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Bill Clinton Shows Why Explanation is an Art | Common Craft

by Scott Smith

Bill Clinton’s creative talent is packaging facts into a form that makes people care – and that is one of the true goals of explanation – to package and communicate facts in way that makes people understand, care and feel motivated.


erik’s chemistry page

by Robinson

I Teach Inquiry

by Robinson

February 18, 2012

Cool Science: Home

by Robinson


Great resource with lesson plans.

January 27, 2012

The Nature of the Fun by DFW

by Scott Smith

Check out this website I found at smallbytes.net

January 7, 2012

Leonardo da Vinci in London: Yes, it’s worth it | The Economist

by Scott Smith

But the question isn’t silly, and the people asking it aren’t philistines, necessarily. The same concern that provokes the question also makes it hard to answer. The show is extraordinarily popular. Everyone thought it would be a success, but few imagined that it would rival a Lady Gaga concert as a hot ticket. Within a week of its opening, those who waited for reviews or were too busy to book, found themselves out of luck. The show, which closes on February 3rd, was completely sold out. In spite of the National Gallery’s policy that tickets bought from scalpers (and eBay) would not be honoured, people were buying these £16 tickets for more than ten times that much. Gossip columnists have reported on the fashionable people who are desperate to prove they have not missed out.

January 5, 2012

Salman Rushdie

by Scott Smith

Paradoxically, it was God who saved Christopher Hitchens from the Right. Nobody who detested God as viscerally, intelligently, originally and comically as C. Hitchens could stay in the pocket of god-bothered American Conservatism for long. When he bared his fangs and went for God’s jugular, just as he had previously fanged Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton, the resulting book, God Is Not Great, carried Hitch away from the American Right and back towards his natural, liberal, ungodly constituency. He became an extraordinarily beloved figure in his last years, and it was his magnificent war upon God, and then his equally magnificent argument with his last enemy, Death, that brought him “home” at last from the misconceived war in Iraq.

January 2, 2012

Coursekit Raises $5 M. from Joel Spolsky, David Tisch, IA Ventures | Betabeat — News, gossip and intel from Silicon Alley 2.0.

by Scott Smith

The startup, founded by Wharton dropout Jospeh Cohen, hopes to take on the billion dollar incumbent, Blackboard, by selling direct to professors and bypassing the red tape and slow sales cycle of academic IT departments. Blackboard rakes in $400 million of the $500 million spent on this type of software per year, Mr. Cohen said, but Coursekit isn’t interested in that money. “Our business model is not to compete with Blackboard by selling software,” Mr. Cohen told Betabeat. “It’s to create large audiences of students and teachers that we can then leverage for all sorts of things.

Joel’s an Angel now. Wow.

January 1, 2012

Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool : NPR

by Scott Smith

Mazur’s physics class is now different. Rather than lecturing, he makes his students do most of the talking.

At a recent class, the students — nearly 100 of them — are in small groups discussing a question. Three possible answers to the question are projected on a screen. Before the students start talking with one another, they use a mobile device to vote for their answer. Only 29 percent got it right. After talking for a few minutes, Mazur tells them to answer the question again.

This time, 62 percent of the students get the question right. Next, Mazur leads a discussion about the reasoning behind the answer. The process then begins again with a new question. This is a method Mazur calls “peer Instruction.” He now teaches all of his classes this way.

December 25, 2011

A Year of Disappointment for Hollywood – NYTimes.com

by Scott Smith

The good news for Hollywood is that the first quarter of 2012 looks much stronger than the same period this year, when studios had little to generate audience excitement.

Warner has two sequels — “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and “Wrath of the Titans,” while Sony has a prominent remake in “21 Jump Street.” Disney will re-release “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D, followed by Fox’s 3-D re-release of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” And Lionsgate will weigh in with its highly anticipated “The Hunger Games.”

“It’s an extremely strong hand for the industry to play,” Mr. Fellman said.

That Q1 in 2012 reminds me why I didn’t see any movies last year. Hollywood really is just that dumb.