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Canon Australia video: 1 man; 6 backstories; 6 photographers; 6 photos

Canon Australia wants to sell cameras. This soft-sell video flatters the creative ambitions of customers in order to make them want to invest money in a fancy camera. We should be critical of the premise, because the video is not an art project or a psychological study. Still, this is good storytelling, and helps make a point about how media creates the reality that we perceive.  

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Where is the tipping point?

What if universities stopped buying academic journals, and put the money towards hiring editors who helped their faculty publish their scholarship in their own free, open-source journals? I don’t know how much labour goes into running a prestigious journal, but let’s say all the universities that really need those specialised mathematics journals sat down and discussed what kind of editors they would need in order to create their own journals.…


Play-Doh was Originally Wallpaper Cleaner

The story of Play-Doh began when Kutol, a Cincinnati based soap company, was about to go under in the late 1920s.  Cleo McVicker, just 21 years old, was tasked with selling off the company’s remaining assets, which at the time comprised mainly of powdered hand soap. Once that was done, the company would be too.  Cleo, however, managed to turn a nice profit in performing his task, the result of…


‘NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves

  In literary circles, the practice of poets reciting verse in singsong registers and unnatural cadences is known, derogatorily, as “poet voice.” I propose calling this phenomenon “NPR voice” (which is distinct from the supple baritones we normally associate with radio voices). This plague of pregnant pauses and off-kilter pronunciations must have come from someplace. But … where? A primary cause of NPR voice is the sheer expansion of people broadcasting…

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The Little Professor: How to write an essay about teaching that will not be published in the NYT, Chronicle, IHE, or anywhere else

All instructors have to assemble their own pedagogical toolkit from the many resources out there and restock it (and recreate it) as necessary.  There is no one single way of being effective.  There is no magic spell (previous post on this blog to the contrary) that will make all pedagogical techniques effective all the time.  It is very difficult to generalize from one instructor’s experience to the next.  One gets…


Ermahgerddon: The Untold Story of the Ermahgerd Girl

Deciding against the coonskin cap, Goldenberger put on the vest, hoisted her hair up into intentionally dorky pigtails—she never wore them like that otherwise—brandished the chosen books, and pulled an intentionally hideous face for the camera. Normally, she hardly ever wore her retainer like she was supposed to, but it felt right for the character: she put it on for the shoot. Kaelyn had the resulting Polaroid picture posted on…

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Architecture in Video Games: Designing for Impact

Deanna Van Buren writes: I wonder why do we not see more collaboration between experienced architects, landscape architects, and video game developers. From the architect’s side, I know that we like to make stuff in the real world, and perhaps don’t think it will be rewarding. Architects often don’t play games or see how they can be of service. Many think it’s all about coding and that we need to…