Things tagged education:

Richard Feynman and the Connection Machine

W. Daniel Hillis for Physics Today at The Long Now Foundation:

One day when I was having lunch with Richard Feynman, I mentioned to him that I was planning to start a company to build a parallel computer with a million processors. His reaction was unequivocal, "That is positively the dopiest idea I ever heard." For Richard a crazy idea was an opportunity to either prove it wrong or prove it right. Either way, he was interested. By the end of lunch he had agreed to spend the summer working at the company.

Via Daring Fireball.

In the Garden with the Guru

Bob Rodgers essay in Literary Review of Canada:

A six-foot-high hedge separated me from the garden next door but not from its voices. It was my first Sunday morning in the house I sublet on Wells Hill Avenue by Casa Loma in Toronto. I couldn’t make out what was being said but one of the voices sounded familiar. I moved closer and parted the hedge just enough for a covert glimpse of my new neighbours. A middle-aged man was lying on his back in a hammock with a book held up vertically above his head as he read aloud. Next to him a young man sat in a deck chair with a book on his lap. The young man said: “Vico’s cycles.” The older man said: “Vicious Circles.” “Viscous cyclones,“ said the young man. I was awestruck. My God, I thought, I must be the only person in the world at this moment listening to what looks like a tag team reading Finnegans Wake. Later I learned I had been witness to a regular occurrence. Eric McLuhan and his father, Marshall, were reading at each other.

Via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate.

Urban Computing and its Discontents

Since the late 1980s, computer scientists and engineers have been researching ways of embedding computational intelligence into the built environment. Looking beyond the model of personal computing, which placed the computer in the foreground of our attention, “ubiquitous” computing takes into account the social dimension of human environments and allows computers themselves to vanish into the background. No longer solely virtual, human interaction with and through computers becomes socially integrated and spatially contingent, as everyday objects and spaces are linked through networked computing.

Conversation between Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard.

Go read, this is important.

Via Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond.

Beeb is in trouble

The BBC is in trouble, political and economic. So what do they do? Make huge cuts in personnel and spending. Problem is that nearly everyone agrees that the reason they are in trouble is the quality of their programs are not where they should be, and of course the cuts are going to doom them. Some are standing up and shouting, is anyone listening?

We have had a series of cuts which will make it impossible to do what we have done up to now if they continue in the way they are continuing... And we are told there is going to be another massive cut over the next five years. The problem is, the BBC is in a whole range of things, it has many television channels, many radio stations, an internet presence and the rest of it. Maybe we are at a time when strategic judgments need to be made. If money has to be spent on the whole digital switchover for example, and building office blocks in Salford and all the rest of it, then maybe instead of cutting everything salami-sliced, then maybe we need to make judgments about the sort of things that we do, and maybe that does involve saying, reluctantly, and I hate to say this because it has been a wonderful institution, maybe we need to say perhaps we should be doing less better.

Via cityofsound.

German Border Threat: Cheap Books

Posted by MICHAEL KIMMELMAN to NYT > Arts.

I called Rafael Corazza, director of the Competition Commission, to ask what he was thinking. “It’s not normal for one market to have special regulations,” he explained. “It was a cartel. The German and Swiss booksellers said it was for a good purpose — they made a cultural argument, but we are an economic commission. They said the system fosters a broader, deeper market for books, that discounting will hurt the small booksellers who support the small publishers, and then you will have fewer books and more focus on best sellers.”

Are they right? I asked.

“I’m not quite sure they’re completely wrong,” he said. “Nobody knows for sure yet. But nobody can read one million titles, so the question is, is it better that more people read fewer books or that fewer people read a lot of different books?”

A Vision of Students Today

A short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.


Childhood Risks: Perception vs. Reality

Via Schneier on Security.

In a garden in Birchington, best friends Holly Prentice and Jojo Roberts, both aged eight, make daisy chains.

The picket fence marks the limit of their play area. They wouldn't dare venture beyond it.

"You might get kidnapped or taken by a stranger," says Jojo.

"In the park you might get raped," agrees Holly.

Unfucking believable.

Absurdist Prank in Bologna

Posted by Bruce Sterling to Beyond the Beyond.

Something very strange is happening at University of Bologna… It seems that the University is organizing a “find the treasure” game of “Crediti Formativi Universitari” , “university credits”.