If universities were democracies, then students would always have their way, since they are invariably the largest constituent group in any institution. Undoubtedly, grades would be abolished, classes would be optional, and the curriculum would be a matter of student choice.
“New psychological research out of the University of Buffalo demonstrates how, “When we read, we psychologically become part of the community described in the narrative—be they wizards or vampires. That mechanism satisfies the deeply human, evolutionarily crucial, need for belonging.” Experiments conducted by the research team indicated that after reading books like Harry Potter and Twilight, subjects felt themselves to be more closely associated with the community of characters in the books. “Belonging” to these communities, although they are make-believe, gave subjects feelings of satisfaction associated with having real human relationships.”—
Very cool, though I do doubt the level of immersion they mention works for everyone. But then, it could just be in my subconscious.
“3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.”—
Our civilization prides itself of its technological achievements. We are proud to achieve more with less thought, effort, and technique. We are so proud of our machines that only few people realize that other civilizations had invented them way before our civilization had even formed. Here the thing: The old Greeks for instance already had steam engines. However, they were not used for practical purposes.
Why didn’t they build railways, cars, and rockets? They didn’t dare. Using automats for pragmatic tasks seemed just too much, over the top, inhuman. What held them back? Being as smart and inventive as they were, they definitely could have come up with a concept as obvious as wheels on rails. It was not the lack of steel or the missing pistons but the fear of hubris that prevented them to use the steam engine for more practical tasks. It was the fear of hubris.
A stirring call for wisdom in design and a consideration on the role of technology in modern society. All sparked by the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Finally saw Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s documentary on the 2008 global financial crisis. So good, but so angering. Clearly political, but, in a strong sense, utterly bi-partisan: both Republican and Democratic administrations have been equally in thrall to the Wall Street investment banks over the last 30 years.
In addition to serving as an excellent explanation of a complex story, photographically the movie is quite beautiful. Really well-done. Available to rent on iTunes.
Well, this might be enough for me to forcibly separate from facebook crossposting. But I’m not sure yet. I don’t spend enough time on facebook for things to bug me, nevertheless, my info is still being kept and sold off to others.
Your data is what’s being sold here. That’s why facebook is free.
It has been a good two-century sprint, says Neil Armstrong, who in 1969 covered almost 240,000 miles in less than four days to plant the first human footprint on the Moon. Through the 18th century, he noted in an email exchange, humans could travel by foot or horse at approximately six miles per hour. “In the 19th, with trains, they reached 60 mph. In the 20th, with jet aircraft, we could travel at 600 mph. Can we expect 6,000 mph in the 21st?” he wondered.
"It does not seem likely," Mr. Armstrong continued, although he holds out some hope.
At the BookExpo America in New York in May, he and Robert Barrett, an information technology executive, plan to debut Autography. Here’s how an Autography eBook “signing” will work: a reader poses with the author for a photograph, which can be taken with an iPad camera or an external camera. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad (if it’s shot with an external camera, it’s sent to the iPad via Bluetooth). Then the author uses a stylus to scrawl a digital message below the photo. When finished, the author taps a button on the iPad that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can then be downloaded into the eBook.
Wait time? About two and a half minutes. Bragging potential? Endless: Readers can post the personalized photo to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
I actually think that we’ll see more people saying that their tablet is their main computer in a year. I also hope that by then, the pollsters would include content creation in a survey about a computer.
I don’t see the trend of reduced TV time halting, which lends credence to Time Warner and Comcast’s idea that a tablet is just another TV in a house.
This sounds odd and maybe cool. I would have to see a game in person (maybe online) before agreeing to play though. It is a well thought out alternative it looks like, but I wonder what level of contact is allowed (yes I didn’t do that much research into this yet). Maybe I will look into this some more and revisit it after doing so.
Slightly depressing, but I can see the trend already in academic journals. However, I do think that the key component in this change will be reasonable, understandable pricing and lending terms before libraries are removed (without resorting to piracy). I happen to like books myself, but I can’t fault some of his reasoning for the time-scale. I think it should take a while longer due to the low(zero) power nature of books, but this shift will come like so many predicted by scifi.
I can still remember the short story where an alien exile tries to find the meaning of life in a post textual world where all media is audio-visual, and manages to find in a antique store a rare paper dictionary (so rare that nearly no one knows what it is, or how to read) and uses that written meaning to escape his punishment. It struck me quite hard back then that books’ days were numbered, and now I can tell that this view is correct.
It’s so sad that we might not need a 1984 to get around to burning all the books (though we won’t for C02 emissions issues).
Tying in with the insight that by next year (if not this year) student loan debt will outpace credit card debt, this is more than a bit scary, and potentially saddening for those stuck with their loans that they can’t even avoid with bankruptcy (some federal loans).
This might be the most important insight this decade. To me it resonates with a lot of things around me with a crystal clear “PING!”. And even if Thiel are talking about the top universities and upper classes, I think the deeply held belief in academic education all around the world has the character of a bubble altogether. The promises we think we get when attending a higher education is definitely suffering from diminishing returns effect.
Instead, for Thiel, the bubble that has taken the place of housing is the higher education bubble. “A true bubble is when something is over-valued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”
Like the housing bubble, the education bubble is about security and insurance against the future. Both whisper a seductive promise into the ears of worried Americans: Do this and you will be safe. The excesses of both were always excused by a core national belief that no matter what happens in the world, these were the best investments you could make. Housing prices would always go up, and you will always make more money if you are college educated.
Like any good bubble, this belief– while rooted in truth– gets pushed to unhealthy levels. Thiel talks about consumption masquerading as investment during the housing bubble, as people would take out speculative interest-only loans to get a bigger house with a pool and tell themselves they were being frugal and saving for retirement. Similarly, the idea that attending Harvard is all about learning? Yeah. No one pays a quarter of a million dollars just to read Chaucer. The implicit promise is that you work hard to get there, and then you are set for life. It can lead to an unhealthy sense of entitlement. “It’s what you’ve been told all your life, and it’s how schools rationalize a quarter of a million dollars in debt,” Thiel says.
A group of self-confessed radical pirates are pinning their hopes on gaining official recognition of their own unique belief system. The founders of the Missionary Church of Kopimism – who hold CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – hope that along with this acceptance will come harmony, not just with each other, but also with the police.
I’m still not quite convinced, but laying the infrastructure to enable things like this seems to provide services with more information than they ever had before. Even simple things like where their buses/trains are in real time. The planning benefits alone are invaluable.
I’m really glad to hear this about OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) on two levels. First, I’d lost track of OLPC recently, so hearing that it’s doing so well in Peru makes me quite glad. The second is that Peru isn’t just depending on shipments of XOs (the name of the laptops made by OLPC), but is going to be building them in their own factories, a win-win situation. They get job and industrial growth supporting a technology initiative that directly supports them. Eventually, they might even be able to sell their excess XOs to other nations in South America and elsewhere. Great news all around.