28.7.09

[amplified individuals // amplified leicester]


Sue Thomas is leading a project - Amplified Leicester - a city-wide experiment in social media, and there'll be an opportunity to participate on the 11th of September:

We're looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious.

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment to
- explore diversity and innovation
- build a network across diverse communities
- create, share and develop new ideas
- use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an amplifier

This is an opportunity to work with people you might otherwise never meet and learn how to:
- benefit from Leicester's huge diversity of people and cultures
- generate lots of new ideas quickly
- think like a futurist and see the bigger picture
- organise and collaborate better
- be persuasive in different social situations
- share and develop creative ideas
- manage the stream of information which bombards us every day
- choose the best people to collaborate with
- make the most of different kinds of resources - social, economic, creative

Participation is free of charge but places are limited. Deadline for applications Friday 11th September 2009.

Find out more and download an application form from http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.amplifiedleicester.com

For an informal chat, please contact Sue Thomas or Thilo Boeck:
Sue Thomas t: 0116 207 8266 e: sue.thomas@dmu.ac.uk
Thilo Boeck t: 0116 2577879 e: tgboeck@dmu.ac.uk

Amplified Leicester is managed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University in partnership with the DMU Centre for Social Action and Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre. The project is commissioned and supported by NESTA, an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

“A group that thinks in diverse ways will address a problem from many angles.” Charles Leadbeater, The Difference Dividend




Note: Also of interest, a talk by Andrea Saveri on amplified individuals or this presentation which Andrea did for last year's NLab Social Networks conference.



27.7.09

[bacteria rule: organic computing]


Some interesting developments in organic computing noted in a recent article from the Journal of Biological Engineering:

Background

The Hamiltonian Path Problem asks whether there is a route in a directed graph from a beginning node to an ending node, visiting each node exactly once. The Hamiltonian Path Problem is NP complete, achieving surprising computational complexity with modest increases in size. This challenge has inspired researchers to broaden the definition of a computer. DNA computers have been developed that solve NP complete problems. Bacterial computers can be programmed by constructing genetic circuits to execute an algorithm that is responsive to the environment and whose result can be observed. Each bacterium can examine a solution to a mathematical problem and billions of them can explore billions of possible solutions. Bacterial computers can be automated, made responsive to selection, and reproduce themselves so that more processing capacity is applied to problems over time.

Results

We programmed bacteria with a genetic circuit that enables them to evaluate all possible paths in a directed graph in order to find a Hamiltonian path. We encoded a three node directed graph as DNA segments that were autonomously shuffled randomly inside bacteria by a Hin/hixC recombination system we previously adapted from Salmonella typhimurium for use in Escherichia coli. We represented nodes in the graph as linked halves of two different genes encoding red or green fluorescent proteins. Bacterial populations displayed phenotypes that reflected random ordering of edges in the graph. Individual bacterial clones that found a Hamiltonian path reported their success by fluorescing both red and green, resulting in yellow colonies. We used DNA sequencing to verify that the yellow phenotype resulted from genotypes that represented Hamiltonian path solutions, demonstrating that our bacterial computer functioned as expected.

Conclusions

We successfully designed, constructed, and tested a bacterial computer capable of finding a Hamiltonian path in a three node directed graph. This proof-of-concept experiment demonstrates that bacterial computing is a new way to address NP-complete problems using the inherent advantages of genetic systems. The results of our experiments also validate synthetic biology as a valuable approach to biological engineering. We designed and constructed basic parts, devices, and systems using synthetic biology principles of standardization and abstraction.


Another article of interest published in January in New Scientist on organic computing is here.




26.7.09

[new teaching resource: online learning communities]


Of interest to educators: a new release from IGI Global (they published a paper, "Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective," written by The Transliteracy Research Group - of which I am a part).

Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery
ISBN: 978-1-60566-780-5; 354 pp; August 2009
Published under Information Science Reference an imprint of IGI Global

http://www.igi-global.com/reference/details.asp?id=34727

Edited by: J. Ola Lindberg, Mid Sweden University, Sweden and Anders D. Olofsson, Umea University, Sweden


DESCRIPTION

In today's society, the professional development of teachers is urgent due to the constant change in working conditions and the impact that information and communication technologies have in teaching practices.

Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery features innovative applications and solutions useful for teachers in developing knowledge and skills for the integration of technology into everyday teaching practices. This defining collection of field research discusses how technology itself can serve as an important resource in terms of providing arenas for professional development.

****************************************

TOPICS COVERED

  • Collaborative online professional development
  • Computer-supported collaborative learning
  • Education delivery
  • Knowledge management in education
  • Models of online communities
  • Online learning communities
  • Online pedagogy design and development
  • Pedagogies afforded by technology
  • Teacher professional development
  • Virtual environments

For more information about Online Learning Communities and Teacher Professional Development: Methods for Improved Education Delivery, you can view the title information sheet at http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/pdf/34727.pdf

To view the Table of Contents and a complete list of contributors online go
to http://www.igi-global.com/reference/details.asp?ID=34727&v=tableOfContents.

You can also view the first chapter of the publication at
http://www.igi-global.com/downloads/excerpts/34727.pdf


Some other texts also on pedagogy and online learning communities that may be of interest (but n
ote, some might require institutional access):




20.7.09

[new media digest]


Want to do some thinking? Follow these links:








17.7.09

[cfp: democracy and communication]


Call for Papers: Canadian Journal of Communication

Special Issue: Democratizing Communication Policy in the Americas: Why It Matters

Deadline for full papers December 15, 2009; publication date Fall 2010.

Communication policy is an often important but overlooked topic ­ a blind spot - in much social policy research and public discourse. Media and telecommunications systems have become so fundamental, ubiquitous and pervasive that we often take them for granted as enablers, and nothing more, of many other freedoms, rights, and capabilities. Many do not realize the extent to which policies concerning communication resources are quite vulnerable to fluctuating corporate and government interests.

This "knowledge gap" is what this special issue of the CJC seeks to address:

how do communication policies affect economic, social justice and human rights, and what are civil society organizations in the Americas doing about this? For example, how do the supposed decline of traditional news media such as newspapers, struggles over copyright, the emergence of new ways of communicating online, questions about who owns or controls the internet, or access to the information we need, relate to social policy concerns such as sustainable development, immigration, environmental degradation, labor rights, gender equity, and other concerns across the Americas? What do any of these struggles have in common related to media, communication, and internet policies?


With these ideas in mind, we seek two types of submissions from concerned experts working either in academic or non-academic settings in the Americas:

  • Policy Contexts (i.e., Enabling/Disabling Legal and Regulatory Environments): Short syntheses of the current state of play re communication policy that includes attention to the full spectrum of convergent policy issues such as broadcasting, telecommunications, information (i.e., intellectual property rights and access to information laws), and internet governance policies in each of the following regions: North America (Canada and the U.S.); Mexico and Central America; the Caribbean; Spanish-speaking Latin America; and Brazil.

  • Civil Society Responses: Research illuminating either failed (and why) or successful (and how) civil society engagement related any of the previously listed communication and social policy areas in terms of making policy making actors, processes or institutions more transparent, representative, and accountable to public vs. corporate interests. Simply put, we seek to know why and how communication policies matter to a variety of social policy concerns and how civil society actors are working to effect communication policy change in a variety of contexts.

For this special issue, and given our interest in linking media and communications with social policy more generally, we are also interested primarily in research that is informed by critical theory, social justice and/or human rights frameworks and that features praxis-oriented research capturing the various challenges and/or opportunities for public-interest oriented interventions in policy making processes across the Americas.

Full-length papers (7,000-9,000 words) in English or French should be submitted electronically following the guidelines laid out on the CJC submissions website (http://www.cjc-online.ca/submissions.php). Make sure to write in all caps "COMM POLICY" in the Comments to the Editor field, and also to include it on the cover page of your article as well. Please do
not include your name on the cover page.

Comments and queries can be sent to one or both of the special issue editors:

Dr. Leslie Regan Shade, Concordia University, leslieshade@gmail.com
Dr. Becky Lentz, McGill University, becky.lentz@mcgill.ca



15.7.09

[web as culture]


Even if you are unable to make it to (Giessen, Germany) the fascinating-sounding conference on the web as culture (ethnographic, linguistic and didactic perspectives), you can watch it streaming live as of tomorrow at 13:00 Germany time (so subtract 8 hours to get Alberta time).

Read more about the conference here and watch other keynotes streamed live over here.

Given my current interest, I'm going to be watching this keynote with interest: Prof. Dr. Angelika Storrer "Chatspeak: How web users adapt written language to synchronous communication"

"
Chatspeak: How web users adapt written language to synchronous communication

Prof. Dr. Angelika Storrer, Technische Universität Dortmund

Thursday, July 16, 2009, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Abstract: In synchronous forms of web communication – chat groups, instant messaging etc. – users directly interact with each other by text messages. Since most of these messages are keyed in and exchanged in a very short time, they are typically formulated in a speech-like style and deviate from the standards of grammar and orthography established for written language. In the mass media these deviations are often interpreted as a symptom of the decay of literacy. Most linguists, in contrast, describe and analyze the stylistic peculiarities of online messages as a new register which adapts written language to the demands of interactive online communication. The paper will support the linguists’ view using data from a corpus of German chat logfiles recorded in different chat environments (IRC, moderated and non-moderated webchats) and in various communication settings (E-Learning, business, politics, flirt/socializing). Findings from quantitative and qualitative studies in this corpus will show (1) which factors influence form and structure of the utterances, (2) how register-specific word and sign formation patterns compensate for the lack of direct visual and auditive contact between the chat participants and (3) how web users make use of these patterns for self-presentation and community building. In conclusion we will discuss how the stylistic peculiarities of this new written register should be considered in the context of language teaching and language learning.

Angelika Storrer is Professor for German Linguistics at Technische Universiät Dortmund. Her current research focuses on linguistic aspects of computer-mediated communication and hypertext; lexical information systems and computational lexicography; corpus linguistics."



14.7.09

[Swiss Biennial on Science, Technics + Aesthetics]



The Large, the Small and the Human Mind
The 8th Swiss Biennial on Science, Technics + Aesthetics

Saturday, January 16, 2010, 12 – 7 p.m.
Sunday, January 17, 2010, 12 – 7 p.m.

Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne Early Register: http://www.neugalu.ch/e_bienn_2010.html#9

Roger Penrose’s hotly disputed book The Large, the Small and the Human Mind (1997) contributed to a new scientific world-view of physics and a more complete understanding of conscious minds at the boundary between the physics of the small and the physics of the large. In a similar vein, the Swiss Biennial 2010, The Large, the Small and the Human Mind, will trigger debate about the unequal status that we have attributed to the physical world “out there” and our many beliefs and mental conceptions “in us” about this world, and it explores the fingers of science, rationality, ontology, epistemology, reflexivity, ethics, ecology, and politics that point to the realities of our beliefs.

The New Gallery Lucerne organises this two-day conference which brings together a group of internationally renowned scientists, sociologists, philosophers, ecologists, writers, artists, and policy-makers. From the debate about the pursuit of a “Theory of Everything” (TOE) in physics, extreme objectivity, our relationship to the “Universe,” to “human,” “nature,” “human culture,” and the “human mind,” The Large, the Small and the Human Mind will touch on the world’s first climate war, the destructive side of globalization, and the contradictions of our striving for unlimited economic growth and consumption. “When the sage points at the Moon,” says the Chinese proverb, “the fool looks at his fingertip.” The Large, the Small and the Human Mind offers a critical look at the fingertip, and from it to the Moon. From the question of how to free Pandora’s Hope, to the meaning of Leonardo’s science for our time, and the significance of the Space Age for humanity, the Swiss Biennial will reflect on these topics from an interdisciplinary perspective with the aim to create a deeper and finer sense of possibility.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Michel Bitbol (physicist and philosopher of mind, Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique [CNRS], Paris)
Fritjof Capra (physicist and systems theorist, Berkeley)
John Horgan (science writer/author, Director of the Center for Science Writings [CSW], Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, USA)
Kevin W. Kelley (artist, author, and entrepreneur, San Rafael / USA)
Bruno Latour (sociologist, Scientific Director and Professor at Sciences Po, Paris)
Pier Luigi Luisi (Professor Emeritus ETH Zurich, Professor at the Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Roma)
Robert Poole (historian, University of Cumbria, Lancaster / UK)
Harald Welzer (social psychologist, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research, Essen)
Margaret Wertheim (science writer, curator, cultural historian of physics, Director of the Institute for Figuring, Los Angeles)

Confirmed Presenter
David McConville (artist, Director of Noospheric Research, The Elumenati, Asheville / USA)

Confirmed Chairpersons
Christina Ljungberg (University of Zurich)
Josef Mitterer (University of Klagenfurt)
Isabelle Stengers (Free University of Brusells)

Confirmed Leader of the Panel Discussions
Peter Weibel (Chairman and CEO, Center for Art and Media [ZKM], Karlsruhe)

A New Gallery Lucerne conference in association with the Swiss Museum of Transport, the City of Lucerne, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne, Coronado Hall

CHF 90.00 (CHF 65.00 concessions) – Booking required http://www.neugalu.ch/e_bienn_2010.html#9

The Large, the Small and the Human Mind continues the Swiss Biennial’s aim to involve people from all faculties, schools of thought and walks of life in a critical dialogue concerned with science, technological innovation, art, and society which they have long sought themselves but for which there has been no point of contact to date. The Swiss Biennial sees its role as that of a touchstone for such dialogues. Its interdisciplinary activities and projects are concerned with new challenges posed by widely varying fields of knowledge and research. Find the Swiss Biennial on Science, Technics + Aesthetics on http://www.neugalu.ch

New Gallery Lucerne and The Swiss Biennial on Science, Technics + Aesthetics
P.O. Box 3501, 6002 Lucerne / Switzerland, Tel. +41 (0) 41 370 38 18
Image credit: Jacket photograph, Earth, from Apollo 4 (November 1967) © NASA.






11.7.09

[street performers festival: edmonton]

The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival was the first of its kind in North America. Now in its 25th year, it is known worldwide for its amazing artists and generous audiences. Since 1984, almost four million people have participated. Read more on the streetfest site.








7.7.09

[st. albert farmers' market]

St. Albert is on the north western tip of Edmonton (have a look at a map here). For many I've spoken with it's considered to be a bit of a trek. I thought the 30min drive via highway with no traffic was super, especially compared to the usual 2 hours we enjoyed on the M25 getting from home to work in London. The St. Albert market is one of the signs that it is summer here in Edmonton and the produce on offer certainly attested to that! There was a great selection of fruits, berries, vegetables and of course cheeses and meats too. Along with all the edibles were housewares, gardening supplies, furniture and face painting.
















6.7.09

[edmonton canada day 2009]

Some images captured during the Canada Day parade (note: unlike may day in England where we witnessed tractors as part of the parade, here celebrations are not complete unless there is a big truck)







1.7.09

[happy canada day!]

Image of fireworks from itroy on flickr.


It's my first time celebrating Canada Day in Canada as a resident in the past nine years!!! And, I'll be celebrating in Edmonton. Canada is now 142 years old. We're going to be checking out the Silly Summer Parade which starts at noon (it goes from Queen Alex School, 7730 106St., heads west on Whyte Ave. to 108 St. and back to Queen Alex School for family activities - sounds great if you have wee ones). Then we're going to do a picnic and in the evening I'm hoping to catch the moment when the city's High Level bridge turns into a waterfall (21:00-23:15). After that there will be the customary fireworks (which take place here). According to the city website, some good viewing locations:


* Alberta Legislature Grounds
* Victoria Park (River Valley Road)
* Ezio Faraone Park (west entrance to High Level Bridge on 109 St. north)
* Dantzer’s Hill (below Queen Elizabeth Park)
* Government House Park (Groat Road & River Valley Road)
Note: No viewing from Kinsmen Park

Viewing Areas Accessible on Foot Only (closed to vehicles):

* River Valley Road
* Walterdale Hill Road & Queen Elizabeth Park Road
* 109 St. (between Saskatchewan Drive & the High Level Bridge)
* Access is restricted in Kinsmen Park, Walterdale Hill, High Level & Menzies Bridges after road closure times. Kinsmen playground and picnic area are closed on Canada Day.

Have a look at this amazing photo taken by labels_30 of the waterfall on Canada Day last year:




If you're local (I know I now have a few Albertans reading this blog) here are some other things you might want to do:


Alberta Legislature Canada Day Celebrations
Various activities 7:00 am - 6:00 pm

Borden Park Canada Day Celebrations
Various activities 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Canada Day Road Race 2009
South Ends of Legislature Grounds

Citizenship Ceremony
Legislative Grounds 10:00 am

City Hall Activities
11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Devon Canada Day Celebrations
Centennial Park 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Fort Edmonton Park Dominion Day
Whitemud & Fox Drive 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Fort Saskatchewan Canada Day Celebrations
Breakfast to Fireworks 8:00 am - 11:00 pm

John Walter Museum - "Spirits Of The Past"
Sunday, June 28, 2009 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Louise McKinney Riverfront Park - Canada Day!
2:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Millwoods Celebrates Canada
2:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Muttart Conservatory Canada Day
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Old Strathcona
Silly Summer Parade & Picnic in the Park - Whyte Avenue
12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Spruce Grove Canada Day & Street Performers Festival
Calahoo Road and Grove Drive 8:00 am - 11:00 pm

St Albert
Lions Park 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Strathcona County's 2009 Canada Day Festival
Broadmoor Lake Park Sherwood Park 9:00 am - 11:00 pm

The Works Art and Design Festival
Churchill Square Edmonton June 24 – July 6

Valley Zoo Canada Day & the Valley Zoo's 50th Birthday Bash!
13315 Buena Vista Rd. 11:00 am - 4:00 pm


More events are listed here.


BTW: the weather is going to be warm and sunny.