Broadway’s “Machinal” Gets a Helping Hand From the Audience – Metropolis – WSJ

At the opening of the play “Machinal” at Broadway’s American Airlines Theater on Thursday night, the giant rotating set stopped working a few minutes into the show, halting the production for about an hour. A team of volunteers, including stage hands and crew members who were attending the opening night performance as guests, saved the day by manually pushing the 30,000 pound set during scene changes. –WSJ.


‘Jane Austen, Game Theorist’ by Michael Suk-Young Chwe Is a Joke

When [Chwe] says that Austen was a game theorist, he means for us to take him at his word. Never mind the fact that game theory did not emerge until the middle of the twentieth century. Austen, he claims, was a “social theorist” who “carefully establishes game theory’s core concepts” and “systematically explored” them in her novels, which are “game theory textbooks.” This is a perfectly valid statement, as long…


First Stanford code poetry slam reveals the literary side of computer code

Leslie Wu, a doctoral student in computer science at Stanford, took an appropriately high-tech approach to presenting her poem “Say 23″ at the first Stanford Code Poetry Slam. Wu wore Google Glass as she typed 16 lines of computer code that were projected onto a screen while she simultaneously recited the code aloud. She then stopped speaking and ran the script, which prompted the computer program to read a stream…

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STEM Needs a New Letter

Creativity alone does not foster innovation, nor do abstract scientific or mathematical concepts. Innovators also need to know how to render those creative ideas into working products that can be put into use. In order to bridge the chasm between abstract idea and utility, some educators are advocating for an expansion of the popular STEM acronym—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, the list of skills many experts believe more students need.…


What You Get When 30 People Draw a World Map From Memory

Tasked with creating “a piece of art that would reveal something unseen” as part of a pre-college fine arts program, Ziebell approached 29 strangers on the University of Michigan’s campus, handed them a pen and half a sheet of paper, and asked them, on the spot, to draw a map of the world. Ziebell, who recently posted his findings to Reddit, then completed the task himself and digitally merged the…

The Text Adventures That Never Were: Assassin’s Creed III

Ever wonder what the PC games of 2012 would be like if they were text adventures? Of course not, no one in their right mind would ever wonder that. In related news: I wondered that! So, rip out your GeForce GTX 680, plug in your dusty 10″ CRT monitor, and stuff your programmable eight-button mouse in a stocking, because this week we’re going to imagine five of this year’s games…


Games as Text and K12 Social Studies

Rather than training students to identify and practice the strategies of rhetoric through reading and writing, what if a media existed (and the students regularly engaged in it) that communicated ideas, arguments, and points of view through its procedure, rather than in a linear set of carefully structured arguments? In this case, learning is at least 3D- it includes the dimensions of experience, agency, and action. What if these “procedural”…

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Jerz and Daughter Teach Scratch (Digital Storytelling Tutorial)

In the past I have posted tutorials for how to use Scratch to create a ball-and paddle computer game, but I let Carolyn create what she wanted to create. Rather than targets to shoot or puzzles to solve, she chose to tour a virtual environment, via a self-paced storybook. You move ahead by clicking the screen, and invisible buttons trigger animations.

This tutorial is a good introduction to how easy it is to make something interactive in Scratch.

Carolyn started with photos she had already taken of her Lego hobbit hole, added some simple programming to make a click advance to the next screen, and to make an invisible button trigger some animation.

In the video, she’s careful to run the program after every couple of steps, and she catches a few mistakes. When I point out that an interactive detail she coded would be hidden from a player who didn’t know where to click, she added a label that made sure her players wouldn’t miss the interactive bits.