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How to think like a child: Letting go of adult inhibitions can free up our creativity and boost our wellbeing” is a great article about how to get people rethinking who and what they are in order to think about how they engage with the world within and around them.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land is from the days when Disney was cool. They even made math cool. When I saw this, it changed my life. I got math. Now if I just keep watching it over and over and over… I’ll remember math.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Rare yellow spider named after David Bowie

A newly-discovered spider has been named after rock star David Bowie, in an effort to raise awareness about the number of arachnid species threatened with extinction.
Bowie was apparently selected for the honour because of his musical contribution to arachnid world – the 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Google Image Search Implements CC License Filtering – Creative Commons
Today, Google officially launched the ability to filter search results using Creative Commons licenses inside their Image Search tool. It is now easy to restrict your Image Search results to find images which have been tagged with our licenses, so that you can find content from across the web that you can share, use, and even modify. Searches are also capable of returning content under other licenses, such as the GNU Free Documentation License, or images that are in the public domain.

To filter by CC search, go to Google’s advanced Image Search page and select the options you’d like in the “Usage rights” section. Your results will be restricted to images marked with CC licenses or other compatibly licensed photos.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Buridan just sent me this link. I’m really interested in the role of informal learning about science. I’m not so interested in Informal Science Education, however. One, IMHO, leads to engagement and internal motivation, and the other is a more temporary and passive external motivational experience. But that’s just my opinion, and I look forward to being proven wrong. Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE)

What can informal science education contribute to efforts to engage publics with science-related issues? That’s the main focus of a report now available on the CAISE website, Many Experts, Many Audiences: Public Engagement with Science and Informal Science Education (PDF, 3MB). The report sums up work over the last year by a CAISE Inquiry Group led by Larry Bell of the Museum of Science, Boston, and Tiffany Lohwater of AAAS. Also contributing were Jane Lehr of TWIST (Theatre Workshop in Science, Technology, & Society, California Polytechnic), Bruce Lewenstein of Cornell University, Cynthia Needham of ICAN Productions, and Ben Wiehe of WGBH, as well as CAISE Co-PI John Falk and CAISE’s former director, Ellen McCallie (now of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh).

The group offers this report as food for thought and discussion. To that end, they will be leading a one-week online discussion starting March 23 in ASTC Connect, the online learning center, cohosted by ASTC and the New York Hall of Science’s TryScience project. The asynchronous discussion will take place in the forum called “Working with Scientists and Volunteers.” To enroll, set up an account on ASTC Connect, at connect.astc.org, and use the keycode “volts” to enroll yourself.

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Bills Would Ban BPA From Food and Drink Containers - washingtonpost.com

The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

Tests have found toxic levels of the chemical in products, including those marked as “microwave safe.”

The amounts detected were at levels that have caused neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals. The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands.

The changes to the mammary glands were identical to those observed in women at higher risk for breast cancer.

Studies have shown that the chemical can cause breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity, low sperm count, miscarriage and a host of other reproductive problems in laboratory animals.

More recent studies using human data have linked BPA to heart disease and diabetes. It has been found to interfere with the effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.

More info on the BBC web site.

And on another related topic… The Mommy Files : High chemical levels in some kids’ shampoos

The CSC tested 48 different name-brand kids’ bath products for 1,4-dioxane; 28 of those items were also tested for formaldehyde. According to the CSC, 61 percent of 28 products tested contained both chemicals. Twenty-three out of 28 contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million. In the broader spectrum test of 48 products, 35 contained 1,4-dioxane with levels up to 35 parts per million.

The Environmental Protection Agency classifies 1,4-dioxane as a probable carcinogen, and the European Union bans the chemical from personal care products at any level and has recalled products that contain the chemical. Several samples of American Girl shower products were found to contain the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane.

The EPA considers formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen; the chemical can also trigger adverse skin reactions in children and adults who are sensitive to the chemical. Formaldehyde is banned from personal care products in Japan and Sweden. Baby Magic Baby Lotion, made by Ascendia Brands, contained the highest levels of formaldehyde found in the tests; two samples had formaldehyde at levels that would trigger warning label requirements in Europe (above 500 ppm or .05 percent).

“When products for babies are labeled ‘gentle’ and ‘pure,’ parents expect that they are just that,” says Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.). “To think that cancer-causing chemicals are contaminating baby shampoos and lotions is horrifying. I intend to soon introduce legislation requiring greater oversight of our cosmetics industry. We need to ensure that the chemicals that are used in our everyday products are safe.”

See the full report.

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THis is cute: Slashdot | US Adults Fail Basic Science Literacy. It leads on to…

Science Literacy - American Adults ‘Flunk’ Basic Science, Says Survey

The good news; U.S. adults do believe that scientific research and education are important. About 4 in 5 adults think science education is “absolutely essential” or “very important” to the U.S. healthcare system (86%), the U.S. global reputation (79%), and the U.S. economy (77%)….

If you’re already confident in your knowledge, here’s what other people do not know:
Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water .(*)
Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

And you know what? The course that I teach that is presently required, will no longer be required for graduates in our program who will work with children. And it seems that there are very few elementary science education courses out there. I’ve had some comments about my course, because I don’t teach science facts. This is one telling point about this article… Who cares how long it takes for the earth to go around the sun.

Ten million tons worth of light hits the earth from the sun every second (facts may be slightly off, as I’m remembering a class I took in 1989). Nice to know. But it doesn’t have much impact on anything.

What would be cooler would be to ask people how they would figure out how long it takes for the earth to go around the sun. I don’t want children, or adults, to know science facts. I love knowing them myself, but that’s just my own personal obsession. No. I want people to BE SCIENTISTS. I want them to do science. I want them to be curious. I want them to experiment. I want them to theorize and test their theories. I want them to co-construct new knowledge about themselves and the world around them. Children do that naturally. And the first thing we do when they get to school is to kill that curiosity and replace it with objectives and standards. One more victory in the institutionalization of lived experience. Le Sigh.

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Slashdot | Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop’s Facebook Status

“A man on trial in New York for possession of a weapon has been acquitted after subpoenaing his arresting officer’s Facebook and MySpace accounts. His defense: Officer Vaughan Ettienne’s MySpace “mood” was set to “devious” on the day of the arrest, and one day a few weeks before the trial, his Facebook status read “Vaughan is watching ‘Training Day’ to brush up on proper police procedure. From the article,’You have your Internet persona, and you have what you actually do on the street,” Officer Ettienne said on Tuesday. “What you say on the Internet is all bravado talk, like what you say in a locker room.” Except that trash talk in locker rooms almost never winds up preserved on a digital server somewhere, available for subpoena.’”

The whole NYT article is even more fun: About New York - A New York Police Officer Who Put Too Much on MySpace - NYTimes.com

I wonder if the cop can be fired for just being thick? I assume that police try and fight the ‘thug with a badge’ stereotype? I cannot imagine they still nurture it. I’m dedicating this post to all my students past, present and future who will have their personal information found, pulled out and presented in public to support or contradict their actions or statements made in a professional forum. It is ok to do and say crazy things… but know it is out there. Everything you do on the net can come back to haunt you. I shudder at the thought of someone putting comments about the children and families and colleagues they work with on their FB or MS accounts.

What brings it all home is: Pope: We should have Googled Holocaust bishop. SEE? Even the pope is saying that your past will be googled.

jason: jason (Default)

Get Your Walk Score - A Walkability Score For Any Address seems neat. Rochelle twittered about this. It would be a great tool that if I ever moved, to find out where would be the best place to live. I’ll add it to my science class next year for sure.

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I follow David’s blog on surveillance to keep up to date on the issues, particularly when I’m teaching my Children and Technology course, where we focus on digital photography and children and protection of children’s information online. I actually thought that people had rights to take pictures in britain.

How many people are being arrested for taking pictures in public in Britain?

I’m seeing more and more local and self-reported stories of ordinary people being harassed and arrested in Britain, for taking photographs in public. Today BoingBoing is reporting on this Manchester man who was arrested because the police thought he might be photographing sewer gratings…. This tends to support the argument that I have been making that several democratic countries, with Britain and Italy at the forefront, are drifting into a kind of ’soft fascism’, a creeping totalitarianism that is presented as reasoned and reasonable. It allows supporters to claim that opponents are being ‘extreme’ and underestimating the ‘real danger’, that all of these measure are ‘for our own good’. Yet we have arrived at a point where even untrained, ill-educated street-level minions of the state can now decide whether wee are allowed to take pictures in public. When people like ex-MI5 chief, Stella Rimington are saying that we are in danger of heading towards a police state, even the cynics, and the ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ crowd, should be taking some notice.

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I’d forgotten about this video, but HowardR twittered it. And here it is. Every students in/of education should watch it, over and over and over. It will be on the exam… the exam of one’s own life.

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Shelly sent me this: Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

ALL my students should be reading this. And people laugh at me when I say that I don’t like sites like FB where you cannot remove your content and take it with you. Content mobility is a right. IMHO. But this just makes it even worserer. If you don’t care about what happens to your content, you probably aren’t old enough to be allowed to run free on the internet.

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This totally rules. My CLD415 students played with marble rollways, and this, of course, takes the cake. I will spam all my students with it.

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I’ve just created a new video blog called Podcasty Bits, full of bits of pod casting that I hope to do this winter for my course. I really hate videos of myself, and don’t like how I look or sound on camera, so I figure that this is a good way to get over that once and for all.

At present there are a few interesting bits, one of me singing “I’m a little tea pot” with Mr Pants, and a video one of my students did last term.

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9. Can You Spell Science? asks:

Think Americans haven’t gotten smarter? Think again. Between 1979 and 2006, the percentage of scientifically literate adults doubled — to 17%. This year, a survey by a professor of political science at the University of Michigan found that that dismal showing may have improved, but only a little. Currently, 25% of the population of the U.S. — the country that invented the airplane and the light bulb and landed men on the moon, remember — qualify as “civic scientifically literate.” In practical terms says the investigator, that means that only one in four adults can read and understand the stories in the weekly science section of The New York Times. And this comes at a time when the U.S. electorate is being asked to grapple with — and reach informed consensus about — such complex questions as global warming and stem cell research.

And I wonder what the rate is for Canadians.

jason: jason (Default)

Check out this video where a guy with wheels all over his body beat a motorcycle in a race down a mountain. Pretty dramatic. Note: the motorcycle has a motor. The guy just has a lot of wheels attached at strategic parts of the body: Video: Human bobsled vs. motorcycle

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Sara Grimes’s blog Gamine Expedition: Game On, Girls! talks about the NPD press report YOUNG GIRLS SAY THEY ARE SPENDING MORE TIME ON ENTERTAINMENT RELATED ACTIVITIES THIS YEAR THAN THEY DID IN 2007 (all caps theirs):

Among their key findings = evidence that girls are spending more time gaming (PC and console) this year than they did in 2007, AND evidence that even older girls are spending more time playing with toys. Very cool!

And talks about Spore for Kids and the Future of Gaming.

I’ve been reading up on Sara’s work ever I saw her speak last week at Greg Elmer’s Infoscape lab

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Slashdot | Japanese Begin Working On Space Elevator

From cyborg housemaids and waterpowered cars to dog translators and rocket boots, Japanese boffins have racked up plenty of near-misses in the quest to turn science fiction into reality. Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier. Japan is increasingly confident that its sprawling academic and industrial base can solve those issues, and has even put the astonishingly low price tag of a trillion yen (£5 billion) on building the elevator. Japan is renowned as a global leader in the precision engineering and high-quality material production without which the idea could never be possible.

And we’re studying pulleys, block and tackle this week in class… :)

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Palin E-Mail Hacker Says It Was Easy | Threat Level from Wired.com has an interesting post that I’ll want to share with my students when my “Children and Technology” course starts up in the winter. We talk about hacking and the protection of children’s information… parents cannot protect their children if their accounts are so hackable.

October 2013

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