Sunday, October 28, 2012

Modesto Has Its Arch Back

Friday, the City of Modesto's arch downtown came back to life with the flick of a switch
This was made possible by a fund raiser in difficult times. They had to replace the paint and the old bulbs with new, energy-efficient LED bulbs. It looks brighter and better than ever. It should be good for at least another 100 years.
To raise money, they sold chocolate "Arch Bars" which were produced by Modesto company Speckles Chocolates and were a nice touch. The chocolate was actually imprinted with the shape of the arch. They placed "golden tickets" ala Willy Wonka for a chance to win prizes and the grand prize - the flipping of the switch that relit Modesto's downtown arch.



It's a good reminder of the good people in Modesto which makes it a good place to live.
There's now a time capsule placed in the arch and they are planning on other additions as time goes on.
The committee in charge of restoring the arch still has bulbs they've put into a case that can be bought as a momento.
All in all, a good project and a show of a little civic pride.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is Tetris Good For The Mind?

During the student meeting today, one of the Community Business College adult students made the case that Tetris is good for the brain. Some people will lump Tetris in with all video games and say that it doesn't do much good but the question here is - can the game improve your mind?

This student grew up in the 80's when Tetris was big and freshly imported from the old Soviet Union. It quickly caught on and can be found on many all-time favorite video game lists. But since that time there have been so many video games available, its popularity has settled down.

That's not to say that Tetris hasn't made a huge impact in the culture. From video game consoles, to Halloween costumes and even videos of human Tetris, it's not hard to find Tetris references. But is it really a mental exercise?

Tetris Screen Shot- Somebody Needs More Practice
For those not in the know, the game is played with shapes of four squares stuck together. They're called "tetrominoes," or in the game, "tetriminos" as opposed to two-square "dominoes." The pieces drop one at a time down the matrix  with the player able to rotate the pieces 90 degrees at a time and slide them from side to side. The object of the game is to fit the pieces together without any gaps. When a horizontal line is filled in with no gaps, it disappears, making room for more pieces to fall and scoring the player some points. The second object of the game is to keep making those lines disappear because if the whole matrix fills up with game pieces, the game ends.
As the player "beats" each level by using up the game pieces, the following level drops them faster and, thus, increases the challenge.

But Can It Change Your Brain?
Of course, this is of interest to us at Community Business College because we are all about training brains. But can Tetris make a difference in your brain? After doing a little research, some (including our stalwart student today) seem to think so.

Researchers Dr. Richard Haier, Richard J Haier, Sherif Karama, Leonard Leyba and Rex E Jung found in 2009 that when a person first starts playing Tetris, brain function and overall activity increases, and the brain's metabolism increases along with the consumption of blood glucose. This means playing the game really gets the brain going.

As players of the game get better at it, their brain metabolisms showed improved efficiency.  Even moderate playing of Tetris (half-an-hour a day for three months) seemed to boost general cognitive functions such as "critical thinking, reasoning, language and processing" and increasing the thickness of the players' "grey matter."

There's even a syndrome called The Tetris Effect for those who overdo it and play the game so much that they start seeing common everyday objects as Tetris game pieces. So, walking down the street and looking at the skyline of a bunch of city buildings triggers the mind to involuntarily imagine how those shapes might fit together as if they were Tetris objects on the game board.

So maybe there's something to this.  Most people probably don't play the game excessively and develop a syndrome but Tetris seems to definitely make some changes in the brain.

Kudos to our student for making the case that games are not always just fun but can be beneficial to our minds, too. Plus it takes your mind off of the troubles of the day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Publish and Sell Your E-Book" Class Starts at Community Business College

Community Business College is now offering a new class teaching students how to create, publish and sell their own e-books.

Students in the "Publish and Sell Your E-Books" course learn how to access tools to publish and sell e-books in the world's largest online bookstores. Many of these e-publishing tools are available free of charge. Students learn to utilize these tools to turn manuscripts into competently published e-books. Course participants also learn how to target an audience, select bookstores, and get their books distributed around the world via the World Wide Web. The goal is to provide students an an opportunity to get into a new technology while it is just starting to develop. E-publishing will always be a significant way people get their information in the future and now is an excellent time to get started.

Why E-books?


E-books are making a huge impact in the publishing world, with thousands of previously undiscovered authors as the bright glowing lights in its tail. Independent ("indie") authors are becoming overnight sensations in the newspapers and on Amazon.com.

There is a vast difference between paper books and e-books. With their ease of production and distribution, there's more news coming out every day showing that e-books now outsell traditionally published books around the world. This is great news for authors, who no longer need a large budget to self-publish and promote their books.

Publishing an e-book and selling it can be an excellent way for people who are struggling in difficult economic times to supplement their income. Depending on the type of e-book and the amount of time put into marketing, authors can make part-time to full-time pay from their works.

Community Business College's Lifelong Learning Classes 

The “Publish and Sell Your E-Books” is part of the non-credit skills enrichment courses offered by Community Business College to supplement its students education and to nourish an enjoyment of lifelong learning.

The classes are designed to be informative and enjoyable.
New classes start every month. Many are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and assignments. A dedicated professional instructor facilitates every course; pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback, and facilitating discussions. Online instructors have special relationships with their students. A Penn State World Campus instructor has said that sometimes what students learn from online courses goes beyond the subject matter.


One advantage of taking an online course is it reinforces good time management skills and organizational skills. "Anything in life worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worth doing is worth scheduling," Turgeon has been quoted as saying. Students learn to discipline themselves, develop problem solving skills, and how to schedule and prioritize time


To learn more, contact the Community Business College admissions office at (209) 529-3648 or visit the school’s website at http://www.cbcwebcollege.com/ebook.htm


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