Monday, November 28, 2005

Has the Edutainment Trend Gone Too Far?

I’m not sure if I should be frightened or impressed. Here is a list of websites offering various types of simulations of real life or “educational” games, some of them are quite bizarre:

News Gaming
Simulation meets political cartoons. We are a team of independent game developers who believe video games are not simply an amusement. Games and simulations can also make us think about what is going on in this world. Periodically, we will use games and simulations to analyze, debate, comment and editorialize major international news.Come and join us. Play with fire.”

The Serious Games Initiative

Unicef Games
(You get to airlift supplies to Guatemala.)

The Rainforest Foundation
“Help us stop the carve-up of the Congo rainforest!”
(It didn’t work on my computer.)

Kids, Play With Your Food
"The Fantastic Food Challenge, a package of four computer games, is designed to teach people who get nutrition aid such as federal food stamps how to make better use of their food.”,2101,64593,00.html


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Most scientific papers are probably wrong


Wandering the Web

I tend to wander around on the web quite a bit. It’s amazing what you can find if you look a little more deeply into some faculty web pages:

I would also like to hang out with this guy: There isn't enough emphasis in our culture on the importance of just having fun; not the kind of mind numbing fun you have when you waste a whole day playing video games, but truly exciting and stimulating fun, the kind that makes you feel really alive. From that website I managed to meander over to this class website, "Experiments in Interactivity," I wish I could take that class.


Bad Luck

We have had the most amazing string of bad luck lately. At the beginning of the quarter, my car broke down. It's so old that I wasn't sure we should fix it, so it's been sitting at my father's house. Then Beorn's favorite cat went missing, we searched everywhere, but it turned out that she was killed by a stray dog. We are still mourning. Then last Sunday our other car was stolen. By Tuesday our BOK (big orange kitty) was ill, so I borrowed a car and took him to the vet. It turned out that he had a fever of 106, which apparently was high enough that the vet was concerned. We spent the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday worrying about BOK. We gave him antibiotics and injected him with chilled subcutaneous fluids to bring down his fever. When he decided to hide under the bed, I checked on him every twenty minutes. Yesterday, after we shot him up again, he suddenly decided that he was feeling better. He sat up and began eating. So I'm overjoyed, it's amazing what can make you thankful when things have been crappy. I'm just happy that my cat didn't die.


Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

-Mary Oliver

Since I'm a late-comer to the world of blogging and all the good blog names are taken, I decided to rely on my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, to supply the memorable quotations that frame my page. The address of this blog is "asmallgreenangel," which originates from another Oliver poem, "Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine." I have, for many years, felt honored when I caught a glimpse of a hummingbird. When I read that poem I thought it was lovely. Apparently hummingbirds only occur in the Americas and so the mythology surrounding them comes solely from Native American tribes. The sketchy information I gleaned from the web indicated that some tribes believe hummingbirds are messengers from the gods, i.e. angels.