July 27, 2005

Readng More or Less?

Fascinating podcast (!) about reading in the age of the Internet. On his "Open Source Radio" show, Christopher Lydon asks his "literary blogger" guests (and the audience) if they are reading more or less since the advent of the Internet ~10 years ago. And: "is the novel on the decline?" Hmmm. My first thought was "I'm reading about the same"; upon reflection I realized that I'm reading the same amount of novels, but I'm reading way more non-fiction, most of it online.

Listen to Literature 2.0 online.

You may remember Mr. Lydon as former host of WBUR's the Connection; nice to hear him back on the air again. His "Open Source Radio" show broadcasts out of WGBH in Boston and can be heard on a handful of stations on the radio; it can also be heard online daily at 7 pm, and via podcast.

July 26, 2005

Teeth as Organs?

Hmph. Just read an article in the August 2005 issue of Scientific American which says that teeth are organs Why? Because a living tooth "comprises multiple tissue types, each with an essential function", such as enamel, dentin, pulp (filled with blood vessels and nerves), and ligaments.

The point of the article is to review efforts to possibly create living replacement teeth, both to help people who have lost teeth, but also to learn more about recreating organs. See Test-Tube Teeth. Sharpe, Paul T. and Young, Conan S. Scientific American; Aug2005, Vol. 293 Issue 2, p34+.

Fascinating, captain.

July 23, 2005

True Multitasking ...

... may not be possible. The World of Psychology blog reports on a recent article from the Journal of Neuroscience suggesting "... that the brain can’t simultaneously give full attention to both the visual task of driving and the auditory task of listening." Which is why you shouldn't talk on the phone while driving, even with a hands-free device.

The study was done by a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, and you can read more details in their press release.

July 20, 2005

How Many Languages?

Ethnologue says there are 6,912 languages, according to an article in the New York Times, June 19, 2005.

Fascinating look into how many languages there are and the history of the publication Ethnologue.

July 16, 2005

Data Curator, anyone?

Great article about the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the June 2005 issue of Technology Review. David Talbot talks about what NARA's mission is (to save every document the government produces) and how that mission is complicated by documents that are "born digital." Said documents include email, anything written on a word processor, GIS documents, and even this blog.

Problems saving these documents are two-fold: first, they're hard to get; how much email are we supposed to save, anyway? second, their file format is likely to become obsolete in 5-10 years. Not very encouraging for future historians, who may want to read our emails in 100-200-300 years.

The good news is that there are many job opportunities for "...new kind of professional, an expert with the historian's eye ... but a computer scientist's understanding of storage technologies and a librarian's fluency with metadata." In the words of MacKenzie Smith, the associate director for technology at MIT Libraries, a "data curator" is what's needed.

Did God Do It?

Two recent articles about intelligent design have got me thinking that maybe God did do it... No, not really. But they provide interesting perspectives on the debate between the intelligent design-ists and the evolutionists.

The July 2, 2005 issue of New Scientist is devoted to the issue of Creationism. It's worth looking at the print copy, because there is a great chart depicting where controversy has erupted in the US. Also because you can't read the articles for free online. But if you want to take a look at the titles & abstracts, see this lead article called "Creationism special: A sceptic's guide to intelligent design."

And in its May 30 issue, the New Yorker (yes, the New Yorker) ran an article in their Annals of Science department called "MASTER PLANNED / Why intelligent design isn’t," by H. ALLEN ORR.

July 14, 2005

13 New Books

Beginning Math and Physics for Game Programmers; by Wendy Stahler. publisher: New Riders, 2004. for more info.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention; by Michael I. Posner . publisher: Guilford, 2004. for more info.

Companion to Psychological Anthropology (Blackwell Companions to Social and Cultural Anthropology); by Robert B. Edgerton, Conerly Carole Casey (Editors). publisher: Blackwell, 2005. for more info.

Consciousness : creeping up on the hard problem; by Jeffrey Gray. publisher: Oxford, 2004. for more info.

Fab : the coming revolution on your desktop--from personal computers to personal fabrication; by Neil Gershenfeld. publisher: Basic Books, 2005. for more info.

Historical Thinking and other Unnatural Acts; by Wineburg, Samuel S. . publisher: Temple, 2001. for more info.

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide; by J. Tarin Towers. publisher: Peachpit, 2002. for more info.

Maya 6: The Complete Reference; by Tom Meade, Shinsaku Arima. publisher: McGraw Hill, 2004. for more info.

On becoming a leader; by Bennis, Warren. publisher: Perseus, 2003. for more info.

Real-Time Collision Detection; by Christer Ericson. publisher: Morgan Kaufmann, 2004. for more info.

Teaching cooperative learning : the challenge for teacher education; by edited by Elizabeth G. Cohen, Celeste M. Brody, Mara Sapon-Shevin. publisher: State University of New York Press, 2004. for more info.

The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education; by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. publisher: Blackwell, 2005. for more info.

The Nature of Leadership; by Antonakis, J, Cianciolo, A. T., Sternberg, R. J. . publisher: Sage, 2004. for more info.

Hot Topic: Cryptography

The CSA database provides summary info. about cryptography, entitled Quantum Cryptography: Privacy Through Uncertainty. Includes a several page summary, citations, web sites, and a glossary.

Hot Topic: Origin of Language

The CSA database provides summary info. about the origin of language, entitled Language Origins:
Did Language Evolve Like the Vertebrate Eye, or Was It More Like Bird Feathers?
. Includes a several page summary, citations, web sites, and a glossary.

In related news, Hampshire just subscribed to LLBA (Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts), which offers citations to linguistics articles from 1973 to present. CSA provides detailed info. about LLBA as well.

July 10, 2005

Cool Technology & Maps

The June issue of Technology Review has a short article on David Rumsey's digital map archive. Rumsey's site is way cool, using the Luna Insight product (also used at Smith), and the article talks about both his software and his map collecting habit.

Even if you don't read the article, check out DavidRumsey.com to see what he's up to.

July 07, 2005

Happenin' Technology

Interested in new technology and its application? LITA (ALA's Library and Information Technology Association group) blogged its way throug the ALA Annual Meeting. Their blog is at http://litablog.org/ , where you can read what people think about hot technology and its application in libraries.

Roy Tennant, library guru of technology & user services, posted a nice summary of (some) topics to his Current Cites list. This is what he says:

LITA's new weblog has blasted off in a big way with extensive coverage of the American Library Association's recent annual conference. ... Here are some sample postings from the 80+ postings that currently available: "Eric Lease Morgan's Top Technology Trends, 2005"; "Giving Them 'Google-Like' Searching"; "Greenstone Digital Libraries: Installation to Production"; "Karen's Uber-Trend"; "Leo Klein's Top Technology Trends"; "LITA President's Program (Take Dos)"; "Marshall Breeding's Top Technology Trends"; "Radio Frequency Identification Technology in Libraries: Meeting with the RFID Experts"; "Tennant's Top Tech Trend Tidbit"; "Thomas Dowling's Non-Trends from the Trailing Edge"; and "Using Usage Data."

Participatory Journalism Article

Towards professional participatory storytelling in journalism and advertising
by Mark Deuze

The Internet - specifically its graphic interface, the World Wide Web - has had a major impact on all levels of (information) societies throughout the world. For media professionals whose work has primarily been defined as creative storytelling - whether in advertising, journalism, public relations or related fields - this poses fascinating opportunities as well as vexing dilemmas. The central question seems to be to what extent storytelling can be content- or connectivity-based, and what level of participation can or should be included in the narrative experience. Although these two issues have been part of creative decision-making processes in media work before the Web, new technologies of production, distribution and communication are 'supercharging' them as the central dilemmas in the contemporary media ecosystem. This paper discusses the history and contemporary examples of media work combining various elements of storytelling as a hybrid form between content and connectivity, and considers the normative and economical implications for the professional identity of media workers in journalism and advertising.