Artist Armand Mednick one of the best Art Teachers in the world

Artist Armand Mednick one of the best Art Teachers in the world.

The art and life of Carol Saylor and Armand Mednick
They’re 75 and 80, they met at an art class for the blind, and they see clearly that life is passionate and precious.
The sculpture class at Allens Lane Art Center in Mount Airy is in full swing. One student is glazing. Another is wedging clay to remove air bubbles.
Occasionally the group walks around to look at one another’s work, although “look” in this case means gently feeling it with their fingers. It is a tactile experience by necessity: All the participants in this class are legally blind or visually impaired.
While the class is a story in and of itself – it has been offered for 57 years, now in its third venue – this is not a tale about how blind artists find their way around an art studio. It is, however, about how a student and teacher found each other, “about falling madly, totally in love when I thought it could never happen again,” says Armand Mednick, 80, the class’ co-instructor.
He is referring to Carol Saylor, 75, a watercolorist until she started to lose both her sight and her hearing in her mid-40s. Saylor is now a sculptor. Both she and Mednick graduated from Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park, but at different times – Mednick in 1958 with a degree in graphics and ceramics, and Saylor in 1976 with a degree in painting – and they had never met until Saylor showed up for class in October.
Holocaust Testimony of Armand Mednick: Transcript of Audiotaped Interview
Mr. Mednick, named “Avrum” by his Yiddish-speaking parents, was born in 1933 into a close, extended family in Brussels, Belgium. He grew up as a stranger in a non-Jewish neighborhood, often taunted by antisemites influenced by the fascist Rex Party. At age six, he was hospitalized with tuberculosis until May, 1940, when his father, an active political leftist, fled with his family to France. His father was drafted into the French Army, deserted and placed his son, renamed “Armand”, in a sanitarium at Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne Mountains. Armand’s father, mother and baby sister hid nearby in Volvic, where they passed as Christians. When Armand recovered, he joined his family and attended Catholic school.

Armand Mednick, 75 , with the book "The Secret Seder" by Doreen Rappaport, who was inspired by his father's memoir. Armand Mednick, 75 , with the book
“The Secret Seder” by Doreen Rappaport, who was inspired by his father’s memoir.
Artist Armand Mednick one of the best teachers in the world.
One of my favorite people is Armand Mednick. He is and artist and taught us how to throw pots on the potters wheel, glaze them, fire them up in a kiln and feel great about this. My pots made me happy, and Armand (yes we were allowed to call him by his first name) was one of the best teachers I ever had in my whole life!
Armand was very exotic, had a very dark curly beard, walked around in loose fitting, stained messy clothes, rough and ready, with bright shiny kind eyes, a smile speaking with a french accent.
Armand was probably one of the first older men who I trusted, because I knew he told me/us the real truth about how the world worked. Not the lies told to children to spare them the ugliness we know is all around us, but the truth that confirmed the realities of the world.
There were times when all we did in art class was sit there while he told us stories about his life in Europe during world war two and how he struggled to stay alive, and fought in the underground against Nazi’s.
I don’t remember any other adults telling us serious personal stories about people, places, politics, and war.  Armand was genuine, he was sincere. I connected to a Culture Keeper, with the Oral tradition who told us the truth.
This was a teacher!
Philadelphia Inquirer article Daniel Rubin: History comes calling for boy in the woods
Contact Daniel Rubin at 215-854-5917 or
It’s almost impossible to have graduated from Oak Lane without hearing this story.
This was Armand Mednick’s signature tale. You can imagine how astonished he was to
get a phone call from his sister in Florida last spring and learn of a book called
The Secret Seder, about a boy who sneaks into the woods to celebrate Passover.
It’s Armand Mednick’s story. Author Doreen Rappaport had read about it in Mednick’s
late father’s 1997 memoir, Never Be Afraid: A Jew in the Maquis.
But many of Rappaport’s details are different from what Armand Mednick remembers.
That’s because Rappaport had been unable to track down the young protagonist,
who had shortened his last name from his father’s Mednicki.
Last spring Oak Lane music teacher Marlis Kraft-Zemel e-mailed Rappaport to tell her of
Mednick, who for 48 years has taught at the Blue Bell private school in an attempt,
he says, to recapture his lost youth.
At a reading of
The Secret Seder held in the school last month,
Rappaport described her reaction to the news:
“I ran screaming through the house, shouting for my husband . . . ‘He’s here!
I’ve found him. The Secret Seder boy. He’s alive!’ “

I sat with that boy, now 75, one day last week in the barn where he
throws pots and teaches art history. <snip>
Doreen Rappaport
read Bernard Mednicki’s account that became the inspiration
for her children’s book, The Secret Seder.

She is known for writing about issues of social justice and the lives touched by this.
Doreen Rappaport will meet Armand Mednick who was the little boy she wrote about and honor his

For those of you who love a good story, here is one for the books-literally!
This is the story of a young boy who would grow up to become a beloved art teacher.
As a young child during WWII, Oak Lane Day School’s art teacher, Armand Mednick lived with his family in
France hiding from the Nazis under an assumed name. During that time, Armand and his father
attended a secret Seder, which Armand’s father would later describe in his memoirs.
Doreen Rappaport is an accomplished author living in New York whose books include the Caldecott Honor Book. 

The Secret Seder

  1. Why does Jacques cross himself in front of the church?
  2. Why does Jacques want to go to the Seder?
  3. Why do the men have to celebrate in secret?
  4. What does the old man mean when he says, “This is a dark time for our people?”
  5. When the men say, “Next year in Yerushalayim.” what are they hoping for?
  6. How do you think Jacques felt walking down the mountain with his father?
  7. Was Jacques brave to go to the Seder? Explain why or why not.
  8. How do the illustrations help tell the story?
  9. What differences are there between the illustrations in the village and the illustrations at the Seder?
  10. Explain the meaning of: Seder; “black boot men”; prophet; matzah; Pharaoh; Holocaust.

Other Famous people associated with Oak Lane Day School
On December 7, 1928, Avram Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He attended Oak Lane Country Day School, and later Central High School.
About Oaklane Day School – formally Oaklane County Day School
The present-day Oak Lane Day School, located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania,

was founded in 1916 in Cheltenham Township, under the name Oak Lane

Country Day School, by a group of parents and educators interested in

the Progressive Education movement. Originally organized as a coeducational,

non-sectarian, kindergarten through grade 12 school, Oak Lane evolved into

a pre-kindergarten through grade 6 elementary school. Initially affiliated

with the University of Pennsylvania as a “school of observation,” Oak Lane

was acquired in the 1930’s by Temple University, which continued the

school as part of its teacher training program, a relationship that would

last until 1960. The ideal of individualized education to serve a diverse

and inclusive student population has shaped Oak Lane to this day.

Our teaching heritage includes a strong emphasis on the arts and music.
In 1960, no longer associated with Temple, Oak Lane was renamed and

incorporated as an independent school by dedicated and tenacious parents,

faculty and staff at a leased building in Glenside, and moved to its present

30-acre site in Blue Bell in 1964. Oak Lane Day School is accredited by the
Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, and is a member of the

National Association of Independent Schools and the

Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools.
Oak Lane is nestled on a 30-acre country campus in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletter: NASA Education

NASA Education

NES Web Seminar — Linear Equations: NASA CONNECT — Breaking Barriers
NASA Explorer Schools and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute live professional development Web seminar for educators on Nov. 21, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. EST. During this professional development session, participants will receive information about the applications of linear equations at NASA and learn how to implement the “Breaking Barriers” student activity. “Breaking Barriers” provides students with an opportunity to step into the shoes of a NASA engineer to design, build and test an X-1 balloon.
The featured activity provides many opportunities for incorporating national science, technology and mathematics learning standards into curricula as well as addressing middle school Next Generation Science Standards.
This seminar will be repeated on May 28, 2014.
For more information and to register online, visit
To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit
Email any questions about this opportunity to the NASA Explorer Schools help desk at

2014 NASA Student Launch
NASA’s Student Launch is accepting proposals from colleges and universities across the nation. Student Launch is a research-based, competitive and experiential exploration project that provides relevant and cost-effective research and development to support the Space Launch System, or SLS. The project involves teams in an eight-month commitment to design, build and fly payloads or vehicle components that support SLS on high-power rockets.
Proposals are due Nov. 22, 2013, by 9 a.m. EST.
For more information, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Julie Clift

Discover Mapping with NASA
For over 50 years, NASA earth science has transformed the way we look at our planet. Celebrate Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 17-23) and discover a world of resources for real NASA images and data so you and your students can explore the most pressing Earth mysteries.
GeoWeek is an annual public awareness program established in 1987 to highlight geography as a discipline and as a part of everyday life. On Nov. 22, 2013, participate in a Spanish-language webinar and find out how ocean data collected from space can answer questions about processes on Earth.
Find details about these events, NASA educational resources, articles, blog posts and more related to how NASA contributes to the world of mapping on

National Science Foundation — East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes

The National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes, or EAPSI, program provides U.S. graduate students an opportunity to spend eight weeks (10 weeks for Japan) during the summer conducting research at one of seven host locations in East Asia and the Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. The program is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation and counterpart agencies in each host location.
EAPSI is open to graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are enrolled in a research-oriented master’s or doctoral program in science or engineering. Applicants must propose a research project in a field of science, engineering or STEM education supported by NSF, including Engineering; Computer and Information Science and Engineering; Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Biological Sciences; Geosciences; Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; Education (STEM); and Multidisciplinary Research in these fields.
The National Science Foundation provides EAPSI Fellows with a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip airplane ticket to the host location. Our foreign counterparts provide in-country living expenses and accommodations (arrangements vary by host location).
The application submission deadline for summer 2014 institutes is Nov. 25, 2013.
For additional information, visit
Please email any questions about this opportunity to

“Animal Collections” IGES Art Contest
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, or IGES, invites young scientists and artists to explore groups of animals. Students in grades 2-4 are encouraged to think about their favorite animal group and find the collective noun that describes it. Examples include an army of ants, a lounge of lizards, a parliament of owls and a school of sharks.
After completing their research, students should create a piece of artwork (no larger than 16″x20″) to show what they have learned. Winning artists will receive gift cards, framed color certificates and have their artwork showcased on the IGES website.
The entry deadline has been extended. Entries now must be postmarked byNov. 25, 2013.
For full details on the contest, resources on animal groups and to download an entry form, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Emily McLaughlin at

NASA CubeSat Space Missions
NASA is now accepting proposals for the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Proposals must be submitted electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST Nov. 26, 2013.
From the submissions, NASA will select the best proposals by Feb. 7, 2014. Developers whose proposals are selected may have the opportunity to see their creations launched as an auxiliary payload on a mission between 2014 and 2017. NASA will not provide funding for the development of the small satellites and selection does not guarantee a launch opportunity.
CubeSats are a class of cube-shaped research spacecraft called nanosatellites. They are approximately 4 inches long, have a volume of about 1 quart and weigh less than 3 pounds.
CubeSat investigations should be consistent with NASA’s strategic plan and educational vision and goals. The research should address specific aspects of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations.
From the first four rounds of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative, 89 payloads from 25 U.S. states made the short list for launch opportunities in 2011 through 2016. Of the selected CubeSats, 12 satellites have already launched. Twenty-one Cubesats are scheduled for launch later this year.
For additional information on NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit

NES Web Seminar — Electromagnetic Spectrum: Remote Sensing Ices on Mars

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute Web seminar on Nov. 26, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Learn how to use authentic NASA mission data to investigate the composition and distribution of ice in the high-latitude regions of Mars through analysis of visible light, infrared light and gamma rays. The seminar includes information about a unique student extension activity, where students access a free computer simulation illustrating how gamma rays are used to determine the chemical composition of Mars.
The featured activity provides many opportunities for incorporating national science, technology and mathematics learning standards into the curriculum as well as addressing high school Next Generation Science Standards.
This seminar will be repeated on March 20, 2014.
For more information and to register online, visit
To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit
Email any questions about this opportunity to the NES Help Desk at

2013 National Community College Aerospace Scholars Program
National Community College Aerospace Scholars, or NCAS, is an interactive online learning experience featuring engineering career possibilities. It is highlighted by an onsite experience where selected students are encouraged to study mathematics, science, engineering or computer science by interacting with engineers at NASA.
The only cost to participants is a $30 registration fee. NASA covers travel, food and lodging. NCAS is open to community college students throughout the United States. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and have access to the Internet.
Applications are due Nov. 26, 2013.
For more information and to apply online, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

2013-2014 National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition

The National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition is the Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Education Program for NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission. IRIS will use spectrography and imaging in ultraviolet wavelengths to reveal the dynamics of the sun’s chromospheres and transition region.
This yearly competition is open to undergraduate interdisciplinary teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. Teams are challenged to design and build a working ground-based solar spectrograph and demonstrate the capabilities of the spectrograph as defined by their science goal. Typical teams have three to six students and must have a faculty advisor.
Both substantial scholarship prizes and travel prizes will be given in four categories: best design, best build, best science observations and best presentation of results. Teams may apply for funding of $2,000 per team for project materials. Priority for build funds will be given to minority-serving institutions, community colleges and institutions with less aerospace activity.
Applications for build awards and registrations are due on Nov. 30, 2013.
The competition will be held May 14-16, 2014, in Bozeman, Mont.
For more information and to register online, visit
Please email any questions about this competition to Randy Larimer

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission — “Unique Perspectives” Photo and Video Contest

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission announces the “Unique Perspectives” photo and video contest.
There are many ways to view precipitation. Rain gauges collect water as it hits the ground. Weather radars detect rain and snow as it falls through the air. Research aircraft can measure moisture while flying through clouds, and satellites like the GPM Core Observatory can view precipitation from space.
The GPM team wants to see your photos and videos of precipitation from unique perspectives. Check out weather from all angles — far away, up close, above, below and inside — the more creative and unique, the better.
All entrants must be 13 years old or older. The deadline for submitting photos and videos is Dec. 1, 2013.
For more information and instructions for submitting an entry, visit
Questions about this contest should be emailed to Jacob Reed

NASA’s Digital Learning Network Event — Cassini Scientist for a Day

NASA’s Digital Learning Network is hosting an education event featuring the winners of the Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest. The contest winners will be given the opportunity to ask questions of Cassini science team members.
Students from around the country were asked to tell scientists which of three targets they would look at with the Cassini spacecraft — Saturn, or one of two of its moons, Dione or Iapetus — and why. Scientists and education specialists selected the winning essays.
Join the webcast on Dec. 3, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. EST to see the winners and to become inspired to enter future contests.
For more information, visit

National Science Foundation Webinar — Advanced Informal STEM Learning Solicitation
The Advancing Informal STEM Learning, or AISL, solicitation was released by the National Science Foundation on Sept. 30, 2013. The AISL program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and develop understanding of deeper learning by participants.
AISL program officers are holding a “102 Digging Deeper into the Solicitation” webinar to provide background and more depth related to key elements of the solicitation. The webinar will also address commonly asked questions compiled from earlier 101 webinars. Notes from the 101 webinars are available online.
The AISL 102 webinar will take place on Dec. 3, 2013, at 3 p.m. EST.
For more information, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

Green Strides Webinar Series

The U.S. Department of Education presents the Green Strides Webinar Series. These webinars feature experts from various federal programs. The webinars are free, and events are scheduled throughout the 2013-2014 school year.
The next webinar takes place on Dec. 4, 2013, at 3 p.m. EST.
For more information and registration, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

2014-15 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship
Applications are currently available for the 2014-15 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. This program is open to current public or private elementary and secondary mathematics, technology, engineering and science classroom teachers with demonstrated excellence in teaching. Applications are due 5 p.m. EST Dec. 4, 2013.
Selected teachers spend a school year in Washington, D.C., sharing their expertise with policy makers and program managers. Einstein Fellows may serve with one of several government agency sponsors, such as the Department of Energy, NASA or the National Science Foundation.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens and be currently employed full time in a public or private elementary or secondary school or school district. Applicants must have been teaching in a STEM field full time for at least five of the last seven years.
For more information about this opportunity and to apply online, visit
Inquiries about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program should be directed to Brian O’Donnell at

NES Web Seminar — Geometry: Space Math Problems — Solar Storms
As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences for educators, NASA Explorer Schools and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute live professional development Web seminar on Dec. 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Solar Storms provides teachers with a unique opportunity to have students use their knowledge of geometry and trigonometry to analyze NASA images of a solar tsunami. During this seminar, you will get an overview of the problem sets, preview a video about solar storms, suggestions for implementing best practices and learn about some extension activities.
Participants will receive an overview of the problem set and learn how the problems align to the Common Core State Standards.
This web seminar will be repeated on March 26, 2014.

For more information and to register online, visit
To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit
Email any questions about this opportunity

Reduced Gravity Education Flight Opportunity for Students at Minority Serving Institutions

NASA is offering undergraduate students from minority serving institutions an opportunity to test experiments in microgravity aboard NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft.
This opportunity is a partnership between the Minority University Research and Education Program and NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, which gives aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced-gravity experiment. Selected teams will test and evaluate their experiments aboard NASA’s reduced-gravity airplane. The aircraft flies about 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips during experiment flights to produce periods of weightlessness and hypergravity ranging from 0 gravity, or g, to 2 g.
Proposals are due Dec. 4, 2013.
All applicants must be full-time undergraduate students, U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old.
For more information, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to

NES Web Seminar –Temperature and Earth Climate: Modeling Hot and Cold Planets
As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences for educators, the NASA Explorer Schools project is hosting a 90-minute Web seminar on Dec. 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EST. Use NASA mission data collected from NASA satellites to see how a planet’s climate is determined. Attend this session and discover how you can incorporate authentic NASA data into your classroom to provide a real-world connection for your students.
This is the only time this seminar will be offered during the current school year.
The featured activity provides an opportunity for incorporating national science, technology and mathematics learning standards into curricula as well as addressing high school Next Generation Science Standards.
For more information and to register online, visit
To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit
Email any questions about this opportunity to

Free Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series
Curious about our nearest star, water on Mars, the first trip to Pluto and other wonders of the universe? Come to the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series presented by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and technologies that advance new discoveries. The lectures will be held at the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. ET and is followed by a question-and-answer session. A Discovery Station activity will take place at 4 p.m. prior to each lecture. Stay after the lecture to visit the museum’s observatory, weather permitting.

Dec. 7, 2013 — Oh, Swear Not by the Inconstant Sun
For 50 years, the Smithsonian monitored changes in the sun’s power. Secretary Charles Greeley Abbott asserted that solar variations could influence weather patterns and crop yields. What was he detecting? Dr. David DeVorkin will explore the inconstant nature of the sun.
Dec. 14, 2013 — First Mission to Pluto: The Origins and Voyage of New Horizons
In July 2015, New Horizons will become the first spacecraft to fly through the Pluto system. Dr. Michael Neufeld will discuss the goal of this mission and the promise of new science from it.
For more information about the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series, visit
Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-1000.
The Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series is made possible by a grant from NASA.

2014 RASC-AL Robo-Ops Competition

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace announce the 2014 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Exploration Robo-Ops, also known as RASC-AL Robo-Ops, competition. This design competition is aimed at university-level engineering students.
The RASC-AL Robo-Ops contest challenges participants to build a planetary rover prototype and demonstrate its capabilities in field tests at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard. Up to three members of the team (plus the faculty advisor) may travel to Johnson Space Center for the onsite testing. The remaining team members will stay behind at the local university to conduct mission control tasks. The prototype rovers will be tele-operated by the mission control team members and must negotiate a series of obstacles while accomplishing a variety of tasks that include sample collection and acquisition. The only information available to the rover controller to perform the required tasks will be information transmitted through onboard rover video camera(s) or other onboard sensors.
Teams must submit a project plan for their proposed project by Dec. 8, 2013. The RASC-AL Robo-Ops Steering Committee of NASA experts will evaluate the project plans and select as many as eight teams to compete against each other at the Rock Yard in June 2014.
The RASC-AL competition is open to full-time undergraduate or graduate students majoring in engineering or science at an accredited university. University design teams must include one faculty or industry advisor with a university affiliation and two or more undergraduate or graduate students. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.
For more information about this competition, visit
If you have questions about this competition, please contact Stacy Dees or Shelley Spears at

MAVEN Workshop — Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore!
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, mission will explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the solar wind. Set to arrive at Mars in 2014, the mission will provide invaluable insights into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, liquid water and planetary habitability.
Join the MAVEN education team for a one-day workshop on the MAVEN mission, and the accompanying elementary program, Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! This program features six standards-based lessons that combine science, literacy and art to help students understand planetary habitability and the MAVEN mission. The workshop will introduce participants to these lessons and concepts. The workshop will also have a session devoted to Spanish speaking English Language Learner and English as a Second Language students. Attendees will receive free classroom materials.
The workshop will take place on Jan. 25, 2014, in Houston, Texas. Registration is $15 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Applications are due Jan. 17, 2014, but space is limited so interested educators are encouraged to apply early.
For more information about the workshop and to apply online, visit
Please email any questions about this opportunity
2014 NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program
The NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars, or CAS, is accepting applications for its spring 2014 workshop. CAS is an interactive online learning experience for community college students in Texas.
CAS students participate in graded Web-based modules. Based on grades and completed applications, qualified students are chosen to attend a three-day experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in spring 2014.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of Texas and have access to the Internet.
Applications are due Jan. 21, 2014.
For more information and to apply online, visit
Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

2014 NASA Student Airborne Research Program
The NASA Airborne Science Program invites highly motivated undergraduate students currently in their junior year to apply for the NASA Student Airborne Research Program, also known as SARP, 2014. The program provides students with hands-on research experience in all aspects of a major scientific campaign, from detailed planning on how to achieve mission objectives to formal presentation of results and conclusions to peers and others. Students will assist in the operation of airborne instruments onboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft.
The program takes place in summer 2014. Preparatory information and data analysis will take place at the University of California, Irvine. Instrument and flight preparations, and the research flights themselves, will occur at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.
Successful applicants will be awarded a stipend and meals allowance for eight weeks of participation in the program. Round-trip travel to California, housing and transportation will be provided.
The deadline for applications is Feb. 7, 2014.
For more information and to download the program application, visit
Specific questions about the program should be directed to

NASA Exploration Design Challenge
Students from Kindergarten through 12th grade will have the opportunity to play a unique role in the future of human spaceflight through participation in NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge, or EDC. NASA EDC invites students around the world to think and act like scientists in order to overcome one of the major hurdles of deep space long-duration exploration — the dangers associated with space radiation. Students taking part in the challenge will discover how to plan and design improved radiation shielding aboard the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, currently being developed by NASA, Lockheed Martin and other partners to carry astronauts to space, venturing farther than humans have ever gone before.
Through a series of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, engagement activities, students in grades K-8 will analyze different materials that simulate space radiation shielding and recommend materials that best block radiation and protect astronauts. Students in grades 9-12 will think and act like engineers as they apply what they learn to design shielding to protect a sensor on the Orion crew module from space radiation. After a review of the design solutions submitted by teams in the grades 9-12 challenge, five finalist teams will be selected and matched with a mentor from NASA to test their designs in a virtual simulator. The winning team will build a prototype radiation shield that will be analyzed and submitted to Lockheed Martin for flight certification on the inaugural flight of the Orion Exploration Flight Test, or EFT-1.
The five U.S. finalist teams from the grades 9-12 challenge will be invited to attend the EFT-1 launch, currently scheduled for November 2014. The names of all students, grades K-12, participating in the NASA EDC will fly aboard the spacecraft as honorary virtual crewmembers for Orion’s first flight. The deadline to register students for the virtual crew is July 31, 2014.
For more information and to register online, visit
For more information about Orion, visit
Email any questions about this opportunity to

New NASA eClips Videos Segments on the SMAP Mission Available

This month, NASA eClips™ presents:
— Our World: What is Soil? (Grades K-5)
Learn about soil and how different kinds of soil hold moisture. See how NASA plans to use measurements from the Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission, or SMAP, to make our world a better place to live.
— Real World: What is Soil Moisture? (Grades 6-8)
What is the connection between water, soil and carbon cycles? The answer may be in the soil beneath your feet. See how NASA plans to measure soil moisture from space with the Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission, or SMAP. Learn to calculate soil moisture in your own backyard and discover the real world applications for this data.
— Launchpad: Space Age Technologies Measure Soil (Grades 9-12)
Learn how NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission, or SMAP, will use new technologies to help answer questions raised in the National Research Councils’ Decadal Survey. See what kind of modeling and forecasting applications the data from this mission will provide as it measures the soil moisture that cools Earth’s surface and provides water to the atmosphere and plants.

Obama’s Secret Attempt to Ban Cellphone Unlocking, While Claiming to Support It

By Derek Khanna
Last week, WikiLeaks made public a portion of a treaty that the White House has been secretly negotiating with other nations and 600 special interest lobbyists. The draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, which is on intellectual property, shows that isn’t the only tech topic on which the Obama administration has some serious explaining to do.
The White House claims that it supports copyright reform. It should be in favor of remaking the framework, because today’s copyright system is a mess: It grants protection that is too long (70 years or more), fair use is notoriously unclear and vague, and statutory damage laws create a massive deterrent to lawful creation. Economists and scholars argue that modern copyright, as opposed to constitutional copyright, greatly impedes innovation and content creation. But the TPP, which is being negotiated by 11 countries, would be a step in the completely wrong direction.
In its present state, treaty would expand copyright and effectively make real reform impossible. Worse, it would essentially disregard constitutional limitations on copyright and reject pillars like fair use, the first-sale doctrine, and having copyright be for “limited times.” The worst part: While the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it.
Cellphone unlocking is the ability to take a phone and alter its settings so that it can be used on other carriers. Essentially this technology allows a consumer to bring her phone from one carrier to another when her contract expires (if technologies are compatible). In January, following appeals by AT&T/Verizon’s main trade association, the Librarian of Congress issued a ruling making unlocking a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. This was a terrible idea: Economists and market participants have explained that this ruling would result in reduced competition in the industry, a decimated resale market, and restricted consumer rights. And indeed the impact has been devastating.
At the time, I spearheaded an unpaid national campaign to legalize unlocking, which included a White House “We the People” petition (I wrote a bit about our campaign here). Our petition reached 114,000 signatures, and the White House responded in favor of cellphone unlocking:
“The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones. … It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.”
The FCC came out in favor of our petition, as did numerous outside groups such as Freedomworks, Public Knowledge, R Street and the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Examiner. We were unable to find a single group, or Member of Congress, that was in favor of unlocking being a felony. But somehow, while a number of bills were introduced, none passed, and the one that had widespread support, H.R. 1892, never received a hearing or was brought up for a vote.
The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law. This would make potential reforms like H.R. 1892 impossible.* It should be noted that Canada did submit an amendment proposal that could allow unlocking, but neither the United States nor any other country supported it.
But the TPP draft doesn’t stop there. It would ban numerous other technologies that have beneficial uses. In particular, the legislation would ensure that jailbreaking—which is installing a different operating system on your phone, tablet, or e-reader—is illegal. It’s already on precarious ground in the United States, but under TPP it would be illegal in all circumstances. What type of nation would arrest 23 million people for installing a different operating system on their own device?
This treaty is still being negotiated, so all of these issues could be addressed in the final text, but so far what has been made public demonstrates a massive and nearly unprecedented power grab by special interests rather than sound public policy considerations.
This treaty has long been shrouded in unprecedented secrecy. Congressional staff, press and general public weren’t allowed to read it; in many cases, even members of Congress were kept in the dark. Meanwhile, special interests were given full access. Now we know why: The White House didn’t want the public to know what was being negotiated in their name.
Correction, Nov 18, 2013: This blog post originally misstated effect of the U.S. proposal to TPP.
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Another FISC judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

Another FISC judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

Judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

New declassifed documents show legal arguments over bulk metadata collection.

by Cyrus Farivar – Nov 19 2013, 1:36am EST
Yet another Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge has blasted United States government and intelligence officials for disregarding the court’s guidelines for domestic surveillance of American e-mail metadata traffic, a program that ran for around a decade before ending in 2011.
“As noted above, [National Security Agency’s] record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” wrote Judge John D. Bates, in a 117-page opinion (PDF) whose date was redacted. The opinion is one of was just one of a series of documents released and declassified late Monday evening by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“Most notably, NSA generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information outside of NSA until it was ordered to report such disseminations and certify to the FISC that the required approval had been approved. The government has provided no meaningful explanation why these violations occurred, but it seems likely that widespread ignorance of the rules was a contributing factor.”
The documents, which include annual reports from the Attorney General to Congress, memos, presentations, and training documents, were released in relation to an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit. The second batch was released in September 2013, and the first in August 2013. In total, ODNI says it has now released nearly 2,000 new documents in recent months.
“Release of these documents reflects the Executive Branch’s continued commitment to making information about this intelligence collection program publicly available when appropriate and consistent with the national security of the United States,” James Clapper, the head of the ODNI, wrote on Monday.
“Additionally, they demonstrate the extent to which the Intelligence Community kept both Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court apprised of the status of the collection program under Section 215 [of the Patriot Act]. Some information has been redacted because these documents include discussion of matters that continue to be properly classified for national security reasons and the harm to national security would be great if disclosed.”
The Bates opinion is the second of the two most revealing documents in this new tranche. The first, written by FISC Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, responds to a government request that allows the NSA to use pen register and trap and trace devices (“pen/trap devices”) as a way to access metadata on electronic communication. She granted approval for the bulk surveillance, but laid out specific guidelines.
The subsequent second FISC opinion, authored by Judge Bates, is in response to a government request that aimed to expand the metadata collection program by “11-24 times.” Bates slams the government for not adhering to its guidelines, but “reluctantly” allows them to continue, citing deference to the Executive Branch (and intelligence agencies, like the NSA, whose powers are granted through the Reagan-era Executive Order 12333). In the opinion, Judge Bates appears unwilling or unable to meaningfully punish any government officials despite clear violations of the court’s prior orders.
“I see a lot of similarities between the Bates opinion and the Walton opinion,” Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars. Rumold was referring to a 2009 opinion by FISC Judge Reggie Walton, who equally lambasted the government.
“It’s essentially the same thing, FISC taking NSA and [the Department of Justice] to task for violating their orders, for accessing more information than they were allowed to access under the orders and laying out under the ways that they had violated the court’s orders, [but then] letting them continue,” Rumold added. “The executive branch has pushed the judiciary so far and hopefully now we’re at that tipping point that the judiciary is comfortable with and they’ll start pushing back on executive misrepresentations.”
Not your father’s pen/trap application
The Kollar-Kotelly opinion (PDF) describes her response to a government application that “seeks authority for a much broader type of collection than other pen register/trap and trace applications,” compared to what had previously been done before.
As we’ve reported in the past, pen/trap devices are a type of legal order that has recently skyrocketed in use in the US. Originally designed to apply to telephone companies, they are now being increasingly applied to tech companies as a way to capture user metadata, too. Of the total number of American law enforcement orders that it received in six months, Google said recently that 2 percent of those were pen/trap orders.
Applied to a Google user, for example, a pen register would likely record who that user was sending e-mail to. A corresponding “trap and trace order” would likely include metadata from e-mails received, likely including date, time, IP address, and other routing information. It could also include attachments, and perhaps even—if broadly interpreted enough—anything but the actual content of an e-mail. Secure e-mail service Lavabit recently received such an order prior to its shutdown.
In the Monday night Tumblr post, the ODNI defined this program this way:

NAEP READING AND MATH progress reprort: National Report Card

According to data from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders continued their steady upward trend in reading and mathematics, posting the highest scores ever on the test.  Notably, after remaining flat for the last decade, scores edged up in eighth-grade reading.  Also, Hispanic achievement is up since 2011, and higher-achieving students are making greater progress than in recent years.  Nevertheless, the increases are modest — American students still score significantly below their peers from high-performing nations — and the majority of achievement gaps have remained unchanged since 2011.  Tennessee, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity showed statistically significant improvement in all four grade/subject combinations.  California, Hawaii, and Washington also showed real progress.

Financial Literacy: federal student loan borrowers repayment options

The Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced an outreach campaign to groups of federal student loan borrowers to ensure they know and understand all their repayment options.  The new outreach augments the day-to-day communications provided by borrowers’ student loan servicers. FSA’s campaign is aimed at reducing borrower delinquency and default and improving awareness of income-driven repayment plans, which allow borrowers to repay their student loans on a sliding scale that adjusts their payments based on their income and family size.
·         A FSA blog post identifies “Four Things You Need to Know About Repaying Your Student Loans.”
·         A FSA blog post addresses “Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Should You Choose?”

Financial Literacy – college rating system: give your public input about rising college costs #valuecollege

In a Federal Register notice published October 30, the Department announced four public forums across the country to gather public input about President Obama’s proposals to address rising college costs and make college more affordable for American families.  The first forum was held at California State University at Dominguez Hills on November 6; future forums will be held at George Mason University (VA) on November 13, the University of Northern Iowa on November 15, and Louisiana State University on November 21.  These forums coincide with the Department’s upcoming Request for Information to ask experts to weigh-in on methods for creating a college rating system that would better inform students and encourage institutions to improve.  “One of the best ways to address the challenges to our higher education system is through shared input,” Secretary Duncan asserted.  “We plan to engage as many stakeholder groups and individuals as possible to help us develop proposals that are useful to students and take into account the diversity of America’s colleges and universities.”
Those who wish to present comments or feedback at a public forum should register by sending a message at least three days prior to the forum to  Walk-in registrations will also be accepted for any remaining time slots, on a first-come, first-served basis.  Each participant will have five minutes.  Transcripts of the forums will be posted on the College Affordability web site.  For those unable to attend a forum in person, ideas may be submitted to  Also, anyone can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #valuecollege.
Early next year, the Department will also host a technical symposium where external experts can engage in further discussion and deliberate on these issues in depth.  The agency will then publish a summary of the recommendations that were developed as a result of the Request for Information and the symposium, as well as other resources identified by those participating in the symposium, on the College Affordability web site.  The Department will use all the feedback it receives to inform the development of college rating metrics, which it will share in the spring for public comment.

Mexican Pointy Boots Tribal Music Stand Out

Oooooh Mexican Pointy Boots

Mexico Tribal Music and Pointy Boots
Tribal Music Brought The Best Pointy Boots Ever!


The Mexican party scene has fully embraced ridiculously long pointy boots and tribal music. In this episode of VICE Presents, we explore the pointiest boots on the planet and the culture to which they are tied.
Spreading North into Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and any place where big groups of immigrant Mexicans have taken root.




Mexican Pointy Boots: Xavier Glowing at the OK Corral
Xavier modifies his boots to dance Tribal at the clubs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


Tribal Pointy Boots Mesquit Rodeo



Mexican Town Goes Mad for Pointy Boots




Animal Rights Activist Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File

Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File

Ryan Shapiro’s technique is so effective at unburying sensitive documents, the feds are asking the courts to stop him.

Ryan Shapiro has just wrapped up a talk at Boston’s Suffolk University Law School, and as usual he’s surrounded by a gaggle of admirers. The crowd­, consisting of law students, academics, and activist types, is here for a panel discussion on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a 2006 law targeting activists whose protest actions lead to a “loss of profits” for industry. Shapiro, a 37-year-old Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contributed a slideshow of newspaper headlines, posters, and government documents from as far back as the 1800s depicting animal advocates as a threat to national security. Now audience members want to know more about his dissertation and the archives he’s using. But many have a personal request: Would Shapiro help them discover what’s in their FBI files?

He is happy to oblige. According to the Justice Department, this tattooed activist-turned-academic is the FBI’s “most prolific” Freedom of Information Act requester—filing, during one period in 2011, upward of two documents requests a day. In the course of his doctoral work, which examines how the FBI monitors and investigates protesters, Shapiro has developed a novel, legal, and highly effective approach to mining the agency’s records. Which is why the government is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he’s after.

Invoking a legal strategy that had its heyday during the Bush administration, the FBI claims that Shapiro’s multitudinous requests, taken together, constitute a “mosaic” of information whose release could “significantly and irreparably damage national security” and would have “significant deleterious effects” on the bureau’s “ongoing efforts to investigate and combat domestic terrorism.”