Extra Credit: The professor who brings dinosaurs to life

Your weekend reading list

Kristin Tyndall's reads

How big data helped a counseling hotline save resources and connect patients with therapy faster. After logging more than 7 million anonymous text message exchanges, Crisis Text Line had accumulated a vast pool of data about how counselors and teens use the service. Through partnerships with DataKind and Pivotal, Crisis Text Line learned to identify super-users after only five texts—rather than 20—and reduced counselor time devoted to super-users by about 75%.

In celebration of Canada Day, CBC News rounds up stories from Canadian studies scholars worldwide about international perspectives on Canada. Several interviewees praised the country for its multiculturalism and welcome its more active participation on the world stage. One English professor describes the "sobering" moment when she realized that, for many of her students, she was the national representative of her country.

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Emily Hatton's reads

Before man came dinosaurs and before motion capture came visual effects. In a Q&A with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Drexel University Professor John Berton discusses his work running visual effects for "Jurassic Park" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," both of which have recently released sequels. Throughout his career, Berton also worked on "The Mummy," "Charlotte's Web," and the 1997 "Star Wars" rerelease. His job boils down to one mission, he says, "making a movie that you can never see in reality."

How do fireworks really work? It's all "chemistry in action," according to John Conkling, a Washington College professor and author of "Chemistry of Pyrotechnics." The size, type of explosion, height, and heat of each firecracker depends on the specific chemical reactions that happen inside it.

Two Iranian students accused of spying are appealing the decision to expel them from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The duo had been at the school for eight months when they were kicked out based on evidence gathered by the secret police, who say the students were gathering information about weapons technology. The case could have major implications for foreign students. A verdict is expected July 15.

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Dan Diamond's read

A colorblind Constitution: What Abigail Fisher's affirmative action case is really about. With the Supreme Court agreeing to re-hear a case that challenges the use of race in college admissions, I'd encourage you to read this 2013 ProPublica primer on the issues at play—and whether the specific student's case is being accurately reported by the media.

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