Mining the Internet Archive: Tobacco, history and controversy

May 22, 2007

European Union rules require member states to do something about indoor air pollution. European states are banning smoking in public places. Gone soon will be days when we can joke about Britons and their Player’s cigarettes, or the French and their Galois habits.

Every once in a while as I recount the great Tobacco/Health Wars, my kids remind me that they never saw a cigarette commercial on television. Once, we caught a showing of past ads, and I was truck nostalgic by Fred Flintstone’s testimony for Winston cigarettes — the kids gasped: “Fred Flintstone used to smoke!”

Everybody smoked, once upon a time, it seemed. 1940s and 1950s magazines have ads in which doctors and athletes claim cigarette smoking is either unharmful, sheer pleasure, or even health promoting. Got a cigarette cough? Switch to menthol cigarettes! Mouth burns? Try a filter cigarette.

Today, kids wonder why Virginia did so well selling tobacco to Britain — who in their right mind would have smoked? they ask.

The Internet Archive has an abundance of film material on tobacco. The films come from the University of California – San Francisco: Read the rest of this entry »

Mining the Internet Archive: Education reform

May 22, 2007

Do we use enough different media in our classrooms?

In my continuing search for sources of useful and inspiring video and audio stuff, I keep running into the Internet Archive. A few of Dorothy Fadiman’s thought-provoking films can be viewed there, including this one some of us may recall from past PBS broadcasts, which features nine schools that appear to work well: “Why Do These Kids Love School?” (1990)

Now I have two questions: First, since 1990, how have these schools fared? Second, since 1990, have we learned anything really significant about how students learn that would change our views of what goes on in these schools?

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