LuAnne McNulty is an organic chemist. A few years ago, she developed severe asthma that's triggered by ... well ... organic chemistry. Not too long ago, that biological reaction would have put her out of a job. Today, she's able to conduct research (if not do it herself) and advise younger scientists with the help of really simple tech solutions
. — Maggie
Samantha Cook sez, "Hacker Scouts, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland CA, has launched a Kickstarter to fund a new hackerspace designed for kids and their families. Due to the increase in demand for their programs, Hacker Scouts is working with local partners to build a space that is practical and exciting where they can run classes and workshops, support outreach programs to Oakland's diverse community, and continue to prototype programs and activities that they release open source to the global community. Hacker Scouts has been successfully bringing STEAM Education and real, relevant skill building for over a year and have grown from one program in Oakland to over 30 programs all over the US. In order to continue the high level of individualized learning and mentorship, they need a space that matches their growth. Please support Hacker Scouts by donating and/or sharing this project. More information can be found on the Hacker Scouts website and on our Kickstarter page."
Hacker Scouts got written up here recently when the Boy Scouts of America threatened to sue them over the use of the word "scouts" in their name.
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Dungeons & Developers is a cute and useful "skill tree" in the style of an RPG levelling guide. It starts with basic HTML and works its way through various skills all the way to master Web developer. Each skill-box comes with links to free online tutorials and training materials, and the flowchart suggests a logical progression through all the varied topics.
Dungeons & Developers
(via Hacker News)
The University of California, Irvine is offering a free MOOC (massive open online course) about The Walking Dead. Titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,’” it's a multidisciplinary course taught by instructors from public health, social sciences, physics, and math.
“As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to make scholarly ideas come alive for my students,” says public health lecturer Zuzana Bic. “‘The Walking Dead’ provides many poignant case studies related to the scholarly areas covered in the course, and it helps that it’s one of TV’s most popular shows. There will be something for everyone in this course, which will explore concepts as varied as post- disaster nutrition, the foundations of human survival and stereotypes in a Darwinian environment.”
"AMC, Instructure and UCI to offer multidisciplinary MOOC based on ‘The Walking Dead’"
Anthropologist Jennifer Raff offers this great guide, aimed at laypersons
, that will help you learn more from reading the scientific research papers you find online and prevent you from succumbing to common mistakes that often show up in Internet flame wars. Step 1: Don't rely on the abstract to tell you what's going on — read the introduction first, instead. — Maggie
It's not too early to plan for next semester. John Hawks
, a fantastic science blogger and professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering a Coursera class on Human Evolution: Past and Future
. Seems like just the thing for curious Happy Mutants! — Maggie
Did you know that Donald Trump operates an institution of higher education?
The New York State attorney general’s office filed a civil lawsuit on Saturday accusing Trump University, Donald J. Trump’s for-profit investment school, of engaging in illegal business practices.The lawsuit, which seeks restitution of at least $40 million, accused Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization and others involved with the school of running it as an unlicensed educational institution from 2005 to 2011 and making false claims about its classes in what was described as “an elaborate bait-and-switch.”
It had a logo with a classy serif font and a heraldic lion and everything. The lion, according to Wikipedia, traditionally symbolizes bravery, valor, strength, and royalty, as it is regarded as the king of beasts.
The Hacker Scouts is an organization "that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education, skill building and community engagement with the aspiration to help our children develop skills in the areas they are truly interested in, abilities that would allow them to dream big and create big." They filed for a trademark on the name "Hacker Scouts" and got a legal threat from lawyers for the Boy Scouts of America. After a protracted back-and-forth by mail, the Hacker Scouts have gone public, because the BSA won't soften its position: call yourselves the ____________ Scouts, and we'll sue.
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If you thought Google deleting your ebooks when you cross a border is unreasonable, check this out: Amazon's textbook rental service comes with fine-print that allows the company to bill your credit card for the full amount if they think you've crossed a state line with it. It's not clear exactly what's going on here, but all signs point to this being part of Amazon's strategy for avoiding having to pay state sales-tax.
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In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes a long, in-depth look at the scandal of student loans and tuition hikes, a two-headed parasite sucking America's working class and middle class dry as they plunge their children into a lifetime of ballooning debt in the vain hope of a better, college-educated future. The feds keep backing student loans, and the states keep cutting university funding, so the difference is made up by cranking up tuition and shifting the burden to future grads. Meanwhile, the laws that prohibit discharging student debt in bankruptcy, combined with ballooning default penalties (your $30K debt can rocket to $120K if you have a heart-attack and are bedridden and can't make payments) and the most ruthless, unsupervised, criminal collection agencies means that tens of millions of Americans are trapped in a nightmare that never ends -- student debt being the only debt that can be taken out of your Social Security check. Matt Taibbi is a national treasure, and Rolling Stone does us all a service by keeping him working.
If this piece moves you and you want to learn more, Don't miss "Generation of Debt," an important pamphlet on the subject from UC students.
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Survey participants were asked to assign importance to various criteria, including grades, in university admissions. Merit scored well among white participants. But...
When asked about "leadership" as an admissions criterion, white ranking of the measure went up in importance when respondents were informed of the Asian success in University of California admissions.
"Sociologists have found that whites refer to 'qualifications' and a meritocratic distribution of opportunities and rewards, and the purported failure of blacks to live up to this meritocratic standard, to bolster the belief that racial inequality in the United States has some legitimacy," Samson writes in the paper. "However, the results here suggest that the importance of meritocratic criteria for whites varies depending upon certain circumstances. To wit, white Californians do not hold a principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit."
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) has introduced legislation that would cut off funding to schools whose zero tolerance policies lead them to punish children for brandishing pastries in the manner of a gun, for making gun-fingers and saying "bang" (or similar), for pointing pretend guns that are smaller than 2" in length, drawing a picture of a gun, making a gun out of legos or pencils or whatnot, or wearing a t-shirt "that supports Second Amendment rights."
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Seekers Unlimited's $8,000 Kickstarter is raising funds to update their classroom live-action role-playing games to adhere to the new Common Core State Standards. The group is a 501(c)3 charity whose games already comply with California Science Scholastic Standards for the 8th grade, but they need funds to bring the games up to date. Their LARPs don't require computers and involve a lot of running around and active learning and their board includes the headmaster of a Danish school where all the curriculum is LARP-based. A $25 contribution gets you a PDF of one of their games.
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MIT's report on its involvement in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz (PDF) has been published. The report does not apportion any blame to the university for Swartz's prosecution, stating the the university operated as a "neutral party."
Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Aaron's partner, vigorously disputes the report's findings, calling it a whitewash, pointing out that MIT provided significant aid to the federal prosecutors who chased Aaron over downloading technical aritcles (which he was entitled to see) from its network, but refused to supply the same documents to the defense team, who desperately needed them. This makes MIT's claim of "neutrality" ring false.
Further, Larry Lessig has posted some preliminary thoughts on MIT's position, pointing out that it turned on a question of authorized or unauthorized access, and that the report says MIT never told the prosecutors that Aaron's access was "unauthorized," suggesting that the prosecutors knew they had no case.
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When schools adopt "zero tolerance" policies and treat rule infractions as crimes, they often bring in actual police officers to serve as in-house security, and the entire student body become perps-in-waiting. Tim Cushing's litany of police overreach in schools includes a third-grader and a fifth-grader who were subjected to intimidating interrogation by a police officer over the alleged theft of one dollar; arrests for students who participated in a water-balloon fight at the end of the school year; felony charges for putting a joke in the school yearbook; arrests for flatulence; a cop who slammed a 10-year-old's head into a table so hard he got a concussion -- because the student was not at music class; and a diabetic student who was beaten by the school cop for falling asleep in class.
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