Archive for August, 2010

More Defense of Links

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Scott Rosenberg (who I was led to by Crawford Killian) shares my skepticism re the "studies" cited by Nick Carr. And what is more, he actually took the trouble to read them carefully and point out some of the nonsense in detail.

Back From the Future

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

An article in DISCOVER Magazine discusses an apparent influence of the decision to make later measurements on the results of earlier ones. But then it turns out that the effect persists even when the later measurement is not recorded. Such cases are dismissed as experimental error, but perhaps it is just that the presence of […]

Who's a Dick?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

In his writings[1] Dick Feynman was never a dick (except perhaps in the eyes of those responsible for security during the Manhattan Project), and Dick Dawkins is not usually a dick but sometimes he comes close. I suspect that I am often a dick myself but I enjoy it too much to give it up […]

Data Sharing Speeds Research

Monday, August 16th, 2010

An article in the NYTimes (coming to me via Michael Geist) reports progress in Alzheimer's research coming as a result of researchers adopting the principle of open data.

The Rigor of Love and The Love of Rigour

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Even — and indeed especially — those who are denominationally faithless can have an experience of faith. The above quote comes from Simon Critchley's recent article about Kierkegaard, The Rigor of Love, that appeared in the NYTimes'  Opinionator Blog on Aug 8. 

Memetic Allergies and Mutations

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Ruth Howard asks Is Critical Thinking a Meme to Counter Memes? (in a post which came to my attention via #CritLit2010). And then she goes on to suggest that some skeptics become inflamed and hyper-sensitive when exposed to allergenic stimuli such as conspiracy theories (or at least that's how I interpreted her juxtaposition of so […]

The Top Five Lies (about AGW)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Discover Magazine is asking for readers to suggest their candidates for the Top Five Lies About Global Warming. Here are my suggestions: 1. It has recently been proved (False - it was "proved" in the 19th century by Svante Arrhenius. Yes there were gaps in the "proof", and some imaginable mechanisms for the climate system […]

'Tea Party North' fires an EMP

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Tyee gets it. What Harper is doing to StatsCan and the census is classic military strategy. First blind the enemy. Cut off his communication lines, fill the air with smoke, or in modern times, knock out his systems with a computer virus or a high altitude nuclear  'Electro-Magnetic Pulse' weapon. Then go in on land […]

CRTC consultation on Obligation to Serve

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

For what it's worth, here is the main point I made in my submission today: with regard to the question about ensuring access for all Canadians, I said: CRTC should set national rate caps for broadband access via both telephone and cable operators AND should ensure 'net neutrality' with regard to content type and source. […]

@maferarenas on microblogging and learning

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

My linking to this is evidence for @Downes of more real interesting learning from #CritLit2010. But it's not just the shape of the network that's important here; it's also the semantic content of what we are linking about. (If we had drifted off into a classroom conversation about mutual friends in Argentina then the network […]

Pascal's Wager and the Value of Truth

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Pascal's Wager has been cited, and the value of 'truth' has been questioned, in a rather curious Guardian article by Harriet Baber who has been trashed by PZMeyers who has been called out by 'Siris' (with John S Wilkins agreeing to some extent), and Ophelia Benson has also taken it on. Despite the objections of […]

Is Google Evil?

Monday, August 9th, 2010

No this isn't about the Verizon thing; it's something completely different. I was looking at both Feedblitz and Google's Feedburner as tools for offering email subscription service, but despite claims in the help files on both sites that Google is supporting Feedblitz as a complement to Feedburner there is no apparent way of reaching it […]

Google and Verizon

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Stephen Downes and Jay Hathaway are upbeat about this, but I share the doubts expressed by 'saltrix' and 'Alain' on Jay's posting, and by the critics quoted in the NYT's more recent article. Namely "protecting the internet" won't mean a damn once there's a new "differentiated" network on which the anomaly of relatively cheap publication […]

New Web Host

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

For some time I have been looking forward to the arrival of WordPress v3 which, among other things, enables easily setting up a separate blog for the CMR website. But to install it I needed my host to run a more recent version of MySQL than I had currently available. It turns out that they […]

Retiring on Sept1!

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

So, at the end of this month I will be  retiring from Langara, where I have been teaching for many years. I will miss the daily interaction with colleagues and students, but am looking forward to having more time for expanding my horizons and learning new things. This Summer I participated in Stephen Downes and […]