Tuesday, May 20, 2008


XMeeting - Powerful Videoconferencing Solutions for Mac OS X
The goal of the XMeeting project is to develop a set of powerful and free Open Source videoconferencing applications for Mac OS X. By implementing the H.323 and SIP protocol stacks, these applications offer full compatibility with well-known videoconferencing clients running on other platforms such as “NetMeeting” on Microsoft Windows, Ekiga (aka GnomeMeeting) on Linux as well as other commercial clients available. H.323 or SIP compliant standalone solutions (e.g. Polycom) are also compatible.
Looks like it might be possible to get every classroom or home connected to videoconference technology in the near future with tools such as these. It will have to become a drag-n-drop install with guided setup screens, but the capability is soon to arrive for anyone on a restricted hardware budget.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Global Warming Litigation

Conspiracy Theory outlines a potential landmark case for monetary damages against big oil companies.
The first tobacco suits were filed in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1988 that lawyers were able to find chinks in the industry’s armor. The first lawsuit to succeed was also the first to accuse the industry of conspiracy. It’s anyone’s guess whether climate-change litigation, when mapped to that time line, is closer to the 1950s or to 1988.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Research links common chemicals to obesity

Research links common chemicals to obesity | Science | Reuters
One of the chemicals is called Bisphenol A, found in polycarbonate plastics. Past research has suggested it leaches from plastic food and drink containers.

A team at Tufts University in the United States showed that female mice whose mothers were exposed to this chemical early in pregnancy gained more weight in adulthood even though they ate the same amount of food and were as active as other mice.

$6,000 a Year on Gas

Get Ready to Spend $6,000 a Year on Gas | AlterNet
In 2003, with oil approaching $40 per barrel, the average US family spent about $1,900 (4.8 percent of its income) on natural gas, heating oil, and gasoline. But today at the $120 per barrel level, a family will spend about $6,000 a year or about 15 percent of total annual income, Wescott's report predicts.

Leaving the village

Leaving the village: Rural Alaska | adn.com
The study draws on state demographic data to show a net out-migration of 2,700 people annually for the past two years from rural areas of the state, compared with 1,200 annually in the three previous years.

It was about two years ago that my family moved out of the bush. Our household comprises 0.15% of the total rural transplants in the last two years. ;-)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

BCISD Teachers' Choice Awards: Best Content Providers

BCISD Teachers' Choice Awards: Best Content Providers

I would love to view some of these videoconference programs. Finding ways to incorporate more VTC curriculum with AVAIL students and their individualized instruction is high on my todo list.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Alaska's bent learning curve

Alaska's bent learning curve: Education | adn.com
Alaska is:

• Eighth from the bottom among states in the number of ninth-graders graduating four years later.

• Fourth from the bottom in high school seniors going directly to college.

• Last in the number of college freshmen receiving a bachelor's degree within 150 percent of the normal program length.

Tough to read such statistics as a teacher who values education for its own sake. But the study acknowledges that the problem is cultural and tied to the economy of natural resource extraction.