You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Education’ tag.
The main purpose of a political party is to get its members elected to office and then push specific objectives that follow a sustained line-of-thinking.
Although our current president (I used small caps, purposefully) Barack Obama, is clearly more interested in staying in office for the sake of just being in office. He is apparently in mortal fear, now, of being ousted after a single term – an ultimate form of humiliation suffered by tense denizens of the Oval Office (see the hapless Jimmy Carter). This is the only reason he petulantly gave up his efforts to over-tax the wealthy (under his own earthly father’s vision). But, let’s all of us, collectively, firm up our satisfaction in knowing the fellow and his government whore group have been routed (as in seriously ass-kicked).
Meanwhile… Parties are, otherwise, made up of people who have the same general idea and goals about governing. Once in power, the purpose of the Party is to accomplish its goals for the city, state, or nation. While not in power, the Party acts as the “loyal opposition” until it can elect a majority of its members to power.
Look for Obama to devolve into a form of petulant terrorist if he finds himself wobbling towards lame-duck status under eight years. I’m currently of the belief that he thinks wealthy people, not of his design, don’t deserve their status, and need their assets reallocated to fuel his ideals. More on this later. However, we need to be ready. That’s both the Heterodox and Jeffersonian in me – as well as the Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.
To be clear… The Founding Fathers disliked political parties, calling them “factions” motivated by self interest.
Historical footnote: Then President, George Washington, was so disturbed over the quarreling between Hamilton (Federalists) and Jefferson (anti-Federalists) that he famously devoted much of his Farewell Address to the evils of parties. You need to understand that the people who supported Hamilton and Adams were called Federalists (ironically supporters of the Constitution) but they were not, in fact, an organized political party.
The first recognized party in America was made up of the followers of Jefferson, who, starting in the 1790s, called themselves Republicans (or, I love this, Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans). Hamilton and those who opposed Jefferson, kept the name Federalist and appeared to be content with a form of rabble-rousing.
Let’s be clear, Jefferson’s Republican Party has no ties to the current Republican Party. In fact, the current Democratic Party considers Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as the founders of their party. But, somehow, after Bill Clinton, the Democratic party forgot that they are public servants, and appear more intent on creating an environment that serves their own miserable means.
More later. Read between the lines. Talk amongst yourselves. Care.
There might be the gnashing of teeth. Possibly the shaking of fists. Certainly voices will be raised.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
It’s been a rather long, tumultuous, and educational experiential journey refamiliarizing myself with the PC (as opposed to Apples), Windows – by way of the Android Operating System – and technology in the form of upheaval; the kind that requires and creates change. “Experiential” is an interesting word for the purposes of this post. The word derives it’s meaning from a learning process at the feet of old philosophers, yet it’s also apropos to a dedicated process of learning something new by, essentially, immersion. And, here we are…
Along the way, I find myself constantly reminded that we’ve become terribly reliant upon the internet for information with it being the uncertain arbiter of truth.
So… It’s become my view that the Internet, or any technology can not, will not, and should not act as a proxy to achieve the dreams and social goals we lack the courage to propose, debate, and legislate.
Thusly, I stand firm the Jeffersonian and Heterodox.
And, not often enough, we’ve discussed what being Jeffersonian means, on this Blog. However, today I’ll add some thought around what it does not mean. There will most certainly be the shaking of fists – and, furiously, that. Possibly the gnashing of teeth. Heated words, to be sure. The portent of change, inevitable.
NOTE: Don’t be overly concerned if you are reading this and come to a bound conclusion that you’ve waded, possibly unsuspecting, into my thinking mid-stream. We must all begin somewhere, and it’s how we finish, and that likely, counts for the most.
In any event, I’ll offer this abstract to maneuver you along:
It is often claimed that Internet technology will revolutionize society by privileging the small and benefiting the individual. We term the utopian tendency to hail a new communication technology as an inherently positive, decentralizing, and democratic force. In a manner of speaking this might be referred to as an example of the: “the Jeffersonian syndrome (named in honor of my hero so often appropriated to identify the decentralized, democratic outcome – the predicted triumph of the many over the few).”
It’s not just me, mind you. Others started it…
“Life in cyberspace seems to be shaping up exactly like Thomas Jefferson would have wanted: founded on the primacy of individual liberty and a commitment to pluralism, diversity, and community” (Kapor, 1993).
“…the social liberalism of New Left and the economic liberalism of New Right have converged into an ambiguous dream of a hi-tech ‘Jeffersonian democracy’. Interpreted generously, this retro-futurism could be a vision of a cybernetic frontier where hi-tech artisans discover their individual self-fulfillment in either the electronic agora or the electronic marketplace” (Barbrook & Cameron, 1998).
Social critics dislike paucity. For example, society (that collective you), they (the social critics) complain, suffers when there are too few firms in a market, too few political choices, or too little communication. Small numbers of firms coordinate actions to stifle entry and innovation, largely at the expense of consumers. Concentration at the most extreme results in rapacious monopolies that produce inferior products at high prices. Likewise, a small number of political parties limit voter choice, stifle policy change, and produce voter apathy and special interest politics. Society would clearly be better served, so the critics argue, by greater political choice and the accompanying increased voter participation. Too little communication is also bad for society, as limited communication precludes understanding, diversity, and community.
Weep not for the minority, although, it is that collective “they” that hold most of the power, and the wealth, under many definitions, that is part of it.
Social critics often place their hopes in technology to erode the dominance of the few and foster diversity. Many view the internet as a liberating technology. Indeed, they embrace the internet as subversive, a technology that will pry power away from the few – tyrants, censors, robber barons and phone monopolies (let’s not forget Obama, Obamacrats, and that insidious media) and return it to the people. The internet, so the critics claim, will usher in a new era of perfect market competition, more direct democracy, and greater community-building (cf. Dyson, 1997). Ultimately, it will undermine the dominant few in many segments of society, and usher in a more democratic and heterogeneous political and economic system. A system that will produce infinite consumer choice in the marketplace, deliver true democracy in the political realm, and provide unlimited and enhanced communication in the cultural realm.
This view leads to fallacious expectations about the impact of technology. And, these misguided expectations are cyclic and predictable. Corollary to this might be a brief historical discussion of earlier communication technologies. Jeffersonian claims about the Internet are rebutted by the three propositions:
1. New technologies do not operate in isolation from existing organizations and systems;
2. Valuable information is never cheap; and,
3. The economics of information markets imply concentrated structures.
And, so… The Internets non-Jeffersonian impact on economic, political, and community structures is discussed using three cases:
1. The online market for books;
2. The claims made about direct democracy; and,
3. And, political parties, and the hopes for computer- mediated communities.
It’s not that I wish to promote an opposite, dystopian perspective, nor do I consider the Internet impotent in terms of societal change.
Instead, I wish to call attention to the Jeffersonian-esque view of technology as a very predictable mis-perception that is a waste of our energies.
First, as a society we must, in reasoned deliberation, conclude that we are in need of one or more of the goals we have discussed here; be it less concentrated markets, greater economic efficiency, more direct democracy, a more decentralized political system, or more participatory and emancipatory communities.
Second, after a rational analysis of our goal and the changes needed in the social, political, and economic domains to approach it (addressing also the question of if and how “the” internet has the potential to aid us in these ends).
Third, and perhaps finally, we need to advance that goal through policy.
The hype surrounding technology is also predictably old: the introduction of the PC ushered in the “PC revolution” quite simply because many analysts expected the technology to usher in just that – a revolution (a revolution of what and how the revolution was to happen was never quite specified). The hype and bluster of the internet and in particular electronic markets is thus just yet another round of new technologies and anticipated revolutions.
Think in terms of what the catapult meant to war nine hundred years ago.
These technologies have had, and may yet have, a broad range of important and far-reaching implications. The question on the table is whether these technologies will deliver on the promised Jeffersonian expectations of decentralization and democratization, or whether this revolution will yet again fail to materialize. As I’ll struggle, here, in my own inarticulate manner, to have made clear, the weight of history leads us to doubt, the present conditions in electronic commerce lead us to doubt, the claims made about direct democracy lead us to doubt, and the idolatry of the computer-mediated community lead us to doubt.
This makes me perhaps not fearful, but certainly watchful of the idyllic, sophomoric generation that sees computers and the internet as the “easy button”.
While this post has approached these domains largely using an economic perspective, I’ll grimly suspect that judicious analysis from other perspectives would also cast the Jeffersonian expectation in an unflattering light. But, stay focused on me. But, as my own Mother expounded: Question everything, and accept nothing until the truth of the day is best known.
Where the drive of the heterodox crosses paths with the passion and intellectual nuance of the Jeffersonian, you’ll find that truth in the light of the seeking heart.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
For the sake of a balanced argument – and fair, possibly, unbiased opinions (think: informed decision-making), Electronista has a short article on the: lack of Flash for WebOS.
My views over Steve Jobs’ and Apples position relative to Adobe and it’s sagging Flash products are well considered, documented, and understood (consider my prior post: the Flash on apple debate isn’t PC). But, now that Adobe has finally released Flash 10.1 and released it from it’s beta status, allow me to sum-up the current state of Flash on Mobile Devices:
1. Every non-geek (and people that think they are, otherwise, informed, I have talked to thinks that Flash works on every current phone except the iPhone.
2. Adobe says that Flash 10.1 will work on every mobile device (except Apple). Is this passive aggressive behavior? Or, possibly a marketing twist that inappropriately paints Apple the villain.
3. Adobe has demonstrated a slow, buggy and very crash-prone beta of 10.1 on Android OS 2.2 that appears to ONLY works on the (Google) Nexus One (the phone that all of you know I tried in good faith, and then handed over to my eight year old daughter [who prefers her 3G iPhone]).
4. Palm says Adobe hasn’t given “any sign” it’s close to Flash 10.1 for WebOS.
5. And Flash 10.1 doesn’t run on any other phone, either.
Yet the lack of mobile Flash support is still seen as an Apple problem.
I love that. This continues to demonstrate that the collective we look to Apple for leadership – even in ways the masses (followers) can’t fathom.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
I’m thinking it was either early 2001 or 2002 when David Gardner, the co-founder of The Motley Fool, and I were hanging out here in Atlanta in a local hotel bar pondering optimistic investment options, when it dawned on me how technology is, and will remain, a two-edged sword.
Between the two of us we had six gadgets scattered across a small table that included bulky cellular telephones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s), and one pager (his, not mine), and a camera (again, his not mine). Since, statistically, the odds are good you are reading this blog, and you are at least thirty four years of age, you are probably thinking back with the vision of a similar array of your own.
I was telling David how one of my investors (think Palm Pilot and then PalmOne) that I was coaching and a company I was recruiting for called Handspring had collaborated around the Handspring Vizor devices (that, as you might know, then evolved into the Treo line of products) working with a cellular company to form (what is now) a “smart phone”. The Handspring was a PDA that you could now also use as a phone using a Sprint snap-on module (and, yes, I was an early adopter)! So, you had the least amount of “stuff” you needed to do a lot of business on the fly. By the way… The Handspring and Palm collaboration realized one of the first efforts to utilize USB connectivity for synchronization, and worked brilliantly with the Macintosh operating system out-of-the-box.
I was pondering my gadgets when I looked at him and asked:
“Do you think all this technology simplifies your life and business, or creates more stress and confusion?”
That was another of my “Forrest Gump” moments as we subsequently witnessed that Motley Fool take a lead in driving a great deal of attention around convergence and mobile technology platforms.
With the advent of Apple’s iPad (and, obviously the iPhone) maybe the answer to my question today is: “as complicated as you prefer”.
I think Nicholas Johnson would appreciate that because he likes to fidget and tweak stuff, in the spirit of all things Windows and Google. He is also apparently offended by things “that just work (a la Apple).
And, this will bring me around to what is currently a continued bastion of confusion – the PC (to be sure all computers are, essentially “PC’s” – some are just more PC, or useful, or work, for that matter, than others) – all of them aspiring to be compared to an Apples.
I have an iPhone and I’ve owned hundreds of computers (mostly Apples).
Here is another question in this time of economic uncertainty, continued efforts around convergence, mobility and the unending quest for what the real “truth” is, any where:
“are computers portals to chaos or confusion?”
Today, if you are under forty years of age, and asked a question, you will almost always go to Google.com for the answer. And, this might be where we realize the true cost of chaos. There is an old rule that allows: “if it’s in writing, it must be true”. Print is a powerful tool or weapon – and, misinformation can be the result.
Picture the twenty five year old “techie”, all-sophomoric, to be sure, at a cocktail party when they get challenged with a great question. The first thing they’ll do is whip out their Treo (well… maybe not) or Android device, fire up Firefox and google the question. Whether the information they find is accurate or not, it will often be touted as gospel and spread like wild-fire.
Think about it… If you Google a topic, most of what you read as a result is from blogs (sic), websites designed to influence thinking, white papers based on uncertain facts, “chat” responses posted on written articles of uncertain origin, etc. Other sources of information those which you find on MSN that can include media-hyped head-lines about the stock market and other economic reporting that is rarely based in fact. And, this is what forms our thinking and opinions daily. Wikipedia might have some credibility due to its community-based self-regulation that suggests some integrity from the intellectual community. But, how do you know if you don’t balance the information against information possibly found in a library or research facility.
I studied Social History (not a widely promulgated course-of-study, and some what “unofficial”) – or why things happened at Radford University and through other programs most of you won’t have access too. And, that has helped form my super powers perspective and position as a heterodox and contrarian. For example, if I read about a certain stock on a blog or through an oped, I know how to verify the information – and, first via skepticism. I focus on what most people don’t realize what they don’t know.
I also ask a lot of questions and always cross-reference. And, that is where I’ll end this piece and hope you pass this on as both a historical perspective of reference, and a warning around how to absorb knowledge, form your own super powers for good use, and be part of the solution, and not the problem.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
I’m certain we, that collective we, liked (and, still enjoy) the movie Pulp Fiction (1994) for a broad-range of reasons – all cause celebre.
I appreciated Quentin Tarantino allowing us a vehicle that kick-started the career of Samuel L. Jackson (“Jules Winnfield”) and also re-started the acting careers of John Travolta (“Vincent Vega”) and Bruce Willis (“Butch Coolidge”). I value the ironic humor with it’s numerous pop culture references and extensive use of homage (look for an example below for extra points). But, for me, the best part was the eclectic dialogue. And, supreme amongst all that witty prose was the Samuel L. Jackson character Jules’ liberal use and interpretation of Bible verse as a preamble to his murderous violence. Notably this passage:
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
Jules ritually recites what he describes as a biblical passage: Ezekiel 25:17, before he executes someone. We hear the passage three times – in the introductory sequence in which Jules and Vincent reclaim Marsellus’s mysterious light emanating (and never explained) briefcase from the doomed Brett; that same recitation a second time, at the beginning of “The Bonnie Situation”, which overlaps the end of the earlier sequence; and in the epilogue at the diner.
That being true scripture is Urban Myth and Legend. In fact only a select few words and/or phrases used in his speil are generated from the true scripture. For the sake of clarification, the following is the accurate scripture as presented in the bible (this is not me saying the Bible is accurate):
“I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.” – Ezekiel 25:17
So… My point is that I like creative and nimble prose. I also enjoy senseless contrived cinematic violence. And, as luck, or providence, if you will, would have it, the Bible is chock-full of ass kicking – and, is often a great cinematic source.
As a result of this, a sporting handful of ebullient buddies and I rallied our own witts and have come up with the following cocktail (many of those were also involved, as were Fat Tires and Modelo Especial’s) of bon mots that liberally leveraged Bible verse to promote violent contextual imagery….
“One day, after Moses had flowered into Manhood, he went amongst the people, where his own people gathered, and there, watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating down upon a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way, and then that way, and upon seeing no one of merit, Moses killed the Egyptian, thusly raining vengeance upon him, and hid him in the sand”. – Optimistic Gentlemen
Sure, Moses was a great leader, an emancipator of his people – and, a prophet. Most people don’t know that he also was the Biblical equivalent of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher, a well-honed killing machine, able to slay from the shadows bereft of pity or remorse. Martin Luther King may have had a dream, but Moses had a body count.
Picture the movie scene: An Egyptian soldier is wailing on a hapless Hebrew when Moses, clothed head-to-toe in black, drops down from the ceiling. Moving with cat-like grace, he sneaks up behind the soldier and, taking his head in his hands, snaps the man’s neck with one savage twist. As the lifeless body slumps to the ground, Moses lights up a cigar. “Well,” he muses dryly, “looks like someone bit off more than he could Jew”.
…I refuse to even pretend to be apologetic for that. And, I’ll stand firm in my belief that my Jewish brothers Marc Lewyn and David Taylor-Klaus, Prudent and Optimistic Gentlemen, to be sure, would slap their thighs with me.
II Kings 2:23
“…From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road under the yoke of his God, he came upon some youths come from town and jeering him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead’, they said upon him. ‘Go on up, you balhead’, they said unto him again, and repeatedly. He turned around, and upon them in turn, looking upon them with disdain, and in reply called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the nearby woods and mauled forty-two and six of the youths”.
You’ve been there. I did not say I’ve been there. But, we’ll assume you’re walking along, minding your own business, when a gang of cocky, young bastards start hurling abuse at you. Most of us would just keep walking, or maybe, yell some insults back – or, flip them the bird (example of homage: multiple people have died from Chuck Norris giving them the finger). Elisha (commonly regarded as the Luke Skywalker to the Prophet Elijah’s Obi-Wan Kenobi), however, decides to take it one step further. Invoking the name of God, he summons mother#@*&ing bears to come and claw the @#%& out of them.
You can always count on an ill-timed digression in-and-amongst my blog posts. And, we’ll pause here without exception, and offer this for consideration:
Christians are constantly asking for prayer in schools to help get today’s kids in line. However, we beg to differ in terms of potential tactical options. We clearly need bears in our schools. Public schools, private schools, probably even home schools. If every teacher had the power to summon a pair of child-maiming grizzly avengers, you can bet that schoolchildren nowadays would be the most well-behaved, polite children, ever. It’s a simple choice: listen to the biology lesson, or get first-hand knowledge of the digestive system of Ursus horribilis a-la God himself.
It should be pointed out, as we meander our way back to Elisha (he is such a bad-ass that he struts around with a girls name along the lines of Johnny Cash’s Don’t Call Me Sue), that even after his death, Elisha continued to kick major butt. II Kings 13:20-21 tells us (loose interpretation, here, mind you) that when a dead body was thrown into his tomb and touched Elisha’s bones, it sprang back to life (we’re not clear how the corpse manages this, but we can’t explain the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction either). It’s unknown whether Elisha had this power in life, as well as death, but we like to think he did, and that he had the habit of killing his victims with bears, resurrecting them, and then promptly re-summoning the bears to kill them, again. He’d just repeat the whole thing over and over until he got bored. That’s what we call sending your enemies to endless hell. Never mind purgatory. Pure bear-chomping, endless, hell. This is a terrific foundation for both a action-oriented gore-movie and video-game spin-off.
“…yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the dyas of her wayward you and away from the eyes of her God, when she was a lowly prostitute of high reputation in Egypt (naturally). There, she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses”.
NOTE: We’re giving Kent most of the credit for that one.
And, I’ll warn you now… I’m departing from my typical gentile self and indulging in some striking rude and graphic language, here. Just run with me around this one. But, you’ll also have to participate and utilize some creative word-smithing for full effect.
Contrary to what you may think, the Bible has never shied away from talking about sex. In fact, the entire Song of Solomon is clearly dedicated to describing a couple enthusiastically honoring God, complete with lines like: “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers”. This verse, in, or out, of context, is particularly explicit, though, possibly informing us that Egyptians are hung like farmyard animals, and can ejaculate in quantities to rival the annual flooding of the Nile.
All this imagery is crucial from a socio-historical perspective. It’s relevant to intellectualista’s and movie-buff’s alike because there is perspective of the human dynamic. Keep in mind, the Egyptians were the Jews’ former slave masters and are the bad guys in this particular story (okay and most Biblically-oriented stories). So, you know their reputation for supreme endowment was well earned when the worst their enemies could say was, “Go on! Go back to those big-cocked bastards! We hope you’re pleased with their enormous [insert creative college inspired descriptor].”
It should be noted that those swaggering old Egyptians didn’t exactly run from their reputation. Egyptian ruins are littered with statues like Min, the god of huge dong-having (in the spirit of the original intent of this blog post, this just might remind you of a certain 1980’s teen favorite movie). They even invented the phallic obelisk to advertise it (picture the Washington Monument, that just happens to be an obelisk). That was their statement to the world: “Gaze upon our [insert creative college inspired descriptor] tower and despair.”
I’ll reckon that this carefully interpreted passage creates a problem, certainly a challenge, for many new Bible readers. I’m also going to take some serious heat from my Christian brothers. Oh, really? However, once you’ve read this, it is impossible to go back and read the above referenced story-oriented Bible verse depiction of Moses killing the Egyptian guy the same way. This is verily the stuff of Pulp Fiction. When it speaks of the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave, you have no choice but to imagine Moses turkey slapping the man (look it up). If anything, however, it makes Moses’ deadly intervention all the more justified.
I have a call into Quentin. I’m thinking Tim Roth, or even Samuel L. Jackson, playing the role of Moses. I’m as yet unclear if we go space opera like Star Wars, Post-Modern or Black Comedy. Neo Noir is certainly a possibility.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
Biblically-Oriented Chuck Norris FUN FACTS:
1. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn’t stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.
2. A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris’ shoe. Chuck replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Chuck Norris!” The mere mention of his name cured this mans blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.
3. When his martial arts prowess fails to resolve a situation, Chuck Norris plays dead. When playing dead doesn’t work, he plays zombie.
The timing is of consequence as I am looking to buy a vineyard, and I recently discovered that Publix is carrying Fat Tire beer.
“To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine… And those who don’t and are always seen with a bottle of water in their hand.
As Ben Franklin said:
In wine there is wisdom,
In beer there is freedom,
In water there is bacteria.
In a number of carefully controlled trials, Scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 litre of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli, (E. Coli) – bacteria Found in faeces (poo).
In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poo..
However, We do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process
of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.
Water = Poo,
Wine = Health
Therefore, it’s better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of shit.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information…
I’m doing it as a public service!