Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2006

Just a collection of tricks and treats from all over the npr.org:

Tricks and Treats (from years past)

Healthy Halloween treats

The Father of the Addams Family, Charles Addams (book excerpt and cartoon gallery)

Missouri’s Spook Road

Underwater Pumpkin Carving (pictures of the winners!)

A Halloween Book Recommendation (link to the author’s site)

 visit NPR.org for more. 

What’re you doing for halloween?


Brother Jim on Meridian

October 30, 2006

Today’s Meridian has the latest on the pending lawsuit between travelling evangelist James Giles, better known as “Brother Jim,” and Murray State University.

In October 2004, Brother Jim exercised his freedom of speech with a religious message that angered students, faculty and staff. From the Curris Center, he lashed out at many organizations on campus, including sororities and fraternities. He was asked to relocate to the sidewalk under the bridge on Chestnut Street.

Brother Jim now accuses the university of violating his freedom of speech.

According to Student Affairs, Murray State does not have free speech zones, places where any outside speaker is allowed to speak.
The University solicitation policy states that any on-campus speaker must be sponsored by a student organization or faculty member. Brother Jim was not sponsored.

The University has a no-tolerance policy which states, “the University is committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others.”

Did Bro. Jim cross that line?
Chad Lampe talks with Brother Jim today at noon on Meridian.  Tune in or listen online at www.wkms.org

Finding a Second Life

October 24, 2006

Talk of the Nation just finished airing a story on Second Life (preshow draft). This mass multiplayer online (MMO) environment lets you live a virtual world without the typical MMO violence found in games like World of Warcraft. You can learn more about Second Life, or get a free download here.

Second Life has been touted as a complete immersion, where anything that you can do in the real world can also be experienced there. According to Adam Pasick, the average age for Second Life is about 35 and both men and women are about equal.  A seperate, teen version is focused on building creative projects in-game, resulting in 3d design skills and artistic exchange.  
 Using Second Life to facilitate meetings is a growing activity in the social and professional realm.  While some people are out slaying monsters, Second Life users are finding calmer alternatives.  Communication Overtones hosts a second life meetup for communications experts. Other groups are doing the same.  Public Radio International is even hosting a regular program inside this virtual world: The Infinite Mind is made in real time inside Second Life.  Susanne Vega and Duran Duran have both held concerts in this virtual realm, and more are scheduled.

Anyone out there on Second Life?  

Donate Your Car!

October 24, 2006

cartalk You can support WKMS by donating your vehicle through the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program and get a valuable tax deduction. It’s the easiest way to get rid of a vehicle, particularly newer vehicles that cost too much to repair. Click here for complete information or donate right now by calling 1-866-HEAP-LOV (1-866-432-7568) 7:30am-7:30pm M-Fri CST.

Happy Mole Day

October 23, 2006

Today from 6:02 AM to 6:02 PM schools across the nation are celebrating Mole Day. A mole is the number 6.02E23 (602000000000000000000000), and is used to calculate atomic mass and other calcuations.   From today’s ATC Story:

“The holiday now has a theme. This year it’s Mole Madness, after the basketball tournament, and mole-themed food, says Tom Tweedle, Mole Day Foundation executive director.

He says his students enjoy “le-mole-ade, guaca-mole, pie-a-la-mole, and ani-mole crackers.”

 To learn more about this growing holiday, ATC spoke with Nancy Hinrichsen, a chemistry teacher at Cherry Hill East in Cherry Hill, N.J..  You can catch the story today at 5, or read about it online here (after 7PM Central). 

Find out more about how to celebrate mole day at http://www.moleday.org/ 

Anyone else marking the holiday?

School Books Are So 20th Century

October 17, 2006

Today’s morning edition had a story on the School of the Future, a new Philidelphia school backed by Microsoft support.
School District CEO Paul Vallas pitched the idea to Microsoft in 2003. At the time, Microsoft was already considering a School of the Future demo project. Company executives decided to make it real within a week of their meeting with Vallas. 
It runs on the normal budget for the district’s high schools, along with donated technology from Microsoft. The school is looking to build an endowment of $10 million to cover improvements and operating costs in the future. Naming rights for the school and the areas within it are up for sale. Microsoft has purchased naming rights to the school’s visitors’ center for $100,000.

More Facts
Student Body: The freshman class consists of 170 students. The school will admit a new freshman class each year; it should reach its capacity of about 750 students when the class of 2010 enters its senior year. More than 98 percent of students are minorities; most live below the federal poverty level.

Classroom Innovations: No pencils, paper or printed textbooks. Chalk and blackboards are out; plasma screens and video projectors are in. Teachers track students’ progress and adjust curriculum for individual students with new software.

Tech Toys: Every student gets a laptop. Students have access to digital cameras. Each student ID has an imbedded smart chip. The smart cards track attendance, open lockers and pay for meals. Starting in 2007, the cards will track nutrition information for meals purchased at the school.

Getting In: Students are admitted by lottery. Seventy-five percent of the student body is drawn from the school’s surrounding neighborhood in West Philadelphia. The remaining 25 percent comes from other areas. No GPA or coursework requirements. Transfer students must complete an interview.

Getting Out: Aside from completing academic coursework in core subject areas, each student must also apply to college in order to graduate

You can tour the school or explore the process and vision behind it at the Microsoft Site for the School of the Future or get some particular insights from the project manager at her blog. These may come of particular interest, because they raise the issue of education today.
From the project manager: “It [Opening the School of the Future] shouldn’t have been this hard. It shouldn’t take a miracle to build a great school in an urban community. It shouldn’t be an exhausting experience, leaving participants tired and frustrated. It needs to be easier. We need more agile learning organizations. We need to figure out a better balance between control and creativity. We need to create an environment that is inspirational, not just functional. We need governance structures and public policy that set high standards, but also provide resource to achieve them.”

Dear Chuck….

October 16, 2006

This comes from last week’s Weekend Edition:

Chuck Palahniuk [author of Fight Club] has a new collection of short stories out, called Haunted. But that’s not all he’s up to this October. Noting that his zealous fan base centers around his Web site, for the month of October he is urging his fans to write him regular old letters.

Chuck’s online fan base should be a source of envy for many, many of his peers.  Their official site, http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/ , calls itself The Cult and boasts an active forum of over 1000 active members.  Workshops, tips, and contests round off this lively site, but it’s important to note that for the next month it’s the old fashioned, paper letters that Palahniuk is after. He’s invited anyone to write him, and when he recieves your letter, he’ll return the favor. 

The address and rules are posted at the forum here .  This is for the month of October only!

Any fans of Mr. Palahniuk out there? Anyone thinking of writing? 
What about other authors you may have written to?