Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Along with these tools, the site also has a very extensive bibliography and glossary of poetic terms. In short, a very thorough tool for a sophisticated study of British and Canadian poetry.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I will be reviewing a whole bunch of educational sites in SL, but first...let's talk shopping.
In real life, I hate shopping. In SL, I think I need some sort of shopper support group. Further, I actually CARE about fashion in SL....I sooooo don't care about it in RL. There is even a fashion mag....omg...and I read it!!!!
Aerolite Mall - there are some great vendors there that sell some pretty hip clothes. I can usually find what I need here, and the prices aren't bad. My favorite clothing stand is run by Lara Languish. She has a nice mix, and also a bunch of free stuff. My other favorite stand is Phoenix Designs; the owner, Neoznet Watts, built me a custom laptop for my RL students playing in SL. Mall owner, Liam Clinton, has laid it out pretty well...there is space to bring lots of your friends.
CryoGen Cloning Lab - They have awesome shapes and skins there, and they sport a pretty nice mall, as well. The detail of the skins is quite impressive, and is worth the linden. My skin is from A Lady, but these are probably more detailed than even I sport. The owner, Michelle Margrass, also designs the skins. She is right on top of things!!!
Calla Hair - I have bought a LOT of hair, and they have nice hair for not much Linden. I like their version of ashe blonde (pictured above).
ETD Hair - This is my other hot spot for hair. The hair has great detail, and it isn't too expensive. Their long cuts are flexi and I am a huge fan of honey and honey burnt (um, omg...was that a sentence I actually uttered????)
DE Designs - I like wicked cool clothes....and DE has the best detail I have ever found in all of SL. The outfits come with a lot of pieces, so you get a variety of looks from one outfit.
Soooooo.....if you are inworld...IM me, and I will soooooo take ya shopping!!!!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
To start the story, I have to backtrack to 1991, when I was a junior at Billings West High School (official motto: “Failure is Not an Option”). I took two full years of physics at West High under the tutelage of John Linn, an irascible Korean war vet with a pocketful of great stories and a firm grasp of how to teach physics to fifteen-year-olds. I loved that class, even though I didn’t really get a good handle on vector addition until years later when I learned how to operate marine radar. I still have the 3.5” x 5” notecards we were allowed to make to hold the formulae we needed on tests.
Fast forward to 2003. After misspending my youth in the Caribbean, I found myself enrolled in a program studying geology at Northeastern University (official motto: “We’re # 98!”). After spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars during my first year on textbooks that I barely used, I was beginning to wise up to the textbook racket. My degree required that I take two semesters of Physics, never mind that I’d already had two full years in high school. I took the first semester with a friend, and we both balked at the cost of the text, around $130 for Giancoli’s just-released 5th edition.
I was incensed. I’d taken this class once already, in 1991, with a well-used book that was probably printed in the mid-1980’s, and as far as I could tell nothing in introductory algebra-based physics had changed in the intervening years. Newton’s Laws still reigned. Force still equaled mass times acceleration. Gravity still pulled objects earthward at 9.8 meters per second squared. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what could justify a brand-new edition of a physics textbook when there were so many existing books that could have explained the concepts just as well.
Searching online for a more affordable alternative, I found a link to Ben Crowell’s Light and Matter series, a set of physics textbooks available entirely free online. My interest was piqued, but this wasn’t the book assigned for my class, so my friend and I ended up splitting the cost for Giancoli. I was consoled by the fact that at least the book would last me through both of my required physics classes.
Still, I was intrigued by the whole concept of free online textbooks. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, like an inherently practical idea to publish books online. I started digging around and found more and more free books. Then, in January of 2004, the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign unleashed their report RipOff 101, which confirmed what I had begun to find out on my own: the textbook companies were playing students like a pickpocket at Mardi Gras. I decided I had to do something, while I was still a student, to try to get professors to start using these free books. So out of frustration with Giancoli and my chance encounter with Crowell, Textbook Revolution was born.
Several years and several thousand hours of work later, Textbook Revolution is a thriving site with a couple of hundred thousand visitors a year, links to hundreds of free books, and plans to grow even larger over the coming year. I’m finishing my senior year of college. I’m midway through the final class on my list of requirements, which just happens to be Physics II. My friend lost the copy of Giancoli’s 5th edition we shared in the fall of 2003, but it doesn’t matter because since I took Physics I the field of introductory algebra-based physics has advanced enough to merit a new and improved 6th edition, only $153 at Amazon!
This time around, I didn’t even bother to go to the bookstore. Instead, I headed for the library to see if I could grab one of the two copies of the sixth edition available. I was too late to get either of them, but there on the shelf, I found copies of the second, third, and fifth editions. What I found out when I compared them will be the subject of part 2 of The Trouble with Textbooks, coming soon.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Now we're all about being cheap here at the Stingy Scholar, but we realize that sometimes you need to shell-out a few bucks. But with JSTOR, you can't even pay if you want to. This isn't a problem if you can pop into the university library, but thousands of independent scholars around the world are shut out from the service.
Christopher Barden, a long time reader, recently wrote a letter to JSTOR to vent his frustration and ask them to open up their information. I think he makes some very effective points.
As an independent scholar not currently affiliated with any academic institution, I find it deeply frustrating that one cannot even pay for access for JSTOR.
The mission statement of your Mellon Foundation-funded “not-for-profit” scholarly database says you seek "to improve dramatically access to these journals."
The only thing dramatic about access to JSTOR’s journals is its bizarrely unnecessary lack thereof.
Why can’t one access this highly valuable database with a laptop and a credit card? Why build a digitized scholarly archive, searchable via the public internet, if access to it is controlled like some kind of top-secret database? Is this for university students and teachers only? If so, why? Is the access to online-searchable scholarship in a digital age to be reduced to only the years that one is actually affiliated with a large educational institution? What year is this: 2007 or 1007?
In an age when the Internet has made it not just possible but increasingly common for 'independent scholars to work outside the ivory tower, JSTOR is clearly designed to lock them out. And this seems just plain wrong.
Christopher also discusses the frustration with JSTOR results in Google searches:
JSTOR allows Google's public search engine to index its articles. And, because of the range of topics covered in academic/scholarly articles (which span a fairly broad spectrum of human thought and activity), JSTOR article search results increasingly come up as first-page results in Google searches on topics of scholarly interest.
While this is extremely beneficial to JSTOR, it renders millions of public search results practically worthless to non-JSTOR users. (Imagine Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of what JSTOR search results can feel like.)Not surprisingly, JSTOR is yet to respond. I've posted the whole letter here.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Instead of bogging us down with one long post, I thought I would do a series of spotlights on awesome content inworld.
Does anyone have a place they would like me to review?
To get us started in this journey, it is good for us to get to know some of the major players. Sarah Robbins, AKA, Intellagirl Tully, is an inspiration. Her work in SL is just incredible; I watched her teach a class the other night....her students were engaged...they covered difficult topics...it was all that a college classroom should be in the media age. I would be nowhere without her help....so please go check her out.
My other inworld inspiration is Bryan Carter, AKA Bryan Mnemonic. His resources for teaching English are great. He, too, asks students to tackle complicated material. His students are engaged...lively...energetic.
I have met my match for passion in these two educators...
Monday, February 19, 2007
So since we've got some more time on our hands, we've decided to try a new feature - Ask Stingy.
* Researching a topic and looking for free primary sources?
* Find a great educational link but can't remember where?
* Parent of a young student working on a science project?
If you have a question related to free educational resources, ask us. We don't mind doing the work for you. We'll look into your question and put your answer in a post.
Send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 18, 2007
A site devoted to Thomas Henry Huxley and covering the many subject on which he wrote – fields ranging from the design of marine invertebrate structure to the design of a good human society.
A web version of Raymond Gordon's textbook on languages of the world. The full text is listed here.
Dartmouth's Gross Brain Atlas
Click on the lovely pictures to get a description of what part of the brain you are selecting along with what function that part performs.
Finally, here are a couple more good directories for you guys to check out:
Academic Info - lots of good test preparation resources here as well (SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.).
Science News Blog Links
We're getting close. 2007 might be the year we say goodbye to DRM (at least audio DRM) once and for all. The recent Steve Jobs missive rocked the digital media world and other recent announcements seem to indicate the beginning of the end.
This is good. And here's why you should care.
First, there are a lot of reasons why DRM makes no sense. It doesn't protect the content companies and it needlessly frustrates customers. Plus, it represents the first time that control of media has moved out of the hands of consumers (see below):
There are distinct dangers to you if you buy DRM content. So our suggestion? Consume DRM-free media whenever possible. Support the companies that are trying to make unfettered access to legally purchased media a reality.
And spread the word. A DRM-free world means a lot for people who are looking to use the Web to learn. It's an important issue and we're at a tipping point. We'd love for you to help move the balance in favor of a world where infection from DRM is a disease that we've managed to eradicate.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
While I still don't know why I'm only just hearing about this brilliant new book, The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues comes out this March. The book covers topics such as Greetings/Partings, Threats, Oathes, Insults, Proper Pronunciation and much much more. The publishers are working on setting up a companion website with addition pirate-language content such as a comprehensive compilation of pirate sayings and phrases (and pirate intensifiers, and pirate number-related terms, etc.). We'll keep you up to date when the site goes live. Meanwhile, pre-order through Amazon before the Boing Boing crew finds out about this.
how few people know how to go beyond the basics.
The guys at Juice Analytics did a great job of putting together this Excel Training Worksheet. The tutorial is presented in a workbook download, with each sheet covering a topic like VLookups, Conditional Formatting, or In-Cell Graphics. Whether you're a newbie or a VBA wizard, I promise you'll find something in here you didn't know before.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
FYI - just to clarify a couple tags -"research" covers all potentially useful research tools, "university" covers college life as well as opencoursewares and other offerings from major universities, "ipod" covers things that can go on your ipod, and "portals" are sites with lots of good links organized by subject. Most of the other tags are pretty self-explanatory.
We've gone back and tagged the old posts...if you see something mislabeled or think we should add/divide labels, let us know.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Given the size of this site in general and the numerous online courses on offer, I will attempt to make this a weekly entry (which is unfortunately the most I can promise due to my work schedule). This week therefore, I will begin with GPS for VFR Operations.