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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Architect Mark Allan recently suffered the loss of his job due to the economic downturn in the housing construction market. Sending out hundreds of resumes did not help his situation, so along with his job search he also spent the last of his savings to develop a construction toy for children. His wife and kids encouraged him to use his advanced 3D computer training and architectural software to develop the prototype models and metal molds. From that point forward, it was just a short step to full plastic production.

As a father and an architect, the inventor, Mr. Allan, realizes that math and science can be intimidating mentally, “But if you can put something in the hands of a child, they will be able to comprehend things better and have more fun,” he says. “Toys influence children; hopefully Qubits(R) will inspire today’s children to expand their horizons to include engineering, chemistry or nanotechnology.”

The economy might be bad, but toys are just as popular as ever. 🙂

The Qubits Construction Toy can also be purchased on the website, www.Qubits.com

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Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., announced that two of its Web sites are winners of the 2008 Codie Awards from the Software and Information Industry Association.

Britannica Online School Edition was named Best Education Reference or Search Service, and the Britannica Blog took Best Corporate Blog honors at the association’s gala in San Francisco. A complete list of Codie Award winners is available at http://www.siia.net/codies/2008/winners.asp.

The Codie Awards are among the most coveted prizes in the software and digital-content industries, and Britannica’s latest victories cap a long series of Codies the company’s digital products have won since the 1990s.

“Naturally, we’re thrilled,” said Michael Ross, a senior vice president with Britannica and general manager of the company’s education division. “The Codies have enormous prestige. They’re highly competitive awards because industry leaders pick winners from hundreds of products. This year more than 1,100 excellent ones competed for the top spots.”

A comprehensive reference and learning resource for grades K-12, Britannica Online School Edition is designed for all ages, with content clustered in distinct sections for the primary, middle and upper grades. It provides students and teachers with an extensive combination of reference information and interactive learning tools. It features Encyclopaedia Britannica’s award-winning encyclopedias serving students of all ages; extensive multimedia; current periodicals; Britannica’s proprietary, editor-checked Internet guide; and a growing number of primary sources. A recent addition is the Britannica Learning Zone, a skills-based environment for children from preschool to Grade 2.

School Edition is meant to be as relevant in the classroom as it is in the library or media lab. Its contents are thoroughly aligned to all state standards and include hundreds of lesson plans and other learning materials.

The Britannica Blog is a place where writers and readers hold lively discussions on almost every topic from art to zoology. More than a hundred bloggers have contributed to the daily postings, including radio quiz show host Michael Feldman; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis; Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams; Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum; Internet experts Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky; and sports commentator Frank Deford. The blog holds forums on special topics, such as the religion of the American Founders, Web 2.0, the cult of celebrity, the future of newspapers, and Iran.

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On June 11, leading authorities on the World Wide Web will gather at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for an old-fashioned debate with a social media twist. The questions for discussion will be shaped and selected by the collective wisdom of Web users from around the world.

Tetherless World Research Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After delivering a keynote address, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, will join a panel of experts from academia and industry for a public discussion about the Web’s future. The content of the debate will be collaboratively created by Web users, who can submit questions and promote them through a user-based ranking system, similar to the community-based news site Digg. The most popular questions will drive the discussion at the June 11 debate.

The public debate, which will be streamed live via an interactive Webcast, is part of a daylong event to celebrate the launch of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer – a new academic center devoted to the emerging field of Web Science.
A wide range of issues are up for discussion, from sustaining the usefulness of the current Web to creating a next-generation Semantic Web, as well as the role of politics, education, and sociological factors in the Web’s continued evolution. Following introductory remarks by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, participants in the panel will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Wendy Hall, vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, former president of the British Computer Society and chief technology officer of Garlik.
  • Nova Spivack, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Radar Networks.
  • Deborah McGuinness, Web language expert and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation.
  • James Hendler, one of the inventors of the Semantic Web and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation (moderator).

Members of the public are invited to submit and vote on questions until the day of the debate. During the discussion, viewers will be able to interact with the panelists by submitting follow-up questions and comments in real time. For details about this innovative event and how you can participate in the discussion, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu/launch.

Since its inception, the Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate, according to James Hendler, Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web, opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities may be missed or delayed.

“If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention,” Hendler said.

The Tetherless World Constellation will address this emerging area of Web Science, focusing on the Web and its future use. Faculty in the constellation will explore the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, will enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and will develop new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. They will use powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information-centric views.

“Our goals will include making the next generation Web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance,” Hendler said. For more information about the Tetherless World Constellation, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu.

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The Ford Foundation announced the election of N.R. Narayana Murthy to its board of trustees. Mr. Murthy is chairman of the board and chief mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited, an international software services firm based in Bangalore, India. He will join the board at its May meeting, which begins today. Ford Foundation trustees are elected by the full board and serve six-year terms.

N.R. Narayana Murthy

“N.R. Narayana Murthy is respected around the world as a pivotal leader in international business, key innovator in information technology and champion of strong corporate governance,” said Kathryn Fuller, chair of the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. “He is deeply committed to the mission and values of the Ford Foundation and will play a critical role in advancing our efforts to improve lives and create opportunity for people throughout the world.”

Along with six other software engineers, Mr. Murthy founded Infosys in 1981. He served as the company’s CEO until 2002 and as executive chairman of the board and chief mentor from 2002 to 2006.

Mr. Murthy serves as an independent director on the boards of several global companies including Unilever, HSBC and NDTV. He is also a member of the advisory boards and councils of several educational institutions including The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, INSEAD, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Tokyo, Singapore Management University (SMU), Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-B) and ESSEC Business School, Paris.
The recipient of numerous honors, Mr. Murthy was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, by the Indian government in 2008. The Government of France conferred upon him the Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2008 and Britain conferred upon him the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2007. In 2005, he was ranked among The Economist magazine’s list of 15 most admired global leaders.

Mr. Murthy joins a group of senior business leaders who have served as trustees of the foundation, including Henry Schacht, former CEO of Lucent Technologies, and Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group.

Ford Foundation trustees set policies relating to grant making, geographic focus, spending, investment, management, governance and professional standards, and they oversee internal and independent audits. Over the years, the foundation’s trustees have hailed from four continents and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business, law, government and the nonprofit sector.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

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Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. heads-of-household have never used e-mail, according to National Technology Scan, a forthcoming study from Parks Associates. This annual phone survey of U.S. households found 20 million households are without Internet access, approximately 18% of all U.S. households.

Email“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, uses a computer.”

Age and education are factors in this divide. One-half of those who have never used e-mail are over 65, and 56 percent had no schooling beyond high school.

National Technology Scan found just seven percent of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to get an Internet subscription within the next 12 months. Still, the study reports a steady decline in the number of disconnected households when comparing findings with previous years. National Technology Scan reported at year-end 2006 that 29 percent of all U.S. households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value.

“Internet connections have slowly increased in U.S. households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers.”

National Technology Scan provides an accurate picture of current adoption levels, demand, and total available market for technology products and services in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.parksassociates.com or contact sales@parksassociates.com, 972-490-1113.

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Tell the band to strike up “O Canada” – Ontario’s own Jayde Nicole, 22, is Playboy’s 2008 Playmate of the Year. The brunette bombshell is featured in a 10-page nude pictorial in Playboy’s June issue. Along with her title, Jayde receives $100,000 in prize money and a 2008 Cadillac CTS. She is Canada’s first Playmate of the Year since 1982 when Shannon Tweed was honored with the title. A one-hour special of the Playboy Playmate of the Year announcement will air May 18, exclusively on Playboy TV.

Jayde Nicole, Playboy's 2008 Playmate of the Year.Jayde’s intoxicating beauty and girl-next-door appeal has made her a local celebrity in her hometown of Port Perry, Ontario, about an hour outside of Toronto. Jayde owns a modeling agency called Jayde Nicole Inc. that she founded in 2005 and had been managing the day-to-day operations of the agency before catching Playboy’s eye and landing the title of Miss January 2007.

Playboy’s newest Playmate of the Year graduated with honors from Port Perry High School in 2004, and attended George Brown College in Toronto where she studied hotel and resort management.

Jayde is currently writing her own fitness and beauty book and has just finished filming a pilot for a reality television show about her life. She has also appeared in Today’s Bride magazine and on the cover of American Curves. Last year she organized her second annual charity car wash, which helped raise money for the RED campaign to help fight AIDS in Africa.

Jayde is one of four Ontario-born Playmates, including Miss April 2004 Krista Kelly (Brampton), Miss June 2003 Tailor James (Mississauga), and Miss January 1990 Peggy McIntaggart (Midland). Playboy named its first ever Playmate of the Year, Ellen Stratton, in 1960.

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The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy announced today that the Web site AIDS.gov, a gateway to all federal domestic HIV /AIDS information and resources, now has an innovative look and feel that incorporates a blog, podcasts, and other new media tools.

AIDS.gov Home Page MessageThe blog, one of AIDS.gov’s latest features, focuses on using new media – interactive forms of communication based on the Internet – in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The blog addresses topics such as podcasts, social networks (e.g. MySpace and Facebook), mobile phone text messaging, and Web site usability and accessibility.

HHS, which hosts AIDS.gov, developed the site with input from public health experts, representatives of HIV/AIDS service organizations, federal employees, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the general public. AIDS.gov was first launched on Dec. 1, 2006, which is World AIDS Day.

“As we approach the 27th year of this epidemic, new media tools are an effective and interactive way to deliver information to and engage with AIDS service providers, health departments, federal partners, community partners, and the general public,” said Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov.

Visitors to AIDS.gov can listen to and view a monthly podcast series, Conversations on AIDS.gov, directly on the site, as well as download episodes. Each episode features a brief interview with a government official about topics impacting the lives of people living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS. The address is http://www.aids.gov/podcast/aids_podcast.html.

One of AIDS.gov’s other added features is that visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive updates when new information is added to thesite. This enables subscribers to have information delivered to them, instead of having to constantly check the site for it.

AIDS.gov’s new design helps visitors navigate through a wealth of HIV/AIDS resources. The site includes the latest HIV/AIDS news, basic HIV/AIDS information, information on prevention, education, treatment, and care resources.

Many HHS agencies collaborate to make AIDS.gov a user-friendly, accessible, and helpful source of information. Non-HHS partners include the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.”

AIDS.gov is a key source for federal domestic HIV/AIDS information. The site’s new look and feel, and improved navigation, enhances our ability to reach the country with critical HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and research messages and resources,” said Christopher H. Bates, acting director of HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. To learn more, visit: http://www.AIDS.gov.

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