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Japan: Disabled boy learns to play piano with his eyes using virtual-reality headset | Stuart Dredge | The Guardian

Japan: Disabled boy learns to play piano with his eyes using virtual-reality headset | Stuart Dredge | The Guardian | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

What is virtual reality for? Games, according to the original mission of Oculus VR, whose Oculus Rift is the most high-profile VR headset currently in development.

Much wider applications from remote doctor consultations to taking a virtual seat court-side at big basketball matches according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company bought Oculus for $2bn in 2014.

It is still very early days for VR, though, and every week new applications for the technology are popping up from developers around the world. The latest might be one of the most worthwhile yet: helping children with physical disabilities to play the piano.

Eye Play the Piano is the work of Japanese VR headset manufacturer Fove, working with the University of Tsukuba. The project is pitched as a “universal piano” which children can play using eye movements while wearing the headset.


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virtualrealityreporter's curator insight, April 6, 1:28 AM

This simply proves that augmented reality can have a positive impact on our lives!

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ESO's Exoplanet hunting NGTS telescope array achieves first light | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

ESO's Exoplanet hunting NGTS telescope array achieves first light | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) array, built by a UK, German and Swiss consortium, has achieved first light at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The installation is designed to search for exoplanets between two and eight times the size of Earth, studying them as they pass in front of their parent star.

The array consists of 12 telescopes, each of which has an aperture of 20 centimeters. The installation is being hosted by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) at its Paranal Observatory in northern Chile – the site of the organization’s existing and highly prolific Very Large Telescope (VLT), as well as the VISTA telescope and the under-construction European Extremely Large Telescope.

The NGTS is designed to operate robotically, monitoring the brightness of hundreds of thousands of stars. Specifically, it’s designed to look for transiting exoplanets – those passing in front of a parent star and producing light fluctuations in the process. It performs this task with the highest level of precision of any ground-based wide-field survey instrument, measuring the brightness of stars to an accuracy of one part in a thousand.


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Job Posting in St Paul, MN: E-Learning for Better Jobs Coordinator | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

This job just looked too good not to share…

The Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) seeks a half time coordinator for an E-Learning for Better Jobs Initiative. The E-Learning for Better Jobs Initiative, a joint project of the Library and the Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium (SPCLC), is grant-funded for one year through spring, 2016.


The E-Learning for Better Jobs Initiative seeks to increase workforce skills and access to good jobs by supporting adults and youth pursuing on-line learning and job-related certifications. The Initiative will target lower skilled adults and youth seeking pathways to post-secondary and career success, higher paying jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities.


The goals of the Initiative are to:


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Review of ‘A Country Called Childhood,’ by Jay Griffiths | Andrew Solomon | NYT Book Review

Review of ‘A Country Called Childhood,’ by Jay Griffiths | Andrew Solomon | NYT Book Review | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You know less than you think you do. The constant reinforcement of that sorry idea has become a drumbeat under parenting, as advice books of every kind pullulate like toadstools after a storm. Such literature sets out to refocus your daily life with your child, usually with proscriptive rebukes and optimistic exercises — with easy-sounding answers that are often impossible to enact.


Anyone who has raised a child will know how assaultive the abundance of such parenting advice can feel, how dreary it is to be told constantly that if you only did (or, indeed, had done) something slightly different, your child’s problems would evanesce, and you would have, through the alchemy of nurture, a child who is happy / well behaved / nonviolent / good at math / successful / self-­motivated / popular / thin.

Jay Griffiths has written a furious, sad book that counters this tendency. “A Country Called Childhood” is almost shockingly beautiful, a profoundly felt, deeply thought, fiercely argued examination of childhood, a plea against the corruption of children’s innate nobility, and a plunge into the reasons for their unhappiness. She strips the discourse back: Here you will find no specific admonitions about bedtimes or so-called attachment parenting, no bromides about nutrition.


She is a radical thinker, and there are real and urgent insights on almost every page of her manifesto. It is written in prose that is hardly prose, a poetry in paragraphs. Griffiths is above all a romantic who reifies that transient callowness we often long for but hardly recapture. She is also an anthropologist who draws powerfully on her experiences of indigenous cultures around the globe. In evoking what has been and what might be, Griffiths will make you rethink not only your life as a parent, but also your childhood.


Her book invites us to think deeply about writing, too. “Language, here,” Griffiths writes, “a beautiful partisan, waits with rifle and song to ambush us into remembering what we used to know as children.” Her best chapters come close to achieving that goal.

Sometimes, Griffiths is able to carry off the grandeur of her purposes; sometimes, she lapses into the hectoring moralism of a minor theology.


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Educate to Liberate: Build an Anti-Racist Classroom | Joshua Block Blog | Edutopia.org

Educate to Liberate: Build an Anti-Racist Classroom | Joshua Block Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Recent events in our country are tragic and poignant reminders of the ongoing need for educators to create classroom environments that investigate society and the potential for change. Black Lives Matter, yet in our country, the experiences of African Americans and other marginalized groups demonstrate that there isn't liberty and justice for all.

Recently Michael Eric Dyson wrote of our country's "colliding worlds of racial perception," reminding us that, while these issues exist and persist, they are not always widely acknowledged. Michelle Alexander's powerful "Telling My Son About Ferguson" is a reminder that disbelief, rage, and movement building are all reasonable responses to unnecessary killings and the failure of our legal system to enact justice.

I am a white teacher in a classroom full of students, many of whom come from backgrounds different from my own. How can I find the necessary words and actions to relate, to allow students to respond, and to validate and empower the young people I see every school day?

While it's clear that young people need and deserve teachers and mentors that come from backgrounds similar to their own, I believe that white teachers can create transformative experiences for all students. This is challenging work, requiring courage and humility, yet it is necessary and all too relevant.

After a recent discussion in my classroom about the grand jury decision in Ferguson, a student put her hand over her face and began to cry, saying, "I hate this stuff. It makes me really angry! Makes me not want to have kids." Students need spaces to discuss and tools to navigate these large social issues that affect so many of them daily.


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Andrew Blanco's curator insight, February 5, 11:01 AM

How to become a leader in a multicultural classroom

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NYC Libraries Pioneer Free Hot Spot Lending to 10,000 | Verena Dobnik | CIO-Today.com

NYC Libraries Pioneer Free Hot Spot Lending to 10,000 | Verena Dobnik | CIO-Today.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The New York Public Library is launching the nation's largest Internet lending program, handing out 10,000 free high-speed hot spots to some of the city's poorest residents.

The program -- which offers the devices for up to a year, about a $1,000 value --seeks to bridge a digital divide in the nation's largest city, where studies have found nearly 3 million of the 8 million people lack broadband access.

"It is simply unfathomable that in the digital world in which we live, one-third of New Yorkers do not have access to broadband Internet at home, putting them at a serious disadvantage at school, in applying for jobs, and so much more," said Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library.

Mobile Beacon, a Rhode Island-based, nonprofit national provider of low-cost Internet services, is working with Sprint to distribute the hot spots to library branches across New York City's five boroughs.

In addition, Mobile Beacon has similar projects in 74 communities in 20 states, from cities including Chicago and Los Angeles to rural areas of Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas.

While requirements differ, borrowers generally are eligible if they don't have their own broadband and are registered in library educational programs. Outreach efforts also are aimed at the elderly and disabled seeking health care.

There's one challenge: making sure users have laptops or desktops to link in. Google has so far donated 500 laptops -- plus half of the $2 million in private grants funding the New York City program -- and schools supply them to many children.

"Computers are awesome," said 10-year-old Carlos Apreza of Staten Island, boasting that his school grades went up by about 30 percent since he got both the hot spot and a computer from the library last year as part of a small test run for the program that was expanded in December.

Carlos and his brother live on a family income of about $13,000 a year -- from their father's paycheck as a restaurant dishwasher.

"We can buy food and some clothes," he added, "but we don't have enough money for technology."


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New York City Backs Off School Cell Phone Ban, Though Some Officials Still See Cellular Tech As The Worst Sort Of Foul Devilry | Karl Bode | Techdirt

New York City Backs Off School Cell Phone Ban, Though Some Officials Still See Cellular Tech As The Worst Sort Of Foul Devilry | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Roughly nine years ago, then New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg decided to impose an outright ban on cell phones in city schools, proclaiming that the devices were both a distraction and a safety issue (the latter never really being explained coherently).


The ban, of course, wasn't well-received by parents who were suddenly unable to reach their children, nor was it well-received by students who were just truly entering the smartphone era. To make things worse, the city developed a revenue stream whereby students could store their phones outside of school (in "Pure Loyalty Electronic Device Storage" vans, to be precise) -- for $1 per day.

Fast forward nearly a decade and Mayor de Blasio -- the first New York City Mayor in city history to have a child in public school while in office -- has decided to do away with the ban. In what seems like a far more sensible and streamlined policy decision, it will now be up to individual schools to enact and enforce their own cell phone policies. That's not to everybody's liking; some school officials still apparently see cell phones as foul devilry that somehow magically amplify all of the very worst aspects of human behavior:

"But the phones, which would be regulated on a school-by-school basis, can pose numerous problems. Some principals, particularly those of schools with high rates of behavioral problems, have privately said they oppose lifting the ban. They worry about the potential for cheating and the risk of theft. When fights break out, they say, students with cellphones in their pockets can summon a much larger crowd."

That's right, because cheating, theft and fights are the sort of things that just don't normally happen in the Utopian New York City public school district. One anonymous principal agrees, similarly telling the Times that allowing cell phones means not only more theft (again, because nothing valuable normally gets stolen in schools), but oddly will also result in an increase in "staged fights" for the benefit of social media:


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Free Our Paywalled Court Documents: The Aaron Swartz Memorial PACER Cup Contest Announced | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Free Our Paywalled Court Documents: The Aaron Swartz Memorial PACER Cup Contest Announced | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Aaron Swartz's unfortunate suicide. Today, Carl Malamud, the leading champion of freeing up public documents and laws, has announced a National Day of PACER Protest, to be held on May 1st, with the "winner" (explained below) to get the Aaron Swartz Memorial PACER Cup.


Malamud's discussion of this is pretty long, but well worth reading. If you don't recall, Malamud and Swartz have spoken out against PACER in the past many times (as have we). PACER, of course, is the horrific, antiquated paywall system by which the federal courts lock up tons of public documents and only make them available at 10 cents per page (with some exceptions). We rack up hefty PACER bills here at Techdirt all the time.

PACER, itself, is of dubious legality. The law that established PACER says that the fees collected can only be used for the system itself, yet the system is so profitable that the money flows back into other areas of the judicial system, and the Administrative Office of the US Courts doesn't want to give up on its cash cow.


The system itself is painful to use -- slow with a horrible interface -- before we even get to the ridiculousness of 10 cents per page. A few years back, the courts tested letting certain libraries have free access to PACER, leading Aaron Swartz to stop by one of the libraries and set up a system to download a bunch of these documents.


The Administrative Office called the FBI on him, though (of course) he hadn't actually broken any laws so he wasn't charged with anything. This also resulted in the "pilot program" being cut off and the libraries losing their free access.

Still the documents he did get out became the initial seed for the RECAP collection, available at the Internet Archive, which any PACER user can now add to using RECAP the law, a simple browser add-on that automatically uploads documents you view on PACER to the Internet Archive's collection.


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MA: North Adams artist Ralph Brill argues for a takeover of the Mohawk Theater by MassMoCA | GreylockNews.com

MA: North Adams artist Ralph Brill argues for a takeover of the Mohawk Theater by MassMoCA | GreylockNews.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Mohawk Theater on Main Street in North Adams, MA opened in November 1938 to great fanfare. It was designed by Mowll and Rand Architects of Boston. North Adams had two other theaters – the Richmond and the Paramount. Thousands of locals were employed at the nearby Sprague Electric Plant (MASS MoCA). Times were good and looking even better at that moment.

The Mohawk was a 1,200 seat flagship Loew Theater that offered 20-cent movies to full houses. It was one of the few late Art Deco style theaters still standing in the country in 1991 when it shut its projector and closed its doors. At that point in time, there was much sadness, as many of the Residents remembered their good times watching movies in The Mohawk.

The closing of The Mohawk was just another symbol of the pain being suffered as a result of the closing of the Sprague Electric plant and the loss of 3,000 jobs, 4,000 people moved away and the unemployment rate climbed to 14% (twice the 2014 rate) in 1985. So, in my mind there is an historical connection between MASS MoCA and The Mohawk.

Former Mayor John Barrett III saw The Mohawk as an important symbol of the Life On Main Street and the hstory Of North Adams. He convinced the WalMart Corp. to help buy The Mohawk for the city and he was successful in securing around $75,000 in 1999 to restore the theater’s Marquee to its earlier glory. Engineering studies revealed that the theater building was structurally sound, but that most everything else was in need of replacement. The City was successful in attracting public funds to restore the Main Street façade and gut the theater’s interior as part of Phase I of a several phase restoration project.

Since that time, nothing too much has happened: The Marquee is very visible and offers passing pedestrians and drivers the City’s constantly changing public announcements. (Maybe the most expensive Non-Income Producing Sign on the East Coast and it is owned by We the Taxpayers!)

On 4 January 2012, Mayor Richard Alcombright gave a Main Street tour to U.S. Representative Richard Neal as he wanted Neal to understand his Plan for connecting MCLA’s Performing Arts Department and its Arts Management Program to The Mohawk with plans for Classrooms and Special Events Downtown. The Mayor wanted Neal’s support in attracting the necessary Millions to follow up with the restoration plans.


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15 proofs that The Moors civilised Europe | ThatsWhatsGoodMedia.com

15 proofs that The Moors civilised Europe | ThatsWhatsGoodMedia.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When The Moors Ruled In Europe is a documentary movie presented by the English historian Bettany Hughes. She traces the story of the mysterious and misunderstood Moors society that ruled in Spain for 700 years, but whose legacy was virtually erased from Western history.

In 711 AD, a tribe of newly converted Muslims from North Africa crossed the straits of Gibraltar and invaded Spain. Known as The Moors, they went on to build a rich and powerful society. Its capital, Cordoba, was the largest and most civilised city in Europe, with hospitals, libraries and a public infrastructure light years ahead of anything in England at the time.


Amongst the many things that were introduced to Europe by Muslims at this time were: a huge body of classical Greek texts that had been lost to the rest of Europe for centuries; mathematics and the numbers we use today; advanced astronomy and medical practices; fine dining; the concept of romantic love; paper; deodorant; and even erection creams.

This wasn’t the rigid, fundamentalist Islam of some people’s imaginations, but a progressive, sensuous and intellectually curious culture. But when the society collapsed, Spain was fanatically re-Christianised; almost every trace of seven centuries of Islamic rule was ruthlessly removed. It is only now, six centuries later, that The Moors’ influences on European life and culture are finally beginning to be fully understood.


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Poor, Hispanic school focuses on test prep, sees huge gains on Virginia exams. But can it be replicated? | Moriah Balingit & T. Rees Shaprio | WashPost.com

Poor, Hispanic school focuses on test prep, sees huge gains on Virginia exams. But can it be replicated? | Moriah Balingit & T. Rees Shaprio | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A grim picture of academic performance was emerging at Carlin Springs Elementary. Fewer than half of the school’s third-graders had passed the reading and math portions of the Virginia Standards of Learning exam, and numbers for history and science weren’t much better.

Teachers pored over the data, dumbfounded.

“To get information like that back can be like a shock to your system,” said Mary Clare Moller, a literacy teacher at the Arlington, Va., school, reflecting on test results that came in after the 2012-2013 school year. “You’re just thinking, like, ‘But I taught this information. I don’t understand why the kids didn’t get it.’ ”

Moller and other third-grade teachers devised a strategy for the following fall: They led six weeks of daily test preparation lessons, tracked students’ progress with a new computer program and provided extra tutoring for students who seemed at risk of missing the mark.

Teaching to the test had remarkable results: While the rest of the school continued to flounder under Virginia’s tougher testing standards, Carlin Springs’ third-graders saw double-digit gains across the board, with passage rates between 70 percent and 79 percent in every subject.


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More Evidence That Public Beats Private in Education | Paul Buchheit | Truth-Out.org

More Evidence That Public Beats Private in Education | Paul Buchheit | Truth-Out.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In fact, except for the debilitating effects of poverty, our public school system may be the best in the world.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveal that the U.S. ranked high, relative to other OECD countries, in reading, math, and science (especially in reading, and in all areas better in 4th grade than in 8th grade). Some U.S. private schools were included, but a separate evaluation was done for Florida, in public schools only, and their results were higher than the U.S. average.

Perhaps most significant in the NCES reading results is that schools with less than 25% free-lunch eligibility scored higher than the average in ALL OTHER COUNTRIES.

What should be obvious to our legislators is apparently not. K-12 funding declined in 2011 for the first time since the Census Bureau began keeping records. A 2014 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that "States' new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less."

It gets worse. Numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. But the U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. And yet Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history.

The evidence for national improvement is staring us in the face, but the people in charge are ignoring facts and experience and turning instead to the corporate profit-seekers.


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Chinese Artist's Photos Weave Gorgeous Plaid Patterns | Jackie Dove | The Next Web

Chinese Artist's Photos Weave Gorgeous Plaid Patterns | Jackie Dove | The Next Web | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

There’s plaid — the pattern that most people are familiar with — featuring traditional tartan, tattersall, glen plaid, madras and gingham weaves.

Then, there’s arguably a completely alternative variation on the theme in a series of photographic collages by Beijing artist Zhang Bojun. Called “We,” it is derived from seven years of photographic outings on the streets of China.

Zhang shot street scenes that included thousands of people and eventually wove them into tapestries spanning three feet wide. When observed up close, they reveal those individuals in their own daily transit; from a distance, the whole bears an uncanny resemblance to classic plaid patterns.

The work is a commentary of the rigors of life in China, which the artist feels both a part of and an empathy with. Said the artist in a statement, “In the past 30 years the rapid developing speed of city which had never happened in the history of China before required much more immigrants to work in the city, so that many people moving back and forth like migratory birds.”

However its artistry also speaks to the technical compositing skills that Zhang demonstrates in the final product. Said the artist, “I started to separate people’s figure from photos, removed and match up them, which totally changed the initial motivation of taking their pictures.”


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Enabling Globalization: The Container | Seth Dixon | National Geographic

Enabling Globalization: The Container | Seth Dixon | National Geographic | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When you think of technology and globalization, does your tablet or smartphone come to mind?   While smartphones and tablets play a part in reshaping global economics and culture, the backbone of the modern global economy is actually something that goes unseen by most people, despite its size. In fact, this thing is so ordinary that we fail understand how it has helped to create the network of relationships that enable global corporations and individuals to forge transcontinental linkages.


Containers. The ships, railroads, and trucks that transport containers worldwide form the backbone of the global economy. The pace of globalization over the last sixty years has accelerated due to containers; just like canals and railroads defined earlier phases in the development of a global economy. While distance used to be the largest obstacle to regional integration, these successive waves of transportation improvements have functionally made the world a smaller place. Geographers refer to this as the Space-Time Convergence.

This video for students, part of a TED-ED lesson plan, nicely demonstrates the concept of globalization and how containers play a vital role in shipping goods around the world. Economies of scale rely on improved logistics.


While the video emphasizes the contributions of the individual inventor (Malcolm MacLean), the historical, economic, and geographic context meant that someone would have made this breakthrough—the modern world necessitated its invention. Today, there are even ships that are designed to ship other shipping ships (try to say that 3 times fast)!


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Japanese space agency uses worms to help understand bone loss in astronauts | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

Japanese space agency uses worms to help understand bone loss in astronauts | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Mankind is not built for life in space. This is one of the fundamental truths that we have been forced to come to terms with during the short period in which humanity has frequented low-Earth orbit. In an effort to better understand the detrimental effects of microgravity on the human body, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is conducting a pair of experiments centering around observing the tiny roundworm, Caenorhabditis Elegans.

Currently, astronauts are forced to undertake time-consuming workouts using specialized equipment on a daily basis during their time aboard the ISS, in an attempt to mitigate the detrimental effects of microgravity. However, regardless of the precautions taken, the average astronaut will return to Earth having suffered an average loss of one to two percent of overall bone mass for each month spent aboard the station.

Research is being carried out on a global scale to tackle the issue, with top scientific facilities such as ESA's Antarctic Concordia base conducting muscle loss studies, as well as educational institutions like King's College London developing skinsuits designed to simulate the effects of Earth's gravity.

Caenorhabditis elegans was chosen as the specimen for the study, as its physiology can be used as a small-scale model of the muscle and bone composition of larger animals such as human beings. At less than 1 mm in length, the round worm has a number of advantages over other live animal specimens – for example, the short life span of the species (roughly 2-3 weeks in a laboratory environment) allows astronauts to cultivate several generations whilst aboard the station.

JAXA hope to capitalize on this trait by observing how genetic adaptation to the microgravity environment prevailing on the ISS progresses on a cellular level from generation to generation.


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Revisiting Fouche: Redeployment & Makerspaces | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist

Revisiting Fouche: Redeployment & Makerspaces | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Redeployment is the process by which the material and symbolic power of technology is reinterpreted but maintains its traditional use and physical form, as with blues musicians extending the perceived capability of a guitar without altering it.

Scholar Rayvon Fouché’s theory about black vernacular technological creativity provided a framework for my research, especially to explain how African Americans acquire technological agency.


A few weeks ago, a BAA high school student came to the STEAM Lab with a sketch for a physics project that included a motion sensor that detected an object (fish) as it approached a worm. I sketched out more ideas and acquired a motion PIR (passive infrared) motion sensor that allows people to sense motion, such as detecting whether an object has moved in or out of the sensor’s range. We connected it to an Arduino Uno and LED light. Yesterday, she brought in her diorama and we successfully tested the sensor.


A few days ago, I read an article via the Huffington Post about the “last remaining old school blues musicians” in Mississippi. In the article, I discovered James “Super Chikan” Johnson, a blues musician and a visual artist. Johnson took lessons learned from his grandfather, who built instruments and made fishing lures, and he began building his own guitars and other instruments. He combined discarded guitar parts with old Army gas cans, creating “Chikantars,” fully playable guitars that he now plays at many of his performances.


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Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone | Donna St. George | WashPost.com

Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone | Donna St. George | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

“We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” Danielle said.

She said her son and daughter have previously paired up for walks around the block, to a nearby 7-Eleven and to a library about three-quarters of a mile away. “They have proven they are responsible,” she said. “They’ve developed these skills.”

The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world.


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The case against e-readers: Why reading paper books is better for your mind | Naomi Baron Blog | WashPost.com

The case against e-readers: Why reading paper books is better for your mind | Naomi Baron Blog | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You got an e-reader over the holidays. What should you load it up with?

Beach reads? Sure. “Ulysses”? Probably not.

We know a lot about the pros and cons of reading a hard-copy book vs. reading electronically. The problem is, many of us refuse to listen.

Don’t get me wrong: Digital reading has some real advantages. Ask people what they like most about reading on digital screens (a question I’ve put to several hundred university students in the United States, Germany, Japan and Slovakia), and you hear over and again about convenience: “easy to carry” and “compact.” We also know electronic texts (especially when they are open-access or donated) are vital for democratizing learning opportunities. Just look at projects like the Digital Public Library of America or Worldreader.

More points for digital reading: e-books tend to be cheaper than print versions (though outside America, tax structures sometimes complicate the comparison). There’s also the environmental argument. Think of the trees!


Yet the soundness of this case is arguable. The earth metals we’re using up to build e-readers and tablets are not just rare but highly toxic. And think about all that energy needed to run servers and cooling fans. And remember, trees are a renewable resource.


Then, there’s the appeal of a hard copy. What fascinates me is how many people – from teenagers to millennials to those of a certain age – prefer print when reading both for pleasure and for school or work. Drawing examples from my own research, some of the reasons are aesthetic (“charm of actually turning pages” and “scent of a new book”). Others involve a sense of accomplishment (“able to see how much I read”), ease of annotation (“I can write on the pages”), and navigation (“easy to locate where I was”). In contrast, I hear abundant complaints about eye strain and headaches when using screens.


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faith ward's curator insight, February 18, 1:15 PM

Authored by Naomi Baron to support her new book - Words Onscreen.

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FCC Commissioner to Tech Industry: It’s Time to Reinvent Textbooks, Teaching | Jason Shueh | GovTech.com

FCC Commissioner to Tech Industry: It’s Time to Reinvent Textbooks, Teaching | Jason Shueh | GovTech.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

On the heels of its Dec. 19 decision to raise Internet connectivity funding for schools by $1.5 billion, the Federal Communications Commission urged Silicon Valley to couple funding with innovative educational material.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke to the audience of tech entrepreneurs at Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters on Jan. 8, highlighting the FCC’s recent efforts and encouraging the digital disruption within teaching and the textbook industry. The event was hosted by the tech advocacy group CALinnovates.

“In the rest of the world, we have an infinite array of digital tools to change our civic and commercial lives. Yet somehow we’ve put up some barriers at the school doors,” Rosenworcel said. “It’s time we started inviting them in and wrestling with them and doing some good things.”

Rosenworcel described the textbook industry as “unimaginative,” and as a segment of suppliers ripe for change. As a market estimated at $17 billion and with price increases in the last decade at 800 percent, Rosenworcel said the industry’s services burden educators and students alike — average school districts only able to afford textbook purchases every seven to 10 years.

“I just think it’s crazy if we keep on doing what we’ve done before because the world and the job opportunities that are out there look remarkably different,” said Rosenworcel.

Citing more statistics to support her call to action, she observed that 50 percent of the jobs in the current economy require some level of digital skills. Based on trends, this estimation will grow to 77 percent in the next decade.

In response, she said textbooks might be supplanted with digital counterparts. Software, online platforms or apps that do more than just present the facts about a subject, but engage students on an interactive level. Astronomy might have virtual tours of the universe, biology an exploration of cell structure, and other curriculums similarly enhanced through digital devices and applications.

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Shankaran Sitarama's curator insight, January 17, 2:59 AM

It's about time. Long overdue. Overdue for disruption. Somebody, please disrupt.......

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Robot sub beats nets for discovering what lurks at the bottom of the sea | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com

Robot sub beats nets for discovering what lurks at the bottom of the sea | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Curious about what's living on the deep sea floor? Well, the Autosub6000 AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) is helping us find out. Led by Dr. Kirsty Morris, a team at the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has equipped one of the unmanned submarines with a high-resolution photographic system. As a result, it's claimed to be far more effective at identifying deep-sea life than the usual approach of scientific trawling.

Previously developed by NOC engineers, the Autosub6000 autonomously travels untethered along preprogrammed deep-sea routes, continuously mapping the sea floor as it does so. It can descend to a maximum of 6,000 meters (19,685 ft), staying under for up to 70 hours per charge of its lithium-polymer battery pack.

In this study, it's also continually shooting photos of the sea floor, with a downward-facing camera. Scientists subsequently analyze the images to identify the creatures in them, estimating the animals' size based on the number of pixels they take up.


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American independence in space: Ending reliance on the Soyuz spacecraft by 2017 | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

American independence in space: Ending reliance on the Soyuz spacecraft by 2017 | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The push to return manned launch capabilities to United States soil is bringing about an exciting period in the commercial space industry. September 2014 saw the awarding of the US Government's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, with both Boeing and SpaceX benefiting from a significant investment of US$6.8 billion. The contract has the ultimate goal of expediting the development and production of commercial spacecraft specializing in low-Earth orbit operations to the ISS.


But what were the driving factors behind the change, and how do the planned replacements match up to the capabilities and conditions of the long standing Soyuz program? Read on as we delve deeper into NASA's mission to end the nation's reliance on Russia by 2017.

For many years, the Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft has been the chosen (and really the only) option for astronauts traveling to and from the International Space Station (ISS) since the retirement of the space shuttle program. First entering service in 1967 as a competitor to the legendary US Apollo program, the Soyuz spacecraft's storied history is not without its blemishes. It has seen a number of fatalities, including the pilot of the first ever manned mission, Vladimir Komarov, who perished on descent due to a parachute deployment failure.


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Polyculturalist Visions, New Frameworks of Representation: Multiculturalism and the American Culture Wars | Nettrice Gaskins | ART21.org

Polyculturalist Visions, New Frameworks of Representation: Multiculturalism and the American Culture Wars |  Nettrice Gaskins | ART21.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Culture wars are intellectual, political, religious, and/or social conflicts over cultural pluralism in Western societies. Culture wars have polarized Americans over social issues such as race and representation, education, and, most importantly for this essay, multiculturalism.


In the United States, multiculturalism can be traced historically to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s. Following several decades of migration and immigration, multiculturalism then intersects with the culture wars of the 1980s and '90s. Jeff Chang argues that the "aesthetics of multiculturalism transformed American and global popular culture," continuing to say that the battles waged in the art world and beyond were "less celebrated, but the victories of the multiculturalism movement here were far more decisive."[1]


The notion of multiculturalism, as an issue inflaming the culture wars, has taken several turns over the years. This essay highlights several high-profile art exhibitions as sites of controversy, thereby examining the ongoing crisis of representation in cultural institutions.

Multiculturalism offered a distinct culture war fought over issues of exclusion and identity politics. The conservative climate in the United States government during the 1980s and 1990s set the stage for a series of battles concerning the position of underrepresented minorities in the arts. In the


1980s, emerging artists of color were trying to define a new aesthetics of representation. Chang describes this time as one of "creative ferment taking place in the avant-garde and in communities of color, where underground networks of galleries, theaters, nightclubs, and performance venues were fostering art defined by racial pride and militancy."[2]


In tandem with these creative acts, artists and activists also protested in galleries and on college campuses across the country. Cornel West argued that multiculturalism amounted to nothing less than a "new cultural politics of difference" [PDF] in which the impulse was to "trash the monolithic and homogenous in the name of diversity, multiplicity, and heterogeneity."[3] In other words, West was anticipating a society composed of diverse representations, realities, and points of view.

Fast forward to 2010, when Robin Pogrebin's article, "Brooklyn Museum's Populism Hasn't Lured Crowds," criticized museums for lowering their standards to create more diversity.


For me, this editorial called the underrepresentation of minorities in the arts into question, asking: How can and should we address cultural issues in institutions? I am opposed to multiculturalism, not for the reasons given by cultural conservatives, who want to preserve a certain institutional standard, but because I am not certain that it achieves the racial harmony to which it aspires.


Multiculturalism has been problematic in its divisiveness; after all, it does not necessarily reflect the way cultures influence each other. In fact, a number of cultural institutions are actively reconsidering the stakes of the term since it was first articulated decades ago. In what follows, I present a chronology that reflects the continual evolution of the movement, particularly through artists' advancements in technology.


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Shakirah Bryant's curator insight, February 8, 2:19 PM

Great insight on the current state of multiculturalism in America

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Roland Barthes, French Toys & STEAM Education | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist

Roland Barthes, French Toys & STEAM Education | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In Questlove’s How Hip-Hop Failed Black America, Part III: What Happens When Black Loses Its Cool? the musician/critic writes about black cool or the cool aesthetic in African (black) American culture- i.e. in hip-hop. The subject reminded me of scholar Robert Farris Thompson who put me onto Itutu, which literally translates as “cool” from the Yoruba language. His 1973 article An Aesthetic of the Cool describes the aesthetic that characterizes Yoruba and some African-American art forms. About midway through Questlove detours to explore Mythologies, an essay by Roland Barthes in which Barthes wrote famously about French toys in which he celebrated building blocks for sparking the creative impulse and damned other toys for doing the opposite:

The merest set of blocks, provided it is not too refined, implies a very different learning of the world: then, the child does not in any way create meaningful objects, it matters little to him whether they have an adult name; the actions he performs are not those of a user but those of a demiurge. He creates forms that walk, that roll; he creates life, not property. Objects now act by themselves; they are no longer an inert and complicated material in the palm of his hand. But such toys are rather rare: French toys are usually based on imitation; they are meant to produce children who are users, not creators.

As usual (for me), I heard bells ringing in my head, so I decided to respond with my own take on the cool aesthetic as a key aspect of creativity and innovation. This week I conducted a workshop at a nearby middle school. The students were/are predominantly African American, Asian and Latino (my target demographic). I presented a PowerPoint to the students to introduce concepts such as vision mapping, collage, language and/or communication, remixing, personal meaning, mathematics and design (e.g. rotation, symmetry).


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Tania Bruguera on her art, her detentions and what happens next | Carolina Miranda | LATimes.com

Tania Bruguera on her art, her detentions and what happens next | Carolina Miranda | LATimes.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera has never been one to shy away from controversy. But her attempt to stage a performance related to free speech in Havana's Revolution Square last week led to her being detained on multiple occasions. It also led to the detention of various other cultural figures and activists.

These incidents generated a condemnation from the U.S. State Department, as well as plenty of critical opinion pieces from art world figures on both sides of the U.S.-Cuba divide. (I've written a separate story about the general uproar the performance has caused.)

The thwarted piece, titled "Tatlin's Whisper #6," consists of a podium and a microphone which members of the public are allowed to use to express themselves for one minute each.


Interestingly, it had been staged once before in Havana without incident, for the Havana Biennial in 2009. For this edition, Bruguera wanted to take the piece to the Cuban capital's iconic Revolution Square — under the hashtag #YoTambienExijo (I Also Demand) — but was denied permission to do so.


Even so, she persisted, and announced that the performance would continue as planned. Hours before it was scheduled to happen, however, she was picked up by state security agents.

Much has been written about this case, but I was curious to hear from the artist — who lives and works primarily in the U.S. and Europe — herself. On Tuesday afternoon I managed to reach Bruguera by phone at her home in Havana, where she took time out for a lengthy chat. She discussed her detentions, the state of art in Cuba, the privileges her status as an international artist has afforded her and the art history lesson she gave to a member of the country's state police.

Here is a condensed and edited version of that conversation:


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Elise Atangana's curator insight, March 15, 4:07 PM

publish in january

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Cracking the "Ice-Breaker Project" Jinx | Raleigh Werberger Blog | Edutopia.org

Cracking the "Ice-Breaker Project" Jinx | Raleigh Werberger Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I'm lousy at creating first projects. I overthink everything, and as a result they all take longer than I want and rarely come to a meaningful conclusion. I once asked a ninth grade student what I should do instead, and he suggested assigning a small task that will make students feel successful -- and that will end before boredom or confusion sets in.

This year, I'm not teaching a project-based class, but I'm certainly incorporating elements of PBL into my classroom. I want to make sure that my students practice inquiry, collaboration, peer critique, and reflection, and that they'll always create with an authentic audience, purpose, and legacy in mind. Thus, I felt it was important to begin with a small project that wouldn't last more than a week, and would serve the following purposes:


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