“Veronica Mars” may be NEWWorthy

“Veronica Mars” is now a 2004 television show, so it’s OLDWorthy.  But it’s back in movie format, now that Kickstarter funds were used to make the 2014 “Veronica Mars” film.  Not only that, Amazon Kindle Worlds now includes “Veronica Mars – the TV series” among the worlds it will accept short story and novel submissions for.  That makes “Veronica Mars”, a fun television show when it was on, NEWWorthy.

The nose knows a smell when it smells it

Science has now shown that a human nose can smell on average a trillion different odors.  Given that our noses are much more sensitive to smell than previously thought, is it any wonder that some of us are too acutely aware of bad, annoying, or strong smells?  Think about that the next time you are on an elevator.

To hybrid or not to hybrid

Windows 8.1 hybrid laptops are loved and hated by critics, but because they are relatively new they deserves mention on NEWWorthy.  Computerworld recently published an article on the subject.  Like perhaps many computer buyers, I struggled with what kind of machine I wanted to be my main computer.  I wanted one powerful enough to let me program — since I still do that, although mostly for fun — but also flexible enough to let me use it as a convenient personal device for writing, reading, learning, and other pursuits.  It was a difficult decision, but I settled on a Yoga 2 Pro, which has been a terrific hybrid computer for my needs.

In just a few days, I was easily using Windows 8.1 and enjoying the features of my new computer.  I used Windows 7 for several years, and I find Windows 8.1 just as easy to use.  I mostly use the desktop, but I find the Metro (start) screen as easy to use as the old start menu for launching apps.  That said, I would like to see more integration of the Metro interface with the standard desktop in future releases.

The Yoga 2 Pro compares favorably with the Surface Pro 2, but I would suggest that buyers examine them both for their needs.  Either could be the right choice, depending on how someone needs to use the device.  See the video below for a comparison.

First orbitable flight with legs…landing legs

MIT Technology Review reports on Space-X’s reusable booster rocket.  It’s set to be used in the next few weeks (delayed from a March 16 planned date) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  But it will land on water to insure safety.  In the future it will make landfall.  Last year the New York Times posted a video on YouTube showing the Falcon 9 — code named Grasshopper — test rig taking off and landing on legs.

K2? No, not the mountain.

The Kepler Space Telescope images recently resulted in 715 new worlds found, according to Nasa.gov.  But in reading the article, I wondered what happened to the crippled spacecraft.  The L.A. Times reported in February 2014 on the possible K2 mission that could revive interest in the images sent back by Kepler (image from Nasa.gov below).

SAT will change, but preparation will still be necessary

CNN reports that the SAT will undergo sweeping changes.  Khan Academy will provide free test preparation materials, starting in spring 2015.  But will that really change how students should prepare for the SAT?

While it’s clear that Khan Academy’s materials will be meant to equalize the playing field with expensive test preparation company lessons, there are still common sense preparation skills that must be practiced and learned before any difficult test is taken.  Parade magazine recently mentioned “4 SAT Prep Pointers You’ve Never Heard Before“, and I think these tips will apply as well in the future as they do today.

Additionally, it’s possible that the new SAT tests will make competition even tougher among the top scorers.  For many years, I have tutored students in preparation for the SAT math portion of the test.  To achieve the highest levels on the SAT, I believe students must go further in their preparations than just the wrote lessons they have learned in school.  To answer the questions that a students finds difficult, they need time.  To gain time, they need to be able to answer the easier questions quickly.  So for the math portion of the SAT, in addition to the test preparation materials mentioned earlier, I suggest going beyond the kinds of SAT math questions one might find on the test.  A good example is the kinds of math questions offered on the Ole Miss Math Contest.  These can be solved with the kinds of skills required on the SAT math test, but the problems require quick creative thinking and a solid grasp of many high school math skills.  As ABC News says below in the video, students shouldn’t celebrate just yet, “Algebraic formulas aren’t going anywhere.”