Coursera adds 12 more prestigious universities – free online education grows

As we wrote back in April, there’s no doubt that the Internet is revolutionizing education, as more and more companies continue to emerge and alter the way we learn. We’ve kept a close eye on edX, Khan Academy, Academic Earth, P2PU, Skillshare and Codecademy, and rounding out that list is Coursera, one of the youngest of the bunch, which recently raised $16 million to launch with 37 undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

Now, since starting off with the likes of Princeton and Stanford, Coursera is announcing 12 new university partnerships, $3.7M in equity investments from Caltech, Penn and existing investors, and a total of 1.5M student users from 190 different countries.

More specifically, here’s a list of the company’s 12 new partnering universities, following Coursera’s original four launch partners (Stanford, Princeton, University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania):

  • Georgia Tech
  • Duke University
  • University of Washington
  • Caltech
  • Rice University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Toronto
  • EPFL – Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • Johns Hopkins University (School of Public Health)
  • UCSF
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Virginia

 

If you’re interested, these courses are free and here’s a list of all the new classes available:

The Next Web – Education startup Coursera partners with 12 new universities, raises $3.7M and hits 1.6M enrollments

 

 

Continue reading Coursera adds 12 more prestigious universities – free online education grows

Reagan National Airport expands flights to West Coast (Portland, SF, LA, Austin)

The Department of Transportation has approved four more long-distance flights from Reagan National Airport.

– Alaska Airlines will fly to Portland, JetBlue Airways will fly to San Juan, Southwest will fly to Austin and Virgin America will fly to San Francisco.

– Four dominant carriers were granted permission earlier to extend long-distance flights. United now flies from National to San Francisco. Delta was given approval for service to Salt Lake City, American to Los Angeles and U.S. Airways to San Diego.

via Washington Business Journal

 

// Photo – Nicola since 1972

Science fiction is now science fact – spacecraft Curiosity on its way to Mars

A signal from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new Curiosity rover, was received by officials on the ground shortly after spacecraft separation. The spacecraft is flying free and headed for Mars.

The journey will take eight months before its innovative and futuristic landing on Mars.

“Our spacecraft is in excellent health and it’s on its way to Mars,” said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He thanked the launch team, United Launch Alliance, NASA’s Launch Services Program and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for their help getting MSL into space.

Interesting that the brainpower behind NASA resides in Virginia, California, and Florida.

John Grotzinger of CalTech: “I think this mission will be a great one. It is an important next step in NASA’s overall goal to address the issue of life in the universe.”

Doug McCuisition, director of the program: “Science fiction is now science fact.”

Takeoff
Leaving the planet.

 

The Best in Virginia Wines – My Top 10

This best of Virginia wine top 10 list is pulled from my experiences living in and around Virginia for the last 5 years. It includes local sources, tips from vineyard owners, top chefs, and important local critics. Enjoy!

1. Any list has to start with the Norton grape. Widely considered to be America’s only native grape it was first planted here in Virginia several hundred years ago. Today it is still only grown here in America in Virginia and Missouri.

The most important thing to know about this wine is that “Norton wine comes into its own about 10 years after the vintage…after about five years, the intense fruit began to turn earthy, with soy and mushroom flavors, while the grape’s acidity mellowed.”

A few recommendations are: Chrysalis Vineyards, Locksley Reserve 2005 – Cooper Vineyards, Reserve, 2008 – Horton Vineyards, 2005 – and more…

2. After the Norton grape, the most popular and awarded winning grapes coming out of Virginia are the (red) Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and (white) Viognier, Petit Manseng. Ask for these varietals when visting your local wine store for the best of Virginia viticulture.

3. Now for some award winners, in the World Wine Awards Virginia took home 3 silver medals for these wines:Decanter World Wine Awards DWWA 2011

  • Potomac Pointe Viognier Reserve, 2009.
  • Veramar Cabernet Franc, 2007.
  • Williamsburg Winery Adagio, 2007 (red Bordeaux blend).

More information on Virginia’s bronze awards, including one dessert wine, can be found on Richard Leahy’s blog.

4. In our biggest local event, the Virginia Governor’s Cup, that includes all the vineyards in Virginia, gave the  2010 top prize for red to King Family Vineyard for their 2007 Meritage. And, the top prize for white was given to newcomer Paradise Springs Winery for their 2009 Chardonnay.

A full list of the red winners (pdf) and white winners (pdf).

5. In a bit of pop culture the White House and the Obama’s have been making waves in Virginia’s wine world. First in 2009 when they selected Thibaut-Janisson as the sparkling wine for their first State Dinner. Then again in 2010 for the Governor’s Ball when they selected Sugarleaf Vineyard’s 2008 Petit Manseng, one of Virginia’s few African-American owned vineyards.

In juicier gossip, local (former) vineyard owners Tareq and Michaele Salahi are famously known as the White House Party Crashers and members of the TV show Real Housewives of DC

6. Not to leave out sparkling wines, Keswick Vineyards invited together some of the best critics to perform a blind taste. The results revealed these critic favorites: Prince Michel Sparkling Wine, Afton Mountain Vineyards Tete’ de Cuvee, and the Kluge Estate SP Blanc de Blanc.

fight the recession buy local wine blonde woman

7. To improve our skills, Virginia Tech has a growing selection of oenology courses and a Winery Design program.

8. Virginia is home to a growing number of festivals with the biggest two being the Virginia Wine Expo in February and the Virginia Wine Festival in September. The state government keeps a list of events at Virginia Wine as do several other websites: Virginia Wine Events, Virginia Wine Festival, and Peaks of Otter Winery.

9. My favorite media coverage of Virginia wines comes from Flavour Magazine and the Virginia Wine Gazette. There is also an official guide including maps, regions, and newsletter you can get (for free), and an unofficial newsletter.

10. Finally, a documentary on Virginia wine called, Vintage: The Winemaker’s Year. Click to to view the trailer, see the extra footage, or order the DVD.

“A feature length documentary exploring the rapid growth of the wine industry in Virginia and its increasing impact on the state’s cultural, social, and economic landscape…the narrative of the film is of two intertwining strands- the story of the wine industry’s rise from humble beginnings and the tale of the creation of the state’s 2008 vintage.”

“Vintage examines the factors that make Virginia unique amongst the wine producing regions of the United States and explores why two hundred years after Thomas Jefferson’s failure to cultivate grapes at Monticello the region is finally flourishing as a producer of quality wines.”

“Viewers will see Virginia as a rapidly advancing player in the wine industry, one that is gaining national attention, attracting top winemakers and wine professionals, and poised for explosive growth in the decades to come.”