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The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

When he talks about his business being threatened by YouTube parody video-makers, he’s talking about the fact that the public’s yen for parodies is being met by amateurs. Earlier this week, a young woman turned an infamous recording of a Comcast customer service call into a belty ballad. Between the release of that recording and its conversion into digital video fodder, fewer than 24 hours had elapsed. This is an…

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Listening to Weird Al’s “Word Crimes.” Awesome.

My teaching method does not involve shaming students who make mistakes, and I’m not in the habit of correcting my peers and acquaintances when they make typos or use internet shorthand. I use abbreviations myself when I text message, and I make mistakes when I am distracted or when I’m more concerned with finding out when my daughter needs to be picked up than in writing complete sentences on my…

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How not to attract women to coding: Make tech pink

Just watched videos of the musicals “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Legally Blonde,” so cultural attitudes about women in the workforce are on my mind. Wheat had discovered what Elizabeth Losh, a digital culture scholar at UC San Diego, calls “ridiculous, pink, sparkly techno-princess land.” Pink websites and polka-dotted flyers are what happens when an entire field overcorrects, Losh says. Women are grossly underrepresented in engineering and computer science careers, a…

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Text Games in a New Era of Stories

Clever NYT writer cleverly notices a genre that’s been around for almost 40 years, and praises as a “first glimpse” a work by an author and designer and ambassador and critic who’s been producing canonical works many of us have been glimpsing (and studying and teaching) for about 15 years. But beware the sentences of Emily Short. Because prose. And pages and stuff. Blood & Laurels made me feel more…

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Fun with Kirk and Spock

See the Enterprise. See the Enterprise go boldly. Go Go Go, Enterprise! Go Boldly! Join Kirk and Spock as they go boldly where no parody has gone before!Description Since the 1930’s, the book Fun with Dick and Jane and its various adaptations have helped children learn to read. It’s inspired several parodies and movie and television references, but none as amusing as this clever spoof, written with Trekkies in mind!…

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How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

While I appreciate the efficiency of uniform standards, I am concerned because it becomes even more efficient to teach to the test, which means more students will arrive in my college classes expecting to be told exactly what to do. I want them to take risks which means I have to convince them that I will reward them, not take off points, for making and fixing mistakes — which can…

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Astronauts cloaked Klingon space patch: Star Trek-inspired emblem revealed

The current commander of the International Space Station initially designed a mission badge that paid homage to Klingons. Too bad that design didn’t fly. Swanson, who currently is commander of the International Space Station, collaborated with his daughter to create an insignia for the outpost’s Expedition 40 crew. What he and his fellow astronauts and cosmonauts ultimately launched with to the space station was a patch depicting the “past, present,…

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Disruptive Decorations: Kids learned better in a sparesly-decorated CMU lab

Kids learned better in a sparse lab setting than they did in a decorated room. Of course, if they were familiar with the room, and the decorations came from their own artwork and class projects, perhaps the items would be reminders rather than distractions, but the study didn’t test that possibility. For the study, 24 kindergarten students were placed in laboratory classrooms for six introductory science lessons on topics they…

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Adam Savage’s 10 Commandments Of Making

Adam Savage took a few minutes today at the Maker Faire Bay Area to share what he feels are the 10 Commandments of Making. Make something Make something useful Start right now Find a project Ask for help, advice, and feedback Share Recognize that discouragement and failure is part of the project Measure carefully Make things for other people Use more cooling fluid. Adam Savage’s 10 Commandments Of Making |…