Thursday, August 08, 2013

Everlasting Realities of the Bohemian Lifestyle

AP7810181441.jpg…or the creative #precariat & the #city, by extension #citymooc. Academic knowledge workers, particularly in the arts and humanities, are explicitly noted as those who, "began adult life as artists and intellectuals only to find themselves 25 years on somehow being mainly a teacher at a D-list college in a place they never wanted to live." Sounds like a Balzac novel, doesn't it? Illusions perdues, in particular, comes to mind. 
NEW YORK -- Is it still possible to be a bohemian in today's New York City, where average rents now surpass $3,000 a month? Or are the rents just too damn high? And -- if they are -- what does this mean for the future of artists and intellectuals of the sort who have long been as much a part of the natural order of the city as pigeons and locust trees?
These are some of the questions provoked by an article in the Spring issue of N+1 magazine on "Cultural Revolution" signed by "The Editors." 
...fast forward to the closing paragraphs...

[Bohmeian] complaints [in n+1 article ]are far larger than one about the New York housing market, or the academy, as well -- they are about the relation of the intellectual and the artist to society, about the lack of recognition except by "the Happy Few." But the art and literary worlds have always been a total crap shoot, and far too many artists and writers reach old age as impoverished and unknown as when they began. There is nothing new in the failure of that dare. Even those who have one wonderful glorious moment of fame and fortune are rarely set, because a moment is not a life, and life is longer than most forms of renown these days. 
T.S. Eliot worked as a banker. Wallace Stevens was an insurance company vice president. There are others who have carved memorable careers out of evenings and weekends. But there have always been more who began adult life as artists and intellectuals only to find themselves 25 years on somehow being mainly a teacher at a D-list college in a place they never wanted to live. 
I'm not saying any of this is good, only that it is hardly new.
Read the complete article at Everlasting Realities of the Bohemian Lifestyle - Garance Franke-Ruta - The Atlantic

Monday, July 29, 2013

surreal urban landscapes

…reminiscent of the movie Dark City (reviewed by Roger Ebert)…imagined #city for imaginary #mooc#citymooc, The video invites comparison with less than other realistic artifacts, whether advertising, mythic foundings, artwork, allegorical renderings or contested mappings.

Prepare to visit a strange new world in which cityscapes can be spun around like the layers of a Rubik's cube — and where the laws of physics no longer apply.



Filmmaker Chris Kelly writes,
Our understanding of space is not always a direct function of the sensory input but a perceptual undertaking in the brain where we are constantly making subconscious judgments that accept or reject possibilities supplied to us from our sensory receptors. This process can lead to illusions or manipulations of space that the brain perceives to be reality
Read more at io9 and the original at GawkerThis surrealist film treats urban landscapes like a Rubik's Cube





Saturday, May 25, 2013

virtual flânerie chez MOOC

…late in the day or game of my life ~ figuratively speaking, but this flâneuse persona is off on another city jaunt...virtual flânerie in the form of MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses about cities.

The first, nearly over, is Technicity, and the other, in development and yet to start, is City MOOC.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Borges, Paradox & Perception

…+ Heisenberg = irresistible. This was sitting in drafts, earmarked for #introphil, the philosophy course, now over, and the others left abandoned by the wayside. It's time for flâneuse to leave philosophy classes behind and move on. Topically speaking, we're city bound, heading home to the streets. MOOCs have discovered their cousin, the city, no stranger to paradox or uncertainty. More later. For now, let's transition with Cities, MOOCs, Global Networks by Kris Olds, Inside HigherEd.

In 1927 a young German physicist published a paper that would turn the scientific world on its head. Until that time, classical physics had assumed that when a particle’s position and velocity were known, its future trajectory could be calculated. Werner Heisenberg demonstrated that this condition was actually impossible:

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Open Letter from SJSU Philosophy Dept to Michael Sandel

painting by Gandolfi Gaetano
…for more (if not optimum) context, read comments and related article. Optimum context would involve taking the edX course in question, reading up on MOOCs, Sandel, edX. the MOOCing  of HigherEd in general and, in particular, the Gates Foundation driven agreement between San Jose and edX. All that still might not be enough but brings us closer to an informed opinion. Even then there will be more variants and questions than consensus. 
Professors in the philosophy department at San Jose State University wrote the following letter to make a direct appeal to Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor whose MOOC on "Justice" they were being encouraged to use as part of the San Jose State curriculum. (See related article and comments)
Is this philosophy or just more mooc madness?  If philosophy is truly about knowledge, how we know and ways of knowing of the world. Consider this comment in the letter, 
.. the thought of the exact same social justice course being taught in various philosophy departments across the country is downright scary - something out of a dystopian novel.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Physicists Debate Nothingness

…damn, this sounds like it belongs with #Introphil, despite presenter Krauss' distaste for both religion and philosophy…it even gets into existence, time travel, the multiverse, quantum theory…Being and Nothingness

What is nothing? Sounds like a simple question—nothing is simply the absence of something, of course—until you begin to think about it. The other night the American Museum of Natural History hosted its 14th annual Asimov Memorial Debate, which featured five leading thinkers opining (and sparring, sometimes testily, but more on that later) about the nature of nothing. 
“Nothing is the most important part of the universe,” said Lawrence Kraussa physicist at Arizona State University and author of the recent “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.” 

Read the rest at Physicists Debate the Many Varieties of Nothingness | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Saturday, March 16, 2013

learning time, spinning heads

or learning & time travel? Can I shoehorn this into an #introphil post? Tangle a few roots? Time, mind, post/transhuman (or was that another course?), learning, and identity too, for good measure.  Who am I? is the QUESTION standing behind the examined life's green curtain, flowing into What do I know and How do I know it? 

At Building Creative Bridges, Paul Signorelli, blogging #etmooc writes,
We may be identifying yet another digital literacy skill: an ability to function simultaneously within a variety of timeframes we don’t normally consider while we’re learning. 
Before we take the leap into a bit of virtual time travel to pursue this idea, let’s ground ourselves within a familiar idea: much of the formal learning with which we’re familiar takes place within clearly-defined segments of time, e.g., an hour-long workshop or webinar, or a course that extends over a day, week, month, or semester. We work synchronously during face-to-face or online interactions, and we work asynchronously through postings that extend a conversation as long as the formal learning opportunity is underway and participants are willingly engaged.
Disclaimer: I still haven't written that digital identity reflection for Bonnie Stewart's Change 11 unit last year. However, I do think about (wrestle with) it regularly. This still isn't it but may be approaching calculus not algebra. So back to courses and their timespace boundaries: in open, online course ~ more specifically, MOOCs like #introphil and #etmooc ~ 
this connectivist learning process is far from linear—rhizomaticis one of the terms we’ve been using extensively throughout the [#etmooc] course. We are also seeing that our learning process does not have to be limited to exchanges with learners and others who are participating within the formal linear timeframe suggested by a course 
Both MOOCs and philosophy partake of, occupy themselves with time, space and unspace (if we can designate virtual space as such). A science article that caught my attention, comparing differences in perceiving past and future time, seems relevant to temporal discussion in either (philosophy's time travel paradox vs digital ed's sync/async) camp.

Learning Time and Heads That Spin | Building Creative Bridges

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Darwin-Sartre connection: absurd or what?

#introphil…although I'm not sure quite where (or even whether) this fits in the Introduction to Philosophy. My call: skepticism and the nature of reality. Being absurd does not make reality less real...or more. Truth? Don't even go there. Yet.

Resistance appeals to me. Camus (mentioned), not Sartre, has always been a favorite. I won't claim to be exploring essay topics, but that could be what my unconscious is up to. That or making sense of philosophy-by-mooc. Could I write 750 words on why I keep taking philosophy courses when I really prefer history? Ethics and applications (pragmatism?) are considerations. I'm trying to decide whether or not to take Michael Sandel's Justice EdX mooc. Haven't done (or whatever verb) an edX yet and am uncomfortable with a "true believer" intensity prevalent among Coursera followers. Brand and superprof loyalty sometimes approaches that of swooning bobby-soxers, 
A few weeks ago we linked to an article connecting Sartre’s insights about “authenticity” with recent work in cognitive science. This week, in an essay at the Chronicle of Higher Education, David P. Barash pursues a similar thread connecting existentialism and evolutionary biology, one he thinks shows that “science has not completely destroyed our understanding of free will" .... Barash points out that both evolutionists and “existentialists” from Pascal to Heidegger all see the universe in its sheer indifferent vastness as in some sense “absurd” from the human perspective....then asserts the “uniquely human potential to resist our own genes,” and makes the further claim that it’s exactly this ability that constitutes our humanity, thus making “rebellion” practically a duty. To Barash, that sounds unmistakably like Albert Camus’ “reconfiguring” of Descartes: “I rebel, therefore we exist.”
Plus more philosophy links, mostly from more or less main stream popular media, surely a sign of something.

The Stone
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless. The Stone’s weekly briefing of notable philosophy-related issues and ideas from around the Web.


The Stone Philosophy Links, March 13, 2013 - NYTimes.com

Sunday, February 10, 2013

information graphics, diagrams, flowcharts, mind maps etc

…which relate to #introphil how? Surely logic cannot be irrelevant (especially not to thinking, knowledge and questions, all central to Introduction to Philosophy. OK I admit it: the real reason is that this graphic reminded me of a recent comment exchange/conversation with @Gordon_L about mind maps and the Wordle image I created for my last #introphil post. This is a flow chart because of a) that reminder and b) I couldn't find one about mind maps. There may not be a mind map humor category although some can be amusing, if not intentionally so. The same could be said of some philosophical arguments. Could the model below adapt to a Gettier Case?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

thoughts on starting #introphil

…in no particular order, counting #introphil, I am now in…four MOOCs! (not counting CM11 or POTcert):  #etmooc, EDC and #mmooc13, five counting soon to start Complexity from Santa Fe Institute. Whatever was I thinking? Nice to "see" Gordon and Jaap. A number of familiar names/avatars from Fantasy SF course (later morphing into an active post-course book club) are there too although few blog and have yet to see signs of any on my rare Forum visits.  I wonder who else I know from online will be there? Most of the usual connectivist MOOC bunch sticks to "about pedagogy and elearning" courses.  




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