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by Stephen Downes
January 30, 2009

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and James Fowler
Here's the blurb: "Barabasi mathematically describes networks in the World Wide Web, the internet, the human body, and society at large. Fowler seeks to identify the social and biological links that define us as humans." Don't have time to watch the video? Neither did I. Read the transcript instead. Some good observations, like this: "Statisticians make the assumption that all the observations are independent in order to be able to calculate statistical significance... getting anything to work out in a closed-form model is nearly impossible if you assume that people are taking into account the preferences of other people." Via Clarence Fisher. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and James Fowler, Seed, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Duke Digital Initiative Into Its Fourth Wireless Year
The Duke iPod experiment started four years ago has a bit of a rocky start, but as morphed into the Duke Digital Initiative and is alive and well. "Really what we're offering students," says Zorn, "is the ability to customize their learning environment to fit their lifestyle and their learning style." Hamish, Educational Development Centre, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Academic Earth - Founder Richard Ludlow Answers Some Questions
Seb Schmoller asks Academic Earth founder Richard Ludlow the questions all of us have had on our minds. Like, where did the seed money come from? (Yale professors.) Will it ever become less American? (That's the plan.) How will you select the professors with 'great stuff'? (We don't know.) Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Non-Linear Uncourses - Time for Linked Ed?
"The notion of linear courses," writes Tony Hirst, "has just left the building.." Well, yes. And no. Yes in the sense that arranging one thing after another is no longer practical. No in the sense that people still progress through the world in time. Time is where the linear meets the non-linear. More very soon. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Chinese Students Know More Science Facts But Neither Group Especially Skilled In Reasoning
There is a certain lobby recently that has stressed the primacy of facts over reasoning. This article demonstrates the paucity of that approach. Unattributed, ScienceDaily, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How We Make Websites
Interesting presentation form the BBC on how they build websites. The methodology is based on the concept of domain-driven design, and builds up from the domain objects to their relation with the users to the piping in of data to the construction of a site around that data. Why is this approach important? Well, consider a simple little thing like caching: "Knowing what can be cached and for how long is a vital part of designing your user experience. Cache for too long and pages go stale. Don't cache for long enough and you send unnecessary traffic across the wires and place extra strain on your application." Caching isn't something you just just buy off the shelf: it has to be programmed into your web environment. And the need will vary depending on your content and your users. Viua Seb Schmoller. Michael Smethurst, BBC Radio Labs, January 30, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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