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Posted on 31st August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

all about bananas
The website titled here has sections on the origin of bananas, how to grow the food, buy it, prepare bananas to eat, banana nutrition and medicinal uses. Based in banana commerical interests and not pure science, the information is healthy learning fare for the generalist wanting to know more about this important and popular food. Agriculture

Brain Basics


Posted on 30th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

neuron brain basics
The Center for Synaptic Plasticity at the University of Bristol’s website has here a primer on the basics of the brain. The pages are an example of senior experts in a specialty using the Internet to explain their field in terms that can be understood by entry-level learners. These Bristol guys are very smart about brains and share some fundamentals of neuroscience with the rest of us. Animal Sciences

Tots On The Phone


Posted on 30th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous

The update here from describes what is happening in the pre-school and kindergarten cell phone market. Wonderfully the report does not begin, as kid-digital stories have for a decade, with some scary words about safety for our children. In fact, the kid’s phone is a safetly plus. A motiviation to give your tot a phone is to be able to reach the child at all times. Future GPS kid phones will make it possible for parents to locate their children through an Internet connection.
The article describes features that limit the tots from too much phone time and from wandering into unknown calls. The educational potential is also already being tapped with downloadable educational games from Leapfrog.

Eyewitnesses: Battle Of New Orleans


Posted on 29th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

New Orleans voices
A War of 1812 website has a page here of eyewitness accounts from the Battle of New Orleans. Today that old city is battling Hurricane Katrina. Two centuries from now perhaps some of the voices we are hearing today from on the storm scene will be echoing from 23rd century websites. History

Storm Surges


Posted on 28th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

storm surge
The Storm Surge page here from NOAA explains what the phenomenon is and provides a list of Safety Actions. The page is introduced with the caution that in a hurricane the storm surg has the greatest potential for loss of life. Geography

Olympus Image Galleries


Posted on 27th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

butterfly wing
Click here for the full image and explantion of the Graphium sarpedon wing shown at left. It is the magnification of the wing of the commonly known Blue Triangle Butterfly. It is one of many intriguing and beautiful images and movies offered by the Olympus Digital Microscope Digital Image Galleries here.

Varied industries

The Global Melting Of Ignorance


Posted on 27th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

Yesterday a scientist cousin of mine sent me this article from the University of Arizona. The article is an update on a meeting of leading scientists in the field and reports that the Arctic ice melt over the next 100 years may be severe. This morning the New York Times here printed another in its series describing young teenagers in different countries — this time in Korea.
It’s the young teenage crowd with whom the ice melt is likely to be a life crisis for themselves and their children. The kid in Korea is eagerly awaiting an upgrade to a new model cellphone. Soon, if not on this model, she will be able to access articles like ice scientist report on the device in her hand.
That meltdown of the remoteness of knowledge — plus their ability to exchange information — will put the new generations in a steadily bettering situation to understand and solve the problems of their times.

Medical Device Oral History


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

medical device oral history
The oral history collection here at the Minnesota Historical Society provides two areas about which to learn a lot. The first is great detail about the pioneering of certain medical devices and procedures — a topic for a very specialized audience. The other subject is how to design and execute a suberb oral history online collection. Useful even for a beginner, this collection is a marvelous model of oral history presentation. Health

Africa’s On The Phone


Posted on 25th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous

The story here that just showed up on the New York Times Online is a must-read to understand the future of the African continent. Here is the crux:

On a continent where some remote villages still communicate by beating drums, cellphones are a technological revolution akin to television in the 1940’s in the United States.

It is wonderful timing for the wireless world to be engaging Africa right now. Cell phones are about to explode with more than voice content. Soon African kids with phones in their hands will be able to get the knowledge that they have never had access to in their schools (if they had schools).

Online At The Academic Library


Posted on 25th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

An article here in the Christian Science Monitor is titled “Academic libraries empty stacks for online centers.” How will kids who grew up with the internet study at college? Online at the library is a major part of the picture, as described in the article. Thanks to Edutopia News

Franklin And Friends


Posted on 24th August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

Benjamin Franklin friends
The biographical exhibit here by the Smithsonian describes the scientific correspondents of the great American thinker Benjamin Franklin. Return to a time when the word “scientist” had not yet been coined and these like-minded men shared their interest in experiment and study of what later were to develop as the sciences. Biography

Radiation Reassessed


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

radiation hazard
The article posted here on August 11th by TheWHYfiles updates radiation dangers into the 21st century. The reassessment marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the atomic bomb—which introduced the still lurking dangers of radiation to human life and health. Concerns today include “dirty bombs,” nuclear waste, nuclear power, depleted weapons and radiation diagnostic methods. Dig into the articles here by clicking the page numbers at the bottom. Health

The New York Times Fails To Connect


Posted on 23rd August 2005 by Judy Breck in Open Content

brain in the gut
It is a pity that the New York Times keeps content for learning like this article today open for free for just a few days. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the Times story often has clues to true open content for the subject of its article. For today’s article a google search for “enteric nervous system” yielded both a scientific explanation here and a student-aimed article here for the brain in the gut. The scientist who wrote the first article I found is mentioned in the Times story but there is no link there pointing to his online work. Instead the Times mentions that he has written a book called The Second Brain.
I think the gray lady that is the New York Times is losing its way in the 21st century because it misses the chance to be 1) a major source of learning content if it would leave the stuff open, and 2) fails to connect to related open content for what it reports.

Geography Of Africa


Posted on 22nd August 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

Africa geography
Increasingly, articles from like this one are rising to the top tier of google and other searches. The authority and quality of the Wikipedia article on the Geography of Africa are both excellent. The article is also richly linked to related articles and web links. It seems likely that the future of open learning resources on the web will be something along the lines of the shared input we call a wiki.

OPEN Content Is King


Posted on 22nd August 2005 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

A New York Times story here relates the “unexpected” shrinking of the educational software industry. The reality comes down to this simple fact: the internet has made for-profit learning packaging obsolete. Why on earth pay to get to go looking for Carmen Diego (who only has a few 2-dimensional places to be) when you can go anywhere on earth to find anything you want to learn — FOR FREE. The free and open content is also king because it is fresher and richer than anything prepackaged in our connected world.

Although the writer skews the persepective a bit to games instead of the knowledge the games and other learning sites offer, this paragraph from the NY Times article cited above is the key to where the billions went that were expected to be made on educational software:

What happened was an explosion of new, often free technologies competing to entertain and teach children. Young children have long been a primary audience for computer learning games. But with free games and learning sites now available all over the Internet, parents are finding that they do not need to buy software that can teach the A B C’s. And the spread of broadband connections has made playing online games far easier.