OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 29, 2010

Stephen Downes, Flickr, September 29, 2010.

I'm in Berlin - photos here, and as always, I really recommend the slide show version.

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Comic Help
Various Authors, Desire2Learn, September 29, 2010.

This is one of the things I never expected to be in life... a comic book hero. Oh, and unlike ordinary mortals, I can fold a piece of paper more than seven times!

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Chance favors the connected mind: Steven Johnson on invention
Alex Reid, Digital Digs, September 26, 2010.

Chance favours the fortunate. Any other discussion of chance is really an examination of hidden causes, and not cance at all. Steven Johnson, for example, says chance favours the connected. But what he really means is that by being connected people obtain better result sthan by not being connected. The cause of this is not chance, but the connection. Calling it 'chance' just appears to the 'luck' theory of causation. Of which - as Las Vegas has proven to its eternal profitability - there is no such thing. Just probabilities.

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Seven Wonders, Vannevar Bush, and NMFS_F10
Gardner Cambpell, Gardner Writes, September 26, 2010.

This is a really important point: "The networked seminar is not, or not just, a set of nested self-similar iterations of the same idea." For one thing, "one may find that the inner or "smaller" nodes are actually every bit as large as the complete aggregation, and in many cases even larger." Now this is a difficult thing to visualize if you think of networks as though they were like collections of physical objects. I experience this a lot when reseraching online - and pretty much anyone has had the experience of following a simple link only to find oneself being led down the rabbit-hole, never to return. The main discussion turns out to be a small branch of the offshoot to the main discussion!

I wouldn't say it's all weird - it's just topology - but it sure is interesting. Campbell writes, "Bush's idea of folded-in-associative-trails gets at this phenomenon, though he doesn't explore it as fully as I'd like. For me, this folding-within, up and down the scale until scale itself acquires paradoxical meanings, is where the going gets really, really good. I mean quantum good."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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