Blog

Read what we think about the latest innovations, research, and trends in the publishing industry. Be sure to check out local fun facts, too!

Maps as Art: Collages, Clothing and Culture

By Samantha Perry

A lot of my early memories seem to take place in the car with me sitting in the backseat with my siblings. We always had a stack of maps with us in the car, usually tucked into the pockets behind the seats or on the floor beneath our feet. During family trips, I loved looking through the maps and tracing… Read More

Micro-Literature: Short Tales Going a Long Distance

By Sarah Rush

Have you ever texted or tweeted a story to a friend? If you have, you’re officially an author—you’ve written micro-literature, or micro-lit for short. What exactly is micro-lit? It’s literature designed to be consumed quickly, often thanks to technology. In the mid-2000s, videophones and the first smartphones hit the streets, and people wanted to read and write on their phones.… Read More

Museum Makes Way for Ducklings!

By Marianna Sorensen

Children who’ve grown up in Boston have likely seen the bronze sculptures of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack. The children’s book that inspired the models, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, is fondly remembered by many Bostonians. Honoring the book’s 75th anniversary, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) currently has… Read More

Motion Paintings: New Movie Brings Van Gogh’s Masterpieces to Life

By Tess Renault

A few summers ago, I found myself exploring the streets of Kraków with some classmates. We had just arrived in Poland after a train experience we were eager to forget and had one thing on our minds: pierogi. We eventually stopped at Pierożki u Vincenta, a hole-in-the-wall café near our hotel. The pierogi didn’t disappoint, but the atmosphere is what… Read More

Sci-Fi Skyscrapers: The Architecture Competition Creating New Worlds

By Samantha Perry

Taking inspiration from some of my favorite stories and sci-fi movies, I often drew maps and made up my own worlds when I was a kid. I remember sitting hunched over a large piece of paper drawing a squiggly coastline of my dream island, that may or may not have contained a river of lava somewhere in the middle. If… Read More

Life Finds a Way: Crystal Caves May Contain 50,000-Year-Old Microorganisms

By Sarah Rush

Have you heard of microscopic animals called water bears? When I learned about these little guys a few years ago, my idea of what life is capable of was turned upside down and inside out. Also called tardigrades, water bears can survive extreme temperatures, pressure, radiation and even the vacuum of space! I’m fascinated by extremophiles—microorganisms that can withstand unimaginably… Read More

A New Way of Looking at Neurons

By Marianna Sorensen

Our brains are mysterious. No matter how long we ponder them, many of our questions remain unanswered. And the parts that are better understood by scientists remain hard to comprehend for many. A neuroscientist-turned-designer, however, has found a way to present neuroscience that’s giving us a new way of thinking. Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, discouraged by how little people understood the science… Read More

An Affinity for Infinity: Artist Kusama’s Polka-Dot Masterpieces

By Samantha Perry

When I look up into the sky at night, when the stars are bright and the sky is a deep, dark blue, I wonder what it would feel like to float around in space. Luckily, I might get a chance to experience something pretty close thanks to artist Yayoi Kusama’s traveling exhibition. Kusama, one of Japan’s most successful modern artists,… Read More

A-maize-ing Corn Mazes to Get Lost In

By Sarah Rush

Remember creating scale drawings in school? I do—I once designed an underwater scene, complete with fish and seaweed and bubbles. It was tedious to work the details into the tiny graph paper, but so rewarding to see the final picture! Imagine if that final picture wasn’t just on a page, but in a giant field, and the pencil lines were… Read More

The Giggle Factor: Animals Laugh Too!

By Marianna Sorensen

You know those times when you just can’t stop laughing? You try to keep it down, but you can’t help it and that juice you were drinking comes out your nose? Or you keep laughing so long your abdominal muscles hurt? And what about times when those giggles come from being tickled? Laughter may seem like a trait unique to… Read More

One More Step For Mankind: Breaking the Language Barrier

By Samantha Perry

In our previous blog about language barriers, former intern Nora Chan went into detail about Google’s translation app, which features a voice-to-text translation option. Nora highlighted the app’s contribution to travel with its ability to translate the sound of your mother tongue into a written translation of another language. Although trying to communicate in a foreign country can be part… Read More

Starshot’s Guide to the Galaxy

By Sarah Rush

Remember those glow-in-the-dark stars, moons and planets you could stick onto your bedroom ceiling? I do—I used to fall asleep below them, dreaming of outer space and galaxies filled with strange planets and even stranger life-forms. I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy, and movies like The Fifth Element and the Star Wars series left me thirsting to see deep space… Read More

From Bag to Box: The Launching of Lunch Boxes

By Marianna Sorensen

When I was in elementary school, my plastic, insulated lunch box was absolutely necessary. If I wanted my yogurt kept fresh, what would I do if it weren’t insulated? What would keep my crackers from being crushed? Lunch boxes are fancy nowadays, though they weren’t always. Over time, the lunch box has evolved as different versions went in and out… Read More

Dinos Soar Back to Life: Exhibits that Go Beyond Fossils

By Samantha Perry

The first time I watched Jurassic Park, there was no question in my mind that the dinosaurs were real and that one of the actresses had truly been covered in snot by a sick brontosaurus on set. I was only about five or six at the time, sitting beside my dad on the couch with wide eyes and a strange… Read More

Optical Inclusion: Warhol Museum Gives More Than Visuals

By Sarah Rush

Imagine if every time you visited a museum, it was difficult or impossible to see the artwork in all its splendor. Imagine what it’s like for those who are blind or visually impaired. How can they have the opportunity to experience art? The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is giving all visitors a chance to experience art in an innovative… Read More

Tales of Talent: The Secret Skills of the PSG Staff

By Marianna Sorensen

Among the staff at PSG there are all sorts of talents. There is, of course, great skill in our many publishing services, but everyone’s skills here go beyond those. We have everyone from athletes to musicians and performers. I’m proud of my gymnastics history. I competed on the uneven bars and I loved those dismounts off the bar even if… Read More

A Redwood Grows in Brooklyn

By Samantha Perry

Across from the library in the playground where I once played is the first tree I ever successfully climbed. The bark at the base of the tree is stripped and smooth from countless amounts of children who have attempted to clamber up into the branches. I was only able to make it up a few branches, but I still felt… Read More

PSG Reads: What We’re Reading Now

By Sarah Rush

As a child, I was the classic bookworm—there was rarely a time when I was seen without a novel held lovingly in my arms. I fit in well at PSG it seems: My coworkers are proud to call themselves bookworms, too. Let’s peek into the bookshelves of the PSG staff and see what everybody is reading! Historical fiction is trendy… Read More

Ants and Agriculture: Did the First Farmers Have Feelers?

By Marianna Sorensen

When I see ants running around my yard, I’m usually not impressed. Those little guys seem so vulnerable and can get trampled on so easily. Then again, that was before I knew that several ant species began farming long before humans ever did. Small, black ants, called Philidris nagasau have their own form of farming and have been doing it… Read More

Our First Jobs: Movies, Snacks and Get-Well-Soon Cards

By Samantha Perry

During the interview for my first job at a coffee shop, I was asked what my greatest achievement was. Being only 15 at the time, I was hard-pressed for an answer and honestly can’t even remember what I sputtered out. Luckily, my response was good enough and I was hired, spending the next several months learning different coffee combinations and… Read More

World’s Smallest Penguin Wins Big

By Sarah Rush

You’re driving to work in the morning, hustling to arrive on time, and suddenly the car in front of you slams the breaks. Annoyed, you poke your head out of the window to see what the problem is and—to your surprise—you spot the tiny, paddling feet of a mother duck and her chicks waddling across the road in a tight… Read More

Portraits Come Alive: A New Portrayal of the Past

By Marianna Sorensen

In the eighth grade, I researched Sam Houston for one of my classes. As a final part of the project, we spent a class period acting out the person we researched. I had never considered anyone I studied that deeply until I was assigned that project.  The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has a program it has run for the past… Read More

Literary Firsts: The Joys of Reading to My Children

By Annette Cinelli Trossello

One of the most exciting things about being a parent is witnessing your child’s firsts. There are the funny firsts (his disgusted face with that first taste of oatmeal), the exciting firsts (watching him take those first wobbly steps) and the momentous firsts that make you well up with tears of joy (when he first sleeps through the night). But… Read More

Ancient Cambodian City Revealed by Lasers

By Sarah Rush

As a child, my favorite activity at the beach was digging through the sand for lost objects. Old coins, keys, painted shells and tarnished rings lined the pockets of my beach shorts after a day by the sea. But what if there were an easier way to look at buried treasure, a way without having to get my palms dirty… Read More

Turning Over a New Page: How Barbershops Are Helping Kids Read

By Marianna Sorensen

We’ve all been bored when we were little as we sat in that chair getting our hair cut. All we could do was worry about what we might look like when it was done. Barbers across the country have found a way to resolve this boredom and also have a positive effect on literacy—having children read aloud while getting their… Read More

Frog Legs and Fish-Filled Footwear: Salvador Dalí’s Cookbook

By Samantha Perry

Picture a perfect dinner party. All the best guests have been invited. The table is set, equipped with elaborate silverware, thick crystal tumblers and plates topped with napkins folded into elegant shapes. Guests recline in velvet chairs as they admire the spread. A platter of red crayfish sits in the center, arranged in a dome and sprinkled with dill, and… Read More

STEM in the Sky

By Eileen Neary

When I was a kid, I went to this awesome weeklong science camp. We looked through kiddie telescopes, made weird substances out of flour and baking soda, and practiced our STEM skills before the acronym “STEM” was even coined. So when I heard about NASA’s STEM in the Sky Astronomy Series where kids can look through telescopes and see outer… Read More

Blindsight and the Power of the Unconscious

By Sarah Dolan

A patient left blind by two strokes—referred to in studies as “TN”—stands at the end of a hallway. Littered before him are a series of obstacles: a trash can, a paper shredder, a tripod and more. Without using a cane, he walks down the hallway, moving to avoid all the obstacles on his first attempt. When told that he succeeded,… Read More

BEAM Me Up, NASA

By Amanda Gutierrez

In the 2015 movie The Martian, NASA astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars and must spend months living in “the Hab,” which is essentially a large temperature- and atmosphere-controlled bubble made from a specialized canvas-like material. While this is—quite literally—something straight out of a sci-fi novel (Andy Weir’s eponymous 2011 novel), scientists at NASA have partnered up with Bigelow… Read More

All Pride, No Prejudice at the Jane Austen Convention

By Abbrianna MacGregor

Literary aficionados know the deal. You may tear your eyes away from the page, but you never fully exit a beloved fictional universe’s comforting grip. Caught up in a yearning to live an alternate reality, you wish you had a confidant to talk giddily with about this pressing matter. Well, the opportunity to indulge one’s devotion with those equally passionate… Read More

Studies See Smells by the Science Shore

By Sarah Dolan

Cookies in the oven, freshly cut grass, the ocean breeze. What’s your favorite scent? Personally, I’m a huge fan of those in candle form. My top three at the moment have to be sandalwood, verbena and lemongrass, and lavender. With candles, larger ones emit stronger scents that can fill a room in minutes. But how does the scent move in… Read More

Google It: App Makes Art Accessible

By Amanda Gutierrez

In high school, my class took a field trip to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The opportunity let me experience the amazing collection of art nestled in southern California. Not everyone can get to the Getty—or to other museums throughout the world—but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the chance to see the amazing collections that are out there.… Read More

Literary Genius: A Brief History of the Nobel Prize

By Abbrianna MacGregor

I have always been labeled a bookworm. I found a home in literary realms, and poured everything I had into trying to emulate the magic I experienced into my own writing. I vividly remember the surge of pride I felt in high school when I won an award for my dedication and performance in all things English related. It’s easy… Read More

StoneCycling: Sustainable Building, Brick by Brick

By Sarah Dolan

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The “Three Rs” remind us of the ever-increasing importance of sustainability. From little things like throwing a plastic bottle in the recycling bin rather than the trash can to larger lifestyle changes, environmental responsibility is something on many people’s minds. A company based in the Netherlands is working to build on (or, in their case, build with)… Read More

It’s a Sine! Scientists See Math on the Mind

By Amanda Gutierrez

As a student majoring in Writing, Literature & Publishing, it may come as a surprise that I loved math during high school. On par with my love of mathematics, was my love of science. Math and science are like two peas in a pod. But what’s the science behind math? Scientists have recently been conducting studies that examine the correlation… Read More

Make Way for Hedgehogs!

By Sarah Dolan

Growing up I would sometimes pass afternoons in search of critters in my backyard. I would find all sorts of creatures indigenous to the Northeast. Garter snakes, worms and tiny red newts were all exciting finds. Had I grown up in Great Britain, it would have been very likely that I discovered a different animal, one very popular in British… Read More

The Crisper the Crunch, the Better the Taste

By Abbrianna MacGregor

As a self-proclaimed impulse buyer, I am all too familiar with the trials, tribulations and joys attached to being a consumer. Many of us develop brand preferences and remain loyal to said brands for years. When you’re subconsciously reaching for that specific cereal on a routine grocery trip, do you ever stop to ask yourself what exactly it is about… Read More

The Fashion of the Force: “Star Wars” Costumes on Display

By Sarah Dolan

It’s impossible to write about the costumes of the Star Wars series without a rambling opening paragraph about Padmé (a.k.a Queen/Senator Amidala). The oft-debated prequels, are—in my opinion, at least—salvageable by one thing: Padmé. Besides the fact that she’s a peacekeeping galactic senator and very handy in battle, she rules the fashion world in literally every scene (like this one… Read More

Can Art Withstand the Test of Time?

By Amanda Gutierrez

This past summer, I spent a week cleaning my bedroom in preparation for graduation (and therefore, moving out), and I was dismayed to find that many of my old graphite sketches had faded and smudged over the years. In retrospect, I should have used a fixative spray or stored them in a safer place. Luckily, there are art conservationists dedicated… Read More

Lessons and Toddlers and Forests . . . Oh My!

By Abbrianna MacGregor

When I reflect on my preschool and kindergarten days, nature and exploration don’t come to mind. In fact, the mental image provoked is quite the opposite. Most of my formative days were spent inside a small classroom, only venturing outside for recess during the times of the year when the weather permitted such adventures. Even then, we could only enjoy… Read More

Space is Alive with the Sounds of Satellites

By Eileen Neary

I grew up dreaming about stars and spacesuits. One of my favorite astronomical memories (yes, I have several) is of my mother awakening me in the middle of the night so I could see the comet Hale–Bopp streak across the sky at its peak. Given that this extraterrestrial extracurricular activity was one of many, it probably comes as no surprise… Read More

The Phantom World of Ghostwriters

By Eileen Neary

Legions of nameless writers, churning out manuscripts behind closed doors. Books in bookstores emblazoned in bold letters with the names of literary goliaths receiving credit for works they did not pen. It sounds like a conspiracy theory. But it’s not. Ghostwriters were once invisible forces in the publishing world, but in recent years, the practice of ghostwriting is more forthright… Read More

Rock-Paper-Scissors Goes Pro

By Amanda Gutierrez

One of my best friends and I are constantly taking part in the time-honored tradition of using rock-paper-scissors to make decisions. All either of us needs to do is hold up a fist—the universal sign to engage in a game of rock-paper-scissors. Even in the professional world the game is sometimes used to make decisions: In 2005 Sotheby’s and Christie’s… Read More

Walking on Water: The Power of Art

By Abbrianna MacGregor

If you’ve visited an art museum, you are probably familiar with the feeling of silent awe and inspiration provoked by pieces that move you. If such remarkable emotions are elicited by viewing something, imagine the sensations attached to an interactive art installation that immerses you in its full experience. And imagine if this interactive work of art was placed in… Read More

Wait till THIS Year!

By Ken Scherpelz

I realize this is the time of year when those of us in winter weather areas should be preparing for snow by pulling out the shovels from the far corners of the garages we never got to cleaning out this past year—although we promised we would. I have to admit, while most are caught up in preparing for winter’s weather… Read More

Newborn Knowledge: Is Language Innate?

By Abbrianna MacGregor

How did you learn how to speak your first language? Don’t remember? Don’t worry…you shouldn’t! Theories and research about human language acquisition have been abounding for decades—from B. F. Skinner’s idea that we learn language from operant conditioning to Noam Chomsky’s opposition that language is innate. Now, recent studies suggest that humans are actually born with biases in language structure.… Read More

Listen to the Lullaby of London

By Amanda Gutierrez

The next time you sit down to watch a movie, close your eyes and listen. Under all the dialogue and music there’s something else—ambient noise. It could be the sounds of distant traffic for a scene set in a penthouse apartment in downtown Manhattan. Or it could be the light chirping of crickets surrounding characters camping in the woods. Now… Read More

New Art Installation is the Bee’s Knees

By Amanda Gutierrez

Imagine standing in a meadow. Grass shoots up from the ground around you, tickling your ankles. In every direction, flowers of brilliant reds, purples, blues, yellows and whites are sprinkled over a blanket of green. The flowers bow with grace as a light breeze passes you. You hear chirping birds, rustling leaves and a low buzz. This buzz is the… Read More

Manhattan Exhibit Turns Concrete into Green Space

By Abbrianna MacGregor

Growing up in a quiet suburban town in Connecticut, transitioning to a college located in the heart of Boston proved to be an abrupt culture shock. Accustomed to secluded trails and vivid autumns, I found myself yearning for wide open spaces. I aimlessly wandered the bustling Boston streets, hoping to find peace of mind somewhere in the midst of all… Read More

Medieval Manuscripts Illuminate Boston

By Sarah Dolan

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is always quiet. Even mid-afternoon on a Saturday the crowd was hushed. I stood and looked through the glass at a six-hundred-year-old book. Lines and lines of meticulously hand-painted text covered the pages. I was struck by the sheer amount of work that went into what was before me—and I was only looking at one… Read More

One Hot, STEMing Cup of Coffee

By Eileen Neary

It’s an alarming pattern—large percentages of engineering students either drop out or switch to another major. Studies suggest a variety of reasons why this behavior has emerged, including the difficulty of the coursework, feeling isolated by peers who are pursuing non-STEM degrees, a lack of mentors or role models and inadequate preparation in high school. To combat the number of… Read More

PSG Bookshelf: Staff’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy Favorites

By Sarah Dolan

Some of my fondest high school memories involve Lord of the Rings marathons with my Dungeons & Dragons group, so I guess one could say I’m a fantasy fan. Growing up, I frequently read L. Frank Baum’s Oz books (after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there are several more in the original series, as well as subsequent titles) and Tony… Read More

Around the World in 21 Sites: UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites

By Amanda Gutierrez

The first time I visited one of California’s beautiful redwood parks, I was awed by the massive trees that lined the soft dirt paths of the forest. They towered over me, reaching hundreds of feet into the air, and filled the air with their sweet, woody scent. Of all the places I’ve been to, the California Redwood National and State… Read More

Boston Breathes New Life Into Its Public Library

By Alyssa Guarino

For Bostonians, the grand, gray structure of the Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Branch is an easily recognizable beacon of history and knowledge. In college, I found myself returning often not just to study and riffle through its impressive collection, but also to wander around and wonder at the majesty of the monolithic structure. However, the Central Branch’s Johnson building… Read More

Aiming for Mobile Accessibility

By Abbrianna MacGregor

New technologies are continuously being developed and brought to market. All the better for the public, right? It depends. For leading mobile phone manufacturers, it is crucial to keep all demographics in mind—particularly those with disabilities. Nearly one in five of the world’s population lives with some kind of recognized disability. My grandma, who suffered from Parkinson’’s disease, could never… Read More

More than They’re Quacked Up to Be: Ducklings and Abstract Thought

By Sarah Dolan

Over the summer, I spent most of my afternoon breaks with my friends by a lake in rural New Hampshire. Our spot, one that was popular with picnickers, was also frequented by a family of ducks. One of my friends would often toss them a handful of salt and vinegar chips, which were a flavor the ducks didn’t seem to… Read More

Fond of Fonts: PSG Favorites

By Amanda Gutierrez

Serif, sans, bold, light, italic, black or condensed? With so many fonts out there, how can you choose what to use? Well, personally, I nearly always go for a serif with a bit of class, like Book Antiqua. And sometimes, when I’m feeling a bit more adventurous, I’ll go for something with more attitude, like Mistral. And at the PSG… Read More

The Doctor is in . . . Your Book

By Abbrianna MacGregor

For me, reading has always doubled as Zen. Whenever I’m experiencing negative emotions, I find solace in curling up with a good book. Fictional realms help me temporarily escape reality, and compelling characters remind me that others’ lives are eerily similar to my own. I recently read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and found myself highly identifying with the… Read More

Affected by Altitude: Linguists Locate Language Link

By Sarah Dolan

How language evolved is a question that has puzzled scientists and sociologists for decades. It is generally accepted that groups of ancient people who shared a language and culture would split up into smaller tribes in search of fresh land. Over time these smaller tribes would change, with outside influences causing them to develop different languages. However, a new study… Read More

Deep-Space Pizza: Astronauts Print Provisions

By Amanda Gutierrez

Astronauts rejoice: Freeze-dried spaghetti may soon be a thing of the past! Popular spacecraft fare currently consists mainly of rehydrated meals. While this works just fine for a quick jaunt to the moon, it isn’t particularly well suited for longer trips through deep space…say to our friendly red neighbor, Mars. In early 2013, NASA awarded Systems and Materials Research Corporation… Read More

Star Struck: PSG Brushes with Fame

By Abbrianna MacGregor

Flashing lights, portraits in magazine spreads, endorsement deals, paparazzi . . . sound like your lifestyle? I didn’t think so. The elusive nature of Hollywood habitués renders their way of life all the more intriguing. For many of us less glamorous folk, this fascination with fame causes us to break into a cold sweat and lose our ability to speak when we find… Read More

World’s Oldest Library Will Open to the Public

By Sarah Dolan

During my freshman year at Emerson College, my writing professor took our class to the Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Library in Copley Square. I remember browsing the fiction section, ogling at the texts in the rare books collection and trying to get the perfect shot of the beautiful courtyard. After less than half an hour, I knew I wanted… Read More

A Passion for Proper Punctuation

By Annette Cinelli Trossello

Here at Publishing Solutions Group, we are passionate about punctuation. We take joy in seeing em dashes used properly in subway signs and cringe when holiday cards incorrectly include our beloved serial comma before an ampersand. So it should be no surprise that a New Yorker article about the roots of popular punctuation marks as well as more archaic ones… Read More

Can We Hack the Future?

By Shannon Pender

Imagine this: You and a team of peers need to create a working app that will rival the most popular ones on the market. The challenge? You only have 48 hours. Welcome to a hackathon. It may sound crazy, but hackathons—short bursts of creative problem-solving where great minds come together to create new tech—are all the rage. How does it… Read More

Oh, the Books that You’ll Read! Phoenix’s Newest Literacy Program

By Christian Gibbons

During my freshman year of college, I became involved with an AmeriCorps program called Jumpstart. In Jumpstart, I teamed with other college students twice a week to go to a preschool in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where we engaged children in fun, educational activities. All of the songs, puzzles, art and games we brought to the classroom may have seemed only that,… Read More

Birds of a Feather are Flocking at Harvard

By Shannon Pender

When my parents were first dating, they spent a lot of time going on bird-watching dates. They would trek through the woods on hikes armed with a copy of a National Audubon Society’s field guide, trying to name the birds they saw. Today, that same book rests in one of our kitchen drawers, right by the window that looks out… Read More

Brain Chip Implants Open New Possibilities

By Moeko Noda

Our brains govern our every muscle movement, from reaching out for a cup of coffee to competing in the Olympics. But when something goes wrong with the way the brain transmits messages to our muscles—most often, this is due to a stroke or an injury to the spinal cord—we lose muscle function, a condition called paralysis. Back in 2004, a… Read More

The Rare Manuscript that Saved a Museum

By Shannon Pender

I love collecting old books. My favorite piece of this collection by far is a grammar book from the 1800s. It’s nearly falling apart and held together by unraveling twine. On the inside, you’ll find doodles from its original owner, Agnes. She wrote her name in large, antique cursive and even played tic-tac-toe in the margins. When I flip through… Read More

The Periodic Table Has Turned: Four New Elements

By Christian Gibbons

In high school, I took two different chemistry classes. Although I found the subject interesting, and looked forward to every lab, the most advanced thing I ever did with chemicals was conduct experiments with hydrochloric acid. As one might expect, professional chemists attempt and accomplish a lot more than that. As a matter of fact, chemists around the world haven’t… Read More

Bookshare: An Accessible Reading Experience

By Moeko Noda

Reading can be a challenging task for people with print disabilities, but an online library is trying to change the situation. With over 450,000 titles, Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library. For people who have difficulty with traditional print materials due to any visual impairments, physical disabilities or learning disabilities, the library provides various functions that make reading… Read More

A Playground for Mathematics: The MoMath Museum

By Shannon Pender

I’ll admit it: I’m no math lover. It never made much sense to me. I couldn’t wrap my head around the numbers and shapes in a textbook. I know I’m not alone in this, and there are plenty of people in the classroom who still ask the math-skeptic’s mantra: When will we use this in the real world? One museum… Read More

Gold Rush Shipwrecks in the Golden City

By Christian Gibbons

One of the more exciting prospects about moving to Boston was the chance to live in a seaside city. Boston has been a port city since the colonial period, when it was a hub of shipyards and bustling maritime trade. Although Boston has an extensive seaside past, San Francisco has perhaps an even greater presence of marine history. As a… Read More

An Old Toy Enters Virtual Reality: View-Master

By Moeko Noda

An old toy has made a major comeback—in virtual reality. Last year, the toy manufacturer Mattel teamed up with Google Cardboard, Discovery, National Geographic, Vuforia and Littlestar to bring View-Master, a 1939 stereoscope toy that shows 3D images from slide reels, right into the twenty-first century. The makeover expanded what the original version made possible, which was to peer into… Read More

Scholly: The App That Helps Students Find Scholarships

By Shannon Pender

When I was applying to colleges, I remember looking through lists of scholarships, and eventually deciding that most just weren’t a great fit for me. It was simpler to take out loans than to spend so much time searching for the scholarships that were right for me.  This isn’t a unique problem. Scholarships that are a good fit are often… Read More

Laugh Track(ers): The Science of Laughter

By Christian Gibbons

The hardest I ever remember laughing happened pretty recently. A friend of mine and I were walking down Boylston Street this past spring, observing people on Segways and seguing into a discussion about the strangeness of spelling and pronunciation in the English language. Somehow, the word bologna ended up being pronounced “buh-LAWG-nuh” with a bizarre pseudo-accent. I’m not sure why… Read More

Inventions and Innovations: The Object Project

By Moeko Noda

This morning, I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock and went to the kitchen, where I pulled out milk from the fridge and used the toaster to make a nice breakfast. Then I changed into a blouse and skirt, which I bought at a fast fashion retailer, and came to the office. You might be wondering why… Read More

PSG’s Preferred Poets

By Christian Gibbons

Even though I am a Writing, Literature & Publishing major at Emerson College, there’ve been many hours that I’ve spent poring fruitlessly over a poetic text that I feel I just don’t quite get. But for every poem I wring my hands over in anguish, there’s one that stands out to me as a reward to read. In recent months,… Read More

Hands Speak Louder than Words: Gloves Translating Sign Language

By Moeko Noda

On a hot summer day last year, I was stuck in the middle of a party supplies shop in Barcelona. I had exchanged smiles with a small girl in the shop, and now she wanted to become friends. I wanted to, too. The problem was that I couldn’t speak her language, and she couldn’t speak mine. After a long, awkward… Read More

You Don’t Say? Computers, Science, and Sarcasm

By Christian Gibbons

Like many other people, I have experienced times when a sarcastic comment has flown right over my head. The thing about these moments, though, is that when you don’t pick up on sarcasm, you tend to miss a lot. Who knew? A big reason why it’s so important to be able to recognize sarcasm is because of how common it… Read More

Lake Turkana: A Cradle of Human Life

By Shannon Pender

If you’re like me, you dug in your backyard as a kid, hoping to find fossils and make some sort of groundbreaking discovery. Unless you were really lucky though, you probably didn’t find much more than rocks. If you lived in northern Kenya, your search could turn out differently—it’s home to Lake Turkana, where fossils have remained for millions of… Read More

High Stakes and High-Flying

By Christian Gibbons

When I was a child, going to the circus was a family pastime. Although my family and I never watched it as much as an NFL game, we definitely got something out of it that we never got out of watching my dad’s favorite sport. There was something about going to the so-called “greatest show on Earth”—with its menagerie of… Read More

A Book Lover’s Dream? A Library as a Universe

By Moeko Noda

It’s truly a bibliophile’s nightmare that no matter how hard we try, we can never finish reading all the books that exist. The joy of walking into a bookstore or a library comes with a hint of despair, an understanding that most of these books will forever be waiting for you to open its covers. On the other hand, the… Read More

PSG Has Dinner with History

By Shannon Pender

If you could have dinner with one person from history, who would you choose? For me, that person is Ray Bradbury—famed science fiction author of several short stories and novels, including Fahrenheit 451. I love all his works and credit him for inspiring my own writing. In high school, while writing a paper on Bradbury, I decided to write him… Read More

2016 Newbery Medal Winner: “Last Stop on Market Street”

By Moeko Noda

If you read books as a child, you’re sure to have come across a Newbery Medal winner at least a few times. If you write children’s books, it’s likely that you at some point dreamt of winning the Newbery. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association (ALA) to the most distinguished American children’s book published during… Read More

Sustainability and Art Merge in Philadelphia Residency Program

By Christian Gibbons

Where I come from in Millbrook, Alabama, people don’t recycle. The nearest recycling center is a 30-minute drive down the highway to Montgomery. But in Tacony, Philadelphia, the opposite is happening—recycling is being taken to an entirely new level. There, artists are showing what happens when trash is treasured at a recycling center called Revolution Recovery, one of the few… Read More

Aid, Don’t Grade: New Apps That Focus on Improving Writing

By Christian Gibbons

As writing is the trade with which I intend to make my (secondary) living, there’s a significant level of pressure on me to be the best writer I can be. This is also true of my being a student in college. Gone are the days of high school when building to a final essay assignment could take as long as… Read More

A Pocket Library: Why 1400s Venice Was the Silicon Valley of Publishing

By Shannon Pender

It’s a hot, summer day and you’ve hit the beach. On your way to the water, how many people do you see enjoying the sun with a book or e-reader in their lap? It’s a common sight—I know I never go to the beach without at least one book in my bag—but reading on the beach would be impossible without… Read More

To Infinity and Beyond: 3D Printing and Toys

By Shannon Pender

Technology has come a long way in the past few decades—especially when it comes to 3D printers. They’re most typically used to print 3D organs or machine parts, but the technology is expanding into other sectors and becoming more common in engineering and even art. Now, 3D printing has reached a new frontier: your living room. Once 3D printing became… Read More

Education Beyond the Classroom: School Gardens

By Moeko Noda

This summer, I am growing a vegetable garden for the first time in my life. The family that I am housesitting for is leaving behind a mini garden of tomatoes, cabbages, cucumbers and more under my charge. Not only do I water them daily, but a week ago I also got to participate in planting them. As I got down… Read More

William Shakespeare: Rockstar of the Renaissance

By Shannon Pender

Like many high school students, I had to memorize Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy from Hamlet in my English class. Unlike most high school students, though, I loved the challenge. Shakespeare’s work has always had a special place in my heart, and I was plenty familiar with hearing and performing his work: I’d performed as Helena in… Read More

PSG Goes Local: Staff’s Favorite Museums

By Moeko Noda

Coming from Tokyo and setting foot in Boston for the second time in my life this summer, I’m as far as you can get from a local of the Boston area. That is why, when asking members of the PSG staff about their favorite museums, I was excited to be introduced to a wealth of local museums. Regardless of where… Read More

Innovation at the 2016 White House Science Fair

By Christian Gibbons

In my youth, my proficiency and interest in science was stymied by my indecision regarding a career. When asked the famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I almost never had an answer. Those who knew me believed that, one day, I would be involved in something either scientific or artistic. But it wasn’t until… Read More

Attention Robot Aficionados: National Robotics Week

By Moeko Noda

R2-D2 from the Star Wars series is one of the most beloved droids out there. Cute, loyal and resourceful, this little droid saves the day many times in the legendary epic. His successor, the spherical-shaped BB-8, also captured the heart of audiences when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters in 2015. Just like R2-D2, BB-8 is a great friend… Read More

When Languages Vanish: Keeping Culture Alive

By Shannon Pender

Rather than take French or Spanish, I took Latin for four years in high school. I loved it, but people would always ask me why I was learning a “dead” language. You’re never going to speak Latin, they would tell me. Why learn it? I could always name plenty of reasons. The English language relies on Latin words and conventions… Read More

The Technology of the Future Understands How You’re Feeling

By Arige Shrouf

While shopping for a computer, I fell in love with a laptop that had facial recognition software. Naturally that laptop went home with me, and the face recognition, which works with the built-in camera, was one of the first things I set up. Instead of asking me for a password or passcode when I turned it on, my laptop would… Read More

Outside the Office: PSG’s Own Musicians

By Kate Domenichella

PSG boasts a surprising number of musicians in the office. Almost every staff member has had experience playing music at some point, and the staff’s talents range from beginner’s experience in elementary school with a recorder to playing the clarinet in a high school competition in Hawaii. Currently, Ken sings with his church choir, but in the past, he sang… Read More

Apps Making Language Barriers a Thing of the Past

By Nora Chan

Traveling can be stressful, especially if you visit a place in which the native language does not match your own. But now you can use your phone to translate what you are saying or seeing in real time. In January 2015, Google released a new feature of the Google Translate app, which allows users of iOS and Android devices to… Read More

Cleary’s Beloved Klickitat Street Goes Green

By Ken Scherpelz

Beverly Cleary, the treasured creator of Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Runaway Ralph (one my son’s favorites), recently celebrated her 100th birthday, to the delight of her fans. When asked about this accomplishment, the author and former school librarian humbly remarked, “I didn’t do it on purpose.” Any fan of Cleary’s classic children’s literature will recall Klickitat Street,… Read More

Bridging the Gap Between Deaf and Hearing Individuals

By Tess Renault

When I was in college, one of my most memorable courses was Intro to Deaf Studies. Early on in the semester we had to attend an event called “Deaf, Deaf, World,” in which hearing students like myself would be paired with deaf individuals. Within these pairings, we had to carry out what would seem like simple role-playing scenarios: ordering takeout,… Read More

PSG’s Food For Thought: See What’s Cooking at Home

By Arige Shrouf

I can lose track of time experimenting in the kitchen and changing up old recipes. Since some of my favorite dishes involve hours of prep time, I don’t get to make them as often as I would like. I enjoy cooking almost as much as I love eating, a result of growing up with home cooked meals on the table… Read More

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Fun Fact

The shortest war on record was fought between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.

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