by Stephen Downes
Jun 09, 2015
The Block Universe of Special Relativity
My old friend Mike Rochfort sent me this link after a discussion online about events today determining what happened yesterday. No, this is not revisionist history, it's an artifact of space-time. So what is space-time realism? "The basic idea of using the special theory of relativity to prove determinism is that time can be treated mathematically as a fourth dimension. This gives us excellent results for experiments on moving objects and explains the strange Lorentz contraction of objects in space and dilations of clock speeds for observers in fast moving frames of reference (coordinate systems)." I'm not a space-time realist - but that's only because I think none of it is real!
Mesage to OpenEd Community
University of Guelph,
The University of Guelph appears to have reconsidered its plan to trademark the term 'OpenEd'. It was not intended to compete with, um, OpenEd, but "it is evident that the various meanings of the term 'OpenEd' will be challenged to co-exist and therefore, the University of Guelph is taking steps to release the official mark in its entirety, although this will make the mark available for others to attempt to make it their official mark or to apply to register it as a traditional trade-mark." I think we understand that. And I would like to think the community will make a similar noise the next time it's tried (note that this item does not appear as a freestanding web page, but just a note punned to the 'News' page, and probably has a short lifespan).
Is Slack the new LMS?
Slack is a team communications tool. I've heard a lot of good things about it recently, though I haven't used it myself for anything serious (it's an enterprise tool, and our enterprise doesn't use it, so...). This article, by in Synapse, suggests that Slack would make an excellent LMS. "Slack is a team chat app that enables great communication and collaboration. What I like about Slack — when thinking about learning — is that it’s by default an active environment. No matter where you are in Slack you can write, post, share, comment and more. Discussion is not an add-on element buried deep within the course — Slack is discussion." So, OK, this article wins because it has the best gif ever depicting old-school learning. My big issue with Slack is that it is all about team, not network. It's about enterprise, not environment. It's something I would like to see work with a PLE, but it is manifestly not a PLE. See also: SlackEdu Slack Chat. Via Sean Connor, by email.
Apple News vs. Facebook Instant Articles: How they compare
A month ago I commented on the launch of Facebook's 'Instant Articles', in which news providers were encourage to publish directly on Facebook (this is a natural for a Facebook-only internet service as we see in the plans for Internet.org). Now Apple has announced a similar program. "As with Facebook Instant Articles, Apple suggested publisher branding in News would be strong. But Apple talked more about discovery and curation and stressed personalization in its presentation."
Messaging App Jott Is Blowing Up Among Junior High And High Schoolers
I'm not really sure how schools could block Jott, though I'm fairly certain they will try. The program sets up an off-grid mesh network that allows people (young teens in schools, mostly) text each other even then they have no data plan or internet access (this is very similar to the way the One Laptop Per Child set up interactivity in under-serviced schools worldwide). You could try to ban the application, but people can easily hide it. Cutting off wifi, internet or cellular signal access won't help, since the application sets up its own network. "Jott started testing the closed, or mesh network idea with a few select schools in March. That seems to have been the spark that led to a ginormous amount of growth for the startup. The effect was viral. Kids using the app in each school told their friends." They're now up to half a million users.
Richard Prince, Instagram 'ripoff artist,' has own art appropriated
So who is right here? We have an artist, Richard Prince, who appropriates images from Instagram, makes small changes to them, and then posts them in galleries as high-priced art. Some of the images came from the Suicide Girls Instagram account. So they ahve taken the Prince image, made some small chnages, and are selling it on their site for a fraction of the price. Irina Tarsis, the Brooklyn-based director of the Center for Art Law, suggests that Price may be able to make a case for infringement. "What Prince is bringing with his artwork is so strange, this change of context. Maybe nobody else can copy that," said Meyers. But to the Suicide Girls founder, right is squarely on their side. "By making these available, we're showing we still have power. We still own our images," she said.
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