Sketch up Notebook from Google
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With Halloween just a few weeks away, we thought it might be fun to instigate a little modeling throw-down for anyone with extra time on their hands. To participate in the first-ever SketchUp Halloween Challenge, just model a jack-o’-lantern or a haunted house and submit it. We’ll publish our favorite models on the Official SketchUp Blog and feature the three best entries (in each category) in next month’s SketchUpdate. This is more about fun than prizes, but we’ll also send the winners a glossy photo of James – his face is great for scaring trick-or-treaters off your lawn. Just kidding. Check out this blog post for rules, links and other details.

Happy sketching, and good luck,


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FormFonts has a new blog
The über-modelers over at FormFonts have just launched a new blog. From the looks of it, the content is fresh, relevant and nicely varied. This post (their first one) talks a little bit about the history of FormFonts. Well worth the read. Welcome to the blogosphere, FF! Keep reading…

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Shaderlight V2 is now available
Our friends across the pond at Shaderlight would very much like you to know that they’ve just released Version 2 of their intuitive, affordable rendering tool for SketchUp. Keep reading…
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SketchUp Case Study: André Silva
André Silva is a freelancer in Lisbon, Portugal who mainly works on industrial projects and technical illustrations. He’s also currently working on some architecture and archaeology projects. Keep reading…
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SketchUp Pro Case Study: Dave Richards
Dave Richards is fine woodworker living in Rochester, Minnesota. He’s a an authorized SketchUp trainer/rockstar, contributing and teaching on the popular blogDesign. Click. Build. finewoodworking.com and the SketchUcation forums. Dave is an expert on using SketchUp for woodworking. Keep reading…
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Scaling imported raster images in LayOut
If you’ve ever inserted an aerial photo or an old scanned site plan into LayOut, you might have wanted to give it a specific scale on the page. My favorite technique for doing this uses the Clipping Mask feature. Keep reading…
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Visualizing circuit boards with SketchUp and PCB Converter
In the world of electronics, designing a stylish, functional and ergonomic product casing around a complex circuit board – with its chips, connectors, buttons and displays – is a critical step. As it turns out, SketchUp can help in this process. RS Components developed the PCB Converter plugin for SketchUp. Keep reading…
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A treasure trove of textures
If you’re into such noble pursuits as geo-modeling or photo-realistic rendering, there’s a good chance you spend a lots of time hunting for photo-textures online. To make life easier, our friend John Pacyga just posted a long list of his favorite texture sources – for both SketchUp and Photoshop. Keep reading…
Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning

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In 1995, Rice University established the Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning (CTTL) to address the ways in which information technology can expand and enrich education on the Rice campus as well as in other settings.

The mission of CTTL is to undertake research that makes technologies for learning more productive, accessible, and engaging.

Our recent focus has been on the use of games in science and health education.


SO I just learned the cover art for the Nafs (K)uriren #31 issue I’ve been obsessing over was inspired by a Tim Holt western comic (#17) and im soooooooooooooo happy look at how closely he matched the lettering placement and poses and aaaaah~ I’m really happy he decided to use Goldie in his version. I’ll just continue drooling over this and wishing it was in my posession.

So my existence, from the perspective of the cosmos, has neither meaning nor purpose nor necessity. (And that is nothing to be ashamed of. For for the same would be true of God, if God existed.) I am an accidental, contingent thing. I might easily not have existed at all.

How easily? Let’s do a little calculation. As a member of the human species, I have a particular genetic identity. There are 30,000 active genes in the human genome. Each of these genes has at least two variants, or “alleles”. So the number of genetically distinct identities the genome can encode is at least 2 raised to the thirty-thousandth power – which roughly equals the number 1 followed by 10,000 zeros. That’s the number of potential people allowed by the structure of our DNA. And how many of those potential people have actually existed? It is estimated that about 40 billion humans have been born since the emergence of our species. Let’s round the number up to 100 billion, just to be on the conservative side. This means that the fraction of genetically possible humans who have been born is less than 0.00000…000001 (insert about 9,979 zeroes in that gap). The overwhelming majority of these genetically possible humans are unborn spectres. Such is the fantastic lottery that I -and you- had to win in order to shimmer on to the scene.

—  Why Does The World Exist ~ Tim Holt.
Video for the 21st Century Classroom

Kids today spend their lives outside school surrounded by video — whether on their TV screens, tablet PCs, laptops or smartphones. Too often, the video stream shuts off inside the classroom doors. But if students are given access to video tools in core classes — especially tools that allow them to produce their own videos — they are not only more engaged in their course- work, but learn valuable 21st-century skills.

On average, one-third of high schoolers today don’t graduate; the number is 50 percent or higher for African-Americans and Hispanics.1 Studies show that one key contributor is lack of engage- ment: Students don’t like school and report being bored. According to the 2010 High School Survey of Student Engagement, 55 percent of students said projects involving technology would help them feel more interested in school (49 percent said art and drama would help; 60 percent said group projects).2 Creating video in the classroom often taps all of these interests.

Video technology can also help foster vital skills needed for the 21st century. The 21st Century Framework (see graphic below), developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, sets forth standards for student achievement to ensure success in today’s technological world. The framework includes skills that are rein- forced by student video creation such as creativity, communica- tion and media mastery.3

How much per hour?
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What would you guess is the cost per hour to educate a child? 

What would you pay per hour to educate your child?

I did this little brain exercise today after reading about theSuperintendent of White Oaks ISD blogging to his community about the cost of education. Essentially, he was able to break the cost down of educating his students to a hourly basis.

It is pretty easy to do, and a number that I think parents might be interested in:

Keep reading