Seb's Open Research
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and social software, collected by Sébastien Paquet

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Chirality and us

Medicinal chemist Derek Lowe offers an answer to the following question: How do we tell our right from our left? It looks obvious at first, but think about it. How can we actually know about the existence of handedness?

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:43:35 PM  
Is Academia the A in 'Magic'?

Education Leaders Sacrificing Integrity. "How can we carry forward an honest debate on public policy if our universities have decided a priori to side with the military and the banks?" This is a serious question posed by a Montana State English professor as he bemoans such things as tied research, exclusive deals with coke, and the general abandonment of research for the sake of knowledge. The column is important in the sense that it explicity recognizes and endorses more than just an economic role for universities; it endorses the important social function of the institution. Unfortunately he ties this into the university's adoption of technology, a classic case of confusing the means and the motive. I so applaud his sentiment, but I wish he could understand that a tool like the internet can be used for social good as well as economic gain. By John Snider, The Missoulian , November 17, 2002 [OLDaily]

On Brainstorms I've seen people refer to a monstrous entity they call the Military Academic Government Industrial Complex. I think it makes for a nice, thought-provoking acronym.

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:15:01 PM  

Ten Reasons why People Stop Playing. Here, from Dragon (actual legal name of the principal of the below-extolled Academy of Play), are ten reasons why people don't play even though we could if we were grown up enough. [DeepFUN Weblog]

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:12:16 PM  

Footbridge is "a lightweight tool to mirror Radio categories to Advogato, LiveJournal, and Blogger API sites." [Scripting News]

Sounds interesting, but how about giving a motivating scenario?

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:07:43 PM  

Hoarding is for the weak. Xerox has apparently proven what all knowledge workers intrinsically knew anyway; that knowledge hoarding is detrimental. Via Column Two

A recent Xerox research report has found that high-performing employees don't tend to hoard information. According to the news summary: The idea that knowledge is power has been knocked on the head by researchers who claim that high-performing employees are more likely to be ones who proactively share information with their colleagues.

My own experience agrees 100%. I am personally more powerful in what I do when I collaborate and openly share with others. They provide essential critique, support and grounding for my thoughts. [thought?horizon]

I think there are exceptions to this "hoarding is for the weak" rule. When an organization is in decline you might see good people who for some reason can't or won't leave for greener pastures trying to save their butt by hoarding knowledge, in an attempt to make themselves irreplaceable.

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:05:49 PM  

Showers and storms.  "I have a Leonid hangover from getting to bed at 6am. Worth it. It was like being inside a puffed up souffle, darkness pierced by blazing light ripping where a chef slashes it open." [a klog apart]
What do you think? []  links to this post    3:01:59 PM  

Sir Winston Churchill. "The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning." [Quotes of the Day]
What do you think? []  links to this post    2:58:26 PM  
My popular pieces

Blogdex conveniently ranks your posts or stories by the number of links to them that it has found, so I figured that adding a continually updated list of reader favorites in my sidebar would be helpful for new visitors who want to find old stuff of mine that others found interesting.

The whole top block of the sidebar is actually designed as a welcome package intended for people who've just come to this blog and who want to size me up. I think the list of communities that follows also goes a long way towards defining what interests me. The overall goal is to help people quickly get a sense for what they can expect in these quarters, and make a better informed decision to come back (or not) in a short amount of time.

I've noted that while a week's worth of posts can tell a lot about the author, it is not always representative of the typical content of the blog, depending on the day you drop there.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:41:39 PM  
Kinds of knowledge

Jim McGee has a discussion of four kinds of knowledge we might want to share: useful answers, useful questions, practices, and generative patterns of knowledge. (via Al)
What do you think? []  links to this post    2:16:09 PM  
BlogChannels for loosely joining webloggers?

Here's a little something I wrote in reply to High Context editor David Gammel's introduction to the group-forming community.

"I'd like to mention one of David's initiatives that he hasn't mentioned in his intro but is in my opinion highly relevant as a practical illustration of blog-based group-forming. David has set up the KMPings service.

What KMPings does is enable webloggers with an interest in knowledge management to combine teasers for selected blog posts from their personal blog. The result is another, collective blog that points to various posts by participants. (If this sounds abstract, just click the link and you'll understand right away.) KMPings has enabled the formation of a loosely coupled community of KM bloggers. I'm subscribed to this blog and it has helped me discover a few new webloggers who share my interest in knowledge management.

One way to describe what KMPings does is to say that it provides a shared channel for a particular area of interest. It was a direct inspiration for my proposal of ridiculously easy (blog-enabled) group forming. My idea is to automate what David has done and extend it to any topic anyone can dream up.

Given such a system, if I felt like it, I could almost instantly set up a "MontrealPings" blog channel, or a "OrigamicArchitecturePings" blog channel, or what have you, and start putting relevant posts at those channels. Other interested webloggers could subscribe (via RSS) to such channels and could ping them whenever they write something that relates to the topic at hand that they wish to share with the community of subscribers.

Perhaps a better name for that idea would be just that, BlogChannels - what do you think?"

There's a dual way to look at blog channels. They provide a sociality-driven incentive for bloggers to apply metadata tags to their posts. By tagging X on a post you're in effect hanging out a bit with the X crowd.  "Metadata has never been more fun!"

Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration, but I'm personally much more interested in metadata that means something for people other than me. This is what I find most interesting in this scheme: metadata is shared - that's built into the design. The meaning of the shared term takes shape through the efforts of several people. Contrast this to what currently happens with individual blog categories, where we often have a hard time making sense of each other's categories.

What do you think? []  links to this post    10:42:07 AM  

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