Taking care of our laptops

It's that time again - new classes, new students, new teachers,  using our school laptops. Here are some reminders about how to take care of them:

More information for PCs running Windows:

NASA on Flickr

Unless you've been under a rock for the weekend, you've probably been made aware of a hurricane named "Irene" moving up the East Coast of the North America.  There were several Twitter feeds (including one in the name of  the storm itself) which was interesting reading for us, at a great distance, especially if you're interested in Social Media.

Not being on the East Coast, and not being directly affected by the storm, I found the most interesting resource to be NASA's Flickr photo stream.  NASA releases many photos - current and historical - through Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution License,

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Hurricane Irene as Seen from Space
An Expedition 28 crew member aboard the International Space Station captured this image of Hurricane Irene off the east coast of the United States on Friday, August 26, 2011, around 4:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. GMT).
Credit: NASA
Click here for a large (1600x1005) version of this image.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Full Disk Image of Earth Captured August 26, 2011
"NASA / NOAA GOES-13 satellite image showing earth on August 26, 2011 at 14:45 UTC (10:45 a.m. EDT). Hurricane Irene can been seen on the U.S. East Coast.
Irene Almost 1/3 the Size of East Coast. Irene has become a major hurricane, and NASA satellite data shows its diameter is now about 510 miles -- roughly 1/3 the length of the U.S. Atlantic coastline. Hurricane watches are in effect for much of the East Coast."
Click here for a very large (3072x3072) version of this image.

There are several videos in NASA's Hurricane Irene Set.

Hurricane Irene August 26th [hd video]

"The GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene moving closer to the east coast August 24 12:40 UTC thru August 26 at 12:32 UTC.
Hurricane Irene is raging the U.S. East Coast and will affect the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast through the Weekend.

At 5 a.m. EDT this morning Hurricane Irene was centered 420 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, NC. (29.3N and 77.2 W) Max. winds 110 mph., moving north at 14 mph. Pressure 942 millibars."
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Besides images which are interesting and beautiful, there are images of a more scientific nature.  For example

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

TRMM Satellite Shows What's Happening Under the Hood of Hurricane Irene's Clouds

"NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite radar saw the inner core of Hurricane Irene for a fourth time on Friday afternoon, August 25. On Friday afternoon, the TRMM radar showed that the southern half of the eyewall was gone. Some strong precipitation did still exist in the remaining eyewall to the north of the eye.
The weakening of the inner-core precipitation structure that we see as Irene approaches North Carolina is similar to the pre-landfall weakening of the inner-core of Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the most recent hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
The lack of a compact symmetric eyewall suggests that there is relatively little chance of intensification at the time of the satellite overflight. TRMM showed that the highest towering thunderstorms were about 7.5 miles high (12 kilometers)."

Owen Kelley
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Read the rest of the article here.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

TRMM Satellite Views Irene's Strong Rains Over Cape Hatteras

August 28, 2011
"The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite had another very good daytime view of hurricane Irene on August, 27, 2011 1:50 p.m. EDT. The rainfall analysis was derived from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) data. It shows that the center of circulation was still well defined and Irene was dropping intense rainfall over Cape Hatteras east of the hurricane's center.
TRMM rainfall images are false-colored with yellow, green and red areas, which indicate rainfall between 20 and 40 millimeters (.78 to 1.57 inches) per hour. Dark red areas are considered heavy rainfall, as much as 50 mm (2 inches) of rain per hour. The TRMM satellite is managed by both NASA and JAXA."
Click here to read the rest of the information
Hal Pierce/Rob Gutro
SSAI/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Click here to see the original size of this image (1024x1048)

This photo was taken closer to the ground, and is not in the NASA photo stream.  It comes from Irene's Twitter feed.


Droplet Collisions

One of my regular correspondents emailed this video to me:

Uploaded by  on Feb 18, 2011
In the slowest slow mo video yet, Gav shows us the classic colliding droplets shot in liquid. Using a mixture of coloured water and milk shot at 5000 frames per second (200 times slower than real-time.)

I looked at other videos by the "Slo Mo Guys"

Uploaded by  on Nov 20, 2010
To Gav and Dan's dismay, viewer feedback indicates that Lloyd the cat is in fact the most popular member of the Slow Mo Guys team. So here is a short and sweet clip of Lloyd in action.

This one is for the Middies' next unit of inquiry into force and motion:

Uploaded by  on Mar 21, 2011
Gav and Jack went to a near by sandpit to show Jack doing some impressive acrobatics. He does a front flip at 2500fps (100 times slower than real time) and a back flip at 1000fps. Gav also tries his trick which is called "Jump completely upside down and then do nothing." Gav still has sand in his pockets.
Have a look at the Slo Mo Guys YouTube Channel for more fascinating slow motion videos, and see ordinary things through the magic of their slow-motion video.

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Digital Youth Portrait: Cameron

I've been looking for resources for our upcoming units of inquiry, and came across this video about not-your-average 11 year old.

"My name is Cameron, and I live in Indiana. I have my own Mac, and I just love making movies and stuff like that. I'm a very visual learner. If our teacher describes something that maybe I don't understand, I go back and look at it. Then I picture it, and I think, "Now, what would that look like if I put it on film or on the green screen?""(link)

There is more information about Cameron at this page, and explore some of his work here.

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Moving a colossal statue

This is for the folks who will be thinking about force and motion this fall, and who are interested in simple machines.

Text from the YouTube page:

Uploaded by  on Aug 18, 2011
On Monday, August 15, 2011, a monumental statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat II (ca. 1919--1885 B.C.) was installed in the Met's Great Hall. It is a special loan from the collection of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin -- Preussischer Kulturbesitz. It will remain in the Great Hall for one year and will be on loan to the Met for ten years.

What were the challenges for the museum personnel? How did they solve them?  Can you think of other ways they might have solved them?  What simple machines do you see in the video? Which laws of motion do you see being illustrated?

Words of the World

Uploaded by  on Aug 10, 2011
The word biscuit comes from the French language.

Today I watched a video from Words of the World YouTube Channel that I thought might interest our multi-lingual friends at ISOCS.

Uploaded by  on Oct 22, 2010
Why is the German language called "Deutsch"?

Uploaded by  on Aug 3, 2011
Linguist Nicola McLelland discusses standard languages, with particular interest in German and English.

Words of the World , from  the University of Nottingham in the UK, has a very entertaining main page on their website - click through and have a look.

The website describes itself like this, on its "About" page:
"From Nazi to Chocolate, words play a vital role in our lives.
And each word has its own story.

But where do they come from? What do they mean? How do they change?

Some of these questions will be answered by "Words of the World" - a series of short videos presented by experts from the University of Nottingham's School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

In addition to exploring the words themselves, we'll explore a little about the varied research our experts are working on.

The project is created by film-maker Brady Haran, whose other work includes the successful Periodic Table of Videos, Test Tube and Bibledex."

Are you a web curator?

This is long, sometimes rambling video of Howard Rheingold intervieweing Robert Schoble.

Uploaded by  on Mar 7, 2011
"Increasingly, curation is becoming an important participation/collaboration skill for digital citizens. I interviewed Robert Scoble, one of the most prolific and highly knowledgeable curators about how he does what he does and what advice he has for others."

In the video, Rheingold and Scoble discuss:

How to be a curator? "See patterns that no one else sees... verify that pattern, and expand the pattern."
Curating is "knowing something about sources, or a particular subject," "using tools that magnify your skill".

How do you begin?
Start with a list of people you trust, and like reading.  Understand who they are, and "follow" them.
Use tools - (Twitter), TweetDeck, Flipboard.  Use high level aggregation - Yahoo News, Huffington Post, Tech News (depending on your interests)
Don't try to compete with other people.  Pick a very specific, small area, and become an authority.

"Using your systems, you'll build a "pattern recognizer" in your brain...to look for the pattern that you care about...".

I've shared this video here because I think that as a class investigates a unit of inquiry topic, it becomes a short-term curator for that central idea.  Together they question, research, discuss, collect resources, write, present, etc., their understanding of an idea.  Most of that information is stored in the record of the unit -  a portfolio, a planner, a blog.  They've created a curated collection for the next class interested in the topic, in their own school, or somewhere else in the world.  How are we sharing these collections? How are they indexed, tagged, and posted?  Why is this important in an environment which is also encouraging digital literacies of participation, collaboration, attention, critical consumption, and network awareness?

Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a...robot!

"Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011."

Here's a longer video from Festo, the company which designed the "bird" explaining the project more fully:

If you want to know more, visit the Festo YouTube Channel.

What do you suppose their work will lead to?