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Virginia Begins Open-Source Physics Textbook

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the wiki-physics-are-much-easier-than-textbook-physics dept.

Education 226

eldavojohn writes "The Commonwealth of Virginia has issued a request for contributions to an open source physics textbook (or 'flexbook' they termed it). They are partnering with CK-12 to make this educational textbook under the Creative Commons by Attribution Share-Alike license."

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Hell Yes (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948635)

It's about time, can't wait to see the result and more of the same for other subjects. Education for everyone, free-ish. This is how it should be.

Re:Hell Yes (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948897)

Yeah... as a Virginian, this makes me proud. The open sourcing of education is just awesome. I can't wait for my kids to learn how Albert Einstein delivered the ten commandments that brought the enlightenment of the time cube to the world, and other things of this nature. I also wish upon the experience of needing critical information for a research paper only to find the project killed because of rampant forking and infighting amongst educators. They'll be better people for it. /kidding... mostly that is

Re:Hell Yes (5, Funny)

DoubleBarrelDarryl (1352363) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949281)

Albert Einstein didnt deliver the ten commandments, Charlton Heston did silly

Lookie! Steve Jobs' Hand: Death's Door for sure!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949343)

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/ne/p/2008/newnano2_550x367.jpg [com.com]

Whow! Maybe his "imminent death" was a bit off the mark before but this does not bode well for his saying that

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/ne/p/2008/appleeventstart_550x367.jpg [com.com]

next year.

This is not good for Apple. Not for anyone, really.

Under the topic: "How the Universe Began" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949751)

I got preview of some content for the text-book:

1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

6 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.7 An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.

11 An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, An fruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen.12 An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz.13 An so teh threeth day jazzhands.

14 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day.15 It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.16 An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for no day.17 An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs.18 An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good.19 An so teh furth day w00t.

20 An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eat dem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem.21 An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows, except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good.22 An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch u secksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh.23 An so teh...fith day. Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt.

24 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings, An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre. 25 An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.

26 An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.

27 So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers he maed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm.

28 An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, no waterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs.

29 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it.30 For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, An teh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good.

31 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a. kthxbai.

Re:Hell Yes (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949199)

How the hell are we suppose to sit in Ivory Towers and look down upon the commoners if education is free from us political and educational elites?

I mean, we need to make sure that people are certified by a piece of paper to prove that they've bowed before the altar of Education properly.

This includes requiring each new student to buy overpriced textbooks, brand new each year. Please, won't anyone think of the poor professors and teachers???

Re:Hell Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24950419)

I applaud this move, however let's not get carried away, it's not free, most of the contributions will be coming from state paid professors around the country.

Re:Hell Yes (5, Insightful)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949327)

But the downside is who is going to do the final edit. Should Maxwell's equations be included? Should a whole chapter be devoted to an outlandish thesis on why it is physically impossible for evolution to occur?
The reason I have concern is that in our state, the selection committee for books didn't have a single person with any type of degree in physics. So where are they going to find editors.
I would prefer they used Sears and Zemansky College version, but am afraid that schools couldn't afford it.
I have never looked at Halliday and Resnick Fundamental version, but that may also be good.

Re:Hell Yes (0, Offtopic)

Life+Liberty+Freedom (1345021) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949739)

No, Since its a physics text, there should not be any chapters on biology.

Re:Hell Yes (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949859)

Since people drag the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics into evolution arguments, it *could* be (I didn't say "should") argued that it is relevant to physics.
Halliday and Resnick is very good btw. I remember working through the workbook in high school.

Re:Hell Yes (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950025)

There is a common axiom that should be in play here IMO, if a quorum of recognized physicists agree that a topic should be covered for a specific level of understanding, then it should be covered.

A wiki would work if it could be voted on, and topic frozen for a year once voted and approved, or that subject page moved to a reference site which could be used as the text for one or more years.

Physics 101 typically covers certain topics, more advanced classes cover more and more in depth. The trick is making that material available and flexible as they say. There are no great arguments about creationism in physics classes that I know of, but creationism is a religious principle and should be covered in theology class. NOTE to self: that page should be a redirect to bible.com.

If actual physicists and hobbyists can agree on material, then you have more intelligence working on the problem than currently being used to select texts... more or less.

THE INVISIBLE HAND!!! (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949333)

NO! This is an Outrage!! This is blasphemy!! Any honest fool knows that the best way to provide education,a or anything else for that matter, is to allow the unregulated invisible hand of the free market to solve everything. The magic of the markets can do it all, as long as they are unfettered by big government socialists! This project is Economic Terrorism!!

This is unfair government competition in an otherwise productive and creative industry. Just look at the high quality and low costs of textbooks and courses currently on offer! Just look at the amount of engineers graduating from our universities! The free market has brought us prosperity, happiness and profit and can bring us so much more if only the government would cut more taxes and ... ....what?... they what?...when?...how much?..... ........

Pay No Attention The Trillion Dollar Nationalization Project Behind The Curtain. The Market Will Continue To Solve All. This Is Simply A Temporary Accounting Measure. I Repeat. The Magic Of The Market Is Absolute!

a few things (3, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949403)

1. TFA states that this is for K-12, NOT college...so all the 'screw the Univ. for making me pay $200 for a textbook comments' are misguided

2. I like this idea as well, but let's not forget that an open textbook than anyone can edit about SCIENCE is bound to attract hordes of Intelligent Design trolls...imagine it...every church in Virginian tells its members to go home Sunday afternoon and edit the wiki-text book about evolution...this is big, big trouble

3. I'd rather see this opened to a pool of teachers, professors, scientists, etc that have been vetted for their qualifications.

You are paying for it (2, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950363)

1. TFA states that this is for K-12, NOT college...so all the 'screw the Univ. for making me pay $200 for a textbook comments' are misguided

The K-12 books are bought with tax money. They're not free.

Re:Hell Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949921)

Chapter I:

In the beginning God created physics...

Science in Virginia...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24950009)

If it's in Virginia, I suspect the book will be one page long and will read:

GOD (See "The Bible.")

/ kidding
// sorta

Re:Hell Yes (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950103)

First Virginia, then Kansas.

So it won't be long before an approved "physics" textbook tells us how many angels can dance on the head of a pin...

Re:Hell Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24950155)

Can't wait till texas does this...

Chapter I:

God created physics...

OSS Textbooks kick serious... (5, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948639)

Ass, but www.textbooktorrents.com saved me a bunch of money.

Why pay for rev.2 and rev.3 when you bought rev.1 and are getting reamed by changed question numbers?

I saved my friends about 2k$ this semester from what I found there.

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948907)

You know what else saves a bunch of money? Breaking into the bookstore after hours and stealing books.

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (4, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949033)

Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how many trees I'm saving. or something, whatever.

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949209)

Why do you hate lumberjacks?

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (4, Funny)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949943)

Why do you hate lumberjacks?

Yeah! I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949999)

Oh, Bruce! And I thought you were so rugged. (Sob)

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (3, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948931)

This appears to be for highschool, which loans books to students for free. Not much reason for students to download books. And kind of hard for the state to get away with it. This is more along the lines of "We're going to write our own physics book. With gambling and hookers. Wait, forget the last part. Just the physics book."

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949401)

You'd be right, except for one thing.

State requires only certain textbooks for the upcoming year, and typically textbook requirements change enough each year, often in spite of the fact that there is nothing that really changed in the textbooks year to year.

The whole Textbook issue is a HUGE issue for students and school districts, as the state LIMITS what is allowed. The political cronies and educational illites (sic) in charge are lining their pockets by requiring pointless changes.

I saw one ridiculous example where a mathbook was tossed out because one of the questions made a reference to "snow" in one of the word problems. Someone complained that it was discriminatory to inner city students who have never seen snow.

Mind you, snow had nothing to do with the actual question, other than being a description of condition (skier I believe) of weather. Insane!

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (3, Informative)

topherhenk (998915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949697)

You obviously don't live in Indiana where we have to pay a book rental fee. $73 for my first grader, and rising prices as you get older.

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950217)

I AM in Indiana.

Recently, the school has submitted yet another rounds of lawsuits against parents who have not paid their book rental ransom.

Re:OSS Textbooks kick serious... (1)

thewaker (1249320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949367)

http://www.abebooks.com/ [abebooks.com] is great as well. Nothing better than an English language CoSc book with a Chinese cover shipped from India for $45 less than the cost of buying it at your campus bookstore.

First entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948669)

F = dp/dt, not F = ma.

Second entry: define Lagrangians
Third entry: define Hamiltonians

The mechanics section is done. Now attach 500 pages of exercises that should be intuitively obvious given these entries.

Great Idea! (4, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948681)

I hope it won't be Wikipedia style...

Re:Great Idea! (4, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949099)

Professor, I think you need to look at the "textbook" again. I am pretty sure my answer is right.

Re:Great Idea! (3, Funny)

thewaker (1249320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949409)

[citation needed]

Pah. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950157)

The Open Library [openlibrary.org] project has barely any users, let alone book contributors or code contributors, and that isn't even restricted to something as special-interest as textbooks. If they can't get the open model to work for the written word, I doubt Virginia (not known as a bastion of openness or science) is going to have any impact worthy of the name. I hope I'm wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

Now these guys [edutaingrid.eu] have an idea for openness that looks far more interesting. Grids of Beowulfs of games. I can see that succeeding. (Can you imagine a MMORG that's also in the Top500 list? Or a planet-wide FPS? Can you imagine a LAN Party where the "server" is spread over the entire LAN - all that extra power available for tougher, more sophisticated games?) I'm willing to bet that more students at more Universities would be willing to be involved in a world-wide game engine than any number of textbook projects.

virginia? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948707)

q: What does a Virginia girl say after she loses her virginity?

a: Get off me pa, yer crushin my smokes!

Re:virginia? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949935)

You're thinking WEST Virginia.

Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948709)

Physics without calculus is a bit pointless. Any idea if this is focused at honors/ap, or...?

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948943)

Most physics without solving PDEs is pointless. But I don't think that is the point of this class. High school physics focuses more on physical intuition and the understanding of the scientific method than on actual calculations. The only areas of high school physics that could apply to the real world are the simplest constant value problems. I would consider a high school physics class a success if the students could describe Newton's Laws of Mechanics, the Work-Energy Theorem, Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation, Snell's Law, the First Law of Thermodynamics, the general gist of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Pascal's Law, the Ideal Gas Equation, the general gist of the wave equation, simple vector operations, and some electronics. I wouldn't expect students to do any real calculations until they had mastered calculus. And I wouldn't expect them to be useful for anything unless they had mastered ODEs and PDEs (and other mathmatics of physics topics like complex analysis, linear algebra, calculus of variations, and vector calculus).

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949139)

I often think they should teach the Pythagorean theorem as a physical theory too, and not just Newton's law.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

AJNeufeld (835529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949423)

No, that definitely belongs under the umbrella of geometry, although you can demonstrate applications of it in physics classes.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949973)

You came somewhat close to describing my high school physics curriculum. Except the Ideal Gas Law was covered in Chemistry, and you forgot a few things... Hooke, Kirschov, Thompson, ... uh, golly that was a long time ago.

In some cases where basic calculus would have been handy, we graphed and measured the area under the curve. That was also helpful later, in calculus.

I also think we didn't touch the wave equation until grade 13 chemsitry. But we did study nuclear reactors and relativity in high school physics.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (2, Insightful)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950081)

Maybe yours was more focused on physical intuition, but mine was very much conceptual understanding and problem solving. We were expected to understand how closed form solutions were derived - sparing us the necessity of having to memorize them in some cases.

Yes, you can do some stuff without calculus, but calculus is easy, excepting some of the trig crossover and the umpteen billion integration tricks. It really ought to be part of everyone's high school education, if only for its tremendous ability to empower those who wield its principles in the age of the computer.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

HisOmniscience (1361001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949291)

AP Physics has two levels: B and C. B is algebra based and C is calculus based, so if this book is algebra based (I haven't RTFA), then it is for B.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949347)

It was not listed the intended grades of this new book only and that one of the goals was "better preparing students for post-secondary education and the workforce." Certainly there are going to need articles on general physics subjects before it gets to more advanced areas. Calculus is only really needed at advanced levels. Really you don't need to know calculus to figure basic concepts like force (F=ma) or that gravity causes the Earth to orbit the Sun. To fully describe why Mercury has a peculiar orbit does require calculus knowledge.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949707)

Physics without calculus is a bit pointless.

Woh! Step down from your high horse. There is plenty to learn about basic physics that doesn't involve calculus. You must simply make the correct assumptions. All the calculus is doing is explaining why the algebra works under some assumptions and not others. Even in four years of engineering school, I rarely used calculus.

Keep in mind that a derivative can be expressed as a simple difference (subtraction) and an integral can be expressed as a simple summation.

For example, Newton's second law only requires calculus if the acceleration of the system is changing. For practical classroom purposes, acceleration due to gravity is constant. No calculus required. (sort of)

High school physics is teaching that the world can be described by math. The math that they will learn in physics without calculus will greatly help them understand calculus in the future. High school students don't need proofs, they need application. Application keeps kids interested.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (3, Insightful)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950277)

I also went to an engineering school. I don't ever use calculus and other fancy math in the workplace, but calculus and other fancy math are tremendously useful in understanding many of the modern marvels about us.

As far as summations and differences, this is intuitively true. Vector calculus teaches the intuition for that sort of thing. But without the ability to integrate, you're going to miss out on certain things.

Calculus gives you the power to forget special case solutions and derive as needed in a lot of cases, which is pretty damned awesome.

Re:Calculus, or no-calculus? (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950383)

Exactly. High school is supposed to help you decide what (or if, I suppose) you want to study in college, not prepare for the GREs.

Kick out spdf (2, Insightful)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948713)

Kick out spdf and welcome the era of open-source text books. Hooray!!

Is Project Gutenburg not going to lend a hand in this?

I'll start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948817)

f=ma
KE=(1/2)mv^2
E=mc^2

Web 2.0 as a force for good (5, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948821)

This is a good idea. Base it on a standard description of each concept like an old fashioned text book, but also allow:

- Discussion threads with students and teachers. (moderated, Slashdot style?)

- Contributed examples, again by students and teachers. You could do something like the PHP documentation, where the best contributed examples are prominently displayed at the bottom of the relevant page.

- Interactive tools to illustrate particular concepts.

- Copious linkage to similar resources.

A successful project like this could easily spawn similar projects for the other sciences.

Awesomeness (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948895)

As the leading authority on invisible God-based phenomena, I will be editing that chapter. Disagree with me only if you hate freedom and love terrorists.

Re:Awesomeness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949587)

terrorphilia!

Re:Awesomeness (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950027)

Terrorphilia - One who loves terror to the point that someone will try to have sex with it.

Examples: Lynne Cheney, Bill Clinton

Re:Web 2.0 as a force for good (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949445)

Slashdot style

I'd like to take this one step further and propose that everything you need to know shall be learned from slashdot comments only.

Re:Web 2.0 as a force for good (2, Interesting)

williamhb (758070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949603)

This is a good idea. Base it on a standard description of each concept like an old fashioned text book, but also allow:

- Discussion threads with students and teachers. (moderated, Slashdot style?)

- Contributed examples, again by students and teachers. You could do something like the PHP documentation, where the best contributed examples are prominently displayed at the bottom of the relevant page.

- Interactive tools to illustrate particular concepts.

- Copious linkage to similar resources.

A successful project like this could easily spawn similar projects for the other sciences.

We're trying to do just this sort of thing with the intelligent book [theintelligentbook.com] , but not just with examples but also exercises that actively help you work through them. (The demo at that link should come live next week, though in a pre-alpha state for an early publicity event.)

Essentially, it's me gradually turning my PhD thesis [cam.ac.uk] from a PhD into a publically available tool, and for all subjects, not just maths.

I guess that makes this post a shameless plug, but it is at least for something that is directly on-topic.

Wha? (1, Informative)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948839)

Open source? What could that possibly have to do with a textbook? Is it compiled? Why don't they just say: Virginia Begins Creative-Commons Physics Textbook

Re:Wha? (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949067)

well, it will probably be written in latex. So it will be compiled to pdf.

Moreover, open-source is sort of a buzz word

Re:Wha? (2, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949077)

Open source? What could that possibly have to do with a textbook? Is it compiled?

If it's written in LaTex and you can get the source with the book, then it would be a wholly accurate description.

Re:Wha? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949079)

Maybe it will be available as a compiled HTML file.

Re:Wha? (1)

crumley (12964) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949145)

Hopefully it will be truly open source - LaTeX is a great way to write physics, and TeX is compiled. In this case, it looks like they are planning on a web-based text, so it would be nice to be able to download the source files. Then you could host your own local, possibly altered, copy of the text if you are using it in a class.

Re:Wha? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949673)

Because then the F/OSS guys can't jack themselves into a coma :)

Re:Wha? (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950361)

If I had mod points I'd counteract the idiot who modded you offtopic, so you'll have to settle for an "I agree" comment. Creative Commons license (or Public Domain) is not the same as Open Source. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Source#Proliferation_of_the_term [wikipedia.org] )

Intelligent Falling (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948841)

Due to gravity being "just a theory," the state of Virginia will be requiring the textbooks to include alternative theories as to why objects with mass have gravity -- chief among them, the concept of Intelligent Falling.

Umm, yeah (4, Interesting)

edremy (36408) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949677)

Laugh while you can, but I weep for the future of textbooks. They're approved by committees that know little to nothing about the topic and are happy to grind an axe for their point of view. See Dover v. Kitzmiller for a detailed example- the leading "Intelligent Design" textbook they wanted to use is quite literally an older creationism textbook with a search and replace s/creationism/intelligent design/

Having lived in Lynchburg for a number of years, there are plenty of folks there who would demand removal of all sorts of things such as the true age of the universe if they had any input at all into the process. If instead it was written by experts, they'd be complaining to their representative about the state spending money on teaching atheism.

Re:Intelligent Falling (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949761)

No, the real reason that objects with mass have gravity is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster pushes down on them with his Noodly Appendages. Get it right!

competition is good (1)

bremstrong (523910) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948849)

If this sort of thing catches on, how will the current textbook publishers be able to maintain their $200 per book prices?

Forget textbooks - we need great teachers! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948855)

I wish my kids could be in a class where
they measure the speed of sound with a microphone and oscilloscope. [ted.com]

How do we get more people like this to teach 8th grade (and high school) physics?

Re:Forget textbooks - we need great teachers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949135)

Isn't that Clifford Stoll (of Cuckoo's Egg fame)?

Must have been a great physics class - I wonder if he used a textbook?

Light and Matter (5, Interesting)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948871)

Why reinventing warm water?
Go to Light and Matter [lightandmatter.com] for a high quality book set about physics.
By the way, CK-12,org already has one [ck12.org] .

Re:Light and Matter (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948993)

L&M also has a calculus version available, "Simple Nature" and most (all?) of the books therein have full Latex sources available. I've used parts of the books in physics courses I have taught at the university level, but there is also a lot there good for the HS level.

Re:Light and Matter (4, Informative)

crumley (12964) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949045)

Indeed, there are a lot of similar efforts out there. Hopefully they will use some of the existing sources. Take a at The Assayer [theassayer.org] and other site like Open Textbook [opentextbook.org] to get an idea of some of the great things already being done in this area.

Re:Light and Matter (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949405)

We're forking it - those guys are assholes ;-)

Re:Light and Matter (5, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949643)

Indeed. They should take advantage of the open-source textbooks that already exist... either by simply selecting one for their purposes, or putting together the best pieces from various sources into a coherent textbook that serves their purposes. Here are the open-source textbook (or related information) sites I'm aware of:

Pointers to Textbooks and Content:
http://textbookrevolution.org/ [textbookrevolution.org]
http://www.opentextbook.org/ [opentextbook.org]
http://www.theassayer.org/ [theassayer.org]
http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/ [rit.edu]
http://globaltext.terry.uga.edu/ [uga.edu]
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page [wikibooks.org]
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Books [laptop.org]

Some available lecture notes:
http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html [mit.edu]
http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/theorist.html#languages [phys.uu.nl]
http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/ [rit.edu]

Re:Light and Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949857)

Awesome post, wish I had mod points. ...and an account.

accreditation? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948939)

How will it be accredited? My understanding is that only textbooks that are accredited by some particular organization are allowed to be used in accredited schools, in order to retain their accreditation.

Re:accreditation? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949489)

How is a normal book accredited? What would stop this from being accredited the same way?

Re:accreditation? (2, Interesting)

AJNeufeld (835529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949513)

I fail to see how making something "open source" will prevent it from being accredited. It may cost money, but the FOSS world has raised money before, while having their primary product remain open source.

Re:accreditation? (1)

lbgator (1208974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950139)

Is there such a thing as an accredited high school? (Asking in earnest).

Sounds Interesting (2, Interesting)

ronoholiv (1216262) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948987)

In theory, this is a great idea. Virginia wants to have a core set of physics materials which will stay current, and then allow teachers to choose several "electives" from "contemporary and emerging physics topics" to enhance their curriculum.

The thing to keep in mind is that this is their first step; the "flexbook," in its first form isn't going to replace the printed textbooks. After all, they want version 1 to be released on Feb. 27, 2009.
--
Yeah, I RTFA.

Re:Sounds Interesting (2, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950037)

At least they didn't opt for Feb 29, 2009.

I submit this for inclusion (1)

theverylastperson (1208224) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949087)

It won't be worth anything without the following link. In fact this one link could be the entire Textbook. http://news.slashdot.org/search.pl?query=physics [slashdot.org] Of course this would create an entire generation of sarcastic, dark humored scientists who all know everything leads to 42.

I'm split between Optimism and Pessimism... (2, Interesting)

d474 (695126) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949157)

Sounds great until the "Intelligent Design" movement starts forcing their opinions on "physics" (aka, mind of God) into this book.

The battle has not yet begun...

creators re-introduce planet/population rescue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949175)

the kode is (as always) newclear powered, way user friendly & freely available. it's all about physics as we (do not) understand it.

'The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

greed, fear & ego are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & the notion of prosperity, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080903/ts_nm/environment_arctic_dc;_ylt=A0wNcwhhcb5It3EBoy2s0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

"And the Lawyers rejoiced...... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949197)

.........for they are the Choosing ones."

I wonder how long it is before the DOJ gets in the middle of THIS one(at the behest of textbook giants).

This is great news, as I am headed back to school this semester. Hopefully, innovation and reason are not squished into paste by the big textbook manufacturers in a bid to protect their scamming ways.

And, yes, I hope it is not Wiki format.

woo (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949211)

Considering the religious and cultural makeup of Virginia, I look forward to an accurate physical description of our 6,000 year old universe.

Re:woo (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949887)

Hmm. The governor is Catholic++, so evolution is okay (church believes Genesis is allegorical). Sex Ed, OTOH....

others already exist (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949243)

Hows this different from wikibooks? http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Physics_bookshelf [wikibooks.org] Of course, most of the books are very incomplete. The problem is having many books fragments the audience and writers, requiring a lot of duplicate effort when you could just go to wikipedia, which is a single compilation of knowledge. I think a wikibook will only work if one or a few people write the whole damned thing, as a traditional book. The only point of wiki is then to fix the occasional error. The advantage of the book over wikipedia is a cohesive structure, consistency, and progression of complexity. You'll lose a lot of that by having different people write different chapters.

Re:others already exist (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949967)

The advantage of the book over wikipedia is a cohesive structure, consistency, and progression of complexity. You'll lose a lot of that by having different people write different chapters.

A lot of high-level college textbooks have chapters written by different people. Typically by experts in the subjects covered in those chapters. This is why high-level textbooks are referred to by the names of their editors, not so much the authors.

So, I'm not sure if there is any particular drawback to distributing authorsip for an "open" textbook.

What I do like (other than the creative commons-style licensing) is that it seems there will be much greater oppportunity for community editing. This, if done properly, could result in greater readability and usefulness of the text.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949283)

universities won't like this. ever taken a course where the prof wrote the book used in the course? this would take money right out of their pockets.

please include intelligent falling theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949373)

I want the book to include the theories of intelligent falling, and a sticker on the cover saying that the theory of gravity (both the original and the refinement known as the theory of relativity) are only theories.

uh oh, not Virginia! (2, Funny)

acon1modm (1009947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949377)

And the Lord sayeth on the 2nd day, "Let there be suffient mass for nuclear fusion," and Lo! did the bountiful Earth swoop in from Heaven to orbit the newly formed sun.

Finally (3, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949389)

Ahh, a definitive open source physics textbook so comic book writers can stop having Superman lift a mountain which under the small surface area he can cover, regardless of how strong, would simply crumble around him or the pressure at his hands would be so great the rock would go molten and he would effectively melt through the mountain he was trying to hold up.

Perhaps ships blowing up in space will finally be silent the WAY GOD INTENTED THEM TO BLOW UP!

Perhaps Cyclop's eye beams will finally push him back with equal force that they shoot with and maybe the death star's super cannon will no longer be a laser but some particle stream of sub-atomic explosives that penetrate the planet and rapidly conver the conventional matter it comes in contact with into some exotic and unstable form of matter that goes boom. BIG BADDA BOOM!

Perhaps with a good solid physics text book people will learn to wear their seat belts, realize that driving a motor cycle isn't as safe as driving a car, and learn that the LHC cannot destroy the universe...

This all, of course, is completely dependant that:

A: People are literate (yes there is a difference between knowing how to read and being literate)
B: People writing the book can write
C: People start actually taking physic courses
D: Pay attention in said courses
E: Have a teacher that actually teaches rather then babysit like 99% of teachers in North America (YEAH THAT MEANS YOU TOO CANADA AND MEXICO. GUATEMALA -> PANAMA IS OFF THE HOOK... FOR NOW...)

Re:Finally (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949595)

Ahh, a definitive open source physics textbook so comic book writers can stop having Superman lift a mountain which under the small surface area he can cover, regardless of how strong, would simply crumble around him or the pressure at his hands would be so great the rock would go molten and he would effectively melt through the mountain he was trying to hold up.

Have you been reading The Boys in recent months? It's a terrific series so far. Follows a rather unofficial CIA team whose job it is to keep an eye on superheroes, in particular The Seven, who are a collective Captain Ersatz for the Justice League. There was a flashback sequence to an event about seven years ago, in which The Homelander tried to divert a plane from crashing into a major national landmark by flying straight into its tail, intent on changing its course by sheer super power.

Of course he just blasted straight through the thing, it broke into two parts, and both went down pretty fast, making an awful mess when they hit.

The old Superman movie actually got this right, too. A plane lost an engine and was in deep trouble... until Superman saves the day, by flying into position right where the engine should have been and doing exactly as much work as the engine would have. Superman's understanding of aviation and basic physics clearly far exceed The Homelander's.

It's been done. (5, Informative)

td (46763) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949547)

In the late 1960s, I was taught high-school physics from the PSSC (Physical Science Study Committee) Physics [gsu.edu] textbook. The curriculum and textbook were put together by an NSF-convened panel. All the curriculum materials (textbook, supplementary readings, teacher's guides, experimental equipment) were made freely available. I still have two copies of the textbook produced by different publishers and with different covers but identical inside.

Although it was demonstrably superior to other physics curricula, the PSSC program was ultimately a failure because publishers, who couldn't make much money selling the PSSC textbook due to competition, eventually dropped the book and pushed hard to get their proprietary, therefore more heavily marked-up, textbooks adopted by school boards.

Write a Open Souce Creationist Science Textbook! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24949555)

That would be so damn cool, you could rattle on about Genesis and how the earth is only 6,000 years old etc etc etc....

Maybe add an occasional "fact" in the book that makes the yahoos look even crazier, something like Ezekiel came up with the buoyancy principle, or Jeremiah came up with the first Battery cause god told him to invent it.

Also change the names of certain principles and also say the left and right hand principles are evil because they are satanic hand signs.

A bunch of Pastafarians could have a huge amount of fun writing such a thing.

More eyes is great (1)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950003)

I've always been paranoid about my closed-source textbooks phoning home...

customizable physics textbook (0, Flamebait)

trb (8509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950151)

From TFA:

The CK12 approach can reduce the cost of instructional materials while making them more customizable for each locality and each student

Which raises the question, "Why will a school district need to customize its physics textbook?" Local value of C? Of G? Of pi? Or does the head of the high school physics department just want to chime in with his opinion on the existence of the Higgs boson?

While TFA mentions its reasons, is the point of this exercise really just to give a school district free and malleable source material that they can distort to suit their whim?

hmm, having RTF, er solicitation, (1)

deepgrey (1246108) | more than 6 years ago | (#24950397)

It looks like this is just supplemental material, and not an all-encompassing educational solution. At least that's what this sentence - "Participating educators will create and compile supplemental materials relating to 21st century physics in an open-source format that can be used to strengthen existing physics content." - seems to say.
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