Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Common Lawyer - Mark Gimenez

"Andy the tobacco companies kill a thousand people a day and have done for forty years. They knew their products were killing people, but they kept the real dangers secret all that time, to keep their profits. They killed millions of people for profit. What's one kid to the drug companies? These are people who will do anything to preserve their business model,"
"What business model?"
"Death and disease. Drug companies thrive on death and disease, Andy not health and happiness."


A nice attack on Big Pharma but not as effective of ominous as The Constant Gardener.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Visions - Kaku

Rhodopsin and the master gene theory of Gehrig suggests that eye evolution is divergent. But this paper is not cited again in the next 9 years and so this would seem to be a dead-end so convergence is still probable as suggested by Stewart.
Having a master gene would invalidate the idea of canalisation as it is too deterministic there would be no convergence in related populations, there would be no need for plasticity or evolvability. The system would be very rigid and not very robust to loss of master gene function.
Fru gene controls make sexual response in fruit flies. This would be an example of a single gene and not a system of genes controlling a complex behaviour/trait. This would kill the need for a system and make selfish genes much more likely to exist. But this paper has not been cited again so it was probably a high level transcription factor required for activating many pathways.

Another physicist who sees futility where we do not need to. He worries that the Universe will end in about 13 billion years time and that this will be a waste of intelligent life. I think that if our descendants make it to 1 billion years that will be an outstanding success. At the minute we don't look like making another 100.

p12 "now the heyday of reductionism has probably passed. Seemingly impenetrable obstacles have been encountered which cannot be solved by the simple reductionist approach."

p82 "Sejnowski remarks, 'A lot of the details and organisational decisions in biology are historical accidents. You can't assume that nature took the simplest and most direct route to do something. Some features are remnants of some earlier stage of evolution, or it may be that some genes that happen to be around are commandeered for some other purposes.'"

p169 BPDE causes lung cancer mutations of p53 Science Oct 18 1996. p430.

p333 "For 99% of human existence, we lived in small primitive, nomadic tribes that could economically support perhaps no more than fifty of so individuals. ( Studies have shown that when a tribe expands beyond roughly this number, it cannot support and feed all the additional members and it will split up)."

What studies? Walden Two? Nietzche's sister in Paraguay?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Characterising effective e-learning resources: Littlejohn, Falconer and McGill 2008

"Learners construct their own knowledge through these interactions with tutors, other students and the learning materials."
"aggregation offers the possibility of 'personalised' learning systems that identify learner's skills levels and presents them with materials aimed at their current abilities."
"the most commonly used electronic materials ... include articles, book chapters, illustrations and animations."
"'Learning Objects' that could be plugged together to produce a course."
"Learning objects have been rejected by Wiley (2000) as encouraging a simplistic view of learning resources, and a narrow view of education as transmission of blocks of content. He has proposed an alternative metaphor: that of a chemist combining atoms to form molecules."
"not every resource can combine with every other."
Indicators for useful Learning Objects would be "positive evaluation documentation, regular citations within the literature, and widespread adoption within accredited courses."
"metadata describing their potential use."
"much debate about who should produce metadata for Learning Objects."
Resources should be durable and maintained e.g. content in an eJournal over material on an unsupported website.
Quality Assured.
Free from legal restrictions
Formats that are accessible and ubiquitous
Electronic formats or print.
Engage the learner
"reluctance among academics to submit authored resources to a digital repository ... insufficient reward (financial or kudos)."
"that resources at appropriate cost will be adopted if other factors (for example accessibility of language) render them appealing to tutors and students."
"The disadvantage of not being easily repurposed is apparently outweighed by the benefit of contextualisation or of saving time in aggregation."
"Resources should be sufficiently small to be reusable, but large enough to ensure that tutors do not have to spend time aggregating large numbers of resources."
"move away from a narrative presentation of information towards a more active use."
"active learning resources and their sequencing within a learning design or lesson plan becomes more prominent, the profile of dynamic resources is likely to increase resources will need to show how they can be reused in a range of educational models or learning designs."
"inverse relationship between resources being sufficiently large to be of educational value, while being small enough to reuse effectively."
"embraces constructivist principles"
"What may be a positive accessibility characteristic in one situation may be a barrier in another, even for the same subject area and teacher."
"Currently many tutors start by focussing on content and may appreciate guidance in the choice of resource format, medium etc, as well as in consideration of educational design and learner activities through determining the suitability of resources for their teaching."
"their use in context that is important."

The Written World - Andrew Feenberg

From Mindweave:  communication, computer and distance education 1989 Pergamon Press.
"when we leave a message in computer memory we feel an intense need for response."
"Paradoxically, then speeding up and improving asynchronous exchanges causes unexpected distress. This explains why on-line communities place such an emphasis on active participation and are often critical of passive readers who are pejoratively called lurkers."
"Flaming (the expression of uncensored emotions on-line) is viewed as a negative consequence of this feeling of liberation."
"the idea of community implies bonds of sentiment that are not always necessary to effect online communication"
"we must discover how the conference empowers its members to speak up and provokes others to reply."
"Sharing of purpose among people who do not form a community but have accepted a common work or play as the context for an intense temporary relationship."
"the social network designer - has emerged to solve the problems of organising and leading on-line groups."
"try to get people on-line with the hope that once they connect something will happen. This approach to CMC leads to disappointing results."
"Educational conferencing systems, for example, are fairly limited in their ability to handle mathematical symbols." Hiltz 1986.
Created the idea of weaving "identifying the themes, making connections, 'indexing' the material mentally."
"drawing together in a momentary synthesis that can serve as a starting point for the next round of debate."

"The absence of tacit cues and coded objects strands participants in a contextual void that may leave them literally speechless."
"The face-to-face meeting can also asynchronise the commencement of the on-line exercise through a ritualised initiation to the conference."
"The erotic charge of new communications technology in France today curiously parallels early experiences with the telephone in that country See Catherine Bertho 1981 p243-245."

Monday, 7 May 2012

Planning to Go Online

"For a distance course, everything needs to be planned in advance very much more exactly... If you wish to run a course that evolves in unpredictable ways, then you must make this clear to distant students from the start."
"there is a great potential for abject confusion and worry from the students concerned over what they actually have to do and by when."
"technology must not lead pedagogy"
"If there is conscious planning then it is more likely that some developments will occur because the technology has something to offer in terms of efficiency or a broadening in the diversity of learning or contact routes and not so much simply because the technology is available."
"why develop and offer the course at all?  .... capture a new market .... delivery of the course more flexible and in that way capture new markets."
"resist the temptation to provide on-line options to students on-campus purely as something additional. Instead try to introduce the use of technology with the intention of changing something, no matter how small."
"the risk of swamping them with too much information should not be forgotten."
"Will the students be able to access the course adequately?"
"examine the learning outcomes of the course, linking these with the assessment criteria."
"require a minimum hardware specification for any off-campus computer of internet connection."
"think long and hard about the likely hardware and to a degree software resources that will be available to your students."
"There will always be a handful of students that will not like working on-line or will be nervous of such work or feel intimidated by the use of a computer"
"Often, but not always, initial considerations tend to focus on the presentation of information or knowledge"

Potential Roles for Computers and Computer Networks in Higher Education

"The move to online websites has led to little change in course delivery or pedagogic model."
".. may be fine for truly independent learners who have little problem either understanding or applying the subject matter."
"replace the one to many lecture with the one to many web page."
"where interaction is with rather than through the computer, is too labour intensive at the creation and updating stages and does not protect individuals from the dangers or drawbacks of completely independent learning."
Textbooks will still be required