone tries to give up whatever is getting in the way.  The last time I assigned the “media fast,” I had noticed that I would often ask my older son read a book to my younger daughter, as a way of keeping them both occupied while I tried to finish an e-mail or blog entry.  So while most…

Google to Launch Digital Books by Early Summer

Google says users will be able to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also allow book retailers–even independent shops–to sell Google Editions on their own sites, giving partners the bulk of the revenue. The company would have copies on its servers for works it strikes agreements to sell. Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail…

The golden age of movie critics – Roger Ebert’s Journal

Roger Ebert recently posted this thoughtful essay, which is ostensibly about film criticism, but is also about how an intellectual activity benefits culture at large when the talented amateurs get access to power that was once the privilege of elite professionals. Another thing not everybody knows is that some of the best critical writing on the web can found in seemingly specialist sites, devoted to science fiction, film noir, animation,…