NASA prepares a Mercury probe for orbit

NASA’s Messenger probe is about 10 days away from parking in an elliptical orbit around Mercury, the innermost planet of our solar system. Messenger has been en route since 2004, making a crazy Spirograph-looking series of orbits around the sun, taking the craft past Venus, and past Mercury three times, and finally heading for orbit on March 18. On Friday, a week before the orbit is scheduled to take place,…

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Materials for Students: Writing the Academic Paper: Developing Your Thesis

Despite the differences from discipline to discipline, a good thesis will generally have the following characteristics: A good thesis sentence will make a claim. This doesn’t mean that you have to reduce an idea to an “either/or” proposition and then take a stand. Rather, you need to develop an interesting perspective that you can support and defend. This perspective must be more than an observation. “America is violent” is an…

Define “Digital Humanities”

Digital Humanities is the deliberate, critical application of emerging technology to the study of traditional subjects such as literature, art, philosophy, and language, often (but not always) with a focus on how those traditional fields are now using emerging technology. We are deliberate and critical when we foreground the study of our own digital tools (for example, the forward-thinking digital humanist prefers the open-source tool to the proprietary one). We…

Will future generations understand “The Simpsons”?

“Krusty Gets Kancelled” is one of the greatest of all “Simpsons” episodes, but if it were a poem, it would need to have nearly as many footnotes as “The Waste Land” — and the further away from its original air date we get, the truer that’s going to be. "Krusty Gets Kancelled" is one of the greatest of all "Simpsons" episodes, but if it were a poem, it would need to have nearly…