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Mark's presentation on creating educational podcasts

I’ve just finished watching a video presentation by Mark Pentleton of Coffee Break French and Radiolingua fame (see my prior post on Online French Language Resources), describing how he creates enhanced audio podcasts for language learning. This is an excellent roadmap for all kinds of educational podcasts (with a Mac), such as the Mechanics Minilessons I’m trying (slowly) to produce for my Physics 1A class.

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I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and I need to put my Nigerian fortune in your bank account

My blog has (barely) garnered enough hits to get seriously targeted by comment-spam; comments that almost sound like someone is interested but clearly is meant to sell something.  While WordPress is very good about catching these spams, and I generally ditch them without a thought, the most recent one caught my eye as it seemed to provide just about every possible permutation of comment-spam I’ve ever seen.  Reading through them, I realized that while they are hideously repetitive, abysmal in their spelling and grammatical structure, and offensive in their obvious lack of context, they are nevertheless subtly appealing in their effusive compliments and positive reinforcement.  Indeed, I would love if one of my blogs forced someone “to try and do therefore” (whatever that means), and only spam would thank me not once, but three times in a single comment.   If we were to shed the buy-me links, are we left with context-free ramblings or psychologically therapeutic mantras ala Stuart Smalley?  Is this mechanized gibberish or literary art for the 21st century?

I’ve trimmed the massive spam to the 10 “themes” that seem to repeat themselves.  Read for yourself and decide if Deepak Chopra should be worried for his career.

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When Galaxies Collide!

Felicia Day: don't fear the Andromeda!

Some time back I wrote a post on the reporting of astronomy and how it is frequently couched in violent or aggressive tones.  The brilliant folks at IRrelevant Astronomy have fired their own salvo at this trend (see how easy it is to make astronomy violent?) with a great mockumentary on the making of an education film: “When Galaxies Collide”. You tell them, Felicia!  Also starring Buffy Henshaw and Sean Astin (as an audiobook).

Here’s the video:

tempThe past few weeks I’ve been laid up by a knee injury (bad timing for the winter surf season, sigh), which has forced me to figure out things to do while immobile.  Fortunately this period coincided nicely with my recent infatuation with the French language.  While on travel in Paris in late November I realized how much I love the sound and expressiveness of French, and really wanted to be conversant in it.  Being stuck in bed, I turned to that seemingly limitless resource, the internet, to see what was available.  Here’s a review of some of my favorite FREE online resources, and my personal grade ranking.

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