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Astaire Unwound (Ceiling Dance from “Royal Wedding”)

My high school physics teacher, Admiral Peebles, showed us episodes of this nerdy, awesome science video, which demonstrated what various common motions (a falling ball, a rolling ball) look like from fixed and moving frames of reference. The 1969 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey featured a huge rotating set, a realistic representation of artificial gravity in the interior of a space ship. I pored over stills from this scene a few years…

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What If the Newspaper Industry Made a Colossal Mistake?

This sounds a lot like wishful thinking, but there’s plenty to learn from well-articulated alternate opinions. What if, in the mad dash two decades ago to repurpose and extend editorial content onto the Web, editors and publishers made a colossal business blunder that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars? What if the industry should have stuck with its strengths—the print editions where the vast majority of their readers still reside…

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The neglected history of videogames for the blind

What kind of a “videogame” has no video? Nomenclature aside, this is an interesting exploration of audio-only games. Playing Real Sound as a sighted player, it’s hard not to be disoriented at first. Its dialogue—better acted than in any game I’ve played—cannot be skipped over or sped up by mashing a button repeatedly. We’re used to visual distinctions between “gameplay” and “cutscene,” where the former requires our active attention and…

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“What Teachers Make” Sequence of Assignments

Every year I rewatch Taylor Mali’s passionate defense of “What Teachers Make.” As part of a sequence of assignments designed to help students write a more engaging personal literacy narrative, I use Mali’s speech. Yes, it’s my job to teach composition, but composition is a term that applies to music, photography, choreography, athletics, etc. Students already have an intuitive sense of what makes a good Vine, what makes a good…