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by Stephen Downes
August 4, 2008

Knol: Content W/Out Context, Collaboration, Capital, or Coruscation

danah boyd: "Knol looks like an abysmal failure. There's no life to the content. Already articles are being forgotten and left to rot, along with a lot of other web content. There's no common format or standards and there's a lot more crap than gems. The incentives are all wrong and what content is emerging is limited." danah boyd, apophenia, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

New Understanding of Biology
This is a very interesting post. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is that the view of biological mechanisms as depicted by flowcharts linking different physical components together is wrong. Rather, what the physical components do is to combine to form functional components, and it is the interaction between these that constitute biological functioning. Any given functional component may be made of any number of physical components; the physical components can be swapped in and out, replaced with other physical components. This view reflects what in philosophy is called functionalism, and based on this I would expect to see some refinements to the biological theory analogous to developments in philosophical theory, leading to a type of biological supervenience. Alex Palazzo, The Daily Transcript, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Lee Baber - Our Friend
I didn't know Lee Baber, but many people did, and have spoken up in memory of her life and her passing. "Lee Baber reflected all the things that make the Edtechtalk community a fantastic place to live and learn. She was fearless, forgiving and giving. She would spend hours trying to help people get to the places they wanted to go." Dave Cormier, EdTechTalk, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Associations Should Consider the MOOC
The Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course George Siemens and I are teaching at the University of Manitoba has attracted a fair bit of attention and a new title: the Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, with references in Beth Kanter, George Siemens, Bryan Alexander and Jennifer Maddrill. Also, responding to the course blog, Norman Constantine suggested that we use BlogTalkRadio for the audio portions of the course. So I have set up an account there and will be testing the service with a show on Friday afternoon - stay tuned for another announcement. J.T. Cobb, Mission to Learn, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Sharing Vocabilaries On the Web Via Simple Knowledge Organization System
According to the primer, "The Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) is a RDF vocabulary for representing semi-formal knowledge organization systems (KOS), such as thesauri, taxonomies, classification schemes and subject heading systems." This site provides access to talks (both PDF slides and MP3 audio recordings - good job) from the recent (July 21) conference on SKOS at University College London. Among others, Alistair Miles provides a good overview, and Bernard Vatant demonstrates the relationship between SKOS and OWL. Various Authors, International Society for Knowledge Organization, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Microsoft Research Launches New Tools for Knowledge Sharing
I've been using Word 2007 this past week to write an article (my first time using it) and while I find the change in commands disconcerting, I really like the citation feature - it's the sort of thing I always thought an open source application would develop first and better. Now Microsoft has added a set of tools, described in detail here, to support use by the scientific community. The tools include an application to add a Creative Commons license to the document.

The suite of tools is impressive. It includes a virtual research environment (VRE) to allow research teams to share data, an authoring tool to capture metadata during the authoring process, a hosted e-journal service, a repository, and a math add-on. Kaitlin Thaney, Creative Commons, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Rules Grammar Change
I just love this article in the Onion proposing a grammar change for the English language. Listen to the audio version to get a feel for the new syntax. Satire, of course, but what if...? Unattributed, The Onion, August 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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