Human Brain Cloud

This is slightly amusing, but also instructive, as a site called Human Brain Cloud seeks to gather intuitive word associations from as many people as possible and then collate that data through a connected web. It’s social data gathering, with a fun twist.

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    (c)2007 Kyle Gabler
    I think I'm shrinking

    The site gives you a word or phrase, and it asks you to quickly write down the word or phrase that comes first to your mind, and then your response goes into the database. Then, after you’ve done a few, head to the cloud itself, which fans out before you like a great big growing tree. You can even search by words or terms.

    Peace (with association),


    Summer Camp — part one

    I have been running a claymation animation summer camp this week for middle school students (mostly fifth and sixth graders) as a new experiment (and more next week). Kids have been using Pivot Stickman, MovieMaker, Stop-Motion Animator and other tools to create mini-movies. I am working on writing up my curriculum (for myself and for anyone else who is interested) and will share that later.

    I have a blog up and running so that parents can view some of the daily work (the blog is at  and the final movies (with a sci-fi theme) are being worked on right now and we are inviting parents in tomorrow to view the showcase premieres.

    Also, I have used TeacherTube for sharing videos because it is quite easy to use and seems to be a safe way to share video without any qualms about kids wandering around to different, inappropriate links.

    But here are a few of the creations so far:

    Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

    Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

    Download Video: Posted by dogtrax at

    Peace (in the hot classroom),

    Tech Skills for Students

    I just came across an article by Jakob Nielson that discusses the skills that young people should be learning. The one-sentence summary of the article is instructive: “Schools should teach deep, strategic computer insights that can’t be learned from reading a manual.” What he means is that schools should not teach to a certain platform or software program, but they should instruct along the lines of critical thinking and problem-solving that will come in handy no matter how technology changes (and it will change — we all know that).

    Here is a list of the skills that Jakob says are vital:

    1. Search Strategies
    2. Information Credibility
    3. Battling Information Overload
    4. Presentation Skills
    5. Ergonomics
    6. Basic Debugging Techniques
    7. Understanding Usability Guidelines

    You can read more at his site but I think this is a nice basic list to think about.

    Peace (with the basics),

    In the mood for drawing …

    I just got back from California (San Diego) with my family (Legoland, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld were all highlights) and I was in the mood for something different, so I popped over to Artpad, where you can make your own drawing and let other people see the process of creation (warning: art has never been my strong suit). Apparently, you can also add to my painting, if you so desire.

    Click on my picture to bring you to the artistic recess of my mind:

    Peace (with paintbrushes),

    All the news not fit to print

    I found my way to a site called Fodey that allows you to create an instant fake newspaper front page. Very fun. So I created this little project, which comes on the heels of a day where I spent most of my time asking the class to be quiet, listen and pay attention (to little avail).

    PS — I don’t really want to a silent class.

    Peace (in headlines),

    Dear John Hodgman,

    Some days, I wonder just what in the world I am doing. For example, I was reading through John Hodgman‘s articles in Wired magazine and remembering his book, Areas of My Expertise, and then was pondering just how closely his last name resembles mine — man versus son. So I got to thinking about the name Hodge, and so I composed this (supposedly funny) letter to John. And I emailed it off to him (an email account for him was in Wired). And I decided to podcast it, too. And now I am blogging it. Sigh.

    John Hodgman

    John Hodgman

    Read my letter to John HodgMAN.

    And then listen to my audio of the letter. Letter to John.

    I’ll be sure to let you know if he responds. 🙂

    Peace (with humor),


    Cue Black Sabbath Music

    This is from a fun quiz site that asks a series of javascript questions and the results place you as a superhero. According to the site, I am …. Iron Man!

    You are Iron Man

    Iron Man
    The Flash
    Green Lantern
    Wonder Woman
    Inventor. Businessman. Genius.

    But that’s not all. I also am a villain (aren’t we all?)

    You are Magneto

    Lex Luthor
    Dr. Doom
    Mr. Freeze
    The Joker
    Dark Phoenix
    Poison Ivy
    Green Goblin
    You fear the persecution of those that are different or underprivileged so much that you are willing to fight and hurt others for your cause.

    Click here to take the “Favorite Superhero Movie” Poll

    Peace (with power),

    Emoticon Challenge: Mix n’ Match

    In a recent edition of Time Magazine, the essay section at the back was dedicated to potentially “new” emoticons for 2007 (very tongue and cheek) and so, in the spirit of fun and games, I have grabbed a few emoticons and the descriptions and I am challenging you to figure out which belongs with which.

    Here are your emoticons:

    Now here are the descriptions:

    • (A) I am disoriented by the act of blogging about the act of blogging
    • (B) I am filming a poorly shot YouTube video in response to your poorly shot YouTube video
    • (C) I am thinking about auditioning for a reality show that will give me an ephemeral and humiliating taste of celebrity
    • (D) I am mortified at having discovered my grandparents’ MySpace profile
    • (E) I am seeking help for my addiction to organizing my Netflix queue.

    (Give up? Go to answer page)As an additional challenge, can you come up with a good description for this funny emoticon from the Time list? Use the comment feature to leave your answer.

    Peace (with funnies),

    Fun With Comix Creation

    At a site called Make Beliefs Comix, you can create your own little comic strip. So I created this comic about my blogging practices. If you click on the comic, it will take you to flickr and the bigger picture (I had trouble fitting it on the blog):

    Peace (in frames),