Wednesday, December 14, 2005

For My Friend

When your voice collapsed,
I knew your world had too.

So many layers
Of life
And so much love
Suddenly in pieces
On the floor of your heart.

Sharp shards of
Piercing pain
Etch grief
On every surface
Of the soul.

Heartfelt words
Echo hollowly--
The emptiness
They were meant to fill.

My heart aches for you.

November 20, 2005

Once you let someone into you heart, they become a part of who you are, and you become a part of them. Neither divorce, death, nor distance can change that. Love integrates. Grief only testifies of love.

A Blogger At Heart

I have been thinking about why it is that I seldom post anything to my blog except poetry. I frequently e-mail my friends about the things I am reading, and it only occurred to me recently that those e-mails are essentially blog postings. I guess I'm still a digital immigrant in the sense that blogging those reactions isn't my first thought (although sharing them with others who are likely to enjoy them is).

Perhaps there is also an element of perfectionism involved--sharing with friends doesn't compel me to craft my thoughts as carefully or as completely (in part due to trust--they have enough of a baseline with respect to who I am to be able to identify and ignore any anomalies, and in part because I can anticipate their prior knowledge due to shared experiences, so telegraphic representations work). I suppose quality blogging, in its own way, requires the same discipline as the development and refinement of any other talent or skill--regular, habitual practice.

As a song by Anna Nalick says, I think it may also have something to do with the fact that, "If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to." Nonetheless, there is also a positive side to it--it seems to be my way of making art (and sense) out of my life.

It was fun to clean up some of the e-mails I had sent to friends about the interesting things I've encountered online today for posting. Perhaps I should do that more often.

And Now We Outsource Even Our Play?!

To the Chinese, of course! Somehow, the esteem-influencing properties of "ascending the ladder" (be it real or virtual), combined with a chronic inability to defer gratification, now mean that we even PAY people to play for us?! What is MOST interesting to me about this article is what it says about the blurred lines between work and play . . . play has become work (and I don't mean for the Chinese, I mean for the Americans who are applying their conceptions of success that have always permeated the workplace to their leisure time).

What does that say about the values we place on production as opposed to experience, about American psychology, about the kinds of products Americans are likely to be in need of that enterprising folks could anticipate and provide as a result of the fractures in psychological functioning that this might indicate?! Yes—the economics of the article are VERY interesting, and business people and educators alike had better watch out—the tech has given individuals a lot of power they never had before and they are using that power.

Guiding young people in the use of that power will be even MORE critical than ever before, and leads me to believe that we have to relinquish the teaching of static content (a.k.a. facts--especially since they are outdated daily anyhow) and start teaching a conceptual curriculum that can accommodate flexible thinking, that promotes problem-solving, and that gives kids significant experiences with recontextualization and transfer. It has to be a curriculum of immersion in order for them to acquire the skills they need (and yes, the parallels to second language acquisition are purposeful).

Where the True Techies Live

Click here to see a map of where the "true techies" live based on the results of a survey reported in Click on the county listings and the methodology buttons to see easily digestible info. that is really interesting. So what do all those counties have in common? Is it affluence? Is it access? Is it proximity to technologically-based business and industry? Is it social networks? Is it a particular perspective that arises out of the local culture? I found this very interesting and look forward to exploring it more . . .including the survey on which these results are based.

A New Twist on Technological Integration

So, imagine my surprise when, while looking for images that depict the way teens are integrating technology into their lives, I come across this article in the MacDailyNews about iPod underwear. Yeah, if you click on the link, you can even see a picture!

So this is what we can look forward to as tech becomes more and more a part of our lives?! I must admit that at first I was puzzled by it, but then I realized if you like to listen to music and happen to do your relaxing in your underwear, then it makes perfect sense. Oh those shifting paradigms!

The implications regarding the things that Americans value and the ways that American culture is changing as a result of those values are worth noting, and make Lowell W. Monke's thoughts on The Overdominance of Computers important to consider. I found his comments regarding the unprecedented power that is now available to even very young children and the need for strong adult guidance right on target. Just because children have technological skill doesn't mean they have the wisdom to use it wisely.

Missing an Organ--Just Print It!?!

Okay, so maybe it isn't quite as simple as the title of this post might lead you to believe. Nonetheless, while looking for good headlines that show how future trends in technology that might affect the literacy skills required for students' future success, I came across this article about biological printers that "print" the components of organs onto special gel-coated biopaper and then allow cellular processes to take over to finish self-assembling the structures. Can you imagine having been on THAT research team the day the chicken cells started to beat . . . in synchrony!?

Yet in the name of preparing students for "the future," we still have them sitting in rows, completing avalanches of worksheets, and practicing for standardized tests! This article makes it clear just how "standardized" the future will be, along with the kind of thinking it will require! :-( I think Einstein summarized the whole matter very nicely in this little image.


I serendipitously discovered John Maeda's blog on Simplicity today and fell in love with this quote: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, while adding the meaningful."

I hope that will be one of the by-products of my PhD work . . . the development of a stronger intuition for the mathematics of research and, more importantly, of my life!

It reminds me of another powerful quote that a friend shared with me back in June from Brian Tol's Wiremine information garden. "I opened up bloglines today for the first time in two weeks, and had about 2000 items to sift through, including about 45 wiki-related items. At that moment BCP's quote of the week really rang true: 'Life is all about unbolding.'"

Back to balance and prioritization once again!