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Astrophysics Visualization Archive

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Posted on 25th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


Online movies from Hayden Planetarium can be seen here . There are animations for activities in the solar system, by stars, across galaxies and into the distant universe. The collisions here of authoritative astrophysics and digital illustration form incredible new scientific insights and visual wonder.

Over A Fourth Of The Chinese Have Cell Phones

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Posted on 25th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Blogs, Wikis and Swarms


A New York Times report today here describes the use of cellphones and the internet to stimulate protests. The article includes these facts and a comment speculating on future protests:

About 27 percent of China’s 1.3 billion people own a cellphone, a rate that is far higher in big cities, particularly among the young. Indeed, for upwardly mobile young urbanites, cellphones and the Internet are the primary means of communication. “If people can mobilize in cyberspace in such a short time on this subject,” said Wenran Jiang, a scholar with a specialty in China-Japan relations, “what prevents them from being mobilized on another topic, any topic, in the near future?”

Hey, what if those topics include reading, writing and arithmetic for the kids of the young urbanites to learn? Or how about language tutors for there moms and dads? Why not? Lots of new stuff for cellphone little screens is roaring down the development pipe. Literacy along with ring tones would easy to provide by Nokia and the rest of the phone folks.

Engaged By Science

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Posted on 24th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

The article by John Merrow in today’s New York Times Education Life here describes the many way college kids are disengaged. Merrow explains what happened for the single kid who did engage leaning: A natural-science class caught her imagination and she began staying after class, talking with the teaching assistants. She had never met a scientist before.
Her engagement was intellectual. The science itself was what she liked. A strong implication of the article is that personal attention is what is needed to create a successful student. I think one-on-one with knowledge itself is more compelling,

China-Japan Textbook “Extremes”

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Posted on 24th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now


Today the Associated Press published a story here about a dust-up between China and Japan over how the history of World War II is taught to children in their respective countries. When students everywhere are studying history from the same open content in the internet, propagandizing kids in their schoolbooks will lose its punch. I like to call the emerging internet knowledge commons the golden swamp because it vets exaggeration and provides an open way for historians everywhere to hone extremes into facts and publish what actually happened for all to study.
The above photo is from the August 24, 2005 edition of China’s People’s Daily Online. The cutline under the photo reads:

People hold a demonstration to protest against a new Japanese history textbook, near the Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong, south China, April 6, 2005. The Japanese Education Ministry on Tuesday authorized a new edition of middle school history textbook, which seriously distorts the history and whitewashes Japan’s militaristic past.

Genetics For Kids, And The Rest Of Us

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Posted on 23rd April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


Did you know goldfish have more chromosomes than humans? I didn’t until I found this terrific Kids Genetics website presented by GlaxoSmithKline. The website is a superb example of how a private sector enterprise can partner with education by explaining its expertise. Though host Professor U. Gene is a cartoon character, he has a lot to teach any layperson about genetics. And there is much more! Go the the gsk page here for a brilliantly illustrated general genetics tutorial.

How To Help A Stranded Animal

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Posted on 21st April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


The Animal Rescue Center website here introduces the New England Aquarium program that has responded to strandings of over 4000 marine mammals and sea turtles. A How To Help section explains what you should do if you find a stranded animal. Meet some of the patients being rehabilitated for return to the see and read the stories of notable rescue cases.

Whatever Happened To Polio?

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Posted on 21st April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


Those of us who remember polio in the United States can revisit here one of the great triumphs of medicine. This in-depth exhibit from the Smithsonian also provides a discussion of polio’s future and what we all should be doing to protect future generation worldwide.

Roles In Theater

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Posted on 19th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


The American Theater Wing, in partnership with the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, provides here interviews with practicing experts on Careers in Theater.
The ATW is founder of the Tony Awards and devoted to excellence in theater. Their website is a helpful place for someone thinking of pursuing costume design, directing and other aspects of theater as well as acting. Several sections of the website are rich in knowledge to study about the real theater world.

Food Pyramid Online Debut

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Posted on 19th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Open Content


Today’s announcement of the new multi versions of the Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid is online and interactive here. Not only does it show a change in lifestyle; it demonstrates how the way we get and use information is changing.
This interactive page where a visitor selects his/her own age, sex and level of daily activity points the visitor to the appropriate pyramid more efficiently and clearly than can be done in print. Taxpayers dollars are saved too because millions of people can access this one webpage replacing the need to print and distribute millions of multi-page pamphlets for the new multiple pyramids.

Organic Transistors

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Posted on 18th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


Drop by the Bell Laboratories here for a description of how transistors are being developed from plastic. This nugget of knowledge is an example of how the innovations of industry are accessible in the golden swamp of online knowledge.

The Adobe/Macromedia New Horizon

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Posted on 18th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

The expressive emergence of the internet crosses a crucial horizon into the new world of learning as Adobe absorbs Macromedia. In a few more months, internet expression which is the essence of Macromedia will dominate Adobe. This is absolutely wonderful news.
Macromedia is Flash, Dreamweaver and most recently partnered with Nokia for cell phone imaging. Adobe, born of scaleable type and matured in Photoshop for print, will use that muscle and imaging sophistication more and more to support internet creativity as we move into the future.
Why is that GOOD news? For sure the trees are celebrating because print will diminsh. People should be happy because the migration of expression to the internet ends isolation and ignorance in ways print never did or ever could. What is known by humankind, interfaced expressively on the internet promises the end of ignorance.

Bridging Chasms Everywhere

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Posted on 18th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


This and many pages from the website Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania here puts bridge basics at the disposal of bridge builders anywhere. It would not be surprising to see one day a bridge looking like one from Allegheny County spanning a chasm in Bangladesh, Brazil or Botswana. The old poem The Bridge Builder is the story of a man who built a bridge to span the tide. The poem’s message of what a knowledgeable person can do takes a wonderful global dimension in this website built, as many of the best learning ones are, by one person.

Organizing Mathematics

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Posted on 17th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge


When I first began setting up study subjects for HomeworkCentral.com in 1997, the arrangement for most of them was obvious. Science could be broken down into physics, chemistry, biology and most other sciences fit fairly well under those, if sometimes redundantly. History I realized had to be set-up two ways, chronologically and geographically. But mathematics was a puzzle. I asked some scholars and they shied away from giving me an answer.
My mathematician brother gave me, as is his nature, an insightful answer. He said that when he was learning math in the mid-20th century it was taught so that “lightbulbs went on in your head” as you progressed, for example, from algebra I to algebra II to calculus in a set order. But, he reflected, when his sons were learning the new math a couple of decades later more advanced topics were taught to them early on. In a manner most uncharacteristic for him he said he did not know which was best.
He turned out to be, as he always is on intellectual stuff, correct. He did not know which way was best because many ways to look at math are instructive. Mathematics is a network where linear progression does not mesh. That is why a large website where every idea is connected to every other idea is perfect for learning mathematics. Mathworld fits that description and is a terrific example of how to use interconnectivity to express a web of ideas. Having done that well, Mathworld mirrors, in a primitive way, how mathematics becomes a web of ideas in our mind.

Confounded Languages

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Posted on 16th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous


There are periodic tables of elements here in over 100 languages. The website has some dead links, ads for gambling and casinos — but the insight into language use online is marvelous. My prediction is that as we go from 15% of people on earth using the internet to nearly ubiquitous computing two language trends will occur in online knowledge for academic subjects. Basic stuff like the table of elements will show up in dozens of languages, as can already be seen in this example. Second, the day will come when the echo of Babel will cease and there will be a single language across the planet. But if software translators come online soon, as they probably will, a single language will be less needed in the foreseeable future.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9

Mount Vernon Tour

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Posted on 15th April 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler


Recently remodeled, the Mount Vernon website here is beautiful and bountiful. The curators of George Washington’s beloved estate and the webfolk who created the online exhibit have combined to provide a suburb historical resource for introductory or specialized students of the great American.