Monthly Archives: February 2011

Flex in a Week video training | Adobe Developer Connection

I was using Flash back at the end of the second millennium when it was still called ‘FutureSplash’ (and was identified by the visionaries at CodeMonkey as a “Plugin that Sucks”). Now it is often buggy and crash-prone and Apple … Continue reading

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Sam Harris Responds

In his latest Response to Critics , Sam Harris spends some (too much) time on the nutbars before getting to the serious cases like Russell Blackford. And before starting with his main response he provides this convenient summary: For those unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Kenny Felder

Kenny Felder who I “met” as an appreciative user of my GraphExplorer applet has written a number of Essays and Commentaries that I find quite interesting.

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Origin of Religion

How Did God Get Started? by Colin Wells in  Boston University’s  ‘Arion’ magazine gives a part of the story but fails to address some key questions.

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Value of Religion

The great debate between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens was a bit of a bust – with Blair citing the roles of moderate religious leaders in “bringing together” Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland (without any acknowledgement of the fact … Continue reading

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Was Montaigne the First Blogger?

Ian Brunskill’s review of Sarah Bakewell’s recent book about Montaigne ends with “Montaigne was happy in a way that no blogger ever could be. There is, in the end, something to be said for the little room behind the shop.” … Continue reading

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Algorithmic Babies and the Chinese Room

I commented at Stephen Downes’ website on Patricia Kuhl’s TED talk about “The Linguistic Genius of Babies”. My quibble was less with the content than with the sentimentalized headline, because, although the babies’ brains do appear to implement a sophisticated … Continue reading

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Nicholas Christakis: A tale of two videos

Nicholas Christakis  has a couple of TED videos. This one (on how social networks predict epidemics) struck me as saying something truly interesting. The fact that we can gain predictive value by just asking random people to nominate friends  as … Continue reading

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Defining Evolution

When I read the title of this piece (Theologians Lobby Successfully to Change Definition of Evolution | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine)I was prepared to get angry. But instead I am embarrassed on behalf of those who are complaining about … Continue reading

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The Case for Play

The Case for Play – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education. “OK kids, you can stop your creative paper folding exercise now and the monitor will collect your products for evaluation. And now, let’s take a break … Continue reading

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“The Belief Instinct”

Jesse Bering’s “The Belief Instinct” is described as an exploration of possible sources of religion in cognitive tendencies towards a sense of being observed even when we have no evidence for it. To support this idea he reportedly both cites … Continue reading

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Christopher Norris Defends Philosophy

Christopher Norris has written an article in Philosophy Now defending the Philosophy of Science from allegations of its irrelevance by scientists (most recently Stephen Hawking for example).  Norris alleges the existence of “scientists’ need to philosophize and their proneness to … Continue reading

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Learning Theories

In all of my efforts to participate in Connectivist MOOCS (#CritLit2010, #PLENK2010, #CCK11) I have run into a roadblock when discussion turned to “Learning Theories” and I have found myself unable to express (or perhaps even determine) what I want … Continue reading

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This Must be Said

In the light of the apparent opinion of Conservative MP Ed Fast that the mere presence of a digital lock trumps virtually all other copyright rights it must be said that the only appropriate response to passage of Bill C-32 without a … Continue reading

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Mythical Myths #3 – The Concept of Race

Oh damn! I had no particular wish to address this until browsing led me by chance to RACE – The Power of an Illusion at PBS where a bunch of well intentioned people are discrediting anti-racism by associating it with a … Continue reading

Posted in biology, social issues, statistics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Obama Leadership “Tested” by Egypt

A good part of my recent visit to Toronto was spent glued to the news coming out of Egypt. Then on Thursday, Mubarak finally addressed the  nation –  and failed completely  to satisfy the demonstrators. But by the time I … Continue reading

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Dumb Slogans

I am sick and tired of watching the “left” shoot itself in the foot by trying to popularize its position with dumb and reactionary slogans which actually work against (what should be) their core principles. A recent case in point … Continue reading

Posted in canada, politics, social issues | 1 Comment

Many Views on UBB

Michael Geist provides some useful links to opinions about the “Usage-Based Billing” issue, and has just expanded on his own view, as has also Teksavvy’s Rocky Gaudrault.(More here, here, and here.) My take on all this is that it is … Continue reading

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Collapse of Trade as a Phase Transition

Prompted by our visiting friend Geoff (the ‘lucky Geologist’ and author of ‘Green Figs’ and other essays), I have recently finished reading ‘The Fall of Rome – and the End of Civilization’ by Bryan Ward-Perkins (OUP2005), wherein the author responds … Continue reading

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