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Thursday
Nov242005

Thanksgiving Day 05

 nov05sr.jpg
Middle Jefferson Lake, LeSueur County, MN, November 23, 2005, 7AM

The Windhover

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
    dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, - the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

    -- Gerard Manley Hopkins

_____________
I'm thankful for the teachers who made me memorize poetry and things like sunrises that bring those poems to mind. 
Wednesday
Nov232005

More "evil" technologies

 
DL.jpg Honey, we're just friends. That's all.
 
A couple of technology-contrarian writings that are intriguing.
The first "The Image Culture" by from The New Atlantis Journal takes a hard and thoughtful look at images in our society and asks what  impact  Photoshop  might have on how reliable we find visual information. (See photo left. And I have no Photoshop skills.)
 
The second  writings come from the blog if:book, a publication of the Center for the Future of the Book, about the possible downsides of the $100 laptop project.
    no laptop left behind, Nov 8, 2005
 
If there is one thing that makes me nervous about getting hooked on blog reading (which I definitely am), it's that I tend to only read those people with whom I feel simpatico - rarely those with whom I disagree or genuinely challenge my core beliefs. For those who get their news primarily through RSS feeds, this tendency to only read those we agree with and about issues which are of personal interest is exacerbated. With a print newspaper, I do read George Will and look at the news which is not pretty. Does this make RSS a potentially "evil" technology.
 
I keep thinking about a statement that Paul Saffo made at the NLB conference last week. The Web is lessening our "common culture." The example he gave is that when he polls audiences, people have either read The Da Vinci Code or the Left Behind series - rarely both. Studies of the buying habits of Amazon customer show that Republicans read only Republican books; Democrats only Democrat books.
 
It's always been  my firm belief that we learn more from our enemies than we do our friends. How can we develop the tendency to read a wider range of opinions in both ourselves and, even more importantly, in our students?
 
Happy Turkey Day!
 
Monday
Nov212005

Bullshit literacy - a rubric

 Technology leader par excellance, Art Wolinsky, has developed a rubric to measure mastery of my tounge-in-cheek skills, Bullshit Literacy  Check it out.

BTW, Harry G. Frankfurt's book, On Bullshit, will be a stocking stuffer around here.

From the original posting of September 7, 2005:

The Bullshit Literate Student will:

1. Show no social conscience or balance when deliberately distorting factoids, data, or expert opinion in presenting a conclusion.
2. Skillfully use any medium and all persuasive techniques in order to convince others. This includes the ability to use technology to doctor images and edit text.
3. Consistently, vociferously, and blindly hold to a single point of view, and know that volume, repetition and rhetoric trump reason. (ie: Stay the course.)
4. Convincingly fake sincerity.
5. Ably disguise personal gain as public good.
6. Take a single incident or news story or incident and follow it to an illogical conclusion. (See employment prediction above.)
7. Claim any idea as original.
8. Deny prior knowledge. (ie: Nobody expected the breach of the levees)
9. Create a website, wiki, blog, or podcast. (beginning level). Find a publisher, broadcaster or corporate sponsor for whom the bottom line is the bottom line. (advanced).
10. Never, never, never show doubt.