Perl Module for RSS Aggregating

Having created a couple of different weblogs over time I wanted to highlight this Perl module for aggregating rss feeds. I’m hoping to use this on my homepage soon as part of larger reworking of my site. xml rss-aggregate perl module

Online Learning Book Published

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning was recently published by Athabsca University. I found this via the consistently brilliant OL Daily by Stephen Downes.

Real Life Tech Support

I’ve also worked in tech support so I could relate to this story in Salon, “We don’t support that.” Working on internal support meant that I never had to learn the Mantra, but the overall process could be just as disappointing.

New Fiction Magazine and the Plight of Publishing

There’s a new fiction magazine that just began publishing late last year. It’s a revival of Argosy, a magazine that’s been around more than a century. I noticed the site while reading a news item posted at Blue Ear about the trouble the publishers were having getting their magazine onto the shelves of the chain bookstores such as Barnes and Noble or Borders. Having worked in bookselling before my interests were piqued.

Thin Crescent Moons and Amateur Astronomers

Sky and Telescope has an interesting article on observing thin crescent moons, shortly after they become visible. “Seeking Thin Crescent Moons” has a set of maps showing where some of this years early crescent moons can be observed in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately I already missed my opportunity in Peru a few days ago. There’s also a story about a newborn nebula that has been recently reobserved by an amateur astronomer in Phoenix.

Dampening the Echo

David Weinberger has a nice essay at Salon about the “echo chamber” meme that seems to be pervading analysis of Howard Dean’s fall and the supposed insularity of the internet. Behind the echo chamber controversy lies the question of whether the Internet causes people to solidify their beliefs or to diversify them. Does it open people up or shut them down? This is a really tough question, and not just because it’s hard to quantify.

Piracy and the Democratization of Creativity

An intriguing interview with Jim Griffin at the Register about the intersection of technology in the form of wireless, piracy and creativity. He begins with a very promising start, at least to my ears: We have to start with the a priori notion that we must democratize access to art and knowledge. That’s a baseline notion of a civilized society. We have libraries that will get you any movie, and any song, and any book; and price or money should not stop you hearing those songs.

Grid Computing for the Masses and Interesting Music

Found via Corante Apple Matters is this item on grid computing with Apple computers at Larry also has some interesting tastes in music that appear to jibe quite nicely with my own. Check out his compliments to the Fax label, Maintoba (a new one to me), and Matmos and the Rapture (with a nod to Interpol for last year). I was disappointed by the Rapture but I loved Turn on the Bright Lights, so I’ll have to check his recommendations more closely.

Trying to Explain Great Teachers

At the Weekly Standard Joseph Epstein reviews George Steiner’s “Lessons of the Masters”: The “Lessons of the Masters” is a book about the teaching transaction, the dissemination (there’s that damn fluid again) of knowledge as it is passed from generation to generation through teacher to student. Why do some teachers so captivate their students that what they convey leaves a lifelong impression? The standard explanations hold that the great teachers know their subject, have boundless passion for learning, widen and deepen consciousness, provide in their persons a model of how a great-souled person ought to live.

Is it Possible to Change a Person's Mind?

One of the recurring questions raised around the Democratic political campaign is whether it is possible to change another person’s mind? Arnold Kling was so outraged by a quote from Eli Pariser “Changing people’s minds is overrated, most of the people in this country are with us, and it’s a matter of getting them active and getting them informed.” (taken from Politics of the Web: Meet, Greet, Segregate, Meet Again; by Amy Harmon, New York Times) that he decided to pen an entire column at TechCentralStation: The Downfall of the Anointed.