Costic Acsinte – 30 Minutes of Healing

Costic? Axinte

I found Costic? Acsinte1 which is a new Flickr Commons participant. It also has a Twitter account. I really like these photographs and the backstory is interesting as well. They almost seem to good to be true but I’d almost be more excited if they were. In any case, the images are awesome.

A number of factors coalesced last night- these photographs, returning from taking too many present day photos for the VSTE conference, and some inspiration from Stephen Downes’ ‘Half an Hour’ site. I decided I’d spend 30 minutes each night making something. It’s not Daily Create (although it might be at times) and this isn’t a pledge to you in order to keep myself accountable. I tend to trend much more towards self-directed inspiration and react against most, if not all, outside pressures. With my self-analysis session out of the way, I decided last night to try to “repair” one of the photos from the Costic? Acsinte group. I say “repair” because I really love the artifacts of decay in the images. I don’t know if removing them improves the image at all. It may even make the picture less than what it is but I had never tried to repair a photograph in this way and I thought it’d be an interesting process. I set the boundary at 30 minutes so I wouldn’t get too obsessed.

Naturally, I made an animated gif to help show the process.

I may make a “reverse entropy” #ds106 assignment but I’m considering one as well where you create the age artifacts with more recent photographs.



repair work


Naturally there are groups on the Internet that do this sort of thing just to make the world a better place.2

1 The name “Acsinte” is also written on the page as “Axinte.” Neither translate to anything on Google Translate but the “axinte” version leads me to a LinkedIn profile with the job description “mechanical at Magic Systems SA.” It hints at interesting things but probably just in my head.

2 Maybe DS106 needs a “community service” element . . . or maybe DS106 is community service.

Time is on my side

I subscribe to the feedburner of all the Flickr Commons images. There are many, many posts which clutters my RSS aggregator at times but also renews my faith in the goodness and openness of humanity and provides many of my recent favorites.

Law School of Upper Canada

I was about to go to bed tonight when I hit a string of images from the Law School of Upper Canada. I flipped through them fairly swiftly as this was not my typical area of interest but the flickering images ended up being interesting, interesting enough that I attempted to capture it above in animated gif format.

After downloading 20 portraits, I used Photoshop’s File>Script>Load Files Into Stack and was able to create the gif in about 6 minutes. It is a chunk of my life I’ll never get back but I made a small thing that I found interesting and I learned a bit as well. What’s more I put it out there for the wide world which is big enough that someone else may find it interesting as well.1

I think quite a bit lately of all the time I really wasted with work that did far less than this. These little things will add up. It is important to value that time and that element of inspiration.

1 I’ll let the Law School of Upper Canada know about it for sure. :)

Web Ephemera


I looked at rate my teacher and rate my professor. Certainly some stupid stuff but it’s just an element in a larger picture. I don’t know why you wouldn’t look. Even bad reviews might cause me to think positively about someone. I found these responses strangely emotional.

Image vs Text

Inspired by Alan Levine’s foray into random manipulation of images through text, I opened up this round’s #giffight image and replaced all the $ signs with ¢ symbols. I am now an ordained oracle of some sort.

$ vs ¢

Fury vs Furry

I keep seeing a maniacal gleam in that dog’s eye now. Clearly a minor typo but one that is fun and a good contribution to further “how little does it take to turn a sentence inside out” ideas.

Personal Planes and Devices That Talk Back

strange world

Week No. 2 – Walking at Work

A few photographs from my walk to and from work during week two. Farther down are some shots of Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond- someplace I’ve always meant to go. I managed to forget my charger at work this weekend and it turns out the cemetery is only a few blocks away. We’ll consider it a fortuitous accident.

Walking at Work

The whole set is here.







Hollywood Cemetery

The whole set is here.

D. J. Saunders




SA Lacy

A Non-Definition of OER

THe following two photographs of slides are from David Wiley’s presentation on open education (which was awesome). I am playing against his definition for a variety of reasons which may become clear as I progress.


(1) Any kind of teaching materials- textbooks, syllabi, lesson plans, videos, readings, exams

“Teaching materials” are in the eye of the beholder but leading with this phrase puts people in a certain mindset around content and one that is actually harmful. People make fun of “educational” resources for good reason. A large part of what needs to be opened is our ideas around what content might be educational and how we might use that content.


(2) Free and unfettered access, and
(3) Free permission to engage in the “4R activities

I won’t argue much with #2, although I do realize I “pay” for access to some of this content when a 3rd party tracks me.

While I recognize the importance and goodness of #3, I hate to exclude all the content that falls outside that definition. I’d rather have a larger “house” of content and a few rooms that help people decide what they can do with it. I think it’s actually good that content might be ephemeral and might eventually go away. I am ok that I can’t remix certain things. I still find the content worth using. My goal is to first get people to open their eyes to the wealth of really engaging content around us and then the idea of remixing and making that content becomes both more likely and more interesting.

See Food!
I tend to see this as representative of most “teaching materials” only less exciting. The content is pre-chewed and equally unappetizing.

I’ll start with fairly normal media sources and drift outward towards stranger places and tools.

[Invitation to attend the execution of Tiburcio Vasquez]
The Flickr Commons has many good things (and a decent search interface), including this invitation to an execution that I found randomly as a result of subscribing to this RSS feed of the Commons’ photos. Since I knew Jim Groom was teaching a course on crime I passed it on and Jim did the rest. It’s also a decent example of the value of working in the open. If people know what you’re doing they may come bearing gifts. My favorites in Flickr are full of items waiting for uses.

This disturbing film records the successful experiments in the resuscitation of life to dead animals (dogs), as conducted by Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko at the Institute of Experimental Physiology and Therapy, Voronezh, U.S.S.R. Director: D.I. Yashin.

I found this very disturbing video on specifically wandering around the Prelinger archives which are full of all sorts of odd things. All this content is remixable and the potential is limited only by time and imagination.

XKCD's What if?
There is a cartoonist who specializes in romance, sarcasm, math, language and happens to answer hypothetical physics questions on a weekly basis. I find this interesting in a variety of ways- not the least of which is that there is an audience for this. There is even a Twitter account that documents all the interesting numbers found in the pursuit of these answers.

There are so many beautiful podcasts out there. This one is amazingly well done and a model for how we might teach history- 18th, 19th, and 20th century lenses on the same topic. They interview experts and provide resources that allow people to delve even deeper. This kind of thing starts to get at the idea of transmedia- different media paths with different depths driven, to some degree, by a narrative. The timely nature of the content is also quite useful- this Columbus episode for instance which would go nicely with this Oatmeal comic.1

There are so many things out there, it helps to have other people tell you about them. Eric Hoefler let me know about this one.

I do think it’s worth noting that I’m ok with degrees of “truth” from these sources. I want all information to be suspect.

There’s an endless additional supply of media but from here I’ll start to branch out into the idea that tools have as much or more value. A few of my favorites are below. I like them because they start with plenty of content and plenty of options but they also offer you the ability to fill them with your own data.

(Not sure why Gapminder doesn’t generate a screenshot via the WordPress Snap feature. . . it is a real place. You can click on the 404 image and go there.)

Google Earth/Google Maps- Short version – It’s full of stars.

Many Eyes

Under the tools category also falls all sorts of javascript libraries – Timeline JS, Simile Widgets, Dojo etc. etc.

And then there are people, so many people focused on finding interesting things in various areas of focus. A few content focused examples include2

Shorpy Fresh Photons It's OK to be Smart Literary Tattoos Literally Unbelievable

And what’s better than people? Communities. Legions of people working towards your goals is handy.

Like this reddit focused on colorizing historical photos.
Colorized History

1 and some fava beans

2 I would note that content focused blogs should be rounded out. It’s important to look outside education.

Real Life

Jon Wirsing was kind enough to share a couple of baby rat snakes the didn’t want around his house (and his wife Karen was even kinder to deliver them). For some reason we rarely run into snakes despite quite a bit of time in the woods. I think we’re just too loud.

The kids were clearly incredibly excited. Two snakes and four kids led to some sharing issues which are always interesting when live animals are concerned. Five or six frogs (escapes required new captures) helped fill in as did a grasshopper and a roly-poly.1


I believe these kinds of experiences are invaluable. Because of my role, many people who don’t know me that well assume that I find technology a seamless substitute for virtually anything. I’m pretty sure they picture me in a basement somewhere avoiding physical contact with things.


I can give these experience to my own children. I can take the risk or make the extra effort. There is no doubt in my mind these moments will stay with them creating memories that will be built upon and which will result in more learning and more interest in the world around them.


We talked about poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and how the shape of the pupil was a very good way to help tell the difference between the two.2 There was serious consideration given to the snakes’ body temperature.


1 Which I now know is a crustacean and a South Korean pop hit.

2 Now I have some additional comments for them on why it’s vertical although I would assume predators are predators when it comes to vision needs.

Colonial Research – Ephemera

Beaver Hats

Here are examples of hats made of felted beaver fur, because if you ask your students to draw a picture of a beaver hat, you’re likely to get some sort of coonskin monstrosity. (Seriously, you should try that.)

Pukestocking, Puke-stocking, Puke Stocking

tl;dr – Being called puke-stocking likely has everything to do with fashion instead of seasickness.
Despite many sites claiming that Pilgrims were called puke stockings, I can’t find anything substantial to back that up (and now think it means something entirely different anyway). I did find a reference to puke stockings in Shakespeare’s King Henry IV

Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button,
not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,–

Which led first to this explanation and then to this one which seems to have some backing.

In 1598, when Shakespeare wrote his play, “puke” was a very fine grade of woolen cloth, often used to make stockings as well as other garments. This kind of “puke” first appeared in English in the mid-15th century, derived from the Middle Dutch word “puuc,” meaning “the best grade of cloth.” Interestingly, “puke” cloth was, in Shakespeare’s day, usually dyed deep bluish-black or dark brown, leading to the term “puke color.” This “puke,” however, is unrelated to the brownish-purple color we know today as “puce,” which takes its name from the French word for “flea.” Apparently if one looks very, very closely at fleas (I’ll pass, thanks), they are purple-brown in color.


John Smith

tl;dr – Captain John Smith was not a nice man.

Thus haue you heard the particulars of this massacre, which in those respects some say will be good for the Plantation, because now we haue iust cause to destroy them by all meanes possible: but I thinke it had beene much better it had neuer happened, for they haue giuen vs an hundred times as iust occasions long agoe to subiect them, (and I wonder I can here of none but Master Stockam and Master Whitaker of my opinion.) Moreouer, where before we were troubled in cleering the ground of great Timber, which was to them of small vse: now we may take their owne plaine fields and Habitations, which are the pleasantest places in the Countrey. Besides, the Deere, Turkies, and other Beasts and Fowles will exceedingly increase if we beat the Saluages out of the Countrey, for at all times of the yeare they neuer spare Male nor Female, old nor young, egges nor birds, fat nor leane, in season or out of season with them, all is one. The like they did in our Swine and Goats, for they haue vsed to kill eight in tenne more then we, or else the wood would most plentifully abound with victuall; besides it is more easie to ciuilize them by conquest then faire meanes; for the one may be made at once, but their ciuilizing will require a long time and much industry. The manner how to suppresse them is so often related and approued, I omit it here: And you haue twenty examples of the Spaniards how they got the West-Indies, and forced the treacherous and rebellious Infidels to doe all manner of drudgery worke and slauery for them, themselues liuing like Souldiers vpon the fruits of their labours. This will make vs more circumspect, and be an example to posteritie: (But I say, this might as well haue beene put in practise sixteene yeares agoe as now.)

Page 147

Not Everyone Was A Jefferson Fan

ames Akin’s earliest-known signed cartoon, “The Prairie Dog” is an anti-Jefferson satire, relating to Jefferson’s covert negotiations for the purchase of West Florida from Spain in 1804. Jefferson, as a scrawny dog, is stung by a hornet with Napoleon’s head into coughing up “Two Millions” in gold coins, (the secret appropriation Jefferson sought from Congress for the purchase). On the right dances a man (possibly a French diplomat) with orders from French minister Talleyrand in his pocket and maps of East Florida and West Florida in his hand. He says, “A gull for the People.”

Internet Ephemera – Sociology Edition


Reducing a player’s worth to a single number can be contemptible, says John Thorn, a seminal sabermetric writer and the author of the 1984 book The Hidden Game of Baseball. That book introduced the Linear Weights System, which attaches a value in runs to every offensive event. (For instance, a single when the book was released was worth 0.47 of a run.) Linear Weights System provides the mathematical basis for WAR’s offensive components. Thorn, while supportive of WAR, criticizes the way it is often deployed to end an argument.

“The current lowest common denominator of statistical writing is the fixation on comparing Player A with Player B, which seems to me not only worthless but serves to obscure the larger story of baseball,” Thorn says. “Enjoyment of baseball is like enjoyment of art. If you decide it has to have a utilitarian function & you make it seem like work. It’s supposed to be play.”


Given there aren’t many baseball players, they are already filmed and analyzed from virtually every angle1 in a game that’s relatively simple compared to something like, say, teaching, I don’t have a lot of hope for the assessment of teacher quality working out well. Roger Shank doesn’t make me feel any better.

We’re trivializing the idea of evaluating teachers in part because culturally we don’t value the position or the skills. There’s likely some way to look at teaching with at least a degree of circumspection but all portents seem to indicate we are going to do the opposite.

While education isn’t supposed to be “play” (or fun for that matter), teaching is part of larger story that requires a wider lens. Culturally, we love to over-simplify down to a single metric for success be it a number or letter2. I doubt that’ll change and as a result we do ourselves harm.

Insights on Humanity?

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching

Castle Grayskull and Diomedes- there has to be a sociology project in the way people name wireless networks.

I used a blank Chrome account with no cookies etc. just to see what Google auto-completed with the prompt “I hate ___” and then when through the alphabet. Simply because I wanted to know. Even if it means nothing, it’d make for an interesting justification writing assignment.

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching

I was looking for a site I went to that describe the texture of a particular mega-herb as like “hairy celery.” I’m hoping the autocompletes are the result of some wayward SEO attempt. I opted not to follow them to their Internet conclusion just in case my imagination was correct.

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary site lets you indicate why you looked up a specific word via Facebook. Absent all the tracking etc. (which is a big absence) that’s a pretty cool feature and could lead to some interesting discussions. Seems like the context and multiple angles through which people are approaching words adds context and realism.

1 Take a look at the coaches per individual skill and compare to how we try to

2 or series of letters – PhD

Internet Detritus – History Continued

Same as it ever was

The Massachusetts Body of Liberties 1620

More proof Pilgrams were more interesting than your history book would admit with a hat tip to my own dad for sending the link.

No torture . . . unless you’re convicted and we feel like you’re holding something back but we promise not to be “Barbarous” or “inhumane.”

45. No man shall be forced by Torture to confesse any Crime against himselfe nor any other unlesse it be in some Capitall case, where he is first fullie convicted by cleare and suffitient evidence to be guilty, After which if the cause be of that nature, That it is very apparent there be other conspiratours, or confederates with him, Then he may be tortured, yet not with such Tortures as be Barbarous and inhumane.

And of course the classics . . .

(Deut. 13. 6, 10. Deut. 17. 2, 6. Ex. 22.20)
If any man or woeman be a witch, (that is hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit,) They shall be put to death.


(Lev. 24. 15,16.)
If any person shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father, Sonne or Holie Ghost, with direct, expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall curse god in the like manner, he shall be put to death.

Notice the Biblical references that back up the laws. What’s also really cool is that I can link to these passages in the Geneva Bible that the colonists were likely using. The Internet is truly amazing and these bible people have put in some serious work.

Strangely, I have to give a NSFW warning as there’s also stuff about homosexuality and not eating the animals that are victims of beastiality that you might have to worry about depending on your community. It gives quite a bit of insight into the community’s concerns but may not be worth any additional drama.

Civil War Map

Attack on Ft. Mcallister II
Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 10.50.31 PM

A really nice high resolution image. It’d be nice to have students try to create a map of the local area or their homes and compare their efforts to this. There are also a lot of details in this map that make for a variety of document based questions. Georgia also has some really good compilations of primary source material on the Civil War in a “This Week in Civil War History” format.

Jefferson’s Pen

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching

I’m reading The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo which is part of my tour of all the books available via our library’s ebook provider – OverDrive. Sadly, the app doesn’t allow me to export notes, highlight things, or do anything remotely useful. I can awkwardly take screenshots like the one you see here. But I can only complain so much about free books that are magically on my phone.

Anyway, it’s fairly interesting so far and I came across the Declaration of the Rights of Man article screenshot-ed above. Since I was already in a colonial frame of mine, this seemed to line up pretty well.

From the Declaration of Independence – 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

From the Declaration of the Rights of Man 1789

2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.

Given that Thomas Jefferson played a major role in the writing of both documents, they provide some interesting opportunities for comparison both in terms of these particular lines/words and the documents as a whole. Did Jefferson do a better job in round two? What impact might the subtle difference have?

Internet Detritus – History Edition

I have been building out a timeline for US History to 18761 and so have been wandering around the LOC site and other historical places quite a bit. As a result, I have found many things that interest me and may, just may, interest you.

Here Be Pirates!

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching
via LOC where you can see the whole document.

For as much as there coasts have been and still are infected with divers piratical sea rovers and other enemies; whereby sundry depredations, robberies and damages have been done to and committed upon many of the KING and QUEENS majesties liege subjects, and ?, goods and estates to the great impoverishing and hurt of the same.

Pirates are always a good thing to work into history and it sure looks like these are essentially taxes to pay for defense from said piratical sea rovers. It makes for a good counterpoint to the Boston Tea Party.

Remember that f looking s is not just for decoration- learn about the long s at Wikipedia.

Castaway Dental Tips

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by bionicteaching
There was just something about the fact that the stranded sailors came back with shining white teeth that amused me. I was also surprised no one sold an extract of this plant on late night TV.

This passage is from Island of the Lost by Joan Druett.

In 1864 two ships were wrecked on remote and uninhabited Auckland Island, some 385 miles from New Zealand. Five seamen in the far south survive, astonishingly, for nearly two years before building a vessel and setting off in what would become one of the most courageous voyages of the sea.

It’s a decent book with a few issues but it did lead me down some interesting roads exploring megaherbs and sub-antarctic plant life. Turns out the plant is very hard to grow and the consistency is like hairy celery. I read many other pages but that should be enough to get you started if you want to go down a strange path.

Passive Aggressive Wills from Plymouth

I give to my twoe Overseers Mr John Carver and Mr Williamson, twentye shillinges apeece to see this my will performed desiringe them that he would have an eye over my wife and children to be as fathers and freindes to them ; Allsoe to have a speciall eye to my man Robert wch hathe not so approved himselfe as I would he should have done.

In the spirit of Passive Aggressive Notes the not so recently deceased William Mullins (1620) lets his man Robert know he needs to step up his game. Lots more wills (and other primary source material) where that came from over at The Plymouth Colony Archive Project.


To those used to the smell of servants just from a ship, they will be easily discovered, unless they have procured new clothes. – full notice

I cannot imagine that smell.

FREDERICKSBURG, October 9, 1770. RUN away from the subscriber last Saturday night, an indented servant man named JOHN FLETCHER; he is an Englishman, by trade a tanner, about 25 years of age, 6 feet high, short brown hair, his left leg has a very large sore on it, which may be easily discovered by the stain through his trowsers, and has a very bad smell when nigh him; his apparel is a light coloured frize coat, with broad white metal buttons, a blue frize jacket, a check shirt, oznabrig trowsers, with buckskin breeches under them, a felt hat, and country made shoes almost new, with pewter buckles in them; he is fond of liquor, and playing cards. Whoever apprehends the said servant, and brings him to me in Fredericksburg, shall have THREE POUNDS reward, and reasonable charges; if taken and secured in any gaol so as I get him again, shall have FORTY SHILLINGS reward, paid by WILLIAM HOUSTON. – original post

Another smell related notice. I’m amazed someone wants this guy back.

. . . he carried with him a Book or two: He lately came from New-York, in the Sloop Henry, and talks good English; and pretends to talk Spanish, and to be a Frenchman. – full notice

This is one of those pieces of information that gives rise to so many questions. Could he read? Which books? Why? Can he really speak Spanish/French? If not, why pretend? It begs for some historical fiction.

Probably enough for now. It does amaze me how much interesting primary source material is sitting out there waiting for people to use it.

1 I’m using Timeline JS and the Google spreadsheet option. It’s pretty slick and easy but writing anything beyond a sentence in a spreadsheet has some serious drawbacks.