Category Archives: Pingo Lingo

Who Are My Friends?

  1. No one would choose to live without friends if he had all other goods.
  2. When people are friends, they have no need of justice, but when they are just, they need friendship in addition.
  3. We conclude, therefore, that to be friends, men must have good will for one another, must each wish for the good of the other on the basis of one of three motives(the good, the pleasant, and the useful), and must each be aware of one another’s good will.
  4. The three motives differ from one another in kind, and so do the corresponding types of affection and friendship.
  5. Now, when the motive of the affection is usefulness, the partners do not feel affection for one another as such, but in terms of the good accruing to each from the other. The same is also true of those whose friendship is based on pleasure; we love witty people not for what they are, but for the pleasure they give us… Accordingly, with the disappearance of the motive for being friends, the friendship, too, is dissolved, since the friendship owed its existence to these motives.
  6. The perfect form of friendship is that between good people who are alike in excellence or virtue. For these friends wish alike for one another’s good because they are good people, and they are good as such… Hence, their friendship lasts as long as they are good, and that means it will last a long time, since goodness or virtue is a thing that lasts.

— From Book 8 of the Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

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40 Questions to help you wonder … about everything!

1. Are you a fair or a just person?
2. How do you know who your friends are?
3. Should you be rewarded for your efforts in school?
4. Should you let little things bother you?
5. Is it your duty to give to charity?
6. Will having fun make you happier than studying?
7. Should you ever tell a lie?
8. Are there times when you should be violent?
9. Do you sometimes feel weird when you are with others?
10. Do we control technology or does technology control us?

11. How do you know for certain that things move?
12. What makes something you say true?
13. Can you doubt that you exist?
14. Does a tree make a sound if it falls in a forest with no one around?
15. Are you certain that the law of gravity is really a law?
16. How can you tell when you know something?
17. Can another person understand your feelings?
18. Can you lie to yourself?
19. Do you perceive things as they are or only as they seem to be?
20. Can computers think?

21. Can you think about nothing at all?
22. Does anything ever happen by chance?
23. What happens to numbers when you are not using them?
24. Are numbers and people equally real?
25. Is time what you see when you look at a clock?
26. If the universe came from the BIg Bang, where did the Big Bang come from?
27. Are you the same person you were five years ago?
28. Do you have free will?
29. Does anything depend on everything?
30. Are impossible things ever possible?

Critical Thinking
31. Is it important to speak and write so you can be understood?
32. Should you always listen to the opinions of others?
33. Should you criticize people or the opinions people have?
34. Why is “because” such an important word?
35. Is it easy to tell what causes things to happen?
36. If many people think something is true, is it true?
37. Do two wrongs balance out and make an action right?
38. “I am lying.” True or false?
39. Can something logical ever not make sense?
40. “I wonder … ” what it means to define something?

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How to Create an “iPod App” of Your STJ iBlog

Create your own STJ iBlog iPod App

Pingo Lingo iPod App

Yes the title of this post is a bit misleading, you won’t really be creating an app. You will be creating a web shortcut to your STJ iBlog with a custom Apple touch icon that looks like an iPod app … in two steps.

First step, get yourself a snazzy gravatar with the admin email from your blog. Make sure your gravatar email, your STJ user email, and the email at Dashboard->Settings->General are all identical. Also double-check that your blog is set to “Show Avatars” at Dashboard->Settings->Discussion->Avatars. Activate the DS Gravatar Favicon plugin.

Second step, on the iPod send Safari to your iblog home page (and click the large  +) and “Add to Home Screen”. Name it and save it.

Add to Home Screen

Add to Home Screen

You are done. There is nothing else, unless you want to fiddle away for a few minutes enabling a special theme to automagically detect when iPods are browsing your blog. How? Activate the WPtouch plugin and then look for Dashboard->Settings->WPtouch. Compare what you see while surfing your blog on your iPod to the same pages you see in a desktop browser.

Pingo Lingo with WPtouch theme/plugin activated

Pingo Lingo with WPtouch theme/plugin activated

Pingo Lingo with the usual "Clown Pants" theme active

Anyway, there you have it: a customized shortcut on your iPod home screen that looks like an iPod app.

Did you know that the iPod will take screenshots by pressing and releasing the home and reset buttons simultaneously? Now all you have to figure out is how to get those images from your iPod photo app up to your blog. Any ideas?

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The Medium is the Message

According to Marshall McLuhan, television is a “cool” medium because it provides little information and makes the user fill in what is missing. How do the House Hippo and Media Monkey ads make the user fill in the information?

House Hippo

Media Monkey

Do young people accept what they see in media as being reality? Provide specific examples to support your opinion.

Facts on Childhood Issues

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Gender role reinforcement in children’s toys

I have three boys aged 9, 7, and 4. It should be no surprise that we all like Star Wars. Well, we were all watching another episode of “Clone Wars” last week when all three of us reacted to a couple of toy commercials.

The first commercial we reacted to was for a Mommy Look I Can Swim Doll. The image of a 3-6 year old girl tossing a lifelike baby doll into the pool was horrifying to me. Doesn’t the product description at Amazon sound horrifying to you?

For ideal balance, the manufacturer recommends holding the doll underwater until all the air bubbles disappear through the holes in her back.

My boys and I struggled to make sense of why girls would want a swimming baby doll. Perhaps you can help abate my fears.

The second ad we reacted to was for a Barbie Totally Real House, complete with a toilet with “flush sounds” and a mechanical spinning washer and dryer. The commercial actually featured a barbie sitting on the toilet with a flush sound. The boys, and I, thought that was “totally” gross.

I asked the 4 year-old if Santa should bring him a Barbie for Christmas to which he replied, “Boys don’t play with dolls, Daddy.”

My boys didn’t detect the irony of the dozens of Star Wars Action Figures littering the living room floor.

At any rate, my boys are learning, defining, reinforcing gender roles from the advertisements on TV. Sigh.

What do boys learn about girls from watching the advertising aimed at girls? What are the girls learning about boys from products advertised to boys?

Your Task:

Consider the gender definitions portrayed in advertising directed at children. Pay particular attention to gender role reinforcement in children’s toys. Write a blog post in which you critically analyze 3-5 examples of toys (and their ads) directed at young children.

At the same time, discuss the “Gender Inequality in Children’s Toys/Ads” issue with your classmates in the STJ Forums.

Hint: Pay particular attention to your course focus questions as they relate to gender-based inequality.


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Our relationship with technology » The Problem with Anonymous Commenting

Consider this article by Michael Kessler from the Washington Post.

It is the current trend to see anonymous comments attached to news stories at any popular news or sporting news site. Click on any hot topic and you’ll soon see the comments turn to ridicule and nonsense soon enough.

Michael Kessler in the Post article argues that intelligent, careful, and creative online writing is under assault by reckless commenters hostile to reason:

And then we watch helplessly while anonymous commenters hijack threads and launch screed upon hateful screed in every direction.

There’s nothing so deflating as to spend lots of time polishing off a thoughtful piece and then look at the comments to see lunatics ranting about Nostradamus-style end-times prophecy. Or conspiracy theories.

Worse are the haters and mockers who would disagree with even a simple hello. Worst are those who fail to read with any care, hurling canned insults at us, at each other, and at their political, religious, and moral opponents.

Michael Kessler cites a few examples of stories cursed by this affliction.

Can you find examples of “Anonymous Commenters Behaving Badly” in public stories at or (or some other news or sporting news site)?

Post a link to the story, state its main idea, then quote an example of the type of comment Michael Kessler cautions us about. What is your take on “The Problem with Anonymous Commenting”?


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Book Talk Intensifies at STJ

How do we write more, while at the same time we write less? This paradox occurred to me today while talking about writing with a student at STJ.

Book Talk added to Post EditorI also thought about the popularity of Twitter with its 150 characters “tweets” compared to the effort to maintain a blog with its posts in the 3-5 paragraph range.

Consider this analogy: Blog posts are to essays as “tweets” are to _________.

So I’ve weighed a couple of options:

  • First, each blog could have a post dedicated to the blog owner’s current book(s) they are reading or have read. The initial post could be nothing more than an simple introduction to the author, title, and a cover picture. Now the blog owner comments on a regular basis on their own post – say 6-8 times or more per book until the book is finished(or put aside for another book). In the end, a quick visit to this page would provide evidence of “Book Talk”. I’ve added a “meta box” of Book Talk tips to the post edit form.
  • Second, visit the STJ Forums and look for the Book Talk category.


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