Archive for March, 2007

Speaking of Samuel Johnson…

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Speaking of Samuel Johnson, you can read the Preface to his landmark 1755 dictionary at this Rutgers English professor’s university page.

It’s worth checking out, if not to gain a deeper insight into this unique moment in the art of lexicography and the development of the English language, then at least to enjoy Dr. Johnson’s wry prose style.

Surveys on Moral Philosophy and More!

Friday, March 30th, 2007

If you’re interested, you can take this survey on your intuitions of causation.

If you like this sort of thing, you can head on over to Harvard and take these kinds of tests all day. Start with the Moral Sense Test and the Moral Sense Test 2.

Then check out the series of Mind Surveys.

There are also surveys on Visual Cognition, Music Universals, and Implicit Preferences.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

I’m a Renaissance man, and my Duchess won fame;
An American Samuel Johnson, some claim;
I confronted the Devil and won, to his shame;
And Emmanuel starred in a show by my name.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Ro. See comments for answer.

The Headline Game – 3/28/07

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Real life or parody? Sometimes, I can’t tell the difference anymore. That’s when it’s time for the Headline Game.

Below are two headlines from and two headlines from The Onion. Can you spot which are the real headlines and which are the fakes?

1. ‘Ask a Ninja,’ OK Go win YouTube Awards
2. Injured troops request extended tours to avoid being sent to Walter Reed
3. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confesses to confessing under torture
4. Oscar-nominated actor’s big love: Physics

Note: Capitalization on the Onion headlines changed to match the style of CNN.

Answers: Story 1, Story 2, Story 3, Story 4

How did you do?

Conundrum: Venn I’m 64

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

In a Venn Diagram puzzle, there are three overlapping circles, marked A, B, and C. Each circle has a different rule about who or what can go inside. The challenge is to guess the rule for each circle. You can find a more detailed explanation of Venn Diagram puzzles, along with an example, here.

Each of the eight titles below refers to a Beatles song.

UPDATE: Rather than solving the rules, feel free to suggest additional Beatles songs and where they would belong in the diagram.

Question of the Week

Monday, March 26th, 2007

What are you reading right now?

I don’t mean right this second, because obviously you’re reading this blog. That’s because you’re one of the heroes.

But in general, what have you been reading lately? Is it something for work? For school? For pleasure? Professional development? Have you read it before, or is it something new? How did you hear about it?

Or do you “not have time” to read?

Right now, I’m reading The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker and Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School by Georgia Heard.

I’m reading The Blank Slate for pleasure, mostly because I just taught a lesson on nature vs. nurture for my education students, and I’ve lately become very interested in Pinker. So far, I’m really enjoying it. Pinker is a brilliant mind with an engaging writing style, writing on topics that meet where science intersects with politics. Great stuff!

I’m reading Awakening the Heart in anticipation of a poetry unit I’ll be facilitating in various junior high school classrooms in New York City after Spring Break. I’ve really just started the book, so perhaps I’ll have more to say on it anon.

What are you reading right now?

Slings & Arrows 3.6: The Promised End

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

The last episode of Slings & Arrows airs on Sundance tonight at 8pm. It will also be repeated throughout the week.

Use the comments section of this post to discuss the episode. Any comments I may have will be posted in the comments section as well.

You can view the archives to discuss past episodes and seasons.

WARNING: Comments may contain further discussion of the show, including potential spoilers. Click through only after viewing the episode. Commenters may discuss this episode as freely as they like, including Canadian readers!

By the way, did you know that the part of the same creative team behind Slings & Arrows wrote a musical called The Drowsy Chaperone? That’s hot.

Blogging in the Shakespeare Classroom

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Here’s a good example of a high school English teacher using a blog to post and collect student assignments. This is one sample assignment for students in the middle of reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Your assignment now is to take this mixed-up love mess and bring it to a conclusion with a happy ending. As it stands right now, everything is messed up and needs resolution. Assume the role of a narrator and finish the story. This is your chance to predict how this all turns out in the real play.

The students can now write a response to this and read what others have written as well. It seems like a lot of this is going on at home, but as more and more schools adopt one-to-one computing environments (something I’ve personally been very active in for the past year and a half), the more this sort of thing will become commonplace classroom practice.

This presentation from Karl Fisch has been making the rounds.

Students entering kindergarten this September will graduate from high school in 2020. How will the world be run then? How old will you be in that year? It’s not really that far off, is it?


Fair and Balanced

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Fox News has a reputation for being nothing more than a right wing propaganda machine, and that may be true to a point. But it should be remembered that they do a pretty good job covering a wide range of non-partisan arenas, for example, financial news.

Of course, there will always be some that see right wing bias everywhere, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Thursday Morning Riddle

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

In the cereal world, I’m the first of my boys;
When a quarterback’s given a gift he enjoys;
I’m as easy as child’s play; how fingers make noise;
And the metal connector a garment employs.

Who am I?

UPDATE: Riddle solved by Brian. See comments for answer.