My Research Assistant

Let me introduce you to my research assistant, Oscar Wilde.

“No, no, not me!”

I can’t say he’s the most highly skilled assistant I’ve ever known.

He’s not great with computers, he refuses to take phone messages, and he’s often less than accommodating to visitors.

He is a bit bratty, extremely selfish, and at times, quite compulsive. He can even become violent, if provoked. He is often quite needy, and on occasion, he might even start to cry if he feels he is being ignored.

He is also very harry, and to be honest, he’s a little on the chubby side.

But he can also be infectiously rambunctious, ridiculously silly, and fiercely loyal. His patience astounds me, as he can sit with me for hours in silence if he knows I need company while I’m finishing a paper.

He’ll even remind me when it’s time to take a break, inviting me to join him in the kitchen for a salmon snack or, sometimes, a quick cuddle on the couch.

Oh yes, he’s also a cat.

I’ve had Oscar for 2.5 years now, and while he can’t edit a paper, answer my emails, or tell me my ideas for educational reform inspire him almost as much as my generosity with Fancy Feast dinners, in my eyes, he’s the best research assistant I could hope for.

…Or at least the most entertaining.

oscarrrrr

“My favorite snack is the blood of my enemies.”

oscarCheck out Oscar’s YouTube debut.

Learning About Learning!

First week of classes over… what a rush! I get to read and learn about things that really interest me and then meet up with a room full of people that truly enjoy discussing their own reflections on those topics with me! I can’t believe this is what I get to do with my time. See image for illustration of my general feelings:

I’ve started a second blog per my advisor E. David Wong‘s request, where I will be posting reflections and annotations on assigned readings throughout the semester. The blog is mainly a tool for turning in work every week in my first-year seminar on Educational Psychology.

But I figured that if you want to learn with me, you are totally welcome to!

—> MY “LEARNING ABOUT LEARNING” BLOG! <—

See ya later!

I’m a Doctoral Student Now!

If anyone out there in the great blogging vacuum of the three “w”s has ever noticed the questionably significant words I type into my laptop that appear on this page, they might have also noticed a dearth of posts in the last year or so. Attribute this to whatever you like.

But here is the good news (according to Day Greenberg’s arbitrary judgment of what is good, righteous, and worth your while…): the blog is back with a vengeance, if but with the caveat of a slight change in theme—AND NAME. Goodbye, TalkingEarth. Hello, DayGreenberg (Twitter and Facebook page changes will follow suit)!

Look out for more posts in the future, as I begin the next step in my personal and professional journey: grad school! I just moved to East Lansing, Michigan and will soon begin a PhD program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at Michigan State University.

One project I am taking on outside of my coursework is a research assistantship with the famed Dr. Angela Calabrese Barton, one of my idols and a pioneer in research on girls’ experiences in STEM learning, both in and out of the classroom. I am excited to join her project GET City (Green Energy and Technology City), a year-round program at the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing that’s focused on the science and engineering of energy sustainability using advanced information technologies.

I will also be assisting Dr. Barton and Dr. Joseph Krajcik in their work as Co-Editors of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, or JRST (I’ve heard it pronounced as “jarst”). Welcome to the world of insane opportunities in grad school…

If that wasn’t enough, I recently began a summer fellowship to work with another pioneer in educational research, Dr. E. David Wong. I first got hooked on Dr. Wong’s brand of philosophical inquiry when I discovered his writings on curiosity, engagement and “experiential learning” (my favorite is “The Rebirth of Cool: Toward a Science Sublime”). I’m lucky enough to call Dr. Wong my advisor in the Educational Psychology department.

Currently, I am assisting Dr. Wong’s research on John Dewey (arguably the most important pioneer in science education in the last century—not to be confused with Melvil Dewey, the creator of the Dewey Decimal System).

So if you haven’t barfed all over yourself yet at my utterly braggart ways, feel free to check in at some point in the future for more. I plan on having some pretty interesting things to share…

Sca/e Turns Tissues Transparent, Birthing the Term “Gummy Mice”

A new solution stops light from scattering without interfering with fluorescent highlighting techniques. This means researchers could more easily construct 3D images of biological structures—including the human brain and all connections between individual brain cells. For now, it means we get to see amazing new images like this one. But I can’t wait to see what exponentially-more-awesome visualizations result from this new technology! [Links after the break.]

Read on about Sca/e here: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v14/n11/abs/nn.2928.html

Learn about the “Brainbow” method of highlighting different areas of the brain with different colors: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/10/researchers-create-colorful-brainbow-images-of-the-nervous-system/

Wimps Will Rule the World. And Maybe Not Just Human Wimps.

Old-style processor cores—the types that run at 600 Mhz or less—are gaining popularity again. Known as wimpy nodes, these older and smaller machines suffer from very low individual processing power compared to currently available server technologies. Duh. But put them together in extremely large arrays, make them work equally as a team, and you’ve got gold.

Dave Anderson, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, is attempting to change the anatomy of internet-company-used processors—and he’s facing a lot of skepticism, according to Wired. But if Intel is sponsoring it, I say it’s worth a second look. Also, tiny, long-forgotten computers banding together to take over the big supercomputers of the modern age just sounds so darn endearing.

Read on! http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/01/wimpy_nodes/

Anderson’s research: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dga/papers/index.html