Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Speaking with Jim Mora on Radio New Zealand National - Afternoons

source
Jim Mora
These are the notes for this afternoons programme with Jim Mora  on Radio New Zealand National. There are two ways to get the audio. Download: Ogg Vorbis   MP3 Or - click the wee player:



1 Facebook
- if Google = Search - Facebook wants to be Facebook = social .
They will do this by encouraging web site makers and developers to use new tools they unveiled at their developer conference F8 last week.

see
http://www.macworld.com/article/150801/2010/04/facebook.html
http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/21/facebook/
http://www.pcworld.com/article/194770/how_facebook_plans_to_dominate_the_web.html

2. Great web sites - principles/practice - from Webby Nominees
Using three examples from Webby 2010 Nominees, - we ask , 'what can they teach us about the four main principles of great web projects: design - content - collaboration - community.


3. Quick Hits
3.1. Pew Report on Institutions
Reference and the header to the study - here

3.2. The Daily Mail 100 cancer stories
Got this via Twitter and then Facebook - so its a bit like the social web in action.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=269512464297

3.3 Nessie!
No less than the Chief Constable of Inverness believed in Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, and wanted him protected according to secret memoirs just released by Archives at Scottish Archives.

See UK Telegraph for the bones of the story, here.

Plus National Archives Scotland site
http://www.nas.gov.uk/

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Preserving the British Library’s C19 Newspaper Collection



"In 2004, the British Library secured £2 million funding from JISC to digitise its fragile C19 newspaper collection and make it available online. The collection is one of the top ten in the world and is used by journalists, historians and researchers world-wide.

The British Library has digitised two million pages amounting to 80 terabytes of data. This film looks at the challenges the Library has faced to preserve the collection for the future and the decisions it has taken."

Source: Planets

Planets
'Planets is a four-year project co-funded by the European Union under Framework Programme Six. It is coordinated by the British Library and delivered by 16 national libraries, archives, technology and research institutions. The project has developed a suite of software tools and services to help organisations preserve digital content for the long-term'

Monday, 26 April 2010

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival - 12th- 16th May, 2010


The Auckland Writers Festival
When bumping into friends colleagues and acquaintances of late I'm noticing we are starting to talk about the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival coming up on the 12th - 16th May, 2010.

I love these 5 days - for sure McGovern Online is a sponsor - and for sure - I'm always proud of the web work we do: but there is also a real community of practice running around this gig.

Patrons and sponsors have, by in large, been there for ever; the organisers, budget and distance notwithstanding, continue to want to push the envelope; writers on the festival circuit come away glad they did this one; and audiences just keep on rocking up every year.

And every one a reader! Things ain't over yet! See you there.

Programme - tickets - news - etc- here


Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2010 from Paul Reynolds on Vimeo.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Impact of the Internet on institutions in the future - Pew Internet and American Life



The Impact of the Internet on Institutions in the Future

Pew Internet & American Life Project
" By an overwhelming margin, technology experts and stakeholders participating in a survey fielded by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center believe that innovative forms of online cooperation could result in more efficient and responsive for-profit firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies by the year 2020.
While their overall assessment anticipates that humans’ use of the internet will prompt institutional change, many elaborated with written explanations that expressed significant concerns over organisation’s resistance to change. They cited fears that bureaucracies of all stripes – especially government agencies – can resist outside encouragement to evolve. Some wrote that the level of change will affect different kinds of institutions at different times. The consensus among them was that businesses will transform themselves much more quickly than public and non-profit agencies... '

report summary and pdf link,  here


Source/context
I sourced this from the ever excellent series, The Source from the NZNL. Reading it, in part, as preparation for an upcoming series of conversations/seminars I am involved in with the NZ Computer Society, Details, here.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

ANZAC Day - Sunday, 25th April, 2010


ANZAC Day - Sunday, 
This coming Sunday, 25th April 2010,  is ANZAC Day here in New Zealand and Australia, when the people of each country commemorate their joint heritage from the 1st World War and other conflict zones. There will be many online points of presence for this annual day of memory, including institutional ones.  These in turn will be flanked by a myriad of ceremonies of remembrance up and down the rural and urban pathways of both countries.


The Auckland War Memorial Museum
One of the key pillars of the Auckland Museum - embedded in its proper title, AWWM, The Auckland War Memorial Museum, is as the place for remembrance to the fallen here in New Zealand, with the dawn service  in particular a place where the generations  - especially the younger - meet to honour their grandparents and great grandparents.

The Cenotaph Database

And on that note - 'tis well to pause to reference the excellent Cenotaph Database   a biographical database of New Zealanders who have died in the 19th century, from the New Zealand Wars and South Africa, through the First and Second World Wars to Korea, Malaya and Vietnam.

ANZAC, 2010: Online Book of Remembrance
To mark the 2010 anniversary, the AWWM has put up online a Book of Remembrance, as well as a  some rare archival photographs in their collection plus a small but sensitive feature to  four of the NZ men who served in the 2nd World War Theaters.

Heroes of Gallipoli
Friday 23, Saturday 24, Sunday 25 April
7.30pm - 10pm
Northern Façade


Also  this year the Museum will repeat it's projection of  Anzac soldiers in Gallipoli footage which was digitally restored by director Peter Jackson. The Museum will also project a collection of rare footage from New Zealand Film Archive’s After the War was Over.  This includes:

Arrival of New Zealand Troops at Cologne, 1919
With jaunty stride the New Zealand Division crosses the German frontier into Cologne where they formed part of the Allied Occupation Forces after the Armistice on 11 November 1918. The Division crossed the frontier at Herbesthal-Euphen, and reached Cologne on 26 December 1918 after a 23 days trek from the start point at Beauvois.
Maori Contingent Home, 1919


“Welcome Home to the Maori Pioneer Battalion from the front”.
The return at Auckland wharves and powhiri in the Domain to the veterans of the Maori Pioneer Battalion Te Hokowhitu A Tu.


Governor General Attends Consecration of Colours Auckland, New Zealand, 1933
The presentation of the colours of the Auckland Regiment to the Auckland War Memorial Museum by the Regiment's senior officers, including Gallipoli veteran Colonel A Plugge CMG.
ANZAC Day - Sunday the 25th 
The ANZAC Day service at the AWWM begins with the dawn service at the Cenotaph, at 6am. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is open to all immediately after the service at 6:45.  There is a full programme of events, here


ANZAC Resources
I will try and reference other sources as they come to hand. Firstly, the RSA has an excellent site including maps of country wide ANZAC ceremonies, here.  See also  A Guide to ANZAC Day, and also the excellent  NZ On Screen ANZAC Collection.   And don't miss the essays by Jock Phillips, et al, here. 




ANZAC Search from DNZ


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Can LIANZA , et al, have a look at Melina Merchetta talking to Penguin TV?



How mornings start.
I started this morning with a bunch of emails, some of which agreed with my comment in the previous post that LIANZA - even if they should have waited a bit longer to iron out the bugs on their new site - would indeed be better served now by concentrating on their content editorial plan.

Outside of a Dog. 
Then the post brought a review copy of Rick Gekoski's Outside of A Dog. Gekoski is appearing at the Auckland Writers Festival, so I'm keen to read this account of 'the intricate relationship between reading and his life'.

Naturally he acknowledges [on the inside cover] that his title is a riff from the famous Groucho March quote -  'Outside of a dog, a book is a mans best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.'

Inside a Dog - SLV
This quote is also the riff for the State Library of Victoria, Inside a Dog -  their web site on reading - writing et al, for YA's .So I decided to boogie on over for a catch up - and guess what - squaring the circle - I found gold - courtesy of this brilliant interview with Australian  YA author, Melina Marchetta.


Melina MarchettaLIANZA
This is a beautiful interview. I love the Sydney inner city back garden - her attitude - the honesty - the writing the city texture- and of course the sun. It's Australia on a stick! Love it to bits. And made by Penguin TV. See above - or go here to see it in situ.

Penguin TV
Penguin TV?  I had no idea Penguin Australia were remotely as cool as this - bringing readers to writers - books out on the screen. Total respect to you. This is a lovely piece of work, and if LIANZA, or indeed the public libraries of NZ/Australia want a benchmark for their content/editorial plan - they have to watch this now.

Then they might ask the local publishers how they can help?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

NZ LIANZA web site


LIANZA, The Library and Information Association of New Zealand, Aotearoa, has a new web site. Critiquing collegiate web sites can cause lots of problems - people get hurt - sensitivities are provoked. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped the NZ library community can both benefit from, and be able to participate in, some robust internal and external debate on what will be their primary online home for a couple of years at least.

Look and feel
On the local library list serve the criticism has hitherto been all about colour - look and feel - including  comments on the nitty gritty detail of the contact button - spelling mistakes et al. And fair enough - people will do just that - but 'tis to be hoped we can move quickly towards a deeper debate on the content and editorial plan, both current and to come. On that note, I have the following suggestions I'd like to offer for debate:

1. The library/professional focus
There seems to be a big emphasis on the profession - its members and concerns et al. I would like to see this extended to include key supporters and users of libraries - especially public libraries.

I would also love to see a lot more  on how libraries serve this wider stakeholder constituency -  via case studies - key facts on economic value - in short - as the Brits once had it - build the evidence base for the economic and cultural value of libraries.

This could be done as a dashboard - a bit like the Indianapolis Art Gallery Dashboard

2. People Using libraries
There are great war stories on  just how important libraries - especially public libraries-  are to people, most recently Rolling Stone,Keith Richards, and his secret librarian life, here. Inside this article is this marvelous quote from his autobiography:

“When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.”
Also to hand is the wonderful interview with Junot Diaz with the Christchurch City Library web team at the 2008 Writers Festival in Auckland, when he says that 'libraries saved my life'  That story also reveals that the public library can be a bit of a news star in its own right - i.e. Christchurch City Libraries web team went to the Auckland Writers  Fesitval - got the story - wrote it - published it.  See here

3. LIANZA Conference
Here in NZ, the LIANZA library conference in October is one of the great meeting points for cultural/heritage/arts people, especially online.

There are literally dozens of great LIANZA conference sessions on record over the last 5/10 years - including the seminal presentations from the likes of Larry Lessig in Auckland 2008. Why cant we have a selection of these videos up on line?

I know the automatic response is rights - but that must be under control now? After all the sessions are for sale within an hour of the presentation at the conference , and I don't know of any speaker who gets a royalty from these.

So please can we have a video wall up and running now - whether via a You Tube or Vimeo Channel - this stuff is just so achievable.


4. Friday moments
The NZ Libs list serve has the occasional Friday moment - I have offered more than a few myself - why not this feature here? There must be a mile of interesting ways to create the community effect the site is aspiring to.


5. Reading Diaries/Journals
Can we have a composite one - i.e. what are people reading? Would make a great tag cloud? Would also make a great Twitter feed?


6. Guest Blog
Can we have a guest blog feature? The UK Museum Computer Community do a great job of this here:

Summary
In summary I would love to see a really robust debate from within the profession - and, dare I say, the outside world - on the content and editorial plans for the site, and leave the debate on colours,  and micro-managing the information architecture for another day.

Friday, 16 April 2010

ABC Australia: Media Watch. Channel Nine Cameraman Incident



Comment
There is precious little need for comment, other than to say, this could just as easily have happened in NZ or the UK, or the USA.  The recent news is that the cameraman has been sacked. But as Brian Edwards points out , he wasn't alone - the retribution should equally apply to the Director and the news editor. This stuff just smells! 

Source/Context
First alerted to this story via an excellent blog post from Dr Brian Edwards, here

Sir George Grey - Wikipedia and NZ Papers Past

NZ Papers Past

Sir George Grey, governor, premier and collector.
For various reasons which will emerge in due course, I am deeply interested in the life and times [and collecting habits] of Sir George Grey, the 19th century two time Governor plus Premier of New Zealand, who also managed to build three marvelous libraries of books/manuscripts, each of which he gave away- with one of them forming the original foundation to collection to the Auckland City Library, itself a child of the Auckland Mechanics Institute. With more on that, here

Wikipedia  at Museums on the Web
I am also aware that this is the week for the MW2010, Museums on the Web 2010 Conference, and that some folks from Wikipedia are leading a workshop on how the collection sector in general, and the museum sector in particular might better collaborate with Wikipedia


George Grey - Wikipedia and Papers Past
All that in place, I can now recount that  20 minutes ago I was happily poodling about in the Wikipedia entry on Sir George Grey and then discovered that - in the last week or so - some truly bright eyed petal of a darling has sorted through Papers Past, the NZ National Library collection of 19th Century. Newspapers, and embedded them into Wikipedia as contextual footnotes to parts of the entry.
Here's some examples:

  1. ^ The Colonial New Zealand Wars, Tim Ryan and Bill Parham, pg28
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sinclair, Keith (7 April 2006). "Grey, George 1812–1898". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/default.asp?Find_Quick.asp?PersonEssay=1G21. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  3. ^ a b The Penguin History of New Zealand, p. 203.
  4. ^ "(By Telegraph). Auckland. Dec. 22.". North Otago Times. Volume XXIII, Issue 1159, 23 December 1875. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NOT18751223.2.14.2. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "THE ELECTIONS". Daily Southern Cross. Volume XXXII, Issue 5708, 8 January 1876. pp. 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=DSC18760108.2.16. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Thames election : petition against sir George Grey's election.". Daily Southern Cross. Volume XXXII, Issue 5724, 1 February 1876. pp. 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=DSC18760201.2.23. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Sir George Grey and the seats for the Thames and City West.". Daily Southern Cross. Volume XXXII, Issue 5205, 17 June 1876. pp. 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=DSC18760617.2.12.4. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "New Zealand Parliament". Taranaki Herald. Volume XXIV, Issue 2427, 12 July 1876. pp. 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=TH18760712.2.22. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "Parliamentary". Bay Of Plenty Times. Volume IV, Issue 401, 15 July 1876. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=BOPT18760715.2.13. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "General Election News". Wanganui Herald. Volume XII, Issue 9511, 11 September 1879. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=WH18790911.2.10. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Remainder of the Colony". The Star. Issue 4255, 10 December 1881. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=TS18811210.2.15. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "The New Parliament". Wanganui Herald. Volume XIX, Issue 5378, 29 July 1884. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=WH18840729.2.13.1. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "THE GENERAL ELECTION.". Hawke's Bay Herald. Volume XXII, Issue 7859, 28 September 1887. pp. 3. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=HBH18870928.2.14. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "RESIGNATION OF MR GOLDIE, M.H.R". Poverty Bay Herald. Volume XVIII, Issue 6001, 23 February 1891. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=PBH18910223.2.13. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Newton Seat.". Wanganui Chronicle. Volume XXXIII, Issue 11205, 27 February 1891. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=WC18910227.2.12. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "Telegrams". Inangahua Times. Volume XVI, Issue 20216, 27 March 1891. pp. 2. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=IT18910327.2.9. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  17. ^ "NEW ZEALAND". Marlborough Express. Volume XXVII, Issue 79, 6 April 1891. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=MEX18910406.2.18. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  18. ^ Barnes, Roger (1994), New Zealand Armorist, 52, pp. 18
Other sources - NZETC and NZDB
Also worth noting are the external linkages to Sir George Grey's works on the NZETC, NZ Electronic Text Centre, here, and the NZDNZ

It's Friday
Some times the clouds clear and the sun comes out! And whoever you are, thanks!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

UK elections, Bebo, Public ACTA and the Webby Awards with Jim Mora

Jim Mora on Radio New Zealand National, Afternoons.
Herewith the links and background notes to my fortnightly chat with Jim Mora on National Radio.  Had some interesting feedback on the UK Internet campaigns. Looking forward to covering this more. and on that note, I forgot to mention that the BBC seem to be gearing up for a major Internet newsroom on the election. Check here for a start.

Radio NZ Audio with thanks
The audio with Jim and I, is here,  Ogg Vorbis   MP3 ,  or click the wee player.



1. Bebo
The social networking site Bebo - owned by AOL is rumored to be closing down.
We review the story - the AOL takeover - investment - lack of traction with audience, and the lessons learned for other social networking sites. Should Facebook be worried?
[Note: Bebo never took off in the USA - but it did in the UK and at one time was the biggest kid on the block in NZ]
Question: what happens to your stuff? Family memories - photos - videos etc?
http://beebo.org/


2. UK Election - social media
We discuss the role of the Internet in the upcoming UK election.
UK Hansard Society.

Have published a study on digital campaigning, which includes an international review of past elections, including New Zealand, as well as offering some considered views on how the Internet will impact on the 2010 UK Election.

Their conclusion is that though the Internet will offer some useful, and on occasion, important tools, especially for single issue campaigns and party activists, this won't be the year of the big UK breakthrough for Internet campaigning.
We also looked at the main political party sites:
Conservatives - MyConservatives 
Labour Party  plus Labour Manifesto site
Liberal Democrats

Plus the spoof site on the UK Labour  Party - here

3. Public ACTA
Wellington Declaration
In a world first for Internet democracy the organisers and participants of the Public ACTA conference in  Wellington last Saturday have had their recommendations acknowledged by the NZ team who are tasked to represent NZ's interest inside this secret inter- country treaty negotiating process on new copyright frameworks.
The declarations and the principles are here:
http://publicacta.org.nz/


4 Webby Awards
On the cool site front, nothing comes cooler for sites than the Webby Awards
This years opening nominations are going up today. Plus the People Nominations are open here.
www.webbyawards.com
[Note: apologies to on air listeners - I gave webby awards . org  - not .com.  ]

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Detroit Disassembled - Andrew Moore : Sunday moment from New York Review of Books Blog


click image to move through slide show of 12 images
"...Known for his large-scale photographs of dilapidated buildings in places like Cuba, Russia, and Times Square, Andrew Moore has now turned his attention to Detroit. These images are from his new collection, Detroit Disassembled, published by Damiani and the Akron Art Museum, where an exhibition of his work will be on view from June 5 to October 10.... "
Source: New York Review of Books Blog

Friday, 9 April 2010

NZ On Screen - March’s Top 10



NZ On Screen - March’s Top 10
This is the top 10 clips watched by local NZ audiences from NZ On Screen:
This Is New Zealand
Short Film, 1970, Excerpt
Hugh MacDonald’s three-screen celebration of NZ was seen by two million people at the 1970 Osaka Expo, and by over 350,000 NZers on its homecoming theatrical release. Rarely seen since, this excerpt, screening on a specially commissioned player, is the first three minutes of the film.


Walkshort
Short Film, 1987, Full Length
This classic short sees Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair goof around Karangahape Road in various guises in a hilarious baton relay-style narrative. It charts via a mention on Spareroom, “yes, they do wear those polyester walk shorts that NZ civil servants and geography teachers used to love.”


On The Mat
Television, 1980, 2 Full Length Episodes
Steve Rickard’s cult pro-wrestling TV show On the Mat continues to attract punters looking for a sweaty nostalgic taste of larger-than-life characters like King Curtis, Samoan Joe, Aussie Larry O'Day, and Sweet William and Brute Miller (soon famous in the US as The Bushwackers).

Beyond A Joke
Television, 1995, Full Length
Leading our collection celebrating Kiwi comedy on TV, is this doco about NZ humour. It features dollops of classic TV comedy moments from Fred Dagg, Barry Crump, McPhail and Gadsby, Billy T James, Pete and Pio, the Topp Twins, Gliding On, Lyn of Tawa, Funny Business, and more.

Boy
Film, 2010, Trailer, Excerpts, Interviews
Taika Waititi’s second feature evolved from Oscar-nominated short Two Cars One Night and similarly mines the 80s styles of his East Coast Crazy Horse childhood. Since Boy’s NZ theatrical release it has broken box office records. Check out the promo and exclusive behind the scenes clips.

Patu!
Film, 1983, Full Length
Merata Mita’s landmark doco Patu! is a startling record of the mass civil disobedience that took place throughout NZ during the winter of 1981, in protest against a South African rugby tour. Required citizenship viewing, it staunchly contradicts claims that Kiwis are “a passionless people”.

Love, Speed and Loss
Television, 2005, Full Length
Motor-powered subjects are enduringly popular on the site and this award-winning doco about motor-racer Kim Newcombe, is waving the flag in March. Newcombe turned heads on a self-made König bike, but was killed racing in 1973 and posthumously came second in that year's World 500cc Grand Prix.

Tama Tu
Short Film, 2004, Full Length
Taika Waititi’s second chart entry is his acclaimed short about a group of Māori Battalion soldiers camped in Italian ruins waiting for night to fall. In the silence the bros-in-arms distract themselves with jokes, before a tohu (sign) brings them back to reality and they return to the fray.


The Best of Billy T James Collection
Television, 1992, Full Length Episode
This compilation of skits from the much loved laureate of laughter’s popular 80s TV shows is a consistent winner. It includes Te News (black singlet, yellow towel), Turangi Vice, and classic spoofs of Pixie Caramel’s “last requests” and Lands For Bags’ “where’d you get your bag” ads.


Nothing's Going To Happen
Music Video, 1981, Tall Dwarfs
Chris Knox mines his 1981 surroundings for this stop-motion Tall Dwarfs' clip, including setting fire to his lounge. A full two decades before Final Cut Pro made homespun hip, and directors like Michel Gondry popularised the craft aesthetic. An NYC Knox benefit concert takes place on May 6th
source - NZ ON Screen - for more details and links.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Bad Ideas - Robert Winston

Robert Winston
Given his worldwide reputation as a scientist, teacher and broadcaster, the wonderfully bushy eyed Robert Winston needs no introduction from the likes of me. However, it is worth noting his current job description – Professor of Science and Society at Imperial college, London.

This title is a brilliant trope to the emerging need for science to come down off the mountain of authority and specialisation, and begin taking part in the necessary political and cultural debates around where the best and worst of the human imagination is taking us.

In short, though science may indeed be built on universal principles: nevertheless its priorities, and its outcomes go to the heart of how we treat our common inheritance – whether physical, social, economic, or intellectual – both in the present and for future generations.

Or as Robert Winston would have it – though science creates knowledge, how we use it, whether for good or ill, is far from a given. 

Bad Ideas
In his latest book, Bad Ideas,  he examines all of the above by taking us on a wonderfully eclectic tour of five broad swathes of scientific inquiry and discovery. 


Firstly agriculture, and of how human imagination took flight when food was a planned and guaranteed activity.   

Second, how writing – born as an accountancy tool  - for example measuring the granaries of ancient Egypt – leapt over its origins and became the de facto medium of intellectual progress. 

Third how fossil fuels emerged as the defining framework for economic transformation? And, finally how medicine and genetics takes us to the heart of what being human is and might become.

In all of this he claims a downside – that writing is used for bigotry and persecution – that fossil fuel polices are ruining the earth – that genetics is heading out of control: in short, bad ideas are just as fertile as good, and it's time we all started taking more notice of the political impact of this paradox.

As a project to help frame this debate the book is a great success. However, he does pack a lot in, and inevitably his treatment of specific themes - e.g. the potential of the Internet, feels at worse superficial, and at best a useful building block to his overall thesis that things could all turn pear shaped if we are not careful.   

As an approach to popularising science and the issues they raise this isn't necessarily a bad thing, even if, on occasion, it comes across a tad too tidy. Nevertheless, he writes well and the issues he raises essential to our future.

Creative Spaces - Winston Roberts - Natural History Museum
Also worth sharing is Prof Winston's engaging memories, insights, et al into The London Natural History Museum, courtesy of the Creative Spaces project.


Robert Winston - Natural History Museum from Creative Spaces on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

UK election - how will digital play as an election issue?


Building Britain's Digital Future
Can't be a total co-incidence that Gordan Brown chose to speak about Building Britain's Digital future in the last week or so. Wonder what the other parties have to say about this issue.Transcript, here

Playing with Tweet Cloud

Thursday, 1 April 2010

David Puttnam on Educating for the Digital Society



"IIEA's Digital Future Group 

"..  Lord Puttnam addressed a breakfast meeting of the IIEA's Digital Future Group on the topic of Education in the Digital Society. Introducing his keynote with a short clip from his latest film, We are the people we are waiting for, the Oscar-winning film producer highlighted the crucial role of the education system in preparing young people of today for the emerging Digital society of tomorrow.

He emphasised the need for the education system to embrace technology and foster digital literacy at an early stage to create the next generation of informed and responsible digital participants. He called on Government to prioritise education spending and provide the resources necessary to meet this challenge .."
source, and more here