Monthly Archives: December 2007

What’s the difference between tags and categories?

Whats the diff between tags and categories? I am sure WordPress (good folks that they are) can enlighten me. I guess I need to invest some time in knowing more about blogging. *sigh* so little time, so much to do.

They are both indexing systems. Right? So why have two? Do I have too many categories?

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Banished Words List 2008

End of the year lists are so much fun.  Here is one that suggests we ban over-used and cliched words from  the language.  I may disagree with banning organic.  Some of them just need to be reigned in.  And waterboarding.  If anything, given that the US DOES torture (even when we don’t  =|:-)=  ), we need to talk about this more, not less.
Lake Superior State University :: Banished Words List
ORGANIC – Overused and misused to describe not only food, but computer products or human behavior, and often used when describing something as “natural,” says Crystal Giordano of Brooklyn, New York. Another advertising gimmick to make things sound better than they really are, according to Rick DeVan of Willoughby, Ohio, who said he has heard claims such as “My business is organic,” and computers having “organic software.”

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Mapping Manhattan

I was fascinated to read about this project to make a detailed, 3D, explorable map of Manhattan before contact and conquest. It sounds like secondlife! And the use of real markers and connections to the 3d map will enable even more cross-over from virtual to real world and vice-versa. Another blogger who lives in NY waxes about the project.

Our Local Correspondents: The Mannahatta Project: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker
Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (W.C.S.), is in charge of a project called the Human Footprint, which seeks to map the human race’s impact on the surface of the earth. New York is the ultimate case. “It’s probably the fastest, biggest land-coverage swing in history,” Sanderson said. For nearly a decade, he has been working on the Mannahatta Project, an attempt to determine exactly how Manhattan would have appeared to Hudson and his crew in 1609. It will include a lavish book; a Web site; a possible exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History; and a three-dimensional computer map which would allow you to fly above the island, land wherever you want, and look around. Eventually, Sanderson would like to put up plaques around town calling attention to vanished landmarks.

My friend Alex Pulsipher, who has an intro textbook for Geography has talked to me about his ideas for the future of that book. Wandering around our old haunts in Knoxville we were discussing the use of educational games, internet publishing, and learning. The Manhattana Project may be a great example of that future. But why stop with traveling around? Why not let people create modules that would run in the map/world? Replay Hudson’s voyage? Replay the local Indian’s use of land. Having student’s design these modules and discuss what matters and how to incorporate what they know would engage them and force them to make consequential choices based on their current knowledge and intellectual perspectives.

Manhattana Project Image

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Filed under digital culture, Future of Technology, Gaming, geography, pedagogy

Bipartisanship is a chimera

This may be more overtly political than usual on this blog, but Paul Krugman in todays’ NY Times column (behind a security wall…) nails it.

There’s a fantasy, widely held inside the Beltway, that men and women of good will from both parties can be brought together to hammer out bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.

He’s talking about how the Republican Presidnetila candidates all adhere to the bankrupt economic policies of movement conservatism. All tax cuts all the time. The fantasy of bipartisanship drives me nuts, especially coming form the mainstream media. I am all in favor in compromise, but, only when the other side wants to compromise. When you look at how the Club for Growth types attacks Huckabee, or Specter in his 20o4 re-election, or McCain, you see how much they control the Republican party machinery. They won’t sit at the table. They are ideologues. You can tell becuase the answer to every question is tax cuts. How can tax cuts be needed when the economy is doing well and poorly?

Politics is a contact sport. It is about power. When common ground can be found, great. Otherwise, strap on your helmet and be ready to play and to fight.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism

Trip to Kville

View Larger Map;

This is our route with a few possible stops marked.

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Irrational versus Rational Financial Panics

There is  a big difference between a crisis of liquiditya nd solvency, as Pual Krugman popintso ut in today’s NY Times.  Liquidity is a problem of access to cash in a defined time frame.  Solvency is a problem of not having value (assets).  The problem with the current housing blues (sub prime weakness et al) is one of solvency, not liquidity.   The big financial institutions simply made a lot of bad loans.  Until those are uncovered and dealt with, fundamental confidence will not return.  hence, investors, worried that market signals about which loans and institutions are high irsk are not clear at all, are quite rationally paniced.  This is quite different from the “irrational” bubbles I discussed with my students like the 17th century tulip bubble or the 1990s dot-con bubble.  In those cases, values were bid up over hard to specify assets because decision makers paid attention to relevant others.

When will things be better?   Can the Fed and Treasury make things right? Here is what Krugman prognosticates:

After the Money’s Gone – New York Times
Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.

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Filed under Banking, Government, macroeconomics, Political Economy

Focus the Nation: Bucknell and Climate Change

Here is the list of events for this Bucknell Event in January.

Focus the Nation, Bucknell University

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, January 30th. 2008

– 5pm, Campus Theater: “The 11th Hour”, new climate documentary by Leonardo DiCaprio

Thursday, January 31st, 2008: Focus the Nation Teach-In

– Interdisciplinary Discussion Panels (Harvey Powers Theater, Coleman): four professors on each panel, all talking about/discussion a specific issue related to global climate change. Panels and participants are:

Session 1: “Obstacles to Change(8:00 am – 9:22 am)

Raymond (Chemical Engineering): “The Current state of our climate”

Siewers (English): “Philosophy of our relationship with nature”

Buonopane (Civil Engineering): “Building design and energy use”

Kochel/Trop (Geology): “(Un) Control of nature”

Session 2: “Tipping Points” (9:30 am -10:52 pm)

Stamos (Economics) – “When cost becomes prohibitive”

Wilshusen (Environmental Studies) – “When public opinion changes”

Searles (Anthropology/Sociology): “When our behavior threatens an entire people: case study on the Inuit”

Tranquillo (Biomedical Engineering): “When small changes have a global impact: non-linear relationships”

Session 3: “Can we afford not to stop global warming?” (1:00 pm– 2:22 pm)

Shrivastava (Management) – “Overview”

DiStefano* (History) – “Historical Response to Environmental Crisis”

Wooden (Environmental Studies) – “Winners and Losers”

Pizzorno (Biology) – “Role of Climate Change in Spreading Disease”

Session 4: “Motivating Action” (2:30 pm – 3:52 pm)

Grant (Theater): “The role of art and theater in social movements”

Antonacio (Religion): “Our Moral Obligation”

Unal (Economics): “Changing our current political economy”

Hendry (Management): “Responsible Investment/Conscious Consumerism”

– 11am-1pm: Campus Sustainability Celebration (Fieldhouse): Student bands, environmental research posters, nature-related art and humanities expo, sustainable business/industry expo, and more!

– 4-5pm (Harvey Powers Theater): Nonpartisan, intergenerational discussion between leading environmental students and invited elected officials on campus about what the state and country are doing to address Global Climate Change

– 730-830pm (Trout Auditorium, Vaughn Lit building): Keynote address by Andrew Revkin, lead reported on global climate change and environmental issues for the New York Times

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Filed under activism, Bucknell, climate change, pedagogy