Bookmarked ‘Spreadsheet towers’ populate every major city — and they’re becoming a major problem (ABC News)

Plenty of clever techniques to demolish exist. Some start at the base and work up, others in reverse.

The 40-storey Akasaka Prince Hotel in Tokyo was slowly demolished in 2012-13 using a technique where a cap was built on top of the building.

It was stripped floor by floor as the cap was lowered, so all the dust, mess and debris was contained and removed with no effect on the environment.

Buildings are wrapped in scaffold and protective fabric then literally dismantled in the reverse order to which they were built. In the process building waste can be recycled and reused rather than dumped.

Reverse building involves removing the glass, then the frames, taking off the wall cladding, then scraping away at the concrete and steel frames bit by bit.

Concrete is removed to expose the steel reinforcing bars, which are then separately removed and recycled. In the process unwanted material can be uncovered, like asbestos, which needs particular care in handling.

Norman Day discusses the process of un-building where outdated skyscrapers are progressively broken down and recycled.
Bookmarked Opinion | How Does a Nation Adapt to Its Own Murder? (nytimes.com)

Australia is going up in flames, and its government calls for resilience while planning for more coal mines.

Richard Flanagan warns about the threat to drought and bushfire ravaged communities, whether it be the cost of rebuilding or the case of omnicide where places become unlivable.
Building on a previous post, the question is how we the government respond?

If Mr. Morrison’s government genuinely believed the science, it would immediately put a price on carbon, declare a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects and transfer the fossil fuel subsidies to the renewables industries. It would go to the next round of global climate talks in Glasgow in November allied with other nations on the front line of this crisis and argue for quicker and deeper cuts to carbon emissions around the world. Anything less is to collaborate in the destruction of a country.

But the government is intent on doing nothing.

And to the names of those historic betrayers of their people — Vidkun Quisling, Benedict Arnold, Mir Jafar — perhaps one day will be added that of Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia who, when faced with the historic tragedy of his country’s destruction, dissembled, enabled, subsidized and oversaw omnicide, until all was ash and even the future was no more.

Bookmarked BUBBLE SHOWS (Bubble Laboratory)

Bubble Laboratory is a five star reviewed, award nominated theatre company that creates bubble theatre shows for families and children filled with colourful characters, exciting storylines and amazing morals to build a better world. Every year we create a brand new bubble adventure for the stage and travel all over the globe sharing fun and joy with bubble artistry.
We also do amazing Street Theatre Shows for festivals and events, cabaret shows for the grown-ups and workshops for kids who want to learn the magical art of bubbling too.

Bubble Laboratory performed at the Melbourne Zoo. My daughters were both captivated. Not only with the wonder of science within the performance, but the narrative which tied the performance together.
Bookmarked In serving big company interests, copyright is in crisis (Boing Boing)

One of the biggest problems with copyright in the digital era is that we expect people who aren’t in the entertainment industry to understand and abide by its rules: it’s no more realistic to expect a casual reader to understand and abide by a long, technical copyright license in order to enjoy a novel than it is to expect a parent to understand securities law before they pay their kid’s allowance.

Cory Doctorow provides a summary of a range of incidents that have led to copyright to being in a point of crisis.
Bookmarked Bushfires, ash rain, dust storms and flash floods: two weeks in apocalyptic Australia (the Guardian)

As the country lurches painfully from one extreme weather to another, residents are fearful of what they will face next

Kate Lyons reflects on the various extremes being experienced around Australia.
Bookmarked

Kelvy Bird has had a go at visualising the Australian bushfire crisis.
Bookmarked Do edtech apps keep student data safe? (Times Higher Education (THE))

Information collected from educational tools can be highly sensitive, and very valuable – triggering calls for learners to have more say in what happens to it

Anna McKie unpacks the place of technology in universities and how they treat student data. This includes thoughts from Ben Williamson, Neil Morris and Jesse Stommel.

via Ian O’Byrne

Bookmarked How the coronavirus started in China — and why that’s actually a saving grace (ABC News)

Despite the risk of “super-spreaders”, the emergence of new diseases in places like China is actually a saving grace.

China has an excellent system and massive capacity to investigate and control diseases, and the country’s response to recent disease emergences has been highly transparent, competent and effective.

Simon Reid discusses the coronavirus and why it is so significant.

It wasn’t that long ago that we had our last pandemic (the H1N1 virus in 2009, also known as “swine flu”) and less than 20 years since the 2003 emergence of SARS, another coronavirus that was highly lethal to humans.

The emergence of the “new” disease requires the virus to spill over or “jump species” from its reservoir into people. This event is complex and needs close contact, as well as a virus that can infect humans (not many animal viruses can).

To truly emerge, the virus then has to possess the ability to infect other humans (even fewer can do this).

This has me thinking about the 90’s film Outbreak.

Bookmarked Value beyond money: Australia’s special dependence on volunteer firefighters (The Conversation)

Australia’s rural firefighting organisations hold a special place in the nation’s heart. Part of what makes them so interesting is how they are organised and funded.

Michelle Cull discusses the roll of volunteer fire-fighters in Australia, how it is funded and where ‘donations’ actually go.
Bookmarked The Internet of Beefs (ribbonfarm)

If the relatively peaceful web of the 90s and aughts was about civilian eyeballs, the IoB is about mook-on-mook combat clicks, and is now entering its second decade

In this lengthy post, Venkatesh Rao makes the case for the ‘internet of beefs’, where the focus is on

A beef is a ritualized, extended conflict between named, evenly matched combatants who each stand for a marquee ideological position, and most importantly, reciprocate each other’s hostile feelings in active, engaged ways. A beef is something like the evil twin of a love affair. A beef must be conducted with visible skill and honor (though codes of honor may be different on the different sides), and in public view. Each combatant must be viewed, by his or her supporters, as having picked a worthy adversary, otherwise the contest means nothing. The combatants fight not for material advantage, but for a symbolic victory that can be read as signifying the cosmic, spiritual righteousness and rightness of what they are fighting for. So the conflict must be at least nominally fair, hard to call decisively, and open to luck, cunning cheating, and ex-post mythologizing by all sides, in terms favorable to their own champions.

These arguments are built around a feudal model of knigths, mooks and manors.

Mook manorialism is an economy based on axe-grinding. As the peasantry, mooks do more than fight other mooks. They are also responsible for keeping grievances large and small well-nursed and alive. Occasionally, through an act like whistleblowing or leaking of confidential communications, a mook might briefly become a named player in a particular theater of conflict, but the median mook is primarily expected to keep everyday grievances alive and fight under the glare of algorithmic lights when called upon to do so, unrecognized by history, but counted in the statistics and noticed by the AIs (senpAIs?).

The problem is that there is no way of ignoring or escaping this space.

If you participate in online public life, you cannot entirely avoid the Internet of Beefs. It is too big, too ubiquitous, and too widely distributed and connected across platforms. To continue operating in public spaces without being drawn into the conflict, you have to build an arsenal of passive-aggressive behaviors like subtweeting, ghosting, blocking, and muting — all while ignoring beef-only thinkers calling you out furiously as dishonorable and cowardly, and trying to bait you into active aggression.

It has come to define the modern web.

If the relatively peaceful web of the 90s and aughts was about civilian eyeballs, the IoB is about mook-on-mook combat clicks, and is now entering its second decade

The only way is to foster a new way of being.

We are not beefing endlessly because we do not desire peace or because we do not know how to engineer peace. We are beefing because we no longer know who we are, each of us individually, and collectively as a species. Knight and mook alike are faced with the terrifying possibility that if there is no history in the future, there is nobody in particular to be once the beefing stops.

And the only way to reboot history is to figure out new beings to be. Because that’s ultimately what beefing is about: a way to avoid being, without allowing time itself to end.

This is one of those posts which seemingly forces you to stop and reassess many actions and assumptions. Interestingly, it also inoculates itself against criticism.

One piece that I am left thinking about was my question of tribes from a few years ago.

Bookmarked Conservation scientists are grieving after the bushfires — but we must not give up (The Conversation)

Take the subspecies of glossy black cockatoos endemic to Kangaroo Island. Up to 80% of the area the cockatoos occupy has been burnt – but some survivors have been sighted.

Decades of work by researchers, conservation managers and the community had reportedly brought the cockatoos’ numbers from about 150 to 400. Without this extraordinary effort, there would have been no cockatoos to worry about during these fires, no knowledge of how to help survivors and no community of cockatoo lovers to pick up the work again.

Or take the southern corroboree frog. At Melbourne Zoo, a giant black and yellow frog guards the entrance to a facility where the species is being bred for release. This success is the result of decades of research into this highly imperilled species.

Stephen Garnett, Brendan Wintle, David Lindenmayer, John Woinarski, Martine Maron and Sarah Legge reflect on the impact that the fires have had species. However, they point out that the work that has been done has prevented it from being worse. With this in mind, they suggest that we need to recommit to the fight for recovery.
Bookmarked Is this what Dan Tehan means by ‘back to basics’? The Mparntwe Declaration by an author

Very little to nothing is new or visionary in the Mparntwe Declaration. Perhaps this is what is meant by ‘back to basics’? Rehash what has been said already with some minor changes to address political agendas and then wonder why our educational outcomes are not changing.

Melitta Hogarth compares the Mparntwe Declaration with the Melbourne Declaration and wonders where the improvements are.
Bookmarked Be careful with Seesaw by Written by sherrattsam (Time Space Education)

A friend of mine returned from Canada recently having been shocked by the proliferation of home-monitoring technology since his last visit and the number of his friends and family who now engage co…

Sam Sherratt stops to consider SeeSaw and the rise of digital documentation. He raises concern about introducing things because they are possible, rather than purposeful. He provides two key questions to stop and think about:

  • When we post something on Seesaw, what are we communicating about the type of learning we value?
  • When people see what we post, what will they learn about the type of learning we value?
Bookmarked Unity (adactio.com)

On the face of it, more unity sounds good. It sounds like more collaboration. More cooperation.

But then I think of situations where complete unity isn’t necessarily a good thing. Take political systems, for example. If you have hundreds of different political parties, that’s not ideal. But if you only have one political party, that’s very bad indeed!

There’s a sweet spot somewhere in between where there’s a base of level of agreement and cooperation, but there’s also plenty of room for disagreement and opposition. Right now, the browser landscape is just about still in that sweet spot. It’s like a two-party system where one party has a crushing majority. Checks and balances exist, but they’re in peril.

Jeremy Keith reflects on the release of the new Edge browser built on top of Chromium.
Bookmarked Opinion | We’re Banning Facial Recognition. We’re Missing the Point. (nytimes.com)

Today, facial recognition technologies are receiving the brunt of the tech backlash, but focusing on them misses the point. We need to have a serious conversation about all the technologies of identification, correlation and discrimination, and decide how much we as a society want to be spied on by governments and corporations — and what sorts of influence we want them to have over our lives.

Bruce Schneier argues that simply banning facial recognition is far too simplistic.

In all cases, modern mass surveillance has three broad components: identification, correlation and discrimination. Let’s take them in turn.

As Cory Doctorow summarises,

Schneier says that we need to regulate more than facial recognition, we need to regulate recognition itself — and the data-brokers whose data-sets are used to map recognition data to peoples’ identities.

Bookmarked How to choose good online content | eSafety Commissioner (eSafety Commissioner)

The concept of windows, mirrors and magnifying glasses has been used by early childhood development specialists including Chip Donohue, Kate Highfield and Warren Buckleitner. We have extended these ideas to how parents and carers can choose good online content for their children.

eSafety site talks about the use of windows, mirrors and magnifying as ways of considering the content which we engage with. This is another resource to support the discussion of screen time.
Bookmarked Cory Doctorow: Inaction is a Form of Action (Locus Online)

When the state allows the online world to become the near-exclusive domain of a small coterie of tech execs, with the power to decide on matters of speech – to say nothing of all the other ways in which our rights are impacted by the policies on their platforms, everything from employment to education to romance to (obviously) privacy – for all the rest of us, they are making policy.

Because inaction in the face of danger is a form of action.

Cory Doctorow argues that depending on the social media platforms to clean up the problem of moderation simply continues down the path of political inaction. Instead he argues that we need to demand a better internet

A restored internet is one that values pluralism (power diffused into many hands) and self-determination (you get choose which tech you use and how you use it). Achieving a pluralistic internet of technological self-determination will be a long process.

This is a part of Doctorow’s wider discussion of adversarial interoperability. It is also interesting to consider this alongside John Harris’ investigation of the punk rock internet.


Doctorow also recorded an audio version of the essay.

Bookmarked Inquiry in the mist – and midst – of troubling times.

In returning to our classrooms in the coming weeks we will need, in part, to trust that the learners will lead us – if we take time to listen. Of course we will need to make some plans, and think ahead about what and how to manage the opportunity and the challenge but if we plan too tightly (even with the best of intentions) we may miss out on the most important element in the inquiry process – tuning in to the thinking and feeling of the learners themselves in order to get gradual clarity about the best ways forward. So ask your kids – ask them for permission to have the conversation in the first place, ask them how they feel about talking about it and – if they want to – ask them to share their wonderings and allow yourself to ask “What does this reveal to me? Where might we need to go next?”

Kath Murdoch reflects on the Australian bushfires and the challenge of grief work. She provides a number of suggestions to support teachers, including staying open to possibilities, inviting students rather than assuming a position, think conceptually and take action associated with the situation.

Many of us feel more positive about challenging situations when we feel we are taking action – when we have some agency to make a difference.  Your students may wish to explore some of the many ‘actions’ being carried out by people within communities all around the world and be part of these,  This is a great time to make real connections with individuals, community groups, and organisations and empower your students through involvement in real projects.

This builds on Jackie French’s discussion of learning in the midst of tragedy.

Bookmarked Tram Sessions (YouTube)

Tram Sessions is a not-for-profit project that takes the joy of live music to Melbourne trams for your commuting pleasure. All sessions are filmed and uploaded to our YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy.

This is another YouTube channel, like Take-Away Shows, which focus on constraining performances to a particular space.
Bookmarked Google wants to kill cookies. Here’s what you should know (ABC News)

If you use Google’s web browser, the upcoming end of third-party cookies may be good for the security of your online information.

But overall, Dr Sikos said using Chrome remained “one of the worst choices when it comes to user privacy” because of the company’s own tracking.

Google monetises the activities of its users — whether on search, browsers or elsewhere — via its advertising business.

If you’re concerned about this, Dr Sikos recommends using a browser from a vendor with a reputation for not collecting user data for targeted ads, such as Firefox, as well as a reputable privacy protection (anti-tracking) plugin.

Ariel Bogle discusses the purpose of cookies, what impact banning third-party cookies will have and why this only strengthens Google’s market dominance.

If you use Google’s web browser, the upcoming end of third-party cookies may be good for the security of your online information.

But overall, Dr Sikos said using Chrome remained “one of the worst choices when it comes to user privacy” because of the company’s own tracking.

Google monetises the activities of its users — whether on search, browsers or elsewhere — via its advertising business.

If you’re concerned about this, Dr Sikos recommends using a browser from a vendor with a reputation for not collecting user data for targeted ads, such as Firefox, as well as a reputable privacy protection (anti-tracking) plugin.