Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Student startups trade sleep for possibility

Student startups trade sleep for possibility Julian Guthrie, SFGate
Stanford senior Stephen Sebro hasn't been getting much sleep. His coursework is intense, graduation is looming and then there's the matter of launching a startup from his dorm room.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NEW! The Choice: College Admissions Blog

The Choice

Making a college list, filing applications, and marshaling the resources to afford an education can be intimidating. But it need not be. Join Jacques Steinberg, New York Times education writer and author of “The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College,’’ as he and his colleagues examine all facets of the college admissions process. You can reach Mr. Steinberg by sending e-mail to thechoice@nytimes.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Lit 032909

More Book Autopsies from Brian Dettmer

"Dord is one of the most famous errors in lexicography, an accidental creation of the G. and C. Merriam Company's staff included in the second edition of its New International Dictionary, in which the term is defined as "density". " (from Wikipedia: Dord)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Arts 032809

A Is for Artwork That Lures Bronx Schoolchildren to New Libraries By RANDY KENNEDY, NYTimes
A foundation has helped build dozens of libraries, some decorated by well-known artists, in schools in poor areas. Slide Show: The Art on the Library Walls

A Master’s in Paul-Is-Definitely-Not-Dead By ALLAN KOZINN, NYTimes
Probably the oddest thing about a university’s decision to offer the first degree in Beatles studies was that it took so long to hit on the idea.

Portrait of an Artist as an Avatar By SARA CORBETT, NYTimes
How a struggling Boston painter finally found success through his alter ego -- a hip, virtual-world art-scene maker.

High School Musical Actors Envision Being Rising Stars By TAMMY LA GORCE, NYTimes
New Jersey high schools are in the midst of March madness — a term school theater directors use to describe the frenzied preparation for spring productions. 2 Rms, 1 Bth, Maybe Homework By CAROLINE H. DWORIN, NYTimes
Renting a room at the School of Visual Arts dorm during the summer entitles lease holders to a free continuing education class.

College’s Lennon Center Expanding Its Offerings By AILEEN JACOBSON, NYTimes
The John Lennon Center for Music and Technology at Five Towns College will be offering more in the way of student performances and other public programs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Science Friday 032709

Kids Sing A Made Up Song About Netiquette The Darndest Things

While chatting, first greet happily / Use polite words in a cordial way /
During the game always be open, honest and do the right thing /Be careful on
the keyboard / I know who did it (be careful) / I know I am the internet
guardian angel / I will be the first to protect / I want to be the first to
protect / Though faces are unknown, it's a warm neighborhood / Precious Internet
friend / Precious Internet friend (friend!) / Netiquette

The Inner Beauty of a McNugget: A Cultural Scan By AMANDA SCHAFFER, NYTimes
An artist-turned-medical-student is using CT scanners to peer into the meat and guts of cultural icons like the Big Mac, Barbie and the iPhone. Slide Show: Inside Art

The Puzzle of 100 Hats by John Tierny, NYTimes
One hundred persons will be lined up single file, facing north. Each person will be assigned either a red hat or a blue hat. No one can see the color of his or her own hat. ...Beginning with the last person in line, and then moving to the 99th person, the 98th, etc., each will be asked to name the color of his or her own hat. If the color is correctly named, the person lives; if incorrectly named, the person is shot dead on the spot...Your assignment: Develop a plan that allows as many people as possible to live. Hint for 100-Hat Puzzle

Recovered Pieces of Asteroid Hold Clues to Early History By KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes
For the first time, scientists have tracked an asteroid headed for Earth, watched it explode in the atmosphere, and studied remnants found on the ground.
TierneyLab: Sky Falls, Who Cares?

Polluters, Beware: These Eco-Police Officers Are for Real By MIREYA NAVARRO, NYTimes
Officers with the State Department of Environmental Conservation have become more prominent as awareness of pollution’s role in global warming has grown.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

History Thursday 032609

Five articles from National Geographic:

Peking Man Lived 200,000 Years Earlier Than Thought
The early humans in China may have lived 200,000 years earlier than thought—which would put the subspecies in a food-rich place and time and could change out-of-Africa theories.

Ancient Cult Chapels, Egyptian Noblewoman's Tomb Found
A 3,000-year-old tomb complex—including cult chapels and the remains of a noblewoman—has been uncovered in Egypt, archaeologists announced.

Horse Taming, Milking Started in Kazakhstan
People on the steppes of what is now Kazakhstan were the first to domesticate horses and even used them for milk, new evidence suggests.

Sinkhole Holds 12,000-Year-Old Clues to Early Americans
Underwater archaeologists in Florida have discovered secrets from a time when wooly mammoths, giant sloths, and huge tortoises roamed a landscape quite different from today's sunshine state.

Cooking Gave Humans Edge Over Apes?
Cooking made early humans' food easier to digest, making them more energy-efficient and spurring evolutionary changes we're still grappling with, researchers suggest.
February 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fixing Grades? Why Are We Not Surprised?

Fixing Grades? Why Are We Not Surprised? By PETER APPLEBOME, NYTimes
It’s not exactly startling that the grade doctoring that occurred at Fort Lee High School happened in our general environs, ground zero for the admissions hysteria.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

American students need to pick up the pace

American students need to pick up the pace, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Made in the USA" doesn't have the international cachet it once had. James Bond turned in his Aston Martin for a BMW, not a Cadillac. Your beloved flat-screen TV was probably manufactured in mainland China, like your kids' toys. Your children's clothes? Probably made in India. But there's one product made in the USA that is still highly respected: a college education.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big Changes on the Way in Lending to Students

Big Changes on the Way in Lending to Students By JONATHAN D. GLATER, NYTimes
The Obama administration outlined a vast overhaul of financial aid programs for college students, one that would end years of federal support to banks and other lenders.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Lit 032209

The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now State of the Art By DAVID POGUE, NYTimes While the changes in the new Kindle are fairly minor, they’re exactly what was needed to turn a very good electronic book reader into an even better one.
Times Topics: Amazon Kindle
Video: The Kindle 2 e-Reader

In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update By MOTOKO RICH, NYTimes School librarians are increasingly teaching digital skills, but they often become the first casualties of budget crunches.
Video: The 21st-Century Librarian

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Arts 032109

A NYTimes Special Section: Museums

Wish You Were Here By CAROL VOGEL, NYTimes
Yoga programs and bike nights may not be your typical museum fare, but in these rough economic times, museums are pushing for innovative ways to attract visitors and connect with audiences.

When the Gallery Is a Classroom By DOROTHY SPEARS, NYTimes
The Obama administration poised to support arts education with increased financing and museums nationwide are eager to align themselves with those efforts.

They Didn’t Love Lucy By WILLIAM YARDLEY, NYTimes
At the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, fossils of the famous female hominid whose discovery altered the study of human history fail to attract museum crowds.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Science Friday 032009

Computer Science Programs Make a Comeback in Enrollment By JOHN MARKOFF, NYTimes
For the first time in six years, enrollment in computer science programs in the United States increased last year.

The Fall and Rise of the Right Whale By CORNELIA DEAN, NYTimes
SUNNIER DAYS A North Atlantic right whale and calf off Florida. The whale remains endangered, but its population has more than tripled in a century. Researchers say the right whale offers proof that simple conservation steps can have a big impact, even for species driven to the edge of oblivion.
Audio Slide Show: A Slow Comeback for the Right Whale

In One Ear and Out the Other By NATALIE ANGIER, NYTimes
Why the best jokes are the most difficult to remember.

Accepting the Risks in Creating Confident Doctors By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.
Both medical students and patients seem to understand that a lot of practice, sprinkled with a few errors, is necessary to make a medical expert.

Blobs in Photos of Mars Lander Stir a Debate: Are They Water? By KENNETH CHANG, NYtimes
Several photographs taken by NASA’s Phoenix Mars spacecraft show what look like water droplets clinging to one of its landing struts.
Scientist at Work

From Bipolar Darkness, the Empathy to Be a Doctor By ELISSA ELY, M.D., NYTimes
Dr. Alice W. Flaherty uses the racing mind of her manic phases to drive her ideas into forceful, highly personal treatments.

The Conficker Worm: April Fool's Joke or Unthinkable Disaster?
The sophisticated Conficker worm, which has infected millions of computers worldwide, will activate on April 1. But what will it actually do?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

History Thursday 031909

Bay Area students in U.S. Senate Youth Program, SFGate
Two Bay Area high school seniors will serve as California's delegates to the week-long U.S. Senate Youth Program

Celebrating Lincoln, NYTimes
Exhibits for Lincoln celebrating the bicentennial year of his birth have sprouted all over the United States. Photographs

A Story of Two Presidents
The "Abraham Lincoln in New York" exhibit is at the Federal Hall National Memorial, where George Washington was sworn in as president on April 30, 1789. Jonathan Mann, one of the curators, discusses the exhibit. This panorama consists of many individual photographs taken over a short period of time and stitched together into a single image. Click and drag your mouse over the image to move your view in any direction.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scientists Fear Visa Trouble Will Drive Foreign Students Away

Scientists Fear Visa Trouble Will Drive Foreign Students Away By CORNELIA DEAN, NYTimes
Foreign students are having a difficult time obtaining permission to study in the United States.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finding Her Voice When She Needed It

Finding Her Voice When She Needed It By HUBERT B. HERRING, NYTimes
In the world of college visits, one in particular was the strangest: when Ms. Wallflower Jekyll morphed into Ms. Prima Donna Hyde.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Remade in America: Where Education and Assimilation Collide

Remade in America: Where Education and Assimilation Collide By GINGER THOMPSON, NYTimes
A record influx of immigrants has put classrooms on the front lines of America’s battles over whether and how to assimilate the newcomers and their children.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Lit 031509

Big Think: Conversation with Elizabeth Alexander
The poet discusses language and racial identiy and what makes a good poem. Join the conversation at Big Think. Also see Elizabeth Alexander's website.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SAT March 2009 (Sentence Completion Update)

Happy Pi Day!

Week (0r Two) Before the Test

  • Gather all your completed SAT Practice Tests into ONE pile.
  • Review a completed test every evening before the Night Before the SAT Test.
  • Look-up any difficult vocabulary.
  • Note how you used POE (Process of Elimination) to get the right answers.
  • Analyze your wrong answers, and adjust your POE.
The Night Before the Test
  • Don't cram for the SAT!
  • Follow you normal Friday Night Homework routine.
  • Go to bed early.

Day of the Test:
  • Wake up fifteen minutes early to focus your thoughts.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Bring Student ID
  • Bring pencils, calculators, ear plugs, water, energy bar, etc.
  • Arrive early--use the spare time to encourage yourself and your friends to do your best.

During the Test

  • Stand up and stretch!


  • Read the Prompt
  • Read the Quote
  • Read the Prompt again.
  • Think for 1 minute (don't write).
  • Brainstorm. Focus, focus, focus your examples. Organize. (2 minutes)
  • Write (20 min)
  • Intro Paragraph:
  • Thesis plus preview of your examples
  • 3 body paragraphs. Topic sentence plus 3-4 sentences of concrete detail.
  • Transition between paragraphs.
  • Conclusion.
  • Fix errors and upgrade vocabulary (2 min).

Writing Section

  • The Fist of No Error (see sidebar)

Critical Reading

  • POE (process of elimination)
  • Avoid answers that are too extreme (narrow, general, always/never, etc)

Sentence Completion--1 Blank (new)

  • Cover the answers.
  • Read the sentence.
  • Note trigger words (ex: conjunctions, prefixes, modifiers, negation) which change the meaning of the sentence.
  • Read the sentence again, substituting your own word in the blank.
  • Match your choice with the supplied answer choices.
  • Not sure of the meaning? Look at the root--is similar the root similar to the root of a word that you know?
  • Use POE to target the correct answer.
  • Yes, the word you don't know can be the correct choice.

Sentence Completion--2 Blanks (new)

  • Cover the answers.
  • Read the sentence.
  • Note trigger words (ex: conjunctions, prefixes, modifiers, negation) which change the meaning of the sentence.
  • Read the sentence again, substituting your own word in the blank.
  • Uncover the first column of words. Match them with your choice in the first blank (two answers should be retained, the other three should be dismissed).
  • Not sure of the meaning? Look at the root--is similar the root similar to the root of a word that you know?
  • Uncover the second column of words. Match them with your choice in the second blank (the target choices in the 1st blank are usually synonyms of each other; and the second blank is usually opposite of each other; OR the target choices in the 1st blank are antonyms of each other and the second blank is are synonyms).
  • Remember: there is only one correct answer!).

Long Passage

  • Read the blurb (who? what? where? when?)
  • Skim & underline for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)
  • Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer the questions via POE

Dual Passages

Dual Passage--Intro

  • Draw a Venn Diagram
  • Read the blurb (who? what? where? when? audience? type of text?)
  • Fill out the Venn Diagram

Dual Passage--Passage 1

  • Skim & underline the First Passage for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the First Passage Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)
  • Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer First Passage questions ONLY via POE
  • Skip all Second Passage and Dual Passage Questions

Dual Passage--Passage 2

  • Skim & underline the Second Passage for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the Second Passage Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer Passage 2 questions ONLY via POE
  • Skip all Dual Passage Questions

Dual Passage--Dual Passage Questions

  • Update Venn Diagram (tone +/-) (note if there is a switch in tone/argument)
  • Answer Dual Passage questions via POE
  • Finish!

After the Test

  • Pi is never ends, but you have just completed the SAT.
  • Don't just go home--debrief over pie or pizza.
  • Go on to your next task!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Pink Friday, March 13, 2009

The state Capitol was all a-glow on the eve of Pink Friday

California's public schools (K-12, Continuation, and Adult schools), colleges and universities are facing more than $11 billion in state budget cuts. These cuts are going to impact EVERYONE: students, teachers, and administrators; children, adults, and seniors; the able-bodied and differently-abled; the public and private sector; citizens and immigrants.

TODAY - Friday, March 13 - is the deadline for school districts to issue preliminary pink slips to California's teachers. As of this morning, more than 26,500 teachers had received these preliminary notices. Please join us today and Stand Up for Schools.

KPIX Video

Science Friday 031309

Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary By DUFF WILSON, NYTimes
More than 200 Harvard Medical School students and sympathetic faculty are intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories.
Pfizer Worker Photographed Protesters at Harvard

Spacecraft Seeks Earth-Like Planets By DENNIS OVERBYE, NYTimes
A new spacecraft is looking for the tiny blips in starlight caused by planets eclipsing their suns.

Obama Reversing Stem Cell Limits Bush Imposed By DAVID STOUT and GARDINER HARRIS, NYTimes
The president’s action, which will carry out a campaign pledge, involves a long-controversial intersection of science and personal moral beliefs.

Earlier Date Suggested for Horse Domestication By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD, NYTimes
Bones and artifacts indicate a date of around 3500 B.C., a millennium earlier than previously thought.

Seeking to Dazzle Urbanites With the Stars By JEREMY SMERD, NYTimes
Two unrelated projects hope to temporarily darken parts of Manhattan to provide a rare glimpse of the night sky.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

History Thursday 031209

On KQED TV: Pure Magic: The Mother-Daughter Bond
profiles Katherine Cheng—who came to the United States from
China as a young university student—and her four adult daughters.

KQED proudly celebrates the richness and diversity of the greater San Francisco Bay Area by commemorating Women's History Month. In March, KQED Public TV 9 and Public Radio 88.5 FM schedule a special lineup of programs focused on themes and issues related to women.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Colleges Sweat Out Admissions This Year

Colleges Sweat Out Admissions This Year By KATE ZERNIKE, NYTimes
Facing a new financial landscape, colleges are struggling to figure out how many students to accept, and how many students will accept them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big U.S. Role in Lending to Students

Big U.S. Role in Lending to Students By JONATHAN D. GLATER, NYTimes
The government has increased its support of the student loan market so much that there is a question of whether there is a role for private lenders at all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

SFGate on Education & the Stimulus Package

On Education Spending / Facts, not faith, SFGate
President Obama's massive education initiative detailed in his proposed budget aims at the right...

How stimulus offers more college financial aid, SFGate
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. the stimulus act, provides more money for college...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day 2009

UNHCR video for International Women's Day 2009:
Men and Women United for Gender Equality.

Equality is a Journey.

The Journey Begins...

With Me

With You

With Us.

Sunday Lit 030809

Happy International Women's Day!

Here are ten of the many, many online feminist literary resources.

A Conversation With Toni Morrison - Video Library
The author discusses her new novel and the election of Barack Obama with Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the Book Review. (Video)

'A Jury of Her Peers' By ELAINE SHOWALTER Reviewed by KATIE ROIPHE, NYTimes
Elaine Showalter examines the lives and works of 250 female writers.

BlogHer is the leading community and media network for women who blog.

Feminist Majority: Literature
Links to books, stores, and other online resources.

Ms. Magazine
Ms. features in-depth investigative reporting and feminist political analysis.

Sisters In Crime: World-Wide Organization for Women Writing Mysteries
The purpose of Sisters in Crime is "To combat discrimination against women in the mystery field, educate publishers and the general public as to inequities in the treatment of female authors, raise the level of awareness of their contributions to the field, and promote the professional advancement of women who write mysteries."

Wikipedia: List of Women Writers

Wikipedia: List of Women Poets

WisCon is the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world. WisCon encourages discussion, debate and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Arts 030709--HIP HOP!!!

China's Underground Hip-Hop Movement
Underground Chinese hip-hop, which is growing in popularity among students and working-class Chinese, is a profitless, and often subversive, activity for its practitioners. (Video)

Wikipedia: Chinese Hip-Hop

More hip-hop:

Edith Mirante on fighting the power and keeping Burma in your heart.

RZA: Hip Hop and Chess NYTimes
RZA, a founder of the pioneering rap group Wu-Tang Clan, is also a chess champion. (Video)

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style NYTimes
A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youths in Cambodia. Video

Hmong Hip-Hop Heritage NYTimes
Tou Saiko Lee, a rapper from Minnesota, keeps his Hmong heritage alive through a mix of hip-hop and ancient traditions. (Video)

So you think they can break-dance? By Jeff Chang, Salon.com
Forget the Bronx and South Central. If you want to find the best hip-hop dancers in the world look farther east, to South Korea.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Science Friday 030609

In honor of March 8--International Women's Day...
In ‘Geek Chic’ and Obama, New Hope for Lifting Women in Science By NATALIE ANGIER, NYTimes
Some scientists say that now is the time to tackle the problem of attracting more women into the fold, and keeping them once they are there.January 20, 2009

Slide Show: Darwin’s Endless Forms
Images from the exhibition “Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts” at the Yale Center for British Art. Related Review

Interactive Feature: On Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’
Evolutionary biologists and historians of science comment on Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009

History Thursday 030509

Opening the White House
The White House can be inaccessible, but there's an intense effort under way to open the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to a variety of people. Video

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some Colleges Will Cut Anything but Aid

Some Colleges Will Cut Anything but Aid By KATE ZERNIKE, NYTimes
Many smaller schools depend on full enrollment, and they are anxious to attract top students. Ithaca College, above, cut its budget even as it increased financial aid.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day!

Happy Square Root Day!
Today is 3/3/09 -- a rare kind of day where the square root of the year is the month/day. The next is April 4, 2016.

Wiki: Square Root Day
BoingBoing: March is math holiday month, today is square root day!
BoingBoing: March is math month with pi day and square root day

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rethinking College Prep Costs in Tough Times

Rethinking College Prep Costs in Tough Times By ALINA TUGEND, NYTimes
Campus visits, private counselors and SAT tutoring can add up to a fortune. What gives a student a leg up and what’s overkill?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Drumline in the White House: Raw Footage

WH.gov: Drumline in the White House: Raw Footage

An 8 person drumline from Virginia State University plays in the Cross Hall of the White House before an event honoring Historically Black Colleges and Universities. February 26, 2010.

See also WH.gov: Strengthening America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Women's History Month!

The National Women's History Project (NWHP) teaches people about the important activites of women. NWHP sponsors Women's History Month. This year's theme is Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet .