as time goes by

April 12, 2017

last night a friend (who was also a student at UniMelb and now based in Sydney) had dinner at our house.  It’s been years since we last saw her.  Maybe it was the shared experience but it was a confluence of factors (including our “academic” tendencies and that we didn’t share accommodation).  I’ve got few friends because of my numerous quirks but when you meet someone, you just know if you’ll get along with them.  I’m not that nostalgic but it was good to catch up on “old” times

they might be “giants”

February 23, 2017

Newton coined the expression standing on the shoulder of giants. With the advent of the Internet I think this could be extended by adding goblins and gnomes to giants.

Aside from what to do, I think you can also learn from what NOT to do. Hence the term goblins.  I’ve always felt you can gain from people what to emulate and what to avoid.  Granted some of this may be repetitious but sometimes lessons need to be repeated to ensure they are drilled in thoroughly.

I subscribe to the wisdom of the crowd and individual empowerment.  You can also build upon ideas of people who might not be considered as giants in their field – that’s why I use the term gnome to highlight the contrast.  An idea may be good despite its origin.  Admittedly, we are more likely to learn from “experts” (being a teacher in a former life, it would be hypocritical to think otherwise).  That said, we also need to be open and allow cross-pollination from other disciplines or differing opinions.  All ideas must be given a fair chance.

The original quote will always be valid but IMHO it can do with an adaption to our times.

Gordian Knot

August 31, 2015

MOOCs and Universities are tricky.  On one hand you have practicality, on another you have reputation.  There are a lot of opinions out there.  I do not pretend to know a lot but I try to read as much as I can.

Stephen Downes’ website (http://www.downes.ca) is quite a resource.  You can read his blog or subscribe to his daily online learning e-mail newsletter if this is something that piques your interest

This article is also readable:

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/8/data-technology-and-the-great-unbundling-of-higher-education

In a country with a developing economy such as the Philippines, Internet bandwidth’s a real issue.  That said, the abundance of mobile phones poses a “different” opportunity.  To paraphrase the book “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, don’t take MOOCs verbatim but seek out their intent.

There’s much to ruminate on.

the good book

January 22, 2015

there are several books that I think my son should read (that I’ve read in one form or another.)  Not just because I think it’s good for him academically, help him read more advanced texts. or help him understand his roots better but, ultimately, assist in making himself better.  This is by no means an exhaustive list or in any particular order:

a.) Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterisimo (the English versions, of course – I’m not that cruel)

b.) Nation for Our Children

c.) The Spirituality of Imperfection

d.) Social Things (this doesn’t read as a text book)

e.) The Forgetting Room (One of his names is partly inspired by the protagonist)

f.) The Death Gate Cycle series (it’s a total of 7 books – the first 4 are independent followed by a trilogy that relates the “worlds”)

While books in themselves, don’t have all the answers – they’re a tool that helps us think more about things.

 

better days

October 28, 2014

To paraphrase an expression from the cancer community, you can either be bitter or better. Not to be melodramatic but the same applies to living with a disability.   I’ve felt both – more of the latter lately. All of us with a “problem” can be overwhelmed – there’s no monopoly for this it’s just certain cases are “easier” for us to understand. I know logically that statistically speaking, there are no “bad” days but it sure sometimes feels that way – so does it really matter anyway. Perception is often considered more than reality. Having a shitty day affects our mood – it’s alright to feel this way as long as we keep this to a minimum and are fully aware of our resulting actions (at least that’s what I tell myself) . I’m Human after all and not an Econ. I can’t always be rationale (although generally I think I am). I’m not always logical or an automaton despite my computing background. I’m no paragon of how to behave but I think (hopefully) I’m gradually getting better at accepting it. Like an addict you’re never completely “cured” – every day’s a struggle.

Things won’t necessarily get better as the day progresses but my attitude and how I can handle things can certainly improve. It’s hard for me because my worldview is closer to Marc Maron than it is to Polyanna. Like Jim Jeffries in Legit, I should learn to just make the “best” out of “bad” situations. In short, I should try not to be so grumpy all the time.

I felt like this before I acquired my disability and I feel it now. Some of my views have changed but not all of them – surely in my case it’s just not solely out of life experiences but exposure to others’ thoughts. I’ve used exercise as an outlet lately but have to write sometimes even if it’s difficult. The former doesn’t allow me to express myself and have a “voice.”

back to basics

May 1, 2014

Instead of the 3 Rs: Reading, ‘Riting & ‘Rithmetic, , I think it is necessary for schools to adapt what they teach in a post-industrial society.  Maybe something like Communication, Logic & Ethics is more appropriate.  In a world where professional ethics seems to be a mere afterthought, I think it needs to be integrated with all lessons.  I am not saying we should espouse a certain way of thinking but we could better equip each individual to reflect and think deeply about matters for themselves. I think much of scientific enquiry is divorced of more qualitative aspects.  I understand why people prefer more quantitative measures:  after all, they seem to be more objective and directly manageable.  Unfortunately, most vital things are more complicated than that.  Like most things there needs to be balance: they are not necessarily equal but both need to be accounted for.

ironic

December 25, 2013

neuroscientists don’t believe in the split of functionality of both hemispheres of the brain: logic and creativity require both parts.  It’s ironic that the corpus callosum‘s role is to divide AND connect both sides.

One can’t entirely blame humanity for dualism and binary relation – genralisatiion allows us to deal with everyday life. It’s sometimes easier to define a thing as what it’s not.  There’s a bias towards rationale and objectivism – science and history has made it so.  Qualification has it’s place but it’s not the end all and be all.  Like most things, balance is at the root of humanism.

I’ve included a brief animation as a “meme” (and because I think it’s cool):

http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate/animate/rsa-animate-the-divided-brain