New Tech Stack

Submitted by Hui Soo Chae on Sun, 03/01/2015 - 9:43pm. just launched a overhauled site. Here is the new tech stack:

WordPress PHP
Stylus for CSS
Vanilla JavaScript and jQuery
Coming soon: React.js

Development and Deployment:
Gulp for task automation
Git hooks
Linting (check out stylint written by our own Ross Patton)

I wonder what they are using for testing.

You can read more about it in this article from Kathleen Vignos,'s Director of Engineering.

More on Academic Scandal at UNC

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 03/01/2015 - 7:11pm.

Many reports have surfaced over the last few months about the academic scandal at the University of North Carolina (UNC). I have been following the development of this issue for some time now and it seems the scandal is more intense than I initially thought. Reports in the past indicated that most student athletes were enrolled in classes that do not exist and yet received high grades for these "fake classes."

This articlesheds more light on the admission process of student athletes at UNC. A former admissions director has indicated that she felt too compelled to accept student athletes that she felt weren't qualified. Most of the students she was pressured to admit either did not take entrance exams or were months past the admissions deadline. These reports show how some schools prioritize sports over education. Student athletes are likely to fail in graduate school if they were accepted into an undergraduate program just because of their ability to play sports. Who should be blamed for prioritizing sports over education?


Spock was the Ultimate STEM Role Model

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Fri, 02/27/2015 - 4:10pm.

Sadly, the actor who played Spock, Leonard Nimoy, passed away today. From learning theater inspiration (see Vialogue below) to key seminar moments... Spock has managed to make multiple guest appearances in our work at EdLab. What learning inspiration have you gained from Star Trek and everyone's favorite Vulcan? Do you feel that popular characters like Spock have helped to make the STEM fields more acceptable and "cool" to young generations? Why or why not?

Need Last Minute Plans? Check out "The Future of the (Digital) Book"

Submitted by Meredith Powers on Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:35pm.

Tonight, Thursday, February 26 at 6:00pm, the Book History Colloquium presents:

The Future of the (Digital) Book: A talk by Diana Taylor, Professor of Latin American Studies and Performance, New York University and Alexei Taylor, interactive designer

The talk addresses two major quandaries regarding the future of the
(digital) scholarly book. The first has to do with the concept of "book"
when applied to books written for the screen and read on phones by generations that have grown up with the internet and touch screen devices.
What role does a press have when "books" are designed and coded by technologists, preserved on the cloud, and disseminated through social media? What implications does this have for the classroom? For academic institutions grounded in libraries? For legal and classification regimes such as copyright and ISBNs? The second question has to do with the changing understanding of scholarship itself. The speakers will provide examples from the digital books they have created to address these issues.

Notes from NYC Media Lab's Personalizationapalooza

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:23am.

This morning I am excited to report back from the CROWDED (I just got a seat after sitting on the theater stairs) Personalizationpalooza conference held at Hearst Corp. headquarters on 57th. The morning started with a quick networking session and updates from NYC Media Lab re: their seed projects and Hearst.

Beitao Li, search engineer at Tumblr regaled us with the blog platform's personalization M.O.. I could summarize this as A/B test the heck out of every user assumption and change + fail fast and reverse direction quickly when something isn't working well.

Google has Forgotten Chrome, Obviously

Submitted by Panisuan Chasinga on Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:08am.

There is a lot of talk in online communities about how Google Chrome, which has already overrun Internet Explorer by a storm as the mmost used browser in the world (just like how its mail product Gmail has beaten Microsoft Hotmail to its knees), has become really bloated and slow. Chrome’s speed and lightweightness were the main factors users shifted to it in the first place.

The reason I never really became friends with Firefox despite its super pretty interface and its "open" ethos has been the speed of Chrome and its Devtool (opt + command + I), which is simpler to use.

This article on Gizmodo, which begins with a not-so-nice word, sums up everything that has gone wrong with Google Chrome. It seems to a lot of users that Google is focusing its interest on a load of whole new dreamy projects like a self-driving car, internet-router balloons, and medical nanobots, among others. Meanwhile Microsoft under its new CEO, is beginning to show signs of a comeback by ditching IE for Project Spartan (the new all-from-scratch browser), Free Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi, Free memory on SkyDrive for Dropbox converters, etc.

Follow Up

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:50pm.

In a recent blog post, I talked about how the development of young athletes depends mostly on support from their parents and coaches. Parents play a vital role. Parents are encouraged to allow their children to experiment in order to figure out which sport they are most interested in.

Even though a recent report from the NCAA indicates that high school players are less likely to compete at the professional level, high school sports has grown in popularity in recent years. It is necessary to ensure that parents who attend these intense high school games conduct themselves accordingly. Some parents become too emotional during games and result to offensive and abusive language towards officials and the opposing team. Parents are advised to help their children learn sportsmanship. Some schools have started removing parents who fail to conduct themselves during games. Does parental support for student athletes help or distract them?

Weird Wednesdays

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Wed, 02/25/2015 - 5:03pm.

This week's Weird Wednesday involves a scantily clad young boy gesturing confidently toward an unseeable something while peering smugly over his glasses. What message is this photo sending? Is there a reason why he's shirtless? What does it all mean?

I would date this photo somewhere in the 1950s, given the crew-cut and sick glasses.

This image courtesy of Pocket Knowledge. A surprise in every pocket!

Effective Program for College Bound Students

Submitted by Sarpong Adjei on Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:46am.

It is a quite evident that many children of low-income families do no breeze through their education. Many researchers point to socio economic status as one of the most important factors in student achievement. Students from low-income families are often hindered by their misfortune and those from high-income families often have a head start in their education. This piece highlights the efforts of two Harvard researchers to buck this trend. They did a pilot program where they sent text messages to high school seniors from low income neighborhoods to remind them about college requirements such as filling out FAFSA, deposit deadlines, etc., They focused especially on the summer months when students tend to lose interest in college and forget to register for classes and take care of other requirements.

The researchers saw a drastic change in the number of students applying for college.

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