February 21, 2008

The Times, They Are A-Changin’ [9:12 am]

Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain

Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.

“Most guys don’t have patience for this kind of thing,” said Nicole Dominguez, 13, of Miramar, Fla., whose hobbies include designing free icons, layouts and “glitters” shimmering animations for the Web and MySpace pages of other teenagers. “It’s really hard.”

[...] If you did a poll I think you’d find that boys rarely have sites,” she said. “It’s mostly girls.”

Indeed, a study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog 35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys and create or work on their own Web pages 32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys.

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Funny [8:11 am]

If it weren’t so sad: Look, Up in the Sky!

The price tag for shooting USA-193 is up to $60 million. Try making a list of the threats to your personal safety that could be reduced for that amount of money. For instance, there’s a construction site next to our office building, and I personally spend a great deal of time worrying that the monster crane will come crashing through my office window and squash me. I bet $60 million would go a long way toward convincing the contractors to find another way to lift things.

Small, paranoid minds wondered if the government was not being completely forthright about its motives. The weapons the military mobilized to do the shooting are part of the missile defense system. Some people think the whole poison-gas story is just an excuse to give the Pentagon a chance to test its hardware.

This is only conceivable if you can imagine that the people who are in charge of intelligence-gathering might attempt to mislead the American public.

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Specialized Book Scanning Project [7:46 am]

Literary treasures, kid-friendly formatpdf

It is barely bigger than a matchbook. Its tiny spine is hand-sewn with string. Published in the mid-1800s, its eight pages are softly tattered and dappled brown with age.

Until recently, the only way to see this miniature illustrated children’s book at the Boston Public Library was to visit the rare books department, accompanied by a librarian, and view it in a private reading room.

But now, “Gems for Children,” which extols the joy of school and virtue of doing right, is available to anyone with a computer and Internet connection. With a mouse click, it can be read - page by page, picture by picture - in the International Children’s Digital Library, a website aiming to become the world’s largest collection of online children’s literature.

[...] “This provides a way for us to reach many, many more children, teachers, and parents,” said Tim Browne, executive director of the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation, the Manchester nonprofit that operates the site in collaboration with the University of Maryland. “In very remote villages, we can for the first time expose children and educational systems to real, educational books.”

The nonprofit relies heavily on volunteers to identify worthy books to add to its collection, secure copyright permission if necessary, and send the books to the foundation physically or digitally. Books are digitized by scanning them page by page, a process the library sometimes outsources to places like the Internet Archive.

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