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What's the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing? | Public Knowledge

3D printing provides an opportunity to change the way we think about the world around us. [1] It merges the physical and the digital. People on opposite sides of the globe can collaborate on designing an object and print out identical prototypes every step of the way. Instead of purchasing one of a million identical objects built in a faraway factory, users can customize pre-designed objects and print them out at home. Just as computers have allowed us to become makers of movies, writers of articles, and creators of music, 3D printers allow everyone to become creators of things.

 

3D printing also provides an opportunity to reexamine the way we think about intellectual property. The direct connection that many people make between "digital" and "copyright" is largely the result of a historical accident. The kinds of things that were easiest to create and distribute with computers – movies, music, articles, photos – also happened to be the types of things that were protected by copyright. Furthermore, it happened to be that the way computers distribute things – by copying – was exactly the behavior that copyright regulated. As a result, copyright became an easy way to (at least attempt to) control what people were doing with computers.

 

That connection between copyright and digital begins to break down as one moves away from movies, music, articles, and photos, and towards gears, cases, robots, and helicopters. As the connection frays, it serves as a reminder that not everything – not even every digital thing – is protected by copyright. In fact, most (but by no means all) physical objects are not protected by any type of intellectual property right. That means that anyone is free to copy, improve, distribute, or incorporate those objects as they see fit.

 

This freedom is not a new development, nor is it a loophole. 3D printers do not take away intellectual property rights any more than computers grant them. But they do provide an opportunity for people to reexamine old assumptions about how the system works.

 

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LA School District's iPad Farce Reaches Nadir As Officials Demand Refunds From Apple, Answer Questions From The SEC | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

LA School District's iPad Farce Reaches Nadir As Officials Demand Refunds From Apple, Answer Questions From The SEC | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Los Angeles school district's headfirst leap into technological waters has turned into the ultimate cautionary tale. Rather than ensure everything was up to spec, the district chose to distribute 90,000 iPads bundled with Pearson software and hand them over to its students… who cracked the minimal built-in protections within a week and turned the devices into something they wanted to use, rather than something they had to use.

Why the full-on dive? Well, it appears at least part of it may have been motivated by low-level corruption -- the sort of thing you'd expect to be present in a $500 million project, one that ballooned to $1.3 billion, even as most students went without new iPads or laptops. (Only 91,000 of the 650,000 iPads had been purchased by the point the program was shut down.)

Now, the district is facing an inquiry by the SEC -- to go with its ongoing investigation by the FBI for some pre-contractual irregularities (i.e., wining and dining with eventual contract winners Apple and Pearson) by the then-superintendent overseeing the program.


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Supporters worry N.D. schools could miss out on millions in donations if foundation bill dies | Mike Nowatzki | INFORUM

Supporters worry N.D. schools could miss out on millions in donations if foundation bill dies |  Mike Nowatzki | INFORUM | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Officials from two of nation's biggest oil and gas companies are urging North Dakota House lawmakers to approve legislation setting up a foundation to handle private donations for education-related purposes, after it received an unfavorable vote in committee.


Among those pushing for passage of the bill is Steve McNally, general manager of North Dakota operations for Hess Corp., which donated $25 million to the state in 2011 to start a college and career readiness program called Succeed 2020.


State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the Department of Public Instruction had no mechanism in place to handle that donation, so the state had to hire a consultant — Durham, N.C.-based FHI 360 — to act as a third-party administrator of the money.


Senate Bill 2088 would give Baesler the authority to set up a North Dakota Education Foundation that would pursue tax-deductible private donations and distribute the money as grants to the state's eight regional education associations for the benefit of K-12 public and private schools.


"There's just a tremendous interest from business and industry because we're a vibrant state and they're looking to partner with our education system," she said.


But Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said there's concern about private donors trying to use money to drive the direction of classroom curriculum, as opposed to having the Legislature set education policy.


Bill opponents also see a potential conflict of interest in having an elected official create a foundation that would ask for and receive donations, Delzer said. The committee voted 14-7 on April 10 to give the bill a do-not-pass recommendation.


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Sir Ken Robinson has a lot to say about US school reform (it isn't good)) | Valerie Strauss | WashPost.com

Sir Ken Robinson has a lot to say about US school reform (it isn't good)) | Valerie Strauss | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The previous post is an excerpt from a new book by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica, titled “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Changing Education.” Changing education is what Robinson has been all about for some years, as a professor, author, and adviser to governments and numerous nonprofit organizations around the world.


From 1985 to 1988, he was the director of an initiative to develop arts education in England and Wales that involved a few thousand teachers and artists. He served as the head of a national youth arts development agency in the United Kingdom called Artswork.


Robinson was a professor of education at the University of Warwick for a dozen years, and in 1998, he was appointed by the British government to lead a commission to examine creativity and education. He has written several books on creativity and learning, and in 2003, Queen Elizabeth II of England knighted him for his life’s work.


Robinson became famous worldwide in 2006 with his Ted Talk “How Schools Kill Creativity,” which now has more than 32 million page views on the TED Web site, with millions more views on YouTube videos of the same talk.


His life’s work has been based on the belief that schools can and should nurture creativity in kids through instruction that is personalized and customized for the communities where students live. I talked to Robinson (who, incidentally, is very funny) about his book and his views of U.S. education reform. Here are excerpts of that conversation:


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Students still trust the trusty hard-copy yearbook | Kevyn Burger | Minneapolis Star Tribune

Students still trust the trusty hard-copy yearbook |  Kevyn Burger | Minneapolis Star Tribune | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

For a high school senior, Ahnika Kroll spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about the future — and not just her own.


The 17-year-old is trying to figure out what she and her peers will want to remember about their high school years.


Kroll, a student yearbook staffer at Stillwater Area High School, already is convinced of one thing: Those memories should be contained in a hardcover book.


“People will likely forget what happened in their day-to-day life, but they’ll get out their yearbook to remind them how it was,” she said.


For decades, the high school yearbook served as a repository of postage-stamp-sized school pictures, posed group photos of the cheerleading squad and mug shots of teachers. But unlike other print products that have seen their influence diminish, yearbooks are holding strong. In fact, changes in technology, approach and attitude have enabled them to document school life in a more dynamic and diverse way.


Laurie Hansen, adviser for the Stillwater yearbook for 25 years, has watched the evolution.


Instead of shooting the expected group photo of the school’s National Honor Society, “we covered their blood drive and showed them setting it up and donating,” she said. “That tells a better story.”


Hansen, who also teaches yearbook workshops, arms her student staffers with digital cameras and assigns them to roam the halls and attend school events, looking for candid moments.


“We don’t want to stage pictures — we want to capture moments no one can predict,” said Kroll, who covered Ugly Sweater Day, the robotics team and a room-decorating contest between teachers in addition to the school musical.


“One day I had the camera in my chemistry class and I got a super-awesome picture of a guy playing with dry ice in an experiment,” she said. “It pops on a page about academics.”


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25 years in orbit: A celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

25 years in orbit: A celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

April 24 will mark a significant milestone in the life of one of mankind's greatest scientific instruments – the 25-year anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. This bus-sized piece of scientific equipment has become a household name, thanks to the incredible scientific insights and iconic images it has returned over the course of a quarter-century in low-Earth orbit. Join us as we celebrate the history and achievements of NASA's flagship space telescope.

Calls for the development of what would later become the Hubble Space Telescope began to be heard soon after the end of World War II, as renowned theoretical physicist and astronomer Lyman Spitzer espoused the virtues of an orbital telescope in his paper Astronomical Advantages of an Extra-Terrestrial Observatory. Spitzer argued that a space telescope would be free to gaze into the heavens without suffering the detrimental effects of Earth's atmosphere – a protective shell of gases made up predominantly of nitrogen and oxygen, which distorts or even blocks the light emitted or reflected by distant celestial objects.

The road to designing and ultimately constructing Hubble was anything but smooth. Gizmag caught up with Matthew D. Lallo, lead of the Telescopes Group at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), to discuss the mission's early development. The institute, of which Lallo has been a part since before the launch of Hubble, is responsible – along with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center – for administering and maintaining the telescope while in orbit.


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ULA Vulcan launcher will return to Earth by helicopter | David Szondy | GizMag.com

ULA Vulcan launcher will return to Earth by helicopter | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) has entered the reusable launcher race with its Next Generation Launch System (NGLS), also known as the Vulcan rocket. This replacement for the current generation of launch systems will incorporate a rocket engine assembly that jettisons from the first stage and is snared in mid-air by a helicopter after reentering the Earth's atmosphere.

Unveiled at the 31st Space Symposium, the Vulcan was named by popular vote last month that garnered one million entries. According to ULA, the new launch system will be able to deliver payloads to low-Earth orbit and deep space at reduced cost.

At the heart of the Vulcan is ULA's Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) initiative. Unlike the SpaceX Falcon 9, which is designed to fly back to the launch site, the SMART initiative involves developing an engine assembly that reuses the booster main engines. The assembly uses twin BE-4 engines burning methane and liquid oxygen, producing 1.1 million lb of thrust. The BE-4 was developed by Blue Origin, which is providing the engines to ULA in a partnership to replace the Russian-made RD-180.


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Seeds of Change: The Value of School Gardens in Education and Community Health | Christine Tran | KCET.org

Seeds of Change: The Value of School Gardens in Education and Community Health | Christine Tran | KCET.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Today in El Monte and South El Monte, you can find a number of Asian supermarkets with signs that tri-lingually display the words: supermarket, siêu thị, and supermercado. This wasn't the case thirty years ago. When my family first arrived to the San Gabriel Valley as refugees, they couldn't find particular foods in the supermarket. So we grew them -- lemongrass, herbs, and other hard-to-find vegetables. Gardening was and still is a norm for my Vietnamese family. One vegetable grown in our yard was bắc hà, known as (and looks like) a "giant elephant ear." My dad uses it to cook canh chua (sour soup), a popular Vietnamese meal made of catfish, pineapple, and tomatoes, all simmered in tamarind-flavored broth.

At school, I got to experience gardening activities too. Though these activities were not frequent, they were memorable. In Mr. Marquez's 5th grade science class at Dean L. Shively Middle School, we germinated lima beans by placing seeds between wet paper towels and put them in ziplock bags, then transferred them into disposable cups. In Ms. L'Allemand's biology class at South El Monte High School, we had a garden where I was given a plot to measure, plant, and grow two items. I chose peas and carrots. Students were asked to document plant growth and when our vegetables were ready for harvesting, we concluded the unit by having a garden eating party.

Gardening at school and at home can provide young people with learning opportunities, lasting skills, and positive, memorable experiences. But perhaps most importantly, gardening can help foster healthy lifestyles and encourage healthy eating with more nutritious foods -- something that communities like South El Monte and El Monte urgently need.


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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 20, 7:17 PM

John Dewey might have argued teachers and students can link science, math, English, etc. to this kind of project-based learning. The curricula comes alive.

 

@ivon_ehd1

sian davies's curator insight, April 21, 1:46 AM

Hands on approach to teaching allows students to stay motivated and intrinsically motivated 

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UL-Lafayette students on hunt for remains of early Acadiana settlers | Seth Dickerson | The Advocate

UL-Lafayette students on hunt for remains of early Acadiana settlers | Seth Dickerson | The Advocate | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Researchers with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Acadia Project may have gotten one step closer to finding the remains of Beausoleil Broussard and the progenitors of Cajun culture.

During the winter, students involved in the project discovered a cemetery along the bank of Bayou Teche that they believe has potential historical significance.

They outlined their findings during a presentation at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Acadian Cultural Center on Saturday.

Working under the guidance of UL-Lafayette anthropology professor Mark Rees, the students spent their winter break searching the original plot of the house of Broussard’s son, Amand. The house has since been moved to Vermilionville.

Christian Sheumaker, a senior anthropology student, said the team is looking for the three original campgrounds where Beausoleil Broussard and his people settled.


The team of 20 students who took part in the winter expedition searched a stretch of the Bayou Teche in Loreauville, looking for signs or remnants of campsites set up by Beausoleil Broussard and the first settlers.


They used technology such as magnetometers — much like sophisticated metal detectors — to survey the ground without physically digging. When the magnetometers would go off, the team would dig.


After surveying the area, Sheumaker said the team found stonewear like pots and pearlwear, but nothing that could be linked to Beausoleil Broussard.


The New Acadia Project is a long-term project encompassing archaeology, public history and cultural resource management planning.


In 1765, Beausoleil Broussard led a group of 193 Acadians from their home in, Acadiana, now Nova Scotia, to New Orleans. The colonial government in Louisiana allowed the Acadian families to settle on the Teche Ridge along the Bayou Teche, in Attakapa territory.


Thirty-four of the original group died between the summer and winter of 1765, including Beausoleil Broussard. Rees and his group suspect yellow fever as the cause of those deaths.


The Acadian camps and gravesites are believed to be located on the Teche Ridge, between St. Martinville and New Iberia, near Loreauville.


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Why livestreaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope will be a huge boon for cops | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Why livestreaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope will be a huge boon for cops | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When a building in New York recently caught fire and partially collapsed, injuring 30, many people's first instinct was to turn to social media. On Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming video app, users could watch in real time as first-responders arrived on the scene and closed down the street.

It's easy to see why services like Periscope — and its slightly older rival, Meerkat — are taking off. They let us experience viscerally — and anonymously — what's happening to other people as though we're behind the camera ourselves. The last generation of social media could only hint at that kind of engagement through short snippets of text and pretty pictures.

But as empowering as these apps are, expect them to grant even greater capabilities to law enforcement — who, through watching live videos of people screwing up, will gain an unprecedented ability to catch criminals in the act and gather embarrassing evidence of wrongdoing.

"There'll be thieves showing off their goods" on these services, said Stephen Balkam, president of the Family Online Safety Institute. "That's as stupid as it gets."

If you think that's far-fetched, you clearly haven't been introduced to the wealth of crazy that's already pervasive on Periscope and Meerkat. Vice has an exhaustive rundown of users broadcasting themselves smoking pot, driving cars and showing skin (or promising to do so). One recent stream I watched was simply pointed at the TV, where an episode of "Family Guy" appeared to be playing.

Many of these behaviors might be considered illegal in some jurisdictions. Unless you're in Colorado, Alaska, the nation's capital or a couple other places, it's still against the law to use marijuana. Rebroadcasting a TV show you're watching? That's not much different from walking into a movie theater with Google Glass, a decision that can get you thrown out — or worse.


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Testing Chaos in Seattle, WA | Diane Ravitch Blog

Testing Chaos in Seattle, WA | Diane Ravitch Blog | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Jesse Hagopian, Seattle teacher leader, reports on the chaos that accompanied the introduction of the Smarter Balanced assessment in Seattle.

“Before the testing season began, educators in Seattle knew that because of the lack of proper preparations, IT support, technological upgrades, and training – and due to the outlandish number of tests administered this year – testing pandemonium would ensue.”

Their expectations proved correct.

” We heard many stories about SBAC testing that are common to high-stakes, standardized tests: the tests dramatically disrupted the educational process, deprived students of hours of instructional time, reduced stressed out students to tears, and monopolized the computer labs and libraries in service of test administration for weeks at a time.”

One teacher reported:


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The original mixtape? Conjoined piano rolls | Alyssa Hislop | Stanford University Libraries

The original mixtape? Conjoined piano rolls | Alyssa Hislop | Stanford University Libraries | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Compilations of musical works usually evoke images of audio cassettes, burned CDs, or playlists, but here at the Archive of Recorded Sound we’ve been uncovering compilations of a different flavor: conjoined piano rolls.

Since piano rolls use thin paper, it’s easy to cut them apart then adhere them to a roll that’s already attached to a core. As a result the piano roll as a whole has a longer runtime. Listeners can hear pieces back-to-back, without needing to re-roll, remove, and replace the roll in the player piano’s mechanism. This could be perfect for dinner parties, where the host would like some background music, but doesn’t want to have to constantly switch out the rolls. Of course, the conjoined rolls must be the same size and from the same manufacturer in order to work.

Several Welte-Mignon rolls in the Player Piano Project’s Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls are conjoined. Denis Condon conjoined these rolls himself, which sets them apart from the rolls in the collection which are published compilations. I catalog each roll individually, but make notes in the library catalog about their previously conjoined status. After cataloging, these conjoined rolls go to the Stanford University Libraries Preservation Department to be separated and restored to their original setting as individually published rolls.


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Mike Clare's curator insight, April 22, 9:46 AM

As we look at change and continuity, this is fun.

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Google Says It Won't Abandon Glass, Classroom Use Continues | Kristin Decarr | Education News

Google Says It Won't Abandon Glass, Classroom Use Continues | Kristin Decarr | Education News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt has announced that the company is not giving up on its Google Glass eyewear that comes with the capability to connect to the Internet – an invention with education implications – arguing that the technology is too important.

Google had recently stopped selling the first version of its Glass and even shut down its Explorer program earlier this year. The project has been moved out of its Google X lab and into a standalone unit, causing some to wonder whether the company would end the project all together. However, Schmidt reported that project leader Tony Fadell has been asked “to make it ready for users.”

“It is a big and very fundamental platform for Google,” Schmidt said. “We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true. Google is about taking risks and there’s nothing about adjusting Glass that suggests we’re ending it.”

Alistair Barr writes in The Wall Street Journal that the product had been criticized as an invasion of privacy, as it allows the wearer to take photos and record videos without those around them knowing. A number of jokes began concerning the first wearers of the technology, sparking the use of the term, “glassholes.”

The technology is being used by a number of lecturers at the University of Glasgow who are taking part in one of the largest ever trials of Google Glass in UK higher education. A number of academics have discovered that wearing the technology has actually broken down a barrier between teachers and students.


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The Second Amendment doesn't say what you think it does | Hannah Levintova | Mother Jones

The Second Amendment doesn't say what you think it does | Hannah Levintova | Mother Jones | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Less than a month after the December 2012 Newtown massacre, the National Rifle Association's then-president, David Keene, warned that the new White House task force on gun violence would "do everything they can to strip Americans of their right to keep and bear arms, to essentially make the Second Amendment meaningless." Three weeks ago, after a killer shot three people and wounded eight near Santa Barbara, California, conservative activist "Joe the Plumber" posted an open letter to the victims' families. "Your dead kids," he wrote, "don't trump my Constitutional rights."*


As America grapples with a relentless tide of gun violence, pro-gun activists have come to rely on the Second Amendment as their trusty shield when faced with mass-shooting-induced criticism. In their interpretation, the amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms—a reading that was upheld by the Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling in District of Columbia. v. Heller.


Yet most judges and scholars who debated the clause's awkwardly worded and oddly punctuated 27 words in the decades before Heller almost always arrived at the opposite conclusion, finding that the amendment protects gun ownership for purposes of military duty and collective security. It was drafted, after all, in the first years of post-colonial America, an era of scrappy citizen militias where the idea of a standing army—like that of the just-expelled British—evoked deep mistrust.

In his new book, The Second Amendment: A Biography, Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, digs into this discrepancy. What does the Second Amendment mean today, and what has it meant over time? He traces the history of the contentious clause and the legal reasoning behind it, from the Constitutional Convention to modern courtrooms.


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How Obama wants to help America's poorest kids, and why even more is needed | Lydia DePillis | WashPost.com

How Obama wants to help America's poorest kids, and why even more is needed | Lydia DePillis | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last year, we described an alarming divergence in America's poverty landscape having to do with kids: While the child poverty rate had ticked down over the past few years in urban areas, it had actually increased in rural areas. That rural poverty rate has been rising for more than a decade, and in 2012 it stood at 17.7 percent, back where it was in 1972.


As it turns out, the White House had taken note. It announced this week that it has scraped together some resources to address the problem. The package of programs and proposals aims to inject money into new approaches to see whether they work and draw public attention to an issue that has almost vanished from view as the population has shifted to metropolitan areas.


“What struck me was that if you’re looking at high incidences of child poverty, it is primarily rural in nature,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department will administer much of the plan. "I assumed that if it surprised me, it would surprise a lot of people. When we think of poverty, a lot of us think of it in terms of inner-city poverty, because that’s been the face of it for many, many years.”


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Major Study Finds No Link Between Feared Vaccine and Autism | Techdirt

Major Study Finds No Link Between Feared Vaccine and Autism | Techdirt | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A major study published in one of the world’s leading medical journals has concluded that there is no link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination and autism in children.


The Guardian reports:


The findings from the study of a cohort of around 95,000 children will not surprise most scientists, who have been reassuring parents of the jab’s safety for 17 years, since the publication of now discredited research by the gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield.


But the belief that autism and vaccinations are linked continues to cause many parents to decide against having their children immunised. As a result there have been avoidable measles outbreaks, including one in the US last year, which began in Disneyland in California in December and led to school closures and quarantine measures. In all, 159 children were diagnosed with measles across 18 states. The repercussions continue, as US doctors attempt to bring in legislation to prevent parents opting out of vaccination for their children on the grounds of “personal belief”, while activists accuse scientists of being in the pockets of drug companies.


The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama). It sought to find out whether children who had older siblings with autism and therefore were at higher risk than most, were more likely to develop an autistic spectrum disorder themselves after having the MMR jab. They found no association between the jab and autism, even among the high-risk children, and regardless of whether they had just the first shot, under the age of two, or the booster as well at around the age of five. 


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If Privatizing Education Aggravates Inequality, Why Does the World Bank Support It?

If Privatizing Education Aggravates Inequality, Why Does the World Bank Support It? | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Fifteen years after the international community committed itself to bringing primary education to every boy and girl, 58 million children still lack access to schools, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.


“Millions more fail to graduate, or fail to learn what they need to participate in society meaningfully,” adds Kishore Singh at The Guardian, in an article titled “Education is a basic human right – which is why private schools must be resisted.”


Singh writes:


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Hubble and VLT team up to reveal giant galaxies shutting down from the inside out | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

Hubble and VLT team up to reveal giant galaxies shutting down from the inside out | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Astronomers have used the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in conjunction with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to reveal how star formation shut down in distant galaxies just three billion years after the Big Bang. Focusing on huge, quiescent elliptical galaxies known as spheroids, the findings are expected to improve our understanding of the evolution of the Universe.

The study focused on 22 distant galaxies with a mass around 10 times that of the Milky Way, and with a density of stars in their central regions around 10 times that observed in our home galaxy. Astronomers often refer to the galaxies as being "red and dead" thanks to their lack of bright, young stars and abundance of ancient red stars.

All of the observed spheroid galaxies are from an era some three billion years after the Big Bang, with the estimated ages of the red stars indicating that their host galaxies ceased to produce new stars some 10 billion years ago. The observed shutdown of star formation took place at a time when many galaxies were giving birth to stars at a pace twenty times that of current rates.


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Lasers could be used to zap orbital debris | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com

Lasers could be used to zap orbital debris | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such as gas clouds, nets and sails for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. That's why an international group of scientists is developing a system that could shoot those bits down with a laser.

The space-based system would consist of two main components: a super-wide field-of-view telescope developed by the EUSO team at Japan's Riken research institute, and a highly-efficient fiber optic-based laser.

The telescope was originally developed to detect ultraviolet light emitted produced by ultra-high-energy cosmic rays entering the Earth's atmosphere at night. EUSO's Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, who is leading the project, realized that it could also be adapted to detect high-velocity debris fragments at twilight.

Once a piece was spotted and located, the system would instruct the laser to focus intense pulses of light onto it. In a process known as plasma ablation, this would cause the one side of the object to heat up and turn to plasma. As the plasma plumed off to that side, it would create thrust, sending the debris down to burn up in the atmosphere.


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Rocks reveal secret of Moon's formation | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Rocks reveal secret of Moon's formation | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

There are a number of ideas about where the Moon came from, but, based on orbital mechanics, the accepted theory is that about 150 million years after the Solar System formed some 4.6 billion years ago, the primordial Earth was struck by an object the size of Mars called Theia. Out of the debris of this massive impact, the Moon was formed.

This theory fit most of the facts, but not all of them. In particular, it didn't fit with the composition of isotopes found on the Earth and Moon. Isotopes are a very useful for finding where things come from because their ratios are pretty much set at an object's place of origin like a nuclear bar code. By proper measurement, scientists can tell everything from whether a meteor came from Mars to which farm a chicken was raised on. Unfortunately, the Moon turned out to be a bit of a poser.

If the Moon was created by Theia striking the Earth, then the the isotope ratios of the Earth and Moon should be very different, but they're not. They're similar – too similar to have a separate origin.

Scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) have shed light on this mystery by analyzing the isotopic “fingerprints” of rock samples brought back by the Apollo 16 mission in 1972 – in particular, by measuring the isotopes of tungsten present and comparing them with those on Earth.


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Saving What’s Left of Utah’s Lost World | David Roberts Opinion | NYTimes.com

Saving What’s Left of Utah’s Lost World | David Roberts Opinion | NYTimes.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cedar Mesa is one of the most sublime and culturally evocative landscapes on Earth. Since 1987, I’ve made more than 60 trips to that outback in southeastern Utah, hiking, camping and backpacking on forays lasting as long as 10 days. Nowhere else in the Southwest can you find unrestored ruins and artifacts left in situ in such prodigal abundance. And though roughly 75,000 enthusiasts visit Cedar Mesa each year, that’s a drop in the bucket compared with the four and a half million who throng the Grand Canyon. By wending my way into the more obscure corners of the labyrinth, I’ve gone days in a row without running into another hiker, and I’ve visited sites that I’m pretty sure very few or even no other Anglos have seen.

Hiking through such slick-rock gorges as Grand Gulch, Fish, Owl and Slickhorn Canyons would immerse the wanderer in breathtaking scenery in its own right, even if those places were devoid of prehistoric human presence. But to stand beneath the dwellings, kivas and granaries of the Ancestral Puebloans, as well as the hogans in which Navajos once lived, and to stare at hallucinatory panels of rock art engraved and painted on the cliffs as long as thousands of years ago, is to plunge into a spiritual communion with the ancients, even if the meanings of those sites and panels lie in the limbo of the lost.

What’s still there may soon be lost, as well. Cedar Mesa embraces tens of thousands of archaeological sites that chronicle a 13,000-year history, from Paleo-Indian times until the late 19th century. Administered by the woefully understaffed federal Bureau of Land Management, the mesa is hammered every year by rampant looting that a small number of rangers are powerless to stop. The plateau and canyons remain, in the words of Josh Ewing, executive director of the group Friends of Cedar Mesa, “undoubtedly the most significant unprotected archaeological area in the United States.”

More ominously, perhaps, the Utah State Legislature has its eye on the roughly 500,000 acres of pinyon and juniper forests and its twisting sandstone canyons.

Last month, Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, signed a resolution passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature opposing additional protections for Cedar Mesa and another area, the equally pristine San Rafael Swell, and asserting that livestock grazing and energy and mineral extraction could be done in a way that would preserve the area’s “scenic and recreational values.” Before it was amended, the measure had declared livestock grazing and “environmentally sensitive energy and mineral development” as the “highest and best use” for those two areas.


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California's multi-million dollar online education flop is another blow for MOOCs | Ryan Derousseau | The Hechinger Report

California's multi-million dollar online education flop is another blow for MOOCs | Ryan Derousseau | The Hechinger Report | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

“Reinvent.”


That was the giddy catchword of a plan by the University of California to create an all-digital “campus” that would revolutionize higher education by providing courses online for students shut out of the system’s brick-and-mortar classrooms at a time of high demand but falling budgets.


Three years later, the Online Instruction Pilot Project has become another expensive example of the ineffectiveness—so far, anyway—of once-vaunted plans to widen access to college degrees by making them available online, including in massive online open courses, known as MOOCs.


“We spent a lot of money and got extremely little in return,” said Jose Wudka, a physics professor at UC-Riverside who previously chaired the Systemwide Committee on Educational Policy of the Academic Senate, which represents faculty in the UC System.


The project, which cost $7 million to set up at a time when the state was cutting higher-education funding, aspired to let students take courses across campuses. A UCLA student, for example, would be able to take a UC-Irvine class online.


To make the program self-sustaining, non-UC students were allowed to enroll, too—for $1,000 to $2,000 per course—and to earn academic credit.


But from the spring of 2012 through last spring, only 250 non-UC students finished a class. By then, the system had pretty much abandoned the idea of making money by targeting non-UC students—though a few classes remain available—and focused on letting UC students enroll in courses on other campuses that they couldn’t get into on their own.

The name changed, too, to the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative.

It’s another blow for a movement that promised to offer classes to thousands of students worldwide through MOOCs, which research shows have so far had extraordinarily high dropout rates and have generally cost universities more than they’ve brought in.

“There is no business model for MOOCs that makes sense,” said I. Elaine Allen, a professor at Babson College and co-director of its Babson Survey Research Group, which tracks online education. “They have not been shown to bring more students to a school, and they have incredible attrition.”


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NASA Says Nobody's Getting to Mars Without Its Help | Maddie Stone | Gizmodo.com

NASA Says Nobody's Getting to Mars Without Its Help | Maddie Stone | Gizmodo.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

NASA really wants humans make it to Mars, and it also really wants to be the one that gets us there. In fact, NASA administrator Charles Bolden went so far as to say that “No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars.”

Bolden made the blunt statement on Thursday morning when speaking to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, in response to a suggestion that the government agency could be entering a new space race to get to Mars with the likes of commercial spaceflight company SpaceX.

“Our ultimate focus is the journey to Mars and everything comes back to that,” Bolden told lawmakers.

NASA’s official goal is to get astronauts to Mars by the 2030s. Of course, the private company Mars One has grandstanded about setting up a Martian colony nearly a decade sooner. But the Mars One hype bubble started to burst last fall, when an independent analysis conducted by MIT researchers identified life-threatening flaws in company’s mission design. More recently, a Mars One finalist spoke out about the company’s wildly sketchy approach to funding, leading many to question whether or not the entire operation is, in fact, anything more than a scam.

Not only does Bolden find the notion of Elon Musk getting boots on Mars first preposterous, he maintains that the ultimate focus of many recent NASA initiatives, including the recently-announced Asteroid Redirect Mission, is to serve as a testing ground for technologies that will, eventually, put a colony on the red planet.

“Mars is the planet that is most like earth,” Bolden said, “And it will sustain life when humans [NASA-trained astronauts] get there in the 2030s.”


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State Attorneys General Call on Feds to Forgive Fraudulent Student Loans | Jon Queally | BillMoyers.com

State Attorneys General Call on Feds to Forgive Fraudulent Student Loans | Jon Queally | BillMoyers.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In a letter sent Thursday to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the attorneys general from nine states urged the Obama administration to offer immediate federal loan forgiveness to the many thousands of students who enrolled at various for-profit schools owned by Corinthian Colleges Inc.

Corinthian, based in California, is currently under investigation in numerous states for fraudulent loan practices and has also faced a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which accused the company of illegally targeting potential students with predatory lending schemes that it knew they likely could not afford.

“Our greatest concern comes from certain large, predatory for-­profit schools that are actively undermining our federal loan programs, depriving students of the education they promise and that the students deserve. These institutions seem to exist largely to capture federal loan dollars and aggressively market their programs to veterans and low-­income Americans,” the letter (pdf) stated. It was signed by the leading prosecutors from Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington state.

Though Corinthian is not the only school accused of such practices, it has come to epitomize the worst habits of the for-profit, higher-education industry.


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Leonard Bremner's curator insight, April 21, 7:22 AM

Who said Pirites and profiterring was dead this is a true example of being mugged because you have no other option.

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Crowdsourcing The Human Telescope | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com

Crowdsourcing The Human Telescope | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

One of the most interesting realizations in recent years is that done right, massive, open collaborations are not just an efficient way of working, but they scale in a way that can take us to entirely new levels. A good example -- and perhaps the first project to exploit this fact -- is Linux, which grew from a small bunch of hackers working together across the internet on some bedroom code into a global, distributed project that now dominates every sector of computing bar one (the desktop -- so far.)

The open source methodology has inspired all kinds of cognate projects in different fields, including that of citizen science, which pools the efforts of large numbers of people working with simple tools to produce important results that can be published in academic journals. The best-known example of this is Galaxy Zoo, which asks members of the public to help classify some of the millions of images taken as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, many of them unseen by any human previously.

Adrian Bowyer, the man behind RepRap, an open-source project to construct a 3D printer that is capable of self-replicating -- that is, printing all of its parts -- has written a fascinating blog post about another application of citizen science. It involves hundreds of people taking a picture of the same patch of night-sky with their smartphones, and then uploading the digital image to the website of a BBC program, which coordinated the whole project. As Bowyer explains:


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Could high-speed Internet save Iowa's schools? | Jason Clayworth & Rodney White | The Des Moines Register

Could high-speed Internet save Iowa's schools? | Jason Clayworth & Rodney White | The Des Moines Register | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Administrators of a rural school in far northern Iowa believe technology can temper the pain rising from Iowa's lost schools crisis.

And they took their message to the Capitol this month.

"Everyone is mourning the loss of their schools when, instead, we should focus on the future of education and how to revolutionize education," said John Carver, superintendent of Howard-Winneshiek schools.

Carver and other employees from Howard-Winneshiek advocate that Iowa promote and invest in broadband so that every corner of the state has access to high-speed Internet.

Many Iowa schools are already connected to the Iowa Communications Network, a high-speed fiber optic network run by the state. That's a bright spot for Iowa.

The stumbling block is that homes and businesses in some pockets of the state do not have access to high-speed Internet.

The website Broadbandnow rates Iowa as the 33 most connected state in the nation, but also notes that 20 percent of the state's population remains underserved. More than 500,000 people in Iowa are without access to Internet speeds that are generally considered suitable for interactive video, Broadbandnow estimates.

That means that activities such as instantaneous video conferencing — a key component of online learning — are difficult or impossible for those people.

Such connectivity can help districts expand online learning options.

And there's additional incentive beyond an educational renaissance: It's possible that online schooling could allow districts such options as to conduct "real-time classes" a few days a week. That idea could save taxpayers millions of dollars in transportation and building costs, Carver said.

Carver's district closed an elementary school last year and will close another after this school year due to attendance and financial pressures. Iowa has closed 4,314 school districts since 1950. The time to act is now, he said.


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