@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-08-02

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BP’s Unintended Lesson on Visual Rhetoric

Altered BP HIVE Center Photo by BP AmericaIt’s politically correct to be disappointed with BP and their little oil well problem in the Gulf. But how can I be angry when they provide me with such wonderful gifts?

First, BP America digitally enhanced some of their oil spill clean-up photos. The images are great for pointing out the sloppiness of the Photoshop work and, more importantly, discussing the ethical issues related to tampering with the images. Be sure to look at the face-saving explanation BP has posted with the BP Altered Images Flickr set. Any class exploring visual rhetoric should spend time with these photos. So a big thank you to BP for classroom material.

But that’s not all. Next, the folks over at Wired took the faked BP images and challenged readers to create their own digitally altered photos. The results are marvelous. Everything from Godzilla to Rick Astley is out there in the Gulf causing mayhem.

The submission showing pop culture images on the different monitors is probably my favorite:

BP Multiple-Monitor Pop Culture from Wired

How could you NOT like an image that includes Max Headroom, War Games, Star Trek, Poltergeist, and The Matrix?

As part of a visual rhetoric lesson plan, the Wired challenge images open up the topic of satire and parody. Students can discuss how the different images critique the way BP has handled the oil spill—both in its actual clean-up and in the images they have shared with the public.

So politically correct or not, I’m a little thankful to BP America for providing me with the materials for a timely lesson on an important topic.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by BP America]

Easy Supplemental Reading: 100 Best Magazine Articles

Stack of Magazines by theseanster93No matter what textbook I choose for class, there’s always a class or two where I wish I had a few more readings available. Nothing in the text seems quite right, so I end up searching for something online that will fill the gap.

For those class sessions, I now have a collection of 100 best magazine articles, gathered by Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired and author of the forthcoming What Technology Wants (Viking/Penguin, October 2010).

Links are included for most of the articles; however, many go to only abstracts or snippets. To access the full article, you’ll need to pay for the download. Of course, on a college campus, you’re bound to be able to find any of these articles at the library with the citations that are included.

If I were teaching a graduate course, I think I’d ask students to divide up the articles and create short abstracts and keywords for each. I’d definitely ask them to include an indication of whether the article was free, subscription-based, or one-time fee-based. Published as a class collection, the annotated entries would give every student a rich resource for the future.

The list of articles could also help me point undergrad writers to key articles for research projects. For instance, a student writing about online bullying would certainly want to look at Julian Dibbell’s “A Rape in Cyberspace,” and the list gives me both a link to the article and a citation to find a print copy at the library.

My favorite find on Kelly’s list is Tom Junod’s Can you say- Hero?” from the November 1998 Esquire. The creative nonfiction essay weaves several anecdotes about Mr. Rogers into a profile that casts everyone’s favorite childhood neighbor as hero.

Take a look at the list yourself. You’re bound to find something new or forgotten that will be worth a read. What’s your favorite on the list? Be sure to email Kevin Kelly, who is building a Top Ten list.


[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by theseanster93]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-08-01

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-07-31

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-07-30

  • Ed Tech Experts Choose Top 3 Collaboration Tools — THE Journal http://bit.ly/dd7KPD #
  • Obama Defends Education Program – NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/a7yZaL #
  • Zora Neale Hurston: Video of her ethnographic work in Florida in 1928 | Reader's Almanac: http://bit.ly/9Wi29S #
  • Library-Services Companies Sue OCLC, Alleging Anticompetitive Practices – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/dd0zAK #
  • I Tweet, Therefore I Am – NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/9sbE81 #
  • Rise of the Literature Machines : The New Yorker http://bit.ly/bxNY3n #
  • Harvard U. Institute Unveils OpenScholar Software That Helps Build Academic Sites – Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/afWvyg #
  • Research Confidential, an Interview with Eszter Hargittai – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/agnzuV #
  • Am I Preparing Students For My Age Or Theirs? – THE DAILY RIFF – Be Smarter. About Education. http://bit.ly/bK2Yh3 #
  • 5 Lecturecasting Tools That I Can't Live Without (and Why) – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/bJHn2c #
  • The $139 Kindle and the Academic Library – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/aEfdPu #
  • Photoshop Opens Time Portals Into World War II Ghost Dimension | Gizmodo » http://bit.ly/doljzv (Photographic Mashups) #
  • The 100 best magazine articles ever – Boing Boing http://bit.ly/cn8zWB (with links to the articles!) #
  • College students may get break on textbook expenses – USATODAY.com http://bit.ly/9j1KET #
  • Alt Text: Library of Congress Rulings That Could Have Been | Wired.com http://bit.ly/9y5lZi (satire on DMCA decision) #

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-07-29

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-07-28

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My Literary Genes

I’ve written before about my literary claim to fame: I’m slightly related to Ralph Waldo Emerson, through my great-great-grandmother Anne Emerson.

While I know that Anne was Ralph’s third cousin once removed, I’m not exactly sure what that makes me. Genealogy isn’t exactly my area of expertise.

That’s why I’m loving the relationship in Wolfram|Alpha. I entered the information I knew, and got a lovely chart that made everything clear:

My genealogical relationship to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Depending upon how I described the relationship, I’m Emerson’s 4th cousin 3 times removed or his 3rd cousin 5 times removed.

Either way, it appears that I share a 1/8192, or 0.012207%, blood relationship. We share a 13th degree of kinship, which apparently means I’m free to marry him or serve on a jury considering his fate. I don’t think either of those situations is likely to arise. But enough of my poetic cousin.

The relationship query in Wolfram|Alpha could be used in the classroom to help clarify family relationship students read about as well. If you’re reading Faulkner, you may well need complete family trees. If you’re just trying to explain third cousins, this may be just what you need.


@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-07-27

  • Assignments: Being Clear about What Matters – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/bV4wWj #
  • A Canadian College Where Adjuncts Go to Prosper – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/cAhP5o #
  • English-Testing Companies Vie for Slices of a Growing Market – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/bXwokG #
  • 97 Colleges Recognized as Great Colleges to Work For in Chronicle Survey – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9OpwJQ #
  • Policing Plagiarism Abroad – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/9zk8VD #
  • Teaching With Blogs – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/a5P1qN #
  • Information on the New DMCA Exemptions – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9fxF1K #
  • Starting a Dissertation Writing Group (In a Writing Center) – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/dylDyJ #
  • I will write your college essay for cash – Life stories – Salon.com http://bit.ly/apRDZx #
  • Princeton U. Decides to Shut Down Online Collection of Policy Videos – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9cpWhG #
  • Go Ahead, Jailbreak Your Smartphone – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9aERI4 #
  • YouTube Better at Funny Cat Videos Than Educational Content, Professors Say – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/cuj5on #
  • From the Archives: On Syllabi and Course Design – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9FDMIF #
  • Choose Your Own Adventure Series Turns a Page – Media Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/dgozBq #

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