Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Colors Mean in Different Cultures

Click the image below to make the graphic large. From there, consider cultures and colors. What surprises do you find?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Come Swim with OK Go!

Google and partnered with OK GO and a dance troupe to create another great music video. This take of "All is Not Lost" is a playful HTML5 music collaboration that lets you embed a message in the music video while the troupe dance to it. Sometimes the dancers seem underwater; other times, they seem to be water bugs or frogs scooting across the surface of a pond.

According to Google's daily blog, the site was built in HTML5 for use with the browser Google Chrome. As you'll see, various video clips move, or are rendered, in multiple browser windows that move, re-size, and re-align throughout the piece as the music changes.

In the Google blog post by Keiko Hirayama, a marketing manager for Google Tokyo, the collaboration had a "special significance" for the Google team in Japan. Apparently, the team worked alongside OK Go, and the message "All is Not Lost" is in support of all the people who were affected by Japan's earthquakes.

You can see our special message in the image with this post! For The Herald's coverage of OK GO, click here. For more information about the code behind this effort, click through to the Google Code Blog.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Every Day at the Museum of Natural History: Students, aka the Critter People

You can read about "the critter people in The New York Times. They are four students studying to get a PhD at New York's Museum of Natural History. Wouldn't it be interesting to go to school at a museum, especially one with all sorts of interesting animals saved, stuffed, and jarred from the last 200 years?

Source: The New York Times

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Technology Right Here, Right Now

Did you know? That's the phrase this short video clip asks time and time again, and it's backed by quite a few interesting statistics, which help remind us that we -- as students -- are really living during an interesting time, as in, it's really no surprise that some call it the Digital Revolution (and with capital letters!). Or, why students today are called "digital natives." Many of us were born AG ("after Google") and after Wikipedia. (Read Clara and Angela's article about Wikipedia's 10-year anniversary.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Bright Idea Through Simple Technology

Here's a Reuters story about a homemade light that is changing lives in poor areas of the Philippines. The simple technology is really just a bottled liter of water with a few teaspoons of bleach. Sunlight shines through the bottle and lights up people's homes as well as a bright lightbulb. The bleach keeps algae from growing inside the bottle. This technology would be a great way to light a clubhouse or a shed even in San Francisco.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Girl Power at the Google Science Fair

Yesterday, Google headquarters in Silicon Valley hosted fifteen Google Science Fair finalists. More than 1,000 local attendees plus Google workers attended the event and walked along the exhibit halls.

The top three winners are all girls this year, and here they are:
  • Lauren Hodge in the 13-14 age group. Lauren studied the effect of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken.
  • Naomi Shah in the 15-16 age group. Naomi endeavored to prove that making changes to indoor environments that improve indoor air quality can reduce people’s reliance on asthma medications.
  • Shree Bose in the 17-18 age group. Shree discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.
According to the judges, the girls were all intellectually curious, tenacious, and determined to use science to solve big problems through simple solutions that the general public can do. Each girl won a scholarship and a fantastic-looking Lego statue. Shree received a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galápagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer and an internship at CERN. Naomi and Lauren each received $25,000 scholarships and internships at Google and Lego. All three get a lifetime digital subscriptions to Scientific American.

You can watch the girls' science fair submission on Google. Also, consider checking out the Google Students blog.

Sources: Google Science Fair, Google daily blog

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th: Listen to the Declaration Of Independence

Today, NPR newscasters are taking just over 8 minutes to read the Declaration of Independence. Tune and a take a listen or a read. As NPR points out, it was 235 years ago this Monday that the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

Listen or read all the way to the end, and you may find some of declaration surprising. What do you think of the references to the Indians and the British?

The following text from the Declaration of Independence comes from the website You can compare several versions of the Declaration of Independence. You can see that there was a lot of editing done to the different versions.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Sources: NPR and US History

Friday, July 1, 2011

Watch 'Alice in Wonderland' from 1903 and Contemplate the Evolution of Filmmaking

In 1903, Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow made 8 minutes of which the British Film Institute has restored and made viewable on the Web. The film clip shows Alice, though clearly an adult, growing too big for her house. Also, the video is burned out at the edges, barely salvaged, which somehow makes it all the better.