EEK again: "In general, I've found that ontologists are very poor at explaining what an ontology is. This is somewhat ironic, given that ontologies are supposed to clarify meaning in ways that a simple glossary can not."
And then, just the kind of thing you'd expect Doug Engelbart to say.
He often asked, "How does the ontology community use ontologies?" If ontologies were so crucial to effective collaboration, then surely the ontology community used ontologies when collaborating with each other. Sadly, nobody ever answered his question.
Well, the Ontoweb ontology seems to be a first stab in that direction, thogh at the moment it appears as little more than a glorified directory.
Ross points to a kickass article on diversity (or, rather, lack thereof) by David Brooks. Part of it touches upon the state of affairs in academic settings.
Many of us live in absurdly unlikely groupings, because we have organized our lives that way.
It's striking that the institutions that talk the most about diversity often practice it the least. For example, no group of people sings the diversity anthem more frequently and fervently than administrators at just such elite universities. But elite universities are amazingly undiverse in their values, politics, and mores.
(Jote: in the above, "unlikely" should be read as "non-random".)
I was just reading Shelley's comments (in NotWiki, and I think elsewhere) on including more non-technical people in the discussions surrounding the P/e/a syndication standard, and found myself wondering how much of a challenge it might be to make the crowd of participants more diverse than it currently is.
Part of the appeal in homogeneity is that fewer words suffice to understand one another and get "forward motion". It is remarkably difficult to succeed in integrating viewpoints from across the map. Still I think it ought to be attempted.