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Alan Turing Decoded

9 Jun

As he did in his graphic biography Feynman

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Jim Ottaviani explores the life and work of another scientist in his newest work.

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The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded explores Turing’s youth, education and war experiences that lead him to

Publisher’s Summary: English mathematician and scientist Alan Turing (1912–1954) is credited with many of the foundational principles of contemporary computer science. The Imitation Game presents a historically accurate graphic novel biography of Turing’s life, including his groundbreaking work on the fundamentals of cryptography and artificial intelligence. His code breaking efforts led to the cracking of the German Enigma during World War II, work that saved countless lives and accelerated the Allied defeat of the Nazis. While Turing’s achievements remain relevant decades after his death, the story of his life in post-war Europe continues to fascinate audiences today.

Award-winning duo Jim Ottaviani (the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Feynman and Primates) and artist Leland Purvis (an Eisner and Ignatz Award nominee and occasional reviewer for the Comics Journal) present a factually detailed account of Turing’s life and groundbreaking research—as an unconventional genius who was arrested, tried, convicted, and punished for being openly gay, and whose innovative work still fuels the computing and communication systems that define our modern world. Computer science buffs, comics fans, and history aficionados will be captivated by this riveting and tragic story of one of the 20th century’s most unsung heroes.

The real focus of the book is Turing’s mind and how it was consumed with his theoretical ideas. It is written as interviews with Turing and various important people in his life. Each sheds light on different aspects of his life. Because I’d seen the movie,  starring Benjamin Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, I was able to easily follow the story, but I wonder if it would be as easy a path to follow if I hadn’t.

 

Great weather….if you are a tomato

2 Jul

A few months ago, I bought two tomato plants from a friend’s fundraiser. I knew that they’d be Ok while I was away at ALA because everyone knows it rains in Oregon until the 4th of July. Except this year. We are experiencing something of a long-term heat wave and drought. Kind neighbors agreed to water my plants while I was away and they are thriving. I even have my first fruit.

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I am not a fan of the 90+ degree weather we are having and I am thankful for my window air conditioner that makes sleeping comfortable. The forecast seems to indicate that we will be in the 90’s through Tuesday.

While I was at ALA, I got a ridiculous number of advance reader copies of novels. I got a few non-fiction arcs too. One of them was The Rain Wizard: The Amazing Mysterious True Life of Charles Mallory Hatfield by Larry Dane Brimner.

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Publisher’s summary:In December 1915, San Diego’s leaders claimed the town’s reservoirs were nearly dry. Knowing the city would not survive and grow unless it had water, they hired Charles Mallory Hatfield, whose skills at making rain were legendary. But when torrents and torrents of rain came, disaster struck. Roads were closed, people drowned, and dams burst. The town elders blamed Hatfield and refused to pay him. Was Hatfield really a rain wizard, or simply a fraud? Renowned author Larry Dane Brimner examines the man and the myth by relying on personal recollections from growing up in California, as well as extensive research. Readers will be captivated by Hatfield—a man once known as the Frankenstein of the air—and his secret rainmaking formulas. Includes author’s note, source notes, and bibliography.

Finding Inspiration

29 Apr

I am always on the lookout for picture books that connect, however tenuously, to what we are doing in class. Today’s two books are all about imagination, inspiration and creativity, which connects to the Invention Convention we are working on.

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Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking is written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim. It encourages young readers to observe nature and think about how animals face their problems and use their imagination to solve the problems. The diorama like artwork here is spectacular, with each two page spread offering a source of inspiration in nature.

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My Pen, written and illustrated by Christopher Myers, is an illustrated work of pure poetry. The text plants the seed of an idea as to what the narrator can do with his pen, but the shaded and detailed drawings in black ink on white background give wings to the text.

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This is a deep, contemplative book full of rich ideas and creativity.

 

Today’s Pre-Invention Convention Read Aloud

23 Apr

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Reading about Chester Greenwood yesterday got the kids thinking about things they use that can be improved. Today, our read aloud looks at Ben Franklin inventions that are still around because the basic design was good. His ideas have just been improved.

Now & Ben : The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta, features two page spreads that show a modern invention on the left and the Ben Franklin original on the right.

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The text explanations are simple but point out how Ben Franklin is still relevant today.The end pages playfully depict various inventions of Franklin and the year that they were invented.

This book is an excellent tool to add to an inventor’s toolbox.

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