Computer Games

I’ve often told my daughters that they could play any computer game that they could write. With machinima becoming so much easier, I’m tempted to add that they can watch any cartoon that they could produce. Some of this reflects my views on media education, but it also comes from a core part of who I am. I am an early adopter. I like to play with things to see how they work. This was reflected in one of the most memorable Christmas gifts of my childhood, a broken alarm clock and a set of screwdrivers.

It is in that mindset that I am writing this very geeky blog posts. If you are interest in following how I have used those Christmas screwdrivers to explore Second Life with some interesting twists and turns, read on.

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My Heritage Face Recognition

(Hat tip: Rod and Skipper)

Recent coverage of the Avery Doninger Case

Apollos Academy says School Officials Fail Constitution 101 and quips that they “must have missed the "Caution: You Are Entering A Constitution-Free Zone" signs.”

The Bristol Press writes about Avery receiving nationwide support for her free-speech case.

Over at Cool Justice, there is Frank Douskey has a great Douchebag Retrospective.

The Boston Globe has a short piece about Avery returning to school.

Yankee Cow Girl writes about students not being allowed freedom of speech.

The Region 19 BOE Gazette has a very interesting take on the case.

The agenda of these new politically greased courts seems to be to deny students any right to speak out. This has little to do with freedom of speech or cyber-bullying or any such nonsense. This is about growing a docile citizenry that will not protest its own growing subjugation to forces that no American should ever genuflect to.

Then to tie it all together, be sure to check on the Channel 61 segment of Beyond the Headlines about the case.

Now, for the action items: If you haven’t contributed to the Avery Doninger Appeal Fund, please do so today. You can also contribute by clicking on the widget to the right.

Also, for any of you who have not yet registered to vote and are eligible to do so, please do. I’ve just added a new widget brought to you by the folks from Rock the Vote. Please click on the widget to the right to register to vote.

Second Life Machinima, social change and other media links

An education mailing list pointed out the Favorite Poem Project. It looks like an interesting site. The Favorite Poem Project is “A partnership among Boston University, the Library of Congress and other organizations with major funding from the National Endowment from the Arts and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.”

For the more open source folks, I pointed out the Poetry section of Librivox. At Librivox, volunteers read books in the public domain and share the audio files online.

Steve Clift, a great edemocracy activist, announces the arrival A new e-citizen! Annika Jo Clift. Everyone looks very happy.

From a Second Life Educators mailing list, Anthony Fontana of the Polychronic Classroom notes a Reuters Second Life article about HBO buying a machinima film created in Second Life. He goes on to suggest SL Machinima will save YouTube.

This fits nicely with a visitor I had today via MyBlogLog. Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth stopped by. Her most recent blog post asks What The Heck IS Machinima, Anyway?. On MyBlogLog, she describes Shaping Youth as

Who is Shaping Youth? We all are. And that’s what this nonprofit, nonpartisan, non-religious based organization is about.

As media and marketing producers and consumers (that covers just about all of us!) we’re responsible for deconstructing the messages out there.

Children are being defined by media and marketing, before they've even had a chance to define themselves, as healthier behavioral cues get lost in the loud, brash noise.

I look forward to finding out more about Shaping Youth. It provided an interesting to contrast to two other recent visitors from MyBlogLog. One is focused on helping people make money from Google Adsense, and the other is promoting a site where. “You don’t have to ask someone to chat with you and risk possible rejection... you can type in your age and gender and select the age range and gender you wish to talk with and push the button.”

Amy’s efforts at shaping youth sounds much more compelling. To get the full effect of the contrast of how kids can be shaped, check out a video project done using Second Life Machinima by Global Kids' Digital Media Initiative. Their project is about the situation of child soldiers in Uganda. The children soldiers are being shaped in horrifying ways. Yet the youth leaders in Queens are being shaped in very powerful ways to use media for good.

Moving towards more traditional documentaries, the whole discussion about Miss South Carolina has brought up questions about the state of education in South Carolina and around our country. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I think the person asking the question exhibited problems of our educational system by presenting false information. That said, I was pointed to Corridor of Shame.

“CORRIDOR OF SHAME: the neglect of South Carolina's rural schools" is a 58 minute documentary that tells the story of the challenges faced in funding an adequate education in South Carolina's rural school districts.

The documentary, supported by many of South Carolina's leading foundations and community leaders, tracks the evidence presented on behalf of eight school districts in Abbeville County School District v. The State of South Carolina.

The final link for the day is to The Disaster Accountability Project. On Thursday, I received a press release from them saying “Congressional Time Would Be Better Spent Listening To Whistleblowers In Homeland Security and FEMA About Agencies’ Disaster Preparedness Deficiencies”.

One in Five Americans

As I started to write a blog post on a different topic, I did a little research related to the now famous question about one in five Americans not being able to find the United States on a world map. Various people have pointed that this is incorrect. According to a National Geographic/Roper poll, "Nearly all (94%) young Americans can find the United States on the world map".

So, I started doing a little digging. A Google search on “one in five Americans” brings up quotes like these: “One Out of Five Americans Consider Themselves Holy”, “1 in 5 Americans believe Sun revolves around the Earth”, “One in five Americans believe in alien abductions”, “one in five Americans believe that they have been the victim of identity fraud” and “one in five of us will die of some form of cancer.”

As best as I can make sense of this, one in five Americans believe in alien abductions. This leads them to believe that the sun revolves around the sun and that they are holy. For some reason, people believing in Ptolemic astronomy and alien abductions are also highly likely to be victimized by identity fraud and ultimately die of cancer.

Either that, or less than one in five Americans think critically enough about the media they consume. You make the call.

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