The Wheel, Masakati Episode 1: The White Queen

Your name is Masakati, which means “White Queen” in the language of the Scorpion People. You were named this before you were hatched, when the serpent witches foretold to your mother Essekunit, the Tangeri Queen, that her child would be as great a ruler as had been not seen in this Age: that you would be Queen not only of the Tangeri but of all the Scorpion People, and take back the lands stolen by the Empire. —The Wheel, Masakati Episode 1: The White The beginning of a collaborative fantasy story. At the end of the chapter, readers vote…

Olsen Twins Set to Attend University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, WI

“It has been confirmed that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, two of the richest teens in America, have decided to attend University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, WI beginning in the Fall of the 2003-2004 academic year.” —Olsen Twins Set to Attend University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, WICNN?) Why the awkward passive that conceals who “confirmed” this claim? Why is this article in the “World” section of what appears to be the CNN website? Thanks, Sarah, for pointing it out!

Grade Inflation in Higher Education

Interesting discussion of grade inflation, party skewed by early comments that claimed that engineering and other technical majors are immune from the pressures that cause humanities professors to inflate student grades. Sparked by a Washington Post article that few people on Slashdot seem to have read (that’s fine with me — most are drawing on their own experience as students, graduates, or teachers). —Grade Inflation in Higher EducationSlashdot)

UN Orders Wonka to Submit to Chocolate Factory Inspections

“The chocolate-making capabilities of Wonka’s heavily fortified compound have long been a source of speculation. Wonka, defying international calls for full disclosure, has maintained his silence regarding his factory’s suspected capacity to manufacture confections of mass deliciousness….’Without full inspections, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction Wonka’s going. Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing. And he’s certainly not showing any signs that he is slowing. Are the fires of Hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? Who can provide the world with the answer to these pressing questions?’ “‘The candy man can,’…

Blogs as Disruptive Tech — How weblogs are flying under the radar of the content management giants

“Since most blogging tools are both free and addictive, it’s no surprise that the sales cycle has been eliminated. Better yet, point and click blog designs mean that there’s minimal consulting – either customization or configuration – required to set up your blog. The result? Weblogs are spreading like wildfire – by some accounts, the market is growing as high as 25% a month.” John Hiler‘s June, 2002 article was found via Kairosnews. —Blogs as Disruptive Tech — How weblogs are flying under the radar of the content management giantsWebcrimson) A student in my Writing Electronic Text course had an…

Review finds Pervasive Medical Research-Industry Ties

“About one-fourth of university-based medical researchers receive funding from drug companies — ties that sometimes distort study results, according to a review done by two researchers with industry connections of their own.” —Review finds Pervasive Medical Research-Industry TiesAssociated Press) Ohmigosh ohmigosh oh…my…gosh! Scientific research isn’t completely objective? Scientists aren’t lofty supreme beings of pure intellect, untouched by such human vices as pride and clumsiness? And when did corporations start funding scientific research? This is an outrage! I’m glad I’m in the humanities, where fraud never happens.

Internet Hypochondria

“My mother used to say that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing; the Internet demonstrates this point beautifully. Oh sure, these days everyone is concerned about the proliferation of porn, but the medical information on the Net is also widespread, disturbing and… — for those prone to, shall we say, extreme concern for their health — dangerous.” Ceinwen Giles —Internet HypochondriaGlobe and Mail) A little learning is a dangerous thingDrink deep, or taste not, of the Pierian spring.There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;And drinking largely sobers us again.”— Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism.” The “Pierian Spring”…

Tracking Wikipedia Press Release

Wired has published an article about the open source encyclopedia Wikipedia reaching its 100,000th article. This item first started appearing in weblogs last week. Once it’s made its way to Wired, it will be read by the editors of more mainstream publications, who may want to feature it in articles for the general public. (Blogdex lets you track blogger links to the wikipedia press release, to see who first thought it was newsworthy.) Any news editor who wants to serve young, technologically savvy readers had better be paying attention to weblogs. Tracking Wikipedia Press ReleaseLiteracy Weblog) I’ve contributed to the…

Film Scientists Not All Mad, Bad

“It might seem like a stretch to compare scientists to, say, African Americans and Latinos, who have historically been targets of often viciously stereotypical portrayals in film and on TV. But Weber thinks the media has a blind spot when it comes to scientists.” Jason Silverman —Film Scientists Not All Mad, BadWired)

Independent Content Provider

“Only cranks, mystics, revolutionaries and wealthy dilettantes wrote without some form of pecuniary support, whether patronage, salary, direct sales, residuals, or the penny-a-word piecework compensation offered by pulp-magazine editors…. The Internet changed all that.” —Independent Content Providerv-2 Organisation)

Mac vs. Dos

“The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and the users of MS-DOS-compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the “ratio studiorum” of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory. It tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach — if not the Kingdom of Heaven — the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and…

Study says boys do read, they just don't read books

“The problem may be that they are simply bored with the conventional curriculum, says the study, titled Morphing Literacy: Boys Reshaping Their Literacy. The study found it is a myth that boys do not read. While they are less interested in fiction or traditional literature than girls are, they read more on the Internet and memorize vast amounts of detailed material from games or stories they read in the newspaper, the research showed.” Julie Smyth summarizes an academic report, but doesn’t say where it was published. —Study says boys do read, they just don’t read booksNational Post) Another telling quote,…

Bar Code Tech Drives Nurses Nuts

“Nurses quickly learned how to hack the system to save time. For example, if a patient’s bar code didn’t scan correctly on the first try, nurses often entered the seven-digit bar code number manually rather than rescanning it. “Nurses also felt that the computer system’s demands forced them to focus on pill-pushing. If meds weren’t given on time, nurses had to take time out to tell the system why. Many feared this could result in poor performance evaluations. “‘I found myself walking away from important conversations with patients and families in order to fulfill the computer’s demands,’ said a VA…

Fifty Word Fiction

Vocation“I want to be a Bohemian, Rachel.” “A what?”“A Bohemian, a hanger onner around the arts”“I thought you already were – all that cafe society poetry stuff”“Yes, but it’s kinda hard on your own – do you want to be one too?” “Erm, can’t I be a bum instead?”Elin Merriman —Fifty Word FictionAlistair Fitchett) Click the question mark to view a random story, click N to see the newest, or click S to submit your own.

Creating a Culture of Ideas

“[B]eing innovative flies in the face of what almost all parents want for their children, most CEOs want for their companies, and heads of states want for their countries. And innovative people are a pain in the ass…. [S]ome things?the nature of higher education among them?will have to change in order to ensure a perpetual source of new ideas. ” Nicholas Negroponte —Creating a Culture of IdeasTechnology Review)