Do you always accept the top Google results as factual? Are you sure? An old standby in the research world is now ready to give you some help. Encyclopaedia Britannica has a new Chrome extension, “Britannica Insights,” that adds information to the top right of the results page when you search for something. There are limits, of course. Britannica admits it works best for scientific or historical information.
We are excited to share the video from this week’s STEM talk from computer scientist Ben Lenard. His talk focused on supercomputers at Argonne National Laboratory’s Leadership Computer Facility which help solve problems within the world, from physics to medicine.
Ben is responsible for overseeing the administration and improvement of database systems in the ALCF’s supercomputing environment. These databases are critical to many of the facility’s support services, including job scheduling, job accounting, and business intelligence. In 2016, Ben deployed the IBM Data Server Manager to help streamline database administration tasks. With this tool in place, Ben has a better idea of how the databases are being used, while developers have an improved method for identifying and addressing any performance issues with their queries. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Ben has been strong advocate for the ALCF and for computer science, volunteering for events like the Hour of Code and Argonne’s public open house. He is also currently pursuing a PhD in Computer and Information Sciences at DePaul University. Prior to Argonne Ben worked in the financial services industry for 13 years as well as academia for 2 years.
The audio of this discussion is available below:
Libraries across US are speaking up today in support of Net Neutrality. The FCC is moving to create a two-tiered system (fast lane vs slow lane) on the Internet. For decades, libraries and librarians have stood up for privacy and fairness in accessing information. You can contact the FCC and lawmakers here: Battle for the Net.
This impacts all of us and will have implications for Moraine Valley students who may not have access to technology at home or who cannot pay additional money to access the fast lane. This is an important issue, and we should take note.
What is net neutrality?
“Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else” (from Battle for the Net website).
Here are a couple of videos that explain the issue:
Net Neutrality: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (from 2014, for mature viewers)
Need to record a podcast or narrate your powerpoints?
You can check out microphones and other recording equipment from the library to help you create podcasts, soundtracks, or other audio assignments. Or check them out for your own personal use.
For example, the iRig handheld microphone helps you easily make professional quality recordings with your phone or tablet—the microphone plugs into the headphone jack. A tripod stand is also available. You can check out the iRig microphone for 4 hours or for 1 week.
Our Librarians love podcasts, and we are joining the #TryPod effort to promote podcasts during the month of March 2017.
Don’t miss the Library’s two podcasts:
- The MVCC Library Podcast: Audio from library events and discussions with faculty.
- The Moraine Valley Broadcasting Channel: Student-created podcasts on a range of topics.
Here are some recommended podcasts from our Librarians
- Filmspotting: Reviews of films and interviews with actors and others.
- Chewing: Discussions of food and health.
- Sound Opinions: Great music reviews and interviews.
- CodeSwitch: Discussions about race, ethnicity, and culture and how they play out in the real world.
- Counter Stories: Discussions of culture, race, identity.
- Women of the Hour: Lena Dunham talks about a range of topics aimed at women but definitely open for everyone.
- Radio Lab: Award winning show about curiosity and ideas.
- Dear Sugar: Honest advice on love, relationships, and all kinds of other stuff.
- CodeSwitch: Discussions about race, ethnicity, and culture and how they play out in the real world.
- Myths and Legends: Ever wonder where popular fairy tales come from? This podcast explores the bizarre and crazy origins of these stories.
- Invisibilia: About the invisible forces that control human behavior.
- Serious Eats/Special Sauce: Interviews with chefs and others about food.
- Stuff You Missed in History: Fills in the historic gaps.
- Maltin on Movies: Discussion of great films (many you haven’t heard of).
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: This ain’t no joke! Serious history.
- You Must Remember This: History about the forgotten history of Hollywood.
- Nerdette: Interviews with artists, authors, and others about nerdy stuff.
- Serial: Listen to a story unfold as the investigators follow the info.
- Bad at Sports: Interviews, discussions, and other stuff. Sorta art. Sorta journalism.
- FiveThirtyEight Podcasts: 538 focuses on using data to understand our world. They analyze politics, sports, and other stuff with numbers.
- Nerdist Podcast: Chris Hardwick interviews actors, writers, directors, musicians and tons of other people.
- iFanboy: The leading comic book podcast. These guys are funny.
- History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: A full history of Western philosophy starting with the ancient Greeks and moving forward.
- I was There Too: Each week Matt Gourley interviews someone who was in the background of a famous movie.
- New York Times Book Review: The most well-known book review source.
- Guardian Books Podcast: Books with an international flair.
- Slate’s Podcasts: Smart and timely topics from Culture Gabfest, DoubleX Gabfest, etc.
- The Axe Files: David Axelrod out of U of Chicago’s Institute of Politics talks with political leaders and thinkers.
If you are interested in listening to podcasts but are not sure how, check out this article from Digital Trends.
“The Internet-based world we live in means that common web-based homework tasks need easy and fast solutions. Ice Cream Apps fills the bill by providing students the software to take care of tasks like capturing screenshots, converting video formats, making slideshows and all kinds of stuff that college students’ coursework can require” (Mooney).
The company’s “mission is to provide millions of users all over the world with great and still free analogues to the popular paid applications for Windows systems. . . .Some of our products are absolutely free, some free versions have limited features with an upgrade possibility to PRO version which have special features and no limitations” (Icecream Apps).
As a former Master’s degree student, what I like about the Icecream Apps website is it is like a “one-stop shop” for applications that most college students will eventually need to use.
- PDF Converter – a PDF format of a document is easier to access and use especially if an instructor does not use Microsoft Word; I have also used this feature many times responding to job applications when a PDF is required. Converts a file to (and from) PDF.
- Screen Recorder – I had to create a presentation for one of my online classes showing a demonstration of something on-screen.
- Ebook Reader – this could come in handy if a student is researching and saving online articles that are in an EPUB format.
- PDF Split and Merge – could be useful if a student is saving an article they found in an online database, but only wants to keep specific pages of pertinent content.
- Slideshow Maker – could help a student create a presentation or just a slideshow of personal pictures.
- Image Resizer – I tested this to resize a background photo for my LinkedIn page and it is very user-friendly.
All of the above software applications work on Windows-based systems; only two (Screen Recorder and PDF Split and Merge) work on Mac based systems so far.
Other features that I like about this website are: there is a “Help Center” drop down menu which offers *manuals and how-tos on using the software; on each separate software product page there is a short video presentation highlighting features of the software; and all the software products offer translations into many different languages for people all around the world.
Check out Icecream Apps and let us know what you think!
Icecream Apps. About: Icecream Apps. © 2014-2016. 7 September 2016. <http://icecreamapps.com/about.html>.
Mooney, Paula. “Articles. Technology: 21 Most Useful Websites Every College Student Needs to Know.” n.d. Lifehack Website. Document. 7 September 2016. <http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/21-most-useful-websites-every-college-student-needs-know.html>.
Interested in starting your own podcast? Want to learn about audio recording tools available in the library? Check out the YouCast: Digital Broadcasting Workshop Series. These workshops are free and open to current Moraine Valley students.
Recording Your Podcast or Interview with a Digital Recorder
—Wednesday, October 5th, 2pm-3:30pm, Library media lab
—Thursday, October 12th, 2pm-3:30pm, Library media lab
Join us for a workshop on using a digital recording device to create a podcast or conduct an interview! During the session we will show you how to use the library’s H6 Digital Recorder including: connecting microphones, monitoring your sound, creating and managing files, and tips for getting a good set up.
Email Librarian Dan Matthews (matthewsd29[at]morainevalley.edu) to reserve your seat.
Editing Your Podcast or Interview Files Using Audacity
—Tuesday, October 11th, 2pm-3:30pm, Library media lab
—Wednesday, October 12th, 2pm-3:30pm, Library media lab
Come check out Audacity, a digital audio editing program available at the library! During the workshop we will show you how to edit your recordings, combine multiple recordings, eliminate some background noise, and add different effects to them. We’ll also show you how to manage and export your recording files.
Email Librarian Dan Matthews (matthewsd29[at]orainevalley.edu) to reserve your seat.
Looking for an interesting day trip this summer? There is a great place to visit and it is less than 10 miles from MVCC. Argonne National Laboratory is managed by the University of Chicago and has a history of being on the cutting edge of many scientific discoveries (including work on the Manhattan Project). The laboratory offers guided tours of the facility. Visit this historical site and take time to walk through the adjoining forests to visit the waterfall and remnants of the Chicago Park District nursery. Also check out the view of the Des Plaines Valley.
The Illinois Presidential Primary and State Primary election is coming up on March 15, 2016. If you haven’t had much time to look in depth at the presidential candidates’ individual websites, or you’re looking for a quicker option/comparison, Google has a way! Go to Google, input any presidential candidate’s name and the word “stance” (unquoted) into the search box.
The results are presented in a box titled “Issues” with drop down arrows. Once you click on the arrow for a particular issue you’re presented with quotes from the candidate (from different sources) on that particular issue, showing their stance.
To learn more about using this tool read “On the Road to the 2016 Elections with Google Search.”
*The contents of this blog post do not express the author’s or MVCC’s political views.*