29
Sep 09

How to Unlock a Community’s Insights

Here’s an article by Roland Legrand about unlocking a community’s insights using the Socratic method.  He explains why both too much and not enough control over a community can cause it to fall apart.  Thankfully he describes how to foster engagement in a community to encourage participation.

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2009/09/using-socratic-conversation-to-unlock-a-communitys-insight265.html

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26
Sep 09

“Shift Happens”

Hey!  This is a great presentation… There are 2 videos, so check out the 2nd one first, and then the first one is an update to it… it’s really cool and informative.

http://holykaw.alltop.com/update-to-shift-happens-how-the-world-is-chan

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27
Aug 09

How Are Your Students?

This is a pretty eye-opening view of literacy in students today.  I was of the opinion that texting and all these brief interactions were promoting abbreviations that make me want to scream.  So many people are used to abbreviations from texting that they seep into emails and other places where they clearly should have the time to write out full words.  Then there’s the consistent misuses of homophones that get under my skin too.

I see it in the professional world all the time and it shocks me every time that people don’t realize they use “their” instead of “there” way too often (“too often” presumes that it’s “OK” from time to time… which it’s obviously not!).  At work, there’s a copywriter that sends out a newsletter to the whole company on a monthly basis (or so) teaching the organization about a common grammatical mistake, why it’s incorrect, and how to fix it (and remember the correct usage).  That is a result of lots of reports going around and being proofread for accuracy before publishing to customers.  I used to see some pretty horrible writing.

Clearly I get agitated by these little negligent oversights.  I learned English as a second language, and struggled to “get it”, I’m sure.  Somewhere in the time that has passed, I developed OCD (on many levels?) and grammatical leniency on my part is a virtue that does not exist.  I am very particular about words, their use, combinations, and SPELLING!

But I digress.  The purpose of this post is to point you to an article that I read that gives me some hope.  Hope for our future.  I hope that I am only cynical and will be proven wrong.  (While a pretty bad movie, Idiocracy is a satirical prediction of how we could end up as a society.  To an extent, I can sympathize with the where the writer thinks we are headed.)

“Clive Thompson on the New Literacy”
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-09/st_thompson

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25
Aug 09

Multitasking May Not Be That Good For You

I tend to juggle a lot of projects at once.  It gets hard to keep my head on straight from time to time.  Apparently multitasking can affect the brain in odd ways…. I have to admit, believe it!

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/multitasking/

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20
Aug 09

Artificial Intelligence

Wired has an article about little robots that learn to deceive eachother.  Hmm….

More interesting to me was the article linked at the end.  It’s about neuron culture (rat brain matter?) that they’ve hooked up to a robot, so they call it “animat” and are getting the two to interact… so like… robots and organic, live matter connected…. a live brain for a robot….!  Sounding more like Cyberdyne Systems.

The second article is actually already 3 years old! I will have to look up “animats” to see what has been going on since then.  Scary?

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18
Aug 09

Archeology of Languages

This is very fascinating… I wonder about things related to language from time to time.  Wonder if I will ever take the time to check out this show….  Did I mention I do not have cable TV?!  Only internet.  You should try it!  $33/month….

Here’s the post about the languages.

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/08/the_archaeology_of_l.html

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13
Aug 09

How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

Here’s a post about a study involving peoples’ misconception of how well they actually know their friends….

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/08/seeing_what_we_want_.html

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11
Aug 09

Happiness is Not Universal?

Here’s something interesting.  Apparently our concept of “happy” and “unhappy” is described differently in different cultures.  What we as Americans interpret as either of these is not observed in the same way for the Japanese.

It’s just a quick read:

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/08/happiness_is_not_uni.html

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08
Aug 09

Crows are Smart!

It’s fascinating to see how smart some animals are!  Check out how quickly these crows solve their problem!

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/aesopscrows/

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08
Aug 09

Freaky Sleep Paralysis: Being Awake in Your Nightmares

This is an interesting article I saw on Wired.com, which was originally published at MindHacks.com (the link is at the bottom of the Wired article).  It is about when dreams seem extremely real, to the point where you are awake but scary elements of darkly-themed dreams seem to exist while in your bed.

I have slight memories of pretty intense dreams, but I do not recall vividly having the symptoms they talk about.  I would assume that I’d remember if it had happened to me.

These types of studies fascinate me because it makes you wonder what elements of our brains influence what we perceive as manifestations of spiritual connections.  Whether demons or talking to God or angels or whatever.  There are a lot of things where I think people jump to conclusions because they have to explain what has just happened to them.  If they are spiritual, then the explanations lean that way.

Also makes me wonder how you can tell the difference between the brain playing tricks on you and some actual supernatural experience.  I think that maybe some of these things that happen with the brain are our “tie” to the spiritual/supernatural world.

What are your thoughts?

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/sleep_paralysis/

P.S.  After reading the Wired article, check out the MindHacks link at the bottom of the article for some additional details.  Someone in the comments of the MindHacks post also posted a link to PsychologyToday talking about why we have dreams and why elevated dopamine levels:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200504/why-we-dream

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