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All posts for the month December, 2012

Interesting collection. Much of the predictable “singularity” stuff, starting with Ray Kurzweil, and going through all the apps and devices taking over our lives, but some good stuff in there.

A few for me …

  • The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public Lynn Stout
  • The Social Conquest of EarthE.O. Wilson
  • Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the HumanitiesMartha Nussbaum

And ironic, posting yesterday, with today’s BBC story about the Cornish school about boys learning good old fashioned manners and etiquette:

  • Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct — P.M. Forni

And a completely unconnected school story … philosophy for reception class education at a Harrow primary school – Socratic dialogue, and league tables that make no odds.

BBC R4′s In Our Time today, another fine example of something about which I knew nothing before the programme. The ancient Shahnameh or Persian Book of Kings – a single continuous poem of rhyming couplets, longer than the Odyssey and Iliad together – written by Ferdowski.

Interesting after commenting on the Seven Pillars of Wisdom documentary only the day before, to think of the importance of old culture-bearing books to modern affairs. This time not the US in Iraq, but the Iranians when at war with Iraq, finding their culture under threat, preserved in its verses, repeating what had been done when the Mongols invaded and expelled the Arabs.

Anyway, a fascinating work and an excellent programme on so many levels, where the contributors’ knowledge and enthusiasm take over the whole flow. Melvyn happy to have screeds of ancient Persian read out on air, for their poetic value, notwithstanding the cultural, philosophical and historical value of their content. One for the common “Aryan” heritage pile (in the original rather than perverted sense of the word).

On another level, even academic experts are humans with their own interests and hopes, and all the better for it. I could go on.

Interesting listening to the excellent BBC R4 documentary “Lawrence of Arabia – Man and Myth by Allan Little. I’m a long time fan of TEL as a humanist moral philosopher and poet, but amazing to hear that his opus Seven Pillars of Wisdom was regularly used by the Americans in Iraq, Gen Petraeus no less, “virtually every briefing meeting” even. Wow.

Good to see the significance of TEL being realized at many levels in modern middle-east geo-politics. (And an excellent documentary, BTW.)

TELawrencePeaceMap

Many interesting points, re Armenians, Kurds, Arabs and Iraqis, but one in particular. Palestine as envisaged by TEL was to be for the Palestinian Arabs. Yes, he knew there were plans to grant a zone for Jewish settlement rights – a “homeland” – but the (explicit) point was for Jews to integrate with the natives in their state, not create an independent Israeli state with a Jewish majority dominating and/or excluding the locals. Effing Balfour!

Plausible analysis of why Angry Birds is an engaging user experience. No idea how “scientific” the fact gathering actually was or how the hypotheses / conclusions were actually tested – but plausible and interesting. Might be worth sharing on current project – using response (waiting) times to provide user with opportunity to enlarge their “schema” of knowledge of future use possibilities ?

[via BifRiv]