Joho the Blog » 2011 » June

June 30, 2011

Nice people make life better.

My MacBook crashed hard today after installing an Apple update. I couldn’t even boot it from the spare boot disk I had with me; I got the slash-through-circle sign upon booting. Nor could I boot into single-user or safe mode. I couldn’t boot into any stinking mode.

So, I got the name of the nearest Mac store in Madrid and walked there. But they don’t do anything technical, so they sent me 6km away to a small Mac tech shop where two young men put up with my broken Spanish. They ran a test or two, and told me that my drive was shot. (I think it was probably cause by a bad interaction with the PGP software Harvard has guarded my drive with; it sometimes doesn’t like updates to the OS.) Because I’m traveling, I agreed to let them do a complete OS reinstall, wiping out all my data. (I have my current files on DropBox, and have a TimeMachine restore back in the office.) They got right on it, even though they undoubtedly had other jobs in the queue. I went for a lovely 34 minute walk, and came back.

My drive works. I’m restoring what I can off of my mini HD. And the lads charged me $0. Not because of AppleCare, but because they’re nice.

You can find these friendly, helpful, kind people at Univsersomac, Orense, 69 (entrance on General Varela, 38) in Madrid. +34 91 188 88 23.

Say hello for me.


June 29, 2011

[ftf] Nitin Nohria

Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School, talks about what education is for.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

He had never been out of India when he got accepted to MIT. Plus he got a fellowship, or else he would not have been able to go. Education opens up opportunities in ways people could not even imagine.

What words to you hear when you hear “HBS,” he asks? Audience: elite, rich, case method, leadership, lehman brothers…

The case method is the idea most associated with HBS. But it took 20 years to evolve that method. What can we do in our second hundred years? The school is in a good place. The program is strong. Enviable applicant pool. Strong placement record, even in bad times. There’s a natural engine of innovation in the case method: they write 300 new cases per year. New faculty come in. New courses, etc.

Why the case method? It’s close to life. It’s real problems. “If you were in the protagonist’s shoes, what would you do?” You learn why you think differently from others. Over 2 yrs, students will have been through 500 cases. Problem-solving becomes a habit. You get good at collaboration, communication. “Our alumni think of the case method as developing a meta-capability.”

A few years ago, HBR wrote cases about 7 different business schools, and researched 200 others. They found business schools generally agree that their task is teaching knowing what it means to be a leader, translating that knowing into doing, and getting over the gap between doing and being (i.e., how you are being experienced). HBR has been asking how it can do better at the “being” component. So, it’s creating the field method in addition to the case method. It puts student in the “field” in a small group (about 6). Students will be the protagonist, rather than stepping into someone else’s shoes. They are presented with a scenario, and must take action, and then reflect on the action and outcome. Students should be in about 10 different situations by the time they are graduated.

Also, all students will have to build a venture that they can launch in eight weeks. In teams. The school expects one third to fail at this; those students can then either join one of the surviving teams or write a case about a team.

The key is to have a method. That’s why the case method works. In 7-8 years, Nitin hopes a method for field exercvises will emerge.

The case method needs an amphitheater; try running it in a flat classroom and it won’t work. The field method will have an architecture based on hives. The instructor will be at the center of the room.

Q: What percentage are involved in social entrepreneurship programs?
A: 8% . Last year, 9% of graduating students went into social enterprises.

Q: You spend a lot of time on the how, not on the what.
A: We have no innovation on the “what.” There are plenty of people doing field studies. If there’s anything new, it will be in the “how.”

Q: BTW, a lot of what you’re doing are what’s happening in middle schools. What about the design process?
A: We’re not sure. That’s why in the Harvard Innovation Lab we’re creating a space to think about this. We’re also working on cultural entrepreneurship. By doing all that, hopefully we’ll discover something. (Students are the best innovators. They don’t always know what they’ve done.)

Q: Aren’t you inventing a formula for making MBA education even more expensive?Why not put Michael Porter online? Also, how will you help students reflect on what they’ve learned?
A: Lots of other schools offer lower-cost educations. Second, the reflection will happen after every encounter. We don’t yet know the precise methodology of the reflection cycle.

Business leaders often suffer from moral over-confidence. People think they won’t even be tempted to do anything immoral. People are more over-confident about their morality than about their intellectual abilities. It’s important for HBS to address this.

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[ftf] Four tables

We’re divided into four groups. I get assigned to Kurt Squire‘s, who works on games for edu at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Ann Arbor.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

What can we learn from games about transforming education? As technologies of change emerge, his group thinks about how to engage the public in a conversation about them? The write games that try to make discovery visible. “We want people to experience the thrill of discovering something new,” and then, having discovered them, have the public participate in science.

E.g., Virulent for the iPad. Design viruses that will carry medicine throughout your body.

Another example. Anatomy ProAm lets you role play being a doctor saving people. There’s 17% variation in diagnoses of breast cancer, and a 3-4x variation in cervical cancer. Doctors don’t like to admit this. This project was intended to make them more open to discussing the variances in diagnoses with their patients. Imagine getting not a second or third opinion, but two million opinions. The crowd wouldn’t replace the doctors, but aims at helping them. The game has four audiences: children, people in medical training, radiologists and doctors, and the general public. In the game, you get symptoms, and you train beams through the body. The game has been shown to improve understanding of radiology, knowledge about what’s difficult about radiotherapy (you have to avoid frying healthy tissue), about treating cancer, etc. It increased students’ interest in being doctors.; this was especially true for girls.

The next step is to make this multi-player. They’ve started a Facebook game. You’re given a case. You assemble a team of online FB friends. You chat. You submit your diagnoses.

Game communities are not age segregated: In WoW, the elderly and the young play without regard. Curtis imagines professional medical folks playing with kids and the general public. This is the power of games: Get people to engage authentically while spanning demographics, ages, etc. Also, by playing in FB, the game can know a lot about you. It should enable peer ratings, e.g., doctors say that this 14 yr old knows a lot about anatomy. Public assessments will be controversial and will stimulate discussions. In fact, you will be able to roll your own assessments.

We talked about Curtis’ session. The investment in agency is powerful, we agreed.
Now we go to new tables where we summarize what went on in each of our tables.

Table 1: Neurological discoveries. There’s a correlation between how the brain works and how you learn. If a kid has dysgraphia, you can give the kid exercises that change neural pathways. Adding a gambling-based point system stimulates dopamine and learning. It’s not competition so much as the knowledge that there’s a chance you might get it wrong.

Table 2: Conrad Wolfram talked about the ability to create manipulable mathematical knowledge objects. That should change how we teach math. We waste time teaching computation. We should teach how to translate problems into math and how to interpret the results; the computation is the least important part of it. But, someone objects, we embedded these mathematical models into the financial system without knowing the computations underneath them. Response: The problem was in building the models, which Conrad would like students to become more adept at; he is advocating that they don’t need to do the computations themselves by hand. But the countries that do best on the international tests are the ones who drill on computation. Because that’s what get tested? Because it develops high order skills?

Table 3. Stanley Yang presents a biosensor device to wear on your head. It tells you whether you’re concentrating or bored, which problems are challenging, etc. The biofeedback can be integrated into learning. E.g., language learning: It won’t tell you what the Korean word for an object in the room is unless you are actually concentrating on the object. Is there evidence of the results? It’s very early. They are developing it for games, too.

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[ftf] The offers

Kiran Sethi, founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, says that even when our school systems fail, we continue to support them. She shows a video: When children do good, they do well: They are engaged with their community, and are out-performing India’s best schools in math and science. She has also influenced her city to create spaces for children, via her “Apoch” project: A protagonist in every child. “The city becomes a playground” providing events for children, for free. A clean up the parks campaign. Four cities, 50,000 children. Then “the world’s largest Design for Change” challenge: Feel, imagine, do, share. They have a curriculum and a toolkit. In 30 countries, 350,000 children are saying “I can” to cleaning up beaches, preserving tribal cultures, ending bullying…

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

VanDyck Silveira, CEO of IBMEC in Brazil. IBMEC is a business school branching out to be come a tech school. 80% of the world’s educational expenditures go to university students. Only 20% of funding goes to primary education. The poor end up financing the rich. Only 20% of Brazilians go to university. But, over the past twenty years, Brazil has developed a flourishing middle class. The less advantaged social classes have been mainly responsibly for the growth in higher ed in the last decade. IBMEC is a for-profit organization that has focused on quality rather than educating masses; it scores very highly in gov’t metrics.

Gordon Freedman [ pdf], VP at Blackboard, thinks about systems change. Blackboard has 5000 institutional clients. He speaks with educators in many countries and finds that we’re all in about the same place. “There are very few outliers in education.” The world of work and the world of kids have changed, but education is still basically the same. What’s now poised to make a difference? Neuroscience and the science of learning; computational modeling and simulation; information science and tech; knowledge economy and information society. Gordon Freedman crowbars educational change into three levels: traditional (work within the system); transitional (work around the system); transformational (Make a modern system). He says most of the people in this room are in the transitional system. Gordon wants to ask the transformational question of how we can make difference by bringing in people from outside of education. We should be moving from the industrial, institutional model, to an informational, individual model.

Funding education out of taxes no longer works. Schools are in deficit. We need organizations to look at the alternatives. New networks, peer learning, new knowledge, etc. “Everyone assumes there is a fourth grade or a sixth grade. Why is that?” Why aren’t we redesigning education with all of the leading resources available around the world; we need to break out of the education circle. And why aren’t we redefining students as capable young people who can participate in building a new education system?

Q: Kiran, where’s your funding come from?
A: Design for Change is open source software available to all.

Q: VanDyck…?
A: We have our own campuses and franchises that partner with excellent schools.

Q: Gordon, what is Blackboard’s business model?
A: We’re licensed by schools. We’re changing from looking at the classroom as being the basic unit to looking at the student as the basic unit.

Q: You said 18M Indians are in college. We need new models if we are to scale up.
Kiran: Until now, the gov’t focused on access to ed. Now we’re working on retention. One size won’t fit all. We need many models.

Q: If we make a new system, what should it look like? We all agree that the top down hierarchical model isn’t working anymore, and that private and public should coexist. But what about focusing on classrooms vs. individuals. We need a way to learn across and between levels. We can’t design the future, but we need to create an architecture for learning.
– Higher ed has dropped the ball. [A “-” indicates a change in speakers]

Shia Rashef is asked to talk about the University of the People, an open, online basically free university. (The students pay for exams: $10-$100, depending on the country.) They have 1,000 students, and 2,000 professor volunteers.

Q: We shouldn’t narrow ourselves to the future of the educ system instead of the future of education. Basic skills will probably be learned outside the schoolhouse. The educational system is failing men in so many societies [?].

Q: Education for what?
Gordon: Strong curious minds.
Kiran: More design thinking, incoroporating diversity
VanDyck: Creating leaders, people with free minds, entrepreneus

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[ftf] Joel Klein

Joel Klein, former Chancellor of NYC Schools and now with News Corp.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

He begins by noting that he doesn’t think an innate desire to learn drives us all to everything we need to learn. He had no interest in physics until a great teacher got him interested.

He says K-12 is broken. It’s broken for yesterday’s challenges, and certainly for tomorrow’s. The US is getting a porr return on its education investment. From 1970 until now, we have 60% more teachers in the US. But scores on reading, math, and science are flat lines. Any business would shut this down. Only 35% of students leave HS ready for college. Internationally, we are way at the bottom, including countries that spend way less than us. He recommends we read The Race Between Education and Technology. We are not producing enough students qualified for the work force. How can develop a disruptive delivery system that will get the kids the skills they need?

The system now is designed entirely wrong. It’s top down. The Chancellor decides on class size, e.g. Why can’t the schools decide that? There’s accountability at the top: You dance to the tune of the politicians and the unions. The worst part of his job was, he says, to be in an environment that did not constantly strive for excellence and that did not embrace innovation. So, he built it on local accountability: every school got a letter grade so that parents would be disruptive. The grades were based on where they were. He shut down 100 schools out of 1200. He opened up 400 competition-driven HS’s + 100 new charter schools. Seniority, lifetime benefits, lockstep pay all work against excellence. He created innovation zones. This has resulted in higher scores. (He gives an example: He came across a student who was texting his tutor in Mumbai who was more focused on him than was his local teacher.)

From his slide:

  • Schools must become intelligent, data driven and accountable.

  • Contents must be digitized, highly engaging, accessible, and flexible. Games work, for e.g.

  • Learning by extend beyond the classroom.

  • Education must be highly customized. Change the ways, the pace, the differentiation. Not diff content for every kid.

  • Human capital must be dramatically redefined. In the past we’ve bet on the quantity, not the quality of people. Instead we should find where the most effective changes would be.

He ends by citing a WSJ article calling for a move away from the manufacturing model, that could lead to having half as many educators (!), smaller schools, higher graduation rates, and test scores.

Q: Spain’s scores are lower, but there is less of a sense of urgency.

Q: I agree with your solutions, but I analyze the problems differently. The US health care system is actually performing worse than schools, but we don’t use the rhetoric of shutting it down. The causes are underlying poverty, etc.
Q: In Britain, the best marks come from Chinese students on school lunch programs, so the argument from poverty is weak.
Joel: NY and Boston poor kids are way ahead of the same in Detroit and LA. It’s not poverty. It’s education. I talk about shutting things down because we have a monopoly provider. Nobody would agree to placing their kid randomly in a NYC school; everyone wants choice. It’s the poor who don’t have it.
– The real issue is fairness.
– The skills divide is going to kill us.

Q: Three massive, broken industries are heavily unionized. How much of the massive failure of the ed system is due to the unions?
A: There’s no doubt that that’s an important part of it. Monopoly providers are self-interested. A choice model would protect people.

Q: It’s not just the unions but the broader mass-production system. Higher ed is highly competitive, but lives within rigid, top-down, hierarchical systems. It’s not poverty but the infrastructure of mass systems.

Q: In the next sessions, how can we look for political will without a leader?
A: A long discussion over drinks…

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Education Pecha-Kuchas

This is a PechaKucha session: Each presenter talks to 20 slides, each for 20 seconds, run on a timer.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Patrick Newell begins. The Japanese educational system worked well post-war but now it is forcing children into doing mindless work to prepare themselves to enter an elementary school or higher school. The school system does the basics well. But they’re declining, in part because of the unions, aging boards of education, male-domination, and an inability to fire teachers. The power of the red marker: they’re so afraid to make mistakes. E.g., Japanese kids rank lower on spoken English than, say, Koreans, because they worry about making mistakes. Japan is torn between advancing into the globalized world and focusing on unity. Japan tends not to change, except in response to disaster. How does Japan move forward? Through inquiry, curiosity, getting past being exam-driven. Their economy demands that they be more creative. It has to go from focusing on the “sage on the stage” to empowering the learner. Neural science is confirming what we’ve always known: really being connected with all five senses helps us learn. Also, give students the digital tools, an end goal, and get out of the way. Japan needs to learn new means of assessment. Multiple intelligences: Japan could be strong in collective intelligence.

Dali Yang, prof of political science at U of Chicago and in Beijing. China has undergone massive changes in science and tech in the past 30 yrs. The number of college grads is going up steeply, starting in the new millennium. Chinese gov’t investment in sci and tech is becoming a much greater percentage of GDP, although lower than in the US. Citations and patents are also increasing rapidly; its share of patents has more than doubled. But the expansion of college grads has devalued the degree; many grads find it hard to get a job. This has invited growing interest by foreign companies,educators, and investors. Many western universities have low-intensity commitments in China. But some universities have full-fledged campuses in China. New models of collaboration are beginning to emerge: registered entities that offer a wide range of offerings, but not degrees. U of Chicago is in the business district of Beijing. In Beijing there are 750,000 college students. A symbol: U of Chicago is returning to China a raptor skeleton it had stolen from China. He talks about some initiatives, e.g., programs about copyright, political economy. Another symbol: The arts program. U of Chicago is quite committed to this and to expanding it. But, while college intake has increased, the number of Chinese children is declining; this has implications for the educational system.

Sridhar Rajgopalan asks why with all our progress, our educational systems are not getting better and better. The learning levels for the very poor are very low. Sridhar has tests that enable benchmarking that start conversations about whether students are really learning, rather than resting satisfied that more students are in school. There is mechanical learning, but not a lot of understanding. Sridhar’s group develops sheets for teachers to help them teach children basic ideas that they are missing. They also have in-school communication programs. Most important, it helps them analyze why the misconceptions happen. E.g., students think the largest angle is the one with the longest arms. “MindSpark” is a “personalized adapative learning tool.” “The real power of tools like these will come not from animation but intelligence.” Students who make different mistakes are guided through different thought processes. The aim is to provide personalized education at scale. Results: All children benefit, but the weakest students benefit the most. This is only on partially about tech. It’s mainly about the science of learning: How do students learn better. Interdisciplinary. It’s important to develop a body of systematic knowledge: When children are learning, these are the misconceptions, this is how to detect it, this is how to correct. .

Diego Sanchez de Leon, Head of Talent and Organization Performance at EALA Accenture. He sees the integration of work and learning. Learning will be continuous, on demand, just in time, integrated with work. Learning will be contextual, embedded in what we do every day. Individual leadership. This applies better to technological learning than to behavioral learning. We need to reach a balance between the two. This means more of a demand output. People need to have the mindset to learn. That means self-management, self-awareness, self-assessment. They need multi-channel blending and choice; e.g., some people like to listen to books when they drive, others don’t. Unit duration is going down: from weeks of learning down to seconds. That gives us a sense of continuous learning. Learning is collaborative, and we need to learn how to measure that. There will be more transparency of value of skills vs. cost. We need to get better at balancing rights and obligations. We may well see the same amount of spending spent on fewer people. We need to master multiple content resources. We need a common design method and tools for developing learning areas. The shift in investment will go to learning and experience and less to developing materials. Finally, we will reuse everything on the job for learning. The aim is to increase our assimilation capacity: our ability to do things.

Discussion: Chris Meyer, our host, asks: What did you respond to positively?

– Personalization, mass customization of ed via technology

– People assume that we need to get away from the factory model of education. Was the factory model so bad? It created mass literacy and numeracy, homogenous population. If you move away from it, you risk the base knowledge that makes innovation possible. We have seen rebellions against the factory modely since the beginning of the 20th century, which has led to huge failures among poorer children and has broadened inequality.
– I have a lot of evidence that the factory model leaves behind poor learners. Do you have evidence?
– Yes. In Britain. Private schools that have continued with traditional models have completely dominated the progressive schools that have emphasized individual learning. The history of 20th c England is the proof.
– During the industrial age, mass ed worked. We’re in a different context now. We’re in a different era.
– The rates of people going to college in the UK are flatlining because people are ill-served by the old model.
– Let’s stay out of the old trad vs. progressive ed debate. We’re in a new place. Mass edu is a type of instruction well-suited to some tasks, but there are times kids need another pedagogical style.
– Personalized is great, but we need to teach thousands of students
– We need a balance.
– As a Brit, I disagree with the causes of the failures of ed. Also, we need to contrast base knowledge with how to work things out. To what extent do we need to educate people with the base knowledge vs. the processing of that ed? Progressive teaching of traditional curriculum vs. transforming the curriculum because the subjects have changed.
– Fiscal austerity worldwide. Cuts to ed budgets. Even providing the basic needs is a challenge. But there are also special opportunities.
– Institutions focus on costs. I heard “free,” but free to whom? We are just reallocating costs.We have to convince decision makers that this is in the best interests of their constituents. Also, don’t ignore the “great number of feral people” out there. We need to civilize them.
– Times have changed. The nature of education and knowledge for our children is different, so ed has to be diff
– The basics are important. But the world has changed. This includes how you measure, especially for workers who are learning.
– Separate what we teach kids from how we teach them. Knowledge is being depreciated in ed. The teacher is not the only source, of course, but kids need to know algebra. What counts are not the techniques but the standards. So much has become “self-referential knowledge”: what does this mean to you, rather than mastering the skills.
– Hundreds of millions of people in the world are excluded from any kind of ed. Tech enables us to reach them. First let’s use what we have to deliver ed to those who have nothing. Also, looking at social networking: people are teaching each other. Why don’t we use it much more to bring it into education?
– The key thing is the individual learner.
– The factory model is not working in India. We need to build rigor into how we teach, and use the tech model too.
– How do you create excellent teachers. In the 19th c in France, they were educating great teachers. Now that’s gone downhill, especially in the lower grades. This is a problem.
– We’ve been working off of a scarcity model of knowledge. Instead of a push technology, we have students pulling knowledge to them. The goal of ed has to be some kind of balanced competency, but we’ve focused on the metrics of teaching rather than the metrics of learning. Also, we should have students at this event.
– 48% of US college grads never read a book again. Healthy human babies are incredible learning machines. We’re predisposed to learn throughout our lives. Students are learning every day although they may not find interesting what teachers are teaching.
– Many ideas people think are new are not. We’ve seen generations of experimentation. The amount of knowledge to acquire to enter the world is bigger than ever before. Self-direction has to be acquired. You have to learn to discipline yourself before you can be self-directed, and the factory model is required for this.

– How do you build collective intelligence?
Patrick Newell: Schools are about human interaction and collaboration. There’s as much value in that as in the content conveyed. Have students work within groups. Get the balance right between tech and human.
– [Note that I’m using a “-” to indicate a shift in speakers] Students are risk-takers. Edu systems are increasingly risk-averse.
– “Mass customization” is about modules, e.g., an algebra model. We need to be aware that there is some finite set of modules students need. We’re not talking about infinite number of ways of teaching something.

– We should be defining the user requirements.
Chris Meyer: We’re trying to understand: what does edu need to offer society going forward? How relevant is the history to this?

– If we listened to Diego’s presentation, we would rethink teaching.

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[ftf] Future Trends Forum

I’m at a small conference — about 40 people — that is considering what would be “an effective education for the 21st Century.” It is the 16th edition of the Future Trends Forum, sponsored by the Fundacion de la Innovacion, sponsored by Bankinter, in Madrid. It promises to be an intense day and a half.

The group’s organizers have agreed to live blogging. I’ll do the best I can, although it’s likely to be difficult.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Chris Meyer begins the morning. He quotes from Chris Dede about moving from industrial era education to preparing people for 21st century “work, citizenship and life.” What kind of new institutions might be created? Chris M. says this is more driven by demand than supply, especially as people live longer. During the conference, we’ll be looking at innovations in parts of the world where the institutions are not as firmly fixed, to try to get a glimpse of what might emerge.

I opened the morning with a ten minute talk reviewing the survey members had completed, and talking about knowledge as a property of the network. If I get a chance, I’ll post it.

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June 28, 2011

How much do you trust the Internet?

I love the Internet. I trust what I learn from it, or, more exactly, I generally trust my ability not to be fooled by it. But, like all of us (?), I have a limit.

For example, Google has a new service called What Do You Love? It’s mainly a marketing tool: Tell it something you love, and it will aggregate that term across many of the services Google offers: Send an email, find it on a Google Map, find Google Groups that mention it, etc.

So, I entered “Ted Kaczynski” (the Unabomber), and WDYL cheerfully created the online equivalent of one of those creepy walls of souvenirs that clinch a suspect as the crazypants stalker/killer in cheesy crime movies. I enjoyed it, anyway, even as I made a joke to myself about now probably being on a Homeland Security watch list.

But I realized that there were limits to what I would enter into the site for fear of government consequences: “I love terrorism.” “I love child porn.” I’m actually even nervous putting those sentences into this post as examples. (Granted, either would make for WDYL responses that are more disturbing than amusing.)

So, a part of me apparently believes that the government is watching. And that the government has no sense of humor.


June 27, 2011

E-eader ownership passes tablets

According to a Pew Internet & American Life study:

E-Reader ownership among U.S. adults age 18 and older doubled from 6% to 12% between November 2010 and May 2011, surging ahead of tablet adoption which stands at 8%, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Over this six-month period, e-reader ownership grew at a faster pace among Hispanic adults than it did among white or African-American adults, and there was considerable growth in e-reader ownership among college graduates, one-fifth of whom (22%) now own this type of device. E-reader ownership is also rising faster among adults under age 50 than is the case among older adults.

Overall, the highest tablet ownership rates are among Hispanic adults (15%) and those with household incomes of at least $75,000 annually (17%). And for the first time, men are slightly more likely than women to own tablet computers.

(And, yes, I am aware that my headline can be parsed quite differently.)

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June 26, 2011

Berkman Buzz

This week’s Berkman Buzz:

  • John Palfrey [twitter:jpalfrey] liveblogs the Future of Law Libraries conference: link

  • Derek Bambauer [twitter:dbambauer] discusses what new Internet censorship in the UK means for the US:

  • Berkman intern Joyce Neys [twitter:jn314] reviews the recent Hyper-Public Symposium:

  • Dan Gillmor [twitter:dangillmor] asks if ICANN is necessary: link

  • Ethan Zuckerman [twitter:ethanz] , the new head of the MIT Center for Civic Media, asks four questions about civic media:

  • Weekly Global Voices: “China: Attack on a #netfreedom Blogger”: link

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