Thursday, August 21, 2008

Defining “Creepy Treehouse” | Flexknowlogy

Still processing this concept. It certainly describes a lot of online education initiatives that I have observed.

The implied pedophilia reference might be a little over the top. Or maybe not.

Description certainly fits ed institutions that use walled gardens and proprietary LMS. Agents of social control. I always thought that the expression "scratch a teacher, find a cop" was a bit harsh too but I think schools might be getting to be more of an extended hostage taking incident than ever.

Defining “Creepy Treehouse” | Flexknowlogy

Somebody has come up with a counter to Creepy treehouse as posted on Stephen's Web.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Agnotology: Thought Control In Economics | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

Thought Control In Economics | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

Higher ed enforces orthodoxy rather that knowledge creation. Of course it is not just higher ed. Great blog post about rewarding corporate success and failure from Ethlite the Pole Dancing Philosopher.

More info relevant to agnotology, the study of the social construction of ignorance.

With a great deal of help from my librarian buddies at ACC, specifically Josh, I was able to get a copy of a wonderful article

Smithson, M. (1985). Toward a Social Theory of Ignorance. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 20:4, 323–346, 20(4), 323-346. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.1985.tb00049.x.

I created a concept map of the article with Mind Meister You should be able to grab the map with your mouse and move it around.

Another article describes the role of the media in manufacturing doubt. Springs from the tobacco industry's efforts to sow the seeds of doubt about the scientific evidence that smoking causes cancer. Marketers have taken this concept far beyond. The field of sociology refers to the Sociological construction of knowledge and the sociological construction of ignorance. Talks about 3 kinds of ignorance and the importance of each:
-a varied and useful tool in the workings of science,
-a purposeful social negotiation by the lay public
-or a strategic tool mobilized in the service of various private interests.
Stocking, S. H., & Holstein, L. (2009). Manufacturing doubt: Journalists' roles and the construction of ignorance in a scientific controversy. Public Understanding of Science, 18(1), 23-42. doi: 10.1177/0963662507079373.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Francis Heylighen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Collective Intelligence.

Francis Heylighen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "in 1995 Heylighen was the first to propose algorithms that could turn the world-wide web into a self-organizing, learning network that exhibits collective intelligence, i.e. a Global brain."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rebooting Democracy

I just started reading a newly released book "Rebooting America: Ideas for redesigning American democracy for an Internet age". It is available as a free ebook or download individual essays from

The book is a series of essays by thinkers about the use of the Internet and social networking for political and humanitarian reform.

Many of the contributing authors are familiar names, Yochai Benkler, Howard Rheingold, Clay Shirky, Dana Boyd and Dave Weinberger are few that I have been following.

Quote from the forward by Ester Dyson:
"In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant
and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Those words have never been more salient or important than they are today. We have pressing public policy problems, adults who should be leaders yet instead lead willfully sheltered lives of comfort and ignorance, a citizenry increasingly active in elections yet alienated from governance, an amazing array of new digital tools and platforms that have the potential to inform and empower us and let us self-organize in astonishing and effective ways. The stage is ready and the sunlight of the Internet is shining on us: It can provide light and energy for a fertile, thousand-flowers-blooming garden, or it can ignite the whole thing into flames and burn it out."

Also came across this article via Howard Rheingolds Smart Mobs site on the use of social networking tools like YouTube to be witness to public sector neglect and abuses of power.,3800010403,39266049,00.htm?r=1
An argument for the public monitoring the state.