Way back in the salad days of digital computing (the 1940s and '50s), computers were made of vacuum tubes -- big, hot, clunky devices that, when you got right down to it, were essentially glorified light bulbs. This is why early computers like the ENIAC weighed more than 27 tons and consumed more power than a small town. Later, obviously, vacuum tubes would be replaced by probably the greatest invention of all time -- the solid-state transistor -- which would allow for the creation of smaller, faster, cheaper, and more reliable computers. Fast forward to 2014, though, and the humble CMOS field-effect transistor (FET) is starting to show its age. We've pretty much hit the limit on shrinking silicon transistors any further, and they can't operate at speeds much faster than a few gigahertz. Which is why NASA's Ames Research Center is going back to the future with its new vacuum transistor -- a nanometer-scale vacuum tube that, in early testing, has reached speeds of up to 460GHz.
Ever heard of the Pacific garbage patch? It's one of several swirling trash zones in our oceans, and it's where a lot of our plastic litter ends up. While these debris patches aren't visible piles of floating trash in the water, the reality of what t...
The culmination of my quest for more powerful learning grounded in theory and research came when recently I conducted an experiment in pushing constructionism into the digital age.
Constructionism is based on two types of construction. First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experience in the world. People don’t get ideas; they make them. This aspect of construction comes from the constructivist theory of knowledge development by Jean Piaget. To Piaget’s concept, Papert added another type of construction, arguing that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that I had arrived at constructionism prior to knowing that such a theory even existed. I believe that thousands of other educators are unknowingly working within the constructionist paradigm as well. Although many within the Maker movement are aware that it has it’s roots in constructionism, the movement is gaining impressive momentum without the majority of Makers realizing that there is a strong theoretical foundation behind their work.
After I came to understand this connection between my practices and the supporting theoretical framework I was better able to focus and refine my practice. Even more importantly, I felt more confident and powerful in forging ahead with further experiments in the learning situations I design for my learners.
Even as they try to help the bees, people may inadvertently poison them by planting pesticide-laden plants purchased from big-box garden centers, suggests a new report.
More than half of ostensibly bee-friendly plants sampled at Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart garden centers contained high levels of neonicotinoids, which are considered highly toxic to bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators.
Scientists may soon create matter entirely from light, using technology that is already available to complete a quest 80 years in the making. The experiment would re-create events that were critical in the first 100 seconds of the universe and that...
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