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May 24, 2007

Irish children should be taught about blogging and social networking

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James Greenslade, Director of Information, Communication and Technology at Tipperary Institute, has said that Ireland needs to prepare second-level students (11-16s) for the changing face of the Internet, and its impact on communication.

“We teach children how to cross the road, provide sex education classes but the reaction to web based social networks has been to attempt to block them. If you look into any internet cafe across the country, at 4.05pm you’ll see teenagers participating unsupervised and uninformed in web based social networking,” he said.

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May 1, 2007

Superman’s Evil Baby Nemesis Wagging Dogs and Reading Palms

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Good news! These past couple of weeks have seen a resurgence of actual science and interesting science factoids for all the sci-blog watchers out there, the political infighting has thankfully moved into the background where it belongs. Not that political infighting isn’t fun for political junkies to watch and get a giggle out of, but when science bloggers won’t blog about science there’s a real dearth of fun stuff to write about.

As you can probably tell from this installment’s title, there is humor, fear, factoids and stranger-than-comic book discoveries out there to delight the seeker. Starting with stranger-than-comic book discoveries, Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous blog informs us that Scientists have discovered ‘Kryptonite’ !

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April 19, 2007

All Hell Breaks Loose In Sci-Blog Land!

The science blogging community has been inundated over the last week-plus with commentary on the subject of “framing” and whether scientists should be framing things in easy-to-digest sound-bytes for consumption by the general public. It started with an article in Science Magazine by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney, entitled “Framing Science.”

This was followed by an NPR On the Media segment and another article by Nisbet and Mooney in Sunday’s Washington Post titled Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them., and it seems like everyone who is anyone has weighed in on the topic.

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April 3, 2007

The Most Silent Spring, ‘Going Grad’ and Neuronal Equality

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Happy April to one and all! This year it went from freezing all the way to mid-summer 80+ degrees in 12 hours, making me just that much more concerned about global warming. In this science blog round-up I’m going to start out with some positively apocalyptic signs and omens almost as weird as the fact that dogwoods beat azaleas this year for early blooming. Before I get into regular old ‘weird science’ and brain-stuff, that is.

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March 26, 2007

21Classes multi-user blogging application for the classroom

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21Publish, who provide software to allow groups to create their own shared blog platforms, has announced 21Classes, a multi-user blogging application specifically designed for creating classroom blog portals.

Hosted on 21Publish servers, teachers can set up a private blog platform for their students, with features including a class homepage to communicate with students, and independent but interconnected blog accounts.

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March 15, 2007

Sugar: The New Face Of Social Computing?

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Nick Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project is shifting to high gear, as the first batch of beta test units roll out to actual students for feedback and testing. Now officially called the XO (symbolized by the XO man–a circle for a head head on top of the X), the laptop is supposed to have a drastically revamped approach to computing. Rather than use the desktop-based user interface popularized when the GUI came into fashion, the Sugar interface centers on the individual, friends, and the community as starting points. Businessweek featured a story quite recently.

Sugar offers a brand new approach to computing. Ever since the first Apple Macintosh was launched in 1984, the user interfaces of personal computers have been designed based on the same visual metaphor: the desktop. Sugar tosses out all of that like so much tattered baggage. Instead, an icon representing the individual occupies the center of the screen; “zoom” out like a telephoto lens and you see the user in relation to friends, and finally to all of the people in the village who are also on the network.

The XO was designed from ground up to make computing as social as possible. For one, rather than have “applications” that you run to do something, apps are called “activities,” and are meant to be collaborative in nature. So whether it’s a document being edited on the word processor, or a website being viewed on the Web browser, activities can be shared with other people. read more

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March 6, 2007

Silly Science, Head Cheese, and the Hairless Vulpes of Carolina

This edition of science blogging is going to look at some scientific tidbits about brains… and minds, as those seem to come attached to brains. There has been quite a lot on the subjects these past couple of weeks, thus lots of meaty stuff (apologies to those who gag at the thought of head cheese) to learn from.

On the subject of food, Berkeley professor of psychology Seth Roberts offers two blog posts about Brain Food, from the Scientific Blogging site. In Part 1, he talks about omega-3 fatty acids taken as supplements to improve sleep. His sources include walnut oil, flax oil capsules and salmon. His informal research on himself and from reports on nutrition forums indicate increased intake of omega-3s also helps symptoms of mood disorders, and in other studies has shown decreased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Which looks to be a pretty good reason to put omega-3s into one’s diet even if you sleep like a baby!

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March 2, 2007

The Future of Education is in the Blogs

901am’s David Krug’s article, “Educators Flock to Blogging”, maybe a peek into the future of blogging.

One Principal believes blogging is the future of education. And I tend to agree. The ability to quickly assess a students understanding of the course material is huge. And teachers can easily interact with students in the comments section and in the classroom forums. Likewise tools can be create in which to rate, and/or grade posts to help teach students where they need to improve. Built in spelling tools will help students create a solid understanding of grammar and excellence in performance.

Blogging will change the way future generations of students adapt to an ever changing society. Homeschooling will become more prevalent as tools become available to network with other homeschoolers and share classroom materials.

In my opinion, one of the leaders in this “blogs as educational tools” revolution is Edublogs.org, a free blogging service for educators. read more

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February 19, 2007

Real Science Blogging, Endless Love and Morning Sickness

Greetings, intrepid seekers of scientific knowledge and useful trivia! The longest month of the year is more than halfway over, and we are still alive. At least I presume so, since I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it if that were not a reasonable presumption. Thus we’ve much to be thankful for that has nothing to do with how many snowflakes will collapse the roof, or the exact wind chill projection that equals instant frostbite in a 50 mph pre-March breeze…

In case you missed it, there was an entire week (Feb. 4-10) of science blogging called “Science Week” – when an entire stable of science bloggers committed to at least one blog a day actually focused on… Science! read more

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February 12, 2007

Flash is Nice, However Words Get You Found

The recent death of a family member has finally brought together parts of the family long separated for stupid reasons. Among them came a young man fresh out of college wanting a career in web design. His eagerness to impress me, once he found out who I was, was delightful. Together we raced to a nearby computer and his hands shook with excitement as he typed in his new portfolio domain, thrilled to get an expert opinion and review.

Well, all I can say is that it was pretty.
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