Students boycott final to challenge professor’s grading policy (and get As)

Since he started teaching at Johns Hopkins University in 2005, Professor Peter Fröhlich has maintained a grading curve in which each class’s highest grade on the final counts as an A, with all other scores adjusted accordingly. So if a midterm is worth 40 points, and the highest actual score is 36 points, “that person gets 100 percent and everybody else gets a percentage relative to it,” said Fröhlich. This…

From the Philosophy of the Open to the Ideology of the User-Friendly

Apple’s marketing strategy in the 1980s presented its products as democratic and liberating, but the freedoms the Apple users enjoy include the inability to customize or otherwise access the working interior. Apple users trade freedom for security. In short, expansion slots made standardization impossible (partly because software writers needed consistent underlying hardware to produce widely functioning products) whereas what Raskin and Jobs both sought was a system which was an…

The Need for a Digital “New Journalism”

Journalism without the sourced quotes from eyewitnesses is weak. Opinions with shoehorned-in-because-the-job-description-requires-it quotes is weak journalism. But this is an interesting challenge to the traditional assumptions I have been passing along to my journalism students. I hate useless quotes. Most often, for journalists, such quotes are the equivalent of the time-card hourly workers have to punch. To their editor, the message is ‘Hey, I did my my job; I called…

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Kindle App Vs. iBooks. (Spoiler: They’re Virtually Identical Now!)

I noticed with interest that Kindle now lets you highlight text in different colors. It’s also very easy now to tweet a brief quote. Is it time to revise the blog-based pedagogy I’ve developed over the past 10 or so years, and ask students to tweet a few passages while they read them for the first time, then use their blogs to follow up on their initial responses? Something to…

Seeing and Believing (“Knowledge for Children”)

Patience and hard work are also attributes of hunters, peasants, and Benedictine monks. What sets scientists apart is their rigorous observation of natural phenomena, allowing patterns to emerge that can be expressed in abstract formulae, which, in turn, can be applied to produce identical results any time they are reapplied in identical conditions. To “do science” means to subscribe to a mindset that distinguishes scrupulously between immanence and transcendence, between…

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Asteroid 2012 DA14 brushes by Earth

An asteroid is making the closest known fly-by for a rock of its size today, just hours after a meterorite crashed to Earth in Russia, with nearly a thousand people injured by space debris in an event unprecedented in modern times. Scientists insist the events are purely coincidental… Follow all the latest news, reaction, and the inevitable internet frenzy here. via Telegraph.

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Secrets of a 60 Minutes cameraman

They say polo ponies can run 35 mph and then stop on a dime. But how would you like to be the cameraman who’s forced to stand still, as a massive horse comes barreling at him? That’s exactly what 60 Minutes cameramen Chris Albert and Don Lee did to film “The Sport of Kings,” a broadcast story that helped the men win three prestigious first-place awards this week in the…