Saturday, August 30, 2008

You Won't See This Episode of "Mythbusters" on TV

About the security of RFID tags.
An example of corporate muscle-flexing.
Adam Savage explains.

Wisconsin's Population Up 5.8% Since 2000

Link to August 30 JSOnline post, "State population approaches 5.7 million ".

The basic numbers:
Increase of 311,285 -- from 5,363,715 to an estimated 5,675,000.
187,300 the result of births outpacing deaths.
124,000 occurring due to net increase in migration.
(One of these figures must have been rounded up.)

The biggest gainers:
Dane County, +45,033 to 471,559.
Waukesha County, +21,930 to 382,697.

Fastest-growing counties (by %)
St. Croix, +26.2% to 79,702.
Calumet, +13.9% to 46,292.
Juneau, +12.5% to 27,359.
Chippewa, +12.1% to 61,872.
Polk, +11.1% to 45,892.
Washington, +11.1% to 130,493.

Wisconsin Department of Administration Population and Housing Estimates found here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Sure You've All Asked Yourself This Question

Link to August 28 Internet Evolution post, "Do Kids Have the Right Internet Skills?"


"The majority of students, middle schoolers on up through college, will start and end with Google in their search,” said Jim Teicher, CEO of Cybermart Education. “Even then, their understanding of how their selection of keywords can impact the quality of their search results is horribly weak, not to mention the fact that they don't realize that Google does not include many of the fee-based quality research databases. But then, relatively few adults realize this either.”

Important skills for Internet searches include:

  • Effectively developing the right search questions and topics
  • Being able to locate information
  • Critically evaluating the usefulness of information
  • Synthesizing information to answer questions, and
  • Communicating results to others.

“Internet skills are like any concept which necessitates student instruction,” said Susan Brooks, co-founder of Internet4classrooms. "Since these skills are not tested by many states, other areas of instruction that are tested get class-time priority. Because of this issue, many students may not have had direct instruction on how to perform research, and their skills reflect this.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Teacher's Take on Classic Lit for Teens

Link to August 24, "We're Teaching Books That Don't Stack Up".

If ever there were a teaching conundrum, today's high-school English teachers are smack in the middle of it. It's our job to take digital natives -- teens saturated with images in video games and on YouTube -- and get them to strike up a relationship with pictureless chains of black print and focus on the decidedly internal rewards of classical literature. More and more, this mission feels like blind idealism.

But as school starts up again, it's time to acknowledge that the lure of visual media isn't the only thing pushing our kids away from the page and toward the screen. We've shied away from discussing a most unfortunate culprit in the saga of diminishing teen reading: the high-school English classroom. As much as I hate to admit it, all too often it's English teachers like me -- as able and well-intentioned as we may be -- who close down teen interest in reading.

The Internet: Not Just for Drip Pan Cleaning

Head-scratchers click here first.

Link to August 26 Pew Internet and American Life Project post, "E-Patients: Chronically Ill Seek Health Information Online".


The internet is changing the way Americans engage with information, whether they are choosing a president or making health care decisions. Two major drivers for this change are broadband adoption and personal motivation.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates that between 75% and 80% of internet users have looked online for health information. Slightly different results exist for the size of the e-patient population depending on survey strategy, but these results are close enough to be confident about the right contours of this group. The estimate is also in line with Harris Interactive's latest data on health information seekers (81% of internet users; 66% of all adults).

The 75% reading is from an October-December 2007 national phone survey, which included 2,054 adults ages 18 and older, including 500 cell phone users. This survey asked: "Do you ever use the internet to look for health or medical information?"

Commentary on Grafton Library Overdue Incident

Link to August 25 online post, "Libraries don’t have to throw the book at ’em".

Waukesha Public Library Director Jane Ameel talks about the "gentle nudge" approach.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Good News Day for the Neenah Public Library

Neenah Public Library (original Carnegie building, opened 1904)

Link to August 26 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Avid reader leaves Neenah library $28,500 gift".

The donor, who served on the Library Board from 1980 to 1991, specified that the gift be added to the Library Materials Endowment Fund.

And just because I enjoy browsing these types of webpages, link to Neenah Public Library Local History Collection.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Blatherfest Has Just Begun....

...and already Brian Williams is exhausted.