Point. Click. Think?
Jul 17, 2002
Quote [from Washington Post]: "'[The Web] never presents students with classically constructed arguments, just facts and pictures.' Many students today will advance an argument, he continues, then find themselves unable to make it convincingly. 'Is that a function of the Web, or being inundated with information, or the way we're educating them in general?'"Comment [from Greg Hanek on SiT]: This article provides examples of how poorly many people interact with information and information resources.

Is the US socio-political-education system (and it's focus on multiple-guess/standardized exams) a causal factor in how students interact with the Web to accomplish their assignments? What do you think? (via Craig's Booknotes)

[via Serious Instructional Technology]

The article is actually fairly balanced, as a later part shows how good use of the Internet results in things like '[Jeffrey Meikle's] best undergraduates come up with new takes on old subjects as quickly as graduate students did years ago'. Two questions:

The real problem here, IMHO, is the difficulty of forcing someone to think for themselves. I do not mean this as a defeatist or elitist point; I think this problem should be addressed directly, which despite rhetoric, it rarely is. The Internet is a bugaboo, an excuse, a distraction. Why are you assigning assignments that can be completed in a couple hour session with copy and paste? (There may be good reasons, but the reasons should probably be explored.)

Danish Court Ruling Of Some Kind
Jul 05, 2002

Like the title? Rumor has it that a Danish court has ruled deep linking illegal. But is that really true? Hard to tell, since the primary source material is in Dutch.

But the provided Slashdot comment, from someone actually present, may shed light on the issue.

...the Danish Newspaper Publisher's Association weren't concerned about search engines like Google or just a few deep links. Newsbooster did a systematic index and furthermore sold services for update-information whenever your predefined search words matched any news article.

We'll resume your regularly scheduled worrying when more details come in.

Men in Black 2
Jul 03, 2002

Review: Men in Black II is more of the same of Men in Black I. It's not quite as good, mostly because all the stuff that was secret in the first movie isn't secret anymore. If you liked the first one, you should find the second one enjoyable.

update: Warning, I'm about to go meta. MiB2 is not as good a movie as MiB1 was. As my wife says, MiB2 was a story wrapped around a series of jokes, where MiB1 was a series of jokes wrapped around a story. As any film critic will tell you, all else being equal the latter is preferable.

But in the end, MiB2 is the movie I'd rather watch again. Much of the fun of MiB is discovering what MiB is, what cool toys they have, what's going on with the Galaxy, etc. By the time all the explanation and build-up is done, very little time is left over for "the story". In fact, look closely, and there's about the same amount of story in both movies. MiB2 doesn't have to explain what MiB is, or coerce Will J into joining, or do a number of other things which all boil down to slowly raising the curtain. As a result MiB2 has a lot more time to do other things, including several scenes with Frank in which he nearly steals the show.

I've noticed a trend in my reactions to movies over the last couple of years; I'm starting to enjoy longer movies, sequels, or miniseries because they have more time to spend on guts; they don't have to spend 50%+ of the movie just laying a foundation. I enjoy the Dune miniseries put on by the Sci-Fi channel; 4 hours, if you try to watch it straight. Harry Potter was a good length, perhaps even short for my tastes. And then there's Lord of the Rings, which if you can wait until Nov. is supposed to come out in an extended (original?) cut of 3 hours, forty minutes, which multiplied by 3 is 11 hours to watch the whole book. Sounds like fun to me.

I wonder how many people feel the same way I do?

(So there, a proper review, wherein the limited original target of the review is deftly transformed into a mere hook for a proper explication of some obscure philosophical pet idea of the author's. Somebody hire me to write for them. My transformation into a writer is nearly complete...)

Palladium Comments
Jun 29, 2002

*updated*, now more link-a-licious!

The problem is that Palladium requires users to place a huge amount of trust in Microsoft. You don't get to decide what runs on your computer -- Microsoft does. You can't even open files unless you've been authorized by Microsoft, or by a third party. ...Music and movie executives will love Palladium, because it puts digital copy protection into the realm of hardware, making it nearly unbreakable. You won't be able to give music files to your friends any more, and you might not be able to make backup copies for yourself. You can't even use nonstandard hardware to play the files, because they'll be in an encrypted file format that will only play on Palladium systems.

Read the rest (1023 words)

Mark Bernstein on Palladium
Jun 29, 2002

Mark Bernstein says: Speculation: the accounting crisis is going to get much worse, and integrity is about to be rediscovered as a virtue. Politicians think people was security -- more surveillance, more arrests, more patrols -- when they want honesty -- honest effort, honest dedication, and candid accountability. Trust is going to top the charts; Microsoft's (again) getting off on the wrong foot. Palladium is so 90's. [via ViewFromTheHeart]

This would be wonderful... but I'm sure our media will find a way to convince the American public that it's not honesty they want, but more and better soundbites. In a way, isn't that already the essense of the financial problems? Good soundbites on the accounting sheets, no substance behind it? It's going to take more then a few billion dollars in non-existant profits to make the American people decide that maybe they've heard enough lies.

I would very much love to be wrong. The problem with being a cynic is people rarely disappoint, though.

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