When F. Scott Fitzgerald Judged Gatsby By Its Cover

With a big Hollywood movie now in theaters, some recent printings of the book have abandoned the classic cover in favor of one that ties in more closely with the film. So high school students working their way through the summer reading list this year will be hard pressed to find a copy without Leondardo DiCaprio standing front and center among the movie’s beautiful cast and art deco ornamentation. While…


Plans for the Little Known Confederate Helicopter

The possibilities of combining Civil War re-enactment and steampunk fantasy role-playing are mind-boggling. Just imagine Rhett Butler steam-flying Scarlet out of Atlanta. The American Civil War brought about great advances in the use of technology in warfare. Balloons, railroads, ironclad ships, and even a submarine were demonstrated throughout the conflict, and new ideas were constantly being thought up and tried on the battlefield. Some ideas were more exotic than others,…

8 Questions for ‘Star Trek’ Superfans Restoring Galileo Shuttlecraft

This nerd’s geek heart grew three sizes today. Ubernerds are restoring the Gallileo set piece from the original Star Trek. Dedicated fans are giving new life to the shuttlecraft used in the original “Star Trek” television series. Two “Star Trek” fans are a couple of weeks away from fully restoring the last surviving large set piece from the venerable 1960s TV show. Space.com

Will Crowther Fall 2012

Photo of William Crowther, 2012

I just noticed that a few days ago, a Wikipedia user uploaded a photo to the bio for computing history legend Will Crowther. The caption reads “Will Crowther in fall of 2012 in the Shawangunk Mountains.” A bit of Google-fu leads to several photos showing Crowther is still climbing (the hobby he had long before he took up caving). Crowther, part of the team that hammered out the infrastructure for…


Amazon Staff Meetings: “No Powerpoint”

I am not a big fan of traditional slide-show lectures. This is in part because I am not a visual learner, but also because, as a writing teacher, I can see how easily a slide show can fill time without actually informing, persuading, challenging or moving the audience. Students who create slides that summarize what anybody can find on Google are taking up class time that we all could put…


Create Engaging Infographics for your Classroom

Several of my journalism students have gotten interested in infographics. I’m not finished with the spring term yet, but I can’t help thinking about the fall. When we look at our reading habits and our daily interaction with all this digital data that surrounds us day and night, it becomes clear that Kress point does make sense and that the traditional meaning of literacy is now being completely revolutionized with…


Lego goes steampunk

Be still, my nerdy heart. Steampunk — which has inspired books, art and fashion — hinges on the idea of a future in which we use steam, rather than oil or electricity, as our primary source of energy. Still confused? Think 19th-century fashion and technology, but applied to a futuristic world. Or check out bing steampunk. Lego’s foray into steampunk will include three models and 13 different designs, including a…