For Your Consideration – 5

“How to Make Almost Anything: The Digital Fabrication Revolution”:

“Digital fabrication consists of much more than 3-D printing. It is an evolving suite of capabilities to turn data into things and things into data. Many years of research remain to complete this vision, but the revolution is already well under way. The collective challenge is to answer the central question it poses: How will we live, learn, work, and play when anyone can make anything, anywhere?”

It Ain’t Necessarily So: How much do evolutionary stories reveal about the mind?“:

“Today’s biologists tend to be cautious about labelling any trait an evolutionary adaptation—that is, one that spread through a population because it provided a reproductive advantage. It’s a concept that is easily abused, and often “invoked to resolve problems that do not exist,” the late George Williams, an influential evolutionary biologist, warned. When it comes to studying ourselves, though, such admonitions are hard to heed. So strong is the temptation to explain our minds by evolutionary “Just So Stories,” Stephen Jay Gould argued in 1978, that a lack of hard evidence for them is frequently overlooked …”

“The Crisis in Higher Education”: Nick Carr on MOOCs.

“Is it different this time? Has technology at last advanced to the point where the revolutionary promise of distance learning can be fulfilled? We don’t yet know; the fervor surrounding MOOCs makes it easy to forget that they’re still in their infancy. But even at this early juncture, the strengths and weaknesses of this radically new form of education are coming into focus.”

Carr continued his exploration of MOOCs with blog posts here, here, and here — all worth reading.

“Hipsters and Low-Tech” and “Hipstertechnoauthenticity”: At Cyborgology, P. J. Rey and Nathan Jurgenson exchange views on hipsters, authenticity, and low-tech. Good comment threads on both posts as well. From Rey’s post:

“Thus, nostalgia for the low-tech/lo-fi/analog is really nostalgia for a time when technology could be mastered–a time when you could fix your own car or bike, a time when you pop open the back of a camera and intuitively understand how it works, a time when you knew where your food came from and how it was prepared, a time when the circuits in electronic were large enough to be visible and an average person could figure out how to repair, replace, hack, and even build them, a time when a device was yours to open and when warranties end-user agreement didn’t micro-manage how used your own property. In short, the appeal of low-tech is it affirms our sense of independence and individuality.”

“Reach Out and Touch Someone: Technology and the Promise of Intimacy”:

“It seems to me that we have moved on, for better or worse, into an age where interactivity is deeply ingrained in our daily lives and that we have the power to make these interactions, these technologies, meaningful. We ignore technological advances at our own risk, I think, but we do not have to succumb to them blindly. We can set the rules. We can make them live up to their promises. That is our job as artists, thinkers and humans. The utopian future promised in the CISCO and Bell Companies advertisements is only ever as real as we make it.”

“Quantum Computing Simplified”: Tall order, not badly executed.

“Quantum computing is based on quantum mechanical concepts. To understand quantum mechanics, we need to shrink down to the size of atoms and molecules. We need to understand how the atoms (or molecules) interact, what causes them to interact, and why they interact. We need to understand the rules or laws of quantum mechanics just like understanding the laws or rules of Chess.”

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