These are just a few fairly random pieces of media that I’ve come across lately that open some paths to start talking about the power of words and the struggle to define them.
I haven’t made up my mind about this podcast as a whole yet but this one was interesting. The whole idea of virtual law for video games is interesting but it’s further improved by the idea that a lot of this based purely on words.
Online, multi-player games create addictive, all-encompassing competitive worlds for players. But sometimes, players disturb the fantasy with abusive behavior. Through trial and error, game developers have found that “virtual judiciaries” can help solve problems in their virtual worlds, and the results have real-world consequences.
This episode has a number of different interesting options but a huge part of the issue is around defining solitary confinement, torture, and cruel and unusual punishment.
In its code of ethics, the American Institute of Architects requires members to “uphold human rights.” But what does that mean when it comes to prisons—specificially, those that confine inmates largely to their cells with little to do?
Dear judges: Stop trying to figure out what the founders meant by every little word. You can’t, and it doesn’t matter.
To get at the original understanding of the text, the court started with the language, which normally trumps other evidence about the founders’ intentions. The court first argued that the language refers to the recess, not a recess. Thus, the founders could have had only one particular recess in mind, and that recess must be the one that takes place between the two sessions. Because Congress chose not to leave a gap between the 2011 session and the 2012 session, the recess could not have taken place.
Two of three judges sitting on the panel further argued that by providing for recess appointments only to vacancies “that may happen during the Recess,” the founders intended to limit appointments to vacancies that open up during the intersession recess. But the vacancies that Obama filled could not have opened up during an intersession recess because no such recess took place.
Both of these readings are possible; they may even be plausible. The administration’s argument—that the recess means any recess, and that the vacancies that happen during the recess are vacancies that exist during the recess—is also consistent with the language. But it’s strange to think that “the Recess” means only one (intersession) recess when, even under the court’s interpretation, there have been hundreds of intersession recesses—every year there was another intersession recess up until last year—and the founders surely expected numerous such recesses unless they believed that the republic would collapse in 1791. Indeed, the Constitution repeatedly refers to “the Congress” and “the President.” If the court’s interpretation of “the” as “the single” were correct, this would mean that the founders expected only one Congress and one president to ever come into existence, when in fact (as other language makes clear) they contemplated numerous Congresses (one every two years) and numerous presidents as well.
But here’s the point. It defies belief that the founders intended to constrain recess appointments by using the word the rather than a, or by using the word happen rather than exist. If the founders had feared that the president would abuse the recess appointments power in order to create a tyranny, they would have made their intentions to constrain the president a bit more explicit.
From this older post about word choice and gender in ads for boys and girls toys. It’d make for an interesting project for other media as well.
The following is something I’m experimenting with. I’ve been pretty interested in workflows lately and I’m trying to get a little more out of bookmarking. The ability to create a summary post at preset time intervals based on a particular tag is something Diigo offers. I’m hoping that taking advantages of some of these bells and whistles will help me come to like Diigo.
After using Diigo for a few months, I still don’t like it. For instance, their bookmarklet loads, then pauses and adds something that makes me hit the wrong button about 30% of the time. I’m also not a fan of the way they embed ads. I miss Delicious Classic like people missed Coke after the debacle that was New Coke. After the Yahoo abandonment I hung on because I’d always preferred the simplicity. Eventually, the poor performance of the remixed Delicious literally forced me to leave. Way too often bookmarking a page resulted in having to hit refresh before I could interact with it again. That’s impressively dysfunctional. The subsequent loss of link rolls and other basic functionality eventually resulted in my move to Diigo.
My current setup is supposed to mirror Diigo to Delicious which then feeds my Pinboard account. So if Delicious ever stops actively breaking things, I’m prepared to return. It may be that Pinboard is the path but I haven’t messed with it enough.
The Stany Face
Lift up your e’en to yon cauld face
And lat your hert grow still:
Auld is the world, but young the days
O’ kindness and guid-will.
-the readings of many of the poems are available in audio format and are worth listening to
McDonald’s Theory — What I Learned Building… — Medium
I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.
An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!
It’s as if we’ve broken the ice with the worst possible idea, and now that the discussion has started, people suddenly get very creative. I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.
Posted from Diigo. Other links are here.
We have 668 high school teachers using at least .1 MB on a shared network volumes we’ve collectively dubbed “Virtual Share.”
Those 668 high school teachers use 2019.7 GB or 2.02 terabytes of storage. What’s particularly interesting to me is the disproportionate usage between teachers.
The top user, a single person, uses 180 GB or roughly 17% of the total.
The top 10 users use 733.2 GB of storage.
The top 20 users use 993.6 GB of storage or almost 50% of the storage is used by roughly 3% of the users.
These are just embeds of the data from Google Spreadsheets. Nothing fancy, not much control but I think it does paint a decent picture of the extreme differences in resource usage. I do continue to have trouble with the interactive chart embeds outside of the spreadsheet. I do like the unintentional psychedelic effect on the pie chart.
I spent quite a lot of time with my wife and oldest son looking at the dialectic survey map and trying to figure out which one of us said a particular phrase or pronounced a word a certain way. About half the time I answered “all of the above” while my wife was tried and true Massachusetts for just about every one.
I figure my wandering ways are to blame so I figured I’d take a shot at visualizing that. I did recall that Google Spreadsheets would let you visualize spreadsheet data on map with no trouble at all. It’s an option under “insert chart.” All I needed was a location in the first column and the numerical value for the circle in the second column (years in this case). Said and done.
Too easy. Mine is immediately below and is followed by my wife’s map. Turns out it has a rough time with two different data sources from one document- even if they’re on different sheets. I could have made an additional spreadsheet but I don’t like this enough. Easy-ish but not much control. I’m going to look for some other options.
Turns out I’m starting to hate these as there are more issues than they’re worth. I don’t know how to allow access to the interactive version as I’ve published everything I can.
Word Games/English in the Wild
I made a blog focused on the idea of English in the wild. The goal is to look at language and how it works outside of school, to capture the things people find interesting, odd, or broken about English as they interact with it. Essentially, I keep finding things that are interesting (at least to me)- strange phrases, interesting sentences, games comedians play with words, even a little Scottish poetry recently. I thought it might be useful to aggregate content like this. Naturally, it’s just me at this point but I’ll invite/beg some people to join me at some point and hopefully it’ll map out to students as well. This content can then become fodder for all kinds of reuse.
I see aspects of it falling short of the weight of Defective Yeti’s book review posts but containing elements of them. His structure would make a grate template for larger scale project and I like his “Words I Looked Up” at the bottom of the post and his neologisms (and I had to look neologism up). So between neologisms and paraprosdokian you have some unfortunate names but interesting items.
This idea may be something that was submitted Henrico 21 at one point. Gaynell remembers it but hasn’t provided me with proof yet. I went through a huge chunk of our H21 lessons tagged English and found many interesting things but couldn’t find this.
I need to be more intentional about tracking things about myself and trying to be intentional. I’m going to do something about this as part of the data visualization thing we’re doing (a major part of this thing for me is constructing a sustainable workflow for the process).
This could play a really interesting role in the idea of student efficacy and metacognition in a way we don’t even come close to currently (workflow would be key, as would at least some degree of interest but digital environments might make harvesting data interesting- especially interconnected activities like twitter/social bookmarking etc.). You should watch this video if that kind of thing appeals to you at all.
The video is from quantifiedself.com and Amy Robinson is a very interesting person in general.