The Up’s and Down’s of Reality TV

Teach your students about the concept of pro’s and con’s. They will learn about this topic through a discussion on the trend of violence in Reality TV. In addition, students will learn to support their point of view with facts.

Storytelling With the Stars

In this lesson, students learn about the literary elements of plot and characterization using popular movies and celebrities as brainstorming prompts.

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What Kind of Mutant Are You?

Here at NuSkool, we have studied the psychology of humans and have discovered 9 sacred signs that represent the connection between mutant and human abilities we each possess. Take this quiz and discover your true self.

science of auto-tune

The Science of Auto-Tune: How WWII Spy Tech is Making a lot of Pop Stars Rich

Auto tune science

How does your voice sound? Can you rock a karoke mic or are you somebody who just lip-syncs while the crowd around you sings on? Now anyone can be a star performer with a little digital audio assistance from the Auto-Tune effect.

Ever since Cher released the song Believe way back in 1998, radio stations have been stacking their playlists with Auto-Tune tracks. Originally, Antares, the company that developed the audio effect, intended it to be used as a tool to make musicians sound like they have pitch-perfect voices. In the beginning, that’s how it was used, as a type of airbrush to hide the imperfections of a musician’s voice. Since then, it has evolved into an effect that distorts a vocal track instead of giving it a glossy perfectness. Auto-Tune has been used by everyone from Snoop Dogg to Celine Dion. T-Pain even went on to create a mobile app called I am T-Pain so you could Auto-Tune your own voice with the T-Pain Effect while singing along to his songs.

Auto-Tune has faced a lot of criticism since it was first released, yet Auto-Tuned songs are crowding the airwaves more than ever. It seems like it is a technology that is here to stay.

Basically, auto-tune is a type of vocoder, short for voice encoder, a technology developed in the late 1920′s by Bell Labs and used for encrypted high-level voice communications during World War IIAccording to Innovative Synthesis, a vocoder needs two inputs to function properly. A ‘carrier’ wave, and a ‘modulator’ input. The carrier is the sound you want to vocode through, and the modulator is your voice. The modulator takes your voice’s frequencies and converts them into levels of amplitude on a series of band pass filters (this is why some vocoders have different numbers of bands) – in general, the more bands available the more understandable your speech will be. These band pass filter signals are then passed onto the carrier wave where your final sound is created. In music, the classic vocoder was used in 70′s funk music to create a robot effect, influences that later inspired songs by Snoop Dogg, Daft Punk and of course T-Pain.

science of auto-tune

A vocoder was used to create the voice for Soundwave in the 80′s hit cartoon Transformers.

Auto-Tune science is slightly different, in that it measures and alters pitch in vocals and instrumental music, allowing pop stars who can’t sing for their life (not naming names) and making them perfectly tuned even though they’re completely off-key. The software shifts pitches to the nearest true semitone, to the exact pitch of the nearest tone (via Wikipedia). The future of music ladies and gentlemen…

Read the lesson below to take a deeper look at the science behind Auto-Tune and learn some tricks to produce similar effects. Get your hands on some free digital audio editing software similar to what is used in the industry and try making your own effect heavy beats. Can you create something that can one-up the next Kanye West track?

sleeping

10 Steps to Make Summer School Not Suck

Summer is here, but you still find yourself in school. Maybe you didn’t pass a class that is required for graduation. Or maybe you want to take a class because your schedule during the school year is full. Whatever the reason is for taking a summer school class, sitting in a classroom for two hours every day for a few weeks isn’t your idea of fun. However, it doesn’t have to be so bad. Here are ten steps to make summer school not suck.

1. Have a friend sign up

Having a friend sign up makes summer school more bearable. Your friend is going to be by your side and make things easier. You can also do homework and study for tests together.

2. Ask for breaks

During the normal school day, your classes don’t last much longer than 70-80 minutes. However, summer school classes tend to be longer — most last about two hours. If you’re having trouble sitting for that long, ask the teacher for at least one break. This gives you time to get up and move around, since it’s not good to be sitting down for so long.

3. Ask if the class can go outside

Summer is usually more laid back than during the school year so ask if the teacher will take you outside. What better way to learn Shakespeare or science or whatever the subject than outside under a tree.

4. Engage yourself in the learning

Doing homework and studying for tests is hard enough during the regular school year. Think about how hard it is during the summer. You spend two hours in class, but then have homework to do, a research paper to write, or a test to study for. Do the homework and study every night so you don’t get behind.

5. Be respectful to the teacher

Your summer school teacher may be someone you don’t know, who doesn’t want to be there any more than you do. After all, summer is a time for him or her to be away from school as well. But teachers sometimes work part-time jobs in the summer to help pay bills or to earn extra money. Respecting and getting along with the teacher goes a long way and makes class more fun.

6. Get your sleep

While summer is the time for you to stay up late watching movies or hanging out with friends, you still need your sleep. You can’t sleep in class, or you won’t do well. Going to bed at a decent time will help lead to your success.

7. Take care of yourself

If you got up late and hurried to class or didn’t feel like eating breakfast, ask if bringing a snack or, at least, a bottle of water is allowed. Eating and drinking helps us stay awake when we’re bored. If you get dehydrated, you get sleepy and have trouble paying attention in class.

8. Be on time

During the school year, you are expected to be on time. If you’re late, you get a tardy and too many tardies add up to you not earning your credit for summer school. You certainly don’t want to lose the credit if you have almost made it to the end of summer school.

9. Stay positive

No matter how bad summer school really is, remember to stay positive. Doing some of things suggested above will help with that. Ask your teacher and see what he will allow you to do.

10. Remember why you are there

No matter the reason as to why you are there in summer school, the important things to remember are to do well, respect the teacher and his rules, and earn your credit. You don’t want to waste your summer.

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Is Stephen Curry Having the Greatest Season of All Time?

 

Before suffering a minor shin injury in late December, Stephen Curry’s play was hotter than the California sun. For the first three months of the season, the Golden State Warriors guard was shooting like an NBA Jam player who’s “on fire” — except instead of shooting lights-out for a few possessions, Curry was on fire for more than 30 games.

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Curry leads the NBA in points per game, three-pointers made, and most points in a single game. He also ranks in the top 10 in the league in a slew of other categories, including total points and free throw percentage. Curry is on pace to set a record for three-pointers per game, which would require him to break his own record that he set last season. Oh, and Curry’s Warriors won their first 28 games of the season, by far the most in league history.

But it’s not just traditional statistics that prove Curry’s value to the Warriors. Advanced stats tell the same story: he’s the best player in the league this year. For example, take Curry’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER), a statistic that attempts to account for all of a player’s contributions on the court. Curry’s PER sits at 31.6, which would be the seventh-best all-time over a full season. Basketball legends Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James currently top the list of the best PER seasons ever. It’s safe to say that Curry is in good company.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS LOS ANGELES LAKERS

If Curry can return to full health and continue the pace he set early in the season, he’ll challenge NBA records and put himself in the conversation among the greatest seasons ever. At that point, fans might need to come up with a new way to say he’s on fire.

The Art of Storytelling

The objective of this lesson plan is to engage students in the art of storytelling and improve their public speaking skills.

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The Science of The Force

The Force
What is The Force in the Star Wars universe? Could we as humans, here on planet earth, ever dream of having such power at our fingertips? To answer that we need to look at what The Force is, and how the rules that define it compare to what is known about the world we live in.

“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Obi-Wan Kenobi

In Star Wars, The Force is an energy field that connects all living things in the galaxy. The power of The Force can be used by individuals who are sensitive to it, a power that is tapped through the midi-chlorians.

Midi-chlorians are microscopic, intelligent lifeforms that live within the cells of all living beings in the Star Wars Universe. The Force spoke through the midi-chlorians, allowing certain beings to use the Force if they were sensitive enough to its powers.

The two main practitioners of The Force are the Jedi and the Sith. Usage of the Force grants a number of useful powers, such as the ability to sense impending attacks; to push and lift physical objects; influence the thoughts of others, known as the “Jedi mind trick”; and even see the future or maintain one’s consciousness after death. Dark side users strong with the Force could summon lightning from their fingertips. Jedi taught younglings that the Force could be used for many purposes, including protection, persuasion, wisdom, the manipulation of matter and the performance of great physical feats.
Earth Forces
So, that being said, how does this compare with the laws of physics in our world? The closest thing we have to an energy field that is all around us, is the electromagnetic force.  It is one of the four known fundamental forces and is a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles.

The electromagnetic force is the one responsible for practically all the phenomena one encounters in daily life above the nuclear scale, with the exception of gravity. Roughly speaking, all the forces involved in interactions between atoms can be explained by the electromagnetic force acting on the electrically charged atomic nuclei and electrons inside and around the atoms, together with how these particles carry momentum by their movement.

If elevated levels of electromagnetism were directed at certain areas of the brain, this can affect people mentally.  If you direct magnetic fields at different parts of the brain you get all sorts of responses.  They can be used to pacify a subject, make someone hallucinate, can even be used to alter someone’s sense of morality.

Eventually we’ll be able to photograph a dream…it is well within the lines of physics, to photograph a dream.

Science Fiction? Or just Science?
According to physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku, aspects of the force are being developed today.  We can now begin to decipher the outlines of thinking via the electroencephalogram (EEG) and the MRI, which gives us living pictures of thoughts ricocheting like a ping pong ball inside the brain.  We now have computers that can read these thoughts.  In Japan, we even have a device that allows you to see what you are seeing on a small scale – like seeing a memory on a computer screen.  Eventually we’ll be able to photograph a dream, for example.  According to Dr Kaku, it is well within the lines of physics, to photograph a dream.

We can’t exactly use electromagnetism to move people’s bodies at our will, but we know certain parts of the brain are connected to certain parts of the body, and we’ll be able to energize them, perhaps, with electromagnetic radiation.  So we’ll be able to actually manipulate arms and legs of a person, simply by using electromagnetic radiation beamed into the brain.  This technology is very primitive at the present time, but we’re getting there very fast.

If electromagnetic forces are the key to unlocking our own Force like abilities within the rules of physics on earth, then we need something to be able to direct or utilize that force whenever we desire.  There is already an example in nature of a creature that is able to process or read electromagnetism all around it – sharks and other cartilaginous fish.

Sharks have the Ampullae of Lorenzini, electroreceptors that form a network of jelly-filled pores in their nose. This organ allows them to detect the electromagnetic fields of the objects around them.  They can sense great disturbances, like a ship with a large magnetic field, or small ones like a fish they’d like to eat that’s nearby.  Perhaps if we had some biological enhancement, like the Ampullae of Lorenizini, or if midi-chlorians somehow became a real thing, we’d be able to read and understand, maybe even use the electromagnetic forces around us.

What is known about our physical world is fascinating, and the forces that are all around are fantastical in their own right. With understanding, and when taken to the next level through technology and research, our world could be closer to the science fictional world of Star Wars.