Wakey-wakey

Before alarm clocks (or for those who couldn’t afford them), people in some manufacturing cities in Britain used to be paid to go around town and tap on people’s windows with a bamboo pole. .

Is that a job you’d like to have? Was there a similar job in Japan in the past? Do a little research and see what you can find.

*Just a little warning that in U.S. English, the term “knock up” means something completely different, so just be careful. See this movie for more about that.

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Nothing’s boring if you’re Batman

School supplies = notebooks and pens, tablets and smartphones, and Batman costumes.

“New research finds that kids aged 4-6 perform better during boring tasks when dressed as Batman” (from the World Economic Forum)

I’d be willing to bet it works for older students, and is not limited to Batman. Time to stock up on Doraemon and Anpanman costumes?

Machines should work and people should think.

There’s so much to notice and comment on in this short video, made by Jim Henson for IBM back in 1967. Yes, the same Jim Henson who created the Muppets. This video was made two years before Sesame Street debuted on TV.

A few things I thought while watching this:

  • I wonder if Henson intended to make the people seem robotic in their delivery.
  • When the types of professions are listed, why is it that the only profession represented by a woman is teacher?
  • Did IBM not think that this video seemed a bit insidious?

Read a little more about this video: “Jim Henson Wanted to Free Us From Paperwork” (from Atlas Obscura)

And the video has an IMDb page.

To do

Two things I found that I hope will inspire students as we move into longer research projects in many classes. You can be more than you think you can; you can do more than you think you can. Be curious.

From Open Culture: Leonardo da Vinci’s “To Do” list is amazing. At first it might make you feel lazy, even if you’re as busy as I think you all are. But I hope it also inspires. His intellectual curiosity is boundless. And he knows what he knows and what he doesn’t know, and he’s not afraid to ask experts. I want you to do the same.

From Mental Floss: 8 musicians who are brilliant in other fields, too. Talk about “renaissance men”! (I do wish they’d highlight some women in this list, too. Maybe that can be a research project idea for someone? Find some female musicians or athletes and also scientists, for example).

Anyway, these men continue to write and play music, while at the same time studying other things.

This is Brian May, the guitarist from Queen. 10 years ago he got his PhD, and he’s since written two books about space and helped NASA when they sent a probe to Pluto.

This is the lead singer/songwriter of The Offspring (remember them? Saw them in concert in Tokyo ages ago). He just got a PhD in molecular biology and he’s doing research into HIV and AIDS.