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Archive for June, 2008

Misc. academy

Granted, I’m biased, but I’m enjoying a discussion kicked off by a terrific post by Cole Camplese about the inadquacy of standard content management systems, and how to miscellanize academic institutions. His thoughts were provoked by what sounds like a terrific Penn State conference.


AllVoices is a new site that lets anyone upload an “event,” which in other circumstances might be called a “news story.” The site enables the clustering of bloggage and msm coverage of the event in what looks like a useful way.

I like a lot about it. I just hope it doesn’t become the preserve of yet another homogeneous group, which is exactly what the site doesn’t want to happen.

(It could use tags. And, at the moment the registration process is broken.)


Livestream and chat on June 15

A new magazine, WE, is kicking off its lice chat series with a discussion with, well, me on Sunday, June 15, 5-6pm German time (= 11am to noon EDT, I believe), live from Hamburg. Ulrike Reinhart, Steffen Bueffel, and Soeren Stamer will lead the discussion. You can see it here.

Note: I arrive in Germany mid-morning that Sunday, so this will be a good opportunity to see my inner crankiness break through.

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Open education and Publius

Berkman’s Publius project keeps rolling along. There’s already lots of excellent stuff there, exploring how the Net is constituting its own governance mechanisms and norms. For example, today Peter Suber and Melissa Hagemann discuss open access, science, research, and education. But you can just browse through the topics and be pretty sure you’ll hit on something well worth reading.

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Seb Schmoller’s mother has been transcribing job titles recorded from 1836-1900. They include:

Tripe dresser, Purse maker, Boot closer, Comb presser, Pedestrian, Fluter, Hafter, Clock cleaner, Oyster dealer, Coffee roaster, Springer, Chaser, Tape printer, Cork cutter, Fleam grinder, Cooker, Comb buffer, German silver buffer, Horn turner, Gentleman’s servant, Comedian, Cow keeper, Anvil striker, Patent busk maker, Galvanist, Fibre dresser, Hair drawer, Paper ruler, Saw parer, Harness plater, Waterman, Sawyer of stone, Sugar boiler, Staghorn cutter,

Seb’s got a whole bunch more…

Debategraph has ambitious goals. It wants to provide a public, commons-based wiki where we can lay out the great political debates systematically, rationally, and calmly. The tool creates highly structured maps consisting of relatively atomized arguments. (The tool itself is pretty darn cool.)

I’m dazzled by it. I’m not convinced that debates can be commoditized the way knowledge can be, and I’m not convinced that debates won’t lose what’s really going on in them when they are forced into rational outlines, and I’m not convinced that debates are really about what they say they are, and I’m not convinced that the truly deep divides are actually debates. But, “I’m not convinced” means only that I don’t know what to think. More important, Debategraph gives us an infrastructure of some depth and power. We’ll figure out what to do with it. I hope.

Take a look. It’s damn interesting. (Thanks to Seb Schmoller for the link.)

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