AAS Day 2: Google Sky, Google Earth, and the International Year of Astronomy

I have been trying to find the time to learn how to use Google Sky for astronomy outreach for the last year. My time is limited, and I have to admit that my early attempts were met with very ugly implementations, and I’ve been dieing to see what others are doing and (more importantly) to learn how they are doing it. Today, Google is sponsoring workshop in the IYA meeting-within-a-meeting at the AAS meeting. The first thing I learned is Google actually has folks assigned to nurture non-profits to help them plug in. http://www.google.com/educators/geo . They have help, tutorials, ideas and more pre-prepared to help us build our content into virtual worlds. Their latest and greatet includes: weather, sunlight skins, 3D Buildinsg/SketchUp, a Swoop feature that...

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Of Audio Books and Guilty Pleasures…

It is spring (or at least pretending to be spring in the middle of the country. Temperatures are in the 70s F (low 20s C), flowers are in bloom, and the birds are LOUD. For me spring means 2 things: no more classes and lots of weeding. It also means that I have time to explore new books. I say explore because I’m actually more likely to listen to audio books then to read physical books now a days. There, I said it, I listen to books. Please don’t hate me for it. This isn’t to say I don’t like reading paper books. Back when I had a subway commute (which I actually miss for many reasons), I’d chew through a couple books a month. Now, I don’t have those random minutes for paper books except when I fly (or ride the subway in...

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Making the Technological iLeap

I hate Microsoft Office. It is a hate that has been slowly boiling in the background for a long long time. I can make it do anything. I get how it works at a level at a brainstem level, such that prettily formatted documents come out of my computer with ease. I still hate it. As an undergraduate, I earned my living as “Lead Monitor” of the Erickson Hall Computer Lab and Michigan State. In this role, it was my pleasure to help anyone with any computer problem. 90% of the problems were either failure to print or failure to format. All of them were related to Microsoft breaking the minds of poor innocent ungrads (and occasional grads). The lab was a mix of Macs and PCs and platform really didn’t matter. Everyone had to use MS Office, and everyone got burnt.

But there are options, and I’m going to use them.

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