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by Stephen Downes
August 15, 2008

Game Development Tools
I think you'll appreciate the 'impossible dream' cloud in the game development chart offered here by Clark Quinn. You can create games with simple tools, but they then tend to be simple (branching) games. If you want to present something more interesting, like a model-driven (sim or database) game, you need more complex tools - anything from Flash to modern programming languages. Quinn says, "The impossible dream is that tool that everyone wants that makes it easy to develop model-driven interactions. Sorry, I'm convinced it can't exist, because to be flexible enough to cover all the different models that we'd want to represent, it's got to be so general as to be essentially just a programming language." Clark Quinn, Learnlets, August 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Does Court Ruling Over Artistic License Conflict With Other Copyright Rulings?
Michael Masnick gets a lot of mileage out of a minor point that eventually turns out to be mistaken, but the column, which describes a recent court ruling that Creative Commons licenses are enforcable, demonstrates the twisting and turning that can occur in the whole debate. Why, asks Masnick, is a license like Creative Commons enforcible when something like slapping a 'Not For Resale' notice on a CD is not. Both do the same thing: "it creates a separate license on top of copyright, and then tries to use copyright's defenses against breaking that license." But there is a crucil difference: in the CD case "the proposed restrictions are greater than what copyright seeks to restrict (i.e., not allowing resale). In the Jacobsen case, the reserved rights are less than what copyright allows." That can be a pretty subtle point, which is why we can understand the confusion lawmakers and judges feel on this issue. Michael Masnick, TechDirt, August 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Fact Checking Whatever It Takes (Or: The Trouble with Heroes)
When what you know of the world comes from movies, you get very mistaken impressions of the world (aka the Disney Effect). Like this: "This is American education's favorite past-time - find inspirational principal/teacher and tell an uplifting/touching story about how kids from tough backgrounds beat the odds. Preferably, someone easy on the eyes like Hilary Swank or Morgan Freeman plays the lead." Of course, the whole idea that the whole weight of poverty and desperation is overturned (usually in one semester) by an inspiring teacher is absurd. And it is also unfair to expect teachers to make the sacrifices depicted in these movies as a part of their job. And the problem with such a mythology is that proponents are not above manipulating the facts to discover putative 'real world' examples. eduwonkette, eduwonkette, August 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

A Professor's Mooning Captured On YouTube
More evidence of how YouTube takes an incident that would have formerly been nothing more than a local curiosity and turns it into a global phenomenon. Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 15, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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