Friday, December 30, 2005

National Assessment of Adult Literacy U.S. Dept Education
This month the US Government released this once-in-fifteen-years study of the nations literacy. The results, if you look at the sample questions and the breakdowns, are not exactly encouraging. Most groups stayed the same, and college and grad students declined (no surprise to this B.S. Physics).

The worst performance, though, is reserved for the researchers at NAAL/NCES. In the sample of 19,300, 1200 were in prison. That's one in 16 for the quantitativley non-proficient. US prisons held--a 5 second Google will tell you--but 1 in 142 of us. The sample over-weighted criminals by 900 percent.

Not offensive enough? The US Government also employs a diverse population housed in military barricks. Not one was included.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Should you not know Edward Tufte, you really might consider getting aquainted. His work for many years has changed thought about graphics and numbers and how to make data-centric reading readable.

This chapter introduces his invention, Sparklines. Next time you need a number to tell the story, a sparkline might just tell it better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Graphics Novels: 300
I'd say I was never a fan of this genre, but that would overstate the relationship. In truth, don't know that I've ever given one more than a passing glance--if that. Its just that type of snobbishness that has us in the current crisis over history.

The comic mentioned here addresses the battle of Thermopylae; the script is now in filming by Zack Snyder, whose was given Rainbow Six. If you're looking for ideas for your interactive, peruse a few graphic novels for inspiration.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Open Sustainable Learning Opportunities Group
Support software for open courseware initiatives. MIT and the University of Utah with help have put together the Open Learning Support system. Instructors use it to upload and manage courseware; learners use it to interact with others and get answers to questions.

Also see the sourceforge project page and the OLS homepage.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Puzzle of Geologic Regions
From the U.S.G.S, a puzzle of physiographic regions of the Unites States. This is from, where they also present a number of dynamic maps. And see the Tapestry of Time and Terrain.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

DaVinci Technology for digital video Texas Instruments
DaVinci two days in a row? :-) We don't often talk about systems level programming here, but this news is worth a heads-up. TI's new digital video system on a chip (Block Diagram ) comes complete with ARM processor, DSP, and embedded Linux. I'm not a DSP guru, but Slashdot hears from one who notes:
"The idea of microcode/silicon instruction sets combined with the abstraction of a familiar kernel and realtime operating system as the starting point is going to be immensely empowering for the next generation of DSP programmers. Indeed I expect that in 10 years time we will no longer consider the two as distinct disciplines at all."

Heady stuff for those of us who consider signal processing pure black magic.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Game - Da Vinci & The Code He Lived By History Channel
Get 20 questions right! Beautiful graphic design. I needed a little more reward along the way.