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Tuesday, November 26, 2002
 
Academic guest bloggers

[...] Now wouldn't it be cool for say a university department or a unit like Intermedia or HUMlab - places which would regularly host guest lecturers - to also have a (continuous or occassional) guest blogger column on their website? Not just blogging somewhere else with a link from the front page of the host, but on the front page, clearly as part of the main content, yet also as themselves. Either you could arrange for visiting speakers to also blog for the duration of their stay, or you could hire people simply to blog for a week, even if they were a completely different place. [...] [Jill/txt]


What do you think? []  links to this post    10:42:22 PM  


What I know for certain. There is very little I know for certain. I know that I am conscious of my own existence, and I'm aware of many changing perceptions of the world I appear to be in, and I have abstract thoughts and feelings related to my experience. That's about it. Anything that my perceptions or my thoughts or my feelings are telling me is something I'm guessing. An abstract over-simplification of something that possibly is real. I have formed a certain extensive mental model of what the world is like, based on what I have perceived and thought, and then tested and verified, but I know it is only my best guess, even when it works well. The only thing I know for sure is that I am conscious right now, and conscious of my own consciousness. One of the first things I notice is that my consciousness returns after times when I haven't been conscious, so one of my first logical guesses is that my own existence is more fundamental than my consciousness, and I keep existing even when I forget to notice it. All that it takes to bring me back is that I notice. more > [Ming's Meta Mechanics]


What do you think? []  links to this post    10:21:41 PM  
Structurelessness is an illusion

On the Old-School-Meets-Social-Software tip, Jo Freeman's marvellous essay from 1970, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" is a good antidote to the fear of structure in group endeavors. It was a critique of the design of groups in the women's movement, but is beautifully and broadly applicable to many arenas (including, near to my heart, the design of software meant to support group interaction.)

Says Freeman: "Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature coming together for any length of time, for any purpose, will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible, it may vary over time, it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed..."

This is just the tasting spoon sample, there's good stuff throughout. [Clay Shirky @ Boing Boing]

Freeman writes that groups or movements with the appearance of structurelessness are simply informally rather than formally structured.

For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can only happen if they are formalised. This is not to say that normalisation of a group structure will destroy the informal structure. It usually doesn't. But it does hinder the informal structure from having predominant control and makes available some means of attacking it. 'Structurelessness' is organisationally impossible. We cannot decide whether to have a structured or structureless group; only whether or not to have a formally structured one.

Freeman also drives home the point that a group can't achieve much beyond sitting around and chatting if it doesn't structure itself in an explicit manner.


What do you think? []  links to this post    10:10:19 PM  


Science, Religion, Cooperation, and Social Morality. I am always pleased, and inspired, when I come across an article by Mark Bekoff. Earlier, I found myself quoting his wonderful article "Animal play: Lessons in cooperation, fairness, spirit, and soul" Today, from Science, Religion, Cooperation, and Social Morality: In my own research on social play behavior in animals, Iíve been concerned with the notion of behaving fairly. [DeepFUN Weblog]

Fascinating stuff. Reminds me of Howard Rheingold's question, Can Science Crack Cooperation?


What do you think? []  links to this post    9:59:59 PM  
For God's sake, people, use Google!

writes Brad DeLong:

I mean, it cannot be in any journalist's interest to lose credibility with their audience by saying stupid things, can it? It can't be in any editor's interest for his journalists to develop a reputation as people who don't do the quick-and-easy things you do to check your facts, can it? And in almost all circumstances in which you don't really know what you are talking about, a quick google search is a very good way to orient yourself, isn't it?


What do you think? []  links to this post    9:55:49 PM  


Improved Weblogging: Seeds and Notes. [Connectivity: Spike Hall's RU Weblog]

Spike is dissecting the thinking-communication process as it is reflected by a thinker's notes. He pictures a continuum from interiority (preliminary, quasi-averbal thoughts) to sociality. Quite interesting.


What do you think? []  links to this post    9:04:50 PM  


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