The Inspirations of Film

The American Film Institute released another one of it’s top 100 lists a few weeks ago - 100 Cheers. It’s supposed to be the most inspiring 100 films of all time. I’ve recorded my progress on the list at Lists of Bests. 80 out of 100 movies seems pretty good to me. The presence of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at number one makes me imagine an alternate world in which the copyright on the movie hadn’t expired during the 1980s and the movie hadn’t become the holiday movie staple that it became.

Habits and Writing

Two summers ago I took a writing class at the Loft writing center in Minneapolis. The class was called ‘The Writing Habit’ and taught by Roseanne Bane. The main thrust of the class was to work on writing as a habit, something that you do regularly, day in and day out. The same sentiment was expressed by Jane Yolen at Wiscon this year when she said, “a writer writes.” The advice to do it, and do it consistently, is one of the main themes I’ve heard from writer’s offering advice to other wannabe writers.

Being a Student - Living on the Edge of Evaluation

Two months ago, as the winter semester wound to its close, I read an intriguing note on miscommunication and measurement in grad school by William Tozier. He wrote The point being: We often seem to forget how important issues of pragmatics and culture are in the pedagogic cycle. Instructors know the damned answer. The older the student is, the more confidence the instructor should have that the student also knows the damned answer.

Socializing Online and Elsewhere

Prompted by Eric’s question about the nature of modern romance I offer the following links: Knight Ridder report on a study that finds more Americans feel isolated It found that men and women of every race, age and education level reported fewer intimate friends than the same survey turned up in 1985. Their remaining confidants were more likely to be members of their nuclear family than in 1985, according to the study, but intimacy within families was down, too.

On Learning Communities

Last month I read a blog entry about the ‘idea store’, a new merger of libraries and learning centers that is being tried out in Britain. Ever since I’ve been toying with the idea of learning communities. Today I did some internet research and discovered that there has been a lot of discussion about learning communities within the university. Most of these programs and ideas have focused on creating a community of students inside a university or college.

Recent Reading on Knowledge Mangement

Last semester I took a class on knowledge management or information in organizations. We talked a lot about the different routines, incentives, and rewards that encourage or discourage people to share knowledge with each other. Two knowledge management professionals have posted a couple of posts that I’d like to highlight. Dave Pollard at “How to Save the World” writes about creating our own peer-to-peer expertise finder. But then it occurred to me that there is a profound difference between ‘know-what’ and ‘know-where’ on the one hand, and ‘know-who’ on the other: Finding the former are complicated search problems; finding the latter is a complex problem.

A Small Bit of Optimism Picks a Fight

MaryAnn Johnson, a Generation Xer, who blogs at FlickPhilosopher and GeekPhilosophy recently saw An Inconvenient Truth and came out of the theater galvanized. I’ve been letting the experience of seeing the film and seeing Gore in person sink in, and I find myself feeling optimistic, maybe, for the first time in a long time, optimistic about the direction our society may be going in. And I’m itching to do something about pushing us in that direction.

Finding the Roots of Violence

Part of the joy of the blogosphere is finding connections to ideas that I was previously unaware of. Today’s discovery was the writing Arthur Silber has been doing about suicide, child rearing, morality, father figures, psychoanalysis, and more. The inspiration for this latest bit of writing was the recent suicide by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Via Avedon Carol at the Sideshow. At first I was unsurprised that prisoners who are being held without the hope of a trial would choose to take their life.

A Disturbing Lack of Physicality

Yesterday’s list of potential curiosities was all mental. No doubt those who believe in a balance between mind and body would be disappointed. So as a countermeasure I bought an exercise book this evening in addition to a copy of Dracula and Frankenstein. The missing physical element in my summer curiosities is mostly habit. I’ve never been a very athletic person despite growing up with a health and physical education teacher.

Summer 2006 Curiosities

Ambition always seems to exceed my grasp, but for lack of anything else to post I’ll note some topics that I’d like to study in more depth this summer. Seems like I’ve been making a lot of lists for the past few entries, but so be it. To study: Math - I have both calculus and linear algebra textbooks in my apartment. I started in on the linear algebra book last month, but I still need a better way to take notes.