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This is the archive for April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

  • "One of the reasons that instructors tend to overemphasize "coverage" over "engaged thinking" is that they assume that answers can be taught separate from questions. Indeed, so buried are questions in established instruction that the fact that all assertions ? all statements that this or that is so ? are implicit answers to questions is virtually never recognized." (

    tags: pedagogy, criticalthinking, grue

  • "The ethical dilemmas of tomorrow are expected to yield themselves to models of investigation used to study more traditional ethical issues such as confidentiality, boundary violations, and informed consent." Mark Moran. Psychiatr News April 18, 2008. Volume 43, Number 8, page 18.

    tags: neuroethics, morality, grue, neuroscience

  • "Following on themes from his book, Here Comes Everybody, he tells a story that goes like this: We gained lots of free time (a "cognitive surplus") in the 40s and 50s because of shorter workweeks. We squandered the surplus by watching TV sitcoms and the like. Now we're finally waking up from this "collective bender" and putting our energies into better things, like editing Wikipedia. ... I have a number of problems with this story." (Question Technology)

    tags: media, trends, grue, technology

  • According to research..."Compared with unfair offers of equal monetary value, fair offers led to higher happiness ratings and activation in several reward regions of the brain. Furthermore, the tendency to accept unfair proposals was associated with increased activity in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a region involved in emotion regulation, and with decreased activity in the anterior insula, which has been implicated in negative affect." (Bownds' Mindblog)

    tags: fairness, morality, moral-psychology, brains, neuroscience, grue, neuroethics

  • "Do we invent our moral absolutes in order to make society workable? Or are these enduring principles expressed to us by some transcendent or Godlike authority? Efforts to resolve this conundrum have perplexed, sometimes inflamed, our best minds for centuries, but the natural sciences are telling us more and more about the choices we make and our reasons for making them" (Edward O. Wilson, The Atlantic Online, 1998)

    tags: morality, evolution, grue

  • "Despite the overwhelming success Darwin?s theory has had in explaining a wide variety of natural phenomena, great debate continues over the theory?s application in explaining the evolution of an aspect of animal behavior known as altruism." (Eric Strong)

    tags: altruism, morality, evolution, grue

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

  • Professor Colman is delighted with the results. He said: "Team reasoning is a familiar process, but it is inexplicable within the framework of orthodox game theory. Our findings show for the first time that it predicts decision making more powerfully than orthodox game theory in some games." (Science Daily)

    tags: decision-making, grue

  • The picture of agency presented here is one well worth pursuing. Murphy and Brown have not presented us with a view that is defensible, both because it is far too sketchy to be properly assessed, and because many of the claims made will no doubt turn out to be false. However, the general outlines of the view are plausible, and there is a rich research agenda here. Perhaps future work will see some of the details worked out, and the gaps filled. (Neil Levy)

    tags: neuroethics, brains, morality, freewill, grue

  • I started telling her about the Wikipedia article on Pluto. You may remember that Pluto got kicked out of the planet club a couple of years ago, so all of a sudden there was all of this activity on Wikipedia. The talk pages light up, people are editing the article like mad, and the whole community is in an ruckus--"How should we characterize this change in Pluto's status?" And a little bit at a time they move the article--fighting offstage all the while--from, "Pluto is the ninth planet," to "Pluto is an odd-shaped rock with an odd-shaped orbit at the edge of the solar system."

    So I tell her all this stuff, and I think, "Okay, we're going to have a conversation about authority or social construction or whatever." That wasn't her question. She heard this story and she shook her head and said, "Where do people find the time?" That was her question. And I just kind of snapped. And I said, "No one who works in TV gets to ask that question. You know where the time comes from. It comes from the cognitive surplus you've been masking for 50 years." (Clay shirkey)

    tags: web2.0, trends, media, for:nkupod, grue

Monday, April 28, 2008

  • Argumentative is software for manipulating Argument Maps - the structural and visual representation of arguments.
    Argument maps help to make decisions clearer or assist in formulating a position on an issue.

    tags: mindmapping, criticalthinking, for:nkupod, grue

  • Since 1970 Zeki has been based at University College, being appointed the Professor of Neurobiology in 1981. He was Co-Head of the Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London from 1994 to 2001. From March 2008 he will be the first Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London

    tags: blogs, neuroscience, grue

  • Almost all evolutionary accounts of mental illness attempt to explain why we still have mental illness when it so markedly reduces the chances of reproductive success. (Mind Hacks)

    tags: evolution, brains, grue, psychology

  • Comparative genomics, as this young science is known, is having a huge impact on biology, helping scientists answer many of science's deepest questions. It promises, for example, to shed light on how our genes make us prone to diseases, and how the genes of pathogens make them deadly. (Carl Zimmer, The Boston Globe)

    tags: evolution, biology, grue

Sunday, April 27, 2008

  • Geoffrey Sayre-McCord and Will Wilkinson

    tags: meta-ethics, ethics, philosophy, grue, morality

  • As we survey nature, the eyes of various creatures reveal the underlying means by which a single attribute can express itself over millions of years. (Seed)

    tags: evolution, biology, science, grue

  • If the contrast is fundamentalism v. science then of course religion threatens science. But if the contrast is fundamentalism v modernist theologies v Catholic doctrine v ... for the whole disjunct of actually held views in a given society, then the "threat" of "religion" is lessened to what I think it is, a minority of believers, through a spectrum of attitudes to science ending in total acceptance and contribution to science. The error lies in lumping all religious views into one category, defined rather crudely, and then claiming that all members of that category are either (i) like the definition, or (ii) rare. (Evolving Thoughts)

    tags: science, religion, Dennett, grue

  • Education. Infrastructure. Health Care. Those are the basics. They are investments, and not simply redistributing the spoils of growth. But even with taxation, we can make changes. If I had to pick one issue, it would be using local taxes to support local schools. Seems like a good idea. But it then drives the educational segregation of people, of rich parents moving to rich school districts. Poor kids left with what they?ve got.

    Why does it matter? Because environment makes a substantial difference in IQ. Because poverty poisons the brain.

    Kids need a fighting chance. Material wealth, behavioral health, real opportunities?those are the basics. They will lead to a longer and a better life. (Neuroanthropology)

    tags: education, poverty, health, economics, grue

  • The human mind, Marcus writes, is ?the most fantastic kluge of them all,? an organ whose ?haphazard construction? is apparent in our memory slips, credulous beliefs and self-defeating choices. (Anne Murphy Paul, New York Times, 04.27.08)

    tags: brain, evolution, grue

Saturday, April 26, 2008

  • There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively 'free' decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness. (Nature Neuroscience 11, 543-5, 2008)

    tags: freewill, brains, neurosceince, grue

  • The Foundation and Center for Critical Thinking aim to improve education in primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. We offer conferences, workshops and professional development programs, emphasizing instructional strategies, Socratic questioning, critical reading and writing, higher order thinking, assessment, research, quality enhancement, and competency standards.

    tags: teaching, criticalthinking, education, resources, grue

  • Humans United Against Robots ? was designed to educate and aware the citizenry of the world of the impending attack that computers and robots will put into effect against humans. HUAR is the collection of human beings that spread the word of this opposing doom as well as doing what they can to help minimize the threat. Between computer programs that identify human speech and match that up with their computerized dictionaries in order to understand our weaknesses to jokester scientists building robots specifically made to breathe fire from their mouths and shoot lasers from their eyes, it is evident a task force had to be formed of members that take being at the top of the food chain seriously. (HUAR)

    tags: robots, humor, grue

  • What I am curious about is just the claim the scientists performing experiments like these seem to be making, i.e., the claim that we can scientifically study the relation between neural processes and consciousness or, at least, that we can do this given current technologies without either distorting or oversimplifying the precise thing we are studying. (The Ends of Thought)

    tags: mind, brain, consciousness, neuroscience, grue, decision-making

  • From its attention-grabbing title to its accessible prose, Richard Dawkins's "The Selfish Gene" (1976) has (selfishly) spread its message in an impressive way since publication. (April 23, 2008 - The New York Sun)

    tags: Dawkins, evolution, biology, grue, genes

Friday, April 25, 2008

  • The Galilean spell that has driven so much science is the faith that all aspects of the natural world can be described by such laws. Perhaps my most radical scienti?c claim is that we can and must break the Galilean spell. Evolution of the biosphere, human economic life, and human history are partially indescribable by natural law. This claim ?ies in the face of our settled convictions since Galileo, Newton, and the Enlightenment. (Edge)

    tags: Kauffman, science, evolution, grue

  • So we're only half a decade at most into the Web 2.0 era, and we still don't really know what "Web 2.0" is. Yet for some reason, over the past couple of years there has been an even more confusing meme that seems to keep cropping up: "Web 3.0." It already feels like we've been talking about Web 3.0 for ages, even though we don't know yet know exactly what Web 2.0 is. What are the various ways that Web 3.0 has been defined over the past three years, and why is it helpful to talk about what the next web will look like? (ReadWriteWeb)

    tags: web2.0, for:nkupod, grue

  • This presentation includes specific ideas, tips, and mini lessons centered on the pedagogical use of web tools. All teachers need ways to easily and effectively weave these tools into the curriculum/instruction.

    tags: pedagogy, web2.0, education, tools, wikis, technology, for:nkupod, grue

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I often feel as though most talk show hosts are interviewing themselves. Charlie Rose is no exception. Perhaps that's all conversation comes to in the end.

This is too funny.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

  • Prof Daniel Dennett and Lord Winston present their arguments ahead of tonight's public debate. (, 04.22.08)

    tags: religion, science, Dennett, grue, philosophy

  • I do not underestimate the importance in this country of the historic culture of Christianity. The assessment of what is good and what is harmful is, for most people, deeply influenced by the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Influence, however, is different from authority. That religion, any religion, may seem beleaguered in a generally secular society may account for the increasingly hectoring demands that it should exercise authority over us. Yet it is essential to hold on to the fact that in this country we are not a theocracy, but a democracy. Parliament must make the final decisions on legislation, even though these are also moral decisions. Parliament must try to judge what is the common good. We all have the right, and duty, to criticise the law. But it is parliament alone that gives law the authority, without which we would face political chaos. (Mary Warnick, New Statesman, 04.10.08)

    tags: pollitics, religion, grue, philosophy

  • Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology1 is a peer-reviewed and policy-focused journal that examines the ethical and legal issues that arise from emerging technologies. While much attention has gone to specific fields such as bioethics, this is the first journal to address the broad scope of all technologies and their impact on the environment, society, and humanity. Topics include biotech, nanotech, neurotech, IT, weapons, energy and fuel, space-based technology, and new media and communications. Articles explore the synergy between law and ethics, and provide a robust policy response to technology's opportunities and challenges.

    tags: ethics, bioethics, neuroethics, philosophy, science, grue, law

  • Philosophical Films is a non-profit resource for philosophy teachers who want to incorporate films into their classes. The site receives no funding, and operates through the volunteer work of the general editor, authors, and technical advisors.

    tags: film, philosophy, grue

  • Founded in November 1996, Film-Philosophy is an international academic journal dedicated to philosophically reviewing film studies, philosophical aesthetics, and world cinema - with an online readership of over 5000 individual visitors every month, as well as more than 1200 permanent worldwide members of the email discussion salon. The journal is published three times per year and is fully peer-reviewed.

    tags: film, philosophy, media, culture, grue

  • Topics include General, Happiness, Mirror Neurons, Decision Making

    tags: neuroscience, mind, science, psychology, philosophy, grue

  • This course examines the question of whether a robot could ever become a person. In examining this question, we will consider various aspects of the relationship between minds and machines, as well as the possible criteria for personhood. In particular we will consider the question of whether the brain is a computer, whether a machine can be intelligent, conscious, creative, emotional, social, or the bearer of moral and legal rights and duties. In considering these issues, we will also take into consideration what cognitive neuroscience has learned about the minds of human and non-human animals, as well as developments in robotics and computer science. (Peter Asaro, Rutgers)

    tags: mind, consciousness, Philosophy, grue, robots, androids, AI

  • ...administrators may not even realize that their professors, departments, or colleges have agreed to -- or required students to agree to -- a company's terms of service. Budget officers may not understand online transactions to buy and build on virtual land and equip avatars with accouterments, some of them ornamental. Any one of those purchases could result in personal or institutional liability with few, if any, processes in place to resolve legal or ethical complaints. (Chronicle Careers: 9/14/2007)

    tags: secondlife, for:nkupod, grue

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

  • Experimental results are beginning to shed light on the psychological foundations of our moral beliefs. Dan Jones | Prospect Magazine April 2008 issue 145

    tags: psychology, morality, grue, moral-psychology, neuroethics

  • Among the topics Kandel discusses in the interview are the differences between biological and digital memory, neurogenesis in the hippocampus, free will and consciousness, drug development and the use and abuse of drugs by children, and the state of science in the U.S. and Europe. (Neurophilosophy)

    tags: neurophilosophy, memory, freewill, science, grue

  • Published in Collections of Philosophy 6 (1976): 165-181.

    tags: Philosophy, Kant, grue, idealism

  • So what ten learning technologies should be the focus of my 2008 workshops and webinars? Here is my list...Technologies of collaboration...Learning Games for Business...Distributed Computing Technologies...Embedded Learning Technologies...Multisensory input devices...Rollout Flexible Screens for Mobile Devices...Social Bookmarking and Automatic Synthesis of Tags...Personalization Technologies...Visualization of Complexity...Location-based Augmented Reality. (Gary Woodill)

    tags: e-learning, technology, grue, for:nkupod

  • Institutions increasingly encourage students to take an active role in their own learning. Wikis can facilitate this process by offering many ways for faculty and students to collaborate and create content. This panel of wiki experts from Boise State University and Occidental College will discuss their experiences in using wikis, including emergent roles in the teaching and learning process, critical to the effective use of this new technology. (EDUCAUSE CONNECT)

    tags: wikis, e-learning, grue, for:nkupod, collaboration

  • Our brains are shaping our decisions long before we become consciously aware of them. That's the conclusion of a remarkable new study which shows that patterns of activity in certain parts of our brain can predict the outcome of a decision seconds before we're even aware that we're making one. (myTetraCell)

    tags: decision-making, neuroscience, grue, Libet, freewill

  • Like the rest of your brain, the cerebellum has two halves that are connected by a thick bundle of nerves. It comprises only ten percent of the brain?s physical size, but contains more than 50 percent of all the neurons, which translates to more nerve cells than any other area of the brain. (Neurons Firing)

    tags: brains, neuroscience, grue

  • from Neuroanthropology

    tags: neuroethics, morality, neuroscience, grue, brains

    • The findings are interesting; it appears from the neural imaging that similar brain processes are involved in judging visceral disgust or physical reward as in experiencing ethical disgust or moral reward. I find this result intriguing, even if it?s not wholly unexpected, because it shows a way that brain resources likely developed ? in evolutionary terms ? to deal with physical or practical issues get reworked to deal with social issues. It also shows that the ?reward? areas of the brain can have profound reactions to socially and culturally constructed scenarios, such as ?fairness? in distributing special little scraps of paper. Moreover, it shows that more abstract concerns, like fairness, can actually inhibit the sense of ?reward? from the raw fact of getting money for nothing. That is, a socially or ethically inspired sense of rightness or wrongness can make us not feel like we got a good deal if it?s not fair. In other words, we don?t just focus on our own net gain but the whole meaning of the social scenario, including feeling like we got stiffed because someone else got a bigger piece of cake than we did.
  • Bring out your [un]dead! After all my narrowly focused posts on the topic, it's time for a "big picture" review of the zombie argument against physicalism. (Philosophy, et cetera)

    tags: mind, qualia, philosophy, zombies, materialism, grue

  • E. coli split to produce clones, but they are all behave as different individuals. Carl Zimmer explains in the NYT. Adapted from Microcosm: ?E. coli and the New Science of Life,? by Carl Zimmer. Pantheon, May 2008.

    tags: biology, science, grue

  • Categorizes the many search engines available with links to each. From edtech VISION - Visionary uses of edtech

    tags: search, grue, for:nkupod

  • Discover a smart way to conduct online tests and saving time and effort. Welcome to Zoho Challenge, an online testing tool that smoothly tackles your test requirements with smart, friendly interfaces. (Zoho Challenge)

    tags: zoho, testing, grue, for:nkupod, quizzes

  • An Anecdote Whitepaper on building a collaborative environment.

    tags: collaboration, grue

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

  • "... the following list rebuts some of the most common "scientific" arguments raised against evolution. It also directs readers to further sources for information and explains why creation science has no place in the classroom." Scientific American 2002

    tags: creationism, evolution, science

  • Carl Zimmer's Dissection: "But scientists don't quite know why a network like the one in E. coli can handle this rewiring so well. The source of their strength lies not in a single molecule -- DNA -- but in a complicated web of relationships. The network itself is the mystery for biologists in the 21st century."

    tags: dna, genes, science, biology

  • "Most of us are happy to admit that we do not understand, say, the string theory in physics, yet we are all convinced we understand evolution. In fact, as biologists are discovering, its consequences can be stranger than we ever imagined. Evolution must be the best-known yet worst-understood of all scientific theories.

    So here is New Scientist's guide to some of the most common myths and misconceptions about evolution."

    16 April 2008 - New Scientist

    tags: no_tag

  • How to build useful things in Second Life

    tags: secondlife, tutorial, for:nkupod

  • Kapp Notes: "Here is a video I created for my "Learning in 3D Class" which contrasts the world of 2D Synchronous tools with 3D Synchronous learning tools. I hope it illustrates some of the advantages of 3D environments and some of the things that can be done to faciliate learning within a 3D environment."

    tags: secondlife, for:nkupod

  • "This is an overview of some of ways Second Life can be used, and in some cases, has been used for educational purposes."

    tags: secondlife, education, elearning, for:nkupod

  • Share or embed documents on the web

    tags: web2.0, documents, sharing, tools, for:nkupod

  • from Inside Higher Ed (04.18.08) "Solid majorities of students and campus professionals (professors, academic administrators and student affairs staff) believe that colleges should teach personal and social responsibility, but many doubt that such teaching is actually taking place. Those are the preliminary results of a survey released Thursday by the Association of American Colleges and Universities."

    tags: curriculum, morality, education

  • Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Flick Filosopher offers one of my favorite reviews of Expelled, the recent anti-evolution movie from the ridiculously boring Ben Stein and his inane friends.
    Nazis! It's all about Nazis. In a parallel universe even crazier than our own, Ben Stein is making a documentary about how the Nazis utilized the controversial theory of gravity to make bombs that fall from the sky to the earth, and so the theory of gravity must be wrong. But we are here, and here, Ben Stein is telling us with a straight face that because the Nazis thought it would be a good idea to breed people like people breed animals, the theory of evolution must be wrong.
    Since the Genocide Awareness Project just visited our campus last week, graphically equating abortion with the horrors of genocide, I should no longer be surprised by such impoverished reasoning. But I am! When I think about it, however, these outrageous propaganda campaigns seem to rise to the level of the famous Nazi propaganda machine. Oops, now there I go.... Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (review)

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    I'm not calling myself wise. I refuse to grow up. But there are certain threads. Whether you connect the threads together, well... And really, there's nothing quite like having your kids or your grandkids or the people you know and love still say you're okay, because quite honestly I don't know if I am or not. I mean, I'm just gonna do what I've got to do, and I've gotta live with the consequences, which I have quite often--including, you know, people like Brian dying--and thinking, you know, Did I cause that? Because I've never killed a man. Yet. Knowingly. And I don't wanna... I mean, I'm getting to retirement, whether I want it or not. Do you know that I actually have a bus pass? In England? I've reached the age where I am given a free bus pass. [laughs] I feel like going to England right now and riding every bus I can get! [pause] There's a certain thing about growing old, which is I'm still getting used to it. It's a whole new experience.

    THE GQ&A: KEITH RICHARDS: GQ Features on
    Some professors threaten to confiscate students' cell phones if they go off during class. Laurence Thomas has his own approach to classroom distractions. If the philosopher at Syracuse University catches a student sending text messages or reading a newspaper in class, he'll end the class on the spot and walk out. It doesn't matter if there is but one texter in a large lecture of hundreds of students. If you text, he will leave.
    W.W.S.D.? (What would Socrates do?)

    I find myself sometimes treating a class as though it were a single agent, an individual learner who is ether getting it or not, engaged or not, attentive or not. Of course, what I'm doing is informally sampling the class. "The class" is doing well if enough are doing well, attending, learning. It's a nice heuristic, allowing me to move forward or attend to a problem as my informal measure dictates. It means, however, that I sometimes ignore individual achievement and particular problems. I need to use the heuristic carefully. I try to balance its use with specific attention to individuals who are especially quiet or who are not doing well. I try to call on individuals by name or look into the eyes of students who aren't active discussants.

    Rarely have I punished a class on the basis of a single student's behavior. When a student was disruptive, I've occasionally ended class early. First, it's is sometimes impossible to make progress; second, the attention placed on the disruptive students can be a form of punishment; and third, the class can sometimes punish better than I can. On one occasion I made a few copies of a paper available for all to read (taking turns over a few weeks). When all of the copies failed to be returned (affecting members of the class who couldn't read the article in time for class), I punished the entire class. I didn't know who the culprit was, but the individuals did eventually return the paper.

    Punishing the group for the behavior of individuals sometimes works to control behavior, but we're forced to violate our sense of fairness in the process. Larry Thomas values respect (for himself at least) over fairness in this incident. Indeed, he has very specific demands on how one shows respect--don't text while I'm talking. (He probably has other expectations, but they aren't revealed in this story.) I'd be curious to learn more of his pedagogical style. Does he make each person in a class of 400 feel like an individual learner? An autonomous agent who is both expected to deliver respect as well as receive respect from others. What does he do to show respect to each of these students as individuals in a classroom? And might they all walk out if he fails to show proper respect to even one of them?

    Respect is a two-way street. I'd like to know more about how Larry handles that.

    If You Text in Class, This Prof Will Leave :: Inside Higher Ed