We are each unique – our brains make us so. At the microlevel the network in our heads is then tickled out into the the Web in, at first. the simplest of ways. Our first post, our first comment is that first baby-step. Unlike our firsf steps though, online everything we do is saved, is monitored, is shared. It takes on a life of its own. Multiplied billions of times now many millions of us have learnt to crawl, then walk, then run online. As we are virtual we can split into many versions or parts of ourselves too – the professional and private the immediate split, but then into hobby groups and as here, a study group. The network of networks is a living thing that mathematics can help to weight and categorize, even to visualise, but crucially – the point made here, humanising the maths requires the insight of someone asking questions, seeking to interpret what it taking place. I see currents in a digital ocean that transpires into a cloud that then precipitates digital artefacts in a myriad of other places. Others, like Yrjo Engegstrom, see the growing tendrils of a funghi. Either way it is fascinating to condense, simplify and sharing the thinking.
Fig.1 pp 116-117 of Lawrence Lessig’s book ‘Remix’
Despite the rhetoric of the content industry, the most valuable contribution to our economy comes from connectivity, not content’. Lawrence Lessig (2008:89) CF Andrew Odlyzko ‘Content is not King’.
There’s some irony that I found I could only get my hands on a book on the generational shift towards the digitized-enabled world of remixing with a book.
What is the legal position of creating a remix, by way of example, marking the passing of Britain’s last First World War veteran, by putting online a video that combines photographs of the deceased, and clips lifted from the TV film about the struggle by Kipling to commission his short-sighted son into the army? Or, not even ‘remixing’ but simply putting a series of excerpts of the film Passchendeale online so that you can watch it for free? Or grabbing stills from archive film, colouring it in and claiming it is as from your own unique collection? Some of these ‘producers’ should be applauded and encouraged in the hope that they generate their own footage and learn how to do so on a shoestring, others need to have their content removed and where a blatant copyright infringment has occured they ought to be warned if not prosecuted.
How I read has changed, though my curiosity hasn’t dimmed, rather it has been indulged.
As an undergraduate I forewent lectures in a hall with 90+ fellow students and instead took myself to the library. I would order up the book the lecturer I felt was reading from, and while reading pick out further books and journals. At the time this meant putting in a request slip and waiting a couple of hours, even a couple of days and quite often moving to a different library entirely. I began this journey most mornings in the Map Room of the Bodliean Library on Broad Street, would find myself in the underground chambers of the Radcliffe Science Library and typically end the morning, or pick up in the afternoon with reading in an alcoved window of the Rhodes Library. These places were conducive to reading. The spaces between reading may have contributed to the retention of the information.
As I read Lawrence Lessig’s Remix I search for books that sound of interest on Amazon and may, with a One Click, have the book in eBook form on my Kindle Reader or iPad seconds later. If an paper or academic gets a mention I may check the full reference, go to the OU online library and search for it. More often than not I will then download the PDF … and ‘stack it’ in either iBooks or on the Kindle Reader. I’ll save the references to the paper to RefWorks and file this in an appropriately named folder – I could leave the papers online, but like to know they are there ready to browse. Far from following therefore a strict reading list from A to B, I tend to meander and indulge. It takes time. I may stumble. I may race off in comletely the wrong direction.
By the time I return to the track I will either be reading at a trot or dragging my feet.
I am currently jogging, though I sense thst it is towards an assault course.
At times you laugh out loud, always informative, great stories, full of well-known facts with a twist, as well as a myriad of gems. The kind of book I would have bought and sent to people for the pleasure of it … not sure how that works with an eBook. If Michael Palin had got stuck in Egypt for six years, without the film crew, he might have made a stab at it. I described Robert Twigger to my wife as Michael Palin’s mischievous younger brother. (I know Robert, though I’ve not seen him for twenty years). He’s exceedingly bright but very modest, even humble. A boffin you might find going through second-hand books in a pile at a charity shop.
There’s an intimacy, cleverness and a flash of British funniness throughout. Encyclopedic whilst as readable as an unputdownable novel.
For me this is the very best travel writing. I’ve bounced into it via a need to take an interest in ethnography in H809 Practice-based research in e-learning. I found myself watching ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ then reading the book by Heinrich Harer. ‘The Red Nile’ is written in a similar vein, though Robert’s relationship is with the river and not the Dalai Lama. The book touches on a good deal of anthropological study of the peoples of the Niles (blue and white). It’s value is how easy it is to read after all the academic papers, and how quotable and informed it is too.
‘It seems peculiar to me that specialisation should involve developing a point of view that obscures the very subject you wish to study’.
This is I will take as a warning as I venture towards doctoral study. My interest is in learning, and e-learning in particular. Learning can apply to many, many fields. We all do it whether we want to or not.
Fig.1. Letters from Iwa Jima. Clint Eastwood directed Movie.
In one of those bizarre, magic ways the brain works, last nigmt I watched the Clint Eastwood film ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ then stayed up reading in bed (quest for a very specific paper/set of papers on teenagers/young adults, health, presription medication) while waiting for my own teenagers to come in from a concert in Brighton.
Fig.2. Last minute reading for H809 TMA01
I stumbled upon ‘Teenagers and Technology’ by Chris Davies and Rebecca Eynon.
After a chapter of this I did a One Click on Amazon and kept on reading through the next couple of chapters.
I kept reading once they got home.
My mind constructed a dream in which instead of bagging letters home from soldiers, I found myself, Japanese of course, constructing, editing and reassembling some kind of scroll or poster. I could ‘re-enter’ this dream but frankly don’t see the point – it seems self-evident. I’ll be cutting and pasting my final thoughts, possibly literally on a 6ft length of backing wall paper (I like to get away from a keyboard and screen from time to time). Reinforced by a Business School module, B822 Creativity Innovation and Change I found that ‘working with dreams’ and ‘keeping a dream diary’ are some of the tools that can be used.
If I wish to I could re-enter this dream over the next few months as a short cut to my subconscious.
I’m not sure how you’d come up with a Harvard Reference for a dream.
Fig.3. fMRI scan – not mine, though they did me a few years ago
Perhaps in 20 years time when we can where an fMRI scanner like a pair of headphones a set of colourised images of the activity across different parts of the brain could be offered.
Dream on :)