Saturday, December 20, 2008

Carl Sagan day 2008, and an update

Well, today is the 12th anniversary of Carl Sagan's passing, a date which was commemorated on this blog by blog-a-thons in 2006 and 2007Ann Druyan and Nick Sagan have both already put up posts to mark the occasion, both pointing to a recent NASA video on the new Carl Sagan Exoplanet Fellowship (also discussed in an ETFF interview with Ann Druyan broadcast last month to commemorate Carl's birthday).

I'm sure that some of you are wondering why I haven't done a blog-a-thon this year, and why you haven't heard anything Sagan-related from me in a while.  Basically, what's up: no, I haven't fallen off the planet, and haven't abandoned Sagan-related stuff.  Basically, the blog-a-thon was originally intended to be a one-shot event, and only afterwards did I decide to try to repeat it a year later, and possibly annually.  And while there were some great posts in the 2007 blog-a-thon, I came to realize that doing an annual event wasn't the best way to go to keep the Sagan fans in the blogosphere connected, since a year in blogosphere time is a very long time to go between updates.  After much consideration, I came to the conclusion that the best way to do something regular and Sagan related would be to have something closer to the "blog carnival" format, where there would be a new installment every couple of months or so, and have a theme each time in addition to the basic Sagan one, to give a fresh "handle" to write about.  I haven't been able to iron out the details in time for today, but I do have plans to do so.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beatrice Gross, RIP

I am saddened to find out that Beatrice Gross, an author/educator who, together with her husband Ronald Gross, co-edited several important anthologies on education, including Radical School Reform (1969) and The Children's Rights Movement: Overcoming the Oppression of Young People (1977), and were called "the Bonnie and Clyde of education" (Stan Isaacs), passed away last month, according to obituaries in Newsday and Great Neck Record.

The contributors to Radical School Reform (see the full table of contents on WorldCat) are a virtual Who's Who of education reformers of the 1960s and 1970s, including Sylvia Ashton-Warner, George Dennison, Joseph Featherstone, Edgar Z. Friedenberg, Paul Goodman, James Herndon, John Holt, Herbert Kohl, Jonathan Kozol, George Leonard, Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner. The book was favorably reviewed twice in The New York Times, by John Leonard and Harold Taylor, and the paper's archives also include the Grosses' article about Montessori education, "Let the Child Teach Himself" (New York Times Magazine, May 16, 1965).