The debate between science and spirituality is framed as a knock down fight for truth with winner take all. But does it have to be that way? Deepak Chopra is a physician and one of the most highly regarded spiritual teachers in the world; and Leonard Mlodinow teaches at Cal Tech and co-authored, along with Stephen Hawking, “The Grand Design.” Chopra and Mlodinow wrote “War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality” to help start an intelligent and civil conversation about this very hot subject.
In this hour long video, Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow debate science and spirituality moderated by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Senior Religion Editor for The Huffington Post. This conversation was streamed live on Oct. 4, 2011 on the date of the publication of “War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality” by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow.
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Thank you to all for support.
If you’re like me, you probably have a stack of audiobooks on CD. While CDs are okay, I’ve been looking for a convenient way to get these audiobooks onto my iPod using iTunes for the sake of portability.
After some searching and tweaking, I think I’ve finally got this down to a science – so take a look at this tutorial, and enjoy listening to your books on the iPod!
(This seems to be a legal grey area – but as I understand the law in the US, you can make a copy of a CD you’ve purchased for your own personal use, which is what I’m doing. Please don’t use these instructions to break any laws in your country.)
Got everything installed? Great. Now for the steps:
1. Navigate to Preferences > Advanced > Importing
2. Set the following preferences:
On CD Insert: Show CD (or Ask to Import CD, your choice)
Import Using: AAC Encoder
Setting: (Spoken Podcast will save you some time and file size, but I use High Quality, so I don’t have to switch settings for music CDs.)
Check Boxes: Automatically Retrieve CD Track Names from Internet (this will help, I promise!)
3. Insert the Audiobook CD you want to burn, and import it. If your Audiobook has multiple discs, import them all.
4. Find your Audiobook in your iTunes Library (click ‘Music’ on the left sidebar and scroll through).
5. Select all the tracks of the Audiobook (click the first, hold down the Shift key, and select the last).
6. Launch Join Together (if you installed the AppleScript that came with the app, select it from your AppleScript menu in iTunes. Otherwise, just navigate to the program in your Applications folder and open it).
1. Make sure all the tracks are in the correct order (you may need to glance at your CD case to be sure – but if you got the CD track names from the internet as I suggested above, this should be easier!).
2. Type the author, title, and album as you want them to appear in your Audiobook list in iTunes. Some of this may auto-populate for you based on the CD track metadata.
3. Tweak your settings:
Data Rate: 32 kbps should be just fine for spoken word – increase this for better file quality, but a larger file.
Channels: Mono (again, this is fine for spoken word and will save space)
Sample Rate: I left this alone. Tweak as needed.
Save As: You MUST save it as a .m4b if you want to add chapters (see Bonus Section, below).
4. Hit ‘Proceed’, and your conversion will start.
1. Now QuickTime is going to start lining up boxes across your screen as it pulls each individual track from the CD together into one audio file. When it’s found all the files and started the conversion, you’ll get a progress bar, like this:
2. Depending on the size of your audiobook, QuickTime and Join Together should be doing their work for 20 minutes to an hour. Get a cup of coffee, read a book, keep yourself otherwise entertained for a bit.
1. When the conversion finishes, open iTunes back up, and click on Audiobooks on the left sidebar. See your book?
2. If you want the audiobook on your iPod, plug it in and sync like you usually would, making sure to check ‘Audiobooks’ (or ‘All Songs and Playlists’) from the ‘Music’ tab.
That’s it! Once you’ve done this once or twice, you’ll get the hang of it (I know, it seems like a lot of steps at first!), and you’ll be listening to your books on your iPod in no time.
I saw this today, and I thought it deserved its own post, instead of just a link:
“When considering innovations in e-learning for 2008, it is tempting to focus on advances in technology—such as the use of games, virtual reality, and pedagogical agents. However, the most important innovations in e-learning will involve advances in our understanding of how to design e-learning environments that help people learn—such as how to design serious games, VR environments, and online agents that promote appropriate cognitive processing during learning. Basic research on learning and instruction will provide new guidance for instructional design, including which instructional features promote which kinds of learning for which learners.”
—Richard E. Mayer, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
I just finished reading Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability,” and it was very insightful.
While geared towards website usability, I think a lot of the principles and practices that Krug outlines can apply to designing e-learning, online training, simulations, or just about anything interactive.
Krug writes with a light, friendly style, knowing that many readers of his book are going to be first-timers: people charged with doing usability testing, without hiring a professional.
The book is filled with practical examples of real-life “what works and what doesn’t” graphics and explanations. He highlights the differences between what web designers usually have in mind for the user to do, and what the user actually does. Web pages aren’t really read, they’re scanned for anything that seems relevant or “clickable”. Users don’t take the time to figure out how things should work; they would rather just “muddle through”.
Some design concepts covered from a usability perspective include creating a clear hierarchy and designing navigation, paying attention to conventions (rules are there for a reason!), breaking up pages into clearly defined areas, making it obvious what’s clickable, and keeping the “noise” down – cutting out unnecessary images, navigation, and especially text! Both “happy talk” (useless introductory text) and instructions (users don’t read them anyway, remember?) must die.
Finishing up the book is a clear, concise outline of everything necessary to conduct your own usability tests: materials, preparation, and a handy guide written by an expert.
If you’re in charge of doing any sort of web or interface design, or conducting usability testing, I highly suggest you give Krug’s book a read – it’s short, flows well, and gets right to the point – which, if you’re in a pinch, is a great help!
Wikis are rapidly becoming commonplace as educational tools – and with good reason! Wikis make it easy to collaborate and share information, in a relatively simple format.
But if you’re the one charged with setting up a wiki for your company, school, or classroom, there are several factors to consider – such as ease of set up, user accounts, page versions, syntax, attachments, and a lot more.
Here, I’ll list some of the most popular wiki platforms on the market today, along with some pros and cons, so you can pick the best wiki for your needs.
First of all, there are several wiki comparison tools available on the web already. Check out:
Wikipedia’s List of Wiki Software
Wikipedia’s Comparison of Wiki Software
Cunningham & Cunningham’s list sorted by engine
Oh my! That’s a lot of wikis to sort through! So I’ve done a bit of the grunt work for you.
Easiest to Install / Set Up / Start Using Out of the Box
Want to start using it right away? These are your best bets.
pbWiki [http://pbwiki.com] (hat tip to Wes Fryer, thanks!)
I tried this one – set up took me about 5 minutes total. Wow. Check out mine: [http://edtechhacks.pbwiki.com]
Pros: super-easy setup, hosted, no ads on educational version, page history and multiple user support
Cons: must pay for more features, advertising on non-educational wikis
Another one I tried – super-easy as well. Good for a plain, no-frills wiki. See mine: [http://edtechhacks.wikispaces.com]
Pros: very easy to set up, hosted, page history and discussion pages, notification options, WYSIWYG editing
Cons: ad-supported (but less obtrusive than some, can get k-12 ad-free), few customization options
Best Multi-User Support
Using your wiki to collaborate? Keep in mind page revisions and user accounts – and check out these wikis.
The wiki engine behind Wikipedia. If you’re an active Wikipedia user, this platform will feel very familiar.
Pros: can view page revisions/history, support for multiple users, well-documented support, open source, free
Cons: requires hosting (Apache or IIS), a bit complicated to set up (PHP and SQL knowledge a plus)
Powered by the MediaWiki engine, ScribbleWiki offers a hosted version. Here’s mine: [http://edtechhacks.scribblewiki.com]
Pros: free, can view page revisions/history, support for multiple users, hosted
Targeted towards software developers and collaborative workgroups, this platform has it all for multi-user support.
Pros: open source, free, section editing, revision history and locking features
Cons: requires hosting, WYSIWYG option as plug-in only (not automatically included)
Simplest Syntax / WYSIWYG Support
Want the easiest possible editing of your pages? Take a look at these.
Very simple point-and-click editing. Nice array of features too. I made a test of this one too; see it in action here: [http://edtechhacks.wetpaint.com]
Pros: support for multiple users and page history, site analytics, widgets, pre-set themes, easy WYSIWYG editor, hosted
Cons: ad-supported (google text ads all over the place – but can apply for an education wiki if you meet certain criteria), orientation demos are a bit much for experienced wiki users, but great for beginners
Supports formatting in Textile and CamelCase; very simple documentation.
Pros: uses wiki-standard syntax, simple set-up, clean interface, no advertising (except for StikiPad itself)
Cons: limited configuration on free version
Need branding, your own domain, tech support, or tools for business users? These are the way to go.
More than just a wiki, TikiWiki boasts a large list of features, such as forums, directories, blogs, articles, and more
Pros: open source, free, requires hosting, good documentation, active development community
Cons: steep learning curve, not for beginners
Lots of features for scalable deployment – personal, small business, and enterprise options.
Pros: choose hosing on their servers or yours, supports blogging and IM integration, file management options
Cons: not free (except personal, discounts offered for non-profits), limited info on homepage (must contact sales team for more info/pricing)
Open source, enterprise targeted platform.
Pros: requires hosting, plugin and application support, can add attachments, multi-user friendly with revision and access control, WYSIWYG editor
Cons: no tech support, semi-steep learning curve (from personal experience – my workplace experimented with this platform!)
What Did I Miss?
Do you have a favorite wiki platform that should be included in this list? Add it in the comments!
I came across Steve Pavlina’s blog about personal development the other day, and started reading back through previous posts.
Reading one post in particular – about “Career Apathy”, or being at a point in a career or a job where literally, all sense of feeling is gone – I had some questions. I know people stuck in this kind of apathy, but I wanted to clear a few things up about the article.
Steve’s advice to people in this situation was to just walk away from the job – “to dump a job you don’t absolutely love is to give up nothing”.
My question was, what if this career-apathetic person is the sole provider for the family? How does one walk away from a job with no savings, and somehow continue to support a family?
Steve (and others) replied that hiding behind the need to support a family is just an excuse that holds people back. We bantered back and forth a bit longer, until I got tired of this seemingly lofty rhetoric with no practical answers. (You can read the whole thread.)
After turning it over and over in my head for a few days, I realized what made me so angry about the whole exchange – I felt like I was being insulted for asking a question! I came to the forum asking for some specific details about the situation outlined in the post, and I was met with criticism and hostility. (I know many people take Steve’s advice as gold, so maybe I asked the question in the wrong place. Either way…)
I realized that this experience actually had a lot to do with education. I’m a very pragmatic person, and I like knowing everything that I can about a topic. But as someone trying to learn something new, feeling like I wasn’t being taken seriously hit me hard.
What if, growing up, every time you asked a teacher a question, they told you that you were “wasting your time”?
What if when you asked for proof of what they were saying, they told you that you had the wrong attitude?
What would education be like, if you were told to take everything that someone taught you at face value? And that asking questions was wrong?
I’ve been fighting this issue for months and finally found a fix, so I thought I’d post what I learned to help others with the same issue.
Every time I tried to sync my iPhoto Library to my iPod, I would get an Error -50.
If I just synced my Pictures folder, it worked just fine. But I wanted to have my albums on the iPod.
Note: I know the Error -50 occurs for other reasons, so I can’t help you with that. But if you’ve isolated iPhoto as the problem, keep reading.
Under Pictures/iPhoto Library, you’ll find a file called AlbumData.xml.
Open this in a web browser. (For Firefox: File>Open Location)
If you get an error message (XML parse error, expected closing tag, etc.), continue.
Open iPhoto. Go to Preferences>Keywords.
Look through all these keywords and delete those with non-alphanumeric characters in them. (Mine had < and > characters, among others.)
Close iPhoto, then open your AlbumData.xml file in the browser again.
If you don’t get any errors this time, you’re good to go!
Remove all the photos from the iPod, in iTunes. (Devices>Your iPod Name>Photos>Uncheck ‘Sync Photos From’ and re-sync, removing photos when asked.)
Re-sync your iPhoto Library to your iPod. (Devices>Your iPod Name>Photos>Select ‘Sync Photos From: iPhoto’)
*Also, always connect the USB cable directly to the computer, not through a USB hub. This fixed several earlier issues, before the -50 error.
Look! No error messages! And albums are on the iPod!
Hopefully, this fixes this error for someone else out there.
My specs: MacBook, OSX 10.4.11, iTunes 7.5, iPod 80gb video (5th gen). Instructions may vary slightly based on OS, browser, and software versions.