Archive for September, 2010

John Shook is Selling a Book

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Wow! That’s a pretty blatant bit of self promotion.
Start by asserting that everyone is arguing from ignorance but don’t do anything to dispel that ignorance in the article, and end with a promo for the book that you claim will get everyone up to speed. Really this is no different from the late night TV infomercial that promises a quick and easy way to lose weight, or earn fantastic amounts of money “Just buy my book to find the secret knowledge”. I’m disgusted.

Learning Theories

Friday, September 24th, 2010

. . . are something about which I have no expertise – but that’s never stopped me from sounding off about anything else, so here goes:

Network Environments for Personal Learning

Friday, September 24th, 2010

In week 2, the focus of #PLENK2010 shifted from the basic terminology, and emphasis on user “client-side” tools to the “server-side” area of support tools (more…)

myPE(N)L ctd

Friday, September 24th, 2010

So here is my current Personal Environment for Networked Learning
(which I think of as the interface with physically remote people and information): (more…)


Friday, September 24th, 2010

is a mess (like this post) because my data streams are not well integrated. (more…)


Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Much of the discussion in the first week of the #PLENK2010 course was devoted to the (often quite subtle) distinctions between the Personal Learning Environment and the Personal Learning Network which it supports (and which is itself part of the personal environment). (more…)

Spectral Atheism

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Jean Kazez distinguishes between  Hard and Soft Atheism in a post on her blog whose title leads me to think of the range as a spectrum.

In the opening paragraph she identifies atheism as a belief, saying  “It’s not enough to not believe in God/gods–or we’re going to have to call my cats atheists.” This explains very well why I do not call myself an “atheist”. Nor do I consider myself an “agnostic” because that implies belief that there is a meaningful question to which I don’t know the answer, and though there are many such, I am not convinced that the question of “existence” of gods is one of them.

What I do consider meaningful and interesting is the role of religion in human life, and it is probably apparent from other posts in this blog that I see a lot of negatives there but am not yet committed to any particular approach to “dealing” with them – either in terms of their influence on my relationships with religious people or of how I react to expressions of evangelical atheism.

I may well be devoting more attention to the issue right now than is actually likely to be useful. But then I have the time so I might as well waste it if I choose to.

Moore vs Lavallee on iPod “tax”

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Howard Knopf reports on the exchange between James Moore  and Carolyn Lavalleeon about inclusion of iPods in the Canadian media tax.

The idea of a tax on ipods is no more “toxic” or “dumb” than the one that presently exists on other blank media – which in many cases are *less* likely to be used for “illegal” copies of copyrighted material. (And regardless of what has been asked for, any actual amount would be subject to future ajudication so the requested rate of $75 is certainly not necessarily what would be applied in the law or assigned by an arbitrator.)

If a media levy is to be used to support the creative industries while freeing Canadians to format shift without other fee or penalty, then so be it, but if so then the levy should apply to *all* media types, and for it to be fair there should really be an option for purchase of levy-free media on which copies are not permitted without ownership of a license (analogous to the tax-free fuel provided in some areas for agriculture).

Dawkins on Ratzinger on Godlesness

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

If the pope [1] can blame Hitler [2] on godlessness and atheist extremism, then it is not surprising that the truly godless might have something to say in response:

the full text;       the video.


Thursday, September 16th, 2010

My Sept 13 post on PLEvsPLN does show up in the link from the #PLENK2010  Feeds List, but never seems to have been captured by the aggregator for the Daily.  So I’m giving it another go here just to see if I’ve set things up properly.

Spirituality, Metaphor, Myth, and the True Meaning of Truth

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The discussion following this comment is actually more interesting than the post itself (in which Jerry Coyne mocks Chris Mooney’s recent discovery of 1970’s style “spirituality” as the bridge between science and religion).  The commenter, one Timothy F Simpson, is apparently a Presbyterian professor of religious studies who acknowledges a metaphorical interpretation of his religion and is interested in promoting acceptance of science by the faithful but concerned that agressive and harshly toned responses on the website might offend people he sends there.  In a long exchange he meets with a variety of responses in a wide range of tones including near the end an accusation of being a “tone troll”  and an invitation in plainer language to autocopulate.  Ophelia Benson chimes in a couple of times and continues in her own blog with some appreciative disagreement. And Coyne (who does not participate) refers to the discussion in a subsequent posting, saying that “The proper response to this kind of argument is derisive laughter.” I disagree.

More Music Industry Copyright Madness

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

From Michael Geist – Cdn Music Industry Assoc Chair: Format Shifting, User Generated Content Keep Piracy Sites Going.  According to J.P. Ellson, the Chair of the Canadian Council of Music Industry Association and board member of the industry’s Balanced Copyright for Canada site,”the provisions of the Bill that permit user-generated content and transferring digital files to other formats would in fact, keep the pirate flag flying“.

So I’m to be considered a pirate for writing my own content and/or actually listening to music I buy on a device of my own choosing!

When will we ever be free of these lying theiving cheating pious bastards?

PLENK Week 1

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Week 1 of the #PLENK2010 course on Personal Learning Environments,  Networks and Knowledge is devoted mainly to getting used to the terminology.

Save the Long Gun Registry

Monday, September 13th, 2010

In Canada, there is a law requiring the registration of all firearms, with a period of amnesty having been provided for failure to register hunting rifles and other “long guns”. The amnesty period is due to expire in May, and parliament is now considering a private member’s bill to permanently scrap the long gun registry.

This registry is opposed as an unnecessary imposition by many, especially in rural areas, and the minority Conservative government is supporting the bill for its abolition.

But guns of all kinds are at least as dangerous as cars, which most of us happily accept the need to register already so why should we not register guns as well? All guns do have the potential to be used in crimes, especially ones of domestic violence, and also to cause injury and death in accidents. When such things happen it is important for it to be as easy as possible to trace the weapon involved and, just as for motor vehicles, a registry of responsible ownership is a natural tool for this.

Nothing to Apologize for?

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Maher Arar, in ‘Muslims have nothing to apologize for‘ (Vancouver Sun Sept9) exemplifies the pattern identified in recent studies which show that members of identifiable groups are more inclined to notice criticism of their own group than that of others.  On reading a document which included criticisms of various identifiable groups at various levels of harshness, members of each group reportedly identified more criticisms of their own group than others did, and Arar’s conviction that the sins of Muslims are over reported might be matched by that of Catholics about the amount of attention given to priestly sex abuse. But…see[1]

Who Needs Saving?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

It is disappointing to see a supposedly sophisticated voice of religion still so literalistic.

Freedom from Rationality

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Quinn O’Neill at 3quarksdaily has commented on both tone and content of the reason vs religion “debate”, suggesting, among other things, that freedom of religion requires that all views be treated with respect and tolerance. (more…)