Sunday, December 28, 2003

Patrick writes: James will be interviewed for a documentary on Doug Engelbart, our advisor. The site has video clips: http://www.invisiblerevolution.net/ Info on Doug and other advisors is at http://www.k-web.org/about/tac.html

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

PM writes:
I'm looking for readings for a course I'm doing in January based on the kweb. General themes are the use, abuse and ignorance of history, and the nature of creativity (psycho) and innovation (socio-economic). Given student's reputed aversion to history (lowest scores on standardized tests, and 85% do not take a history course in college) I'm looking for surveys and for lively (and perhaps subversive) views. So far, i've come across:

For Want of a Horse , ed John Merriman, collects humorous speculations by historians on what if: Castro had played for the NY Giants (he'd still hate Yankees), Voltaire had moved to Pennnsylvania, if Pocohantas had not intervened in Smith's execution, also the roles of pigeons and borscht in history.

Michael Parenti, who has just published a book on Caesar that's getting good reviews also wrote History as Mystery, on history as propaganda from Christian Era on. A sort of coffeetable picture book chronology, Millenium, yielded some interesting tidbits: Napoleon funded a submarine by Fulton in 1807, which successfully sank a ship in tests, but lost interest when it was found too slow to catch a British warship. (a 1620 Dutch submarine by Drebbel worked well till the leather began to leak). In 1588 bamboo trees defeated samurai. In 1589 Sir John Harington, "saucy godson" to Queen Elizabeth, was banished for telling risque stories; he invented the 1st overhead toilet at Kelston, Somerset. In 1542 Spanish in Brazil were attacked by women with bows and arrows, hence the name Amazon.

A number of the popular histories begin each chapter with a list of questions. Paul Aron extends this in Unsolved Mysteries of History, taking on some chestnuts like why built Stonehenge and why were pyramids built, and who authored Shakespeare's plays, but some are more original: who invented printing, was Mozart poisoned, and why did Hess fly to Scotland?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Friday, December 19, 2003

jack park sent me to an interesting display experiment called valence http://www.fridgebuzz.com/2002_12_01_arch.html which
led me to an interesting thesis on visual display http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/thesis/ which led me to
h3 display (spherical) om page 35 figure 2.3.4 and its creator http://graphics.stanford.edu/%7Emunzner/ who is at UBC, my alma mater and the location of Steve Dipaola and our northern "skunkworks" see a image that does not do the work justice http://ivizlab.sfu.ca/research/knowviz; having read JB, this synchronicity is not w/o precedent ;)

Jim Omura at Moore Foundation suggested we speak to Rich B at Rice University after James and I met with them last month. Seems to be some synergy, so Rich and I are corresponding http://creativecommons.org/getcontent/features/connexions