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Showing posts from 2013

Generation Y or Generation Trophy?

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Are you special?

Over at Huffpo "Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy" hit the blogosphere claiming that Generation Y GYPSYs (Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies) think they are "the main character of a very special story" and since they are the protagonist of their own story they are easily disappointed when everything doesn't go their way.

Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

Let's back up a minute here.  Who are these GYPSYs?  GYPSYs are "the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s . . [who are] also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y." So I guess that's most of today's traditional age college students.

GYPSY parents are part-Hippie, part-Yuppie.  Their grandparents are part of the Greatest Generation who grew up during the depression and then fought and won World War II - hence the "Pussies" comment from Gramps (btw, gramps says that about every succeeding generation).

GYPSY parents…

Reading with a Pencil - Even Mark Twain Did It!

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Mark Twain the author of such literary greats as Puddn'head Wilson and Huckleberry Finn was also a humorist and essayist.  His avid reading took him across disciplines as was common in 19th century America and some of his annotations have been featured in an article on "Twain's Viciously Funny Marginalia".

Heaven help John Dryden, the translator of Plutarch's Lives, which, is "Translated from the Greek" into, as Twain annotates, "rotten English . . . the whole carefully revised and corrected by an ass."  As you can see, Twain had some strong feelings about the English language and did not hesitate to talk back to his texts.

On the title page of Saratoga in 1901, Twain renames the volume Saratoga in 1891, or The Droolings of an Idiot.

What do you look for when annotating a text?  Are you summarizing paragraphs in the margin? Are you talking back to the text the way Twain does?

When you talk back to a text you are engaging in critical thinking,…

Let's Change the Anatomy of the World's Top CEOs

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According to the graphic "Anatomy of the World's Top-Performing CEOs" created by Domo the average CEO is a married guy with a receding hairline who has 3.1 children (I feel sorry for that .1 child).

Furthermore he went to some fancy college.  On the other hand, only 29 percent hold an MBA and 61 percent were educated outside of the United States.

Here's a stat that should make you smile, 79 percent were promoted from within; meaning hang in there and you can make your way up the corporate ladder.

Here's another plus.  Many of the top companies are in California.

What's missing?

How old are these guys?  Receding hairlines and 3.1 children implies middle age.  It seems that experience (not just education) has a lot to do with a CEOs capabilities.

What else is missing?

Women.  Only two of the top 100 CEOs are women!

Why in the 21st century do you think there are so few top women CEOs?  Do women dislike being CEOs?  Are women not cut out to be CEOs?  You can'…

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

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That is the question.  Well, apparently not for one high school senior attending an informational seminar for Bowdoin College, the school to which she had applied.

"Throughout the presentation, she apparently posted disparaging comments on Twitter about her fellow attendees, repeatedly using a common expletive.

"Perhaps she hadn’t realized that colleges keep track of their social media mentions," reported Dean Meikeljohn in "They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Your Tweets."

And you thought only employers would track such things?

Think about it, if you owned a company or were the Dean of a college wouldn't you want to know what people are saying about your product, company, or college?  Of course, you would.  Would-be employers or colleges don't just Google perspective employees or students, they keep track of their web reputation as well. 

"'We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends the…

MLA Citations

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When you reach college you will be writing a variety of research papers and by the time you reach second year English, your instructors expect that you know how to paraphrase, quote, use in-text citations, and create a works cited page entry in your sleep.

Why is citation important? Plagiarism is one thing that can get your kicked out of college. Your ideas and your writing belong to you. Just like my thoughts and my writings belong to me and Shakespeare's thoughts and writings belong to him. So give credit where credit is due.

Here are a couple of quizzes to test your knowledge:

Click on the link for an In-Text Citation Quiz offered by McGraw-Hill

Click on the next link for a Works Cited Quiz created by McGraw-Hill.

So how did you do? Were you surprised by how much you knew about in-text citations and works cited entries? Or how much you need to learn? Don't worry it's not too late there are all kinds of online resources for avoiding plagiarism. I would also recommend th…

How Much Does Google and Facebook Know About You

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In April 2012, The UK Guardian ran a story entitled "How to Download Your Data From Google and Facebook" and offers the following step-by-step instructions into your digital life.

Google The Google user data which you're able to access through the site's transparency services are split across three places.

Dashboard: The dashboard is the principal place to get information on all your Google services – and includes data from Picasa, Gmail, YouTube, search histories and more. You can get to it at www.google.com/dashboard/ – expect to have to re-enter your password, even if logged in.

Account Activity: The dashboard has been going for three years now, but Google have added a new monthly monitoring feature with a few extra bits of information in the last month. Called Account Activity, it gives info on how much you've used different services, from which computers and browsers, and some extra bits of information. It's delivered to your inbox after signing up at the…

When Employment and Education "Experts" Collide

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The Chronicle of Higher Ed's article Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate displays ambivalent attitudes and a complete lack of real world experience--not by students or employees--but by managers, employers, and professors that peddle such nonsense to students and the community-at-large.

What nonsense you ask?  Being "well-rounded with a range of abilities" will land you that fab job you've been dreaming about.

Why the attitude?  Here's why.  If a company is hiring for a position that requires a Bachelor's Degree in marketing, finance, or business, it doesn't matter that upper management or your local professor believes "Being well-rounded with a range of abilities is more important than having industry expertise because job-specific skills can be learned at work."

Upper management is never going to meet that well-rounded person because that well-rounded person will never pass the initial screening process.  This kind of we…

Potential Employers DO Google You!

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It's amazing how many newbies to the job market, aka I just got out of college and need a job, think that employers do NOT Google them.

Google is the greatest screener available to a Human Resource department AND it's FREE!  Why wouldn't they use every tool available to them to find that perfect employee?

So what's a perfect employee?  Well, that depends on the job, but let's think about what the employee from hell looks like.

The Ranter - the person who goes on Facebook, Twitter, RateMyProfessor, or the myriad other social media outlets and rants about his or her job, friends, teachers, or parents.  The last thing an employers wants is an employee with the potential to rant about their job, fellow employees, or boss!

The Grammatical Nincompoop - the person who can't be bothered spell checking or proofreading their posts.  Think about it.  Have you ever used Facebook--especially if you like text messaging language--and then go back and read how spell checker h…

The 12 Types of Procrastinators and Kittens

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How did I run across this great comic?  I was procrastinating of course!  Instead of grading papers, working on lesson plans, or writing the myriad papers that are coming due, I was cruising through Facebook and this little gem from Mashable caught my eye.

What kind of procrastinator am I?

The Cleaner - definitely - my house could always use a good scrubbing before I actually start grading papers or writing.  Although, lots of thinking gets done as my bathroom starts to shine (that's justification on top of procrastination).

The Sidetracker - yes, sometimes writing about comics is a lot more fun than grading papers (no offense).

The Social Sharer - my Facebook page is always open AND thank goodness I have never really figured out how to twitter.

The Internet Researcher - but it is legitimate research.  After all, I teach short film.

A friend once said, "You can get a lot of procrastinating done in twenty minutes."  It took me twenty minutes to figure out what he meant.

Think You're Good at Multitasking? Think Again.

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Visual Academy recently released a graphic outlining the pitfalls of multitasking.

According to the studies they reviewed only 2 percent of us can multitask with any credibility.

Here's something I bet you didn't know - you will actually spend LESS time doing any set of activities if you do them one at a time AND that includes studying and homework.

Do you know that the majority of students spend over an average of 100 minutes per day on Facebook?!  I know we like to stall as long as possible instead of actually studying, but  that's almost two hours extra time spent "doing homework"!

AND...worst of all studies connect a correlation between dropping GPAs and increasing time spent on Facebook.  The average non-Facebooker has a GPA of 3.82 while you Facebook junkies have an average GPA of 3.06. Yikes.

Not to mention Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, Google+, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, and when you're finished looking to see what your "friends" are…

How Much Will Your College Loan Payments Be?

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It is amazing how many college students, 1) Don't know their total student loan obligation; and, 2) Don't know the amount of their loan payments.  This is especially puzzling since students will be repaying their loans for TEN years!

Don't get me wrong, I understand how it happens:  students borrow a little or a lot each semester and between school, part time jobs, and homework fail to keep track of all those loans--and they add up!

According to Forbes Magazine, "College graduates with the average $27,000 in student loan debt can end up making payments of over $300 a month for 10 long years. There are only so many dollars to go around, and because of the student loan burden, these are people who have difficulty carving out funds to save, pay down debt and invest for retirement. They may have to delay purchasing a home because they are paying up to 15% of their incomes for the college degree that landed them the job."

"Oh, well," you say.  "…

Need to Get to LA Fast?

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Try the hyperloop and get there in 35 minutes-at least that's the proposal of Elon Musk, creator and founder of Paypal and Tesla Motors.  According to Musk, his proposed system would cost $6 billion compared to the high speed rail now being taxpayer funded for a whopping $68.4 billion.  Best of all a round trip ticket would cost $20.

How does it work?  According to Visual News, "Musk and his team think that by pumping much of the air out of the tube and creating an atmosphere equivalent to that at 150,000 feet (45,720 meters) the drag within the system would be lowered to such a state that near supersonic speeds are attainable with little resistance. Wheels at this speed are no longer an option (due to stability and drag issues) so instead an ‘air bearing’ would be employed. These would be extremely strong metal plates on the bottom of the pod that blow air through their center; supporting the pod much like the puck on an air hockey table."



Passengers would travel…

7 Valuable Lessons We Can Learn From Superheroes

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Any reader of comic books knows that superheroes represent something bigger than ourselves, people (or beings) that live to right wrongs in a society that doesn't accept their superpowers.  Huffington Post has a nice slide show about the seven most valuable lessons you can learn from superheroes.

No. 1 - We all have alter egos. Like Superman, Batman, or Spider-Man "we too have alter egos—different sides of ourselves that come out, depending on the context and the people we are with. We may think, feel, and act differently when we’re with our parents than when we’re with our children," our friends, professors, or bosses.

No. 2 - The Costume Counts."You don’t have to wear tights or a cape to understand that what you wear affects other people: Whether you’re wearing a unitard, a police officer’s uniform, grungy jeans and a Jack Daniels T-shirt, or a three-piece suit, your 'costume' counts. Based on how you appear, [people] make inferences about you (which…

Shakespeare Meets Science Fiction

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If the Bard of Avon had written Star Wars, here's how it would have started:

"In time so long ago begins our play / In star-crossed galaxy far, far away."

At least that's how Ian Doescher imagines it in William Shakespeare's Star Wars.

For those of you stumped by Shakespeare's language this may be a good way to launch into a galaxy some find so far away, a fun way to develop your ear for Shakespeare. William Shakespeare's Star Wars is available at Amazon and as one reviewer put it, ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

"Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations--William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for."
Here's the perfect gift for your special 501st Legionnaire or anyone who appreciates science fiction OR Shake…

Skinny Jeans: Gotta Have it? Make it Stop?

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Going to the Oscars?  Top your skinny jeans with a sequin top.

Going to a business meeting?  Wear a jacket with your skinny jeans.

Going to a ball game?  Your Giant's cap will look stunning with those skinny jeans.

Going to a funeral?  They make black skinny jeans.

If you watch TV, read magazines, or shop at the mall you would think that everybody from pregnant women to your boyfriend wears skinny jeans.  As a Professor I get to go "back to school" shopping too.  All I want this year are a couple of pairs of slacks.  BUT if you go to Macy's, Target, KMart, Ross, T.J. Max, Old Navy, Sears, or Nordstrom's you would think that everybody wears blue denim skinny jeans.

Here's some images you'll never scrub from your brain:  Grandma in skinny jeans!  How about your mom in skinny jeans? Skinny jeans with a muffin top.  Skinny jeans where the crotch is so low you get a moon shot.  And what's up with drop-crotch skinny jeans? Don't even get me started on …

Birth of an Intolerant Nation

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D.W. Griffiths' Birth of a Nation is billed as the first full-length narrative motion picture.  The story line depicts the Klu Klux Klan as a sympathetic misunderstood organization and African Americans as, at the very least, ignorant, while southern whites were victims.

A big part of the problem (at least for Griffith's) was that during Reconstruction African Americans came into political power.
Nowhere else in the South did blacks become the dominant force in gaining equality through self-governance than in South Carolina, the only state to have a black majority in the legislature during Reconstruction.  Here's how D.W. Griffiths depicts that august body:


Today we wouldn't put up with this kind of overt racism and in 1915 when this movie came out many people didn't put up with it either.
The NAACP protested against the film’s fabrications and inaccuracies. Riots broke out in Boston, Philadelphia and other major cities. And Griffith’s legacy never recovered, even if…

Even STEM Schools NEED Art

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Did you know that ART Department students from Cal State, East Bay made a film that was previewed at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival?  What?  With all the talk about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, you didn't even know CSUEB had an art department?  Not only does it have an art department, it has a GREAT art department, and as has been discussed on this blog in the past, everybody needs art--even scientists.

Translucent, a short horror film by Justin Nunez and Joshua Folsom, won multiple awards from Campus Moviefest, including Campus Best Picture, Campus Finalist, Best Actor and Best Cinematography (read more).  Moviefest is the world's largest student film festival and Translucent's top honors earned it the right to be included at the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner for new filmmakers.

Check out Translucent and see why it was chosen to go to Cannes.


An excited Justin Nunez was able to travel to Cannes through a sponsorship from the CSUEB art de…

Even Superheroes Get Cancer

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When stricken by a deadly disease, the world's greatest doctors developed a Superformula to help Batman recover his strength.  After recieving his intravenous treatment, it wasn't long before he was back fighting super villains whenever the bat signal lit up Gotham's night sky.

To a child, cancer must seem like some kind of cartoon nightmare they can't control or understand, but "as any good cancer doctor will tell you, the most important step in fighting the disease is believing in a cure," reports Buzz Feed who recently featured an article about  rebranding Chemotherapy at a Children's Cancer Center in Brazil.

The cancer "Superformula" now comes in intravenous bag covers featuring the iconic WonderWoman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman logos.

In addition to the Superformula, young patients can read comics about how their favorite superhero battled cancer --and survived.  Even the children's ward has been redesigned as the Hall of Justi…

Top 10 Most Dramatic Art Finds of 2012

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Can you guess the number one art find of 2012?  If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you probably can.

Yep, that's right Action Comics No. 1. 

While remodeling a house bought for $10,100, David Gonzalez ripped out a wall and found a pristine copy of the Man of Steel's first comic appearance.  It has already been bid up to $113,000 and would be worth more except the cover got ripped after Gonzalez found the book.  That rip dropped the book's value by $100,000.  The last pristine copy of AC 1 sold for over $2 million.

Some other notable finds of 2012 according to HuffingtonPost.com are a lost Da Vinci found in a Scottish farmhouse, which if it turns out to be real, is estimated to be worth over $150 million.  A $7 flea market find that led to the recovery of a stolen Renoir snatched six decades ago from the Baltimore Museum of Art and a painting titled "The White Owl" by William James, a pre-Raphaelite artist, was found in an attic and valued at …

Direct Marketing

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...and I do mean direct!  In the 2002 movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise, the protagonist enters a mall, is scanned, and then targeted by a variety of direct marketing ads.

See for yourself!


Today you are scanned the moment you sit at your computer and begin shopping on the internet.  As Michael Learmonth says in "The Pants that Stalked Me on the Web," after shopping for a pair of shorts he began receiving internet ads aimed at his desire to buy summer pants.  Being a marketing executive he "know[s] why I'm getting these ads. But as a consumer I'd be creeped out by it, and definitely a little annoyed."

On the other hand, Miguel Helft and Tanzina Vega report that "this form of highly personalized marketing is being hailed as the latest breakthrough because it tries to show consumers the right ad at the right time."  So internet advertisers are doing us all a favor, we aren't inundated with ads for products we aren't interested in onl…

You Need a Library Card

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Why you ask?

There's a couple of reasons.  First if you have a long commute (mine is 1 hour each way), and you are sick of the radio or want to try something different, you can check out any number of audio books.

If you like comics you might check out The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.  If you are taking a literature class, most classic books are available on CDs.  Listening to a book is a great way to discover new things about a text using an audible learning style.

But what does this have to do with the sword in this post?

My library card got me into San Francisco's Asian Art Museum to see China's Terracotta Warriors for FREE - and what an incredible exhibit.  
China's Terracotta Warriors were commissioned by the First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) conquered much in this life, but his driving purpose was even greater: He sought to conquer death. In order to achieve immortality, he built himself a tomb—a vast underground city g…

The Great Gatsby New Millenium Style

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Keith Patterson recently created an infographic that explores how the 1920's world of Jay Gatsby stacks up against the rich and famous today -- specifically the rich and famous who are playing the roles of the Roaring Twenties uberwealthy characters in therecently released Great Gatsby movie directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Click here to view the full-size original over at Electric.com.

According to Patterson, "Fitzgerald's young artist, writer and multi-talented friends inspired his classic novel about one of America's most indulgent periods."  How do you think the nouveau riche of the new millenium compare to those at the beginning of the 20th century?  How do you think our hip-hop, movie star, reality TV megalomaniacs compare to the characters of The Great Gatsby?  

How do books reflect culture?  If you wrote an updated version of The Great Gatsby where would you set your book and how would you define your characters?

Batman or Ironman?

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Just title this "Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous."

Whose lifestyle is more expensive, Batman or Ironman?

If you're Tony Stark, you not only have to invent and pay for all those cutting edge, blow-them-up, and run-them-over kind of gadgets, you also have to maintain your lifestyle as one of Los Angeles' rich and famous.

His house alone costs $25,000,000.  His computer system is over $10,000,000 and then there are his cars and his suits.  Yikes that's quite a bill.

But like we say over here a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's an infographic from Mashable (click here fore a full-size Ironman graphic).

 In order to live like Ironman you are going to need $10,086,485,000.00. 

Yes, college is a good choice if you are looking to make that kind of money.





What about Batman, you ask?

Bruce Wayne has own lifestyle obligations that include not only the Batmobile and outfitting the Batcave, but also Wayne manor, a butler, a bunch of girlfriends, and awesome …

Pakistani Dave Brubeck

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I almost clicked by the title "Pakistani Musicians Play Dave Brubeck's Take Five", but then curiosity got the better of me -- and am I glad. Take a listen:



Sitars? Tabla drums? Violins? What?

The Guardian featured the group in a recent article saying, The Sachal Studios Orchestra was created by Izzat Majeed, a philanthropist based in London. When Pakistan fell under the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq during the 1980s, Pakistan’s classical music scene fell on hard times. Many musicians were forced into professions they had never imagined — selling clothes, electrical parts, vegetables, etc. Whatever was necessary to get by. Today, many of these musicians have come together in a 60-person orchestra that plays in a state-of-the-art studio, designed partly by Abbey Road sound engineers.
So while we are all so busy trying to get through school, remember you have a long life ahead of you and you need to do something besides work...maybe playing music.

What do you do fo…

3rd Annual O'Keefe Graphic Literature Prizes Announced

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Diablo Valley College's 3rd Annual Prize for Graphic Literature surpasses all expectations and showcases the art of some amazing aspiring artists.

Go Fish by Ana Valdez is the Grand Prize Winner; a story of love where you find it between a lonely fisherwoman and a mermaid.


The Runners Up included The Amazing Uncanny Aviator by Emily Pate and Sarah Luver, a spoof of the mainstream superhero comic, and Nick Pino’s Ass Birth One: The Day the Earth Said F@ck, a tale of a boy and his dog. Ass Birth One also won the George Herriman Prize. The Herriman Prize Runner Up was awarded to Kelly Conroy’s Annoying F***tard a knock, knock joke gone incredibly annoying.

An Apple A Day Keeps Everyone Else Away by Sheemul Gupta won the Charles Schultz Award with its lifelong tale of technology’s lonely consequences. “What Does He Want…?” by the creative trio Aly Murphy, Dan Povenmire, and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, was the Shultz Runner Up in its search for the perfect Christmas gift.

Dorena Hinh’s A Zom…

Got 18 Minutes to Learn the History of the World?

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You can learn the history of the world starting with the Big Bang and covering the next 13.7 billion years brought to you by Open Culture: Big History . . . and all in less than 18 minutes.

David Christian, a professor at Australia’s Macquarie University and formally trained as a Russian historian, Christian began working on Big History in the 1980s, a meta discipline that “examines long time frames using a multidisciplinary approach based on combining numerous disciplines from science and the humanities.” Need to brush up on your history - ALL history - give this lecture a try.

After watching the video, can you appreciate lessons taught via video outline and graphics?

I Love Spell Check

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I may love spell checker, but sometimes I think it makes writers lazy.  I know I often have to open up a blank Word document to check on a simple word that I can't remember how to spell.


This poor student has spent way too much time in front of his or her computer and can no longer spell.If you type the following poem into Word, not a single word comes up misspelled and, according to Word, there are only four grammar mistakes.
Eye Halve a Spelling Checker
I halve a spelling checker

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marcs four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased to no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh

My check tolled me sew.

Have spelling and grammar checking functions in your computer made you a lazy writer?  Sho…

A Rocky Football Field Just Missed Earth

Asteroid DA14 just streaked by the earth on February 15 - half the size of a football field. The day before a meteor hit Russia causing loads of damage and panic, and according to the experts these two events are unrelated.

Want to watch NASA track a DA14? Here's the footage:
Video streaming by Ustream
Here's something to think about. An asteroid the size of DA14 hit Earth on June 30, 1908 and levelled 820 square miles.

Accourding to NASA when DA14 makes its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.

The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 Many objects in outer space are discovered and tracked by astronimacal enthusiasts, people just like you and me. Should we have an agency that watches for these kinds killer asteroids?

Science in 1,000 Words

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If you carefully look at the above rendering of the Saturn V Rocket, you will notice that the creator has used some pretty simple terminology. In fact, Randall Monroe employed only the 1,000 most frequently used words in English. Under this restriction, the rocket was called "up-goer five," the command module was "people box," and the liquid hydrogen feed line was "thing that lets in cold wet air to burn." The comic inspired Theo Anderson, a geneticist who supports accessible science education, to build a text editor that would force the user to write with only the 1000 most frequent words. He then invited scientists to describe what they do using the editor. Mental floss reported on the project which has been turned into "18 Complicated Scientific Ideas Explained Simply", scientific ideas ranging from olfactory biology, web development and political economy to paleomagnetism, particle physics and circadian rhythm biology where "Little …

Are Your Ancestors Super?

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At Foto Marvellini, an art workshop in Milan, two brothers have released the family photos of your favorite superheroes. How they came across so many vintage portraits is unknown, but these pictures answer a lot of questions about why some superheroes adopted their demeanor, garb, and sensibilties.




Take Spiderman for example. Most fan boys and girls believe it was a radioactive spider that produced the web-spinning acrobat, but according to family tradition there seems to be an early twentieth century dapper dude who first donned the spidey mask. Maybe the spider gave Peter Parker his super powers, but there are some spiders in his family closet.





This portrait of Captain America's great-great-great grandma may explain his patriotic roots (and style) as the Victorian lady displays the cameo shield familiar to most readers.






Batman enthusiasts may now understand the penchant for the furry flying mammals as Great-grandad Wayne studies his stocks and bonds. No wonder there was a conv…

A Different Kind of Syllabus . . .

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that I wish I could do, but I can't because my best drawing involves stick figures.

Lynda Barry, author of 100! Demons is teaching a course called the "Unthinkable Mind" at the University of Wisconsin during the Spring 2013 semester. Keep in mind this is not a graphic novel, comic, or "how to" art class, it is a class about how the different parts of our brain function. According to Open Culture Barry wants to appeal to both Humanities and Science majors by creating
A writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain with emphasis on hemispheric differences and a particular sort of insight and creative concentration that seems to come about when we are using our hands (the original digital devices) —to help us figure out a problem. You can audit this course from home as Barry will be posting assignments to her Tumblr page.

Look at the first page of Barry's syllabus posted above, and other than drawings, how does i…

The Killer Ts

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Here's a video that looks like it came right out of a science fiction movie, but it's not the blob or some other exterrestrial body snatcher. This fight takes place in our body every day--it's the microscopic battlefield of the Killer T Cells.



It's not just doctors and mad scientists who help solve the diseases that afflict us. This video was created by Alex Ritter, a student at the University of Cambridge to show what Killer Ts can do and was recently posted on Open Culture. "The process is shown at 92 times the actual speed. And for a sense of scale, a cytotoxic T cell is only 10 microns in length, or about one-tenth the width of a human hair."

Important? You bet! If we can figure out how these little killers work we can use them to fight disease.
Cytotoxic T cells are very precise and efficient killers. They are able to destroy infected or cancerous cells, without destroying healthy cells surrounding them….By understanding how this works, we can dev…