Friday Teacher Blogging

Wanna see the picture of a good teacher? *BAM*

Dr. Sean Grass is a little scary, but when he's on his game teaching Victorian culture, you can't leave the classroom without learning a LOT about the period.


Sub-$100 Notebook

Now, THIS is a useful device. Give laptops to the world's poor. This is absolutely HUGE for electronic literacy.

Children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa will be among the first to get the under-$100 (£57) computer, said Professor Negroponte at the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT.

The following year, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney plans to start buying them for all 500,000 middle and high school pupils in the state.

Professor Negroponte predicts there could be 100 million to 150 million shipped every year by 2007.

And what is your technique?

Genius lies not in the technique, but in the belief involved.


Adrien Brody, who plays heartthrob writer Jack Driscoll, is known for taking a Method approach to his roles. For The Pianist, he learned how to play Chopin; for The Jacket, he locked himself in isolation tanks until hallucinations set in. Jack Black's method is to sneak Megadeth references into his movies.


Shout Out of the Datacloud

Johndan Johnson-Eilola, out at Datacloud blogs about all variety of tech stuff. He mentions something I've been writing about; I email him; he blogs about my email. Cool!


Super Cool

New Mexico State student to call Cal game in Navajo
Associated Press

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- New Mexico State student Cuyler Frank entertains his friends and others in the stands with his mock play-by-play during Aggie home games, but he will get to do the real thing in his native language when NMSU hosts No. 13 Cal on Friday.

Frank, who is from Newcomb, will team up with Lanell Pahe of Crownpoint to broadcast the game in Navajo. It will be available on the university's Web site.

"I want to do the games in Navajo because I want to share some of the experiences of New Mexico State students with the Navajo Nation," Frank said. "It gives us a chance to share with our people what is going on here and what we are accomplishing as Navajos."

Several stations already broadcast high school games in Navajo, but Friday will mark the first time an NMSU football game has been broadcast in the language.

The Navajo Nation spans New Mexico, Arizona and Utah and is home to more than 250,000 people.

NMSU President Michael Martin said he's proud of the students who are taking the initiative to expand the school's ability to reach every citizen.

"Their willingness to tackle this challenge and be part of the expanding NMSU Aggie Planet is indicative of the importance we place on reaching all communities," he said Wednesday.

The effort also gives the school's Navajo students a new way to communicate with those back home.

"We don't hear much sports broadcasting in Navajo," Pahe said. "There is nothing like it. Most of the elders don't speak English very well. It gives them a new opportunity to see what is going on outside the [Navajo] nation."

Shandeen Curtis, a student athletic trainer with the football team and a Navajo from Kirtland, said the broadcast is an opportunity not only for people who enjoy listening to the game but also to bring new fans to the program.

"We have a great sports program and we are building something special here," she said. "If people listen, we can develop a following and they can see a program that is ready to take off."

The challenge for Frank and Pahe is that Navajo is very different from English. For example, there's no word for first down.

"It takes nearly twice as long to say something in Navajo as it does English," Frank said. "I've just got to concentrate on the basics.


Fantastic VC idea

What a great idea. I would LOVE to partner with venture capitalists in order to create the conditions where my students could take a shot at starting a company. A lot of discussion of the usefulness/uselessness of college assumes that the "content" in classes or even the genre of the "class session" is the most important facet of college. I think the benefits of university still lies in the attitudes they can foster, the connections they can facilitate, and the way they can help individuals clear away social pressures to immediately plug into the dominant ideology/infrastructure (I'm not implying universities don't have one, ore that they don't mirror social ideologies--only that they are still places where "thoughts can sit next to one another").

The sophomores were just one of eight groups selected for three months of summer seed funding from Y Combinator, a startup incubator founded by Paul Graham, a writer and programmer known for creating the first web application.

Graham, a startup evangelist who sold his company to Yahoo in 1998, came up with the idea of paying students to program instead of working a summer job after giving a talk about startups to Harvard University computer science undergraduates.

He advised them to get their funding from angel investors who got rich in technology themselves.

"Then I said jokingly, but not entirely jokingly, 'But not from me,' and everyone's faces fell," Graham said. "Afterwards, I had dinner with some of these guys and they seemed amazingly competent and I thought, 'You know, these guys probably could start companies.'"