Bookmarked Unfollowing Everybody by Anil Dash (Anil Dash)
Keeping in mind that spirit of doing necessary maintenance, I recently did something I'd thought about doing for years: I unfollowed everyone on Twitter.
Anil Dash discusses the steps he took to unfollow everyone on Twitter and start again. There are some interesting ideas in this piece, such as archiving a list of people you are following. Might be one to come back to.
Bookmarked
Stewart Riddle discusses the five steps, which every failing teacher can follow to improve not only their students’ test scores, but also their lives, relationships and financial success:

  1. Focus on the learner
  2. Teach them some stuff
  3. Check that they learnt some stuff
  4. Teach them some more stuff
  5. Enjoy your amazing new successful look

Here’s a testimonal from a ‘real’ teacher:

“I tried Learner-Based-Learning™️ in my classroom and it completely transformed me overnight!”

Bookmarked Can Reading Make You Happier? (The New Yorker)
So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”
Ceridewn Dovey takes a look at bibliotherapy and the act of reading as a cure. Some argue that readers are more empathetic, while others suggest that it provides pleasure, whatever the particular outcome maybe, reading has shown to provide many health benefits. As Kin Lane suggests, when in doubt, read a book.

As a side, the article opens with a nice description of reading:

In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself. As Woolf, the most fervent of readers, wrote, a book “splits us into two parts as we read,” for “the state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego,” while promising “perpetual union” with another mind.

Bookmarked Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags (Locus Online)
For 20 years, privacy advocates
Cory Doctorow provides a commentary on the current state of affairs involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Rather than blame the citizens of the web, he argues that the fault exists with the mechanics in the garage and the corruption that they have engaged with. The question that seems to remain is if this is so and we still want our car fixed, where do we go?

Marginalia

Cambridge Analytica are like stage mentalists: they’re doing something labor-intensive and pretending that it’s something supernatural. A stage mentalist will train for years to learn to quickly memorize a deck of cards and then claim that they can name your card thanks to their psychic powers. You never see the unglamorous, unimpressive memorization practice. source

The comparison between Cambridge Analytica (and big data in general) with the stage mentalist is intriguing. I am left wondering about the disappointment and disbelief in the truth. Sometimes there is a part of us that oddly wants to be mesmerised and to believe.


It’s fashionable to treat the dysfunctions of social media as the result of the naivete of early technologists, who failed to foresee these outcomes. The truth is that the ability to build Facebook-like services is relatively common. What was rare was the moral recklessness necessary to go through with it. source

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica raise the question of just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.


Facebook doesn’t have a mind-control problem, it has a corruption problem. Cambridge Analytica didn’t convince decent people to become racists; they convinced racists to become voters. source

In relation to the question of mind-control verses corruption, I wonder where the difference exists. Does corruption involve some element of ‘mind-control’ to convince somebody that this is the answer?

Bookmarked Flexible Classrooms: Research Is Scarce, But Promising | Edutopia (Edutopia)
Classroom flexibility, isolated from other measured factors, appears to be roughly as important as air quality, light, or temperature in boosting academic outcomes.
What is interesting about this report is that rather than discussing furniture in isolation, it is considered as a part of a wider conversation about learning and environment.

Flexible classrooms are successful because they go hand in hand with a change in pedagogy.

The impact of flexible spaces though can be almost incidental at times, as is with the case of Maths:

Flexible, welcoming spaces had a startlingly large effect on learning in math—73 percent of the students’ progress that was attributed to classroom design was traced back to flexibility and student ownership. The reasons are a mystery, but Barrett and his team hazarded a guess: Academic subjects that provoke anxiety—in math, that’s a known issue—are better addressed in classrooms that feel comfortable and familiar to students.

This speaks of agency as much as it does of the chairs in the classroom.

Bookmarked Survival of the Richest – Future Human – Medium by douglas rushkoff (Medium)
At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.
Douglas Rushkoff reflections on the desire of some in technology to escape the world. This touches on the notion of technology as a system. In closing he suggests that the answer is stop worrying about how you might inoculate yourself against tomorrow, but start building relationships today in part so tomorrow does not occur.
Bookmarked Throwing Our Own Ideas Under the Bus by Ross Cooper (Cooper on Curriculum)
As an elementary school principal, here’s the approach I’ve been taking with change: “Here’s what we’re doing, here’s why we’re doing it, and here are some of the ways I will support you!” Now I’ll be toying around with the idea of also proactively addressing the elephants in the room. Furthermore, we should allow for teachers and staff to respectfully and honestly discuss these obstacles, as opposed to us trying to sweep them under the rug. After all, flaws will be talked about in one way or another, and critical conversation that gives everyone a voice is preferred to potential venting in the faculty room.
Ross Cooper discusses the idea of putting your worst foot forward taken from Adam Grant’s book Originals. This involves trusting the idea at hand and starting with reasons why it might fail. Cooper suggests that this can be useful as it disarms the audience, critique involves effort, helps to build trust and leaves audience with a more favourable assessment. He also looks at this alongside Simon Sinek’s concept of ‘start with why’, highlighting the reason why and the challenges that might be faced. I wonder if the challenge in focusing on the why and why not is about finding balance? This reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s discussion of Generous Orthodoxy.
Bookmarked ISP Column - June 2018 (potaroo.net)
Huston's analysis steps through the seven layers in the OSI stack, beginning with changes in the physical infrastructure (massive improvements in optical signalling, more and better radio, but we're still using packet-sizes optimized for the 1990s); then the IP layer (we're still using IPv4!); routing (BGP is, remarkably, still a thing -- on fire, all the time); net ops (when oh when will SNMP die?); mobile (all the money is here); end-to-end transport (everything is about to get much better, thanks to BBR); applications (Snowden ushered in a golden age of crypto, CDNs are routing around stupid phone companies, and cybersecurity is a worse dumpster fire than even BGP) and the IoT (facepalm).
This report into the web is intriguing and interesting to compare with James Bridle’s discussion of infrastructure and the impact of global warming on things.

via Boing Boing

Bookmarked swentel/indigenous-android (GitHub)
indigenous-android - An app with extensions for sharing information to micropub endpoints and reading from microsub endpoints
I have started testing the alphas version of Indigenous on Android:

An app with extensions for sharing information to micropub endpoints and reading from microsub endpoints.

Here are my initial observations:

  • Connecting with Apeture: So far I have been unsuccessful with my efforts to connect to Aperture, although the display has changed.
  • Starting with a capital letter: One of the minor points I had was that responses begin with lower case, rather than a capital. On a desktop this is fine, but it can be frustrating on a mobile device.
  • Share Via: Sharing the native ‘Share’ functionality often adds the title and link into the link field. I have found this when sharing from Twitter and Inoreader.
  • There is no means of ‘cancelling’ a post. If you open the window to ‘like’ a post but then change your mind, there is no obvious answer for cancelling the action, as clicking ‘back’ has the same consequence as clicking ‘post’.

I am sure there are other things, but at least this is a start. Maybe I need to look at the issues on Github and add my issues there.