Friday, February 25, 2005

Hey, Ted, here's another one!

Ted Rall wants conservative bloggers to send him examples of lefty vitriol. Here's my contribution to the cause, from way back in September: Feedback From the Fever Swamp

Revisioning Education cont'd

I'm about 3/4 of the way through it (still not much new - a lot of "Welcome to 1995" ideas). This statement on p. 20 just leaped out, though:
"To take part in this [computer] culture requires... accelerated skills of print literacy, which are often restricted to the growing elite of students who are privileged to attend adequate and superior public and private schools, but also demands multiple forms of literacy." (emphasis added)
So according to Kellner, it's a privilege to attend an adequate school? At least the elite class is growing....

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Revisioning education? Part 2

I'm about halfway through Doug Kellner's article, and I'm not seeing much that's new.

So far it seems to be more a political screed than a vision for the future. He spends a lot of time rehashing radical reformist ideas from the 1970's, and repeatedly states or implies that the true, highest purpose of education is to inculcate revolutionaries who will rise up and subvert the opressive hegemonic elites of the dominant industrial culture.

He makes a couple of good points, such as the fact that mainstream media enculturates subliminally, and that merely installing computers and network connections will not solve social problems - solid pedagogy is also required. (Oddly, in a footnote he then praises the Clinton administration for installing PCs and net connections and castigates the current administration for focusing on demonstrable pedagocical methods.)

Who would'a thunk it? The Vatican groks blogging

Apostolic Letter - The Rapid Development to those Responsible for Communications

History Can Wait

Wead comes clean
Man who secretly recorded Bush says he regrets publication:

"WASHINGTON - An old friend of President Bush who secretly recorded their private conversations and released them to the media said he has regrets and is turning the tapes over to Bush.

Doug Wead allowed journalists to hear and broadcast the tapes in the past week as he promoted his new book on presidential parents. But he said he canceled plans to be on 'Hardball' on MSNBC Tuesday night to talk about his regrets because 'it would only add to the distraction I have caused to the president's important and historic work.'

'Contrary to a statement that I made to the New York Times, I have come to realize that personal relationships are more important than history,' Wead wrote in a letter to the show's host, Chris Matthews, that MSNBC released to the public on Wednesday. 'I am asking my attorney to direct any future proceeds from the book to charity and to find the best way to vet these tapes and get them back to the president to whom they belong. History can wait.' "

The release of these tapes added nothing to our knowledge of George Bush, and they made Doug Wead appear to be an unscrupulous moneygrubber. This gesture is the right gesture, but it's a little late.

He may be on to something...?

adaptive path - ajax: a new approach to web applications

Ajax = Asynchronous Javascript + XML

It looks like they may have read Brenda Laurel and Don Norman.


"Instead of loading a webpage, at the start of the session, the browser loads an Ajax engine — written in JavaScript and usually tucked away in a hidden frame. This engine is responsible for both rendering the interface the user sees and communicating with the server on the user’s behalf."

Great idea, and hardly unique, but have you considered browser and OS compatibility?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Technology and the Re-Visioning of Education" - 1 of ?

On page '11' Kellner says educational reformers will be challenged as to "whether education will be restructured to promote democracy and human needs, or ... serve the needs of business and the global economy."

Why is this a dichotomy? In a truly democratic (and dare I say capitalist?) world, businesses and the global economy exist to serve human needs, because they are direct outgrowths of human needs.

That is followed by this statement:

"Today, however, intense pressures for change now come directly from technologyand the economy and not ideology or educational reformist ideas, with anexpanding global economy and novel technologies demanding innovative skills,competencies, literacies, and practices."

Is this another way of saying that changes in the way that society prepares youth to deal with the real world should be - or just are - driven by the needs of real world itself, rather than philosophers, theorists, ideologues? What a concept....

Still reading, and trying hard to keep an open mind. The author is of course a UCLA professor with an endowed chair. I just work at a community college, and I'm happy that my chair has armrests.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"Technology and the Re-Visioning of Education" - Which vision?

Will R. of weblogged-ed suggests that those of us interested in educational blogging have a look at Douglas Kellner's article "Technological transformation, Multiple Literacies, and the Re-Visioning of Education".

Douglas Kellner is a professor at UCLA. It should therefore be no surprise that he considers George Bush's presidency to be an Orwellian nightmare, that he stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, that the broadcast media has become an instrument of propaganda for the Bush administration.

Likewise, it is no stunner that he views Mel Gibson's "The Passion " as "part of the reactionary Manicheanism that is fueling religious hatreds and violence today", though he dismisses the film as being in line with the splatter films of Sam Peckinpah or Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns.

Let's say we disagree on fundamentals.

It is therefore with some trepidation - but at least with open eyes - that I venture into his recent article calling for radical transformation of education.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Is the TNIV Good News?

Is the TNIV Good News? Mark D. Roberts on the TNIV (Today's New International Version) translation of the Bible. Ordinarily I'd Furl this, not blog it (as I haven't read the whole thing much less have anything to add) but for some reason the Furl button isn't showing up.

Well THAT was fun!

Gong Show at church tonight - fundraiser for the mission teams. (One group is going to a flood-damaged area in Michigan to help with rebuilding; the other is going to Ukraine.) Someone paid good money (American dollars? as my Dad would say) to see me don a "rock star outfit" and play electric guitar. I wore my loudest tie-die t-shirt, black stretch pants emblazoned with dancing skeletons, a leather vest, calf-high deerskin boots, and a stars-and-stripes bandanna. I had three patches programmed into my BOSS ME-30: "Heavy", a heavy humbucker-based distortion with some reverb reminiscent of Deep Purple, "Boston", a bright distortion with a little phaser sweetening that mimics Tom Schultz's tone, and "UniVibe", a deep, chewy wah effect. I hobbled out using a cane, and warned the audience that "If it's too loud, you're too young - why do you think it's called a ROCKING CHAIR!" I clapped my hands above my head to get them establishing the beat, then launched into the early metal classic beloved of all rock guitar wannabes of my generation: Smoke on the Water. Played with my thumbs, of course. Now, had the person who put me up to this only tossed a fiver in the kitty, I would have stopped there. But someone actually laid down long folding green to see me play. Plus, I was the opening act for the whole show. I felt obligated to give them their money's worth. I segued into the "Purple Haze" intro, and from that launched SRV's "Mary Had a Little Lamb". That served as a launching pad for a minute or two of tweedling and deedling. I forgot to do the fingertapping bit I'd been practicing, unfortunately. Once I ran out of ideas (and being a rhythm player and fingerpicker, that didn't take long, I slid into "Amazing Grace". Up past the 12th fret, with the wah pedal working overtime. (You ever get the shimmies in your leg, where your knee gets bouncing at 120 bpm? Applied to the wah pedal, that makes a guitar sound like a cowboy harmonica.) At the top of the tune, I went into full Hendrix mode, complete with tweedles and deedles, whammy bar stylings, pick-scraping whammybar dives, turing the axe upside down over my face, everything but playing behind my head (I plumb forgot) and setting the thing on fire with lighter fluid. Ended with great big plagal-cadence power chords. Much fun.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Harari assasination an AQ operation?

This is pure speculation, but is it possible that the assasination of Lebanese leader Hariri was carried out not by Syria but by Al Quaeda operatives? Here's the logic: AQ wants to provoke a holy war between dar-al-Islam and dar-al-Harb. They're finished in Afghanistan. The Iraqi insurgency is on the rocks, with the successful Jan 30 elections followed by Sunni admissions that sitting out the elections was an error. Peace may be about to break out between Israel and Palestine. Iran is under pressure from within, as is Saudi Arabia and Egypt. AQ desperately needs a new rally point. Hariri's assassination would naturally be blamed on Syria. That would get Assad's back up, if he's really innocent. The Iranian mullahs step up to support their fellow despot, and suddenly AQ once again has brave Islamic fighters defying the armed might of the West.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Prayerblogging for the First Mate

Captain's Quarters - Pancreas Found Lord, you are the Great Physician. You knit us together in our mothers' wombs, you made us and sustain us. We lift up Marcia to you. Please surround the medical teams, the support teams, aircrew, air-traffic controllers, and all the other individuals and teams who will touch the lives of Ed and Marcia. Thank you for giving your spirit of selfless generosity to the donor; support their family in their time of grief. Comfort them with the knowledge that their loss and grief results in life and joy for another. In all this let Your will be done and Your name be glorified. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Not much to report

Not a great deal going on - actually, I've been quite busy what with work, cars in hte shop, everyone in the whole fandamily sick, projects....

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A reasonably balanced article

Small Alaska Village Eyeing Nuclear Power Both sides of the argument presented.. except there are three sides. And somehow I'm a tad skeptical that "Pam Miller" is a "tribal official." To be truly fair and balanced, the idea of a nuclear reactor - even (especially!!) an experimental one - that requires no human intervention seems a tad far-fetched.

Soldier Gets Six Months in Abu Ghraib Case

If you're going to be made the scapegoat, then a wrist-slap is acceptable. full-disclosure statement= "I have never engaged in with or against armed combat against the United States or its military, nor have I ever been required to strip naked in front of cameras. I have, however, been stepped on by my children, who, thanks in part (I firmly believe) to the diligent-if-uninformed-and-under-disciplined efforts of Pvt. Davis, are still alive."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Freedom is God's gift to humanity Posted by Hello

Bump for the B-36

The nascent B-36 Peacemaker Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas, needs your support. Click to link to read my original post, then click through to donate.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Lileks is wrong - again

James Lileks didn't like "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". You'd think that someone so deeply enamored of film noir would love this cg Saturday-matinee serial. What's not to like? It has Deep Shadows. Hulking Architecture. A Dangerous Dame. A Dashing Hero. An Evil Villian. A wisecracking Sidekick. Robots. And perhaps most importantly, Zeppelins. Docking (as was originally intended by the architect) at the top of the Empire State Building. So what if they're all (except for a handful of actual human actors) computer-generated? it is, after all, the World of Tomorrow!