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by Stephen Downes
January 18, 2007

EV1 Servers Has Merged With the Planet
OK, the important bit first: every email sent to me after about noon today has been lost. I am still having horrible problems with my email on my new server (which is otherwise performing magnificently). I guess the problems with email on Ensim X are well known - but Ensim's help pages are broken., and I can't access them. And my hosting service has just been acquired by some other company, which means that the people there have more important things to worry about than my email woes. Oh yeah, and they wiped all the old discussion forums, so links to solutions to problems no longer exist. Today's newsletter might reach you (it certainly won't reach me). I'm so tired of this, I just want it to be over. I have some really neat things I want to do - but I just cannot escape this hell. (Update: I just did a test mail and outgoing emails are being killed as well - so only RSS subscribers are seeing this). Various Authors, EV1Servers January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

"Half of all children are below average in intelligence." Strictly speaking, this is false. And like this misleading observation, the author's point will resonate: 'There is no reason to believe that raising intelligence significantly and permanently is a current policy option, no matter how much money we are willing to spend." The paean is, of course, for an elitist school system - money should not be spent helping children who simply cannot do better. The folly of this article (and the other two that follow: part two, part three, is the presupposition that intelligence is genetic. And that it is therefore the basis for discrimination.

Murray's position is not only factually wrong, it is morally repugnant. "The gifted should not be taught to be nonjudgmental; they need to learn how to make accurate judgments," writes Murray in part three. As though there were a contradiction in these two positions. As though it is wrong to say that making accurate judgments just means being non-judgmental, that it just means respecting the intelligence even of those branded, stupidly, as unintelligent. No person is a stone; no neural structure is immutable (death is the proof of that). Via Christian Long. Charles Murray, Opinion Journal January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Spin Tracker
Discussion of a deal by Technorati to include Technorati links in the press releases issued by P.R. Newswire. "It will apparently allow companies to very swiftly measure the impact of any release because any links to them in the blogosphere will be cataloged automatically." More to the point, it is essentially the treating of P.R. Newswire as though it were a blog. Which means an essential tripling of superfluous adjectives in the blogosphere. P.S. hard not to notice the United Business Media logo that accompanies the story - you can be sure that the press releases will be commented on by a flock of affiliated bloggers. Ian Delaney, twopointouch January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Fringe Journal
Haven't seen this before, but Susan Smith Nash (the E-Learning Queen) writes on assorted topics in this blog. The content resonates and sometimes haunts. I especially enjoyed her account of being (and not being) on the school pep squad. Also see her post on the meaning of 9-11 (aside: 9-11 has no particular meaning for me; the world did not change. We all expect Americans to get over it. I remember Pamela Wallen coming back from the U.S. in 2003 to tell us, "they're not going to get over it." I'm not sure people outside the U.S. can understand that - but this post helps). Finally, see the fictive voice she gives to Sylvia Plath. Susan Smith Nash, Fringe Journal January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Blogging Restructures Consciousness?
Following the links here will lead you on an interesting excursion, one that visits the MyDD direct democracy website, analysis of Snakes on a Plane, and which also visits the fascinating excerpts from Walter J. Ong's Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. The point of departure is a political blogger's realization that, "After two and a half years of virtually non-stop blogging, my perception of myself as a distinct individual has dramatically waned... I do not exist in the same way I once existed." His identity, he writes, has become subsumed by his blog. I have been overtly blogging since 1998, and writing online even longer. I don't know what it's like to think in writing, to think symbolically; my cognition is very much based around sound, the spoken word, and my pattern recognition is sub-linguistic, not even pictorial, but an intuitive grasp of non-representational relationships. This is probably what has drawn me to this form (and especially the short clips I like to write). But yeah, the form also turns around and reshapes me. Via Will Richardson. Ben Vershbow, if:book January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Montessori Goes Mainstream in U.S.
It's a bit lightweight, but it's a good introduction, and I didn't know this: "Katherine Graham, Jacqueline Kennedy, Julia Child, Anne Frank, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and creator Jeffrey Bezos all received Montessori educations." Vyju Kadambi, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette January 18, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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