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The Myth of the Superhero Leader - Educational Leadership
"They can't fly, but they can leap tall obstacles—if they stay balanced.

In light of the many feats we ask principals to perform as instructional leaders—like guiding teachers to improve student outcomes and arranging for teachers' continued learning, all while overseeing budgets, placating parents, and addressing student behavior and mental health needs—principals might wonder if their job description should also include leap tall buildings in a single bound. Is the widespread notion of principals as instructional leaders tantamount to asking them to be superhuman? Where did this idea of principal as hero come from, anyway?

Origins of Instructional Leadership

By most accounts, the concept of instructional leadership emerged in the 1970s, when researchers began to study so-called effective schools—high-poverty schools that were performing better than expected—and noted a common feature: Leaders focused on instruction. That is, principals were instructional leaders. In the ensuring years, scholars proposed dueling lists of key traits for instructional leadership.

As the lists grew, so did questions, including whether it was humanly possible to be an instructional leader. How could anyone, short of a bite from a radioactive spider, do everything scholars, superintendents, and policymakers expected of principals? Some scholars, like Leithwood (1992), questioned the roots of the concept, noting that it emerged from studies of a particular type of school (turnaround schools) whose leaders focused on boosting standardized test scores in a top-down way. What about the rest of schools, including those that were good but could be better? Might they need a different kind of leadership, one that could, say, inspire people to change by rallying around a shared moral purpose? Thus, a new concept, transformational leadership, was born—along with lists and surveys to define and measure it (Bass & Avolio, 1994).

Which Leadership Behaviors Matter Most?

By the early 2000s, researchers hoped to cut through the proliferation of lists by using scientific (or at least quantitative) methods to pin down more precisely which leadership behaviors had the most impact on student achievement. One meta-analysis of 37 published studies (Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003), found no significant link between principals' scores on a measure of leader effectiveness and the performance of those principals' schools. Yet a McREL meta-analysis drawing upon a sample of 70 studies identified 21 leadership responsibilities with links to student achievement that reflected elements of both instructional and transformational leadership (Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003).

A few years later, in a meta-analysis of 27 studies, Australian researchers (Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008) found that instructional leadership behaviors, such as actively engaging in teacher learning and guiding curriculum planning and enactment, had three to four times the effect size of transformational leadership behaviors. This finding prompted the researchers to conclude that "the closer leaders are to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely they are to make a difference to students" (p. 636). Nonetheless, they noted that while transformational leadership behaviors like building school culture and fostering shared purpose weren't as strongly tied to student achievement, they still had significant effects, and thus might be "necessary but not sufficient" (p. 666) for improving school performance.

This phrase might apply to most, if not all, leadership behaviors. In fact, the one thing we might glean from studies of school leadership is that the best leaders demonstrate a wide array of behaviors, playing not one but many roles, which I've identified as:

• Visionary: Seeing new possibilities and inspiring others to pursue stretch goals.
• Learner: Modeling intellectual inquiry by reflecting on data and learning with teachers.
• Commander: Turning vision to action by aligning resources and accountability to goals.
• Connector: Creating a positive culture that empowers teachers to learn from each other.

Send in the Architects

In practice, these four roles likely reflect both natural traits and learned behaviors, so some leaders may slide more easily into certain roles and need to "lean in" to others. Yet, as a recent study suggests, the most effective leaders balance all four. British researchers Alex Hill and colleagues (2016) analyzed the behaviors of hundreds of school principals in the United Kingdom. They identified five leadership "personalities" that produce markedly different results:

• Philosophers seem most comfortable in the visionary and connector roles. They talk a good game about new ways of teaching and empowering teachers, yet often fail to translate vision into action.

• Surgeons are comfortable in commander mode. They quickly size up problems, remove ineffective teachers, and bring in new programs and routines to boost test results. School performance initially improves, but levels off after a couple years due a lack of investment in teacher learning.

• Soldiers are no-nonsense commanders of a different sort; they focus on trimming fat from school budgets, automating processes, and tightening the screws to get teachers to work harder. (As one such leader put it, "If you cut resources, people have to change!") School finances improve, but little else. Morale tanks.

• Accountants serve as commanders and connectors. They busy themselves with bringing new resources to the school and avoid ruffling feathers by giving teachers latitude in using resources. The financial picture improves, but little else changes.

Only one leadership personality, the architect, delivers sustained improvement—by balancing all four roles. In the words of the researchers, "they're insightful, humble, visionary leaders who believe schools fail because they're poorly designed," so they work with teachers to develop a collaborative school vision and engage directly in professional learning, coaching, mentoring, and peer collaboration. "In many ways," noted the researchers, "they combine the best parts of the other leaders."

With an architect at the helm, gains come slowly at first, but about three years in, performance begins to improve—and keeps improving. Notably, architects are unassuming leaders who seek few accolades, preferring to recede into the background. As one put it, "No one should notice when I leave the room." Thus, these balanced leaders seem to debunk the myth of principals as superheroes by demonstrating that the best leaders are those who create conditions for everyone else to be everyday heroes."
2019  leadership  administration  schools  education  slow  bryangoodwin  behavior  balance  humility  vision  howwlearn 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
26 | Black Mountain College — Do Not Touch
"We're going back to school and learning about an arts college in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. For 24 years the college attracted famous teachers and produced students who would go on to achieve their own fame. I have two guests speaking to me about Black Mountain - Kate Averett from the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and Professor Eva Diaz from Pratt Institute."
bmc  2018  blackmountaincollege  bauhaus  annialbers  johndewey  art  arts  education  highered  highereducation  alternative  experimental  unschooling  deschooling  democracy  horizontality  evadiaz  kateaverett  history  arthistory  pedagogy  lcproject  openstudioproject  form  exploration  liberalarts  roberrauschenberg  willemdekooning  abstractexpressionism  howwework  discipline  self  identity  johncage  mercecunningham  self-directedlearning  self-directed  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  vision  cognition  expressionism  expression  music  dance  buckminsterfuller  technique  chance  happenings  anarchism  ego  spontaneity  unknown  improvisation  radicalism  transilience  northcarolina  transience  hippies  communes  integration  jacoblawrence  almastonewilliams  outsiders  refugees  inclusion  inclusivity  openness  gender  rayjohnson  elainedekooining  karenkarnes  dorothearockburn  hazellarsenarcher  blackmountaincollegemuseum  susanweil  maryparkswashington  josefalbers  charlesolson  poetry  johnandrewrice 
october 2018 by robertogreco
An Upsurge of Questioning and Critique: toward a Community of Critical Pedagogy
"There has been, of late, a lot of talk about centers of teaching and learning, digital innovation centers, and efforts to grapple with the emergent nature of the educational profession and practice. Academics of a certain shade are padding down desire lines toward a future where learning and progressive digital education might leave its paddock and find its space upon the wider pasture of higher education. Many of these efforts, though, look and feel like paddocks themselves, circumscribed around professionalism, administrative power or vision, closed by the choice of their constituency even in their testament of openness.

If leaders choose groups of leaders, if those groups publish upon their pedigree in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Times Higher Ed, &c, then they will be hard put to magnify their purpose through an allegiance with education’s lesser privileged: students, adjuncts, “drop outs,” instructional designers—those without access, without committees, without the funding to network, without the key cards necessary to open certain doors. Change kept at high levels—change which doesn’t include, but makes obsequious gestures towards, those who lack the privilege to debate change—cannot be productive except to elevate higher the privileged and further disenchant those who most need change to occur.

Change, in other words, cannot be accomplished with a coffee klatsch, no matter how well-funded by a Mellon grant.

Maxine Greene writes that conscientization—that critical consciousness that alerts us to our agency, and that spurs us to intervene in the world—to make change— “is only available to those capable of reflecting on their own situationality” (102). If we find ourselves finally capable of that reflection only when or if we clear a certain pay band, or are granted a certain title, or are invited into the right rooms (rooms too often unlocked by respectability politics), then what of those who remain outside those rooms, who cannot—or refuse to—participate in respectability, those without the titles, those underpaid?

Doesn’t leadership in education also include the adjunct who offers their time to an online community college student? Doesn’t leadership include a student who conscientiously objects to Turnitin? If leadership in education has to include a 3D printer, an Oculus Rift, a budget to hold “summits” and attend conferences, then I fear there are too many leaders being left out.

Quoting Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Greene writes:
Praxis cannot be the viewed as the project of any single individual. Rather, it is “the cluster of relations of an ideology, a technique, and a movement of productive forces, each involving the others and receiving support from them, each, in its time, playing a directive role that is never exclusive, and all, together, producing a qualified phase of social development.” (99)

In other words, change requires movement across many lives, the weaving together of multiple and unexpected intelligences, and a radical inclusivity that is bound to make uncomfortable those who issue the call, that disrupts the disruptors, that leaves humbled leadership. It’s not that a community formed around inclusion must aim to unsettle and unseat, but rather that the myriad diversity that answers the call will necessarily yield the unexpected. A multitude will never be of a single mind; but it is a multitude, by Merleau-Ponty’s accounting, which is the only means toward change.

Similarly, Jesse Stommel has written about critical digital pedagogy, that praxis:
must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries;
will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather together a cacophony of voices.

Cultivating these many voices to realize a praxis is an ongoing project. I wrote recently to a friend affected by the recent UCU strike in England:
There are times when a critical pedagogy refuses to be merely theoretical. It is a tradition that comes out of a concern for labor, for the agency of those doing labor, and the perspicacity inherent behind that agency. The imagination is not an impractical facility at all, not a dreamer’s tool only, but a precision instrument that delivers a certainty that things can be otherwise; and in the face of circumstances that are unfair, the imagination gives us insight into what is just.

Similarly, though, the imagination asks us to consider justice an evolutionary project, if not an asymptote we will never quite reach, a process more than a destination. “The role of the imagination,” Greene tells us, “is not to resolve, not to point the way, not to improve. It is to awaken, to disclose the ordinary unseen, unheard, and unexpected.” Each new dialogue around justice leads to new insights, new confrontations, new inventions, and each new dialogue necessarily also uncovers old hurts, systemic injustices, and offenses nested within un-inspected assumptions and behaviors.

It is with this in mind that I find myself so often blinking into a teacher’s or administrator’s assertions about grading, or plagiarism, or taking attendance, or just “making sure they do it.” There are undetected injustices riding under our teaching policies, the teaching we received, and the teaching we deliver.

There are likewise injustices riding under so many attempts to gather in our circles of prestige. To enact a just agency, we must step outside those circles into unexpected places. “An upsurge of questioning and critique must first occur,” Greene insists, “experiences of shock are necessary if the limits or the horizons are to be breached” (101)."



"It’s my belief that the Lab must be a place where a cacophony of voices can be heard, where an upsurge of questioning and critique is the mode of the day. And to make this happen, no door is left unopened. If praxis “signifies a thinking about and an action on reality” (98), then Digital Pedagogy Lab seeks to be praxis, and to make change through the movement of productive forces, new insights, new confrontations, new inventions. All gathered together in matching tee-shirts."
seanmichaelmorris  criticalpedagogy  lcproject  openstudioproject  pedagogy  inclusivity  2018  digitalpedagogylab  mauricemerleau-ponty  maxinegreene  jessestommel  praxis  inclusion  justice  vision  administration  hierarchy  injustice  professionalism  power  openness  open  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  privilege  change  respectabilitypolitics  respectability  conferences  labs  ideology  diversity  highered  highereducation  academia  education 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Birds can see Earth's magnetic fields, and we finally know how that's possible
"The mystery behind how birds navigate might finally be solved: it's not the iron in their beaks providing a magnetic compass, but a newly discovered protein in their eyes that lets them "see" Earth's magnetic fields.

These findings come courtesy of two new papers - one studying robins, the other zebra finches.

The fancy eye protein is called Cry4, and it's part of a class of proteins called cryptochromes - photoreceptors sensitive to blue light, found in both plants and animals. These proteins play a role in regulating circadian rhythms.

There's also been evidence in recent years that, in birds, the cryptochromes in their eyes are responsible for their ability to orient themselves by detecting magnetic fields, a sense called magnetoreception.

We know that birds can only sense magnetic fields if certain wavelengths of light are available - specifically, studies have shown that avian magnetoreception seems dependent on blue light.

This seems to confirm that the mechanism is a visual one, based in the cryptochromes, which may be able to detect the fields because of quantum coherence.

To find more clues on these cryptochromes, two teams of biologists set to work. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden studied zebra finches, and researchers from the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg in Germany studied European robins.

The Lund team measured gene expression of three cryptochromes, Cry1, Cry2 and Cry4, in the brains, muscles and eyes of zebra finches. Their hypothesis was that the cryptochromes associated with magnetoreception should maintain constant reception over the circadian day.

They found that, as expected for circadian clock genes, Cry1 and Cry2 fluctuated daily - but Cry4 expressed at constant levels, making it the most likely candidate for magnetoreception.

This finding was supported by the robin study, which found the same thing.

"We also found that Cry1a, Cry1b, and Cry2 mRNA display robust circadian oscillation patterns, whereas Cry4 shows only a weak circadian oscillation," the researchers wrote.

But they made a couple of other interesting findings, too. The first is that Cry4 is clustered in a region of the retina that receives a lot of light - which makes sense for light-dependent magnetoreception.

The other is that European robins have increased Cry4 expression during the migratory season, compared to non-migratory chickens.

Both sets of researchers caution that more research is needed before Cry4 can be declared the protein responsible for magnetoreception.

The evidence is strong, but it's not definitive, and both Cry1 and Cry2 have also been implicated in magnetoreception, the former in garden warblers and the latter in fruit flies.

Observing birds with non-functioning Cry4 could help confirm the role it seems to play, while other studies will be needed to figure Cry1's role.

So what does a bird actually see? Well, we can't ever know what the world looks like through another species' eyes, but we can take a very strong guess.

According to researchers at the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose researcher Klaus Schulten first predicted magnetoreceptive cryptochromes in 1978, they could provide a magnetic field "filter" over the bird's field of view - like in the picture above.

The zebra finch study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and the robin study was published in Current Biology."
birds  science  vision  navigation  2018  animals  nature  wildlife 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Translations by Kathryn Nuernberger | Poetry Foundation
"I want to believe we can’t see anything
we don’t have a word for.

When I look out the window and say green, I mean sea green,
I mean moss green, I mean gray, I mean pale and also
electrically flecked with white and I mean green
in its damp way of glowing off a leaf.

Scheele’s green, the green of Renaissance painters,
is a sodium carbonate solution heated to ninety degrees
as arsenious oxide is stirred in. Sodium displaces copper,
resulting in a green precipitate that is sometimes used
as insecticide. When I say green I mean
a shiny green bug eating a yellow leaf.

Before synthetics, not every painter could afford a swathe
of blue. Shocking pink, aka neon, aka kinky pink,
wasn’t even on the market. I want to believe Andy Warhol
invented it in 1967 and ever since no one’s eyes
have been the same. There were sunsets before,
but without that hot shocking neon Marilyn, a desert sky
was just cataract smears. I want to believe this.

The pale green of lichen and half-finished leaves
filling my window is a palette very far from carnation
or bougainvillea, but to look out is to understand it is not,
is to understand what it is not. I stare out the window a lot.
Between the beginning and the end the leaves unfolded.
I looked out one morning and everything was unfamiliar
as if I was looking at the green you could only see
if you’d never known synthetic colors existed.

I’ve drawn into myself people say.
We understand, they say.

There are people who only have words for red
and black and white, and I wonder if they even see
the trees at the edge of the grass
or the green storms coming out of the west.
There are people who use the same word for green
and red and brown, and I wonder if red
seems so urgently bright pouring from the body
when there is no green for it to fall against.

In his treatise on color Wittgenstein asked,
“Can’t we imagine certain people
having a different geometry of colour than we do?”

I want to believe the eye doesn’t see green until it has a name,
because I don’t want anything to look the way it did before.

Van Gogh painted pink flowers, but the pink faded
and curators labeled the work “White Roses” by mistake.

The world in my window is a color the Greeks called chlorol.
When I learned the word I was newly pregnant
and the first pale lichens had just speckled the silver branches.
The pines and the lichens in the chill drizzle were glowing green
and a book in my lap said chlorol was one of the untranslatable
words. The vibrating glow pleased me then, as a finger
dipped in sugar pleased me then. I said the word aloud
for the baby to hear. Chlorol. I imagined the baby
could only see hot pink and crimson inside its tiny universe,
but if you can see what I’m seeing, the word for it
is chlorol. It’s one of the things you’ll like out here.

Nineteenth century critics mocked painters who cast shadows
in unexpected colors. After noticing green cypresses do drop red
shadows, Goethe chastised them. “The eye demands
completeness and seeks to eke out the colorific circle in itself.”
He tells of a trick of light that had him pacing a row of poppies
to see the flaming petals again and figure out why.

Over and over again Wittgenstein frets the problem of translucence.
Why is there no clear white?
He wants to see the world through white-tinted glasses,
but all he finds is mist.

At first I felt as if the baby had fallen away
like a blue shadow on the snow.

Then I felt like I killed the baby
in the way you can be thinking about something else
and drop a heavy platter by mistake.

Sometimes I feel like I was stupid
to have thought I was pregnant at all.

Color is an illusion, a response to the vibrating universe
of electrons. Light strikes a leaf and there’s an explosion
where it lands. When colors change, electromagnetic fields
are colliding. The wind is not the only thing moving the trees.

Once when I went into those woods I saw a single hot pink orchid
on the hillside and I had to keep reminding myself not to
tell the baby about the beautiful small things I was seeing.
So, hot pink has been here forever and I don’t even care
about that color or how Andy Warhol showed me an orchid.
I hate pink. It makes my eyes burn."
vi:datatellign  poetry  names  naming  colors  words  green  kathrynnuernberger  wittgenstein  goethe  vangogh  andywarhol  illusion  vision  sight  seeing  pink  color  eyes 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Edgeless & Ever-Shifting Gradient: An Encyclopaedic and Evolving Spectrum of Gradient Knowledge
"A gradient, without restriction, is edgeless and ever-shifting. A gradient moves, transitions, progresses, defies being defined as one thing. It formalizes difference across a distance. It’s a spectrum. It’s a spectral smearing. It’s an optical phenomenon occurring in nature. It can be the gradual process of acquiring knowledge. It can be a concept. It can be a graphic expression. It can be all of the above, but likely it’s somewhere in between.

A gradient, in all of it’s varied forms, becomes a catalyst in it’s ability to seamlessly blend one distinct thing/idea/color, to the next distinct thing/idea/color, to the next, etc.

In this sense, it is the gradient and the way it performs that has become a model and an underlying ethos, naturally, for this online publishing initiative that we call The Gradient.

Similarly, it’s our hope that this post—an attempt to survey gradients of all forms and to expand our own understanding of gradients—will also be edgeless and ever-shifting. This post will evolve and be progressively added to in an effort to create, as the subtitle says, an encyclopaedic and evolving spectrum of gradient knowledge."
gradients  art  2017  ryangeraldnelson  color  blending  spectrums  nature  design  gender  genderfluidity  computers  music  photography  graphics  graphicdesign  thermography  iridescence  brids  animals  insects  snakes  cephlalopods  reptiles  chameleons  rainbows  sky  math  mathematics  taubaauerbach  science  tomássaraceno  vision  brycewilner  alruppersberg  germansermičs  glass  ignazschiffermüller  lizwest  markhagen  ombré  rawcolor  samfall 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Second Sight - The New Yorker
"Movement in the margins is not enough. Regularity becomes invisible. You switch up the moves, you introduce irregularity, in order to maintain visibility."



"The neurons in the visual system adapt to the stimulus, and redirect their attention."



"Years later, I lost faith. One form of binocular vision gave way to another. The world was now a series of interleaved apparitions. The thing was an image that could also bear an image. If one of the advantages of irreligion was an acceptance of others, that benefit was strangely echoed in the visual plane, which granted the things seen within the photographic rectangle a radical equality. This in part was why signs, pictures, ads, and murals came to mean so much: they were neither more nor less than the “real” elements by which they were framed. They were not to be excluded, nor were the spaces between things. “We see the world”: this simple statement becomes (Merleau-Ponty has also noted this) a tangled tree of meanings. Which world? See how? We who? Once absolute faith is no longer possible, perception moves forward on a case-by-case basis. The very contingency and brevity of vision become the long-sought miracle."



"The stage is set. Things seem to be prepared in advance for cameos, and even the sun is rigged like the expert lighting of a technician. The boundary between things and props is now dissolved, and the images of things have become things themselves."



"The body has to adjust to the environment, to the challenges in the environment. The body isn’t wrong, isn’t “disabled.” The environment itself—gravity, air, solidity or the lack of it, et cetera—is what is somehow wrong: ill-matched to the body’s abilities, inimical to its verticality, stability, or mobility."



"I rest at a concrete outcrop with a bunting of vintners’ blue nets, a blue the same color as the lake. It is as though something long awaited has come to fruition. A gust of wind sweeps in from across the lake. The curtain shifts, and suddenly everything can be seen. The scales fall from our eyes. The landscape opens. No longer are we alone: they are with us now, have been all along, all our living and all our dead."
tejucole  2017  margins  edges  attention  regularity  everyday  irregularity  visibility  invisibility  acceptance  belief  vision  photography  borders  liminalspaces  perception  brevity  ephemerality  adjustment  adaptability  disability  stability  mobility  verticality  body  bodies  contingency  sign  pictures  ads  images  advertising  between  betweenness  stimuli  liminality  ephemeral  disabilities 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Risk of an Unwavering Vision | Stanford Graduate School of Business
"The tech landscape is lush with entrepreneurs whose success blossomed only after the founders had modified or even abandoned their original vision. Facebook became something quite different from the Harvard-specific social connection site created by Mark Zuckerberg. Airbnb? That short-term housing rental juggernaut started as a way for people to find roommates. What eventually became the ride-sharing app Lyft originally offered carpooling software for large companies.

“It’s almost always the case that the greatest firms are discovered and not planned,” says William P. Barnett, a professor of business leadership, strategy, and organizations at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

That’s one conclusion from a study Barnett co-authored with colleague Elizabeth G. Pontikes of the University of Chicago. They decided to gauge entrepreneurial success rates by researching the early choices made by software entrepreneurs operating in 4,566 organizations in 456 different market categories over 12 years.

They focused on the software industry because it’s filled with producers and investors constantly racing to identify the next big thing, and studied how big successes and spectacular failures affect the willingness of entrepreneurs to dive in. They also analyzed how those budding businesses eventually fared. Did they exit the market? Did they generate investor financing? Did they go public?

Barnett and Pontikes found that entrepreneurs who were willing to adapt their vision and products to find the right market often did the best. They also found that those who followed the herd into perceived hot markets, or “consensus” entrants, were less viable in the long run than those who made “non-consensus” choices by defying common wisdom and entering markets that were tainted by failures and thus regarded as riskier.

“We know from studies of human behavior that, as social beings, we want to resolve uncertainty,” Barnett says. “We do that not by doing objective research but by looking at each other.”

That has clear implications for business leaders, he says. “They need to ask if the people who report to them are being quiet about their non-consensus ideas. If the answer is yes, then a leader has to wonder what that says about their leadership if people are afraid to suggest counterintuitive strategies.”

Barnett also says that many of the tech world’s most historic success stories can be traced back to entrepreneurs who pursued a vision that ran counter to accepted wisdom. “If you want to find a unicorn,” he says, “listen for the buzz and run the other way.”

For example, Barnett says Apple continued to pursue handheld technology despite the failure of the Apple Newton, a balky handwriting-recognition device that was released in 1993 to general mockery, including in cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” comic strip. Barnett notes that “the Newton’s failure quickly stigmatized the market for smart, handheld devices, making similar innovations taboo for a number of years.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs killed the Newton in 1998 but saw potential in the concept, which eventually led to the 2007 introduction of the industry-changing iPhone and the 2010 introduction of the iPad.

Of course, when non-consensus ideas fail, they often fail spectacularly, which in turn can inhibit risk-taking by others. “The fear of being a fool is stronger than the hope of being a genius,” Barnett says. “So we tend to shy away from non-consensus moves, because we understand the world will look at our errors as if we’re a complete idiot.”

But if humans are bad at predicting, he adds, we’re great at “retrospectively rationalizing” to explain why a business or product succeeded or failed. He says Jobs was particularly good at this, paraphrasing Jobs’ 2008 Stanford commencement address in which the Apple co-founder said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, only looking backward.”

Nearly every move Jobs made at Apple turned out to be different from what he intended, Barnett says. “These ‘geniuses’ — we think they knew, but they didn’t.”

One thing that wildly successful entrepreneurs like Jobs and Zuckerberg did understand, Barnett says, is how to put together systems “that could discover the future, that allowed for uncertainty, that ferreted out possibilities. Then they doubled down on those discoveries.”"
vision  adaptability  technology  siliconvalley  elizabethpontikes  williambarnett  entrepreneurs  entrepreneurship  stevejobs  conventionalwisdom  consensus  uncertainty  possibility  sfsh  adaptabilty 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Alan Kay's answer to What made Xerox PARC special? Who else today is like them? - Quora
[I noted on Twitter that "1 through 5 easily adaptable for education. For example: teach students, not subjects."]

"A good book (pretty much the only good book) to read about the research community that Parc was a part of is “The Dream Machine” by Mitchell Waldrop. There you will find out about the ARPA (before the “D”) IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office) set up in 1962 by the visionary JCR Licklider, who created a research community of 15 or 16 “projects”, mostly at universities, but also a few at places like RAND Corp, Lincoln Labs, Mitre, BBN, SDC, etc.

There was a vision: “The destiny of computers is to become interactive intellectual amplifiers for everyone in the world pervasively networked worldwide”.

A few principles:

1. Visions not goals

2. Fund people not projects — the scientists find the problems not the funders. So, for many reasons, you have to have the best researchers.

3. Problem Finding — not just Problem Solving

4. Milestones not deadlines

5. It’s “baseball” not “golf” — batting .350 is very good in a high aspiration high risk area. Not getting a hit is not an error but the overhead for getting hits. (As in baseball, “error” is failing to pull off something that is technically feasible.)

6. It’s about shaping “computer stuff” to human ends per the vision. Much of the time this required the researchers to design and build pretty much everything, including much of the hardware — including a variety of mainframes — and virtually all of the software needed (including OSs and programming languages, etc.). Many of the ARPA researchers were quite fluent in both HW and SW (though usually better at one than the other). This made for a pretty homogeneous computing culture and great synergy in most projects.

7. The above goes against the commonsense idea that “computer people should not try to make their own tools (because of the infinite Turing Tarpit that results)”. The ARPA idea was a second order notion: “if you can make your own tools, HW and SW, then you must!”. The idea was that if you are going to take on big important and new problems then you just have to develop the chops to pull off all needed tools, partly because of what “new” really means, and partly because trying to do workarounds of vendor stuff that is in the wrong paradigm will kill the research thinking.

8. An important part of the research results are researchers. This extends the “baseball” idea to human development. The grad schools, especially, generally admitted people who “seemed interesting” and judgements weren’t made until a few years down the road. Many of the researchers who ultimately solved most of the many problems of personal computing and networking were created by the ARPA community.

Parc was the last of these “ARPA Projects” to be created, and because of funding changes from the Vietnam war, got its funding from a corporation rather than from ARPA-IPTO. But pretty much all of the computer people at Parc had grown up in ARPA projects in the 60s, and Bob Taylor, who set up the computing research at Parc, had been the 3rd director of ARPA-IPTO.

Bob’s goal was to “Realize The ARPA Dream”.

Parc was highly concentrated with regard to wealth of talents, abilities, vision, confidence, and cooperation. There was no real management structure, so things were organized to allow researchers to “suggest” and “commit” and “decommit” in a more or less orderly fashion.

Quite a lot of the inventions Parc is most known for were done in the first 5 years by a rather small pool of researchers (Butler Lampson estimates about 25 people, and that seems about right).

One of the most interesting ideas at Parc was: “every invention has to be engineered for 100 users”. So if you do a programming language or a DTP word processor, etc, it has to be documented for and usable by 100 people. If you make a personal computer, you have to be able to make 100 of them. If an Ethernet, it has to connect to 100 devices, etc.

There was no software religion. Everyone made the languages and OSs and apps, etc that they felt would advance their research.

Hardware was trickier because of the time and costs needed for replication and doing and making new designs. In practice this worked out pretty easily most of the time — via not too many meetings — and the powers of HW geniuses like Chuck Thacker. A few things — like the disk sectors and simple Ethernet protocols, etc. — were agreed on, mainly to allow more important things to be done more idiosyncratically. In practice, Parc designed and put in the field a variety of Alto designs (about 2000 Altos were built), MAXCs, Dolphins, Dorados, NoteTakers, Dandelions, etc over a period of about 10 years — i.e. quite a lot.

There were key figures. For example, Parc would not have succeeded without Bob Taylor, Butler Lampson, Chuck Thacker, and a few others.

I would call the first 5 years “effectively idyllic”. And the second 5 years “very productive but gradually erosive” (the latter due to Xerox’s many changes of management, and not being able to grapple with either the future, or a possible grand destiny for the company)."
alankay  zeroxparc  2017  vision  goals  funding  milestones  deadlines  errors  tools  toolmaking  education  learning  innovation  creativity  arpa  sfsh  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  openstudioproject  lcproject  problemsolving  problemfinding 
april 2017 by robertogreco
BBC Four - John Berger: The Art of Looking
[video currently available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VhbsXk9Ds ]

"Art, politics and motorcycles - on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped our understanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.

Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing.

The film introduces Berger's art of looking with theatre wizard Simon McBurney, film-director Michael Dibb, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berger.

The prelude and starting point is Berger's mind-boggling experience of restored vision following a successful cataract removal surgery. There, in the cusp of his clouding eyesight, Berger re-discovers the irredeemable wonder of seeing.

Realised as a portrait in works and collaborations, this creative documentary takes a different approach to biography, with John Berger leading in his favourite role of the storyteller."
2016  johnberger  documentary  towatch  simonmcburney  michaeldibb  johnchristie  selçukdemiral  jeanmohr  katyaberger  yvesberger  waysofseeing  seeing  looking  noticing  biography  storytelling  skepticism  photography  rebellion  writing  howwewrite  collaboration  canon  conspirators  rebels  friendship  community  migration  motorcycles  presence  being  living  life  interestedness  interested  painting  art  history  france  belonging  place  labor  home  identity  work  peasants  craft  craftsmanship  aesthetics  design  vision  cataracts  sight  teaching  howweteach  attention  focus  agriculture  memory  memories  shit  pigs  humans  animals  childhood  perception  freedom  independence  storytellers  travelers  nomads  trickster  dead  death  meaning  meaningmaking  companionship  listening  discovery  understanding  sfsh  srg  books  publishing  television  tv  communication  engagement  certainly  uncertainty 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Color Goes Electric - Triple Canopy
"Greener grass, bluer skies: How photography came to capture the world that we want to see, and how our memories have been fashioned by industry."



"Interviewers at polling stations in malls and other locations around the US and overseas would invite consumers to examine images in return for a modest fee or token gift. Certain predilections became clear: Almost all viewers preferred films with finer grain structures. Caucasians tended to prefer skin that appeared tanner in reproduction than in reality, although opinion varied slightly according to region; for example, those on the West Coast generally preferred rosier skin tones. At different times of year, test subjects often selected somewhat different balances of warm and cool colors. They were also picky about the hue of the sky at the horizon; when shown a pair of photographs, one with an accurately reproduced horizon—in which the color might be almost white, due to a high degree of light-scattering by the atmosphere—and one with a horizon nearly
as saturated with blue as the sky overhead, consumers reported that the latter “looked right.” The strongest, most consistent finding among all subjects was a strong preference for bright, snappy versions of well-known colors, with saturations far exceeding their actual colorimetric values.
None of this was any surprise to Kodak, where photographic researchers had been studying such preferences for a number of years. As Kodak researcher C. James Bartleson explained in 1960, in his foundational essay “Memory Colors of Familiar Objects,” skin, grass, sky, and other “objects with which we have frequent visual experience” are indelibly imprinted in our memory. Memory colors are hues that we can recall easily, and thus they would seem to provide the imaging industry with a straightforward heuristic for judging accuracy; for example, slight hue shifts toward green or purple in the familiar color of flesh are immediately detectable to the human eye. But Bartleson found that test subjects consistently remembered the saturation of familiar colors with exaggerated intensity, or to be “more characteristic of the dominant chromatic attribute

of the object in question.” In other words, “grass was more green, bricks more red.” Rather than increasing accuracy, our familiarity breeds a kind of mnemonic distortion. And because most people consider themselves quite capable of judging the colors in photographs “taken by people other than themselves, of objects that they have never seen, at times when they were not present,” as the scientist R. W. G. Hunt puts it, the crucial industrial mandate in photographic color reproduction is accordance with memory, not reality. Thus the technologies that record our memories have been materially imbued with memory’s subtle alterations."



"In 1981, five years after MoMA’s Eggleston show, New York’s International Center for Photography mounted a group show called “The New Color Photography.” In addition to Eggleston, the exhibition featured such artists as Stephen Shore, Jan Groover, Joel Sternfeld, and William Christenberry, all of whom had put on prominent solo shows in the previous decade. A movement was afoot, and it was time to gather its adherents and make a canon, under the informal rubric of “newness.”

In her catalogue essay, curator Sally Eauclaire attempted to account for some of the aesthetic issues that may have previously militated against the acceptance of color photography in the art world. Film’s “exaggeration of subject hue” was one problem, because it “gave the medium an aura of vulgarity.” Color photography had an unfortunate inclination “to alter rather than duplicate the world’s colors, producing extravagantly lush, festive hues from less flamboyant sources.” But Eauclaire believed that a decisive shift had occurred in the 1970s, after color photographers “modified their traditional naturalistic priorities . . . by careful framing of a selected section of the world,” and in so doing “learned to anticipate and enlist color film’s hue exaggerations.”

Others argued that the admission of color photography into the rarefied realm of fine art had more to do with the medium’s evolving capacity to depict the world accurately—that the removal of various technical obstacles led to images that seemed more acceptably natural. But, in fact, the attainable level of saturation in color films increased throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s; Kodak and Fuji battled for market dominance, with Kodak’s engineers amping up the chromatic effects and Fuji developing its own films that were popular for their hypersaturated, nearly psychedelic colors, which even entailed occasional “mistakes” in the rendering of memory colors. In the accounts of imaging scientists, during that time period, both consumers and professionals in preference testing always asked for as much (credible) saturation as the scientists could squeeze from the chemical medium—and scientists delivered. So if there was no quantum leap in color film development from the 1960s to the 1970s, just the same struggle to increase color as much as possible within the naturalness constraint, how did color come to seem more “natural” under the skeptical, unforgiving light of the white cube? As Malcolm wrote in her Eggleston review, the American visual environment was now full of “recently made structures, machines, and objects; by people dressed in clothes of the cheap, synthetic democratic sort; by the signs and the leavings of fast food, fast gas, fast obsolescence.” Fast, cheap—and bright.

What has been considered synthetic, exaggerated, or natural in color photography only reflects our preferences, our ideas about the desirability of a look. These received forms have become pure content, since classic analog-era looks can now be applied to any digital image at all. Numerous programs and apps have experimented with algorithmic simulations of specific film products that had so carefully mediated between preference and pleasingness, between the naturalness constraint and the constraint of chemical materials. Instagram’s early filters were designed to mimic degraded analog renderings as a means of masking the obvious errors of poor-quality first-generation phone cameras, but no longer: As one Instagram engineer says, their objective now is “just to figure out what’s pretty.”

In 1971, Stephen Shore, one of the “New Color” photographers, decided to shoot pictures of the decidedly unglamorous town of Amarillo, Texas, and produce postcards from the resulting urban landscapes. He sent his images to a professional postcard printer in upstate New York. Though the summer heat had yellowed the grass in front of the Amarillo courthouse, the postcard edition depicted it as green. And though Shore shot his image of a local barbecue joint on a cloudy day, the printed card showed a brilliant blue peeking out from behind the clouds. Rather than complain about the distortions that the printers had wrought on his work, Shore shrugged it off, explaining to a curator years later that the printers “never asked, they just did it. They’re the pros. They know how postcards should look.”
film  photography  filmprocessing  2016  clairelehmann  color  colors  colorphphotography  memory  history  williameggleston  kodak  agfa  vilemflusser  eastmankodak  ansco  art  jamesbartleson  humanfactors  vision  rwghunt  blue  green 
june 2016 by robertogreco
A Framework for Thinking About Systems Change · Intense Minimalism
"I found the following diagram recently and I thought it was interesting: Unfortunately the source is a single book titled “Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education: Piecing the Puzzle Together” that contains a chapter by Knoster, Villa and Thousand. Apparently nobody quotes the content of it in any way around the web, and it’s without a digital edition, so I wasn’t able to evaluate the proper context and what the authors meant with each terms.

However, I find this valuable even in this unexplained form, so here it is:

[image]

While the original context seem education, the above seems more framed in terms of initial action around complex systems, which makes it interesting.

The aspect I find valuable about this diagram is that it highlights the outcomes of missing a piece, more than saying that you really need all of them. In other words, you can still achieve change without steps, but you have to consider the negative effect that comes out of it and address it."
systems  change  management  systemschange  confusion  vision  frustration  resistance  anxiety  falsestarts  actionplans  incentives  resources  skills 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Revealed: why animals' pupils come in different shapes and sizes
"Wolves and foxes are closely related and share many of the same characteristics. But look at their eyes – where wolves have rounded pupils like humans, foxes instead have a thin vertical line. But it isn’t just canines –across the animal kingdom, pupils come in all shapes and sizes. So why the differences?

It’s a question that has long interested scientists working on vision and optics. In a new study published in the journal Science Advances, colleagues from Durham, Berkeley and I explain why these pupil shapes have developed.

Goats, sheep, horses, domestic cats, and numerous other animals have pupils which vary from fully circular in faint light to narrow slits or rectangles in bright light. The established theory for this is that elongated pupils allow greater control of the amount of light entering the eye. For instance, a domestic cat can change its pupil area by a factor of 135 from fully dilated to fully constricted, whereas humans, with a round pupil, can only change area by a factor of 15. This is particularly useful for animals that are active both day and night, allowing for much better vision in low light conditions.

However, if the only reason for elongated pupils was to control the amount of light entering the eye, the orientation would not be important: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal would all offer the same advantages. Instead, the pupils are almost always horizontal or vertical, which suggests there must be other benefits which explain this orientation.

Pupils fit for every niche

Our work has focused on the visual benefits of vertical and horizontal pupils in mammals and snakes. One of the most interesting factors we found is that the orientation of the pupil can be linked to an animal’s ecological niche. This has been described before, but we went one step further to quantify the relationship.

We found animals with vertically elongated pupils are very likely to be ambush predators which hide until they strike their prey from relatively close distance. They also tend to have eyes on the front of their heads. Foxes and domestic cats are clear examples of this. The difference between foxes and wolves is down to the fact wolves are not ambush predators – instead they hunt in packs, chasing down their prey.

In contrast, horizontally elongated pupils are nearly always found in grazing animals, which have eyes on the sides of their head. They are also very likely to be prey animals such as sheep and goats.

We produced a computer model of eyes which simulates how images appear with different pupil shapes, in order to explain how orientation could benefit different animals. This modelling showed that the vertically elongated pupils in ambush predators enhances their ability to judge distance accurately without having to move their head, which could give away their presence to potential prey.

Grazing animals have different problems to deal with. They need to check all around for prey and they need to flee rapidly in case of attack. Having eyes towards the side of their head helps them to see nearly all around them. Having a horizontal pupil enhances the amount of light they can receive in front of and behind them while reducing the amount of light from above and below. This allows them panoramic vision along the ground to help detect potential predators as early as possible. The horizontal pupil also enhances the image quality of horizontal planes and this enhanced view at ground level is also an advantage when running at speed to escape.

So, vertically elongated pupils help ambush predators capture their prey and horizontally elongated pupils help prey animals avoid their predators.

We realised our hypothesis predicted that shorter animals should have a greater benefit from vertical pupils than taller ones. So we rechecked the data on animals with frontal eyes and vertical pupils and found that 82% are what is considered “short” (which we defined as having a shoulder height of less than 42cm) compared with only 17% of animals with circular pupils.

We also realised that there is a potential problem with the theory for horizontal elongation. If horizontal pupils are such an advantage to grazing animals, what happens when they bend their head down to graze? Is the pupil no longer horizontally aligned with the ground?

We checked this by observing animals in both a zoo and on farms. We found that eyes of goats, deer, horses, and sheep rotate as they bend their head down to eat, keeping the pupil aligned with the ground. This remarkable eye movement, which is in opposite directions in the two eyes, is known as cyclovergence. Each eye in these animals rotates by 50 degrees, possibly more (we can only make the same movement by a few degrees).

There are still some unexplained pupils in nature. For example, mongooses have forward-facing eyes but horizontal pupils, geckos have huge circular pupils when dilated which reduce down to several discrete pinholes when constricted and cuttlefish have “W”-shaped pupils. Understanding all these variations is an interesting challenge for the future."
eyes  animals  vision  pupils  biology  anatomy  2016  via:anne  science  optics  eyesight 
march 2016 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: 'In Studio: Recipes for Systemic Change' book, and Helsinki Design Lab
"In particular, much strategic work for government clients in particular suffers from a major flaw—the lack of a ‘hinge’ connecting the work to a clear pathway to projects, or further work. If the workshop is free, as it often is in new, challenging, transformational areas where there is no clear understanding of value from previous efforts, it's particularly difficult, Here, the client is barely a client at all in one of the more meaningful senses i.e. they haven’t paid for it, they don’t have ‘skin in the game’.

Equally, studios can usefully bring together multiple stakeholders. Yet with complex interdependent problems requiring holistic thinking and action—e.g. climate change, health, urbanisation, education—this can lead to no one body taking responsibility, and so potential solutions fall through the cracks between organisations or within one organisation's architecture (fig.2 below) i.e. education is no longer the sole responsibility of the Department of Educaiton; it's more complex, hybrid, layered, networked than that (add your descriptor of choice).

Finally, workshops or studios lend themselves to a particular kind of focus, based on conversation and collaboration—yet they rarely provide the depth of analysis to tightly define an issue such that it can be developed into action. This often requires subsequent work, by which time the potential client has left the building and achieved escape velocity, easily side-stepping momentum generated in the workshop. The workshop model, which is often the foot-in-the-door for consultancies in this field, is intrinsically flawed.

The Helsinki Design Lab studio model is designed to side-step or otherwise deal with many of these problems. This is partly due to the nature and position of Sitra itself, particularly if strategic connections can be generated across relevant government bodies. Sitra has, to some extent, the capacity to can reach into and manipulate the 'dark matter' of organisation, governance, culture, industry (fig.3). [PS. "Dark matter" is a phrase I've been using in recent presentations and conversations (drawn from Wouter Vanstiphout in a great interview with Rory Hyde) and one I'll return to. It's not as bad as it sounds, just like real dark matter. Though it can be.]"



"The Helsinki Design Lab approach, which we're developing rapidly now, is an attempt to flesh out many strands of strategic design that we're pursuing. This first aspect, the studio, is about sketching vision. The idea of studio itself is at least three-fold, simultaneously conjuring up the idea of a space, a team or organisation, and an act of being 'in studio'."



"I think, I hope, that it suggests one possible meaningful way forward for design itself, as well as suggesting new cultures for the public sector, for thinking about complex, interdependent problems, and for rapidly creating practical yet compelling visions built on a clear understanding of 'the architecture of the problem', as we call it. "



"More fundamentally though, we intend that this is the first in a series of projects which describe how design can be used beyond these details of production of space, realisation of product or service. Often, of course, design is used in this traditional if limited role of process improvement and problem solving—the realisation of 'the thing'—without addressing the core issue, the core strategy, the vision and organisations behind 'the thing' in the first place. We think design has a role to play before we even know what the questions are, never mind the solutions. That's what this book begins to address. Subsequent projects—some products/services/things, some events, some discussion—will develop this idea."
danhill  2011  lcproject  openstudioproject  culture  decisionmaking  process  studios  studioclassroom  strategicdesign  design  vision  organization  organizations  bryanboyer 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Unspoken Rules | Practical Theory
"I love using this clip as a way to spur people to think about the unspoken rules, policies and procedures that exist in schools.

[embedded video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N16YkjFVAyE ]

The overwhelming majority of schools have a student handbook, codes of conduct, etc… but often, those are only the stated policies, and often, the unstated policies are as much what govern the school as anything else.

And while it’s my contention that we don’t want to create schools where every last behavior / idea / action is regulated by some 400 page handbook of student and teacher behavior, we also want to be aware of — and reflective about — the unspoken rules and practices of our schools. When we are, we create more intentional schools where the ideas and systems that power our communities are transparent and understood.

It’s worth noting, as well, another reason it is so very important to unpack unspoken policies. Schools live in the world – and that world is one where issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism continue to do great harm. One very powerful way to combat the inequities of our world is through intentionality. When we examine the unspoken practices of our schools, we can unpack the questions, “Who is benefiting from this behavior? Who is harmed by it? And how can we ensure that the practices of our school are equitable?”

And, for me, this practice starts with adult behaviors and practices. It’s why I care so deeply about the relationship between a school’s mission and vision and the systems and structures that enable that mission. When mission and vision are shared and deeply understood and believed by everyone, and when the systems and structures that govern the school are aligned with that mission, then the practices – both those in the handbook and those that are not – can align and be understood by all.

There are ways to unpack the invisible or unspoken policies. Some questions a faculty can ask itself to spur the process:

• How are “everyday” decisions made at the school?
• Who is tapped to get work done when it falls outside the scope of an established job description?
• What voices are around the table when an issue arises?
• What is our first reaction to student behavioral issues?
• How are parents involved in the decisions of our school?
• Do we examine the mission of the school when we make big decisions? Small decisions?

And, inside the individual classroom, teachers can do this work as well with questions such as this (and these can be asked school-wide as well):

• How is the mission of the school made manifest in my class?
• Who does my grading policy benefit?
• How do students figure out how to succeed in my class?
• Why are the seats arranged in my classroom the way they are?
• Where is there space for students to influence the governance of my classroom?
• How does every student find space for their voice in my classroom?

And so on… I’m sure everyone can think of more questions to add to the list.

The purpose is that every school can be intentional in their process. We can unpack the unspoken (and spoken) rules such that we can create schools that more purposeful and more equitable in the ways in which they function."
chrislehmann  2016  schools  lcproject  vision  purpose  education  teaching  howweteach  rules  codeofconduct  studenthandbooks  behavior  power  community  communities  decisionmaking  voice  mission  grading  policy  grades  seating  governance  classrooms 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Prototyping Risks when Design is Disappearing
"Our current unsustainability, especially when understood in terms of materials intensity, is in large part a result of design— whether imposed by modernist design experts or tempered by user- or even human-centered design research. Generative design is not especially culpable—at its best it tries to access what might finally be truly needed by its participants rather than just-another creative-yet-still-feasible idea. However, generative design research’s materials-based techniques do tend to encourage creative innovation mostly with respect to more thing-based solutions to latent concerns (rather than leading to service systems for instance, or structural dissolving of those concerns, such as no-build options, value- or lifestyle shifts, etc).

A second thing to note is that our unsustainability is a massive problem, of a size that demands truly radical responses. It is as if there is a kind of problem beyond wicked: in addition to being complex (a large number of interdependent variables) and wicked (because some of those variables are people, who act in not always fully rational ways and change their minds), sustainability is also just a big problem—solutions will require nation-sized infrastructure rebuilding (fuel switching, city renovation and even relocation) and similarly nation-sized notion re-conceptualizations (new ideas about freedom and autonomy, cost and responsibility, etc). Can we get this level of “Big and New” from processes like generative design research?"



"What is dominant in commercial design at the moment are methods that do nevertheless have proactionary elements, by which I mean a deliberate ignoring of imagining future consequential risks. I am referring here to, for example, Agile and Lean product development. These are distinct forms of design management and each a broad church, but consistent across them is a commitment to accelerated iteration of products released to live markets. Design is driven by real-time feedback on how “Minimum Viable Products” (MVP) are being used. The rationale is that many high consequence risks, and opportunities, are unanticipatable. Rather than imagine or sense what these “blackswans” might be, designers should instead focus on being able to respond immediately to what emerges. These Lean Agile philosophies eschew the grand visioning aspects of proactionary advocates, 
but are sympathetic with the downplaying of risk anticipation. As Joi Ito, head of MediaLab at MIT is fond of saying (though I am not sure of his evidence for this claim), “the cost of assessing risk is 
now often greater than the cost of failing” [7].

If Lean Agile, etc, aim at accessing the realizably innovative, the other end of the design dialectic might be Maker culture. These neo-tinkerers also pursue multiple iterations in order to discover serendipitously new uses for existing combinations of technologies, software and/or materials. There is a similar antivisioning driving these hackathons, and in all the rapid building there is also no anticipation of consequential risk.

In either case, the approaches deploy what could be called a “generalized prototyping.” Lean Agile beta-releases and hacked systems are more than prototypes; they are live products being used by people who are not explicitly structured "



"Transition Design aims to promote staged change, not forever changing.

1. A VISION FOR THE TRANSITION to a more sustainable society is needed. This calls for the reconception of entire lifestyles in which communities are in symbiotic relationship with the environment. Lifestyles are place-based yet global in their exchange of technology, information and culture.

2. The vision of the transition to a sustainable society will require new knowledge about natural, social, and “designed” systems. This new knowledge will, in turn, evolve the vision.

3. Ideas, theories and methodologies from many varied fields and disciplines inform a deep understanding of the DYNAMICS OF CHANGE in the natural and social worlds.

4. New theories of change will reshape designers’ temperaments, mindsets and postures. And, these “new ways of being” in the world will motivate the search for new, more relevant knowledge.

5. Living in and through traditional times requires a MINDSET AND POSTURE OF OPENNESS, mindfulness, a willing-ness to collaborate, and “optimistic grumpiness.”

6. Changes in mindset, posture and temperament will give rise to new ways of designing. As new design approaches evolve, designers’ temperaments and postures will continue to change.

7. The transition to a sustainable society will require new ways of designing that are informed by a vision, a deep understanding of the dynamics of change and a new mindset and posture.

8. New ways of designing will help realize the vision but will also change/evolve it. As the vision evolves, new ways of designing will continue to be developed."
camerontonkinwise  2015  design  sustainability  materials  prototyping  via:anne  openness  mindfulness  collaboration  optimism  criticism  change  technology  culture  makers  makermovement  agiledesign  iteration  vision  foresight  modernism  neomodernism  consequences  systemthinking  criticaldesign  designcriticism 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Will · The Lazy Language of Learning
"Those of you who have been around these parts before know that one of my biggest frustrations is the imprecise ways that we talk about learning, as if everyone defines it the exact way and it therefore requires no context or is without nuance. On almost every occasion that I find myself talking to teachers or leaders about their work, I find myself asking clarifying questions, sometimes to the great frustration of the people I’m with. I do it not to be a foil but to be clear: “What do you believe about learning?” I just think that’s crucial.

I’ve reference Seymour Sarason’s age old question (and book) “And what do YOU mean by learning?” more times than I can count. And most recently, I’ve been bringing Frank Smith’s “classic” vs. “official” theories of learning into my work even more. (Short version: “classic” is what we all know about learning, “official” is the school sanctioned version that looks little like what we know. Here’s a graphic. Read his book, too.) Both require us to say what we believe about what learning is, what makes it happen, and how we foster it in the classroom. Too often, that fundamental piece is missing from the process and the conversation. Or, we’re not sure whether it’s there or not.

I think Gary Stager gets it right:
In the absence of a clear and publicly articulated vision for a school or district and a misguided quest for the holy grail of balance, the weeds will always kill the flowers. If you are a school leader with a coherent vision for educational progress, you must articulate your vision clearly and publicly so people will follow. Why make others guess what you want and stand for?

Case in point, Future Ready Schools. Now first, let me be clear, I have no opinion on the work that FRS is doing. And the reason I have no opinion is that despite spending a good deal of time on their site, and despite engaging in a protracted Twitter Q&A yesterday with some of the folks who are involved in leading the effort, I still have no idea what they mean by “learning.” They use the word often, but they are not clear as to what their version of learning is. And there are many versions to be parsed.

Briefly, here’s what I wonder as I read the site:

1. What are “digital learning opportunities” exactly in the following sentence, and what are the measures of success:
“Future Ready is a free, bold new effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship.”

2. What are the “personalized learning experiences” that participating schools are supposed to lead?

3. How does FRS define an “engaged” student?

4. What are the “student learning outcomes” that FRS wants to help schools measure?

5. What are the “issues that drive student learning?”

6. The site says “Technology now enables personalized digital learning for every student in the nation.” What do they mean by “personalized digital learning?”

7. Etc.

To be fair, FRS does attempt a definition of “student learning,” but they break the cardinal rule that you shouldn’t define the word with the word itself:
Digital learning is defined as “the strengthening, broadening, and/or deepening of students’ learning through the effective use of technology.” Digital learning can serve as a vehicle to individualize and personalize learning, ensuring that all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.

The elements that comprise this Gear include:
Personalized Learning
Student-Centered Learning
Authentic, Deeper Learning
21st Century Skills
College and Career Readiness
Digital Citizenship
Technology Skills
Anywhere, Anytime Learning

I struggle with so much of that because they leave the fundamental questions unanswered. Are students learning our stuff (curriculum) or their stuff (interests)? Are we more concerned with them becoming learners or learned? Are teachers organizing the school experience or are students building it? Do the technologies we give to kids transfer agency and increase freedom on the part of the student learner or do they just transfer our curriculum in digital form? And, importantly, what does success look like, and how is it measured?

These are harder questions. These are not about doing things “better” but about looking at schools and classrooms and teachers fundamentally differently. And these are important to ask and answer before we embark on any initiative that purports to “improve student learning.”"
2015  willrichardson  education  learning  futurereadyschools  futureready  buzzwords  hype  seymoursarason  garystager  vision  schools  progressive  technology  emptiness  edtech  why  thewhy  franksmith  purpose  process  conversation 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Assistive Technologies and Design: An Interview with Sara Hendren | superflux
"SF: You think a lot about the "the future of human bodies in the built environment". What are the most important insights you have gained in your research so far, about how the human body and prosthetics adapt to the built environment, or the other way around? How can we design a more symbiotic relationship, that is inclusive, but also unique to individuals?

SH: Those are questions I think about all the time! I’d say broadly that design researchers need much, much more user interview data than we have now—too often there’s a very small sampling of data that’s used to represent human-centered design research with user-experts. Because aging and sightedness and autism and so many other conditions are wildly various, we need much bigger and more robust data sets for understanding wayfinding and product use. See Boston’s Institute for Human-Centered Design’s new user expert lab as an example. They want to be as large a resource as possible, and one that clients can access and pay for when doing market research.

I also think there’s so much more thinking to be done at the systems level, rather than at the product level—but it should be systems research where designers and artists are key contributors at every stage. I think, for example, in cultures like the US and the UK, there’s a pretty narrow focus on individual independence as the only goal worth seeking out—and that independence is thought to be delivered solely via personal technological devices.

But what about community support programs that would be points of contact throughout a city, for help when a person with developmental disabilities needs help after a bus line has been rerouted, or when an elderly person needs assistance getting groceries in the door/shoveling snow? These kinds of systems would help people get and stay employed and stay in their homes for longer than might otherwise be the case.



"SF: What according to you are the drivers / weak signals / to which inclusive design for cities should be paying attention? From a technological, as well as social and cultural perspective?

SH: I think designers should first try to be more granular in their approach to “canonical” disabilities: blindness, deafness, and so on. I’d think, for example, about the gradations of sightedness that tend to get overlooked in tech for vision impairments: Most people who are technically blind, after all, *do* have some kind of visual field. They see high contrasts or bright lights only, perhaps. But they don’t operate in total darkness and they do use their vision to see.  There’s much more to be done with design accordingly, especially with *editing* cities for enriched use. Like: consider the high-contrast black and yellow markers along stairs and crosswalks and subway platforms and so on. What would users say about making those more tactile environments—even more than they are now? What else would they like to see in structural and architectural forms that could be better imagined or augmented, again with partial and low vision in mind? This would also address aging and the overall slow degeneration in vision as well."
sarahendren  2014  assistivetechnology  technology  design  community  blindness  deafness  impairment  disability  vision  aging  sight  sightedness  autism  difference  disabilities 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Once you start to speak, people will yell at you.... - Noteworthy and Not
"Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking."
audrelorde  voice  speaking  emmagoldman  revolution  vision 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Drone Aviary | superflux
"The Drone Aviary - an R&D project from The Superflux Lab - is an investigation of the social, political and cultural potential of drone technology as it enters civil space. Through a series of ongoing installations, films and publications, the project aims to give a glimpse into a near-future city co-habit with ‘intelligent’ semi autonomous, networked, flying machines."



"The installation at the V&A contains a family of 5 drones and an accompanying film. Each drone is designed to be symbolic of the convergence of wider social and tech trends with specific tasks and functions that are gaining popularity amongst drone enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.

1. Madison, The Flying Billboard: This is an advertising drone, a hovering display platform, which can swoop, scan and hunt consumer demographics. It uses sophisticated facial recognition to gain feedback on the effectiveness of its content and to tailor advertisements to the interests of those within its vicinity.

2. Newsbreaker, The Media Drone: Supported by algorithmic monitoring news, emergency services and social media in real-time, these nimble devices push the boundaries for what has become known as High Frequency Journalism, helping feed our growing hunger for the very latest breaking news stories as it happens. As it films and streams news in real-time, story writing algorithms parse imagery, audio, web and radio traffic into rapidly growing, and continually edited, column inches.

3. Nightwatchman, The Surveillance Drone: A highly mobile data acquisition device used by everyone from local councils to law enforcement agencies. By securely connecting to a centralised database The Nightwatchman is able to amass and utilise huge amounts of location and subject specific information assisting in everything from documenting civil offences to detecting potential terror threats.

4. RouteHawk, Traffic Management Assistant: This drone fulfills two primary functions: firstly with its high brightness LED display and powerful 8 motor design the RouteHawk can move quickly to problem situations and provide dynamic warnings to approaching drivers. Secondly its LIDAR speed detector and ANPR camera allow the RouteHawk to efficiently log and transmit traffic violations to relevant penalty enforcement departments, often allowing a unit to pay for itself within a month.

5. FlyCam Instadrone: A highly accessible, low cost, user-friendly platform with true 'smart' style functionality. Quickly superseding the Selfie stick as todays must have life-logging and social media tool, the FlyCam allows anyone with a smartphone to share unforgettable memories from the clouds to the cloud using the Instadrone app. Additionally, its patented context aware algorithm means advertisers can deliver messages to customer when and where it counts.

The Film:
In the film, the drones become protagonists, revealing fleeting glimpses of the city from their perspective, as they continuously collect data and perform tasks. It hints at a world where the ‘network’ begins to gain physical autonomy, moving through and making decisions about the world, influencing our lives in often opaque yet profound ways. A speculative map highlights where physical and digital infrastructures merge as our cities become the natural habitat for 'smart' technologies from drones and wearable computers through to driverless cars."

[Posted to Tumblr with a few notes: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/116318868178/drone-aviary-superflux-the-drone-aviary-an-r-d ]
superflux  drones  nearfuture  designfiction  surveillance  2015  film  uav  future  timmaughan  anabjain  jonarden  infrastructure  robotvision  robotreadableworld  airspace  vision  tracking  society  prototyping  facerecognition 
april 2015 by robertogreco
prosthetic knowledge — Pinhole Cinema Project from Fuwari Lab is a...
"Pinhole Cinema

Project from Fuwari Lab is a cardboard headset with tiny holes that project an alternative viewpoint inside it:

[embedded video: https://vimeo.com/111914423 ]
Workshop to make a pinhole cinema that can be enjoyed by wearing the head. To make your own movie theater in a box of size that can be mounted on the head … Images are projected therein, enters from a small hole drilled in the box …

More (in Japanese) here [http://www.fuwarilab.com/pinholecinema.html ]"

[See also: http://lensual.com/work/?lens_portfolio=pinhole-cinema ]
projectideas  perspective  perception  cameras  vision  fuwarilab  glvo  pinholecameras 
april 2015 by robertogreco
▶ Struggle, success and celebrating Selma - YouTube
"In this episode of The Illipsis, Jay Smooth honors the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement marches in Selma, Alabama and explains how the struggles of activists and leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can inform how we make progress today. (It’s not always easy.) “When you commit some part of your life to activism…you’re basically committing to a lifetime of work that might, if you’re lucky, contain a few fleeting moments of triumph,” he says. “In those last years of Martin Luther King’s life, he was struggling…[but] he kept showing up even though he knew that there would be no more perfect plans, no more grand victory. He knew there was no more glory to be found but he kept picking himself back up and showing up every day because he knew now more than ever, this was the work, and this was the only way we get to true justice and true equality.”"

[text via: http://fusion.net/video/59234/struggle-success-and-celebrating-selma/ ]
jaysmooth  civilrightsmovement  selma  ferguson  2014  vision  activism  time  martinlutherkingjr  generations  effort  longview  progress  inequality  struggle  mlk 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Outside the Skinner Box
"There are two commonly repeated tropes about educational technology impeding progress and clouding our judgment. The first such myth is that technology is neutral. This is untrue. All technology was designed to influence behavior; the fact that a handful of people can stretch a technology beyond its normal trajectory does not change this fundamental truth.

It is not uncommon for a school committed to progressive learner-centered education to undermine its mission by investing in a well-intentioned school-to-home communication package that allows Dad to sit at his office desk and day-trade his eight-year-old when the expectation of continuous numerical reporting is offered by such a system. Similarly, I have encountered many independent schools committed to whole language development that then contradict their missions by using phonics software on iPads for no other reason than, “There’s an app for that.”

In schools, all hardware and software bestow agency on one of three parties: the system, the teacher, or the learner. Typically, two of these actors lose their power as the technology benefits the third. Ask a group of colleagues to create a three-column table and brainstorm the hardware or software in your school and who is granted agency by each. Management software, school-wide grade-book programs, integrated learning systems, school-to-home communication packages, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other cost-cutting technologies grant maximum benefit to the system. Interactive whiteboards, worksheet generators, projectors, whole-class simulations, plagiarism software, and so on, benefit the teacher. Personal laptops, programming languages, creativity software, cameras, MIDI keyboards, microcontrollers, fabrication equipment, and personal web space primarily benefit (bestow agency to) the learner.

The second oft-recited myth is that technology changes constantly. If only this were the case in schools. Regrettably, much of what schools do with technology is exactly the same, or less than, what they did 25 years ago. Wordles, note taking, looking stuff up, word-processing essays, and making PowerPoint presentations on topics students don’t care about for audiences they’ll never encounter represent the state-of-the-art in far too many classrooms. We can do better.

I enjoyed the great fortune of leading professional development at the world’s first laptop schools nearly a quarter century ago. Those Australian schools never saw laptops as an experiment or pilot project. For them, laptops represented a way to rescue kids explicitly from a failing hierarchical bureaucracy. Every student learned to program from every teacher as a means to encounter powerful ideas, express oneself, and change the nature of the educational experience.

When teachers saw what was possible through the eyes and the screens of their children, they demanded rapid changes to scheduling, assessment, classroom furniture, and even school architecture. They blurred the artificial boundaries between subject areas, shared expertise, challenged peers, and transformed many schools to benefit the children they served. Those early “laptop teachers” often viewed themselves in new and powerful ways. An amazing number of them went on to become school principals, Ph.D.s, policy makers, and entrepreneurs. A school like Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, Australia, changed the world with its existing teaching staff through a coherent vision articulated clearly by a bold, charismatic leader, David Loader, who focused on benefiting the largest number of stakeholders in any school community: the students.2"



"A Bold Vision for the Future of Computers in Schools

The future of schools is not found in a shopping list of devices and programs, no matter how interesting or revolutionary the technology may be. In order for schools to seize the power of computers as intellectual laboratories and vehicles for self-expression, the following traits need to be in place.

Awareness

Educators, parents, and policy makers need to understand that, currently, their investment in technology is not maximizing its promise to amplify the human potential of each student. Alternative models must be made available.

Governance

Too many schools conflate instructional and noninstructional technology. Such an inability to reconcile often-competing priorities harms the educational enterprise of a school. One role is of the plumber and the other of a philosopher; both are important functions, but you would never consciously surrender the setting of graduation standards to your maintenance department. Why, then, is educational policy so greatly impacted by IT personnel?

Vision

Schools need a bolder concept of what computing can mean in the creative and intellectual development of young people. Such a vision must be consistent with the educational ­ideals of a school. In far too many cases, technology is used in ways contrary to the stated mission of the school. At no point should technology be used as a substitute for competent educators or to narrow educational experiences. The vision should not be rigid, but needs to embrace the serendipitous discoveries and emerging technologies that expand the power of our goals.

Consistent leadership

Once a vision of educational technology use is established, school leadership needs to model that approach, enact rituals and practices designed to reinforce it, and lend a coherent voice leading the entire community in a fashion consistent with its vision to improve the lives of young people.

Great leaders recognize the forces that water down innovation and enact safeguards to minimize such inertia.

Professional development for professionals

You cannot be expected to teach 21st-century learners if you have not learned in this century. Professional development strategies need to focus on creating the sorts of rich constructive learning experiences schools desire for students, not on using computers to perform clerical tasks. We must refrain from purchasing “teacher-proof” curricula or technology and then acting surprised when teachers fail to embrace it. PD needs to stop rewarding helplessness and embrace the competence of educators.

High Expectations and Big Dreams

When we abandon our prejudices and superstitions in order to create the conditions in which anything is possible, teachers and children alike will exceed our expectations.

Some people are excited by using technology to teach what we have always wanted kids to know, perhaps with greater efficiency, efficacy, or comprehension. I am not interested in using computers to improve education by 0.02 percent. Incrementalism is the enemy of progress. My work is driven by the actualization of young people learning and doing in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.

This is not a fantasy; it’s happening in schools today. Here are a few vignettes from my own work.

Learning by Doing"
2015  garystager  computing  schools  education  technology  makers  makermovement  seymourpapert  edtech  physicalcomputing  governance  awareness  vision  leadership  nais  learningbydoing  learning  constructionism 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 198, Marilynne Robinson
"ROBINSON
I don’t like categories like religious and not religious. As soon as religion draws a line around itself it becomes falsified. It seems to me that anything that is written compassionately and perceptively probably satisfies every definition of religious whether a writer intends it to be religious or not."



"INTERVIEWER
Ames says that in our everyday world there is “more beauty than our eyes can bear.” He’s living in America in the late 1950s. Would he say that today?

ROBINSON
You have to have a certain detachment in order to see beauty for yourself rather than something that has been put in quotation marks to be understood as “beauty.” Think about Dutch painting, where sunlight is falling on a basin of water and a woman is standing there in the clothes that she would wear when she wakes up in the morning—that beauty is a casual glimpse of something very ordinary. Or a painting like Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef, where a simple piece of meat caught his eye because there was something mysterious about it. You also get that in Edward Hopper: Look at the sunlight! or Look at the human being! These are instances of genius. Cultures cherish artists because they are people who can say, Look at that. And it’s not Versailles. It’s a brick wall with a ray of sunlight falling on it.

At the same time, there has always been a basic human tendency toward a dubious notion of beauty. Think about cultures that rarify themselves into courts in which people paint themselves with lead paint and get dumber by the day, or women have ribs removed to have their waists cinched tighter. There’s no question that we have our versions of that now. The most destructive thing we can do is act as though this is some sign of cultural, spiritual decay rather than humans just acting human, which is what we’re doing most of the time.

INTERVIEWER
Ames believes that one of the benefits of religion is “it helps you concentrate. It gives you a good basic sense of what is being asked of you and also what you might as well ignore.” Is this something that your faith and religious practice has done for you?

ROBINSON
Religion is a framing mechanism. It is a language of orientation that presents itself as a series of questions. It talks about the arc of life and the quality of experience in ways that I’ve found fruitful to think about. Religion has been profoundly effective in enlarging human imagination and expression. It’s only very recently that you couldn’t see how the high arts are intimately connected to religion.

INTERVIEWER
Is this frame of religion something we’ve lost?

ROBINSON
There was a time when people felt as if structure in most forms were a constraint and they attacked it, which in a culture is like an autoimmune problem: the organism is not allowing itself the conditions of its own existence. We’re cultural creatures and meaning doesn’t simply generate itself out of thin air; it’s sustained by a cultural framework. It’s like deciding how much more interesting it would be if you had no skeleton: you could just slide under the door.

INTERVIEWER
How does science fit into this framework?

ROBINSON
I read as much as I can of contemporary cosmology because reality itself is profoundly mysterious. Quantum theory and classical physics, for instance, are both lovely within their own limits and yet at present they cannot be reconciled with each other. If different systems don’t merge in a comprehensible way, that’s a flaw in our comprehension and not a flaw in one system or the other.

INTERVIEWER
Are religion and science simply two systems that don’t merge?

ROBINSON
The debate seems to be between a naive understanding of religion and a naive understanding of science. When people try to debunk religion, it seems to me they are referring to an eighteenth-century notion of what science is. I’m talking about Richard Dawkins here, who has a status that I can’t quite understand. He acts as if the physical world that is manifest to us describes reality exhaustively. On the other side, many of the people who articulate and form religious expression have not acted in good faith. The us-versus-them mentality is a terrible corruption of the whole culture.

INTERVIEWER
You’ve written critically about Dawkins and the other New Atheists. Is it their disdain for religion and championing of pure science that troubles you?

ROBINSON
No, I read as much pure science as I can take in. It’s a fact that their thinking does not feel scientific. The whole excitement of science is that it’s always pushing toward the discovery of something that it cannot account for or did not anticipate. The New Atheist types, like Dawkins, act as if science had revealed the world as a closed system. That simply is not what contemporary science is about. A lot of scientists are atheists, but they don’t talk about reality in the same way that Dawkins does. And they would not assume that there is a simple-as-that kind of response to everything in question. Certainly not on the grounds of anything that science has discovered in the last hundred years.

The science that I prefer tends toward cosmology, theories of quantum reality, things that are finer-textured than classical physics in terms of their powers of description. Science is amazing. On a mote of celestial dust, we have figured out how to look to the edge of our universe. I feel instructed by everything I have read. Science has a lot of the satisfactions for me that good theology has.

INTERVIEWER
But doesn’t science address an objective notion of reality while religion addresses how we conceive of ourselves?

ROBINSON
As an achievement, science is itself a spectacular argument for the singularity of human beings among all things that exist. It has a prestige that comes with unambiguous changes in people’s experience—space travel, immunizations. It has an authority that’s based on its demonstrable power. But in discussions of human beings it tends to compare downwards: we’re intelligent because hyenas are intelligent and we just took a few more leaps.

The first obligation of religion is to maintain the sense of the value of human beings. If you had to summarize the Old Testament, the summary would be: stop doing this to yourselves. But it is not in our nature to stop harming ourselves. We don’t behave consistently with our own dignity or with the dignity of other people. The Bible reiterates this endlessly.

INTERVIEWER
Did you ever have a religious awakening?

ROBINSON
No, a mystical experience would be wasted on me. Ordinary things have always seemed numinous to me. One Calvinist notion deeply implanted in me is that there are two sides to your encounter with the world. You don’t simply perceive something that is statically present, but in fact there is a visionary quality to all experience. It means something because it is addressed to you. This is the individualism that you find in Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. You can draw from perception the same way a mystic would draw from a vision.

INTERVIEWER
How would one learn to see ordinary things this way?

ROBINSON
It’s not an acquired skill. It’s a skill that we’re born with that we lose. We learn not to do it."



"INTERVIEWER
Does your faith ever conflict with your “regular life”?

ROBINSON
When I’m teaching, sometimes issues come up. I might read a scene in a student’s story that seems—by my standards—pornographic. I don’t believe in exploiting or treating with disrespect even an imagined person. But at the same time, I realize that I can’t universalize my standards. In instances like that, I feel I have to hold my religious reaction at bay. It is important to let people live out their experience of the world without censorious interference, except in very extreme cases."



"INTERVIEWER
Most people know you as a novelist, but you spend a lot of your time writing nonfiction. What led you to start writing essays?

ROBINSON
To change my own mind. I try to create a new vocabulary or terrain for myself, so that I open out—I always think of the Dutch claiming land from the sea—or open up something that would have been closed to me before. That’s the point and the pleasure of it. I continuously scrutinize my own thinking. I write something and think, How do I know that that’s true? If I wrote what I thought I knew from the outset, then I wouldn’t be learning anything new.

In this culture, essays are often written for the sake of writing the essay. Someone finds a quibble of potential interest and quibbles about it. This doesn’t mean the writer isn’t capable of doing something of greater interest, but we generate a lot of prose that’s not vital. The best essays come from the moment in which people really need to work something out."



"ROBINSON
People are frightened of themselves. It’s like Freud saying that the best thing is to have no sensation at all, as if we’re supposed to live painlessly and unconsciously in the world. I have a much different view. The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world. The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow. We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of this, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege."



"ROBINSON
Faith always sounds like an act of will. Frankly, I don’t know what faith in God means. For me, the experience is much more a sense of God. Nothing could be more miraculous than the fact that we have a consciousness that makes the world intelligible to us and are moved by what is beautiful."
marilynnerobinson  religion  sarahfay  2008  science  structure  atheism  belief  christianity  richarddawkins  newatheists  ordinary  everyday  perception  vision  seeing  noticing  observing  dignity  grace  faith  standards  mindchanging  openmindedness  thinking  writing  howwewrite  humanism  interviews  beauty  ordinariness  mindchanges 
august 2014 by robertogreco
ying gao - designer
"2 interactive dresses, Super organza, photoluminescent thread, PVDF, electronic devices.

The project was inspired by the essay entitled "Esthétique de la disparition" (The aesthetic of disappearance), by Paul Virilio (1979). " Absence often occurs at breakfast time – the tea cup dropped, then spilled on the table being one of its most common consequences. Absence lasts but a few seconds, its beginning and end are sudden. However closed to outside impressions, the senses are awake. The return is as immediate as the departure, the suspended word or movement is picked up where it was left off as conscious time automatically reconstructs itself, thus becoming continuous and free of any apparent interruption. " The series comprising two (2) dresses, made of photoluminescent thread and imbedded eye tracking technology, is activated by spectators' gaze. A photograph is said to be “spoiled” by blinking eyes – here however, the concept of presence and of disappearance are questioned, as the experience of chiaroscuro (clarity/obscurity) is achieved through an unfixed gaze."
fashion  wearable  wearables  gaze  yinggao  presence  disappearance  chiaroscuro  clarity  obscurity  paulvirilio  absence  photoluminescence  vision 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The Elephant Language
"Overview
Elephants live out their long lives in an exceptionally complex social network of persistent relationships. Their communication system, or language, is similarly complex. Vision and olfaction (smell), in addition to sound, are important for elephant communication.

The video and spectrogram below show an intense greeting between two African forest elephant females, Kate and Tess.

Each rumble appears as a stack of crescent-shaped lines in the spectrogram. These are called 'harmonics' and they are exact multiples of the frequency at which the vocal folds ('cords') vibrate. At several places in this vocal exchange, the voices of the two elephants overlap. This is very typical of greetings like this.

The Elephant Listening Project is focused on acoustic communication because forest elephants are very difficult to observe visually everywhere except during their brief visits to forest clearings. However, all three species of elephant (Asian, African savannah and African forest) make calls with fundamental frequencies below the lower limit of human hearing (20 Hz), in the range called infrasound. These infrasonic calls can travel far through the environment.

We are only in the early stages of decoding this language - understanding the meaning of specific signals so that we can use these to study forest elephants and help in their conservation.

For more videos linking behaviors and different types of calls, see: EleTalk
For a more detailed discussion of the elephant language, see the Dictionary"
animals  language  communication  via:anne  eletalk  elephants  vision  smell  olfaction 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Science teacher: On bulls and blossoms
"The cherry blossoms are a week late this year--they know better than I do when the bees will be around, so I do not begrudge their timing.

Several cherry trees line Liberty Street here in town, a road I've walked a few thousand times on my way to and from Bloomfield High School. A few have branches low enough for me to bury my nose into their blossoms, so I do, but not before I check for bees. The bees have work to do.

We are (mostly) visual creatures. We analyze light, look for patterns, capture it digitally so we can show others what we think we saw. We have cameras to compare our various abilities to capture light, to hold the world in a frame.

Me and my nose live in a different world, a world of curves not angles, smudges not sharp borders, a world where time and distances dissolve into layers of fog swirling into each other.

Cameras capture the sensuous, pleasing the cortex, blending thought and analysis and the beauty of order; my nose triggers the sensual, flaring up the olfactory lobe, part of our more primitive brain, visceral, without language.

If you have never slid your nose into an hours old cherry blossom, no words can describe wash of peppery sweetness that takes you to nowhere but here now. Noses are like that.

Yellow pollen sticks to my nose like fairy dust. I wipe it away, feeling vaguely self-conscious, ignoring the strangers who pause to stare at this madman burying his nose in the flowers. It takes me a moment to regain my bearings.

In a week the blossoms will be gone, and I will have nothing but a false memory left of what once was.

***

This cerebral, abstract culture of ours does not deal with noses well. Odors are just so hard to control, the memories they arouse so unpredictably deep, and the sense of smell is, well, too primitive for those of us who dwell in the abstract world of words, numbers, and big data.

We talk about stopping to smell the flowers, but we focus on the stopping, not the wave of sensuous, even sensual, deep aroma of flowers that give us reason to pause. What does it mean to stop and take a break, to get away from it all, when the all can be found in a moment spent on the edge of a city street, face buried in flowers.

One of my favorite books growing up was The Story of Ferdinand, a bull who would rather spend his days buried in flowers than fighting. The book was banned in many countries.

Things as they are would, of course, fall apart if too many children figured out that what we want them to want is more about success of our economy than about them them. Ferdinand is a dangerous role model.

You can live your life working for the next big thing, dreaming of your next vacation, your next car, your next hazelnut macchiato, You can dwell on the moments you will (or not) eventually have, but the idea of anything worthwhile is still just that--an abstract thought, reduced by the limits of imagination, and ultimately unsatisfying.

If you continue to see the kids in front of you as potential professionals, as potential thieves, as potential laborers or soldiers or teachers, you cannot see the child in front of you now, on a dreary April morning, here, in a room defined by its sharp edges and word salad on the walls.

Kids know if you're present in the classroom. Passionate teachers are effective not so much for their passion, but for their presence. You can fake passion--teachers are good actors--but you cannot fake presence."
michaeldoyl  life  living  teaching  cv  senses  spring  cherryblossoms  blossoms  vision  smell  scent  teching  howweteach  presence  passion  ferdinandthebull  canon  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  education  2014 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Animals see power lines as glowing, flashing bands, research reveals | Environment | theguardian.com
"Power lines are seen as glowing and flashing bands across the sky by many animals, research has revealed.

The work suggests that the pylons and wires that stretch across many landscapes are having a worldwide impact on wildlife.

Scientists knew many creatures avoid power lines but the reason why was mysterious as they are not impassable physical barriers. Now, a new understanding of just how many species can see the ultraviolet light – which is invisible to humans – has revealed the major visual impact of the power lines.

"It was a big surprise but we now think the majority of animals can see UV light," said Professor Glen Jeffery, a vision expert at University College London. "There is no reason why this phenomenon is not occuring around the world."

Dr Nicolas Tyler, an ecologist at UIT The Arctic University of Norway and another member of the research team, said: "The flashes occur at random in time and space, so the power lines are not grey and passive, but seen as lines of light flashing."

He said the discovery has global significance: "The loss and fragmentation of habitat by infrastructure is the principle global threat to biodiversity – it is absolutely major. Roads have always got particular attention but this will push power lines right up the list of offenders." The avoidance of power lines can interfere with migration routes, breeding grounds and grazing for both animals and birds."
animals  wildlife  nature  vision  powerlines  infrastructure  sight  migration 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Be Nelson Mandela | Easily Distracted
"So he was a strategist. This, too, is a commonplace thing to say about Mandela. More than a few of the well-prepared obituaries that have been circulating since yesterday afternoon have repeated Ahmed Kathrada’s oft-told tale of a three-day chess game that Mandela played against a new detainee on Robben Island, until his opponent surrendered. But this too isn’t quite right, if it’s meant to confer superhuman acuity on Mandela. As he himself was quick to say for much of his life, he made a great many mistakes as both leader and man. The ANC’s approach to the political struggle in South Africa, whether under the active leadership of Mandela and his circle or not, has been full of bone-headed moves. Mandela’s commitment to the armed struggle was a strategic necessity and a political masterstroke, but the actual activities of MK were mostly a sideshow to the real revolution fought in the townships after 1976. It’s not as if Mandela sat down and said, “Ok, so now I go into jail for 27 years and come out a statesman”. His life as both revolutionary and president was, as any political life is, a series of improvisations and accidents.

His improvisations were far more gifted than most, in part because of his disciplined approach to political selfhood. That’s the thing that made Mandela’s strategy and his adaptations stand out. All of his selves and words and decisions were an enactment of the enduring nation he meant to live in some day. I think that is the difference between him and many of his nationalist contemporaries who ascended to power in newly independent African states between 1960 and 1990. (This, too, needs remembering today: Mandela came to nationalism in the same historical moment as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Kenneth Kaunda, and so on.) The difference is that Mandela was always looking through the struggle to its ultimate ends, whereas most of the nationalists could see little further than the retreat of the colonial powers from the continent and the defeat of any local political rivals. Perhaps that was because Mandela and his closest allies, even during the Youth League’s insurgency against the old ANC leadership, could see that the endgame of apartheid could never be as simple as making a colonizer go back home. Perhaps it is just that he was a better person, a bigger man, a greater leader than most of them.

Or indeed, most of all the leaders of his time in this respect: to keep a long view of the world he ultimately thought his people, all people, should live in. He is the head of his class on a global scale, standing tall not just above his African contemporaries but above most other nationalists and certainly above the neoliberal West, whose leaders seem almost embarrassed to have ever thought about politics as the art of shaping a better future for all."



"When you say, “He was a great statesman”, credit what that means. It means that he looked ahead, kept his eyes on the prize, and tried to do what needed doing, whether that meant taking up arms, or playing chess, or making a friendly connection with a potentially friendly jailer. If you’re going to say it, then credit first that there might be great leaders (and great movements) where you right now see only terrorism or revolution or disorder. That so many people were wrong about Mandela should at least allow for that much.

Don’t forget that it wasn’t just the Cold War leadership of the West that was wrong. Other African nationalists were wrong: many forget that for a time, the PAC had a serious chance of being taken as the legitimate representative of the aspirations of South Africans. Of course, some of them were perfectly right about Mandela and that’s why they hated him both early and late, because he had a far-sightedness and a realistic vision of a world that could be that they lacked. For someone like Robert Mugabe, the most unforgiveable thing about Mandela is that having power, he gave it up. And those on the left who just want to remember Mandela the revolutionary have to remember that Mandela the neoliberal was largely the same man, with the same political vision.

So of course it sticks in the craw to hear those who would have condemned Mandela (and those who did condemn him through word and deed) now speak of his greatness. But again, the point is not to say, “You were wrong this once, because this man”. It is to say, “You are often wrong, and not just because your judgement of individual greatness is wrong.” You are wrong when you can’t be bothered to hear from people who would have been, who were, your friends when they come to testify about how your drones killed their families, wrong when you spy on anyone going into a mosque in New York City, wrong when you let some mid-rank bureaucrat or think-tank enfant play the role of policy-wonk Iago who whispers to you which friends to murder or neglect. You are wrong when you pretend that from Washington or London you can sort and sift through who ought to be allowed to win desperate struggles for freedom and justice and who should not, and wrong when you arm and forgive and advise the same kind of grifters who take your money and laugh all the way to the torture chambers.

You were wrong then and now because you won’t let yourself see a Mandela. But also because you think that the privilege of making a Mandela belongs to the empire. This in the end is his final legacy: that he, and his closest colleagues, and the people in the streets of Soweto, and maybe even a bit (though not nearly so much as they themselves would like to think) the global allies of the anti-apartheid struggle, all of that made Mandela. Mandela made himself, much as he in his humility would always insist that he was made by the people and was their servant."



"What no one really wants to see is Mandela the builder, because nowhere in that sight can we find our own reflection.

That’s why he seems like such a lonely giant, mourned by all, imitated by none. Because who now can boast of a long-term view of the future? Who is looking past the inadequacies of the moment to a better dispensation? Who really works to see and imagine a place, a nation, a world in which we might all want to live and then plots the distance between here and there? Some of us know what we despise, we know the shape of the boot on our neck or the weight on our shoulders. Some of us know what we fear: the shadow of a plane falling on a skyscraper, the cough of a bomb exploding, the loss of an ease in the world. We know how to feel a hundred daily outrages at a stupid or bad thing said, how to gesture at the empty spaces where a vision once resided, how to sneer at our splitters and wankers, how to invest endless energies in demanding symbolic triumphs that lead nowhere and build nothing. Our political leaders (and South Africa’s, too) have no vision beyond the next re-election and their retinues of pundits and experts and appointees are happy to compliment and flatter the vast expanses of their nakedness in return for a share of the spoils.

Mourn the statesman and the revolutionary and the terrorist and the neoliberal and the ethicist and the pragmatist and the saint and don’t you dare try to discard or remove any part of that whole. Celebrate him? Sure, but then make sure you’re willing to consider emulating him."
nelsonmandela  timothyburke  2013  vision  forethought  longterm  longtermthinking  visionaries  politics  africa  southafrica  history  strategy  power  leadership 
december 2013 by robertogreco
In this extraordinary adaptation strategy,... | The Kid Should See This
"In this extraordinary adaptation strategy, Thailand’s Moken sea gypsies can see twice as clearly underwater by controlling the size of their pupils. What was generally considered an automatic reflex for the rest of us is now thought to be something that any child under 5 could learn how to do.

From a study called Superior Underwater Vision in a Human Population of Sea Gypsies by Dr. Anna Gislén:
The Moken may learn to do this due to their extensive use of their eyes in water, where accommodation and concurrent pupil constriction is necessary for them to see the items they gather for food. It should then be possible for all humans to learn to see better underwater. But because sea gypsies have lived by and off the sea for thousands of years, evolution may also have favored those who had intrinsically better underwater accommodative powers. The ability to see well underwater could have become a genetic trait. Another possible explanation is that accommodation underwater is a side effect of the diving response; the parasympathetic nerves that control this reflex also control pupil constriction.


Read more at National Geographic."

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIKm3Pq9U8M ]

[Links from within: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0514_040514_seagypsies.html
http://scholar.google.se/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=sv&user=arPwiBMAAAAJ&citation_for_view=arPwiBMAAAAJ:u-x6o8ySG0sC ]
eyesight  eyes  vision  humans  adaptability  pupils  underwater  anngislén  moken 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Anab Jain: Designing the future
"Anab Jain talks about design in a future world of insect cyborgs, mass surveillance, DNA monetization and guerilla infrastructure. "This sort of speculative work explores the remarkable potential of technology and its new experiential aesthetics.""

[See also: http://www.superflux.in/work/staying-with-the-trouble ]

[Alt video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-stunrZcB24 ]
anabjain  superflux  design  future  cyborgs  surveillance  infrastructure  speculativedesign  designfiction  biotech  biotechnology  genetics  science  nearfuture  robots  bostondynamics  23andme  2013  drones  jugaad  thenewnormal  bees  humanism  bodies  humans  vision  blind  prosthetics  memory  consciousness  supervision  film  storytelling  speculativefiction  shanzai  china  innovation  resilience  ingenuity  poptech  body 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Hearing can make “invisible” objects appear | Ars Technica
"Words that make objects appear from thin air are generally the stuff of the magical worlds of Harry Potter or Hobbits. But a new experiment has shown that words can make objects easier to recognize, as our sense of vision can be altered by other sensory inputs.

"People assume that vision is the most impervious of the senses, impenetrable to outside influences," said Gary Lupyan of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the research. But evidence is growing that shows external information can change what one sees.

Lupyan wanted to know how much of what we see is affected by factors outside of vision. "For example, when you see lights flashing in a club, they appear to be playing in time with the music. Actually, in most cases, the lights aren't doing that. The visual system adjusts what you see. In terms of timing, people have more accurate hearing, and thus what one sees gets altered accordingly," Lupyan said."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2013/aug/12/language-boosts-invisible-objects-into-visual-awareness ]
vision  perception  senses  language  brain  psychology  science  garylupyan  emilyward 
august 2013 by robertogreco
"Envisioning a Sustainable World" by Donella H. Meadows [.pdf]
"Vision is the most vital step in the policy process. If we don’t know where we want to go, it makes little difference that we make great progress. Yet vision is not only missing almost entirely from policy discussions; it is missing from our whole culture. We talk about our fears, frustrations, and doubts endlessly, but we talk only rarely and with embarrassment about our dreams. Environmentalists have been especially ineffective in creating any shared vision of the world they are working toward -- a sustainable world in which people live within nature in a way that meets human needs while not degrading natural systems. Hardly anyone can imagine that world, especially not as a world they’d actively like to live in. The process of building a responsible vision of a sustainable world is not a rational one. It comes from values, not logic. Envisioning is a skill that can be developed, like any other human skill. This paper indicates how."



"Beyond that we could occasionally take the social risk of displaying not our skepticism but our deepest desires. We could declare ourselves in favor of a sustainable, just, secure, efficient, sufficient world (and you can add any other "value word" you like to that list), even at the expense of being called idealistic. We could describe that world, as far as we can see it, and ask others to develop the description further. We could give as much credit to the times when we exceed our expectations as to the times when we fall short. We could let disappointments be learning experiences, rather than fuel for pessimism."



"Why is it that we can share our cynicism, complaints, and frustrations without hesitation with perfect strangers, but we can't share our dreams? How did we arrive at a culture that constantly, almost automatically, ridicules visionaries? Whose idea of reality forces us to "be realistic?" When were we taught, and by whom, to suppress our visions?"



"Vision is the most vital step in the policy process. If we don’t know where we want to go, it makes little difference that we make great progress. Yet vision is not only missing almost entirely from policy discussions; it is missing from our whole culture."

[via Nicole: https://readmill.com/nicoleslaw/reads/envisioning-a-sustainable-world ]

[video: https://vimeo.com/30752926 ]
vision  donellameadows  sustainability  1994  change  pessimism  skepticism  cynicism  culture  society  optimism  tcsnmy  visionaries  policy  process  idealism  pragmatism  naïvité 
july 2013 by robertogreco
#cyborgchat with @NeilHarbisson (with tweets) · roseveleth · Storify
"Neil's eyeborg serves as a third eye, one that can see the colors he can't. "It transposes color into a continuous electronic beep, exploiting the fact that both light andsound are made up of waves of various frequencies. Red, at the bottom of the visual spectrum and with the lowest frequency, sounds the lowest, and violet, at the top, sounds highest. A chip at the back of Harbisson’s head performs the necessary computations, and a pressure-pad allows color-related sound to be conducted to Harbisson’s inner ear through the vibration of his skull, leaving his outer ears free for normal noise. Harbisson, who has perfect pitch, has learned to link these notes back to the colors that produced them.""

[See also: http://nautil.us/issue/1/what-makes-you-so-special/encounters-with-the-posthuman ]
neilharbisson  vision  color  cyborgs  sound  hearing  audio  perception  pitch  colors 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Sound Uncovered: An Interactive Book for the iPad | Exploratorium
"Explore the surprising side of sound with Sound Uncovered, an interactive collection from the Exploratorium featuring auditory illusions, acoustic phenomena, and other things that go bump, beep, boom, and vroom.

Hear with your eyes, see with your ears, test your hearing, make and modify recordings—this app puts you at the center of the experiment.

How do you make a saxophone growl? Are there secret messages in music played backward? Can you talk and listen at the same time? Why does the sound of gum chewing drive some people mad? Listen up and find answers to these questions and more as you take an auditory trip to the place where sound gets truly interesting: the space between your ears."

[via: http://readwrite.com/2013/02/12/exploratoriums-sound-uncovered-ipad-app ]

[See also "Color Uncovered": https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/color-uncovered/id470299591 ]
exploratorium  ipad  ios  applications  sound  illusions  music  2013  color  colors  vision 
february 2013 by robertogreco
The Charisma of Steve Jobs - Meta is Murder - Quora
[Cross-posted here: http://metaismurder.com/post/44155254813/the-charisma-of-leaders ]

"William James identifies the union of "conscience" and "will" in leaders as one of their defining attributes in The Varieties of Religious Experience. To say that their conscience and their will are identical is to say that their values, their morality, their meaning-systems are in harmony with their their daily volition, their constant intentionality.

For most of us, this is not so: there is a frustrating gap between them, such that we're not in accord with our own values, no matter how badly we wish to be; our moral commitments are overwhelmed routinely, and our behavior subverts, distracts, and disappoints us. Perhaps we accept a remunerative job rather than dedicating our lives to what we feel is most important; or we pursue the important, but we get sleepy and head home from the office earlier than we suspect we should; we call in sick when we're perfectly well. We are not as dedicated in friendship as we aspire to be; we grow irritated by what we know is superficial, meaningless; and so on ad nauseum. Because this is one of the defining qualities of human life, examples abound and more are likely unneeded."

"In an age in which religious values are, even by the religious, not considered sufficient for a turn from society —an age of "the cross in the ballpark," as Paul Simon says, of churches that promise "the rich life," of believers who look in disgust at the instantiation of their religions' values— the leader emerges as our most prominent solution to the problem of meaning. She is the embodiment of values and an agent of their transformative influence on the world. She has the energy of purpose, the dedication of the saint but remains within the world, and often improves it."

"The toll leaders take is fearsome, but we admire them for using us up: better to be used, after all, than useless. This is why those who worked for Jobs so often cannot even begin to justify how he reduced so-and-so to tears, how he stole this or that bit of credit, how he crushed a former friend whom in his paranoia he suspected of disloyalty, and they scarcely care. What we admire about saints and leaders is not solely the values they exemplify but the totality with which they exemplify them, a totality alien to all of us whose lives are balanced between poles of conformity and dedication, commitment and restlessness."
georgebernardshaw  stevejobs  millsbaker  2013  paulsimon  vision  values  purpose  williamjames  will  work  conformity  dedication  commitment  restlessness 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Dung Beetles, Dancing to the Milky Way : The New Yorker
"The cosmos is nothing if not egalitarian; we are all equally small. It seems fair that Earth’s sanitation workers should benefit from the Milky Way, as the rest of us do. And dung beetles likely aren’t alone; crickets, moths, nocturnal bees, and other insects probably share their ability to navigate by the Milky Way and by polarized moonlight. “I’d be surprised if they were the only insect,” Warrant said."

"We suppose that we are superior to dung beetles, but are we really? At least dung beetles recycle. We scavenge, hoard, consume…what? Crap, mostly. It piles up around us; increasingly we live on a ball of it. Even light we waste; designed to illuminate, it now obscures. As our celestial guides recede, we risk losing our bearings and will have ever less to consider but ourselves."
milkyway  astronomy  navigation  skies  sky  dungbeetles  insects  2013  nature  animals  via:anne  cosmos  egalitarianism  science  biology  sight  vision  light  sun 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Toward Independence – Indiecade 2012 | Molleindustria
"There is a practical way to conceptualize the immensity & absurdity of this continuum. I borrow it from the Utopian & Anarchist thought.

Utopia is by definition unattainable but it provides a direction.

Utopia is a tiny flickering mirage at the horizon.

By the time you reach it Utopia already moved forward…yet an utopian idea is fundamental because it provides a direction.

It encourages you to a constant tactical engagement with the status quo. It pushes you to continuously break away from the forces & entities that make us miserable & are screwing up the world.

This is how I like to think about independence in gaming and in culture.

Not a status but a tension and a direction to pursue.

And the corollary is that we should not be here at these indie festivals to celebrate our little club, to exchange tricks on how to milk the indie brand for profit.

No: we should be here to conspire about how we can be *more* autonomous. About how we can move another steptoward independence."
freedom  independent  indie  corporations  post-fordism  alienation  creativework  automation  capital  autonomy  fordism  history  paolopedercini  cv  improvement  purpose  values  utopian  utopianism  utopianthinking  indiegames  anarchism  control  power  economics  videogames  molleindustria  2012  direction  vision  utopia  capitalism  labor  creativelabor  creativity  making  gamedesign  games  purity  vectors 
december 2012 by robertogreco
P2P Foundation » On the right use of visions and visioning
[An excerpt of a longer excerpt from a 1994 talk by Donnella Meadows]

"Remember, when you envision, that you are trying to state, articulate, or see what you really want, not what you think you can get. It’s very quick for most of us rationally trained people to go out to the farthest envelope of what we think is possible. We are putting all kinds of analysis and models in there of what is possible. I never would have said that it was possible for apartheid to end in South Africa, or for the whole of the Eastern world to come back towards democracy. And yet it happened. So that tells you something about our model of possibilities. You have to throw them away. You have to think about what you want. That’s the essence of vision. What is a sustainable world that you would like to live in? That would satisfy your deepest dreams and longings?"

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/33634219548 ]

[See also: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/1161 ]
sustainability  visioning  1994  systemschange  wants  democracy  southafrica  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  lcproject  administration  purpose  change  apartheid  vision  donellameadows 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Vision - Strelka Institute for media, architecture and design
"…an institution that would be a stock exchange for human capital, a place shaping a flow of creative energy. It would transform Russia’s physical & social environment, with cities being the platform for that change.

…a multifunctional institution. Not only a place of study, but a cradle for ideas & meanings, strategies & actions.

…a non-profit organization aimed at generating knowledge, producing new ideas & making them come true. Its lecture halls & studios provide free tuition for international young specialists with backgrounds in architecture, design, social sciences, etc. Its courtyard hosts open lectures, conferences and film screenings…

…an educational centre that is open to the world and ready to share. What happens here spills out into social exchange.

The output of the institute is multidimensional. It includes graduates and their projects. It involves a growing network of creativity. But, most importantly, it helps shape the reality of tomorrow."
socialexchange  creativity  changeagents  change  knowledge  socialsciences  design  architecture  urbanism  urban  education  learning  moscow  russia  lcproject  openstudioproject  vision  strelkainstitute 
august 2012 by robertogreco
A Conversation with Mary Lou Jepsen - ACM Queue
[Notes and quotes here by Caren Litherland]

“If you look at what’s been happening in computers for the past 40 years, it’s been about more power, more megahertz, more MIPS. As a result, we’ve had huge applications and operating systems. Instead, at OLPC we focused on an entirely different kind of solution space. We focused on low power consumption, no hard drive, no moving parts, built-in networking, and sunlight-readable screens.” Interesting, prescient; focus on lower-power solutions preceded/anticipated larger cultural shift to mobile? /

“Right now I’m staring at my laptop. Not a single pixel on my screen is moving. What’s the CPU doing on? What’s the motherboard doing on? The way to get to low power—the big secret—is to turn stuff off that you’re not using. But nobody has ever made a laptop with a screen that self-refreshes.” /

“We wanted to design something that would engage kids beyond these rote-learning exercises, so the software architecture is completely different from a regular laptop. The user interface, called SUGAR, is based on the idea of everything being shareable; it explicitly enables collaboration.” /

“They want the screen—they want the screen desperately.” /

“The required contrast ratio for a display is now about 2,000 to 1, and the human visual system can’t see more than 500 to 1. It’s nuts.” /

“I started to look at what has been happening in specsmanship and *the perception of what quality is*, rather than how the human visual system perceives quality.” [my emph] /

“It would be a really good thing if you could lose yourself in a laptop and start to find another world.”
screens  technology  history  culture  maryloujepsen  olpc  displays  reading  vision  sight  via:litherland 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Everything Matters - Practical Theory
"When you have a vision for what a school can be, it has to permeate every pore of the school. Every process, every interaction, every system needs to be held to that process. And while there are pieces of the school that may only be tangential to the mission, it is important to go through the process of stepping through how the core vision of the school affects each part of the school.

Because the thing is… when you move to a more inquiry-driven, student-empowered school, it really does affect everything. When students become empowered to ask questions and seek out answers, everything changes, and you cannot -- and should not -- think that you can leave inquiry at the classroom door. When teachers see themselves as learners and researchers and planners, they will question traditions and policies. And as a community, everyone has to learn how to bring these ideas to bear to make the school whole."
systemsthinking  lcproject  vision  howitshouldbedone  empowerment  consistency  leadership  management  administration  process  inquiry-basedlearning  schools  tcsnmy  values  cv  2012  chrislehmann 
july 2012 by robertogreco
David Byrne's Journal: 12.13.11: Odyshape
"We instinctively want to believe that a merit-based world exists—that with some hard work, focus, time, effort and perseverance, you too will be rewarded with the body you see on the billboard. The same also applies to our notions of economic well-being. As a result, you have Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich (among many others) implying that poor people are poor simply because they aren’t trying hard enough (note the clever segue from Barbie to politics and economics). The implication is that poor people, or anyone who isn’t successful, just aren’t applying themselves or trying hard enough. Also, that less than fabulously attractive people similarly aren’t going to the gym enough. The corollary is that Bill and Newt are as wealthy as they are because they worked hard. This, excuse me, is bullshit…

Sadly, this dissonance between what is possible image wise, and what is being aimed for by many normal women, is making many of them nutso."
davidbyrne  odyshape  2011  science  politics  sociology  anthropology  darwin  sexualselection  geoffreymiller  photoshop  girls  women  gender  truth  brain  vision  normal  economics  luck  barbie  beingbarbie  henrikehrsson  arvidguterstam  björnvanderhoort  perception  neuroscience  via:lukeneff  bodyimage  femininity  charlesdarwin 
april 2012 by robertogreco
An Essay on the New Aesthetic | Beyond The Beyond | Wired.com
[New URL: http://www.wired.com/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic/
See also: http://booktwo.org/notebook/sxaesthetic/
http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2012/03/13/godhelpus/#sxaesthetic
http://www.joannemcneil.com/new-aesthetic-at-sxsw/
http://noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com/design/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-commercial-visual-culture.html
http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-writing.html ]

"The “New Aesthetic” is a native product of modern network culture. It’s from London, but it was born digital, on the Internet. The New Aesthetic is a “theory object” and a “shareable concept.”

The New Aesthetic is “collectively intelligent.” It’s diffuse, crowdsourcey, and made of many small pieces loosely joined. It is rhizomatic, as the people at Rhizome would likely tell you. It’s open-sourced, and triumph-of-amateurs. It’s like its logo, a bright cluster of balloons tied to some huge, dark and lethal weight.

There are some good aspects to this modern situation, and there are some not so good ones."

"That’s the big problem, as I see it: the New Aesthetic is trying to hack a modern aesthetic, instead of thinking hard enough and working hard enough to build one. That’s the case so far, anyhow. No reason that the New Aesthetic has to stop where it stands at this moment, after such a promising start. I rather imagine it’s bound to do otherwise. Somebody somewhere will, anyhow."
machinevision  glitches  digitalaccumulation  walterbenjamin  socialmedia  bots  uncannyvalley  surveillance  turingtest  renderghosts  imagerecognition  imagery  beauty  cern  postmodernity  hereandnow  temporality  pixels  culturalagnosticism  london  theory  networkculture  theoryobjects  smallpieceslooselyjoined  collectiveintelligence  digitalage  digital  modernism  aesthetics  vision  robots  cubism  impressionism  history  artmovements  machine-readableworld  russelldavies  benterrett  siliconrounsabout  art  marcelduchamp  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  sxsw  brucesterling  2012  newaesthetic  crowdsourcing  rhizome  aaronstraupcope  thenewaesthetic 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Convenience | Near Future Laboratory
"The newspaper is called Convenience and it’s based on the hypothesis that all great innovations and inventions find their way into the Corner Convenience store. Take for example, the nine we selected to feature in the newspaper, amongst a couple dozen:

AA Battery (Power)
BiC Cristal Pen (Writing)
Eveready LED Flashlight (Light..and laser light!)
Durex Condom (Prophylactic)
Reading Spectacles
Map (Cartography/way-finding)
BiC Lighter (Fire)
Disposable Camera (Memory)
Wristwatch (Time)

It’s a hypothesis designed to provoke consideration as to the trajectory of ideas from mind-bogglingly fascinating and world-changing when they first appear to numbingly routine and even dull by the time they commodify, optimize and efficient-ize…"

[Follow-up post: http://nearfuturelaboratory.com/2012/03/04/corner-convenience-near-future-design-fiction/ ]
nickfoster  rhysnewman  nearfuturelaboratory  nicolasnova  2012  cornerconvenience  electricity  power  writing  vision  glasses  cartography  wayfinding  fire  cameras  memory  time  wristwatches  batteries  maps  innovation  inventions  technology  commodification  convenience  design  julianbleecker  designfiction 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Song of the Machine on Vimeo
What if we could change our view of the world with the flick of a switch? 'Song of the Machine' explores the possibilities of a new, modified – even enhanced – vision, where users can tune into streams of information and electromagnetic vistas currently outside of human vision.

This film is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Superflux and neuroscientist Dr. Patrick Degenaar, whose pioneering work in optogenetic retinal prostheses aims to bring back sight to the blind.

Unlike the implants and electrodes used to achieve bionic vision, this science modifies the human body genetically from within. First, a virus is used to infect the degenerate eye with a light-sensitive protein, altering the biological capabilities of the subject…"

[More: http://superflux.in/blog/song-of-the-machine-in-depth AND http://www.sciencegallery.com/humanplus/song-machine ]
2011  vision  sensing  senses  justinpickard  blind  sight  augmentation  prosthetics  perception  augmentedreality  ar 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Thought Leader Interview: Meg Wheatley
"Good leadership can be found in pockets within any large organization. I’ve dubbed them islands of possibility in some of my past work. The leaders of these pockets routinely meet goals, motivate employees, and achieve high levels of safety and productivity. But, ironically, they never change the behavior of the majority of the organization — even though these few islands reach or exceed the goals set by senior management. There’s a lot of evidence that innovators get pushed to the margins. You’d expect that they would be rewarded, promoted, and given the responsibility of teaching everyone else how to do the same. But instead, they’re ignored or invisible…"
hierarchy  hierarchy  deschooling  unschooling  margaretwheatley  education  learning  organizations  management  administration  leadership  innovation  cv  tcsnmy  lcproject  networks  motivation  fear  values  meaning  purpose  2011  community  sharedvalues  vision  inclusion  schools  perseverance  decisionmaking  consensus  collegiality  morale  systems  systemschange  change  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
december 2011 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education - William Deresiewicz
"Being an intellectual begins with thinking your way outside of your assumptions and the system that enforces them. But students who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it’s almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it’s even there."

"What happens when busyness & sociability leave no room for solitude? The ability to engage in introspection…is the essential precondition for living an intellectual life, and the essential precondition for introspection is solitude…one of them said, with a dawning sense of self-awareness, “So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?” Well, I don’t know. But I do know that the life of the mind is lived one mind at a time: one solitary, skeptical, resistant mind at a time. The best place to cultivate it is not within an educational system whose real purpose is to reproduce the class system."

Also here http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/voices-in-time/william-deresiewicz-trims-the-ivy.php?page=all in this issue: http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/magazine/ways-of-learning.php ]
williamderesiewicz  2008  via:jeeves  highered  highereducation  learning  unschooling  deschooling  liberalarts  class  perpetuation  criticalthinking  skepticism  resistance  institutions  intellectualism  introspection  solitude  cv  self-awareness  conformism  elites  power  control  racetonowhere  purpose  vision  education  colleges  universities  lapham'squarterly 
november 2011 by robertogreco
David Byrne's Journal: 10.22.2011: The Subjectivity of Perception
"Our brain’s ability to patch together a coherent visual field and construct a seamless looking image that we know is imaginary (there are noses and trees and thumbs blocking parts of our eyesight) is similar to the propensity to construct a narrative—to imagine a chain of cause and effect out of almost random events. What we see and what we experience of the world is largely a lie, made up by us to satisfy some deeply evolved needs and tendencies. We might know it’s a lie but, still, we are helplessly drawn into these perceptual tricks."
davidbyrne  evesussman  christianmarclay  ryanoakes  trevoroakes  ryanandtrevoroakes  oakestwins  2011  perception  illusion  huans  huamn  vision  fieldofvision  brain  subjectivity  art  sculpture  lawrenceweschler 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Startup School 2011- Ashton Kutcher - YouTube
"People who genuinely want to solve a problem, a real problem, a problem that exists not just for themselves, but sometimes just for themselves and then it turns into a wave effect that solves other people's problems. Sometimes by solving your own problems. Generally, if you want to affect the world, you have to change yourself first…making uncomfortable choices…taking that risk…doing this thing that nobody else is doing."

"It's not about being like somebody else. It's not about the billion dollars. It's about how you can affect other people's lives — enrich them, improve them — how you can eliminate the space between people, how you can eliminate pain and friction."

"If you want to be a real entrepreneur, you have to be the cause, you have to be the creator of someone else's new reality, which eliminates time, space, motion, friction…"

Tells story about Carl Fisher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_G._Fisher ]
ashtonkutcher  purpose  vision  problemsolving  dropouts  entrepreneurship  2011  startupschool2011  via:monikahardy  risktaking  lcproject  carlfisher  marketing  change  passion  focus 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Boston Review — Richard Nash and Matt Runkle: Revaluing the Book [Bit about preferences, maligning, and extrapolations applies broadly]
"It has been a fascinating phenomenon in the discussion around publishing how adversarial people get around other people’s choices. So if someone says “I like an ebook,” a person will respond “Ohhh, I can’t believe—how can you do that?” It’s like that obnoxious person who you don’t want to go out to dinner with anymore because they can’t just order what they want, they have to comment on what you’re eating as well. What’s been epidemic in this discussion is that when both camps talk about their own preferences, they have to malign other people’s preferences too, and make grandiose extrapolations about the consequences of other people’s preferences for their own. If they like printed books, they should be buying the damn things instead of whining about other people’s preferred mode of reading. So I’m tremendously optimistic about the future of the book as an object. I think the worst years of the book as an object have been the last 50 years."
future  books  literature  publishing  vision  perspective  via:frankchimero  richardnash  mattrunkle  via:ayjay  preferences  defensiveness  offense  attack  discussion  politics  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Thoughts on leadership - IBM100 THINK Forum - Joi Ito's Web
"Leadership today is about empowering those around you share your vision, embrace serendipity, have the courage to take risks and learn from failure rather than be crushed by it. Diversity must be embraced and organizational borders made porous. Assets such as intellectual property and lines of software code must not prevent aggressive agility. Organizations must be willing and able to pivot away from attachment to such assets lest these assets become liabilities holding back innovation and progress.

In this new world, leaders must be courageous, visionary and comfortable in an environment where control and complete knowledge are impossible and their pursuit futile and counterproductive."
joiito  leadership  flexibility  organizations  management  administration  tcsnmy  ip  intellectualproperty  agility  vision  risktaking  failure  innovation  progress  2011  attachment  courage  porous  iteration  planning  unpredictability  uncertainty 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Thoughts on leadership - IBM100 THINK Forum - Joi Ito's Web
"Leadership today is about empowering those around you share your vision, embrace serendipity, have the courage to take risks and learn from failure rather than be crushed by it. Diversity must be embraced and organizational borders made porous. Assets such as intellectual property and lines of software code must not prevent aggressive agility. Organizations must be willing and able to pivot away from attachment to such assets lest these assets become liabilities holding back innovation and progress.

In this new world, leaders must be courageous, visionary and comfortable in an environment where control and complete knowledge are impossible and their pursuit futile and counterproductive."
joiito  leadership  flexibility  organizations  management  administration  tcsnmy  ip  intellectualproperty  agility  vision  risktaking  failure  innovation  progress  2011  attachment  courage  porous  iteration  planning  unpredictability  uncertainty 
september 2011 by robertogreco
allen.sw.huang — Steve Jobs & Taking The Long Road
"Jobs (and by extension, Apple) has taught me (and I am sure others) a big lesson: If you want to change something, you have to be patient and take the long view. If Apple and Steve’s incredible comeback teaches us something, it’s that when you are right and the world doesn’t see it that way, you just have to be patient and wait for the world to change its mind.

Today, we are living in a world that’s about taking short-term decisions: CEOs who pray to at the altar of the devil called quarterly earnings, companies that react to rivals, politicians who are only worried about the coming election cycle and leaders who are in for the near-term gain.

And then there are Steve and Apple: a leader and a company not afraid to take the long view, patiently building the way to the future envisioned for the company. Not afraid to invent the future and to be wrong. And almost always willing to do one small thing — cannibalize itself."
ommalik  2011  stevejobs  longterm  apple  business  risk  purpose  design  making  doing  self-cannibalization  shortterm  near-term  longview  vision  mistakes  patience  lcproject  tcsnmy  persistence  gamechanging  via:rushtheiceberg 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Kevin Slavin – Reality Is Plenty, Thanks. « Mobile Monday Amsterdam
"Kevin Slavin closes the final Mobile Monday Amsterdam with an improvised talk about why reality is plenty. And closing the row of bare feet speakers at the event."

[YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o03wWtWASW4 ]
culture  history  games  psychology  mobile  kevinslavin  ar  augmentedreality  reality  2011  momoamsterdam  tv  television  jeanpiaget  extramission  immersion  mimesis  replication  uncannyvalley  information  tamagotchi  perception  senses  piaget  vision 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Design Advances
"Design advances…by accepting absurdities

There's a bit of facing adversity built into that sort of discipline. It means that people are going to look at what you do as absurd — as disconnected from the state of the world right now; as idle experimentation; as just a bunch of weird stuff.

I think the challenge is around the degree of "advance." Sometimes rather than making "big disruption" sorts of advances, small, simple, low-hanging-fruit sorts of things are more tractable and, potentially — more disruptive for their simplicity… Often these "little things done much better" sorts of disruptions effect human behavior in an unexpectedly profound way. Sadly, the hubris of the main players in constructing the future consider a disruption to be wholesale system change of some sort rather than making little things better than they already are. It's also a battle between complex programs or teams, versus relatively simple ideas with small teams executing a clearly stated vision."
julianbleecker  change  design  physics  advances  advancement  2011  gamechanging  absurdities  experimentation  iteration  low-hangingfruit  disruption  disruptive  disruptiveinnovation  simplicity  vision  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Buster Benson
"A few rules that I try to live by:

1. You must not dilly-dally. 2. You must be your word. 3. You must have good intentions. 4. You must admit to being the maker of meaning. 5. You must not feel sorry for yourself. 6. You must have a vision that you are striving for. 7. You must tie creativity and experimentation with survival. 8. You must be the change you want to see. 9. You must rally others with your vision. 10. You must stake your reputation on your better self. 11. You must be comfortable with the consequences of being who you are. 12. You must share. 13. You must make your own advice and take it. 14. You must manage your stress, health, and clarity. 15. You must study your mistakes. 16. You must retry things you don't like every once in a while. 17. You must make time to enjoy things."
busterbenson  howto  living  life  presence  advice  meaning  makingmeaning  sensemaking  meaningmaking  change  vision  values  cv  well-being  stress  health  clarity  self 
may 2011 by robertogreco
How to Give Your School Leader a Grade | Edutopia
"Her fundamental philosophy and beliefs about educating children stay the same, and are transparent to all…her goals have transparency…

When sticky situations come up…your leader calmly listens to all sides, doesn't sidebar w/ other administrators, & spends some time gathering information before declaring a solution or decision…If it involves students & parents, he makes sure any & all teachers mentioned are included in talks & mediations. He avoids secret meetings, knowing they hinder more than help a bad situation…<br />
Your principal knows her stuff…well versed in various instructional practices, & current educational research & findings. Because of this, & because of her time in the classroom, she is not fooled by any quick-fix, silver-bullet solutions. She knows slow & steady wins the race.

Instead of being showy w/ this abundance of educational wisdom, she models it every day -- in her actions toward those she has been chosen to lead."
leadership  education  administration  howitshouldbedone  tcsnmy  management  lcproject  modeling  vision  purpose  clarity  bigpicture  patience  philosophy  transparency  schools 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Ten Big Ideas of School Leadership | Edutopia
1) Your School Must Be For All Kids 100% of the Time: If you start making decisions based on avoiding conflict, students lose…

2) Create a Vision, Write It Down, & Start Implementing It: Don't put your vision in drawer & hope for best. Every decision must be aligned w/ that vision. The whole organization is watching when you make a decision, so consistency is crucial.

3) It's the People, Stupid: The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from those who are still undecided…Hire people who support your vision, who are bright, & like kids…

8) Have a Bias for Yes: …The only progress you will ever make involves risk: Ideas that teachers have may seem a little unsafe & crazy. Try to think, "How can I make this request into a yes?"

9) Consensus is Overrated: 20% of people will be against anything. When you realize this, you avoid compromising what really should be done because you stop watering things down. If you always try to reach consensus, you're led by 20%."
leadership  education  administration  management  lcproject  schools  tcsnmy  vision  consensus  clarity  people  watereddown  compromise  children  howitshouldbedone  mikemccarthy 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Seven Characteristics of a Good Leader | Edutopia
"1) A sense of purpose: The values of an organization must be clear, members of the organization should know them, and they should exemplify and uphold them in their own actions.

2) Justice: Everyone in an organization should be held to common standards, with rules and procedures that are clear, firm, fair, and consistent…

6) Courage: Leaders are paid to set direction, not wait for direction to emerge. They have to be willing to follow their convictions and bring their organization to new places. In education, this is most sorely needed in response to the test-based regimen that has taken over our schools at the expense of true education and social-emotional and character development.

7) Deep Commitment: Leaders must not be polishing their resumes, but rather should have deep commitment to their organizations, the advancement of the organizations' missions, and the wellbeing of everyone in them…"
leadership  education  edutopia  change  vision  management  administration  lcproject  purpose  clarity  respect  justice  convictions  schools  howitshouldbedone  tcsnmy 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Hot Stuff: Is the Kool-Aid wearing off? - Smiley & West
"The administration has to straighten its back up and say: “This is what we believe. This is our vision.”"
barackobama  tcsnmy  administration  vision  belief  purpose  clarity  management  focus  cv  tavissmiley  cornelwest  2011  policy  decisionmaking 
april 2011 by robertogreco
What motivates an early employee to work in a startup? - Quora
"The most powerful and sustainable motivator for an early employee at a startup, or for employees at any company for that matter, is the sense of meaning derived from work.  Meaning comes from working on a product whose long-term vision you believe will have an impact. It comes from working with a team whose members you respect, who constantly challenges you to learn and get better, and who you can't bear to let down. It comes from the dopamine rush you get from building and releasing something that your user base will love."
startups  startup  meaning  motivation  work  cv  vision  tcsnmy  respect  iteration  learning  leadership  management  administration  small  edmondlau  quora  lcproject 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Be Somebody or Do Something
"Here's a curious paradox: the more you insist on sticking to a straight-&-narrow path defined by your own evolving principles, rather than the expedient one defined by current situation, the more you'll have to twist & turn in the real world. The straight path in your head turns into spaghetti in the real world.

On the other hand, the more your path through the real world seems like a straight road, defined by something like a "standard" career path/script, the more you'll have to twist & turn philosophically to justify your life to yourself. Every step that a true Golden Boy careerist takes, is marred by deep philosophical compromises. You sell your soul one career move at a time.

If you are driven by your own principles, you'll generally search desperately for a calling, and when you find one, it will consume your life. You'll be driven to actually produce, create or destroy. You'll want to do something that brings the world more into conformity with your own principles…"
careerism  careers  principles  cv  besomebody  dosomething  do  doing  vision  purpose  learning  adaptability  conformity  unschooling  deschooling  education  racetonowhere  well-being  philosophy  meaning  tcsnmy  truth  truth-seeking  identity  measurement  progress  life  wisdom  johnboyd 
february 2011 by robertogreco
San Francisco – Pictory
"Looking south down Hyde Street from a balcony in Russian Hill, I thought of all the people drawn to this beautiful city from afar for its promise. Not everyone finds the reality as perfect as their vision. Just like in any city, there’s no shortage of melancholy, unrealized dreams, lost fortunes, and lives ending too soon. But in San Francisco there’s also a persistent optimism that stands out even in the midst of hard times. New things are always being created here."
sanfrancisco  optimism  making  creativity  creating  doing  cities  vitality  dreams  vision  melancholy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
miscellany · Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen?...
"Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking."
naomiwolf  vision  cv  persistence  speaking  truth  revolution  emmagoldman  anarchism  anarchy  meaning  life  values  yearoff  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  iconoclasm  radicals  radicalism 
february 2011 by robertogreco
"No Common Thread": Identity Crisis at an Alternative School (JUAL)
"This study uses the phenomenon, or case, of the White Pine School as the basis for developing an understanding of how schools make their identities clear, distinct, and attractive to participants. This twenty six year old parent cooperative "alternative" private school seems to be experiencing an identity crisis in which there is little consistency of vision and practices with which to enact that vision. The causes, manifestations, and possible solutions to this identity crisis are herein examined."
alternative  alternativeeducation  schools  progressive  education  tcsnmy  toshare  lcproject  identity  organizations  leadership  missionstatements  vision  dysfunction  management  administration 
january 2011 by robertogreco
leading and learning: We have lost so much the past 50 years. We need to return leadership back to creative teachers.
"There are schools that currently provide such positive images, where principals have worked w/ teachers to create visions that relate to their own aspirations. Many of these schools have developed visions around metaphors that provide focus for all they do. From such simple metaphors they have crafted out their teaching principles & behavioral values w/ students & wider community, to the point that all in community know 'what they stand for'. Such schools are reinventing themselves as vital centres of their communities & are well placed to take next step to link up & share energy & expertise, w/ others.

…Successful schools create alignment between vision & way of teaching &, when this is done, everyone develops 'shared sense of direction' & 'wonderful things happen'. In such schools there is 'sense of excitement about the place'; such schools, 'raise their expectations, work becomes more focused, they say no to a lot of junk that gets thrown at them by all kinds of people'"
vision  values  sharedvalues  tcsnmy  schools  leadership  administration  teaching  learning  community  lcproject  progressive  education  identity 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » You Know This is True
"I know lots of parents who aren’t all that thrilled w/ the system but who are assuaged by idea that schools their kids are in will at least push them along to success on traditional path. Opting for something else is just too hard, & to be honest, too “untested.”…

But this all takes on more relevance in the context of the “What to do About Schools?” conversations that we’ve been enduring the past couple of months. The “problems” we face w/ schools are right now are less about schools themselves & more about lack of vision & fear of change. Put simply, age-grouped, subject-delineated, 8am-2pm, September-June, one-size-fits-all system that we have makes process of education easy. The realities of personal, self-directed, real problem-solving learning in a connected world are anything but.

Still, the hardest reality right now is that there is no groundswell to do school differently, not just “better.” Seems it’s easy to see a path to “better.” “Different” is just too scary."
willrichardson  schools  education  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  tcsnmy  change  gamechanging  fear  vision  topost  toshare  schooling  schooliness  stagnation  racetonowhere  parenting  lcproject 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Cooking, Magic, Jamming Your Own Stuff Through the Machine & Changing Everything
[Frank: Thanks. That Grant Achatz piece came along while digging around online after seeing "A Day at El Bulli" [Phaidon] at the bookstore—some old-fashioned serendipity there. Don't miss this (bookmarked a year ago): http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6105.html &, for the record, on Sunday, my kids were remarking about my actual sense of smell.]

"I’m not sure I know specifically what magic is, but maybe it is encountering a good impossibility. We don’t run into many Willy Wonkas or Walt Disneys in our lives: someone who has a completely different viewpoint than our own, & somehow, through sheer talent or brute force, builds a temple to that point of view."… "I think the future belongs to designers who can create their own content; to designers who have a point of view about the world. To folks who can make people respond to what they make and build an audience and then let them support that point of view." … "At this point in my life, I believe the future of design is the polymath."
frankchmero  magic  design  ferranadrià  elbulli  vision  meaning  purpose  ego  serendipity  frankchimero  polymaths  generalists  future  cv  glvo  experience  surprise  delight  creativity  imagination  personality  audience 
august 2010 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe: Episode 27: Missionless Statements
"In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann & Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, email, productivity, & changing your game."

[There is more here (on shared values, innovation, organizations, management, entreprenuership, change, etc.) than my notes reflect—all worth the listen.]

[Video also at: http://5by5.tv/conversation/27 ]
dunbar  dunbarnumber  groupsize  classsize  productivity  management  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  jeffreyveen  merlinmann  danbenjamin  email  communication  leadership  problemsolving  technology  enterprise  independence  freethinking  gamechanging  time  small  slow  ambientintimacy  relationships  understanding  efficiency  human  humanconnection  campfire  offhtheshelfsoftware  values  organizations  groups  sharedvalues  culture  failure  innovation  cv  risktaking  risk  freelancing  motivation  danielpink  meaning  autonomy  drive  missionstatement  vision 
july 2010 by robertogreco
WNYC - Radiolab » Strangers in the Mirror [Bonus: Close talks about academic failure, Robert Rauschenberg, dyslexia, and empathy.]
"Oliver Sacks, the famous neuroscientist and author, can’t recognize faces. Neither can Chuck Close, the great artist known for his enormous paintings of … that’s right, faces.

Oliver and Chuck–both born with the condition known as Face Blindness–have spent their lives decoding who is saying hello to them. You can sit down with either man, talk to him for an hour, and if he sees you again just fifteen minutes later, he will have no idea who you are. (Unless you have a very squeaky voice or happen to be wearing the same odd purple hat.)

In this podcast, we listen in on a conversation Robert had with Chuck and Oliver at Hunter College in New York City as part of the World Science Festival. Chuck and Oliver tell Robert what it’s like to live with Face Blindness and describe two very different ways of coping with this condition, which may be more common than we think."

[See also: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/blind_pr.html (via Luke Neff)]
psychology  perception  neuroscience  prosopagnosia  faceblindness  empathy  dyslexia  robertrauschenberg  education  vision  radiolab  faces  chuckclose  oliversacks  art  painting  science  interviews 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Robins can literally see magnetic fields, but only if their vision is sharp | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
"Some birds can sense the Earth’s magnetic field and orientate themselves with the ease of a compass needle. This ability is a massive boon for migrating birds, keeping frequent flyers on the straight and narrow. But this incredible sense is closely tied to a more mundane one – vision. Thanks to special molecules in their retinas, birds like the European robins can literally see magnetic fields. The fields appear as patterns of light and shade, or even colour, superimposed onto what they normally see.
magnets  animals  birds  robins  via:migurski  migration  nature  perception  physics  vision  biology  compass  magnetic  senses  sight  science  light  evolution 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | Video on TED.com
"Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling." [See the comment thread for mixed reactions.]
leadership  management  innovation  entrepreneurship  business  apple  culture  education  marketing  motivation  ted  strategy  tcsnmy  why  vision  purpose  lcproject  whyhowwhat  mission  howto  organizations 
july 2010 by robertogreco
metacool: Do both, and focus on everything
"Recently at IDEO we've been talking about the difference between having a vision and having a purpose. A vision is something you shoot for, a point in the future, while a purpose is a point of origin, something that guides you. We're of a belief that visions are tough to go after when you desire innovative outcomes because they tend to reduce emergent behavior and serendipity. A single, defined point in the future may be better suited to a top-down, variance-eliminating organization trying to reach a single goal, rather than for one trying to exist in certain way, believing that a guiding purpose will ensure that the outcomes that do arise will be not only appropriate, but likely extraordinary."
tcsnmy  purpose  ideo  vision  goals  principles  values  decisionmaking  guidance  2010  diegorodriguez 
may 2010 by robertogreco
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