Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Interesting Blog: Grasping for the Wind

Grasping for the Wind is a blog primarily concerned with reviewing SF&F genre fiction. That said, I think its collection of community discussions (on such things as the appropriateness of mapping imagined places) and interviews is actually more interesting than the reviews. If you like that kind of genre fiction it's certainly worth a look

Thursday, November 09, 2006

150 Experiences Meme

I saw this at Ancrene Wiseass. I traced it back as far as here. My comments are in italics.
Bold the ones you've done..

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (two internal, plus an external , in fact)
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds Why would you do this when they can be organized chronologically by composer?
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert" My wife was once, though.
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language well enough to have a decent conversation
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office (in a virtual community)
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ (It was the Classical program, but I spun the vinyl)
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A post that's not about what to learn in school

A message on a mailing list I read pointed to Guy Kawasaki's blog post on what one ought to learn in school (Stephen Downes responds with his list). They are interesting and worth a read, but not what I intend to discuss here.

Poking around Kawasaki's blog took me to this post about the top ten presentations of all time. Note the use of presentation and not speech. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" was the only thing on the list which, in my mind, qualifies as a speech in a traditional sense. This got me thinking about college and university public speaking curricula.

Most higher education institutions require students to take a course in public speaking, where they give informative , persuasive, and impromptu speeches; learn about audience analysis and so forth. (Disclosure: In my own undergraduate experience , I embraced formal speechmaking, spending three years on the school forensic team and ending up not half bad at it, if I can toot my own horn a bit.) Here's the problem...

In these classes, students often spend a great deal of time studying formal speeches, even as formal oratory recedes from any kind of cultural importance. Ask an educated person what the last great public speech was, and they are likely as not to name King's "I Have a Dream" or Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech from five years earlier. One might go with something as recent as Mario Cuomo's "City on a Hill" speech from 1984 or Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" from the same decade. One would be quite hard pressed to come up with anything more recent (say in the last 20 years) that captured popular awareness the way any of these did.

This raises the question, "Has anything replaced the formal speech in the culture?" The authors of the "Ten Greatest Presentations" post suggest that the speech has been replaced by the presentation or the talk. I think they might be right. When one thinks today about great presentation , one ismore likely to remember a "Stevenote" than anything from the political realm. It is telling that we now think of product announcements rather than sermons or political oratory as exemplars of excellent speechmaking.

What does this all mean about how we should teach oral communication? It is absolutely true that a liberally educated person needs to be able to speak to others and communicate effectively in so doing. However, given that one is less and less likely to have to give formal speeches, and more likely to be called on to give a "talk", is our emphasis on formal oratory in most required public speaking classes misplaced?

A related issue is the role of visual aids (let's just say it - Presentation slides). Most of the presentations on the top ten list use them. They receive little attention in most public speaking classes. Especially when you look at something like Lessig's Free Culture talk or Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 ( a personal favorite, I watched it several times just for the presentation, not caring particularly about digital identity at the time), you become aware of a very different and pervasive way of using visuals in a "talk".

Monday, March 06, 2006

An Oscar Reflection

I couldn't help noticing that all the oscars for acting went to performers who are box office draws. Let me hasten to add that I haven't seen a movie this year, so I pass no judgement on the actual performances. It's almost as if the academy is rewarding the Witherspoon's and Clooney's who 'pay the bills' as soon as they deliver a performance the least bit noteworthy. Poor Paul Giamatti and Felicity Huffman.

Just my $.02

Friday, September 23, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Apple and Flash memory

Several blog postings have suggested that the flash memory based iPod Nano is the tip of the iceberg and that computers, most likely laptops, will soon ditch their hard disks for flash memory. I must confess that I'm not ready to go there just yet. Setting aside the cost, two objections come to mind:

1) In this era of rich (and storage intensive) media, how many customers will settle for only 32 or 40 GB of storage space on a full-service computer?

2) The limited number of writes possible on a flash memory module don't mesh well with the large swap files and /tmp directories that are an inescapable part of today's OS's with modern memory management.

That said, I believe advocates of the flash based laptop have merely picked the wrong iceberg. Instead of a flash based laptop, how about a flash based mobile internet appliance as the next revolutionary 'thin client'? I'm thinking of a successor to the Nokia 7700 here. Give it lots of RAM so it doesn't have to use the flash memory for every last swap out, customize the browser code to minimize access of the flash storage, and count on web 2.0 apps like GMail, Backpack and Writely to minimize the need for onboard storage. Think of a tablet PC the thickness of a clipboard designed only to browse the web. I'd buy one in a second. Would you?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Who decides what's "Research Safe"

Will Richardson wrote yesterday about blogs and credibility. :

Here's the problem. If we are going to help teachers see blogs as "research safe," we're going to have to give them some tools by which to assess those blogs.

This is reasonable question, but one that has behind it a significant presupposition, that is, that some educational authority must declare blogs in general, or a blog in particular, to have official imprimatur. I realize that some of this may be inevitable in a K-12 environment, but when you transfer the idea to post-secondary ed, it's downright disconcerting.

Eventually, students will be sent into the wide world, with only their own brains to tell them what is "research safe". Therefore, as soon as is practical, we need to make students do the assessing rather than teachers. Practice makes perfect, after all.

A thornier issue may be convincing faculty, particularly those who are "digital immigrants" (Paul Chenoweth's term) that a resouce which does not have a paper form and the peer review of which was neither blind nor formal (blogs, after all, have peer review, at least when the comments are on) can have academic value.

Sign # 247,862 of the end of civilization

Burning Man has spawned its own alternative art festival. (from Wired)

Wooden Tablets Forks

In an effort to let readers avoid RSS enclosures if they don't want them, I am moving the podcast portion of Wooden Tablets to its own site at woodentablets-podcast.blogspot.com. It will be a few days before content is posted there.