Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Watercolor Maps

The Stamen Design team has long been one of my favorites, and I think these embeddable watercolor maps are great:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Takeaways from Games, Learning, & Society 8.0

A couple weeks ago I headed to the Games, Learning, and Society conference held every year in Madison, Wisconsin.  Here are some of the things I took away from the conference and think others might be interested in:
  • Kodu Game Lab: Build your own 3D games and learn how to think like a programmer using this tool (PC download or on Xbox 360).
  • ARIS games: Create your own location-based games for mobile platforms using this tool, developed by David Gagnon and others in Madison.
  • Newton's playground:  Solve challenges that require creativity and the use of simple machines to move a ball around obstacles from point x to point y.  Being developed by Yoon Jeon Kim and others.
It was fun to be at the conference, surrounded by so many creative people.  I came away from it wanting to download Kodu and start building games or applications for ARIS.  After downloading Kodu (free) and tinkering for a while, I think it's a great visual programming environment and way for people to get started making games and thinking like a programmer.

Other highlights included being in sessions and hearing from James Paul Gee, talking with people working on YouSTEM projects in Illinois, hearing from Ben Shapiro about other games being developed in Madison including Progenitor X, and being inspired to come home after the conference and start making things.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

the elusive, un-Googleable podcast

Have you ever had moments of frustration when there was something you were trying to find and you just couldn't find it, even with the aid of Google?

I've been having one of those moments for the past week or so, but I'm thinking someone might be able to help.

I'm trying to find a podcast I listened to sometime in the last 6 months or so...  It was a story about a man who discovered his love of impersonating other people.  He introduced himself at a party once as a political figure (I think), posed as a doctor in a town, even met his wife while impersonating someone (soon revealing his cover, which made her like him even more).  He would get caught often, jailed for some time, then would be released and would go assume a different identity.

I remember one anecdote in particular where it was revealed that he had been impersonating a doctor, but when he was caught, the townspeople defended him because he had done such a great job curing them of all of his ailments.

It is so frustrating to not be able to find this (audio) podcast.  So far none of my keyword searches have yielded the results.

UPDATE 1: after a week of searching, I finally just found the episode while typing this post:  The Memory Palace -- episode on Ethan Weinberg:

What amazes me is that it was only by typing out my description of the episode that I was able to finally find what I was looking for.  It's not that often that it's so difficult to find something online, but when it was just a memory of a story without any unique keywords, I couldn't find it.  But now that I've found it, I thought I'd still share.

UPDATE 2 (7/12/12):  It's happened again.  I'm trying to find a podcast I remember in which Robert Krulwich (of WNYC Radiolab) talks about how he was amazed by how a kid erupted into singing a Bach or Mozart piece after [scoring a goal in soccer]?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Frames of Reference

This was the most memorable film I ever saw in school -- "Frames of Reference" -- from Mr. Judge's Physics class.

Mr. Judge fired up the 16mm projector once a year to show this movie. I've been looking for the film for years and finally came across it yesterday on Just uploaded it to YouTube today.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rosey's Dream

Several months ago, I, together with Cheryl Schwarzenbart, had the opportunity to interview Rosey Harden about his restaurant, Rosey's Dream, which was located on Main Street in Reedsburg.  Harden operated his diner from 1972-1985 as a minority in Reedsburg and had many stories to share about his experiences running the restaurant.  I think that his stories are a wonderful and unique part of Reedsburg history.  I have enjoyed sharing them, as well as hearing the stories of Reedsburg citizens who remember his restaurant.  I recently selected six clips from the interviews to share on YouTube.  I hope you enjoy them and learn something new!

I realize that addressing an issue such as race can be controversial and/or difficult, and I welcome and encourage your thoughtful comments below.

Special thanks to Rosey and Donna Harden, Cheryl Schwarzenbart, Donna Neuwirth, The Reedsburg Public Library, The Reedsburg Times Press (archives), Bill Schuette, Katie Godfrey and Katie Schofield for their help with this project.

Rosey's Dream diner is currently on being highlighted as part of an exhibit at the Woolen Mill Gallery in Reedsburg.  The Smithsonian Museum's "Key Ingredients: America by Food" exhibit "examines the wealth of history and culture that shapes our dining habits and taste preferences."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

get notified when what you're searching for is at the library

InvisibleHand is a handy extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE that unobtrusively notifies the user when the item they are searching for to buy is available for a lower cost on another website.  The notification also gives a link to the relevant product page on the competing retailer's website.

I really enjoy the extension, as do others, but the only thing better than notifications of cheap items would be notifications of FREE items available to you.

How about an extension that notifies the user when what they are searching for is available at their local public library??

Many people who don't want to pay for movie rentals, for example, may check out movies from their local library.  Generally, they would need to browse the shelves at the library or look at the library's online catalog.

The website helps people find items in libraries near them; why not develop a worldcat browser extension that notifies people when what they are searching for is available at their local library?

Know anyone who wants to work on this?