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September 26, 2013

Nobel laureate David Hubel studied visual perception
Denise Gellene, Globe, Mail, September 26, 2013


Another in the long line of Canadian-born and trained scientists and psychologists of perception, David Hubel studied the development of perception and cognition. He showed how neural networks rewire themselves to extract features from sensory data, such as vision; these features are later assembed to produce the perceptions we experience day to day. I studied Hubel's work while I was in graaduate school, and his understanding of visual perception was influential on my own thinking about learning and inference. Hubel died this week at the age of 87. Learn More.

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Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools
David Kravets, Wired, September 24, 2013


The content publishing industry is going after children with destructive and misleading propaganda, according to this report in Wired. Downloading Is Mean! "Cheating on your homework or cribbing notes from another student is bad, but not as bad as sharing a music track with a friend," paraphrases the article. "It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission," says Mitch Stoltz, an IP lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits." What is the most sad of all, I think, is that the industry thinks of education as nothing more than a propaganda tool.

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Be what you want them to be
Dean Groom, Playable ~ The Weblog of Dean Groom, September 23, 2013

My father worked days and often shifts, and I never forgot that he also took night classes at Sir George Williams University (it was a special thrill to give a lecture in the building where I know he studied, in what has become a part of Concordia). That's the sort of thing that leaves a lasting inpression - it wasn't what he studied, or even why he studied (I'm not sure he every actually needed the courses for anything), but the fact that he studied. It was worth his evenings to do this. Oh yes, and when my father introduced me to my first computer game - Empire - that was also something I remembered. For much the same reason. "Be the expert you’d like them to see. There’s are dozens of courses starting in October, all free, and all backed by University grade content. That will impress your kids much more than anything else." 

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The Dictator’s Practical Guide to Education
Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, September 23, 2013

Clarence Fisher has written the new and decidely tongue-in-cheek dictator's guide to education."Education is a two edged sword. You require your citizens to have academic knowledge about the world, but you do not want them to be encouraged to become intellectually empowered, curious and reflective of the life that they lead." Here's the associated blog post, if you want to report a typo or something.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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