June 2007

The mighty Ekranoplan

by Limbic on June 22, 2007

From English Russia: 

An ‚Ekranoplan is a vehicle resembling an aircraft, but operating solely on the principle of ground effect. Ground effect vehicles (GEV) fly above any flat surface, with the height above ground dependent upon the size of the vehicle.

During the Cold War, ekranoplans were sighted for years on the Caspian Sea as huge, fast-moving objects. The name Caspian Sea Monster was given by U.S. intelligence operatives who had discovered the huge vehicle, which looked like an airplane with the outer halves of the wings removed. After the end of the Cold War, the “monster” was revealed to be one of several Russian military designs meant to fly only a few meters above water, saving energy and staying below enemy radar.

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 I am a long time admirer and reader of Edward Tuft (see previous posts here, here and here).

Now the writer of classics like Beautiful Evidence and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is profiled in both the New York Magazine and Stanford magazine.

If you have an interest at all in design, information presentation,  semiology, teaching/training and critical thinking, you really ought to check him out.


Future Ruins

by Limbic on June 20, 2007

Future Ruins via Bldgblog:

[Image: From “Future Ruins” by Michelle Lord].

Over on Ballardian we read about a new project by artist Michelle Lord, called “Future Ruins.”

Lord writes: ‚ÄúInspired by author J.G. Ballard‚Äôs literary visions of modernist architectural design and his prophetic views on the technological demise of the urban environment, Future Ruins is a photographic critique of the urban planning of the 1970s and Ballard‚Äôs novels of the same period.”


From Reason magazine via Abelard.org:

“The researchers relying on work by social scientist Aaron Wildavsky divided Americans into four cultural groups with regard to risk

perception: hierarchists, individualists, egalitarians and communitarians. Hierarchists trust experts, but believe social deviancy is very risky. Egalitarians and communitarians worry about technology, but think that social deviancy is no big deal.

Individualists see risk as opportunity and so are optimistic about technology.

“Egalitarians and communitarians, for example, tend to be sensitive to claims of environmental and technological risks because ameliorating such risks justifies regulating commercial activities that generate inequality and legitimize unconstrained pursuit of self-interest,”

claim the researchers. “Individualists, in contrast, tend to be skeptical about such risks, in line with their concern to ward off contraction of the sphere of individual initiative. So do hierarchists, who tend to see assertions of environmental technological risks as challenging the competence of governmental and social elites.”

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that people who were concerned about environmental risks such as global warming and nuclear power, were also concerned about nanotechnology. However, the Yale Cultural Cognition researchers made another more disheartening discovery. In their poll they gave a subset of 350 respondents additional facts – about two paragraphs — about nanotechnology to see if more information would shift public risk perceptions. They found that it did. In this case, the more information people had, the more they retreated to their initial positions. Hierarchists and individualists thought nano was less risky, while egalitarians and communitarians thought it was more risky.

“One might suppose that as members of the public learn more about nanotechnology their assessments of its risk and benefits should converge. Our results suggest that exactly the opposite is likely to happen,”….

Link to Reason Magazine – More Information Confirms What You Already Know


 From Robin Good:

The concept of “personal learning environment” represents the most recent evolutionary step in a learner-centered approach to education.

A PLE may be composed of one or more subsystems: As such it may be a desktop application, or composed of one or more web-based services.

Personal Learning Environments integrate both formal and informal learning approaches into a single experience.

The PLE concept can trace its origins to early systems such as Colloquia (the first peer-to-peer learning system) and in more recent products such as the Elgg system. This alternative approach has been developed in parallel to that of Learning Management Systems, which unlike the PLE take an institution-centric (or course-centric) view of learning.

The academic paper I am introducing today has been written by Ron Lubensky, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Sydney who is focusing on new learning systems. The article attempts to provide an in-depth definition of a “personal learning environment”, as well as speculating personal learning environments possible developments and likely future.

Source: Personal Learning Environments: What They Are And How To Implement Them – Robin Good’s Latest News


Great post from Robin Good on the current state of media, activism and techno-political trends.


Source: 131 – US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs
Originally published on Sun, 10 Jun 2007 14:37:39 GMT by strangemaps


Buddhist Lists

by Limbic on June 15, 2007

Buddhists love lists. The three refuges, the four noble truths, the eight-fold path…there are many of them.

Below is a map of some of the most well knows lists.

For text versions of the above see:

Dharma Lists

Buddhist Lists

List of Buddhist Lists


Herd power!

by Limbic on June 15, 2007

I came across the video below via a Life After the Oil Crash story on what to do about pirates and marauders in a post oil crash lawless world.

The author advised a simple strategy for what to do if attacked:

  1. Run away
  2. Get your herd
  3. Come back with your’re herd and kick ass

It makes no sense until you see this video, which you must watch to the end.

Great lessons here about strength in numbers and unity.  


Chronic Health Conditions?

by Limbic on June 14, 2007

“Chronic health conditions rarely just “happen.” While there can be a genetic component that predisposes someone to becoming chronically “unwell,” research shows there are other factors‚Äîoften within our control‚Äîthat are usually the cause. What are the common causes of chronic conditions? What should you know? How can you start to feel better today?”

Source: Chronic Health Conditions? Start Feeling Better Today!