Hyperlinking Through The Cosmos


The Witch’s Broom Nebula: photo by Martin Pugh

The website, Astronomy Picture of the Day, more commonly known as, APOD, is an easily accessible and enticing site for learning about cosmic phenomena through an extensive daily archive of videos, interactive exploratory opportunities and beautiful photographs in two- and three-dimensional formats. The use of natural phenomena as art to draw in viewers, appeals to a diverse audience. It then inspires them to learn more about the cosmos, and earth-sky-related phenomena, through the use of hyperlinks that take them to a veritable plethora of related material and information. The site is designed to appeal to every level of interest from the most basic introductory astronomy questions to deepest and most complex issues on scientific and cosmic research.

The APOD website was created in 1995 and is devoted to the expansion of knowledge about astronomy. Its creators, astronomers, Jerry Bonnell, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and Robert Nemiroff, a professor at the Michigan Technical University, created a place on the Internet for daily images related to astronomy.  This also provides hyperlinks to related information, a glossary and educational sites for astronomy. (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/lib/about_apod.html).

Like Nemiroff, who uses APOD’s archive in his classroom to encourage students in their academic studies, many other teachers use APOD’s archive in the classroom as well. Dr. Todd Ryan of Westborough High School, for example, says “…APOD generates more questions from students than any other type of material I use.” With regard to astronomy, he finds it to be the most accessible site for sparking student interest in the subject. Tom English, a professor at Gardner-Webb University, claims that the site is a great recourse for astronomical “current events.” He lists this site as the main source of information for the projects in his courses. (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/lib/apodclass.html).

The photos on this site include some of the most amazing sights the cosmos has to offer, ranging from the Hubble Telescope’s imaging of the Butterfly Nebula to a photo of the Hubble itself.


The Butterfly Nebula: photo by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

One interesting thing about APOD is its use of hyperlinks to create discussion about astronomy. In the description of The Butterfly Nebula, there are embedded hyperlinks that will take you to related photo’s or related discussions at various levels of scientific interest and knowledge.

But, what is a hyperlink? Why is it important to the APOD site? The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines a hyperlink as “an electronic link providing direct access from one distinctively marked place in a hypertext or hypermedia document to another in the same or a different document.” The reason the “hyperlink” is an important part of the APOD site is that it helps facilitate an option for “adventure.” For example, on the APOD page for the Butterfly Nebula, its caption explanation begins, “The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth’s night sky are often named for flowers or insects.” The word “flowers” is a hyperlink, and if clicked on, this hyperlink takes us to another of APOD’s photos: The Iris Nebula.


The Iris Nebula: photo by Tony Hallas

This beautiful photograph is both related to the Butterfly Nebula by being a nebula itself and relates to the concept about the origin of nebula names in the first explanation of being associated with flowers.

The use of hyper-linking one page to another shows on a small scale the almost infinite possibilities of hyperlinked information. The idea of hyperlinks originated in the 1930’s, but did not become implemented until 1989, when the World Wide Web became available to the public, by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN (History of Hyperlinks: http://etrialinc.com/blog/?p=79).

The hyperlink as it relates to APOD has facilitated further enjoyment of the subject of astronomy. Fun aside, among the many uses for hyperlinks, the most important use is for the sharing of information. In his article, “Sustainable Learning Through Hyperlinks,” Dean Shareski says, “…hyperlinks are allowing learning to be sustainable…and we now are able to connect with the people behind the links and continue conversations of learning for as long as we’d like.” (Sustainable Learning Through Hyperlinks: http://novemberlearning.com/sustainable-learning-through-hyperlinks/).


Messer Craters In Stereo: photo by Apollo 11, NASA; Stereo Image by Patrick Vantuyne

With a pair of 3D glasses these craters come to life!

APOD uses a variety of media formats to further the viewer’s experience, such as, 3-D images (above), still photos (some colorized in differing hues to examine the contents of the astronomical object), videos, and interactive images just to name a few.

Our Story In One Minute: video by MelodySheep, Symphony of Science, music by John Boswell (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121114.html)

This video, “Our Story In One Minute,” presents a short visual journey through the entire history of our world, according to current scientific understanding. Through CGI (computer generated images) and real imagery, it gives a cursory glimpse into the vastness of our universe.



The Scale of the Universe – Interactive: by Cary & Michael Huang

Through this interactive web application, you can explore the immensely wide range of objects that fall along the cosmic-scale. You can zoom from the quantum scale all the way out to the diameter of the observable universe. Along the way are a multitude of planets, Nebulae, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena.

All of the examples are from ADOP’s extensive archive, where each photo, video, etc, are dated and have a short description of what they are. APOD’s mission to bring astronomy to the masses through art and beauty is a wonderful success that has never failed to amaze those that see it. Its elegant and interesting presentations continue to motivate viewers to invest a few minutes of their time to read the two to three sentences accompanying and explaining what the particular photo of the day is all about and inspires them to explore in more depth our fascinating universe. In this way, the site expands not only interest in the sciences but also expands the horizons both literally and figuratively of those who view it. In the August 2009 article “Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom” by Steve Lohr, about the value of online education for the Department of Education concluded after 12 years and 99 studies that  “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction” in the same courses, proving the value of online education (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom/).

Or, as Scientific American magazine asserted regarding Astronomy Picture of the Day, “No list of the ‘best of the Web’ would be complete without this NASA classic” (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=astronomy-and-astrophysic).

Work Cited:

Bonnell, Jerry, and Nemiroff, Robert. Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). 1995. Web.  June 9, 2013. <http://apod.nasa.gov/>

“History of Hyperlinks” Web. November 9, 2009. June 9, 2013. <http://etrialinc.com/blog/?p=79>

Lohr, Steve. “Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom” Web. August 19, 2009. June 9, 2013. <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom/>

Scientific American. “Astronomy and Astrophysics” Web. May 14, 2001. June 9, 2013. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=astronomy-and-astrophysic>

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter “Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Astronomy and Astrophysics: Astronomy Picture of the Day” Web. June 7, 2001. June 9, 2013. <http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/swain/nsflibnews/2001/stan010607.html>

Shareski, Dean. “Sustainable Learning through hyperlinks” Web. Jul. 15, 2010. June 9, 2013. <http://novemberlearning.com/sustainable-learning-through-hyperlinks/>

Image/Video Cited:

Apollo 11, NASA; Stereo Image: Vantuyne, Patrick. Messier Craters in Stereo. Photograph. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Web. June 8, 2013. June 9, 2013.

Hallas, Tony. NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula. Photograph. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Web. September 29, 2012. June 9, 2013.

Huang, Cary & Michael. The Scale of the Universe – Interactive. Web Application. March 12, 2012. June 9, 2013.

MelodySheep, Symphony of Science, and Boswell, John; Music Credit: Our Story. Our Story in One Minute. Video. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Web. November 14, 2012. June 9, 2013.

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team. NGC 6302: The Butterfly Nebula. Photograph. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Web. June 7, 2013. June 9, 2013.

Pugh, Martin. NGC 6960: The Witch’s Broom Nebula. Photograph. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Web. May 29, 2013. June 9, 2013.


Cold War of the Watchman

“In tandem with American cinema during the 1950s and much of the 1960s, Cold War television brought the fear of the Chinese and North Korean “red menace” into American living rooms day and night.” Page 259.


Cold War of the Watchman

This passage, and chapter for that matter, reminds me of a scene from the film Watchmen. In this scene, the character known as the Comedian (an American) is in a bar in Vietnam during the Vietnamese War. He is ignoring a Vietnamese woman who is clearly pregnant and is screaming at him. After a few minutes of this, he shoots her. Though this film came out in the 2000’s, this particular scene, even though it takes place in cinema, is an example of the “Cally-Reeves Syndrome” type of violence.

While there is a similarity to the “Cally-Reeves Syndrome” in this film’s violence against Asian women, which is depicted in the attitude of the Comedian (as an American) in his violence towards the Vietnamese woman, but this scene is weakened by the following scenes’ which completely over shadows it in its over the top violence toward Asian people in general. Also, even though the Asian woman in the first scene dies violently, she is depicted as angry, greedy and mean, suggesting that she might have been trying to use the “American,” to get a ticket to America. This dilutes the impact of her being murdered.

It is this part of the film that shows the fear engendered by “red menace” of the Cold War era as it was first viewed in the 1950s and 1960s, and the suspicions against the Chinese and North Koreans. Though the film only shows violence towards Vietnamese people during this era, the “red menace” scare that Asian people represented at that time in history is the reason used to justify showing the gruesome death of the pregnant lady. It manages, in this way, to both treats the Asian woman as a victim of “American” power and shows her still to be the feared “red menace.”

Outline for final project

1) A brief description of your topic

(i.e. a form of new media/digital technology

The Astronomy Picture of the Day, is a type of digital multi-media archive of cosmic and earth phenomena, appeals to people in a subtle way using the beauty of nature and the cosmos in an artistic way through photos, videos, time-lapse sequences and even some interactive photos that make people interested in wanting to know something about the picture, which in turn enables them to learn about some aspect of the science world that they might never have been exposed to or interested in before.

2) A proposed thesis statement or thesis question

Is this kind of photo essay a better way to entice people into learning about a topic than the traditional written essay format, and if so, why is it better? In other words, is a picture really worth a 1000 words even when it comes to inspiring people to want to learn about science?

3) The sources (or kinds of sources) you plan to use

NASA website

JPL website

APOD website, which is a sister site to NASA

I will search different leaning and educational websites on learning techniques that work well, why they work well.

Learning styles research – visual learners vs auditory learners for example

Website about learning disabilities and learning styles.

I will also use the research which is still ongoing from Learning And Teaching Styles In Engineering Education [Engr. Education, 78 (7), 674–681 (1988)]Author’s Preface — June 2002 by Richard M. Felder  http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/LS-1988.pdf , and

The Index of Learning Styles which assesses preferences using four scales of the learning styles and models from the paper named above which currently gets about 100,000 hits a year and it has also been translated into numerous languages.

85C GroupProject “Outline”

85C: Outline

Filawen “Willa” Siska

For our group project I was the outline person!


Book: Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representation in New Media

Chapter: Fairytale Parenting: Contextual Factors Influencing Children’s Online Self-representation


This article discusses the many ways in which Norwegian parents influence their children through rules on the Internet. It shows the various ways in which parents who think they are in control of their child’s Internet experience are actually kept in the dark by their child. It also appears to the be the case that parents have more liberal views on the sharing of private information of their child, where the children are more strict with their information. There also seems to be a “disconnect” with the children’s view of a real world friend (someone they’ve met before), and an Internet friend (someone they’ve never net before). It also goes into detail about where the Internet is used, whether at home, school, or a third party site, such as a coffee show  with Internet connection.


Parent relationship to internet:

Very few have real expertise with regards to the internet and its many avenues.

Children’s relationship to the internet:

At a young age children are being introduced to the internet and are able to comprehend its uses faster than their parents.


Parenting rules for children on the internet:

“Sleeping Beauty Parenting”

A rule that denies access to certain internet sites.

Lets parents filter what their children see on the internet.

Parents do not explain the dangers of the internet.


“Rapunzel Parenting”

Parents monitor their children’s online usage.

Parents tell their children of the dangers of the internet such as:

  • Potentially dangerous strangers
  • Online chat rooms
  • Revealing personal information

Fathers check on their children more often than the mothers in this parenting type.


“Little Red riding Hood Parenting”

Parents create rules for children to follow.

Parents are not part of their children’s internet experience.

If bad thing were to occur parents want a third party to intervene, rather than themselves.

Girls in this case claim to have “more rules” than boys of the same age.


“Hansel and Gretel Parenting”

Parents give no rules to their children.

Parents send them off into the internet hoping that if anything does go wrong they can find help for themselves.


Photos: We can make photo examples for all the rules or, use at least two of the rules for the photo essay. The photographer chooses the rules.

These are not official guidelines for the photos. They car be artistic, literal, and/or abstract. These are just examples of what they could be.

“Sleeping Beauty Parenting”

This could be, pictures depicting the literal princess Sleeping beauty, a staged picture with actors, a screen grab off the internet of a website that agrees with Internet rule, etc…


“Rapunzel Parenting”

This might be a picture of, the character Rapunzel with the various dangers climbing up her hair, various pictures melded together to create a collage of dangers, etc…


“Little Red riding Hood Parenting”

It is possible for this photo to contain, the character Little Red Riding Hood playing on the computer with a character wondering through a forest on the screen, the wolf hunting Red, etc…


“Hansel and Gretel Parenting”

This photo may have, Hansel and Gretel online in a chat room talking to an evil witch attempting to get their information in order to eat them, or a snapshot of children in chat rooms and the various dangers of their actions, etc…

Pirate Rights

“In fact, in many cases the impact of such copying is a market displacement, as the recipient of the copy receives free something that would otherwise be subject to payment of royalties to the copyright owners.” Page 160


Pirate Rights

I find the private copying of music materials to be very harmful to the industry, mainly for the fact that the artists and owners do not receive any financial benefits from their works. Without the financial support from the sale of their works, the artists would have a much harder time trying to finance their next musical endeavor, the owners as well would have a hard time trying to finance new artists, promoting them, and giving them the right tools and equipment to record and publish their music on. In truth however, the pirating of copyrighted music for private use is not as bad as those who pirate to sell it for their personal financial benefits. However, the pirating of any music whether for personal use r for re-sale, hurts the artists and companies tremendously. Though, this “private” use, makes me wonder about why anyone would want to pirate music at all. If you really like the artist is it not better to show that support by buying their CD? Or even if you do pirate a song and find you love it, would it not be better to buy the song and delete the copy? After all copies are never as good as the original. For example, YouTube is a place filled with “copied” songs, that you can copy through many different converter sites that allow you to take a song from YouTube and convert it to an mp3 format. However, because it’s a copy, of a copy, the sound quality is usually very poor. Though, when buying a song from iTunes, the sound quality is usually very high, even though that is also a copy, technically. The reason their sound quality is so much better is because they have the original work to take from rather than a copy of a copy.

With Stars in Their Eyes

“But the star image was always a dual one, as the audience was invited to consume both fictional roles played on the screen and the supposedly real, although often also fictional, persona of the star as an individual.” page 98


With Stars in Their Eyes

I find it strange the over fascination with movie stars or any celebrity for that matter. The “image” that actor’s make up for the viewing audiences as also strange, its as though they make a new version of themselves just for the public, and try to keep a private image of themselves out of the public eye. Just the notion alone that these “stars” have more than one persona at all seems mind boggling. An actor’s job is already to pretend to be someone else on the screen for our amusement, but to then continue that façade off the screen as well, after a while it would seem that they would be nothing, but shells of what was before they became “stars.”  It is the “fictional roles played on the screen” that give the star their status, but it is the secondary “fictional” role that is so sought after by groupies, entourages, and fans, that is the reason for shows such as E! News.

It is shows like E! News whose existence seems almost impossible in real life, they seem as though shows that would only exist within a work of fiction. They document the “star’s” every move, create nicknames, and speculate about their personal relationships and family life. In a way it is this organization of gossip that creates the second person for the stars so the stars themselves don’t have to. In a way stars have no personally, but what we the “audience” believe that they have, and the truth is that we the “audience” know nothing about them and never will. Though, this idea that the audience can never really know the actor on the screen is what gives the want to know them direction. People are fascinated by the “star image” because of its usual squeaky cleanness, its reminiscence of the “white telephone” movies and the era of when the “star image” was born.

Bring Out Your Dead

“In addition to concealing the corpse, staff photographers frame the corpse in the image’s far distance – at a distance far enough to disguise the presence of death.” page 56


Bring Out Your Dead

It have never occurred to me that when I’m looking at a picture either in newspaper, on a news station, or on an on-line new site that the images are perhaps less than truthful, or less than the complete story. When it comes to the subject of death in news there always seems to be a want for information, and in a society that is more visually driven than ever before, one might wonder why not show the whole picture? Why “disguise the presence of death” at all? With the abundance of videogame violence and films and television shows showing more, and more violence like that of The Walking Dead, and even the new Iron Man 3, what’s the harm?

The harm is that real violence and death is truly disturbing on a psychological level that can not be compared to make-believe stories. I remember watching the history channel with my dad, we were watching one of the many shows about World War 2 when suddenly on the screen appeared real footage of a dead soldier who looked as though he’d been ripped in half. My reaction was total shock, and immediate disgust. My dad changed the channel very quickly because of how much it freaked me out. What I kept trying to figure out after that was “why was it so bad?”  I watch lots of gory films and TV shows, I’ve never really had a problem with violent images in shows, so why is this one so different? It is different because it is real.

In reality, no one wants to see the events that take place in a film such as SAW, and more importantly to the sellers of news itself, is that no one wants to buy it. What sells better than the photo that shows you everything, is a photo that shows only half of the truth, selling the idea of death rather than the image of it.