The Invisible Web

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Archive for July 1st, 2008

Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Thanks to Ralph Bernardo at Disinfo for first posting it on their site.

View profile | remove from My friends Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

More here.

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Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Current Events | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj (with Am Johal) on IOC and Olympic sacrafices

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Below is an excerpt from an interview of Helen Jefferson Lenskyj conducted by Am Johal for Seven Oaks Magazine in regards to the International Olympic Committee, the Olympics, and negative impacts of these international games.

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj is the author of Inside the Olympic Industry (2000), The Best Olympics Ever? (2002) and the forthcoming book Olympic Industry Resistance. She spoke over the phone with Am Johal.

AJ: Since the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Adequate Housing visited Vancouver in the middle of October 2007, there have been three more low income rental buildings planning to evict tenants and convert by the end of February 2008. Over 700 have already converted since the Olympics were awarded to Vancouver and the City of Vancouver predicts that another 660 are under threat. Is this the usual story of Olympic promises not being kept?

Certainly. Why would they have bothered with this inner-city inclusive commitment statement if it wasn’t for public relations. It was window dressing and it is part of a very common process for Olympic Organizing Committees.

Not only does this divide community groups on the ground, it doesn’t really lead to results. It seems either a moderate or a more radical approach doesn’t seem to effect policy-making. There seems to be simple menu of public policy options available that they seem to be neglecting either through incompetence or poor planning.

In watching and monitoring everything that happened including pushing out homeless people, Olympic watchdog groups in Australia were partially effective in raising issues. Certainly homelessness would have been worse if they hadn’t been there. They had an important role to play.

Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Cryptopolitics, Current Events | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Chris Anderson wrote for WIRED:

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

So proclaimed statistician George Box 30 years ago, and he was right. But what choice did we have? Only models, from cosmological equations to theories of human behavior, seemed to be able to consistently, if imperfectly, explain the world around us. Until now. Today companies like Google, which have grown up in an era of massively abundant data, don’t have to settle for wrong models. Indeed, they don’t have to settle for models at all.

Sixty years ago, digital computers made information readable. Twenty years ago, the Internet made it reachable. Ten years ago, the first search engine crawlers made it a single database. Now Google and like-minded companies are sifting through the most measured age in history, treating this massive corpus as a laboratory of the human condition. They are the children of the Petabyte Age.

The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies.

At the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order but of dimensionally agnostic statistics. It calls for an entirely different approach, one that requires us to lose the tether of data as something that can be visualized in its totality. It forces us to view data mathematically first and establish a context for it later. For instance, Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.

Posted in Current Events, Internet, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Neopaganism growing quickly

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Electa Draper reported for the Denver Post:

Give them that old-time religion — ancient religion — and then watch an exploding population of modern pagans give it contemporary twists.

Their numbers roughly double about every 18 months in the United States, Canada and Europe, according to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.

Neopaganism, whether a careful reconstruction of ancient practice or a completely modern interpretation of ancient lore, is now among the country’s fastest-growing religions.

People, especially teens, are rejecting what they see as the “autocracy, paternalism, sexism, homophobia and insensitivity to the environment” of some more traditional religions, the Canadian group concludes.

Denverite Jesse Walter describes himself as a recovering Irish Catholic, conservative Republican and Army reservist. He is also a druid who follows one of the most difficult traditions of his religion — taking his livelihood for at least a year and a day from a grove of trees.Walter, 33, who became a druid at age 18, first took a literal approach and bought land near the Wyoming state line where he could hunt. Then he and his wife, Kantis, who calls herself a generic pagan, were inspired to open a community center/coffee shop, Witches Brew, across the street from Berkeley Lake Park in north Denver.

Walter picks up litter and watches over the park. In a part of the grove sacred to him, he leaves spiritual offerings, sometimes a bottle of whiskey, to ward off wee-folk mischief.

Read more.

Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Current Events, Neo Paganism, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Proof that Marijuana is a Powerful Medicine

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

Aaron Rowe wrote for WIRED’s online science blog:

Marijuana contains an amazing chemical, beta-caryophyllene, and scientists have thoroughly proven that it could be used to treat pain, inflammation, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.

Jürg Gertsch, of ETH Zürich, and his collaborators from three other universities learned that the natural molecule can activate a protein called cannabinoid receptor type 2. When that biological button is pushed, it soothes the immune system, increases bone mass, and blocks pain signals — without causing euphoria or interfering with the central nervous system.

Gertsch and his team published their findings on June 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.They focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of the impressive substance — testing it on immune cells called monocytes and also in mice.

Read more

Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Current Events, The War on (Some) Drugs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

meet Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah of Ghana aka Kofi Kingston of Jamaica

Posted by invizweb on July 1, 2008

For the BBC, Leslie Goff reported:

To millions of US wrestling fans, Kofi Kingston is the first Jamaican wrestler in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). But his real identity is very different – because to his family and friends, he is Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah from Ghana.

Most wrestling fans have never heard of the West African country, so the wrestling body decided fight fans would be more likely to embrace a wrestler from the land of Bob Marley and reggae music.

And so desperate is Sarkodie-Mensah to become wrestling’s next superstar, he is willing to deny who he is.

“I was actually born in Jamaica – to be honest with a name like Kofi a lot of people assume I was born in Ghana,” he says with a bad Jamaican accent, but doing his best to stay in character.

But though he denies it, his mother Elizabeth – the head of a Ghanaian-American organisation in the US – confirms that he was indeed born in Ghana, and not in Jamaica. The family only moved to the US in 1982.

“I told him: ‘Kofi, your cousins watch you on TV in Ghana and want to know why you don’t say you’re from Ghana,'” she says.

“He said: ‘Tell them it is business.'”

Read more.

Posted in Combat Sports, Pro Wrestling, WWE | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »