Monday, March 29, 2004

Commentary, March 5, 2004 :Back in April, we heard from Susan Kawa and featured her here on the page. She now informs us of the developments in a project she's involved in, one that the JREF applauds:

I mentioned to you at TAM2 that while all-out activism is important to some, that I'd taken a gentler tack with skepticism — by volunteering to write grants for my kids' (public) elementary school science program. After a few successes in the $500 range, we just heard yesterday that we have been awarded the Toyota Tapestry Grant for Science. It's a biggie: $10,000!

With these funds, we will be building a "Mars Biosphere" 40ft-diameter dome-shaped greenhouse — a fun laboratory to study hydroponics, tray gardens, and entomology in the context of space travel. Just thought you'd like to know that the seeds of rationalism the JREF has planted in my mind will affect hundreds of children in my community, and that this middle-aged woman rejects anyone's assumption of who may be a likely advocate of the JREF message.

You can find Susan at www.mommarama.com

Saturday, March 27, 2004

International Space Settlement Design Competition: "WELCOME to the Eleventh Annual International Space Settlement Design Competition! This event is an industry simulation set in the future. Teams of High School students prepare designs for cities in space where over 10,000 people will live. The Competition is an exercise of creativity, technical competence, management skills, environmental knowledge, resources in space, teamwork, and presentation techniques. Each year the Competition organizers develop a new design challenge. Participating teams of students simulate the experience of working on an industry proposal team.

The 2004 Qualifying Competition teams will design the second large settlement in Earth orbit. The links below provide registration materials, background data for this scenario, tools to help students develop a design, and information about the Competition itself.

o About the customer, the Foundation Society
o About the simulated company, Northdonning Heedwell
o About the requested design: Preliminary RFP
o About space
o Glossary
o Competition references and bibliography
o Mentoring teams
o Kudos: What people say about the competition
o Our sponsors!
o Past Finalists
o Related Event in California: NASA-JPL Space Settlement Design Competition
o Other Contests
About the Competition

These materials (see the other pages, too!) will get you started in the Competition. Your team must register with the Competition organizers to receive key Competition materials not included here. The 2003-2004 International Space Settlement Design Competition is conducted in two phases:

Phase 1: Qualifying Competition (at your high school). Your team represents a major aerospace company. Create and submit your design for a space settlement in Earth orbit, in hopes that your company will be awarded the lucrative contract to construct it. The Preliminary Request for Proposal (RFP) , summarizes the requirements for the Space Settlement desired by the customer. When your team registers for the Competition, you will receive the Final RFP, which describes everything the customer wants in your design. Submit your written (on paper!) design description by March 31, 2004, to judges who will evaluate the proposals and select eight Finalist teams to attend the Finalist Design Competition at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, July 17-19, 2004."

Friday, March 26, 2004

Readability.info: Readability Scores, Grades, Sentences, Paragraphs, Word Usage, English Usage and Grammar Analysis for Web pages and Microsoft Word documents in a flash!: "Curious about how complex your documents or Web pages are to read? You don't have to get a team of experts to generate your readability score: you can just use readability.info to analyze the characteristics of your writing and ascertain a multitude of readability scores. By comparing the readability score of different documents (or Web pages) you can better hone your writing and make sure that you aren't creating overly complex sentences and paragraphs for your audience."

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Slashdot | Bugscopes In The Classroom: "Bugscopes In The Classroom
Posted by timothy on 01:36 PM -- Saturday March 20 2004
from the skynet-was-remote-controlled dept.
jnagro writes 'A group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have a number of interesting projects which allow K-12 students remote access to advanced scientific instruments over the web. This particular project, dubbed the 'Bugscope', lets students get a closer look at insects through an electron microscope all via a regular web-browser. The site has some interesting information, as well as some neat photos taken with the scope.'"

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