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Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with…

Chilling Dawn's treatment of the Poe story.
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The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe

So, who else is taking advantage of current events and assigning “The Masque of the Red Death”? Are we thoughtful educators? Shameless opportunists? Both? (The disease Poe describes is more sudden than that caused by the ebola virus.) No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then…

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Man Infected with Ebola Misinformation Through Casual Contact With Cable News

On the other end of the link, the New Yorker has illustrated the blog post with a screen shot from Fox News, but the text of the post actually blames CNN (which recently hyped ebola as the ISIS of bio-agents). An Ohio man has become infected with misinformation about the Ebola virus through casual contact with cable news, the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed. Tracy Klugian, thirty-one, briefly came…

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A Prof Debunks Standardized Testing & Pearson Strikes Back

All this emphasis on standardized testing in the schools sure makes lots of sense to the purveyors of standardized tests. Stroup testified that for $468 million the Legislature had bought a pile of stress and wasted time from Pearson Education, the biggest player in the standardized-testing industry. Lest anyone miss that Stroup’s message threatened Pearson’s hegemony in the accountability industry, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) brought Stroup’s testimony to a…

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Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and…

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What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

A readable Wired article about why proofreading is difficult. My father, a technical editor for the U.S. Government, says he was so attuned to seeing typos that his brain would show them to him in a larger type size. Typos suck. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to…

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The Myth of Multitasking

Psychology Today summary of research that debunks the myth of multitasking, with a nifty little practical test. Much recent neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.…