Digital Divide and Novel Technologies

I’m in hardware Mecca. Their are massive monitors, coffee table touch displays that my coffee cup won’t destroy, universal wireless, and outlets in abundance. I’m at MS Faculty Summit – a program put on by MS Research’s Academic program. I am surrounded by other faculty from around the world and the top creative minds from MS, and we are attempting to engage in a dialogue about changing the environment, the global condition, and education through technology. In the opening session, Craig Mundie demonstrated an office of the future that brought together a pair of digital white boards, a MS Surface (so totally want), webcams for video meetings, and more. It was a fully realized holo-office for immersive design. Imagine if you will, a...

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Complete: 1 Semester

The semester is over. My grades are posted. My students have received their grades. I am 3 forms (paperwork will kill me) from starting my summer. And I plan to play a bit, write a lot, travel too much, and try and remember how to jump horses over itty bitty fences designed to restrain dachunds. w00t

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Classifying Planets

Classifying Planets

This year’s Masursky Lecture is being given by Alan Stern. Stern seriously earned my respect last year in the face of a disgruntled room of geophysicists who didn’t have the nuclear engines they needed, who’d been told that Mars was not a funding priority, and who had been saddled with manned moon plans. He handled them all with respect and then left NASA the very next week. I’m glad the world of science has grabbed him back from the clutches of administration. His talk focused on who planets are defined and classified. As we gear up for this summer’s IAU General Assembly, many folks are wondering if (hoping really) they will clarify what is and is not a planet. As a starting point he explained that the discussion originated from the...

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Catching up

It’s been a while since I last blogged. I have to admit that I’ve missed it, but the past few months have been a bit busy. Things are finally starting to reach the point where I can begin to reveal some of what’s going on. About a year ago I went to the UK for the first time and along with attending an AAVSO meeting, I also spend a couple days at Oxford, where I was hosted by Galaxy Zoo PI Chris Lintott. We got to talking, got to brainstorming, and came up with some ideas to add new features to the Galaxy Zoo website. (See here for some hints of what’s to come). He came and visited me at SIUE a few months later, we wrote some grants, we then got some grants (w00t), and now I find my life delightfully consumed not only by the International...

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End of the Semester

It’s T-6 class days and counting until final exams start at SIUE. Spring is in the air, and students have cast away their winter cloths to frolic in the sun in shorts and T-shirts as they try to cram in as much of college life as they can before disappearing for summer. Yesterday, while walking from the science building to our student union for lunch, I was taken by this sudden “this is a movie set” feeling. There was hip hop music playing and students dancing in one direction, the blood mobile doing its vampire thing in another direction, and everywhere else my eyes wandered, their were students at booths promoting outreach and inreach. The ROTC students were trying to recruit. One of the frats had done a “These Hands Do Not Hurt”...

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IYA taking shape

IYA taking shape

About a year ago I got a random email from Doug Isbell asking me if I’d be interested in being part of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). I’d previously heard about this project, but having gotten a good last out of the non-event that was the World Year of Physics, I have to admit I hadn’t given it  much thought. But… When you’re asked to think about helping build something you give it more then a passing brain firing. As you know, if you’ve been reading this for a while, I let Doug suck me into the IYA program and now I’m a chair of the New Media working group. A year later, I’m proud to be part of this organization, and I think IYA will be something that is more then free lapel pins at conferences. I...

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