Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Book & the Imagination 
Noteboek from Evelien Lohbeck on Vimeo.
Noteboek (English title: Notebook) consists of 4 short experimental films where art student Lohbeck confuses reality and illusion. To see more of her work, visit
Music: The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"

Monday, April 27, 2009

How to Study--New Insight, Old Method

 "Close the Book. Recall. Write It Down."

That's the advice from the latest research on how to learn--and it's research that confirms ideas first floated back in the 1940s. Today many professors tell their students to study by reading and rereading carefully. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports,
That's not terrible advice. But some scientists would say that you've left out the most important step: Put the book aside and hide your notes. Then recall everything you can. Write it down, or, if you're uninhibited, say it out loud.

Two psychology journals have recently published papers showing that this strategy works, the latest findings from a decades-old body of research. When students study on their own, "active recall" — recitation, for instance, or flashcards and other self-quizzing — is the most effective way to inscribe something in long-term memory.
The entire article by David Glenn is online from The Chronicle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Online Models for 2009 MLA Rules

For those of you who wish to start using the new 2009 MLA documentation methods now, online resources are starting to reflect the changes. Here are four that you will find useful for explanation and models:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life Just Got Easier for Humanities Students

This week, the Modern Language Association (MLA) just made life easier for anyone using its style sheet to document online research sources. In the newly released 7th edition of its MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , the MLA has finally gotten comfortable with the idea of online materials and has accepted the fluidity of the web.

It's simplified the documentation method for web documents within the Works Cited page of a paper (the bibliography). The key improvement is its recommended handling of URLs (Uniform Resource Locators--the "address" of a web page). Of URLs, the Handbook says,

In the past, this handbook recommended including URLs of Web sources in works-cited-list entries.  Inclusion of URLs has proved to have limited value, however, for they often change, can be specific to a subscriber or a session of use, and can be so long and complex that typing them into a browser is cumbersome and prone to transcription errors. Readers are now more likely to find resources on the Web by searching for titles and authors’ names than by typing URLs. You should include a URL as supplementary information only when the reader probably cannot locate the source without it or when your instructor requires it. (section 5.6.1, my emphasis)

To illustrate the change in documentation style, compare the previously used citation for an article accessed via an online database to what MLA now recommends--the bits in red highlight the difference:


Potter, Dawn. "In Defense of Dullness or Why Fanny Price Is My
Favorite Austen Heroine." Sewanee Review 116.4 (2008): 611-618. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Hinckley Lib., Northwest Coll., Powell, WY. 13 Mar. 2009 <>.


Potter, Dawn. "In Defense of Dullness or Why Fanny Price Is My
Favorite Austen Heroine." Sewanee Review 116.4 (2008): 611-618. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Mar. 2009.

There now. Doesn't that look easier?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is This the Face of Shakespeare?

Representatives of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust are 90% sure that the portrait above--the Cobbe portrait--is "the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime" (NPR ).

The portrait appears to be the original of several well-known copies, such as the portrait hanging in the Folger Shakespeare Library. For the past three years, the provenance of the portrait has been studied: "The research conclusively demonstrates that the Cobbe picture is the prime version of the portrait and establishes beyond reasonable doubt its descent to the Cobbes through their cousin’s marriage to the great granddaughter of Shakespeare’s only literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton" (Science Daily ).

To learn about the remarkable discovery of this portrait, read the story at NPR , watch the video below, or visit the webpages listed by Google News .

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Doctor Is In: Writing & Good Health

You know those TV ads where people swear that working out with their machine for only five minutes a day will give you good health and ripped abs?

They're lying.

If, however, you spend only two minutes a day writing about your emotions and do it for only two consecutive days, you will enjoy better physical health for as long as 4-6 weeks later.

And we're telling you the truth.

 These are the results reported by Chad M. Burton and Laura A. King in the British Journal of Health Psychology article "Effects of (Very) Brief Writing on Health: The Two-minute Miracle." Finally, an explanation for why middle-school girls who spend hours sobbing and writing in their diaries are so incredibly robust.

For a couple of decades, researchers have known that regular writing produces positive health benefits, as measured by the Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness (which measures 54 physical complaints). In the past, researchers used a writing sample of 15-20 minutes for several days.

What Burton and King set out to explore was the lower boundary of writing required to reap health benefits. Two. Minutes. Two. Days. That's all. Participants who showed positive effects wrote about either positive or traumatic events--both were effective. The key is that the writing contain emotional content, in effect “broaching the topic on 1 day and briefly exploring it the next” (Burton and King 1).

You can read the original paper online.
[Photo courtesy of Esther G via Flickr .]

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Software for Starving Students

Sumo Paint  is an online image editor that allows you to do many of tricky things you'd do with Photoshop . . . right there on your browser. For. Free.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wordle -- Create a Word Cloud

Wordle: The Gettysburg AddressWordle  is easy to use. You type or paste in text and Wordle creates a word cloud for you--a visual representation of how frequently words appear within the text. The Wordle allows you to adjust shape, font, and color. Here, for instance, is a link to the cloud we just made for Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" (Bliss version). Click on the picture to view the full-sized version.

Wordle: Obama Inaugural AddressThen compare that word cloud to the one created by another Wordle user for President Obama's Inaugural Address.

Be sure you spend some time viewing the Wordle Gallery; some of the word clouds people create are beautifully inspirational. Call us sentimental, but we like this Valentine's Day cloud. Wordle: Valentine's Day

This wonderful web app was created by a software engineer at the IBM Research Visual Cognition Lab.