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by Stephen Downes
December 26, 2007

MUD in 15 Lines of Ruby
My internet life began with MUDs. They were a bit more complex than this MUD, written in 15 lines of Ruby. Though I think it's cheating to require the user to create his or hr own YAML file. why, Red Handed December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Build Tiny Rich Text Fields with NicEdit
This is neat: a way to insert a WYSIWYG editor into standard text editing fields, using only Javascript. Michael Calore, Monkey Bites December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

My Objection to Learning Objectives
Cammy Bean says that instead, we could "provide some meaningful and memorable experiences using interactivity, graphics, animation, and storytelling." raising the question: if we don't tell people what they've learned, have they learned it? Cammy Bean, Learning Visions December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do
Dangerous things my parents let me do (not always knowingly): climb very tall elm trees, ride my bicycle to communities many kilometers away (I once made it to Cassleman with my brothers, a ride of some 20 miles), build bows and arrows, hitch hike (as I did going home from work at the race track very night for a year), launch rockets (one of which flew), build and float on rafts in the creek, use knives and axes while winter camping. I was also taught, as in this talk, to fend for myself, to have a healthy respect for things like fire and electricity and such, and to have known some element of risk in my life. For the better. Gever Tulley, TED Talks December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

How Babies Build a Picture of the World
Do people learn by forming 'rules' inside their head? I have argued on numerous instances that they do not. This is not always evident from the scientific literature, though. As Dave Munger summarizes in this post (originally from 2006, which is before I started reading his blog), in some cases infants appear to form rules. However, as I argue in the comment attached to the post, the evidence for a 'rule' depends as much on how the experimenter interprets the result as it does on what goes on in the infant's head. This is important because it shows that the same experimental results can be viewed in very different ways, which means that we must assess the scientific literature carefully. Dave Munger, Cognitive Daily December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Nintendo's Own Study Show Wii Not So Great As Exercise
I'm somewhat disappointed to read this. That still won't stop me from getting a Wii. As one commenter notes, "Playing the Wii is clearly not a substitute for real exercise. However, it's definitely better exercise than 'normal' gaming." The study was paid for by Nintendo, which definitely increases the company's cred with me. As TechDirt notes, 'Perhaps we've just become so cynical about corporate "studies" like this in the past, that it's relatively shocking to find one paid for by a company that shows the opposite of what the company probably hoped to see -- and then to still see that study actually published somewhere." Unattributed, TechDirt December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Evolution Is a Blind Watchmaker
Interesting video demonstrating a computer program that emulates the random generation of accurate clocks from a pile of clock components. This was the first time I had seen this particular response to the teleological argument for the existence of God (aka, the argument for God as watchmaker) and what was interesting to me was the way computer programming and video were combined to crate a compelling case in a way that would have been almost impossible in written text. cdk007, YouTube December 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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