Moral Issues

MoralIssuesPew Reports of Global Moral issues. The page itself is a wonderful interface. You can use it to look at how your country compares with others, or use it to focus in on one of the 40 countries that are represented here. Japan, for example, is the most morally accepting of drinking alcohol.

 

On Looking: Reading slowly and carefully

Andrew Sullivan at The Dish asked Maria Popova at Brain Pickings to choose the new book for the second installment of a big Book Club discussion.

As a long time reader of Brain Pickings, I ordered whatever she picked. On Looking: Eleven walks with expert eyes is all it is purported to be in Maria’s review.

The book is so well written that it is hard to believe it is non fiction. The main focus of Attention is only a vehicle to explore, well, eleven different viewpoints of the same city block, where the author lives. Making the banal interesting and exciting is the goal achieved.

It is one of those books that you want to savor. Read a chapter, turn it over in your head, look at it closely, enjoy the taste and all the other sesations, and ponder before moving on. I hope to finish before the Book Club begins next week. join me?

Kevin and Frank need your help

Indiegogo search results
If you search for Myanmar at Indiegogo, this is what you get.

Kevin and his good friend of many years are returning to Myanmar (Burma) to train English teachers. This time they are going under the auspices of the NLD (National League for Democracy), the party founded by Nobel winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She also founded the Education Network, to promote education, in a remarkably prescient move while still under military rule. The huge need for English as the country opens up to both tourism and business needs to be met.

Kevin and Frank went with a group of volunteers in January, for a week, and it was, in Frank’s words, “A life-changing event.” I concur.

Kevin and Frank will go for a month this time, in the rainy hot month of September. The NLD/EN will provide accommodations. What we need now is to cover transportation costs, mostly airfare from Tokyo to Yangon.

See our Indiegogo campaign to make a small donation to become part of this project. If we go over our goal, we will use any additional donations to buy textbooks and educational materials to distribute to the teachers there. If you are a publisher or distributor of books, contact me to get books into the hands of teachers there. If you have a large donation (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), contact us directly so we can eliminate the middleman at indiegogo.

Weekly Break Time 2

A videographer for WREN Studios paid 20 models to kiss another model on film. Beautiful to look at. Then VICE, a documentary company, did the same thing with normal people. I find this much more interesting. Do you? Here is another one, much longer, using people from New York.

 

 

Weekly Break Time 1

David Letterman, the biggest late night TV comedian, is retiring in one year. The night he announced his retirement, he had a new band on his show (March 27). This band was not well known. It is now. After the group was put on YouTube, it “went viral” meaning it acted like a virus and grew very very quickly, with almost a million people watching. The new band is called Future Island. Look for more of them in the future. They sang the song Seasons (Waiting on You). Lyrics.

 

Einstein on Education

Here is a quote by Einstein, whose birthday is today.

This school with its liberal spirit and teachers with a simple earnestness that did not rely on any external authority, made an unforgettable impression on me. In comparing it with six years schooling at an authoritarian German Gymnasium, I was made acutely aware how far superior an education that stresses independent action and personal responsibility is to one that relies on drill, external authority and ambition.

Snow Day in Tokyo

Not really, but i am going to take the day to do grades from home. No  classes anyway.

Testing out my new Galaxy Note 3. I now am fully mobile.

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Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

I started listening to this podcast a couple of weeks ago. I can’t get enough.

I remember driving all over Japan a few years ago, listening to the series about the Byzantines by Lars Brownworth, a prof,  who is doing one on the Normans. Driving around the US last summer I listened to How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill.
hh_headerBut now this new guy (for me), Dan Carlin, talks about lots of different kinds of history. His podcasts are long, 3-4 hours, but engrossing. I’ve listened to #48, about heretics and a trial in Munster, Germany just after Gutenberg and Martin Luther. And #41, about how the Dark Ages weren’t really so Dark, and how the Goths were a lot more civilized than most people think. Covers from the fall of Rome in 472 up through Charlemagne in the 800’s.
He’s got a much more conversational style than Brownworth, and jumps all over the place. He is at the top of iTunes Podcast list, for a good reason. I just wish I had more time. Next for me: #49 The American Peril. He also does series, such as the ones about Mongolia and the Khan. Well worth the listen. 

Some Rhizomatic Learning on P2PU

rhizomatic

Our first task for the the first week of the new MOOC by Dave Cormier is not so much reconcile cheating with learning but rethink learning so there is no place for cheating. A MOOC, especially a Connectivist MOOC, with rhizomatic roots is a good place to do that. Rhizomatic Learning is an attempt to assemble a community of people, some with knowledge of the focal topic, others with knowledge of other topics, to work together to fill each others’ chinks. More on the root system that allows single plants to weave themselves together into a single organism, and how Dave had taken that idea and applied it to online learning. I have to take care of a couple of my other blogs, one over at DMLL, about Digital Mobile Language Learning, and another for student work over at languagejapan.com.

But I will be right back with another post. About Burma.