Friday, May 23, 2008

Gangs in Allen County

I attended a workshop yesterday on gangs in Fort Wayne. I was reminded of many things I had forgotten. We all know the different signs of gangs -- graffiti, specialized handshakes, tattoos, clothing. What I did learn was that gangs are most easily found and joined on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. They said that the gangs watch who view their pages, and then give them an application to join. An interesting fact--if our gang unit in the police department find an Allen County student holding guns on their MySpace page they are expelled from school.

Other related tidbits:
The most surprising thing I saw was a picture of Williams sisters while doing the milk mustache ad flashed the Crypts sign. (The "c" around the waist.)

Some people are confusing cliques with gangs. The obvious difference is a clique is non-violent, whereas gangs are. (I wonder who was confusing them.)

The numbers you see in gang names usually refer to a letter of the alphabet. For example 13 is the letter M and stands for Mexico. When you see 13 in a gang name that means they are Mexicans.

We know one major reason that kids join gangs is for protections and/or a feeling of family, but did you know that it is common for gangs member to turn on their own gang and kill them? Sort of negates the reason for joining doesn't it?

Two websites were given to learn more. Know Gangs is a website for the entire United States, and you can search by city or county. Unfortunately Allen County has no info, but it's still a good place to begin if one knows little about gangs. They give examples of the handshakes, clothing, etc. The National Gang Crime Research Center gives really good background and research data on gangs in the US.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home Schooling in Germany Cause For Lost of Custody

A new federal law in Germany gives family courts the authority to take custody of children "as soon as there is a suspicion of child abuse," which is how that nation's courts have defined homeschooling. Not only are the parents fined, & possibly get jail time they also could lose custody of the children. The World Net Daily said this is just another step in "carving away family rights." They even go so far as to compare this to the time of Hitler. Maybe that comparison is a little drastic, but it does seem to be the wrong direction to go.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

San Francisco Web 2.0 Expo

I watched a video posted on the Librarian in Black blog and found it fascinating as well as informative. It was 15 minutes with Clay Shirky. He expounded on how Social Networking is akin to the Industrial Revolution and gave me a better understanding about the importance of Web. 2.0. I decided to explore to see if there were other videos on the San Francisco Web 2.0 Expo site and there are. I couldn't stop watching. I was enchanted. All that I have watched were 10 to 15 minutes of very interesting and useful nuggets of info. There are things like how Google catches spam (not email spam), WordPress, Photophlow, Videophlow, Dash and on and on and on. Not just what they do, but why and how. I can't wait to find the time to watch the rest.

When you go to the site click on Video of Keynote Presentations. Warning: Prepare to spend more than a little time there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Powerset -- a new search engine to watch

There is lots of buzz about the new search engine Powerset . It only searches Wikipedia now, but word is they may expand to the net, and give Google a run for its money. Powerset Vs. Google: Semantic Search Smackdown on AppScout gives a good comparison as it stands now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Anti-teen Mosquito Noise

Do you think this real or just an "April Fool" type joke? The British do have a different sense of humor. I once saw a film by BBC news on harvesting spaghetti. It was hilarious, but this is weird.

William C. Morris Debut YA Award

Starting in 2009 there is a new young adult literature for best book "written by a first-time author writing for teems." It is being handled by Yalsa and all the details are on their website. What I really like about this award is part of the criteria for choosing the book is its appeal factor to a wide range of teen readers. It must have excellent literary value, but also (dare I say it?) it will include the popularity factor. I like that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Computer keyboards can be dirtier than a toilet

According to a British consumer magazine "Which? Computing" a computer keyboard can be 5 times (!) dirtier than a toilet seat. Ewww