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Downton Abbey meets the Flintstones: England’s Abandoned Rock Houses | Messy Nessy

Downton Abbey meets the Flintstones: England’s Abandoned Rock Houses | Messy Nessy | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I don’t watch Downton Abbey, but if it were set inside houses like these, I think I probably would! Welcome to Holy Austin Rock in Staffordshire, England. These medieval cave houses carved from sandstone were abandoned by the last residents in the 1960s, but people were living happily inside them for over three centuries before that, possibly even earlier.

 

The first official records of the Rock Houses appears in an 18th century book with a very long-winded tite, ‘Letters on the Beauties of Hagley, Envil and The Leasowes with critical remarks and Observations on the Modern Taste in Gardening‘ by Joseph Healey. In the book, Joseph gets caught in a thunderstorm when he finds the cave homes and asks to take shelter. He describes the homes as well-furnished,  ”curious, warm and commodious and the garden extremely pretty”.  Joseph also notes that the residents had access to water and were extremely welcoming, and proud of their homes, delighted even to recount the stories of their ancestors who had built them.

 

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Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous | Fareed Zakaria Opinion | WashPost.com

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous | Fareed Zakaria Opinion | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country’s education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills. Every month, it seems, we hear about our children’s bad test scores in math and science – and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities.


From President Obama on down, public officials have cautioned against pursuing degrees like art history, which are seen as expensive luxuries in today’s world. Republicans want to go several steps further and defund these kinds of majors. “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?” asked Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. “I don’t think so.”


America’s last bipartisan cause is this: A liberal education is irrelevant, and technical training is the new path forward. It is the only way, we are told, to ensure that Americans survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition. The stakes could not be higher.

This dismissal of broad-based learning, however, comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future. The United States has led the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate.


A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy.


When unveiling a new edition of the iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”

Innovation is not simply a technical matter but rather one of understanding how people and societies work, what they need and want. America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings.

For most of its history, the United States was unique in offering a well-rounded education. In their comprehensive study, “The Race Between Education and Technology,” Harvard’s Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz point out that in the 19th century, countries like Britain, France and Germany educated only a few and put them through narrow programs designed to impart only the skills crucial to their professions.


America, by contrast, provided mass general education because people were not rooted in specific locations with long-established trades that offered the only paths forward for young men. And the American economy has historically changed so quickly that the nature of work and the requirements for success have tended to shift from one generation to the next. People don’t want to lock themselves into one professional guild or learn one specific skill for life.


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NASA's Opportunity rover completes Martian marathon | David Szondy | GizMag.com

NASA's Opportunity rover completes Martian marathon | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Marathons may be an everyday occurrence for people on Earth, but are a little more noteworthy when you're a little robot on Mars. According to NASA, as of March 16, the Mars Opportunity rover has covered 26.219 mi (42.195 km) in the leisurely time of about 11 years and two months. or 3,968 Martian days. In 2014, Opportunity broke the record of any space rover when it passed the distance covered by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 moon rover, which was launched in 1973.

The Marathon milestone is marked by another event aimed at extending the life of the rover, which is operating 11 years beyond its original mission deadline. However, the robotic explorer has been showing signs of "amnesia" for the past three months due to a faulty flash memory bank that prevented it from storing data overnight, forcing NASA to download from Opportunity each Martian day before sunset.

As of March 20, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California has confirmed that mission control has reformatted the rover's memory so that the damaged one of seven flash memory banks has been bypassed, thereby allowing it to resume normal operations.


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The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online | Open Culture

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online | Open Culture | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Back in January, 2012, we mentioned that the Guggenheim (the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed modern art museum in NYC) had put 65 art catalogues on the web, all free of charge.

We’re happy to report that, between then and now, the number of free texts has grown to 109. Published between 1937 and 1999, the art books/catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, Fernand Léger, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Anyone interested in the history of the Guggenheim will want to spend time with a collection called “The Syllabus.” It contains five books by Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director and curator. Together, they let you take a close look at the art originally housed in the Guggenheim when the museum first opened its doors in 1939.


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Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” | Open Culture

Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” | Open Culture | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A pioneer of “Afrofuturism,” bandleader Sun Ra emerged from a traditional swing scene in Alabama, touring the country in his teens as a member of his high school biology teacher’s big band. While attending Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, he had a out-of-body experience during which he was transported into outer space.


As biographer John Szwed records him saying, “my whole body changed into something else. I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn.” While there, aliens with “little antenna on each ear. A little antenna on each eye” instructed him to drop out of college and speak through his music. And that’s just what he did, changing his name from Herman Blount and never looking back.

Whether you believe that story, whether Sun Ra believes it, or whether his entire persona is a theatrical put-on should make no difference. Because Sun Ra would be a visionary either way.


Combining Afrocentric science fiction, esoteric and occult philosophy, Egyptology, and, with his “Arkestra,” his own brand of free jazz-futurism that has no equal on earth, the man is truly sui generis. In 1971, he served as artist-in-residence at UC Berkeley and offered a spring semester lecture, African-American Studies 198, also known as “Sun Ra 171,” “The Black Man in the Universe,” or “The Black man in the Cosmos.”


The course featured readings from—to name just a few—theosophist Madame Blavatsky, French philosopher Constantin Francois de Chasseboeuf, black American writer and poet Henry Dumas, and “God,” whom the cosmic jazz theorist reportedly listed as the author of The Source Book of Man’s Life and Death (otherwise known as the King James Bible).


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Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Open Culture

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Open Culture | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.” If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs.


You may remember that we featured the site a few years ago, back when it offered 397 whole books free for the reading, including American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885–1915; Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library; and Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the Met has kept adding to their digital trove since then, and, as a result, you can now find there no fewer than 422 art catalogs and other books besides. Those sit alongside the 400,000 free art images the museum put online last year.


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NASA sets asteroid mission, demo technologies | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

NASA sets asteroid mission, demo technologies | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

NASA officials today said they have picked the specific asteroid mission and offered new details for that mission which could launch in the 2020 timeframe.

Specifically, NASA’s associate administrator Robert Lightfoot said the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) will rendezvous with the target asteroid, land a robotic spacecraft on the surface, grab a 4 meter or so sized boulder and begin a six-year journey to redirect the boulder into orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts.

+More on network World: How to protect Earth from asteroid destruction; Quick look: NASA’s ambitious asteroid grabbing mission+

There had been a discussion about grabbing an entire asteroid and bringing it back to Lunar orbit but that proved to be more complicated and costly – about $100 million more than the boulder-grabbing scheme, Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said NASA has so far identified three valid asteroid candidates for the mission: Itokawa, Bennu and 2008 EV5, though it is focusing on the 2008EV 5 asteroid for now. Lightfoot said EV5 has a number of attractive qualities, namely it not been visited by other spacecraft missions, it has been extensively observed, its orbit is well known and it is a carbonaceous asteroid – the most common type of asteroid and contains a number of elements scientists are interested in studying up close.


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DuoPad adds touchscreen-like functionality to existing PCs | Dave LeClair | GizMag.com

DuoPad adds touchscreen-like functionality to existing PCs | Dave LeClair | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

With Windows 8, and continuing into Windows 10, Microsoft has created an OS with a bit more of a touchscreen focus. As a solution, many computer makers are selling laptops and all-in-ones with touchscreens, but what about users who already have a computer? The DuoPad trackpad aims to bring a touchscreen-like feel to PCs in a way that is surprisingly cool.

A standard trackpad would see the user simply moving the mouse pointer around on the screen, but with the DuoPad, the user's hand is captured by a high-resolution IR camera and then an image of it is placed on the screen. From there, users can tap, pinch, swipe, and make other movements that would work on a touchscreen.

Users can adjust the opacity and color of the hand that's shown on the screen, which should allow them to fine-tune the look to meet their needs. They can also darken the outline around the superimposed hand, to make it easier to see when low opacity is selected.


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The NASA Gemini program: 50 years on | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

The NASA Gemini program: 50 years on | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

March 23 marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of Gemini III – the first manned mission of the now-legendary Gemini program. Following hot on the heels of the Mercury missions, and only a short time after President Kennedy's famous speech in which he announced his intent to put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade, Gemini was tasked with testing the technologies and techniques that would lead America to victory in the space race.

Whilst the earlier Mercury program was hailed a success, the Russians (then the Soviet Union), had triumphed by putting the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in space ahead of the Americans. Temporarily defeated, but not beaten, NASA knew that there were other firsts to achieve – the race to the Moon was on, and national pride was at stake like never before.

To lay the groundwork for an eventual Moon landing, a number of key technologies had to be developed and honed. This was the purpose of Gemini. The program had four primary goals – to test the effects of prolonged exposure to space on a team of two astronauts, to successfully execute rendezvous and docking maneuvers with a second spacecraft in orbit, to perfect re-entry and landing, and finally, to assess the physical and psychological effects of weightlessness and confinement on the crews of the Gemini missions.

The program ran from 1962 to 1966, and saw the launch of two initial uncrewed test missions, seven target vehicles, and 10 crewed missions. The total cost for the Gemini program ran to nearly US$1.3 billion in 1967, which paid for the testing of cutting-edge technologies.


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Searching for the origins of life with the James Webb Space Telescope | Dario Broghino | GizMag.com

Searching for the origins of life with the James Webb Space Telescope | Dario Broghino | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Hubble has been a boon to deep space exploration, gifting us iconic pictures of the skies and revealing new insights into the history of the early universe. For the next big step in space astronomy, NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are raising the stakes even higher with one of their most ambitious projects in decades: building the largest space telescope ever ... the James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope, JWST for short, will have seven times the light-collecting capability of Hubble, span the size of a tennis court, and be so sensitive it could spot a single firefly a million kilometers away.

This "absolutely impressive piece of engineering," as NASA administrator Charles Bolden put it, includes technologies that make this spacecraft unlike any other and will allow us to learn about Earth-like exoplanets, help us understand how life began on Earth, and image the cosmos as it was only millions of years after the Big Bang, further back in time than ever before.


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How to Use Evernote to Build Student Digital Portfolios | GDC Team | Global Digital Citizen

How to Use Evernote to Build Student Digital Portfolios | GDC Team | Global Digital Citizen | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Every year, students create awesome projects for school which they and their parents are extremely proud of. Be it a media project, a class presentation, or a musical performance, these are things that any parent would want to cherish and that any student would love to revisit. They are personal documents of growth, and testaments to our kids’ genius.

If only they could bring their best projects with them to a job or college interview, or keep them around to show their own children. Enter student digital portfolios, a way to encapsulate all of the best of your child’s work to share with anyone who might be interested.

We’re going to walk you through getting started with Evernote, and then once you get your feet wet, you can explore other options.


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'Largest ever asteroid impact' found in Australia | BBC News

'Largest ever asteroid impact' found in Australia | BBC News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The surface crater has long since disappeared from central Australia's Warburton Basin but geophysical modelling below the surface found evidence of two massive impacts, said Dr Andrew Glikson, who led the ANU team.

"It would have been curtains for many life species on the planet at the time," said Dr Glikson.

But the team, which published its findings in the geology journal Tectonophysics, has not been able to connect the impact to any known extinction.

"It's a mystery - we can't find an extinction event that matches these collisions," said Dr Glikson. "I have a suspicion the impact could be older than 300 million years."


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Your Face Scares Me: Understanding the Hyperrational Adolescent Brain | Todd Finley Blog | Edutopia.org

Your Face Scares Me: Understanding the Hyperrational Adolescent Brain | Todd Finley Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Take off your snarky hat. Adolescents get a bad rap, says Dr. Daniel Siegel, and he should know. He's a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Executive Director of the American Psychiatric Association, and author of many books, videos, and articles on the mind. Despite his endless awards and titles, Siegel displays in lectures the warm avuncularity of James Taylor in an off-the-rack suit as he urges parents and educators to stop viewing adolescence as a grim and crazed space that kids need to cross through quickly. Why? Because teens will perceive these attitudes and act accordingly.

Siegel’s recent and sobering book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, relies on recent neurobiology research to explain how the mind works during adolescence, the ages between 12 and 24. It's not just adding five years onto a ten-year-old’s brain, he says. Teenagers get a whole new brain. More to the point, his book sensibly frames how adolescents' brain developments and concomitant personality traits serve a grand purpose -- preparation to leave the nest.

According to Siegel, there are several unique features of the adolescent mind that deserve the awareness of teachers who "alloparent" (perform parenting duties without technically being a guardian).


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Stellar viewing: The solar eclipse in pictures | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

Stellar viewing: The solar eclipse in pictures | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Friday morning bore witness to a stunning solar eclipse, as our Moon traversed the face of our parent star, blocking its light in a beautiful example of the intricate orbits negotiated by the planets and moons that make up our solar system. For those able to secure a pair of protective glasses and be charmed enough to gaze through cloud-free skies, the sight was a spectacular one – a rare meeting of two celestial bodies that have accompanied each of us through every day and night of our lives.

Even when direct viewing was made impossible thanks to either a woefully short supply of glasses or a frankly spiteful weather system, hope was not lost. The event was streamed live online via the robotic observatory service Slooh, who carried a webcast of the event from Norweigan Svalbard – a little archipelago far enough North to lie in the zone of totality, and thus see the Moon fully eclipse the Sun.

As the celestial ballet unfolded, ESA minisatellites Proba-2 and Proba-V documented the event from space, capturing images of the eclipse itself, and the resultant shadow cast onto the Earth's surface. This rare view from space was shared by astronauts aboard the ISS, who tweeted some of their favorite snaps of the occasion.

The next total solar eclipse is due to take place in March 2016, however the zone of totality will rarely touch the land, making it a challenging prospect for astronomy enthusiasts hoping to directly view the event. An easier time will be had of it in August 2017, when the zone of totality will run the length of the American mainland.

A replay of the Slooh webcast can be found online.


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MIT scientists detect possible ring system around minor planet Chiron | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

MIT scientists detect possible ring system around minor planet Chiron | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A team of astronomers from MIT have detected signs of a possible ring system around the minor planet Chiron. First discovered in 1977, Chiron belongs to a class of minor planets known as centaurs. These bodies share some of the characteristics exhibited by both comets and asteroids, hence their classification as Centaurs, which in ancient mythology denoted a creature with the traits of both man and horse.

Astronomers estimate that there are in excess of 44,000 centaurs present in our solar system, mostly existing in the space between the orbits of Jupiter and Pluto. One such centaur, Chariklo, has already been found to host a ring system of its own. The discovery shocked astronomers, as it was not previously thought that so small a body had sufficient gravity to capture the materials to form its own ring system.

The recent observations of Chiron were made using two Hawaii-based observatories – NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility located on Mauna Kea, and the Las Cunbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Haleakala. The telescopes were tasked with watching for a stellar occultation, which occurs when a body, in this case Chiron, passes in front of a bright, distant star.


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Cash, IT security threaten NASA Deep Space Network operation | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

Cash, IT security threaten NASA Deep Space Network operation | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Money needed for upgrades to older equipment and IT security issues continue to drag on NASA, according to a report issued this week by the space agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The report focuses on NASA’s Deep Space Network, which through variety of antennas and transmitters at communications complexes in three locations: Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia provides space missions with the tracking, telemetry, and command services required to control and maintain spacecraft and transmit science data. NASA’s international partners also use the Deep Space Net.

From the OIG report: “Much of DSN's hardware is more than 30 years old, costly to maintain, and requires modernization and expansion to ensure continued service for existing and planned missions. Although DSN is meeting its current operational commitments, budget reductions have challenged the Network's ability to maintain these performance levels and threaten its future reliability. Specifically, in FY 2009 the Network implemented a plan to achieve $226.9 million in savings over 10 years and use most of that savings to build new antennas and transmitters. However, in FY 2013 the NASA's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program cut the Network's budget by $101.3 million, causing DSN to delay upgrades, close antennas, and cancel or re-plan tasks.

In addition, SCaN administrators are considering additional cuts for DSN in FY 2016 that could further delay maintenance and upgrade tasks. Finally, despite these reductions DSN has not revised life-cycle cost estimates for the upgrade project or performed a detailed funding profile beyond FY 2018, making it difficult to effectively plan and justify funding for the project and DSN's future commitments. If budget reductions continue, DSN faces an increased risk that it will be unable to meet future operational commitments or complete the upgrade project on schedule.”

DSN management has an upgrade project to build new antennas and transmitters between now and 2025, NASA said.


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Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey | Jennifer Pinkowski | National Geographic

Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey | Jennifer Pinkowski | National Geographic | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When the invaders came, Cappadocians knew where to hide: underground, in one of the 250 subterranean safe havens they had carved from pliable volcanic ash rock called tuff.

Now a housing construction project may have unearthed the biggest hiding place ever found in Cappadocia, a region of central Turkey famous for the otherworldly chimney houses, cave churches, and underground cities its residents carved for millennia.

Discovered beneath a Byzantine-era hilltop castle in Nevşehir, the provincial capital, the site dates back at least to early Byzantine times. It is still largely unexplored, but initial studies suggest its size and features may rival those of Derinkuyu, the largest excavated underground city in Cappadocia, which could house 20,000 people.

In 2013, construction workers demolishing low-income homes ringing the castle discovered entrances to a network of rooms and tunnels. The city halted the housing project, called in archaeologists and geophysicists, and began investigating.


A 300-year-old paper trail between the local government and Ottoman officials suggested where to begin. “We found documents stating that there were close to 30 major water tunnels in this region,” says Nevşehir mayor Hasan Ünver.

In 2014, those tunnels led scientists to discover a multilevel settlement of living spaces, kitchens, wineries, chapels, staircases, and bezirhane—linseed presses for producing lamp oil to light the underground city. Artifacts including grindstones, stone crosses, and ceramics indicate the city was in use from the Byzantine era through the Ottoman conquest.


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NASA's Curiosity rover finds nitrogen on Mars | David Szondy | GizMag.com

NASA's Curiosity rover finds nitrogen on Mars | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In another hopeful sign that Mars was once habitable, NASA's Curiosity rover has detected nitrogen in the soil of the Red Planet for the first time.

NASA says that the nitrogen was detected indirectly in the form of nitric oxide when soil samples were heated using the mass spectrometer and gas chromatograph on Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

The instruments detected various nitrogen compounds, including nitric oxide, which is produced by the breakdown of nitrates, in amounts that indicate that nitrates were a much more probable source than alternatives.

Nitrates (NO3) are nitrogen-bearing molecules containing nitrogen and oxygen that are basic to biology and are found in DNA, proteins, and many other organic molecules.

On Earth, nitrogen is mostly found in the form of nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, but plants and bacteria are able to "fix" the nitrogen molecules into nitrates, so they can be used by other organisms. However, they can also be produced by lightning or, in the case of Mars, carried down by meteorites.


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A Loss For Words--Can Dying Languages Be Saved? | Judith Thurman | The New Yorker

A Loss For Words--Can Dying Languages Be Saved? | Judith Thurman | The New Yorker | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It is a singular fate to be the last of one’s kind. That is the fate of the men and women, nearly all of them elderly, who are—like Marie Wilcox, of California; Gyani Maiya Sen, of Nepal; Verdena Parker, of Oregon; and Charlie Mungulda, of Australia—the last known speakers of a language: Wukchumni, Kusunda, Hupa, and Amurdag, respectively. But a few years ago, in Chile, I met Joubert Yanten Gomez, who told me he was “the world’s only speaker of Selk’nam.” He was twenty-one.

Yanten Gomez, who uses the tribal name Keyuk, grew up modestly, in Santiago. His father, Blas Yanten, is a woodworker, and his mother, Ivonne Gomez Castro, practices traditional medicine. As a young girl, she was mocked at school for her mestizo looks, so she hesitated to tell her children—Keyuk and an older sister—about their ancestry. They hadn’t known that their maternal relatives descended from the Selk’nam, a nomadic tribe of unknown origin that settled in Tierra del Fuego. The first Europeans to encounter the Selk’nam, in the sixteenth century, were astonished by their height and their hardiness—they braved the frigid climate by coating their bodies with whale fat. The tribe lived mostly undisturbed until the late eighteen-hundreds, when an influx of sheep ranchers and gold prospectors who coveted their land put bounties on their heads. (One hunter boasted that he had received a pound sterling per corpse, redeemable with a pair of ears.) The survivors of the Selk’nam Genocide, as it is called—a population of about four thousand was reduced to some three hundred—were resettled on reservations run by missionaries. The last known fluent speaker of the language, Angela Loij, a laundress and farmer, died forty years ago.

Many children are natural mimics, but Keyuk could imitate speech like a mynah. His father, who is white, had spent part of his childhood in the Arauco region, which is home to the Mapuche, Chile’s largest native community, and he taught Keyuk their language, Mapudungun. The boy, a bookworm and an A student, easily became fluent. A third-grade research project impassioned him about indigenous peoples, and Ivonne, who descends from a line of shamans, took this as a sign that his ancestors were speaking through him. When she told him of their heritage, Keyuk vowed that he would master Selk’nam and also, eventually, Yagán—the nearly extinct language of a neighboring people in the far south—reckoning that he could pass them down to his children and perhaps reseed the languages among the tribes’ descendants. At fourteen, he travelled with his father to Puerto Williams, a town in Chile’s Antarctic province that calls itself “the world’s southernmost city,” to meet Cristina Calderón, the last native Yagán speaker. She subsequently tutored him by phone.

If it is lonely to be the last of anything, the distinction has a mythic romance: the last emperor, the last of the Just, the last of the Mohicans. Keyuk’s precocity enhanced his mystique. A Chilean television station flew him to Tierra del Fuego as part of a series, “Sons of the Earth,” that focussed on the country’s original inhabitants. He was interviewed, at sixteen, by the Financial Times. A filmmaker who knew him put us in touch, and we met at a café in Santiago.


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Alan Lomax's Massive Archive Goes Online | Joel Rose | NPR.org

Alan Lomax's Massive Archive Goes Online | Joel Rose | NPR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. Now thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. It's part of what Lomax envisioned for the collection — long before the age of the Internet.

Lomax recorded a staggering amount of folk music. He worked from the 1930s to the '90s, and traveled from the Deep South to the mountains of West Virginia, all the way to Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. When it came time to bring all of those hours of sound into the digital era, the people in charge of the Lomax archive weren't quite sure how to tackle the problem.

"We err on the side of doing the maximum amount possible," says Don Fleming, executive director of the Association for Cultural Equity, the nonprofit organization Lomax founded in New York in the '80s. Fleming and a small staff made up mostly of volunteers have digitized and posted some 17,000 sound recordings.

"For the first time, everything that we've digitized of Alan's field recording trips are online, on our website," says Fleming. "It's every take, all the way through. False takes, interviews, music."


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ESO's APEX observations shed light on 17th-century star collision | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

ESO's APEX observations shed light on 17th-century star collision | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) has been used to solve a 340 year-old astronomical mystery. The findings reveal that an object that appeared in the sky in the 17th century was not a nova as astronomers at the time believed, but actually a rare stellar collision.

Accounts of the event, where a star suddenly appeared in the sky, have long been of interest to astronomers. Named in part for its year of discovery, Nova Vulpeculae 1670 was easily visible to the naked eye when it first appeared, but its remnants are now so faint that submillimeter observations were required to shed light on the mysterious event.

What has puzzled both modern and historical astronomers about Nova Vul 1670 is the manner of its apparent arrival and subsequent disappearance. According to historical accounts, the object was clearly visible in the night sky for two years after its first appearance, before disappearing and reappearing twice, and then finally vanishing.

While astronomers have studied the patch of sky for centuries, it wasn't until the 1980s that a faint nebula was detected, and even then, available technology wasn't equal to the task of deciphering what had actually been witnessed more than 300 years ago. The new observations finally answer the centuries-old riddle.


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Construction begins on Space Fence radar system | Darren Quick | GizMag.com

Construction begins on Space Fence radar system | Darren Quick | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Ground was broken at the future six-acre (2.4-hectare) site of the new Space Fence radar system in a special ceremony last month on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The ceremony marked the official start of construction of the system that will replace the Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS) in tracking objects in orbit, including commercial and military satellites and debris from collisions.

Beating out Raytheon, Lockheed Martin was awarded a US$914,699,474 contract on June 2 of last year by the US Air Force to develop its Space Fence system design and deliver the first site, consisting of a radar and Space Fence operations center. In addition to the radar arrays and on-site operations center, the Kwajalein installation will also include an annex to the island's current power plant to ensure continuous operation.

The new system will replace the AFSSS, which began operations in 1961 and ceased operations in September 2013. It used a VHF radar system capable of detecting objects down to about 75 cm (29.5 in) in size, while the higher wave frequency (or shorter wavelength) of the S-band ground-based radars to be used in the new Space Fence will allow it to detect much smaller objects.


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Crypto-ransomware attack encrypts New Jersey school district network | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Crypto-ransomware attack encrypts New Jersey school district network | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

New Jersey school district Swedesboro-Woolwich is a victim of crypto-ransomware.

When Swedesboro-Woolwich school district, which has four elementary schools with a total of about 2,000 students, was hit with crypto-ransomware, big guns showed up to investigate. After the district's network was locked up due to ransomware on March 22, the local Woolwich Police, the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crimes Unit, the FBI and Homeland Security are all investigating.

In an announcement about the malware, the school district said:

Forensic analysis is being performed by the NJ State police. At this point there appears to be no data breach. The files affected were mainly Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and .pdf files created by staff members. Data for the student information system as well as other applications is [sic] stored offsite on hosted servers and was not affected by the virus.

It's also thrown a kink in the school district's scheduled Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams, which are "high-quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy." The crypto-ransomware "has affected the district's entire operations from internal and external communications to its point-of-sale for school lunches. It also has prevented any students from taking the scheduled PARCC exams, which are entirely computerized."

South Jersey Times first reported that Superintendent Terry Van Zoeren said, "There's basically no tech service happening in Swedesboro-Woolwich right now. Essentially our network has been taken over and has been made nonoperational."


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Roger Smith's curator insight, March 25, 5:59 PM

I want to know why these organisations do not have business continuity and disaster recovery that make them cyber resilient.  This comment is absolute bull!


"We are operating as if it's about 1981 again," Van Zoeren said. The network administrator received a message with complex directions to forward $500 in bitcoins -- a digital currency popular on underground online markets."

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NASA's Curiosity finds new ingredient of life on Mars | Sharon Gaudin | ComputerWorld.com

NASA's Curiosity finds new ingredient of life on Mars | Sharon Gaudin | ComputerWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

After already finding evidence of water on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered another key element necessary for life on the Red Planet.

NASA said Tuesday that the robotic rover has, for the first time, detected nitrogen on the Martian surface. The nitrogen – found in the form of nitric oxide – could be released during the natural breakdown of nitrates, which are molecules that contain the type of nitrogen that can be used by living organisms.

The discovery does not mean there is life on Mars.

NASA scientists don't believe the nitrogen discovered was created by life on Mars. The nitrogen is likely ancient and could have been deposited there by meteorite impacts and lightning.

The discovery provides scientists with another piece of the puzzle suggesting that ancient Mars once was capable of supporting life.

The detection of nitrogen is a milestone for Curiosity, which was sent to Mars for the sole purpose of finding out if the planet was ever capable of supporting life, even in microbial form.


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The world's best teacher lives in rural Maine and doesn't care about test scores | Lauren Gambino | The Guardian

The world's best teacher lives in rural Maine and doesn't care about test scores | Lauren Gambino | The Guardian | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Ms Atwell’s school in the rural town of Edgecomb, Maine, is no ordinary place of learning. Then again, Nancie Atwell is no ordinary teacher.

At her school, all classrooms have libraries, standardized tests are forbidden, classes are small, every religious and cultural holiday is celebrated, and students pick the topics they write about and the books they read. And read they do: her students wolf down about 40 books per year, well above the national average.

Earlier this month, Atwell was named the winner of a competition to find the world’s best teacher. She accepted the Global Teacher Prize, dubbed the Nobel Prize of teaching, at a ceremony in Dubai.

Atwell chose to dedicate the entire award – $1m worth – to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the nonprofit demonstration school she founded 25 years ago, which she said is in need of structural upgrades, including a new roof and furnaces, and many more books. “We will have a very healthy book-buying fund,” Atwell told the Guardian. “It’s the thing we never have enough of.”

Atwell’s prolific teaching career spans four decades and several school districts. She is also the author of nine books for teachers, including In the Middle, which sold half a million copies. Her goal, she said, is to make the classroom a place for “wisdom and happiness”, rather than one of stress and frustration.

The world’s top educator, however, said she never intended to become a teacher. Instead, she fell into the position while trying to figure out what to do with an English degree. After graduation, she took a student teaching position as a “fallback plan”.

“I fell in love with teaching,” she said. “I felt like I was home. I love literature and I really loved adolescents, I found out. And to have relationships with kids around books and to talk to kids about books seemed like the best gig in the world.”


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Prehistoric hunt suggests humans arrived in North America earlier than previously thought | Laura Santhanam | PBS News Hour

Prehistoric hunt suggests humans arrived in North America earlier than previously thought | Laura Santhanam | PBS News Hour | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Bone fragments from seven horses and a camel suggest that the First Americans hunted and butchered these animals in North America at least 13,300 years ago after migrating from northeast Asia, hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.

According to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these bones suggest that people were active at the Wally’s Beach location near Calgary, Alberta. That’s about 300 years before the Clovis people emerged — a group of prehistoric humans who had been previously considered the first settlers of the Americas, having arrived 13,000 years ago.

This finding is consistent with the last decade of research into who were the real ancestors of the Native Americans, explained Michael Waters, an anthropologist from Texas A&M University and director for the Center for the Study of the First Americans.


“It represents to us just more evidence that people were in the Americas before Clovis and that these people had some kind of weaponry that we haven’t found yet,” Waters said. “From 15,000 years on, they were moving across the landscape, hunting horse, camel, mastodon and mammoth.”


When he first looked in to the site at Wally’s Beach, Waters wondered if the estimated dates of the animal remains, originally pinned at roughly 13,000 years ago, were wrong. He noted the absence of distinctive Clovis tools, such as flaked-off stone spearheads made at the end of the Ice Age, at the Wally’s Beach site.


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