Search This Blog

Monday, September 26, 2011

Howard Rheingold on collaboration

As Howard Rheingold himself puts it, "I fell into the computer realm from the typewriter dimension, then plugged my computer into my telephone and got sucked into the net." A writer and designer, he was among the first wave of creative thinkers who saw, in computers and then in the Internet, a way to form powerful new communities.
His 2002 book Smart Mobs, which presaged Web 2.0 in predicting collaborative ventures like Wikipedia, was the outgrowth of decades spent studying and living life online. An early and active member of the Well (he wrote about it in The Virtual Community), he went on to cofound HotWired and Electric Minds, two groundbreaking web communities, in the mid-1990s. Now active in Second Life, he teaches, writes and consults on social networking. His latest passion: teaching and workshopping participatory media literacy, to make sure we all know how to read and make the new media that we're all creating together.
"With his last book, Smart Mobs, the longtime observer of technology trends made a persuasive case that pervasive mobile communications, combined with always-on Internet connections, will produce new kinds of ad-hoc social groups. Now, he's starting to take the leap beyond smart mobs, trying to weave some threads out of such seemingly disparate developments as Web logs, open-source software development, and Google."

Have a look at his blog:

Friday, September 23, 2011

culturonomics: Google Labs' NGram Viewer

This is it: culturonomics! 
Culturonomics an provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. "Culturomics" extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.
Have you played with Google Labs' NGram Viewer? It's an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words

the index of frustration:  argh

The Ngram Viewer allows users to see how often a word or phrase has been used in books across history. Google Books contains millions of books dating back to the year 1400; "over 10% of all books ever published," according to the Ngram Viewer announcement.

Ngram Viewer works rather simply. After you enter a word or phrase (up to five words), the tool displays a graph charting how frequently your term has appeared in books over that half a millennium. By default, the Ngram Viewer taps into books written in English. But you can change that to a different "corpus" or category of books, such as American English, British English, English Fiction, Chinese, French, German, Russian, or Spanish.

You can vary the years tracked, all the way from 1500 to 2008 or anywhere in between. Providing a wide range of years gives you more of an overview, while narrowing the years lets the tool graph a word's usage in a more granular fashion year by year.
Have fun!

para leer:  500 años de palabras

to follow:
Read in the NewYorker The world of publishing houses in the era of Google, Kindle and Apple

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Indian tech: Sakshat tablet

“Sakshat” Low Cost Tablet Computer for Indian Students, Price Rs. 1100 (35$)

The tablet computer, known as Sakshat, which translates as “before your eyes”, launched as part of a new Rs. 46 billion “National Mission for Education“. This envisages a network of laptops from which students can access lectures, coursework and specialist help from anywhere in India, triggering a revolution in education. A number of publishers have reportedly agreed to upload portions of their textbooks on to the system.
Its launching for students across the country is hoped to bring real affordable digital empowerment to people who cannot afford computing devices normally. It had started off as a Laptop under Rs. 500, then evolved to Rs. 1500 per device project. After that it became a Rs. 1600 Tablet and was set to ship in January 2011. That date wasn’t able to be kept for various reasons and a lot of skepticism regarding the project was in the air.
Kapil Sibal during the unveiling ceremony has stated that a million devices would be made available to students in 2011. The devices will be manufactured at a cost of 1500 (23 Euro) each, half of which will be paid by the government and half by the institutions that would use it.
Government(of India) announced that 10,000 (Sakshat) tablet will be delivered to IIT-Rajasthan in late June and over the next four months 90,000 more would be made available at a price of Rs 2,200/device.
The price of the tablet is going to be Rs. 2,200/- and will not be available to the general public. It will be given to children in educational institutions. Government will subsidize the cost by 50%, so a student would have to pay only Rs. 1,100 for the device.

Following are the Detailed Specifications:

  • 7.0″ Touchscreensakshath
  • 2 USB ports
  • 32 GB HD
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Rugged casing with a rubberized feel
  • Fixed Ethernet ability
  • Mini and full USB
  • miniSD card slot
  • Subscriber Identity Module (SIM card) slot
  • Video out
  • Headphone jack
  • 2 Watts of power consumption with solar charging option
  • In-built keyboard
  • Video conferencing facility
  • Multimedia content
  • Linux Operating System (could be Android)
  • Open Office
  • SciLab
  • Option for Solar Charging
  • Internet browsing
  • Android operating system
  • Educational software developed at Indian Institute of Technology
  • Web browsing, video conferencing and word processing software

Read more at TECK.IN:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Betty White at 88 and 1/2 hosts Saturday Night Live

With a career spanning over 60 years, you would think that there isn't much the legendary Betty White hasn't accomplished. She has been on iconic television shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, both of which earned her Emmy awards. She has also co-starred in numerous movies.

At the age of 88, Betty White is in higher demand in Hollywood than most other actresses. Well, tonight marks a first in Betty's great career. Tonight she is hosting Saturday Night Live. She told us that when she was first offered the chance to host the show, she turned it down.
Betty White found herself at the center of a rip-roaring round of applause during her first appearance on screen during the cold open on 'Saturday Night Live,' marking the successful viral campaign launched by Facebook fans that ultimately led to White getting the hosting gig.
It deserved rave reviews (New York Times) and also opposite reception ( 
"was one of the strongest outings of the season. With energy, enthusiasm and plain old laughs"
 "funny, vulgar and totally charming." The perfect trio for 'SNL,' no? 
Watch the monologue video below, 
Incomplete transcript:
"I made my live TV debut in 1952 because they didn't know how to............. things ... I don't know what this show's excuse is." 
"I really have to thank Facebook ... I didn't know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, it sounds like a .............  .............. of time. I would never think that people on it are ................, but that's only because I'm .................," 
"At my age, if i want to connect with old friends, I need a Ouija board. Facebook just ................  ................  a ........... In my day, seeing pictures of people's vacations was considered a punishment."
"I am here tonight because you wanted me to be. I feel so loved, thank you."

To see Betty White's chunks (lexical groupings) Professor Luix Barros analysed her words:
(from 4:05 to 6:12) 

Betty White thanked many, but also Facebook for her appearance. However, she wasn’t totally kind in her remarks about Facebook. She said:
I would never say that people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite. People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends, I need a Ouija board.
“Needless to say, we didn’t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had a phone book, but but you wouldn’t waste an afternoon on it.
“Facebook just sounds like a drag. In my day, seeing pictures of people’s vacations was considered a punishment.”
“I really have to thank Facebook. When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn’t know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time.

Gary Larson: Tarzan meets Jane

aw blah es span yol

There is a way to illustrate the difference between linguistic knowledge and the way of social language in use. 
Today we can use the Korean proverb:
 이미지  단어
  An image is worth  
  ten thousand words.

Let's just agree to disagree
Who doesn't  know Gary Larson's cartoon (here)
 from his Far Side series. 
They are quite good to teach some language aspects:

   agree to disagree
My all-time fav is the one related 
to the moments
before he utters the famous words:
  "Me, Tarzan. You Jane!"
I am not alone as Patrick Ghost wrote:
"The Far Side" was one of my favorite comics, even if I didn't understand half of them. One of my favorites is where Tarzan is shown swinging through the jungle, thinking about how he'll introduce himself to Jane.

Before we continue, 
how many times can we sound like Larson's Tarzan? 

For the next couple of minutes, can we be with Tarzan as he is about to meet Jane for the first time:
Imagine him swinging along on the lianas 
over to Jane's perch in a tree; 

   Can you guess which might possibly his thoughts be?
       Write four of his thoughts down: 
  • ............................... 
  • ...............................
  • .................................
  • ................................. 

And now, watch the real cartoon:

Actually his thoughts were, let us revise the wording: 
"Okay, "How do you do. My name is Tarzan and I believe you are known as Jane."
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. And you?
....You must be Jane...I am Tarzan. It's a pleasure to meet you."
He finally lands on the large branch that Jane is standing on fixing her hair.
"There she is!"
And the dreadful utterance: 
he thinks, "Damn..."
2.1.How does register affect the reception of the cartoon? 
2.2. How much do you identify with him as a language learner?

  1. He's thinking of all these intelligent, polite ways to greet her,
  2.  and when he finds her, all he belts out is "Me Tarzan! You Jane!" 
  3. He then covers his face in embarrassment and ponders, "Damn."
Sometimes our rehearsals to be positive gets screwed by our 'brain speak', no matter what.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feint and penio:

My Story

It was January 2011 – just another year.  I had the coming year all planned out.  I would continue living off the revenue I had slowly built up from a number of web apps I had running.  None of these web apps were particularly popular, but they made enough for a young, single guy to get by.   I had plans to spend the coming year in Thailand.  Oh how plans can change.
Then one weekend, I had an idea for a new app.  I didn’t think it to be particularly standout at the time.  But after putting it together in a week, something about this app was different.  This app was
The next few months of my life were surreal.  I still haven’t been able to take anything in.  From hopping on a plane, after getting an email from Jason Calacanis inviting me to Launch, or winning the design award….at Launch all the way to signing documents as the new CEO at Inc – crazy.

Photo By:
But the craziness didn’t end there.  No kept on growing.  In June 2011 it received 3.3 million visitors (where the hell did they come from?) and in July…well July is going to be even bigger.
In a few months I went from being just some kid building web apps in his bedroom to CEO of Inc.
This is just the beginning of the story.  I don’t want things to settle down.  I’m quite ok with the craziness.  If you’d like to learn more about get in touch at  Or, if you’d like to work for and live the United States email

To have a look, this poem as an example:  what else can I say

digital immigrants and low tech teachers

three Tech world news (1)

How a technology called Wi-Fi adds to America’s class divide

Monday, July 4th, 2011      by Peter Orszag, Business Standard
I now have more health information on my wrist than my doctor had about me 10 years ago, and I’m hopeful that it’s going to help keep me healthier. But it’s worrisome, too, because the same technological change that allows any of us to walk around with all this personal data at a glance may wind up exacerbating the growing gap in life expectancy between people with high levels of income and education and those without.
New technologies allow us to collect our own health data and store it in an online record. When combined with information from doctors and other providers, it can present a picture of someone’s well-being more nuanced than anything available before. My wife and I now have a new Withings Wi-Fi scale: When I step on, it transmits my weight and body-fat readings to the computer over our home Wi-Fi network. The information is then automatically linked to my personal online health record. A similar wireless blood-pressure monitor has just become commercially available.

EMERGENCY BRACELETAnd much of this information can be accessed by yet another new wristband device. As I write this, I’m wearing something called a VITAband, which is an emergency ID bracelet that is linked to online information about who I am, my allergies, my blood type, whom to contact in case of an emergency and so on. Importantly, with appropriate permission, it can also tap into my increasingly detailed online health record. (A particularly clever feature that isn’t directly connected to better health, except in the psychological sense, is the VITAband’s built-in debit card, which lets me make purchases or, if something goes terribly wrong when I’m out for a run, pay for a cab ride home.) As you might be able to tell, I’m quite enthusiastic about these innovations. But I’m also aware of their risks, which may only increase as the technology advances.
S. Korea to digitize all school textbooks by 2015Tuesday, July 5th, 2011     by Yonhap News
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will digitize all school textbooks by 2015 in a bid to help students create their own study patterns and lighten their backpacks, the government said Wednesday. 

   Under the plan, which requires 2.23 trillion won (US$ 2.07 billion) from the state budget, all schools will be fitted with an Internet-based computing system known as cloud computing by 2015, according to a report submitted to President Lee Myung-bak by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the President's Council on Informatization Strategies.
   Cloud computing allows users to share conventional computer resources, including software, information and online connections, through mobile devices such as smartphones without having to carry laptops or personal computers.
   The government hopes that the new educational tool will help students establish their own study patterns based on individual needs by giving them online access to their lessons and other educational resources. Digital textbooks are also expected to remove the physical burden of carrying heavy paper textbooks, which will remain in use for the time being, as well as the financial burden of purchasing them.
   The plan is to introduce digitized textbooks in elementary schools in 2014 and expand their use to middle and high schools the following year, the government said.
   The announcement comes shortly after the government said it aims to become a global cloud computing leader by 2015. The global cloud computing market is expected to grow from some 31 trillion won this year to more than 60 trillion won in 2014.

To read more , click here.

3.  Mapping the “civilizations” of the world’s press

 Scholars have long sought to organize the world into “civilizations” that collect countries together by shared cultural or political foundations. Perhaps the most famous theory of world civilizations was put forth by Samuel Huntington in his controversial 1996 book entitled The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order, where he organized the world into ten major divisions. The majority of data–driven civilization theories rely on demographic information such as ethnic group or religious affiliation distribution or economic data such as trade ties. Media–driven studies of the “relatedness” of countries have focused primarily on how often the press of one country covers events in another, measuring media selection bias (Wu, 2000). Yet, as the maps in the previous section illustrate, the global news media appears to cluster regions together, relating cities in one area to those in another more closely than to the rest of the world, offering an implicit grouping of “civilizations.”
Figure 15 visualizes the way in which the global news media frames the world for its readership and the “civilizations” that result. All mentions of a city or geographic landmark across SWB content 1979–2009 were pooled together, and a link established between each pair of cities that appear in an article together. These were then aggregated up to the country level, yielding a network diagram with the countries of the world as nodes and the edges between them recording the number of articles those two countries appeared together in. Many countries appear together in just a handful of articles out ofSWB’s 3.9 million from this period, and so to reduce noise, only links representing five percent or more of one of the two countries’ total appearances were retained. This discarded single isolated connections of a pair of countries, while retaining those that were more regularly discussed together in the news. To capture the intensity of news attention as accurately as possible, edge weights were not normalized, meaning that higher–volume countries that occur together frequently will have a stronger edge weight than those with lower coverage volumes.

Passió Boletaire - Josep Cuello a Manresa

bolets, mycologists, geografia i cultura. Tot és ú. Parlem-ne. Tenim una entrada al blog avui en tres parts.

La primera part, que juguem a casa, al diari Regió 7 li podiem llegir  al Josep Cuello una entrevista

Per què els rovellons són els reis de la febre boletaire?

Hi ha qui opina que no són els més bons, però el cert és que aquest interès pels rovellons ve de lluny. Un exemple el tenim a la Manresa del segle XVII. Aleshores hi havia la figura del mostassà, un càrrec que es mantenia des de l'administració àrab i que s'encarregava de vigilar els preus, la qualitat dels productes i els contrastos dels pesos i les mesures. Magí Canyelles va escriure el 1673 Jurisdicció del magnífic mostassaf de la ciutat de Manresa, on detallava cadascuna de les categories dels productes a la venda, i un dels apartats era "bolets, rovallons i altres". Això ens indica clarament quin era el bolet principal dels bagencs d'aquella època.

Una part del llibre és dedicat als noms. L'exhaustivitat lèxica de Catalunya en aquest terreny té parangó en altres llengües?

Hi ha centenars, milers de noms. Com diu Ramon Folch, els noms són els colors de la paleta amb què els homes descrivim la natura. I per això som exuberants, barrocs... Temps enrere vaig recol·lectar noms d'insectes, tenia capses plenes de fitxes. El món dels bolets és més reduït, al capdavall hi ha uns pocs centenars d'espècies. El 2007 vaig publicar Els noms dels bolets, i realment a Catalunya hi ha moltes formes per esmentar-los, però també en altres llengües, com ara l'anglès.

Però no em dirà que no tenen el seu encant denominacions com ara barret de capellà o orella de llebre?

Les metàfores ajuden a comprendre com és el bolet. Si parlen d'una part d'un animal, senyal que són bons: cama de perdiu, peu de rata... Però si a la paraula bolet s'hi suma l'animal sencer, com ara bolet de bou o bolet de cabra, llavors és que el bolet potser no és dolent però tampoc té res d'especial. El pagès li posava aquest nom com volent dir que aquell bolet se l'havia de menjar la vaca, el bou...

Molt agradable la secció de cultura històrica, que ens entronca amb el mercat que estructura l'espai de la ciutat.

La segona part, el mercat urbà és un espai mediterrani de convivència, dels basars i socs  àrabs a les halles medievals (Hala dels draps, Porxada, com  la d’ Ullastret, a l´Alt Empordà). Olors, colors, sons, comunicació: el mercat és una festa dels sentits.
Des de Damasc, a Siria

(i també a Turquia: Bazar és diumenge, i per tant: el dia de mercat).  Només ens cal veure els Kervansaray  d'Esmirna, a la costa de est de Turquia, final d'una de les rutes de la seda.
El caravanserrall (del persa كاروان caravan, "viatgers" i سرا sarayı, "hostal", "refugi", "palau")[1][2] o khan, era un edifici situat al llarg de les grans vies de comunicació delmón musulmà (especialment les de la ruta de la seda) destinat a acollir les caravanes al fi d'una etapa de viatge. 

I tercera part, per aprendre anglès també ho podem fer amb els bolets: my best webpage to keep my languages alive: TED Talks, (as I open the subtitles option or interactive transcript -in a score of languages, oh, yes  including  Korean!!) 

Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets' research is the Northwest's native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas.
There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet.
"Once you’ve heard 'renaissance mycologist' Paul Stamets talk about mushrooms, you'll never look at the world -- not to mention your backyard -- in the same way again."

PD1.  per aprendre from down under, visit this Australian webpage . 

PD2. Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Breast CancerSeven years ago, Fungi Perfecti joined with Bastyr University and the University of Minnesota in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, to determine the potential benefits of our Host Defense® Turkey Tail mushroom product on the immune systems of patients with breast cancer

Monday, September 5, 2011

Des de el diari EL PAIS, el roto cartoons

el Roto for ever... the best Spanish political cartoon,
Andrés Rábago García, més conegut actualment com El Roto
choose yours:

Bibliografía sobre el autor. Menéndez Muñiz, Rafael (2004) Entre la ilustración y la historieta: las obras de LPO y OPS en la revista "Madriz", tesis Doctoral leída en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid en 2002. Se puede consultar integramente en l'enllaç de wikipedia
llibres:  Los hombres y las moscas (Fundamentos, 1971).
La cebada al rabo (Cuadernos para el diálogo, 1975).  Bestiario (Alfaguara, 1989).  De un tiempo a esta parte (Ediciones de la Torre, 1991). Habas contadas (Promotion Popular Cristiana, 1994).La memoria del constructor (Diputación de Sevilla, 1998).La visita inesperada (Centro Cultural Conde Duque, 1998).El fogonero del Titanic (Temas de hoy, 1999).El pabellón de azogue (Círculo de lectores i S.A./ Mondadori, 2001).Bestiario (Medusa Ediciones, edició augmentada, 2002).El guardagujas (Cat. Exposición Universidad de Alcalá, 2003).El libro de los desórdenes (Círculo de Lectores i S.A./Mondadori, 2003).El libro de los abrazos (Círculo de Lectores, 2004).Vocabulario figurado (Círculo de Lectores i S.A./Mondadori, 2005).El libro de los desórdenes (Reservoir Books, 2006)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

games- as real as your life

michael highland

an excerpt from Michael Highland's film "As Real as Your Life."

From an early age I learned to invest myself emotionally in what unfolded before me on screen.Today, after 20 years of watching TV geared to make me emotional, even a decent insurance commercial can bring tears to my eyes. I am just one of a new generation that is growing up. A generation who may experience much more meaning through video games than they will through the real world. Video games are nearing an evolutionary leap, a point where game worlds will look and feel just as real as the films we see in theatres, or the news we watch on TV. And while my sense of free will in these virtual worlds may still be limited, what I do learn applies to my real life. Play enough video games and eventually you will really believe you can snowboard, fly a plane,drive a nine-second quarter mile, or kill a man. I know I can.
Perhaps there is a single part of our brain that holdsall of our gut instincts, the things we know to dobefore we even think. While some of these instincts may be innate, most are learned, and all of them are hardwired into our brains. These instincts are essential for survival in both real and virtual worlds.Only in recent years has the technology behind video games allowed for a true overlap in stimuli. As gamers we are now living by the same laws of physics in the same cities and doing many of the same things we once did in real life, only virtually.Consider this -- my real life car has about 25,000 miles on it. In all my driving games, I've driven a total of 31, 459 miles. To some degree I've learned how to drive from the game. The sensory cues are very similar. It's a funny feeling when you have spent more time doing something on the TV than you have in real life. When I am driving down a road at sunset all I can think is, this is almost as beautiful as my games are.