I am part of what I call the PolyWogg Reading Challenge, a year-long “book club” with low intensity, lots of variety, and monthly themes. It’s nothing big, a small group of friends/family and myself, with me acting as ringleader. Part of the goal was to encourage me to read more and to have small discussions with others without being overwhelmed by the firehose approach of sites like GoodReads.
Most of the time, I read for simple pleasure. Many of my choices are murder mysteries — detectives, lawyers, detectives and lawyers, amateur sleuths, coroners, consulting detectives, etc. Way back in the ’90s, I followed an online discussion group and they had a list of rules for participation, one of which said that members were not allowed to discuss Anne Perry’s backstory.… Read the rest
Over the last few years, I have been increasingly active in a few active fora online. In particular, multiple ones related to amateur astronomy and a couple related to WordPress. My participation is generally two-fold — I both learn from others and help newbies with their questions. I’ve also been active in the past in groups related to my son’s health issues, although those are often more sharing of experiences than directly helping anyone.
One thing that I am particularly good at is framing information in a way that a newbie can understand it, orient themselves to the topic, and then proceed with a rudimentary schema for processing various types of other information coming their way.… Read the rest
A friend shared an article this week from the Atlantic written by Amanda Mull (The Pandemic Is Resetting Casual Friendships – The Atlantic) about the impact of the pandemic on social ties. The content isn’t revolutionary, cutting-edge, or original, but I really like the way she explains the breakdown. In essence, she uses the standard sociological explanations of people having different types of friendships, acquaintances, etc. radiating out from your “self” and talks about the tier 3 and beyond links that have been severed due to the isolation.
Tier 1 is your immediate social network and would normally include your family and best friends.… Read the rest
The New York Times has a great article from David Leonhart where he tries to predict what life in 2022, a scant 18 months from now, will look like in America. He assumes no vaccine arrives this year, and that we continue to see waves of outbreaks and lockdowns.
From a business perspective, he talks about which business models will likely prove less than resilient in weathering the storm. Some likely casualties are those who were already vulnerable businesses…newspapers losing advertisers, traditional department stores (Eatons, Zellers, K-Mart, WoolCo, Target have all bit the dust in Canada long ago) losing out to Walmart and Amazon, and malls closing when they lose their department store anchors.… Read the rest
The final assignment for the course, “Metaliteracy: Empowering yourself in a connected world”, is to create a digital artifact of some kind — a story, video, podcast, etc. — tied to the theme of metaliteracy, metacognition, and the topics of the previous 3 weeks. The goal is to help teach some aspect of it to someone else. For me, one of the most interesting areas of metaliteracy falls into the area of ethics. And I think I have something unique to say.
Metaliteracy and Ethics
It’s quite interesting that so many people talk about the “ethical use of information” on the internet and in journals, on talk shows and in lecture halls.… Read the rest