Rama from Autodesk sez, "Autodesk, the design software company you probably know from AutoCAD also makes entertainment software used to make movies, TV shows and video games -- stuff like the Iron Man movies, Man of Steel, Game of Thrones and The Last of Us made a big announcement this morning. The group adopted the Creative Commons licensing which means 20,000 pages of documentation, 70 videos and 140 downloadable 3D asset files are now ready to be modified, remixed and shared globally. On the YouTube learning channels for their Maya and 3ds Max software, their iTunes podcasts, and their help pages, youâ€™ll see the Creative Commons tag for easy identification. And itâ€™s just the beginning, Autodesk said soon all Autodesk online help, learning channel movies, podcasts, support articles and downloadable materials will be placed under the Creative Commons model -- even their Autodesk University training content past and future. It's a bold move to open up their intellectual property for digital artists everywhere"
Autodesk takes great pride in offering high-quality resources that support the pursuit of lifelong learning, supplement classroom materials, and contribute to digital community development. Many of these great resources are now licensed to you under Creative Commons because we believe that learning should be free, open, and shared widely around the world! Look for the Creative Commons tags in our online help, learning channel movies, podcasts, support articles and downloadable materials. More content to come soon…
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And that's true even if the savings account doesn't have enough money
in it to cover a full degree — or even a semester. A study from Washington University in St. Louis has attributed this effect to aspirations. A kid who grows up knowing that their parents and others expect high education — and who grows up thinking about higher ed as an option for them — is more likely to go. That makes sense to me. Anecdotally, my grandparents sold a cow when I was born and put the money into a savings bond college fund. It wasn't much when I turned 18. But it was part of creating a family culture that made college something I planned on doing. The catch to this idea, of course, is the rising cost of college. I was lucky enough to attend school in a time and place (1999, Kansas) where my freshman year only cost me about $2000 a semester. — Maggie
Spotted at Comic-Con: Spectra, a series of well-done, smart comics about physics from the nonprofit American Physical Society. The art is great, the content is great, and leads to good, illuminating experiments you can do with household objects. They're free downloads, along with supplementary classroom materials, and you order signed hardcopies, too.
Spectra: Comic Books
r00tz is the amazing kid-track of programming at DEFCON, the giant hacker conference held annually in Las Vegas. The organizers have created a "code of conduct" for young hackers that is good advice for anyone doing infosec work, or exploring computers and systems:
The Internet is a small place. Word gets around, fast. Follow these rules at all times:
- Only hack things you own
- Do not hack anything you rely on
- Respect the rights of others
- Know and respect the law
- Find a safe playground (One always exists. If you don’t have support from your parents, get their permission to find an adult who will support you.)
There's more, but it's short and sweet. Go read it. The final statement, "r00tz is about creating a better world. You have the power and responsibility to do so. Now go do it! We are here to help you" sums it up nicely.
r00tz Asylum | About
Ed Felten comments on the news that MIT has moved to delay the release of the Secret Service files on Aaron Swartz:
It seems unlikely that MIT will find information redactable under FOIA that hasn’t already been redacted by the Secret Service.
But there are two things that MIT’s filing will more likely achieve. First, it will delay the disclosure of facts about MIT’s role in the Swartz investigation. Second, it will help MIT prepare its public-relations response to whatever is in the documents.
Read the rest
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- tireless free speech crusaders who fight for comics' legitimacy -- commissioned a great educational resource about comics' role in literacy called Raising a Reader (PDF).
This new resource is written by Dr. Meryl Jaffe, with an introduction by three-time Newbery Award honoree Jennifer L. Holm (Babymouse, Squish) and art by Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama) and Eisner Award nominee Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Squish). Raising A Reader! was made possible by a grant from the Gaiman Foundation.
You can get print-ready digital files from the Foundation, and they'll have print copies at at San Diego Comic-Con.
CBLDF Releases RAISING A READER, a Resource for Parents and Educators
Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside) is a former high-school teacher, and he put his paper-marking skills to good use redlining a letter to GOP Speaker Boehner's trying to scare legislators off of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. It's a devastating bit of snark. Be sure you click through for page 2.
A draft letter by Republican members to Speaker Boehner is circulating congress looking for cosigners.
(via Hacker News)
Dance In a Year documents Karen's year-long dance training (see the accompanying and inspiring timelapse video). Basically, she danced all the time, wherever she was, until she got really, really good at it. She also applied the same technique to learning design, and landed a good job as a designer as well. She has lots of motivational and inspiring tips for getting good at something; step one is to be totally obsessed, which is great advice, but hard to pull off on demand.
Record videos of yourself dancing. I know, it's awkward, especially when you're just starting out. I can't stress this enough, though.
You'll see things in the videos you didn't catch in the mirror. You'll think you danced well, and then you'll watch it back and be mortified. Embrace those moments — that's when the learning happens. Where do you look stiff? What could you be moving more? Carefully watch videos of the pros. What are they doing differently?
Dance in a Year
In 1940, my grandmother graduated from the Central High School of Commerce in Toronto. As a condition of graduating, she had to write a book-length thesis project, and hers was called "RADIO," and was a history of radio to date, with emphasis on its applications to business. My grandmother pulled this out at a family gathering last year, and I passed it on to Bobby Glushko, who was working with Hathi Trust at the time on a book-scanning project (he's since landed a plum gig at the University of Toronto), and he arranged to have the book scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive under a CC-BY-SA license. I think it's a fascinating read, especially considering my grandmother wrote it when she was 17 years old.
Syracuse University makes its own lava by melting down hunks of basalt. Then, they give school kids the opportunity to toast marshmallows over the top of the fiery goo
. — Maggie
The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics is a new book by Grady Klein and Alan Dabney that is a top-notch introductory grounding in statistical concepts told through a series of witty, funny cartoons that relate stats to everything from fish populations to alien opinion surveys. This is a very introductory text, and it assumes that you know nothing about stats -- not even why you'd want to know more about the subject. The book tackles both the task of providing a grounding in statistical concepts (mean/median, standard deviation, null hypothesis, random sampling, confidence intervals, etc) and explaining in clear and exciting ways why you'd care about any of this stuff.
The authors do a great job of conveying the source material in clear, stepwise fashion, and made the wise decision to put the equations at the back of the book in an appendix called "The Math Cave." They don't delve deeply into any intermediate subjects like assessing correlation (for this, I highly recommend 1993's The Cartoon Guide to Statistics by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith, about which I can't say enough great and enthusiastic things), but that's probably a wise tactical decision. Confining the material to basics makes the whole work into an unqualified success.
The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics
I posted in 2011 about the Digi-Comp I, a 1963 mechanical digital computer made of polystyrene and used to teach the fundamentals of boolean logic, binary, and computer programming. I'd just discovered that Evil Mad Scientist Labs sells a wooden version of its successor, the Digi-Comp II, which uses a pachinko-style marble-run to do the same thing (the Evil version is CNC-milled and laser-cut). They call it a "Rolling-Ball Binary Digital Mechanical Computer." It is both beautiful and very clever indeed.
Overall, it is slightly smaller than the original (mid 1960′s) Digi-Comp II, which used half-inch diameter glass marbles. Rather than marbles, we’ve opted for pachinko balls, which are shiny steel balls 11 mm (about 7/16") in diameter. Using the smaller size has allowed us to reduce some of the feature sizes, and reduce the overall size of the machine from 14×28.5″ to 10×24", while retaining all of the original functions and remaining finger-friendly.
The Digi-Comp II: First Edition is CNC carved from rock-solid half-inch hardwood plywood, laser-engraved to provide it with labels, and hand fitted with over 60 laser-cut parts. It comes assembled, tested, and ready to use.
It sells for $279.
Digi-Comp II: First Edition
David Hunter sez, "I'm a public school teacher and last year I created Zombie-Based Learning, a standards-based curriculum that uses a zombie apocalypse to get kids into learning geography. The last Kickstarter was successful and a lot of fun. Now I'm working on the comic that goes with ZBL. This comic will help engage kids, teach real-world geographic concepts, and encourage readers to work on their zombie-survival skills."
I wrote up David's earlier (and just plain wonderful) effort last year; this is a great-looking Kickstarter.
Zombie-Based Learning comic books: Dead Reckon
Danielle Powell had nearly finished her Bachelor's Degree at Omaha's Grace University when the school administration found out that she was a lesbian. They outed her to her family and fellow students and suspended her (Grace is a religious school, which requires that its students abstain from "sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts"). During her suspension, they made extensive queries to discover if she was still involved in same-sex relationships, and on discovering that she was, they did.
Powell has attempted to finish her degree at another university, but Grace refuses to provide her transcripts unless she pays back about $6,000 in merit scholarships that she received from the institution. Powell's wife has started a petition to get the university to provide Powell's transcripts and forgive the "debt."
"They were doing a witch hunt," Powell said, "calling around to see if I was in a same-sex relationship."
James told Powell in a letter, a copy of which was provided to HuffPost, that she was being "deceitful" and said it would be "unethical" for the university to readmit her since it "would be impossible for the faculty of Grace University to affirm your Christian character, a requirement for degree conferral."
By October 2012, as Powell was looking into attending another college, she said she was told that Grace would only transfer the credits from her three and a half years if she paid a $6,300 tuition bill from the semester during which she was suspended for being gay. The university denies they have withheld her transcripts, but Powell said she's only been offered a student copy she cannot use to transfer.
Danielle Powell, Grace University Student Kicked Out For Being Lesbian, Must Repay Thousands: [Tyler Kingkade/HuffPo]
Boys from Brett Wierzbicki's Sophmore Honors English class at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary
in Queens, NY have been reading my novel Little Brother
and Brett gave them the option of doing a book-remix instead of a traditional book-report. All told, they produced seven absolutely terrific remixes of the book, and they were good enough to send them all along for me to share