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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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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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Vietnam in the Battlefield of Memory | Jon Wiener | The Nation

Vietnam in the Battlefield of Memory | Jon Wiener | The Nation | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When the Pentagon announced its plans for the nation’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, historians and old-time activists feared the worst. The Pentagon commemoration office, which Congress authorized at a cost of up to $65 million, put up a website in which the war was portrayed as one of “valor” and “honor”—a picture unrecognizable to many Americans, including both veterans and antiwar activists.


The general in charge, Claude Kicklighter, promised that the official commemoration would include “educational materials, a Pentagon exhibit, traveling exhibits, symposiums, oral history projects, and much more.”


In response, Tom Hayden and a new group, the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee, launched a petition last September declaring that “this official program should include viewpoints, speakers, and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war.” Almost 1,500 people signed, including many prominent historians. (I was one of them.)

Now the Pentagon has abandoned its plans to develop educational and classroom materials. After meeting with Hayden and five other leaders of the committee in January, a Pentagon official declared in a March 19 e-mail that the Defense Department was shifting its mission from “education and history” to the much more limited one of thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans “for their service and sacrifice.”


The official also pledged that the much-criticized “Interactive Timeline” on the Pentagon’s website would be replaced, and asked the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee to suggest historians who could help with an independent review of the revised version.

The problems with the timeline had been featured in a page-one story in The New York Times, which described the challenge being organized by Hayden and the peace commemoration committee and the criticisms of the Pentagon project from “leading Vietnam historians.”


The timeline featured Medal of Honor winners but didn’t mention the 1971 Senate committee testimony of John Kerry, then a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who posed one of the most devastating questions of the era: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” The Times noted that the timeline gave “scant attention” to “the years of violent protests and anguished debate at home.”

And there were the other issues. Historian Stanley Kutler—who died on April 7, and who is best known for suing to get the Nixon White House tapes released—asked last November in The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin: “Will the Pentagon acknowledge the mistakes of American presidents and generals who for seven years steadily increased our commitment to more than 500,000 troops, the largest army raised since World War II? Will it recognize the growing public protests against the war, with increasing criticism in Congress, until eventually it was willing to cut off funding for the war, an unprecedented step which pointedly rejected the validity of the war?” And finally, “What will the Pentagon say to Vietnam veterans who actively criticized, questioned, and opposed the war, then and now?”


One more problem: The website’s fact sheet listed the total American deaths, 58,253—but it didn’t mention the number of Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians killed, commonly estimated at 3 million to 4 million.

The Pentagon’s change of plans is “good,” Hayden told me. “The threat of a false narrative will always be there, but we don’t need to fight an overpowering antagonist on the battlefield of memory if we can help it. If they focus on honoring vets, that would allow us to preserve and develop the legacy of the peace movement and the lessons for today.”


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Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places | Patricia Zimmermann & Dale Hudson | Amazon.com

Thinking through Digital Media offers a means of conceptualizing digital media by looking at projects that think through digital media, migrating between documentary, experimental, narrative, animation, video game, and live performance.


Hudson and Zimmermann analyze projects at the intersections of imbedded technologies, transitory micropublics, human-machine interface, and critical cartographies to forward a set of speculations about how things work together rather than what they represent.


The book frames debates on participation/surveillance, outsourcing, global warming, migrations, GMOs, and war across some of the most dynamic, innovative sites for digital media, including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States.


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Test Mutiny: Tens of Thousands of N.Y. Parents Protest Standardized Exams | Truthdig.com

Test Mutiny: Tens of Thousands of N.Y. Parents Protest Standardized Exams | Truthdig.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Tens of thousands of parents took a stand against the education agenda of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and standardized tests nationwide by having their children boycott one such exam in mid-April. In some districts, abstention levels reached 80 percent.

“Democracy Now!” reports:

Protest organizers say at least 155,000 pupils opted out — and that is with only half of school districts tallied so far. … More than a decade after the passage of No Child Left Behind, educators, parents and students nationwide are protesting the preponderant reliance on high-stakes standardized testing, saying it gives undue importance to ambiguous data and compromises learning in favor of test prep.

“Democracy Now!” discusses the revolt with Jack Bierwirth, superintendent of Herricks Public Schools in Long Island, and parent Toni Smith-Thompson, who led the boycott against standardized testing at Central Park East 1 Elementary School in East Harlem.


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Joan Jonas: All at Once | Lisa Cohen | New York Times Style Magazine

Joan Jonas: All at Once | Lisa Cohen | New York Times Style Magazine | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

SHE STANDS AT an easel, a small but commanding figure with cropped white hair, and draws an intricate geometric shape. Upstage, footage of snow swirling across the surface of a road plays on a large screen. We are moved through this austere yet sumptuous atmosphere, whorls of white on blacktop. As the video cuts to a still image — a torn piece of an old map on which Iceland appears — Joan Jonas crosses the stage to a work table, looks up at the screen and begins to draw the outline of the country.


Suddenly, the photograph changes, then keeps changing: horses, mountainous land, ice floes, a volcano. She keeps looking, keeps drawing. An overhead camera films her interrupted and ongoing lines, white chalk on black paper, and projects them onto the same screen as the photographs. Periodically, she discards the paper and begins again. The mood is at once methodical and urgent. Time is passing. One cannot keep up. The last photograph fades out, and a strong abstract drawing remains on the screen.

In this, her most recent performance piece, “Reanimation,” Jonas’s image-making, along with Jason Moran’s percussive and melodic live music, produce thrilling effects of simultaneity. “Time is the one thing we can all agree to call supernatural,” she says later in the work, quoting the Icelandic novelist Halldor Laxness, whose novel “Under the Glacier” inspired it.


It’s true that Jonas’s art makes us experience time’s strangeness; you could say that Jonas creates her own temporality. “Layered” is not the right term, since she is complicating our sense of what comes first, and of what is below or above.


Clothed all in white, she uses herself as a screen and as a surface — moving in the projections, or holding a long sheet of white paper against her body. Her gestures — even the way she crumples a large piece of paper over and over — feel both ancient and utterly novel.


Her voice is authoritative and offhand, declarative and inquiring, resonant and flat. I could watch her all night.


Since the late 1960s, Jonas has pursued a category-defying, perpetually exploratory practice that melds performance, drawing, film, video, sculpture, installation, sound and literature.


Early on, she developed a recursive method, translating performances into films and videos, using these again in performances, continually reimagining her work. The simultaneities, in other words, are not just within each piece, but also across her oeuvre.


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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, Today, 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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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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We’re teaching our kids wrong: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do not have the answers | Susan Engel | Salon.com

We’re teaching our kids wrong: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do not have the answers | Susan Engel | Salon.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Excerpted from "The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness (Not Money) Would Transform Our Schools"


Between 1848, when Andrew Carnegie arrived in Pennsylvania, and 1983, when “A Nation at Risk” was published, schools had made a 180-degree turn. No longer a privilege and a respite from work, formal education had become a necessity, considered essential to individual success.


What had once been a luxury for those who could afford enlightenment was, by the second half of the twentieth century, a requirement for anyone who hoped to get a job and earn a decent wage. Schools were no longer a path to cultivation and a life of the mind; they were a path to a job. And that was just in terms of the individual.


Along the way, as schools became a training ground for corps of workers, they also became a means of furthering national interests. The debate about schools had become part of the debate about national power. Which brings us to the twenty-first century.

When George W. Bush announced No Child Left Behind (NCLB), his purported intention was to encourage a set of practices and institute a set of assessments that would ensure every child got the same good start at school. Implicit in that formulation was the now familiar premise that it was up to schools to close the income gap between the rich and the poor. In its most beneficent form, it could have made a powerful difference in the lives of many children.


If NCLB had ensured that all kids would learn how to read and that no child would become disenchanted enough to drop out, it might have been wonderful. But that’s not how NCLB played out.

Within just a few years, teachers were rushing to make sure that each child got a higher score on the standardized tests than he or she had gotten the year before. School superintendents also felt compelled to see to it that their schools got higher scores every year.


What had been promoted as a means of ensuring that all children received the fruits of our educational system became a relentless push toward improved test scores. With each year, more and more focus was on the scores themselves and less on the education the scores were intended to measure.


At the national level, politicians threatened that if we didn’t educate everyone, once again our country might fall behind. The conversation was less about giving everyone access to reading, thoughtful engagement in civic life, or the pleasures of ideas, and much more about seeing to it that everyone could earn a decent wage.


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We all want healthy, hunger-free kids—right? | Katie Kanner | Education Votes | NEA.org

We all want healthy, hunger-free kids—right? | Katie Kanner | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The US House of Representatives' Education and Workforce Committee held its first hearing this week to address the re-authorization of critical child nutrition programs, including the school breakfast and lunch programs.

There was widespread agreement among participants—which included representatives from anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength, the President of the School Nutrition Association, the first lady of Virginia, and a researcher from the Texas Hunger Initiative—that child nutrition programs are critical in addressing the crisis of childhood hunger.

What is not clear is whether GOP lawmakers will support maintaining the nutrition standards phased in since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which significantly raised the nutrition standards for school meals. Conservative lawmakers have attempted to roll back the heightened nutrition standards that were implemented in phases between 2012 and 2014.


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The Teaching Brain | Patrick Walsh | Truthdig.com

The Teaching Brain | Patrick Walsh | Truthdig.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

“The Teaching Brain: The Evolutionary Trait at the Heart of Education”


A book by Vanessa Rodriguez with Michelle Fitzpatrick

The American public, for the past 10 years at least, has been besieged by endless reports in all mediums about legions of bad teachers mis-educating or under-educating the nation’s children and sabotaging America’s future in the new global economy.


Most, if not all, of these reports are based on the views of non-educator “reformers.” Most are multimillionaires and several are billionaires. They are all ideologically rather than pedagogically driven. They all find the answers to problems of education in the magic of the free market. Diane Ravitch has dubbed them “The Billionaire Boys’ Club,” but with Oprah Winfrey and a couple of the Walton daughters elbowing their way into the party, it’s time, perhaps, for a new, more inclusive name like, say, The Overlords. Theirs are the voices that have utterly dominated education policies in America for a decade at least, with no sign of letting up.

These reformers never bother to define what teaching is and what teachers actually do. Incredibly, they simply do not talk about the issue, concentrating instead on raising expectations and implementing magical standards and the like.


The nearest thing I’ve ever seen regarding what the reformers believe occurs in a classroom can be seen in a cartoon clip in the much ballyhooed charter school propaganda film “Waiting For Superman”: A cartoon teacher lifts the conveniently placed lids on the heads of cartoon students and pours knowledge or information or data—whatever it is the reformers think teachers are depriving kids of—directly and effortlessly into the students’ brains. That’s as far as I’ve seen or read or heard of the reformer idea of teaching.


Instead, the reformers have used their limitless fortunes to circumvent the discussion of what teaching is and what teachers do by focusing, reductio ad absurdum, almost exclusively on the results of standardized test scores. Good teaching leads to high test scores. Bad teaching is revealed in low test scores. That, for the reformers, is the beginning and the end of teaching. What else is there to talk about?


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