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[xmca] New Aps and the Growth of inequality
- To: kurt squire <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [xmca] New Aps and the Growth of inequality
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2010 13:56:47 -0700
- Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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So how do collaborate to get these issues on the national research agenda,
Locally, the fruit app wouldn't work for the population we work with because
the fruit trees have been cut down and paved over and the only fresh food
they can walk to is at the 99 cent store. Public transport is
mimimal and expensive. Unemployment is staggering. etc.
And all we get is celebration of a wireless world while the poor of other
countries get our digital waste. Bah humbug.
On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM, kurt squire <email@example.com> wrote:
> Couldn't agree more, particularly on the mobile apps. A student, Seann
> Dikkers and I have been studying youth with mobile devices, and we have a
> piece we're putting together arguing for them as devices that amplify
> interest, personal power, identification, and, yes, probably class
> distinctions. The Educational Research & Development Group I'm in at the
> Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery is working on a variety of applications
> around personalized medicine to try and deal with these issues of health &
> class, but it's an uphill battle, to be sure.
> Some of the most interesting work I've seen in that area is participatory
> mapping. Another student of mine, Jim Mathews has been using mobile devices
> with high school kids for them to map their neighborhoods and then create
> mobile media learning experiences that highlight social, environmental, or
> economic issues. He's been very interested in how one can apply
> participatory mapping techniques in educational settings... there are
> fantastic examples of people mapping the healthiness of neighborhoods (i.e.
> how far must you walk to find fresh fruit or vegetables?).
> Jim also turned me on to Neighborhood Fruit, a great app that shows you
> where fruit trees are growing so that you can eat free fruit. Probably you
> folks in California will have more trees appear than we get in Madison.
> On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 11:49 AM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> A clear weakness in this medium is the prominent display of contextual
>> clues to guide interpretation. Using irony, which i do a lot in oral
>> and too often online, is extremely iffy.
>> I agree that the online gaming environment is rich in potential for what
>> most of us in xmca (I am guessing) would see as creating rich environments
>> for educational activities. To Rafi's list I would recommend that those
>> interested google "Quest Atlantis" or "Sasha Barab" and of course Donna
>> Russell is an XMCA member who has worked in this area.
>> David Kel's comments about multi-aged play groups and zopeds is at least
>> of the serious points I take out of his most recent rumpusy posting.
>> Simultaneously, I have a growing suspicion that the spread of iphone apps
>> for educational and health purposes is going to prove both a bigger wedge
>> between classes and an big ecological challenge. I see consideration of
>> these possibilities nowhere in the discourse on the marvels of ubiquitous
>> mobile wireless computing. Perhaps its me who is missing the point.
>> On Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 7:40 AM, Martin Packer <email@example.com> wrote:
>> > On Apr 10, 2010, at 10:30 PM, Rafi Santo wrote:
>> > > From the date on the article (March 22), I'd doubt that it was an
>> > Fool's joke, though the author certainly does himself no service by
>> > somewhat of tongue in cheek and polarizing argumentation strategy
>> > are broken, let's replace them with video games!", if I can
>> > >
>> > My university library doesn't provide access to some important journals,
>> > but it does allow me to read Jonathan Gough's columns. I'm copying two
>> > in the first he solves the global energy crisis; in the second he muses
>> > the wonders of capitalism. April Fool's joke? No, he is this witty and
>> > provocative every week, for a living!
>> > =============
>> > The life & opinions of Julian Gough
>> > I have decided to devote this column to doing only good.
>> > I shall start by solving the energy crisis. Now, crisis is a terrible
>> > description and shortage is worse. The terms of this debate have been
>> set by
>> > the oil industry, whose worldview was formed when atoms were solid. Oil
>> > industry executives still see cars as the solution to the global threat
>> > emanating from horses (who, scientists once predicted, would bury the
>> > world's cities under 20ft of manure by 1950). But how can you have a
>> > shortage of energy in a universe made out of nothing but energy? On a
>> > half of which is bathed in high-energy radiation at all times? A planet
>> > a core of solid, crystalline iron, which rotates in a boiling slurry of
>> > molten rock so energetic it can burst through the earth's skin to
>> > cities? A planet with a moon that hauls entire oceans, whales and all,
>> > several meters up in the air, twice daily? Earth's air pours forth raw
>> > electricity, in billion-volt bolts, at a global rate of 100 times a
>> > Absurd excesses of energy lash us from every direction, it's a miracle
>> > not all dead. Shortage? The crisis is one of overproduction.
>> > Yet people are faffing about attempting to run cars on soya oil. Stop
>> > It's embarrassing! Where is your pride in technological advance? Way
>> back in
>> > the 1970s, spacecraft already used fuel cells and solar panels and
>> > gravitational slingshots around distant planets and yet we, in the 21st
>> > century, are still trying to move forward by essentially lighting our
>> > farts.
>> > What is this obsession with the internal combustion engine, anyway?
>> > engineers can perfect it all they want, they're still setting off
>> > in a tin can, in order to rotate a stick, so that mechanical gears can
>> > a wheel, with a 15 per cent energy efficiency. It's Victorian. And
>> > power is no advance. Nuclear power plants are just used to boil water.
>> > are giant kettles. We cracked the atom and we used it to make tea.
>> > Why aren't we having more fun with this? Look, if we can't find a way to
>> > generate power from an iron sphere which is the size of the moon and as
>> > as the sun rotating in a magnetic field beneath our feet, then we
>> deserve to
>> > sit in the dark until the fission reactor that floods us in energy rises
>> > next morning.
>> > For the love of God, our planet is flying through the sun's magnetic
>> > at a shocking speed. While spinning. It's just a huge dynamo, waiting
>> > someone to tap it. All you have to do is run 100,000-km wires out of
>> > earth's magnetic field and into the sun's field. What? How? Make the
>> > out of stuff that's already up there. Use old nuclear warheads to blast
>> > few iron asteroids into geosynchronous orbit around earth. Voilá! Tiny,
>> > fixed moons of solid ore. A little factory builds a big factory from the
>> > asteroid's material and off you go. Finally, gently lower one end to
>> > at the equator, using space-elevator physics, and connect it to a global
>> > grid. Do I have to do everything for you?
>> > It's an ideal way for America and China to rebalance their accounts with
>> > each other, while building something more productive than machines for
>> > spin-drying lettuce. America needs to replace its dilapidated 1950s
>> > electricity infrastructure, and China needs to generate electricity for
>> > billion people without cooking the world. Not only would a global dynamo
>> > generate no greenhouse gases but the heat from the dynamo would be
>> > into space. (Besides, in the next few years, America and China will need
>> > something exciting to do together that isn't a war.)
>> > You also end up with the bonus of a space elevator, which lowers the
>> > of getting stuff into orbit a hundredfold, so only the first wire is
>> > expensive. And the wires would look great at night: big glowing lines
>> > stretching off into the darkness. Especially if you hung ultrathin
>> sheets of
>> > glittery solar panel off them too, doubling the energy return. Nature
>> > fun while it lasted, but humans now own the planet. We might as well
>> > decorate it.
>> > Sure, converting some of the earth's orbital and rotational energy into
>> > electricity would eventually slow the planet down, lengthening the day
>> > the year,Â but we'll enjoy the lie-in. And we could declare the extra
>> > holidays. No, no, your thanks are unnecessary. Just name December 32nd
>> > me. (And before the protesters get started, tidal friction is already
>> > slowing the earth's rotation. Go picket the moon).
>> > Much of the research has been done: many of the satellites passing over
>> > your head already use electricity and a kilometre-long wire dangling
>> > the earth's magnetic field to raise and lower their orbit.
>> > And one of the nicest things about this plan is, unlike burning all the
>> > oil, it's reversible. If we later found a cleaner, cheaper, more fun way
>> > generate energy, we could push electricity back up the wires. Resistance
>> > would become assistance: instead of slowing us down, the sun's magnetic
>> > field would speed the earth up and haul us into our old orbit, as if it
>> > never happened.
>> > Well, that's the energy crisis solved. Next month, I shall bring about
>> > world peace.
>> > Julian Gough is the author of "Jude: Level 1" (Old Street Publishing)
>> > April 30, 2009
>> > ============
>> > The sacred mystery of capital
>> > BYLINE: Julian Gough
>> > LENGTH: 1962 words
>> > Many prophets foretold the disaster. Rending their garments, they cried
>> > that these works of man deviated from all that was good and proper, and
>> > would bring destruction. The prophets were mocked. Some were even driven
>> > into the wilderness. But then it came-a freezing of markets, a collapse
>> > structured products, a destruction of asset classes and a global credit
>> > crunch. Foretold by the prophets, yet somehow unpredicted by the risk
>> > of banks and governments, it wiped trillions of dollars from the value
>> > houses and dumped families out in the street in numbers far exceeding
>> > of Exodus. The crisis threw communities, and commodities, into
>> > New Zealand to Iceland, from soya to oil-and many bankers were fired and
>> > great was their woe.
>> > Of course, the idea of economics as a religion is not new. As Max Weber
>> > pointed out early Protestants saw economic success as a sign from God
>> > one was of the heavenly elect. It was a small step from there to seeking
>> > success to ensure one would be saved. Capitalism, as Walter Benjamin
>> > silently took over Reformation Christianity and replaced the religion
>> > itself: it became a religion, the western religion. So when
>> > arrived in America, in its purest form, so did capitalism: the Catholic
>> > Spanish Americas never thrived economically, in contrast to Protestant,
>> > Anglo-Saxon North America. My own experience bears this out-the collapse
>> > Catholicism in Ireland in the 1990s mirrored the rise of capitalism: the
>> > Celtic tiger was Protestant.
>> > But religions evolve, and recent events show that capitalism has begun
>> > evolve less in the manner of the Galapagos finches (whose beaks adjusted
>> > over millennia to suit the berries of their individual island), and more
>> > the manner of the Incredible Hulk. Incredible Hulk capitalism can expand
>> > muscle of its credit so swiftly that its clothing of real world assets
>> > cannot stretch fast enough to contain it. Expansion, explosion,
>> > collapse-Incredible Hulk capitalism sprawls, stunned and shrunken again,
>> > the rags of its assets.
>> > Or, returning to our religious analogy, if capitalism was a religion, it
>> > would now be a delightfully demented pseudo-scientific cult. Incredible
>> > capitalism is to the capitalism of Adam Smith what Scientology is to the
>> > Christianity of Christ. Both modern high finance and Scientology use the
>> > language and tools of science to ends that are religious, not
>> > Both meet a need, a yearning which the old forms of religion and
>> > no longer meet. The need for a mysterious power greater than us, in
>> which we
>> > can believe. It must be powerful-but it must also be mysterious. And
>> > has been vanishing from the world ever faster, ever since Galileo.
>> > We know what the stars are made of, and can compute their course through
>> > the heavens for the next 10,000 years. We can explain the storms and
>> > that were once evidence of the wrath of God. But as the advance of
>> > has removed the divine mystery from much of life, the advance of free
>> > capitalism has put it back. Only modern economics can now provide forces
>> > that we don't understand. And we need that in our lives.
>> > Critics such as Naomi Klein are almost exactly wrong when they say that
>> > giddy boom and bust cycles of modern capitalism are forced on unwilling
>> > people by big corporations. On the contrary, we the people impose these
>> > rhythms on capital. We've always wanted higher highs and lower lows.
>> > why we drink and take drugs. A flat life is no life; that's why people
>> > themselves in Scandinavia. Boom and bust, party and hangover: they are
>> > nature, as natural as the seasons or the clap. Modern capitalism just
>> > magnifies our urge to binge and purge, on food, on housing, on
>> > on life. Don't listen to what people say-we always complain, when free
>> to do
>> > so-look at what we do. In any situation where there is a
>> > barrier between capitalism and the
>> > communist/Islamist/Christian/self-sufficient agrarian alternative, in
>> > direction do the people jump, tunnel, swim, smuggle themselves and their
>> > children?
>> > Capitalism is seen as arrogant, but that is merely the rage of Caliban
>> > seeing his reflection. The extraordinary thing about capitalism is its
>> > humility and refusal to judge. It will give us what we want; it will not
>> > force on us what it thinks we need. Often we are disgusted by what we
>> > discover that we want-but that reflects on us, not on the servant who
>> > us our fetish gear and saturated fats. It would bring us organic turnips
>> > just as happily. If we cease to desire a product, the producer changes,
>> > ceases to exist. There is nothing more powerless than a corporation.
>> > So how has something so powerless spread so fast? From Adam Smith to now
>> > little more than 200 years. Islam, Christianity and the religions of the
>> > east took far longer to cover far smaller territories. And, even more
>> > interesting, why has modern capitalism suddenly, explosively, sped up
>> > spread in the past 30 years?
>> > For a system to bloodlessly replace an entrenched system, the newcomer
>> > offer some significant improvement. And it must offer it to everyone.
>> > religion of Abraham and Moses did not explode across the globe until
>> > decided to make the version of Judaism preached by Jesus open to
>> > regardless of birth. Likewise, old-style capitalism was incapable of
>> > becoming a universal religion, because it did not offer the hope of
>> > salvation to all. Only those born into an elite of landowners and
>> > owners could access capital. But the recent rise of venture capital
>> > capitalism open to all, and made it at last a potentially universal
>> > religion.
>> > Only one other change was necessary, and it came in 1971. For as long as
>> > money had to be backed by gold, economics was rooted in the material
>> > (just as Christianity was merely an interesting philosophy for as long
>> > Christ was alive). The abandonment of the gold standard was the
>> > and resurrection of capitalism; the traumatic and liberating event which
>> > allowed capitalism to be purely religious and entirely driven by faith.
>> > with all religions, once its link to the physical world was severed,
>> > market capitalism mourned briefly, then experienced a surge of energy
>> > expansion.
>> > In an explosion of credit markets, deficit spending and faith-based
>> > it overwhelmed Soviet and Chinese communism and shook Islamic societies
>> > their roots. It expanded further and faster than Islam after the death
>> > Muhammad. The IMF and the World Bank sent their missionaries to every
>> > nation. And their language has now replaced Latin as the universal
>> > spoken by a sombre, dark-clad priestly caste, but mouthed without
>> > understanding by the ordinary people. People need that, they hunger for
>> > mysteries, a priesthood, shamans in touch with great forces. And modern
>> > finance, like the Latin of the Christian Church, has profound mysteries
>> > its core. Not even bankers know what a collateralised debt obligation
>> > really is.
>> > Where once the essential mystery was contained in the phrase fiat
>> > there be light-now it is contained in the phrase "fiat money." Money,
>> > weightless thing, that spirit that is everywhere and nowhere: that
>> > in everything, is the Holy Spirit of capitalism. And its touch can
>> > you in this life, giving it a big advantage over earlier religions,
>> > offer you only consolation in the next. A bank with a capital base of
>> > can loan out $100bn. Yet with that money, people build real houses,
>> > real cars, eat real bread and drink real wine. Is this not an act of
>> > creation? Is this not a mystery worthy of God?
>> > A banker can make a $1bn loan to a mining company. This faith-based
>> > backed by nothing, electronically transferred, is used to turn hills
>> > holes. The mining company ships the resulting ore around the world. We
>> > in the first age in which faith can literally move mountains. But as
>> > all religious expansions, success bred hubristic dementia. The elevation
>> > metaphysical above physical turned into a kind of contempt for the
>> > The world in which over $500 trillion in credit default swaps could be
>> > created by mostly US banks was also the world in which the US hadn't
>> built a
>> > new oil refinery or nuclear reactor in 25 years, and whose bridges and
>> > levees were collapsing through lack of maintenance.
>> > In any given era, the one true religion is so all-embracing, so
>> > every area of life, that it almost vanishes. God accompanied the
>> > Christian to the toilet, to bed, judged his thoughts, every action.
>> > Communism was so all-pervasive that husbands and wives censored private
>> > conversations (I live in east Berlin, and even today you can tell the
>> > East Germans by the way they pause before replying to a question, as
>> > they must still weigh up all the implications of speaking honestly).
>> > Critics of consumer capitalism despair over the foolishness of the
>> > who buy what they want packaged as what they need. But this is to
>> > misunderstand the transaction. We pray with our money, which is backed
>> > nothing but faith, and a miracle happens-our baskets fill with goods,
>> > more things than we could ever make or grow ourselves. In all other
>> > religions, you go to the temple and give the guardians food that, with
>> > difficulty, you have grown. Under this new, improved religion, the
>> > gives food to you. What happens, every time we shop in Tesco, is a
>> > on a par with the loaves and the fishes.
>> > Like all true religions, capitalism has entered into the cracks between
>> > people, filled the air, so that we can no longer find a place to view
>> > Except perhaps the desert... A few years ago I attended the Burning Man
>> > festival in Nevada. A city housing 30,000 people is built in the desert,
>> > a single week. A Xanadu, dreamed into being every August. Burning Man's
>> > interesting experiment is to run on a gift economy. Coffee and ice are
>> > only products for sale. Every other need must be met out of your own
>> > resources or by gift from another. After the festival I helped take the
>> > apart, leaving no trace that it had ever been. While doing so, I led a
>> > that resembled that of a monk. I saw no money for those two weeks. When
>> > was hungry, I was fed. If I needed clothes for the night, or tools to do
>> > job, I asked, and I received.
>> > Eventually, I returned from the desert, in a 22-wheeler truck. The truck
>> > stopped at a truck stop. I went in and took the food and water that I
>> > needed. As I walked out, a man standing behind a counter stared at me as
>> > passed. And I stopped, and realised that I would have to find tokens
>> made of
>> > paper and hand them to this stranger, and that all the complex human
>> > interaction involved in feeding a stranger, and all the difficulty and
>> > of raising the food, had been replaced by an entirely symbolic exchange
>> > green paper strips bearing an eye and a pyramid. And it seemed as
>> > and arbitrary as it must to an Amazonian tribesman encountering the
>> > Back in my city, I switched on my miraculous electric light ("fiat
>> > and looked out across the miraculous city which no individual could have
>> > built. I saw miraculous light in the window of the rich and the same
>> > in the window of the poor. Many talk about the inequalities of modern
>> > capitalism. But the truth is more subtle, and strange. Christianity once
>> > preached the equality of man, but could find no way to make the vision
>> > Communism tried, and failed, to force equality upon us. But only our
>> > excitable, faith-based capitalism has delivered this degree of
>> > and equality. Ikea, with its Û6 chairs, is delivering not only the
>> > but the communist heaven: everyone equal, sitting on the same chair,
>> > illuminated by the same lamp, all over the
>> > world._______________________________________________
>> > xmca mailing list
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>> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>> xmca mailing list
> Kurt Squire
> Associate Professor, Educational Communications & Technology, Curriculum &
> University of Wisconsin-Madison
> Associate Director of Educational Research and Development, Wisconsin
> Institutes for Discovery
> 544b TEB
> 225 N. Mills St.
> Madison, WI 53706
> 608 263 4672
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