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The Bookbyte Blog

When it's time to graduate, while you're sitting there sweating through your academic robes in the summer sun, you'll start to listen to the names of your class (or department, depending on how your school does it), anticipating friends' names so you can cheer a little louder. The odds are pretty good that you won't hear at least one name you expect to. Some people just plain don't want to walk.

Kids are smart. Much, much smarter than we give them credit for. Most kids have an inherent curiosity, a craving for knowledge and a greater patience with the learning process than most adults. And curiosity is the most powerful force in education.

A recent study out of Texas A&M University concluded that sending hands-free, voice-activated text messages impairs driver reaction times just as bad as actually typing them out.

It's nothing short of shocking that Wikipedia is as useful, functional, and accurate as it is, considering the incredibly high potential for sabotaging edits. Instead of having a scholarly Encyclopedia Britannica-style essay or a random collection of gibberish, we have both, where you can occasionally find an insane gem hidden in the otherwise staid article. Here are a few of the best of those insane gems.

Roger Ebert passed away yesterday at the age of 70. I'm not sure if there's ever been a more influential or well-known critic, and I mean critic of anything, not just film. He was the first person to receive a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism, back in 1975, and only 4 other people have received that reward since. He had fought with cancer for 11 years prior to his death, losing a large portion of his jaw and his ability to speak due to surgery complications in 2006.

<a href=""><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1469" src="" alt="Screenshot from &quot;Sweatshop HD&quot; game" width="540" height="209" /></a> One of the "perks" of getting apps through the App Store is that, unlike downloading desktop software from a random website, Apple screens and approves each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of available apps. For better or worse, that means Apple gets to decide what's fit for consumption and what's not.

By and large, college students have turned St. Patrick's Day into a holiday celebrating the sanctity of large quantities of alcohol. Problem is, the day's plans often begin and end with "drink beer." That's especially problematic for the people who <em>don't</em> drink. How are they supposed to spend the hours as their classmates focus on becoming less and less coherent?

<span style="text-decoration:underline;"><em><strong><a href=""><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1443" src="" alt="oryx-and-crake" width="199" height="300" /></a>Oryx and Crake -- </strong></em><strong>Margaret Atwood</strong></span> <strong>The premise: </strong>In a post-apocalyptic world, one of the only remaining survivors reflects on how his best friend brought about the end of civilization. <strong>Why film it? </strong>Look at <em>The Hunger Games</em>. Dystopian sci-fi is in. Look at <em>The Walking Dead. </em>Apocalyptic sci-fi is also in. With <em>Oryx &amp; Crake</em>, you get it both ways: a frighteningly believable and self-destructive future society and a planet after a disaster rapidly being reclaimed by animal and plant life. Plus, while the book can stand on its own just fine, there is a sequel (<em>The Year of the Flood</em>) and a third book due out later this year. And movie studios love franchises. <strong>Who'd make it? </strong>It would be great if somebody like <a href="">Terry Gilliam</a> could make it. Despite the bleak material, the books are pretty funny at times and it would need a director who would be comfortable with some of the more unhinged parts. But there's no chance a studio looking to make a franchise would let someone that out of control near it, so my guess would be <a href="">Alfonso Cuaron</a>, who brought a lot of visual flair to another more down-to-earth sci-fi movie, <em>Children of Men</em>. <strong>What are the odds it'll happen? </strong>5/10 -- There's a chance nobody wants to touch this series until they see how it wraps up when the last book comes out this year. There's just as good of a chance that nobody wants to touch this series at all since the last fil

There's a problem at a lot of well-known, hyper-competitive schools. As it turns out when you get thousands of very successful students who've made their way into a top-tier college by getting straight A's, they don't want to stop getting straight A's just because they're suddenly surrounded by kindred spirits. Suddenly, just about everyone's getting A's for doing a comparatively average job and the grades start to mean very little.

Over the weekend, Winter Storm Nemo smashed into the east coast, dumping over 30 inches of snow on New England. I used to live there, so I know that when <em>those</em> states are canceling classes because of inclement weather, things have gotten <em>real.</em>

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