Joho the BlogSeptember 2006 - Page 3 of 7 - Joho the Blog

September 21, 2006

A marketing idea while standing on yet another airport security line

If an airline offered a High Risk Flight on a plane where they just waved everyone through security, I’d consider taking it.


Things I learned about Glasgow at dinner

It’s a college town, with three of ’em, including one founded in 1451.

It is becoming the arts center of Scotland, even thought that other city has the big festival.

The architectural styles are highly mixed.

The museums are free because they belong to the people.

The grain silos are closed, but the city is on the upswing.

The Wellington memorial statue in front of the Museum of Modern Art always has a traffic cone on its head.


September 20, 2006

Educational blogging

After my presentation at the Scottish Learning Festival, I wandered into a bloggy-wikiful session—TeachMeet—in a very warm room, but with wine. I walked in on a demo of JumpCut, an online video editing program that lets people share clips. It looked very cool.

Next an English teacher talks about transposing “process writing”—students commenting on students—into blogs with coments. (It might be a good use of the document commenting system at

Another 7-minute presentation is on using Flickr’s annotation tool in a classroom. Why in the classroom reenactment of a Viking raid does one child not havea shield? Because he has a two-handed axe. He points to as a fun site for kids.

A couple talks about Kids Connect, an island in secondLife for kids. There they taught basic Second Life skills, including script pet rocks with sounds.

(Damn. The bloggers and Net geeks are going out to dinner but I’m committed to a speakers’ dinner. Oh well. That’ll be fun, too.)

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NewAssignment off and running

Retuers has funded Jay Rosen‘s NewAssignment. Should be interesting! [Tags: ] (I should probabaly note that I’m on NewAssignment’s oinformal advisory board, I believe.)

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Deval Patrick!

I’m at a snack table in the back of the exhibit hall at the Scottish Learning Festival checking my email, so I learned about Deval Patrick’s huge win — in the Democratic primary for governor of Massachusetts — from email from Freedom to Marry, an anti-discrimination-in-marriage group. Patrick won big. That’s fantastic news.

By the way, this is also a win for Internet politics. Patrick ran a grassroots campaign that’s making smart use of the Net. Plus, he’s been more direct and more human than candidates often are, which, right or not, I take as being part of the Net ethos. Patrick is going to stir up some powerful enthusiasm in this state.

Also by the way, the size of his win accords with what the polls predicted, which is noteworthy only because I’m told that poll numbers for African-American and women candidates typically are higher than their actual votes because people lie to pollsters not to expose their racial and gender biases. Not this time, though.

Go Deval! [Tags: ]


Global Voices on the Thai coup

Got yer citizen journalism right here. [Tags: ]

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September 19, 2006

The opposite of the Giant Zero

I’m sorry to be out of town for Doc’s Berkman talk. All I know about it is that it’s called “The Giant Zero,” which plays on Craig Burton‘s idea of the Net as a hollow sphere where all are an equal distance from all others (which Doc and I appropriated in World of Ends), and David Isenberg’s Stupid Network.

And since I seem to be in the mood for opposites, this reminded me of something that struck me—but I don’t know why—in James Gleick’s excellent biography of Newton. Among the mind-boggling list of Newton’s mind-boggling insights, Gleick mentions that Newton had to figure out the summed gravitational effect of all the particles that make up a sphere like the earth. Newton showed mathematically that the summed gravity pulls towards the center of the earth, which now seems obvious, and which accorded with the Aristotelian theory Newton overthrew. But I was struck by how not obvious it must have been to everyone except Newton.

Unrelated to Doc’s talk, I know. It’s not even a good opposite. But I am jetlagged enough to think it worth blogging random associations. (For example: I liked David Berlinski’s Newton’s Gift better than Gleick’s because Berlinski explains Newton’s steps slow enough for a humanities major to follow, although I certainly like Gleick’s.) Your randomness may vary.

Good night. [Tags: ]

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Welcome to Glasgow

I hitchhiked (hitchhook?) through Glasgow in 1971. Now I’m back and just spent a few hours wandering around down town. I am thus quite the expert.

I do love having these found afternoons when I can walk around in a city I don’t know. I think 80% of what we learn of a place we learn in the first half hour, although a serious part of the next 20% is undoing what we thought we’d learned in the first 80%.

I went to the Cathedral and had my usual dumb reaction. The stacking of the stones that must have seemed as close as human effort gets to miracles strikes me as cold and dark. I have to think my way into cathedrals, and, as a Jew, I lack some (a lot?) of the supporting structure. My appreciation, which is real, is abstract.

Then I wandered around the city center for a couple of hours. I had a veggie burger that was a deepfried patty of corn, peas and batter. I bought some books. (I seem to have been in a 17th-18th century science/philosophy mood these days.) I went into an “Everything for a Pound” store and resisted asking “How much is this?” It rained, it stopped, it rained, it stopped.

Now I’m at the SECC, a conference center, where exhibitors are hot-gluing together booths that are in every way possible the opposite of cathedrals.

Tomorrow I keynote the Scottish Learning Festival — 150 sessions, 800 session attendees and 6,000 people walking through the exhibit hall.I’m on immediately after the minister of education. I’m going to talk about the changes in authority and knowledge in this crazy, mixed-up ol’ world. And, given how much trouble I’m having understanding the Scots, I’m going to try to speak slowly on the principle of Symmetrical Unintelligibility of Accents.


September 18, 2006

Global Voices wins

Congratulations, mazel tov, and a smooshy kiss to the folks of Global Voices for winning a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism:

The Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism spotlight news and information that is more than multimedia journalism. They reward novel efforts to involve citizens actively in public issues, to invite their participation and create entry points that stir their imagination and engagement.

Sounds about right to me. (Here are the other winners. Congratualtions to them, too.) [Tags: ]

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My Internet bubble

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve done little except revise my book. All day, every day. Well, I’ve had a couple of events I’d committed to, including a keynote at the Scottish Learning Festival that I leave for tonight—I was supposed to be done with my revising by now—but basically I’ve been head-down in my book.

Which means I haven’t had time to read other people’s blogs.

The blogosphere and its local eddies are often thought of as bubbles, little hermetic worlds unaware that there’s a bigger world with bigger ideas beyond them. But not reading blogs now feels to me like being in a bubble. I’m cut off. I don’t know what’s going on, what people are talking about, who’s on a high, who’s on a roll, who’s just keeping on.

The truth is that we humans always live in bubbles. While our ideas and ideals may strive for the universal, we are embodied locally. So, living in a bubble isn’t an objection; it is our condition. The question is whether we seek to expand our ideas and—more important—our sympathy or we think our local bubble is the one that’s figured it all out (as per Mel Brooks’ immortal caveman anthem: “Let ’em all go to Hell, except Cave Seven”). Even the best intentioned of us still live locally—damn bodies!—so we’re talking here about trying, about a dialectic, about a failed awareness. But, that failure keeps our bubbles honest.

I look forward to breaking out of my bubble of self-involvement pretty soon now. I hear it’s been a mild September. [Tags: ]


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