Sunday, 30 August 2009

Trade unions learning representatives: progressing partnership?

an article by Catherine Cassell (Manchester Business School)and Bill Lee (Management School, University of Sheffield) published in Work, Employment & Society Volume 23 Number 2 (2009)

The statutory rights given to trade union learning representatives (ULRs) to facilitate and organise learning in the workplace has led to the creation of a new specialised union lay official role. This article investigates how the ULR initiative is facilitating the development of learning partnerships in the workplace. Empirical data is provided from a qualitative study that draws on interviews with full-time trade union officials from a range of unions. It is argued that although the ULR initiative provides opportunities for unions to promote the ideal of learning partnerships within the workplace, rights to learning remain a contested terrain between many employers and unions.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Young People, Online Networks, and Social Inclusion

an article by Tanya Notley published in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 14 Issue 4 (2009) © International Communication Association


This paper examines the ways 9 teenage Australians – identified as being “at risk” of social exclusion – are using online networks to participate in society. The research finds that online networks provided participants with valuable opportunities for social inclusion. These findings are contextualised in relation to current Australian government education and social policies that, on the one hand, aspire to support young people’s social inclusion, and on the other restrict their ability to use online networks because of safety and health concerns. This study contends that by defining and understanding the social value of young people’s online network use we can move toward a policy framework that not only addresses potential online risks, but supports equitable digital inclusion for young people.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Ten trivial (i.e non-work-related) items 9

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
"It is not Che's high cheekbones, long eyelashes and cool bomber jacket that make this photo desirable. Its appeal also lies in its spirituality"... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
“Capitalism is nothing but a false religion, with Mammon as its god and Adam Smith as its high priest.” How true is this claim?... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Art has always needed patrons, as Jonathan Le Cocq explains. But taxpayer patronage means the arts are no longer being paid for by their direct audience... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." A rather carnivorous metaphor for the vegetarian Henry David Thoreau... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
"Children are unconsciously the most rational beings on earth, brilliantly drawing accurate conclusions from data and doing clever experiments"... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The dot-com bubble burst by 2000. Then it was housing, which triggered the credit meltdown, followed by stocks. Will higher education be the next bubble to burst?... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Humans are genetically close to chimps and bonobos, sharing with them nearly 99% of our DNA. Yet we became master tool users and cooperators... more

How To Use WolframAlpha to Help Solve Crossword Puzzles via ResourceShelf
Does today's crossword have you puzzled? You could continue to fret, and fight the urge to check the full solution, or you could consult WolframAlpha, which has the tools you need to solve the sneakiest constructions. WolframAlpha can find words matching a pattern, words with specific beginnings and endings, and provide word definitions.
Whether you are a fan of the mind-bending New York Times Crossword Puzzle, or you enjoy a more leisurely crossword, the example we have provided can work for all crossword puzzles. We took a break with WolframAlpha today to solve one of many free online crossword puzzles. You can play along.
Access the Full Post for Examples
Source: WA

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
No more scribbles. What we need is a "slow writing" movement that extols the virtues of neat, expressive penmanship... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
American firms outsource work they used to do themselves. Why can't American college students outsource their essays or dissertations?... more

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Measuring effectiveness of graph visualizations: ...

A cognitive load perspective

an article by Weidong Huang (National and International Surveys Program, Australian Council for Educational Research) and Peter Eades and Seok-Hee Hong (School of Information Technologies, The University of Sydney)

Graph visualisations are typically evaluated by comparing their differences in effectiveness, measured by task performance such as response time and accuracy. Such performance-based measures have proved to be useful in their own right. There are some situations, however, where the performance measures alone may not be sensitive enough to detect differences. This limitation can be seen from the fact that the graph viewer may achieve the same level of performance by devoting different amounts of cognitive effort. In addition, it is not often that individual performance measures are consistently in favour of a particular visualisation. This makes design and evaluation difficult in choosing one visualisation over another. In an attempt to overcome the above-mentioned limitations, we measure the effectiveness of graph visualisations from a cognitive load perspective. Human memory as an information processing system and recent results from cognitive load research are reviewed first. The construct of cognitive load in the context of graph visualisation is proposed and discussed. A model of user task performance, mental effort and cognitive load is proposed thereafter to further reveal the interacting relations between these three concepts. A cognitive load measure called mental effort is introduced and this measure is further combined with traditional performance measures into a single multi-dimensional measure called visualisation efficiency. The proposed model and measurements are tested in a user study for validity. Implications of the cognitive load considerations in graph visualisation are discussed.

Widening participation: what can we learn from young people?

an article by Harriet Dismore (University of Plymouth) published in the online edition of Widening Participation & Lifelong Learning Volume 11 Number 1


The national Aimhigher initiative was introduced by the UK government to widen participation in higher education by raising the aspirations and developing the abilities of young people from low socio-economic groups. This study sought to obtain an insight into the impact that the Aimhigher interventions have had upon young people within the Kent and Medway region. It draws upon data provided by 27 young people during paired and group interviews, particularly in relation to their level of awareness of higher education, the key influences in the decision making process and the additional sources of information that inform their understanding. The findings revealed that pupils were particularly benefiting from the support of Aimhigher learning mentors and were often influenced by their parents. Many of the pupils in this study indicated that obtaining a clearer idea of what universities were like and the work that would be expected of them was paramount to alleviating their fears and anxieties. However, the expectations that some pupils expressed, that gaining a higher qualification would undoubtedly lead to a better job and more income, might prove unrealistic. Furthermore, during discussions a number of pupils demonstrated a particular view of education and learning not in keeping with the notion of lifelong learning.

Full article (pdf document)

Hazel’s comment:
Apologies for the delay in getting this interesting article to you. I had it on our journals’ list as an alert but it’s a fetch!

Minimum Wages in January 2009

via Eurostat Statistics in focus

In January 2009, 20 of the 27 Member States of the EU (Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Estonia, Greece, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom), one candidate country (Turkey) and the United States had national legislation setting statutory minimum wages. The minimum wages varied widely, from 123 EUR per month in Bulgaria to 1,642 EUR per month in Luxembourg. When adjusted to take into account differences in purchasing power, the disparities between the Member States are reduced from a range of one to thirteen (in euro), to a range of one to six (in Purchasing Power Standard - PPS) with Luxembourg (1,413 PPS per month) the highest and Bulgaria (240 PPS per month) the lowest.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Using networks to access international internship opportunities

an article by Mary Loyland and Dee Ann H Ellingson published in International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations Volume 6 Number 4 (2009)

As the business world becomes more global, there is an increasing need for students to gain an international perspective and international experience. One way to accomplish this is through international internships. How do students access international internship opportunities? Networks play a key role in enabling students to obtain knowledge and advice, gain self-confidence, and access opportunities. This paper describes the networks used by four students from the University of Shanghai Science and Technology in China to study at the University of North Dakota, and then go on to do an internship with Ernst & Young, a prestigious “Big Four” international accounting firm at their headquarters in New York City. The paper goes on the describe the internship experiences the students had and the benefits gained from the experience including increased self-confidence, communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills, and exposure to business in a different culture.

Tackling Child Poverty in Hard Times Conference

organised by Inclusion events and training (Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion)

Discount for Early Bookings received before 25 September 2009
Fees range from £165 - £285

The number of people out of work continues to increase. At the same time, the public finances are coming under increased pressure. These are hard times for families, and hard times for those working to tackle child poverty in their communities. With the Child Poverty Bill currently before Parliament emphasising the importance of developing effective local strategies to reduce child poverty, this is a critical time to share analysis, ideas, and best practice.This conference will bring together policy-makers and practitioners from across central Government, local authorities, and key delivery agencies including Jobcentre Plus and from across the third sector to examine how the recession is impacting on child poverty levels and how the challenges faced by local areas can best be met.

Confirmed Speakers:
  • Kate Green, Chief Executive, CPAG
  • Roger Wilshaw, Deputy Director Regeneration Strategy Local Economic Development and Renewal, Communities and Local Government
Invited Speakers:
  • Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families
  • Maria Millar MP, Shadow Minister for the Family
23 October 2009
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Birmingham NEC

More information

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Local workplace employment and the quality of jobs framework

an article by Paul Jones (Sheffield Hallam University) in People, Place and Policy Online Volume 3 Issue 2 (2009)


There is an increasing recognition that it is quality as much as quantity of employment which is important in assessing the positions and progress of local economies. Not least of all in light of the Lisbon Strategy and Leitch Report which emphasise world class skills and the knowledge economy. The paper details how the so-called ‘Quality of Jobs’ framework can be adapted to local area data to produce consistent estimates of local area ‘job quality’ through time, based on Census, Annual Population Survey and Labour Force Survey sources. The methodology is described and local area estimates shown for illustration.

Full article

with grateful thanks to FutureSkills Scotland newsletter of 22/08/09

Information behavior of people in the fourth age: ...

Implications for the conceptualization of information literacy

an article by Kirsty Williamson (Charles Sturt University and Monash University, School of Information Management and Systems) and Terryl Asla (Health Matters Magazine, Wichita, USA and Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)


The information literacy (IL) needs of people in the fourth age, a stage of increasing dependence and disability, have not been considered in the research literature. Based on the premise that there are relationships between information seeking and IL, this article begins to bridge this gap by focusing on the information-seeking behaviour of the group in an attempt to identify IL needs. It does this through a literature review, particularly drawing on two pieces of human information behaviour research, one a new study focused specifically on the group in question. It also examines existing definitions of IL in order to gauge how relevant they appear to be. The reasons for studying this group include that all stages of a person's lifespan deserve to be studied and that the population size of this group increases dramatically in the developed world. Although information needs and sources used are fewer in the fourth age, they are still important to the people involved, thus making IL a relevant concept. The researchers draw implications for IL from the particularities of the information context where disability and frailty impede purposeful information seeking. The resulting emphasis on incidental information acquisition increases the role for social networks and communication, again with implications for IL. Information grounds, where people congregate for purposes other than information sharing, including artificially created ones, will also be important for information dissemination. The role of the Internet, including assistive technology for its use, is also relevant. The conclusion is that IL is crucial to the well-being of people in the fourth age but that existing definitions need to be adjusted to the specific informational context.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Ten trivial (i.e non-work-related) items

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Global warming, says Freeman Dyson, “has become a party line”, promoted by experts crippled by a conventional wisdom they have created for themselves... more

Warning signs for the 21st Century via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
Flickr user Arenamontanus has a great collection of 21st century warning signs that would make the world a much better place.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Britain cannot forever bury all its waste, nor is it able to recycle what it cannot bury. Why not just burn it?... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Wolfram search engine will allow people to make use of science on a daily basis, just as Google has made billions of people reference librarians... more

Robot Babies in Smithsonian via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Smithsonian published a fascinating article about “robot babies”, examining several research efforts to build machines that have good social skills.
A “must read” – and the related posts.

When Google Ads go bad via Phil Bradley's weblog by philipbradley
It's often quite instructive to look at the adverts that Google pops onto pages. As a web author it gives you a very quick feel for what Google thinks your page is about, and they're useful when you're hunting around looking for the information that you need. However, sometimes they do get it fantastically wrong.
Please read it!

Lord of the Rings considered as a D&D game -- webcomic via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
The DM of the Rings is a webcomic that retells The Lord of the Rings as a D&D campaign played by a group of impatient, juvenile (and hilarious) gamers.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The idea that religion is destined to die out is itself a confession of faith. No evidence will persuade secular believers they are on the wrong side of history... more

Navigation/geometry textbook based on Alice in Wonderland via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow In 1961, a Cambridge don who'd taught navigation to cadets in WWII published an homage to Alice in Wonderland that used the book to illustrate concepts in navigation and geometry. The book, Navigation with Alice, was illustrated with fantastic replicas of the original Tenniel illustrations, recast to accompany the lessons (Anne Scarisbrick, the illustrator, was only 16 when she drew them!).
Alice's Many Adventures - Part the Second (Thanks, Erik!)

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate on 22 December
Awful modernist art can be easily ignored. But disagreeable architecture – concrete façades on a human-repelling scale – is much harder to avoid... more

Knowledge Nomads

This pamphlet (at 95pp I would have said booklet but ...) from Demos was published in March this year but made the FutureSkills Scotland newsletter this week. It would appear that there are some interesting ideas in this document – see what you think. Worth £10? I think probably “yes”.

The debate about highly skilled migration can be traced back over many decades. But fears about ‘brain drain’ are being challenged by the idea that people flow can be good for global science and innovation. In this pamphlet we identify a new, global breed of scientist: the ‘knowledge nomad’, exploring who they are, what motivates them and why their movement around the world is so important. Knowledge nomads are highly skilled and highly mobile people, open-minded in their choice of home and comfortable moving between different cultures. They are increasingly vital for knowledge economies. Science and innovation now function as global networks, created from the interaction of thousands of highly skilled people. The movement of these people enables these networks to grow and function. They also bring valuable knowledge and expertise home. This pamphlet looks at four case studies where knowledge nomads play a vital role – Pfizer, the UK India Business Council, the city of Manchester and the chemistry department of Imperial College London – arguing that nomads are essential for science and innovation in the UK and beyond. Scientists have always travelled in search of new collaborations, new possibilities and new ideas. We set out how the UK can recognise and build these connections, attract the best people and encourage UK-born nomads to begin their own journeys.

Authors: Jack Stilgoe and Natalie Day
ISBN: 9-781-90669-308-4
Cost: £10

Friday, 21 August 2009

Blogging – private becomes public and public becomes personalised : Table of...

an article by Barrie Gunter published in Aslib Proceedings Volume 61 Issue 2 (2009)


The purpose of this paper is to show how blogging has grown as an online phenomenon.
Examines the way that blogs have become a phenomenon that embrace private authors who go online to write personal diaries through to representatives from different types of commercial, political and voluntary organisations who utilise them for a range of information exchange, debating, promotional and support purposes.
As blogging grows as an online phenomenon its impact in areas such as news, politics, and social networking is being taken ever more seriously. While the Internet has been held up by governments as holding great economic and political promise, acting as a vehicle that can enhance public services, empower and engage citizens, and trigger new ways of doing business, the reality in terms of how it is actually applied can be poles apart from the ideal.
The paper provides an overview of blogging and introduces the papers in this special issue.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

NEET Statistics Quarterly Brief

This brief sets out the latest statistics available on NEET in England from the DCSF 16-18 Participation SFR, the Labour Force Survey, and regional NEET figures and a segmentation using Connexions data.

PDF 13pp (185Kb)

Contact: Emily Uttley tel: 0114 259 3955

How to speak English Pooperly

This is too long to be included in a list of ten non-work-related items!!

If you wish to learn how to do pooper English then you must remember
  1. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
  6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
  12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  14. One should never generalise.
  15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  19. The passive voice is to be ignored.
  20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
  24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know”.
  25. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  28. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  29. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

    And the last one
  31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Thanks to DearWebby whose humour is always clean and often of the groany type – and who also provides ICT tips in his daily newsletter.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Ten trivial (i.e non-work-related) items

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
In 1797, Thomas Cadell made perhaps the greatest mistake in publishing history. One Rev. George Austen had sent him a novel by his daughter... more

Song of the Vine: A History of Wine via Librarians' Internet Index: New This Week

Website companion to a 2008-09 exhibition about the story of wine making that “celebrates the 10th anniversary of [Cornell University Library's] Eastern Wine and Grape Archive (EWGA)”. Essays and digitised materials explore the introduction of wine in America, grape cultivation, the temperance movement, Prohibition, cocktail culture, and more. Includes a few related website links. From Cornell University Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne

The Discovery Channel has created an interactive Volcano Explorer where you can create a virtual volcano and watch it erupt.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Seriously now, lard is good for you. After years in the shadow of cholesterol worries, it turns out that lard is not as unhealthy as you thought... more

Old technology via BBC News Technology UK Edition

Your pictures of appliances that just keep going.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Danny Postel wants to raise his kids to be freethinkers. But what if all that freedom in their thinking results in their becoming religious?... more

Strange inventions via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Nicky

15 most bizarre patents… although I have seen the “banana protective device” on sale in the UK, so somebody obviously took it seriously. and there are more: Really useful gadgets Weird things and also: Annals of Improbable Research

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Exclamation marks used to be frowned on. But now we use them all the time! Hurrah!!! What is it about email that makes people so excited?... more

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne
The Nobel Foundation has put together this collection of educational games based on Nobel prize-winning chemistry achievements.
Four games are available: What is chirality?, Heating plastics, A future with conductive polymers, and the PCR method: a DNA copying machine.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, many Britons thought it was the beginning of the end of their empire. Still, it took a while... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Disraeli, with his olive complexion and coal black eyes, was an English Jew at a time when being English and Jewish was inconceivable... more

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Overeducation and the skills of UK graduates

an article by Arnaud Chevalier (Royal Holloway University of London) and Joanne Lindley (University of Sheffield) published in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 172 Issue 2 (2009)

During the early 1990s the proportion of a cohort entering higher education in the UK doubled over a short period of time. The paper investigates the effect of the expansion on graduates’ early labour market attainment, focusing on overeducation. We define overeducation by combining occupation codes and a self-reported measure for the appropriateness of the match between qualification and the job. We therefore define three groups of graduates: matched, apparently overeducated and genuinely overeducated. This measure is well correlated with alternative definitions of overeducation. Comparing pre- and post-expansion cohorts of graduates, we find with this measure that the proportion of overeducated graduates has doubled, even though overeducation wage penalties have remained stable. We do not find that type of institution affects the probability of genuine overeducation. Apparently overeducated graduates are mostly indistinguishable from matched graduates, whereas genuinely overeducated graduates principally lack non-academic skills and suffer a large wage penalty. Individual unobserved heterogeneity differs between the three groups of graduates but controlling for it does not alter these conclusions.

Scale of jobs crisis for young revealed

The number of “NEETs” – young people not in employment, education or training – has jumped by more than 70 per cent since 2001 in parts of southern England, according to figures obtained by the Conservative party.

Read the full article in the FT

Friday, 14 August 2009

Economic impact report 2009

This research seeks to quantify the direct economic impacts of Sector Skills Council GoSkills.
It highlights the economic impact of GoSkills in the passenger transport sector and covers the impact of GoSkills as an employer.
The contribution of skills, qualifications and apprenticeships promoted by GoSkills is considered together with the benefits of improving basic skills, technical and vocational skills, public funding for sector qualifications, and the value of qualifications and apprenticeships.
The authors set out GoSkills’ strategic objectives and make recommendations to improve the effectiveness of training and skills interventions in the passenger transport sector.

Full document (PDF 24pp)

Source: Futureskills Scotland

State pupils fail to seek top university places

State school pupils who apply for the most selective degree courses at top universities are as likely to win a place as private school pupils with similar A-level results, but are less likely to put their names forward says new research.

Read the full article from the FT

Clash in jobless data sparks inquiry

An urgent investigation into a striking discrepancy between two sets of unemployment data has been launched by the government.

Full article from the FT

Hazel’s comment:
I'm not sure what the fuss is about. There has always been a discrepancy between the claimant count and the number of people seeking work. Is the present discrepancy, in percentage terms, very different from that normally experienced? If yes then I can understand that the government may be concerned considering that Jobcentres now offer “real help”. However, the anecdotal “evidence” among my unemployed friends is that casual work is available (without resorting to the hidden economy) particularly for experienced LGV drivers and warehouse staff. A day and a half a week is more than JSA would pay so why bother making a claim?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Does High Cost of Mortgage Debt Explain Why Young Adults Live with Their Parents?

an article by Nuno Martins (Barclays Capital) and Ernesto Villanueva (Banco de Españna) published in Journal of the European Economic Association Volume 7 Number 5 (September 2009)


Young adults leave their parents’ homes at a higher rate in Northern Europe or in the United States than in Southern Europe, with broad implications on labour market mobility and on fertility. We assess if differences in household formation are associated to differences in access to credit by estimating the impact of the cost of a mortgage on the probability that a young adult leaves his or her parents’ home. Exogenous changes in the cost of credit are identified using the reform in 1998 and the cancellation in 2002 of Crédito Bonificado, a Portuguese programme that provided four different reductions of the interest rate of mortgages signed by low- and medium-income youth. Using a unique data set that links administrative records of debt with the 1998–2004 waves of the Employment Survey, we document three findings.
First, borrowing among young adults fell when borrowing costs increased.
Second, the elasticity of new household formation with respect to net interest rates lies between −0.8 and −3.3.
Third, young adults responded to the increase in mortgage costs by delaying home purchases or by reducing the quality of housing services purchased, but there was only a modest increase of the probability of renting a new accommodation.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Trivia – ten more non-work-related items

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
If we continue to go on in the same way, our future is unsustainable. Of course, we never go on in the same way. Matt Ridley knows... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Bitterness is so common and so deeply harmful that some psychiatrists are urging it be identified as a mental illness: "post-traumatic embitterment disorder"... more

Classic video games reimagined as backyard "off your butt" games via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
Brian Crecente over at Kotaku has a terrific post up about backyard adaptations of classic video games. I can imagine playing them for lulz myself, but they're particularly cool for parents with bored kids at home on summer break:
Here, mostly for my amusement, is a collection of games meant to be enjoyed outdoors. I've taken some of my favorite video games and tried to turn them into the sorts of games you play with friends on the lawn, in a park or anywhere there's space.
Included are homages to Katamari Damacy, Super Mario Bros. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Metal Gear Solid. Enjoy, but don't blame me if you break something... even a sweat.
Printable PDFs for 6 games here.
Included: Katamari StickWithMe, Pac-Tag, Leapfrogger, Dodge Space Invaders, Metal Hear Hide and Sneak, and Super Hopscotch Bros. (hahahah!)

Free Steam Games – don’t be a party poop, download some free fun video games via The Red Ferret Journal by Nigel
It's Friday so why not kick back and enjoy some free video games courtesy of the Steam network delivery service?

Thanks to “How can I recycle this” I found
Ethical Consumer has reviewed a range of laundry detergents on the market in terms of their environmental impact – interesting reading.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Plato called it “the greatest incentive to evil”" and maybe he was right. Yet we all succumb to pleasure: booze, chocolate, sex - or just a warm bath... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Refrigeration changed our attitude toward food by removing the site of production from the sight of consumers. Thus did our idea of "freshness" emerge... more

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne
Another interesting site from the Exploratorium today.
Last week we had the science of food. This week check out the science of music!

Petition to make clean water a human right via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
The Article 31 petition is trying to get the UN to add a new article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one that recognises a fundamental right to water. It comes from the people who made the amazing documentary on water rights, Flow.

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Time for old feminists like Germaine Greer to “step aside,” she says. “It's like, we're grateful for what you did, but it's time for you to hand over”... more

Shall We Stay or Shall We Go? ...

Re-migration trends among Britain's immigrants

a report by Tim Finch, Maria Latorre, Naomi Pollard and Jill Rutter published by ippr

In this report ippr sets out to quantify and analyse re-migration from the United Kingdom, and to understand what motivates immigrants to leave. The phenomenon of re-migration – in other words the emigration of immigrants – has not, on the whole, been well documented or understood. But policymakers should care about re-migration and know more about those leaving.

Full report priced at £12.95, executive summary free

More information

Virtually there, almost: ...

educational and informational possibilities in virtual worlds

an article by Peter Edward Sidorko in Library Management Volume 30 Numbers 6-7


The purpose of this article is to analyse the educational and more specifically, the library and information opportunities afforded through virtual worlds such as Second Life.
The article provides an analysis of virtual world opportunities through a review of relevant literature as well as actual applications of virtual world platforms.
Virtual worlds have the potential to provide a rich learning and information environment. Despite what many see as limitations, virtual worlds can enhance the learning experience if problematic issues are addressed and if expectations are realistic. For libraries, a unique set of limitations are identified.
Research limitations/implications
The limited availability of library presences in virtual worlds prohibits a full scale analysis of the success or otherwise of such projects. Future analyses of virtual worlds, in particular Second Life, will be useful if their pervasiveness increases.
Practical implications
Library managers are alerted to issues and problems surrounding an investment in virtual worlds.
This paper will prove useful to educators and librarians considering investing time and other resources in developing content in virtual worlds.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How is a Fruit Tree Like You?

Using Artistic Metaphors to Explore and Develop Emotional Competence in Children

an article by Kathryn Geldard (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia) and Rebecca Yin Foo and Jane Shakespeare-Finch (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) in Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 19 Issue 1 (July 2009)


Counselling children often requires the use of supplementary strategies in order to interest and engage the child in the therapeutic process. One such strategy is the Metaphorical Fruit Tree (MFT); an art metaphor suited to exploring and developing self-concept. Quantitative and qualitative data was used to explore the relationships between children's ability to use metaphor, age, gender, and level of emotional competence (N = 58). Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed a significant negative relationship between self-reported emotional competence and ability to use the MFT. It is proposed that children rely on different processes to understand self and as children’s ability to cognitively report on their emotional capabilities via the Emotional Competence Questionnaire (ECQ) increases, their ability to report creatively on those capabilities via the MFT is undermined. It is suggested that the MFT may be used, via creative processes and as an alternative to cognitive processes, to increase understanding and awareness of intrapersonal and interpersonal concepts of self in the child during counselling.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Functional Life Skills Curricular Interventions ...

for Youth With Disabilities: A Systematic Review

an article by Morgen Alwell (Appalachian State University) and Brian Cobb (Colorado State University) in Career Development for Exceptional Individuals Volume 32 Number 2 (2009)


The relationship between functional or life skills curricula (the intervention) and transition-related outcomes for secondary-aged youth with disabilities is explored in this systematic review. A total of 50 studies intervening with 482 youth with (largely) disability labels of moderate to severe mental retardation were reviewed. The findings of this review provide tentative support for the efficacy of the use of functional or life skills curricular interventions across educational environments, disability types, ages, and gender in promoting positive transition-related outcomes. These findings are discussed in terms of characteristic features of the literature set and competing trends in secondary education. Selected studies in a number of specific curricular areas are recommended.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Transition Planning/Coordinating Interventions for Youth with Disabilities ...

a systematic review

an article by R Brian Cobb (Colorado State University) and Morgen Alwell (University of Montana) in Career Development for Exceptional Individuals Volume 32 Number 2 (2009)


The relationship between transition planning/coordinating interventions and transition outcomes for secondary-aged youth with disabilities was explored in this systematic review. A total of 31 studies intervening with 859 youth with a wide variety of disabilities were reviewed. Using the transition intervention framework of Kohler and Field (2003) the findings of this review support the efficacy of student-focused planning and student-development interventions in improving the transition-related outcomes for youth with disabilities. There were not an adequate number of studies meeting minimal standards of methodological adequacy to assess the efficacy of family involvement, collaborative service delivery, and programme structure interventions. Implications for practice are suggested as well as directions to the reader to locate more detailed descriptions of how several interventions associated with student-focused planning and some areas of student development might be acquired and implemented in secondary educational environments.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Companies to stay outside Freedom of Information régime

via OUT-LAW News

Companies that carry out functions of a public nature will not have to handle Freedom of Information requests, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday. Proposals to extend the régime to the private sector will not progress at this time.

Read the full article

Hazel’s comment:
Does anyone know where this decision leaves providers of careers guidance services to young people in England? It seems to me, but I’m no expert, that some services will be fully covered by the FoIA (those directly provided by local authorities), some may be brought under the umbrella in the future (services contracted to a private company) and some may never have to consider providing information under this law (charities).

Friday, 7 August 2009

In Brief: Every child matters?

an article by Sandra McNally in CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance CP285 (June 2009)

Sandra McNally and colleagues provide the first comprehensive evaluation of 'special educational needs' programmes.

Full article:

This article summarises Every Child Matters? An Evaluation of Special Educational Needs Programmes in England by Francois Keslair, Eric Maurin and Sandra McNally, a forthcoming CEE Discussion Paper.

College merger proposed in Derbyshire

South East Derbyshire College and Derby College proposed merger – documents available to read and download:
Statutory Proposal
Consultation document
Consulation response proforma
Consultation covering letter
Consultation newspaper/press notice

Source: LSC Web alerts

For the student in your life

The International Student Identity Card provides access to discounts, and discounts, and discounts! Also special offers and a newsletter.

Thanks to Internet Resources News (cheers Roddy and crew)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The impact of technological mobility on workers’ careers

an article by Sumati Srinivas in Career Development International Volume 14 Issue 2 (2009)


The aim of this article is to define a new kind of labour mobility called technological mobility, defined here as the different levels of technological change experienced by workers as they change jobs over the course of their career. Technological mobility is viewed as a form of career mobility, and it is hypothesised that moving to jobs in higher-tech industries might prove beneficial to workers’ careers irrespective of the level of education or other measures of ability. Factors that determine upward or downward technological mobility are also investigated.
This hypothesis is tested using data from the NLSY79, a nationally representative survey of the United States, between the years 1988 and 2000. Determinants of upward and downward technological mobility are modeled using industry-level data on technological mobility. Technological mobility is also regressed against wages to measure its impact on careers.
Gender, education and local economic conditions are found to have a significant effect on technological mobility, but the effect varies depending on the way technological intensity is measured. The results also demonstrate that workers who move to high-tech industries are indeed rewarded with higher wages, even after controlling for education levels and other known factors.
Technological mobility as defined here is an original concept. It is shown to be an important component of overall career mobility. The article also provides an analysis of workers who are able to make the transition into higher-tech jobs, which is a valuable addition to the research on technological change.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Putting the public in the public domain: ...

... the public library’s role in the re-conceptualisation of the public domain

an article by Tamara Sheppard in New Library World Volume 110 Issue 5/6 (2009)


The purpose of this paper is to attempt to highlight the imminent corrosion of the public domain brought about by the pervasive lack of recognition within the public at large regarding what the public domain is, what it stands for, and what it is meant to accomplish. Design/methodology/approach
Utilising the diverse theories of proponents of the public domain, this analysis proposes a re-conceptualisation of the public domain which acknowledges its significance to the creative process itself, and subsequently stresses the importance of public awareness and participation to its continuing survival.
While remarking on the efficacy of a number of digitisation ventures in the promotion of the public domain, it is concluded that mere awareness of the plight of the public domain is not enough. What the public domain desperately needs to subsist is the presence of an active citizenry that is dedicated to preserving its interests. Moreover, the public library is emphasised as the ideal vehicle with which to elucidate the public and secure their involvement in a campaign to safeguard an endangered public domain.
This paper expounds on the necessity of bringing the public and the public domain together so that both are empowered to dispel the restrictions that have arisen from an excessive copyright protectionist regime and so that both are enabled to defend themselves from any further encroachments on their ability to progress and mature within their own cultural bounds.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Free access to Information Science journals

SAGE is offering free full-text access to 6 information science journals for two months. The free access will run until 30 September 2009. Titles are:

  • Business Information Review
  • Information Development
  • IFLA Journal
  • Journal of Information Science
  • Journal of Librarianship and Information Science
  • Health Infomatics Journal

To register for access, go to:

Fear, panic and prosperity consciousness:

developing resilience as the paradigm shifts

an article by Angela Courtney in Development and Learning in Organizations Volume 23 Issue 3 (2009)


The article shares insights from a program that was developed to address burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. The program works from the premise that people and organisations thrive when they have shared values and common understandings.
The approach draws together reflection at the organisational and person levels. Connecting business ethics and organisational analysis, improving understanding of the body's energy as well as inter-cultural understanding are all achievable while adopting the resilience development methods.
The article concludes that reflective practice through the tools used on the program enhances understanding of the challenges faced by organisations and the individuals involved. It provides creative routes to resilience and enables problem solving. The indications are that this might have relevance to teams and work-groups in a variety of settings.
In confronting current realities, it is timely that we promote a holistic view of human and organisational energy. The tools for our organisations are to hand. Individuals in the groups that I am involved with, whether for team building, strategic planning or supervisory management, have made considerable shifts in perspective and their ability to handle problems while employing them. The shared values which lie within each person can meet the highest values at the heart of any organisation.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Metadata interoperability in public sector information

an article by Lina Bountouri and Christos Papatheodorou (Ionian University, Corfu), Vasilis Soulikias (State General Archives of Greece) and Mathios Stratis (National Library of Greece) in Journal of Information Science Volume 35 Number 2 (2009)

Over recent years, there has been a worldwide growing need for interoperability among the systems that manage and reuse public sector information. This paper explores the documentation needs for public sector information and focuses on metadata interoperability issues. The research work studies a variety of public sector information metadata standards and guidelines internationally accepted and presents two methodologies to obtain interoperability. The first develops an application profile, while the second is based on the semantic integration approach and results in the creation of an ontology. The outcomes of the two approaches are compared under the prism of their scope and usage in terms of interoperability during the metadata integration process.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

OECD Statistical Narratives

via Statistics Directorate

This new webpage is intended as a repository for short statistical notes using the wealth of OECD statistics. The aim of these articles is to build knowledge from statistics, as well as give users a sense of what statistics are available from the OECD.

Hazel’s comment:
I wish I had a category for stunningly_useful_resources. This is awesome.
Yes, I know, I could create one but as with the cobbler's children being the worst shod my category list is ...

When should a job applicant disclose a disability?

via TechRepublic Blogs by Toni Bowers

Even though the law protects people with disabilities in hiring situations, the issue of when to actually disclose a disability is still a puzzle for some.

Read the full article

Hazel’s comment:
Written for IT job-seekers in the USA but may still help in the UK and for more generalised situations.