About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘Other Things’ Category

Tuesday’s reads

without comments

Peter E. Murray has posted a summary of the American Library Association’s legal brief of concerns about the Google  book settlement. The brief itself, in pdf, is here.

StevenB picks up on J. J. Abrams Magic of Mystery article in Wired and suggests that understanding the “spoiler generation” can lead academic librarians to help students find the joy of experiencing the process of discovery.

Julianne in Cosmic Variance describes two interview styles, one that looks like a way to find talent and the other a way to overlook it.

Written by Al Stevens

May 5th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Friday’s reads

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Christopher Dawson argues that Second Life is “dead in ed” — time drain, bandwidth requirements, and proliferation of adult content make it a poor choice when compared to BlackBoard snd  Moodle.

Bill Thompson points out that most of us have become dependent on using computers to perform our day-to-day activities. Understanding how computers work should not be left to a small geek minority.

Shikha Dalmia argues that Obama is turning it’s back on principle in order to pay off the teacher’s unions and kill school vouchers in D.C.

Terry Anderson summarizes a new open-access m-learning book, Issues in Distance Education.

John K. Waters summarizes the issues about the future of Java and MySQL under Oracle.

StevenB’s post on the ACRLog advising writers to focus on critics who seriously question ideas.

David Munger summarizes recent research that shows the context in which we make moral decisions matters quite a lot.

Wednesday’s reads

without comments

A new McKinsey report on the economic impact of the achievement gap in America’s schools, says the resulting underutilization of human potential imposes the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession — substantially larger than the deep recession the country is currently experiencing. Friedman likens the conclusions to having the tide go out while swimming naked.

I know nowhere near enough physics to understand the details of this but I still find it completely fascinating that crossing an event horizon might take you into a region of space in which some of the dimensions disappear.

Elena Angulo and Franck Courchamp use a novel web-based experiment to collect data from 2560 visitors and demonstrate that people strongly prefer to see rare species over common ones. They go on to argue that this high value on rarity can fuel a disproportionate exploitation of rare species, making them even rarer and thus more desirable and ultimately extinct.

Seventeen ways that social media differ from traditional marketing.

Written by Al Stevens

April 22nd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Monday’s Reads

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Tom Davenport concludes that we should unbundle the concept of “social media” because some, like Facebook will turn out to be useful, while others, like Second Life and Twitter will die.

John Sviokla and Chris Curran argue that because twitter is simple, has an open architecture and is easy to join will make it the duct tape of the Internet marketing space.

Katherine S. Pollard eescribes how a 118 base sequence of DNA remained unchanged for hundreds of millions of years of evolution — chickens and chimps differ by only 2 bases. It underwent an abrupt change — 18 bases — when humans split, suggesting that the way humans evolved from our chimp-human ancestors was by rapid changes in sites that make a important differences in how we function.

As reported by Dave Munger, there’s no relationship between SAT and ACT test-prep time/money and actual results. Test-prep companies are still likely to stay in business because there is a positive relationship with perceived improvements.

Who wouldn’t enjoy reading brief bios of fifty prominent atheists. The list includes Stephen Hawking, Mick Jagger, Linus Pauling, Jodie Foster and Mark Zuckerberg as well as the usually listed Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett.

Written by Al Stevens

April 20th, 2009 at 12:27 pm