Sunday, March 20, 2011

Texas Wildflower Links

I always wish that school spring break holidays could coincide with wildflower season in Texas, but they always seem to be at least a week early. Driving from San Marcos to Huntsville yesterday I did see some flowers, especially around Brenham where they are such a big deal. There were even people out taking pictures. I thought on the first day of spring it might be nice to share some wildflower links. Spring IS going to show up this year...I know it is hard to believe in some parts of country but it has arrived in Texas and I am happy to send springtime wishes to friends across the country.

Wildflower Sightings

Identifying flowers

Bye-Bye Spring Break Blues

Alas, the end of spring break. As always I engage in a angst-ridden litany of things NOT done that I meant to do...
1. Back up all my files in the cloud.
2. Read those books I checked out for research.
3. Play around a lot more with iPad and apps.
4. Post blog entries (after one last Sunday).
5. Clean out my email files.
6. Buy a lawn mower.
7. Tweet...did not tweet even once
8. Take my taxes in to be finished up.
9. Shop (purposely avoided, a good thing in my opinion)

NOW to cheer myself up, here is a list of things I DID do...
1. Wrote first draft of article due in couple weeks.
2. Kept up with grading for classes.
3. Managed some department issues from a distance.
4. Took walks in the woods every day.
5. Went to Luckenbach.
6. Took dog swimming in San Marcos River.
7. Visited with brother and wife.
8. Visited with daughter and fiance every day.
9. Made arrangements to build new deck on back of house.
10. Slept when I felt like it.
11. Enjoyed a lot of Texas music.
12. Took bike in for repair.
13. Saw bluebonnets and primroses on drive home yesterday.
14. Bought vegetables to plant
15. Fertilized garden
16. Wrote this entry on last day of break.

I guess things went pretty well, all things considered. I wonder what other people did/didn't do?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Link O'Day: 60 Things We Need Less and More Of

This list was originally shared in Bobbi Newman's Librarian by Day Blog, but it is not really about librarianship. It is rather a very apt commentary on today's world, especially in the USA. I wonder if anybody has additions?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Link O'Day: Right/Left Brain

Do you always forget which side of the brain you are? Then I betcha you are right-brained. That's the creative side. And also, I suspect, the drifty side. The only person I know whose brain is more right-sided than mine is my daughter. Don't know how that happened. Her dad is an engineer for Pete's sake. Anyway, here is a link that provides some cool visuals about brainsidedness. I love the colorful depictions of my ever-whirring quirky brain.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Periodic Pleasures OR Irrefutable Proof that I am a Hopeless Geek

A couple of years ago I got very excited about visual literacy, graphic design, and all the cool examples online including graphs, diagrams, comics, charts, etc. Through the magic of hypertext, these can all be interactive and, in my opinion, really, REALLY fun and interesting. I presented on this topic and the basis of my preso is at my wiki. If I do say so I have a lot of cool information there and here is the link:

I was reminded of my love for visuals when someone on a message board recommended the interactive visual periodic table. When you move your cursor over the elements and pause on one, you will get its name and a few facts. If you then click you get more extensive information on three tabbed pages. I have vivid memories of my high school chemistry class and can say without a doubt I would have loved this site and would have learned from it. There is also a nifty game that users can play to refresh memory. Here's the link:

Visiting this site made me remember a riff on the periodic table that adapted the design to visualization tools. In order to see this table in action you need to go to the URL and click on the picture of the table. You get a pop-up that shares the table. If you move the cursor over the table, you get the name of the tool represented, and also a visual document pops up. I can think of TONS of ways to use this with students. Here is the URL and then remember to click on the pic:
Similar to the Merck table, this one provides information if you just rest the cursor on a square, you get the name of the type of tool presented and also an example. Take a look at the other visuals on the page also. They are interactive too.

Next, I found another scientific periodic table that is very cool. For each element there is a video that shows the properties of that element. The professor who does the talking is a delightfully nerdy guy whom I wish had been my high school chemistry teacher instead of dull old ex-weatherman Mr. Snyder.  Catch an interview or two to see the prof. Try hydrogen and view a fun explosion! Here is the URL:

Now I was on a roll and having glorious geeky fun. I found another table similar to the Merck one, that I think kids would like. Once again you get brief information by hovering over a square. Clicking takes you to the Wikipedia article on that element. Leave it to Wikipedia to come up with this one:

And I was not surprised to find other adaptations of the periodic table design. Here is one for typefaces:

Business types might like the Table of Brand Evolution Terms:

There's even a periodic table of beer styles, though I had trouble getting the large version to completely load in:

After I found the beer table I thought I had come across the piece de resistance. But no! Here is THAT gem! If you are still with me, go to this site with a list of sites. The blog entry is called "There is a Periodic Table for That: 15 Geeky Periodic Tables" Happy geek-surfing!

Oh and of what use is any of this information and what point beside geekiness prompts me to post? I think this would be fun to share with students (Well not The Periodic Table of Vulgarities but other examples. Then have THEM make periodical tables...of US Presidence, of endangered animals, of Texas heroes, of American authors, name it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Link O'Day: Just for Fun: Bookfiend Cartoon

I love this! No discussion needed...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are you afraid of the imposter police?

I have mentioned Delancy Place ( before as a great way to get your daily dose of nonfiction. You can subscribe for free and get in the email a short piece that you can read in a minute or so. Today's offering really struck home for me. It is about the impostor police. I first learned about them when I was working toward my doctorate. During that time I belonged to an online support group for doctoral students called PhinisheD. Members used to joke about finally getting the coveted degree but then living in fear of the imposter police coming into your office some fine day and ripping your diploma off the wall and exposing you for the dolt you really are. I first had such fears back as a school librarian because I was given a nice award. I kept thinking someone was going to revoke it or something because clearly I did not deserve it. And the fear still pops up when I am having a bad day, except now I am thinking it will be my diploma that get confiscated. Here is an excerpt from their excerpt"

""The term 'impostor phenomenon' was coined in the 1970s by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, both then at Georgia State University. Clance and Imes noticed that many of their students with excellent test scores and good grades admitted during counseling that they felt they did not belong at the school. Although these students were successful and accomplished, they expressed the idea that they had somehow conned their way into their current positions. They were astutely aware of their weaknesses and tended to overestimate the strengths and abilities of others. In their minds, they always failed to measure up - and they dreaded the day they would make a mistake and reveal to the world the grand illusion.

"Clance and Imes described this impostor phenomenon in a 1978 paper, taking care not to call it a 'syndrome' or a 'disorder,' because it is not a debilitating medical condition. Still, such thinking can be persistently troubling for those who suffer from it, and it may even keep some people from fulfilling their potential or finding contentment."

Author: Birgit Spinath   
Title: "Great Pretenders"
Publisher: Scientific American Mind
Date: March/April 2011
Pages: 33-37

OK there...I am admitting it. That sums up how I feel more often I like to admit. Now I know I am not alone!