news (external)

An open listicle to startup founders

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 06:29

Ben Werdmuller, Open Words, Aug 12, 2016

Some fun from Ben Werdmuller. And good advice (and well-times as I seek to move beyond Facebook, somehow). A lot of what he says falls under of the heading "it's been done, it didn't work, move on." The whole point of creating something new is that it has to be new, not just a clone of something else. (We were actually given manuals saying we should describe our innovation as "the X of Y" where X was a well-known concept and Y was a new market. As if.)

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Ascent From Social Media

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 03:30

I think it's time to move on from Facebook. Not to try to replace it, but to rather ascend from it, to get away from the bottom-feeders and think about new ways to connect with family and friends, new ways to cooperate with colleagues around the world.

, , Aug 11, 2016 [Link]
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Disrupting Higher Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-08-12 02:05

by Vala Afshar, Huffington Post

Throughout my career as chief customer officer, and chief marketing officer, I’ve had the privilege to collaborate and serve numerous executives in the higher education industry. Based on my experience, I strongly believe that two of the most disruptive executive thought leaders in higher education are Dr. Marni Baker Stein and Phil Komarny at the University of Texas System (UTx) and the Institute for Transformational Learning (ITL).

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Machine-Learning Algorithm Combs the Darknet for Zero Day Exploits, and Finds Them

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-08-12 02:02

by Emerging Technology, MIT Technology Review

The first machine-based search of online hacker marketplaces identifies over 300 significant cyberthreats every week. In February 2015, Microsoft identified a critical vulnerability in its Windows operating system that potentially allowed a malicious attacker to remotely control the targeted computer. The problem affected a wide variety of Windows operating systems including, Vista, 7, 8 and various others designed for servers and mobile computers. The company immediately issued a fix. But it didn’t take long for details of the vulnerability to spread through the hacker community.

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Saskatoon nurses design online course to build confidence in breastfeeding

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-08-12 02:01

by CBC News

New moms can turn to their smartphones for quick answers to important breastfeeding questions with a new online video developed by two Saskatoon nurses. Cindy Leclerc and Jana Stockham developed the online teaching tool in response to queries from moms-to-be who weren’t able to get to pre-natal classes. The video covers topics such as the benefits of using breast milk, how to know if the baby is getting enough milk and the most comfortable positions. Stockham said it was designed to build confidence in new mothers by helping them prepare for when the baby arrives.

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Superzoom - Fri, 2016-08-12 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News


OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:28

Wikipedia, Aug 11, 2016

Because it's summer and we should be thinking of more than just work, here are the three acts of Scott Joplin's oft-overlooked opera Treemonisha, performed The Houston Grand Opera in 1982: Treemonisha (part 1), Treemonisha (part 2) ,Treemonisha (part 3). Enjoy.

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Skill in Epistemology

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:28

Carlotta Pavese, PhilPapers, Aug 11, 2016

Carlotta Pavese has authored a couple of decent papers on the notion of knowing as a skill (Skill and Knowledge, Skill and Know-How) forthcoming in Philosophy Compass and located in PhilPapers. They won't transform your understanding of knowledge, but they raise questions around what might be called the 'intellectualization' of a skill. For example, we say Robin Hood (a good archer) hit the target because he did the proper things,  while the Sheriff of Nottingham (a poor archer) hit the target only because of luck. The enumeration of 'the proper things' is an 'intellectualization', and may or may not actually explain why Robin Hood hit the target. There are many ways to acquire and instantiate a skill, and indeed, there are skills where we could not possibly 'know how' - perceptual skills, for example. So if knowing is a skill, what does this tell us about knowing? Image: from Google Images, derived and corrupted from here.

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By Votes

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:28

Various authors,, Aug 11, 2016

This is a four-week long hackathon, and so probably not really accessible for most of us. Having said that, this project to develop and build ideas using Etherium is a fountain of creativity. On this page you'll see the projects being considered - from software verification, academic publishing (three of the top five ideas!), internet service providers, voting, identity, land registry, and more. The list seems endless (as you'll see when you scroll and scroll and scroll). Last year they came up with a  reputation index, quadratic voting, and  micropayments for a telephony exchange.

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FacePhi: ‘Selfie’ verification spreads across banks in Latin America

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:28

Kathryn Cave, IDG, Aug 11, 2016

Based in Alicante,  FacePhi has been making inroads in Latin America employing digital recognition technologies to provide identity verification at banks. "Customers can buy the technology and use the algorithm in any way they want,” Mira tells me. This can be used to verify a person’ s face through any form of camera – such as CCTV – but Mira explains two clear use cases have emerged as mobile and web recognition." So I imagine we may be seeing it more and more on the web. FacePhi is not alone in the facial recognition business, of course. But the different companies compliment each other.

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Just when you thought your browser couldn’t do any more …

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:28

Doug Peterson, doug – off the record, Aug 11, 2016

I'm giving a couple new  Firefox experiments a test run:

  • No More 404  - uses the Wayback Machine to find copies of pages that have disappeared from the internet, but still have links
  • Activity stream  - "A rich visual history feed and a reimagined home page..."
  • Tab Center  - "moves your tabs to the side of your browser window"

Firefox is often the browser where new web features are tested and copied by other browsers later. It's one of the reasons I continue to use it.

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Meldepflichtige Infektionskrankheiten

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2016-08-12 00:00

Die im Informationssystem eingespeicherte gestaltbare Tabelle aus dem Bereich "Meldepflichtige Infektionskrankheiten" des Robert Koch-Instituts wurde um das Jahr 2015 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

Are internet populists ruining democracy for the rest of us?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-08-11 15:27

Vyacheslav W. Polonski, The Conversation, Aug 11, 2016

By "ruining democracy for the rest of us" I can only presume that the author means "ruining democracy for the minority" since the whole concept depends on the populists winning majority support. But that aside, it seems to me hypocritical to complain that a media and advertising system  designed for persuasion is being used for persuasion (albeit by the wrong people). And make no mistake - it is traditional media driving what this article calls populism. I think it's the inevitable result of the traditional media platform, partiularly when augmented by mass social networks. In  That Group Feeling I warned against it. In  Groups vs Networks I described how we should reorganize ourselves to respond. But the existing establishment (aka 'the rest of us') depend on mass media and persuasion in order to govern. So there's no interest in reform. They'll just tough it out as through the system works. Until it doesn't.

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Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative Draws 50,000

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-08-11 02:09

by Eleanor Lamb, MeriTalk

Each year, 50,000 students participate in Carnegie Mellon University’s online academic courses as part of the institution’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI). OLI, which began in the early 2000s, is an online learning platform that features not only readings and videos, but also modules, problem-solving exercises, and virtual labs. Norman Bier, Director of OLI and Core Collaborations at CMU, said the initiative aims to create an enriching learning experience for CMU students. “We’re fairly proud of the approach we take,” Bier said. “Those smaller activities are embedded in the flow of watching videos and reading.”

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The best online resources to inspire creativity and innovation

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-08-11 02:04

by SWETA DASH, Your Story

Creativity and innovation are indispensable pre-requisites for success in today’s world. Even businesses need to be creative and innovative in order to have long-term durability. Thanks to the internet and social media, inspiration is available right at our fingertips. Here are five of the best online resources that will inspire you to be more creative and innovative: Brain Pickings describes itself as an “inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more.”

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11 top-rated online college courses you can take for free

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-08-11 02:03


What’s better than a top-rated, liberal arts college education? Getting one for free, of course. Though it’s impossible to go online and simply sign up for a full degree-eligible number of courses at one of these schools, some schools have made it possible to take one or two courses online completely free of charge. Whether you’re still in school, recently graduated or haven’t opened a textbook in decades, the desire to learn more about the subjects that interest you doesn’t always have to come at a steep price. Maybe you’ve always been interested in social psychology, or had a desire to learn coding one day in the future. With these (highly credible) and easy options available remotely and for free, it’s time to stop putting off expanding your academic portfolio to some day in the future and start hitting the books today.

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Opening up Education: A Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-08-11 00:25

Andreia Inamorato dos Santos;Yves Punie;Jonatan Castaño Muñoz, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Aug 10, 2016

This publication (78 page PDF) is the "final outcome of the OpenEdu project".  The document rolls up results from a number of studies, including MOOCknowledge, OpenCred, and OpenSurvey. The framework "identifies 10 dimensions of open education, giving a rationale and descriptors for each. Here's the list: access, content, pedagogy, recognition, collaboration, research, strategy, technology, quality and leadership. The first six are "core" dimensions, focusing on the 'what', while the latter four are "transversal" dimensions and focus on the 'how'. Each dimension can be refined firther; for example, "Quality in open education refers to the convergence of the 5 concepts of quality (efficacy, impact, availability, accuracy and excellence) with an institution's open education offer and opportunities." That said, the report (widely) does not offer a strategic plan for openness. "There is no consensus on what opening up education means and hence little common ground on which to build collaboration," write the authors.

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Investigating the Potential of Blockchains

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-08-10 21:25

Open University, Aug 10, 2016

This is a very clearly written description of blockchain technology and how it can be used in education. It mostly quotes from John Domingue, director of the Open University's Knowledge Media Institute. See also this  position paper from Domingue and three other authors and an article by Robert Herian on  trusteeship in a post-trust world, and a webcast by Hugh Halford-Thompson on how blockchain technologies will change industries. But of course the best proof is in the demo, and the web page has a number of videos illustrating what the blockchain running on  Etherium could enable, including conference registrations, reputation systems, and open badges. It's easy to become enthusiastic about blockchains, but it should be kept in mind that a blockchain is nothing more than a ledger; the actual work takes place outside the blockchain environment. And we should be careful not to overvalue things that can be represented in blockchains, and to question whether we actually need the representation. Do students need badges, or job offers? Do contractors need reputation points, or trust?

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With $3.2M Series A, Viridis Aims to Connect Community College Students and Employers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-08-10 18:25

Tony Wan, EdSurge, Aug 10, 2016

I've been talking for a while now about how future students will receive jobs offers or contracts as recognition for their learning, as opposed to badges or certificates. The LPSS program was looking at this last year. Now it looks like the commercial opportunity has been seized. "Students will see a list of relevant programs available from local community colleges. Viridis’ 'Skills Passport' will reflect students’ completed coursework and allow employers to review it. 'Through this passport, we’ re able to validate students’ skills and become a sort of ‘ Equifax for employment’ ,' Ortiz tells EdSurge." There's probably still room in this marketplace, and I think there's a lot more potential in portable (and usable) personal learning records than there is in analytics. But you have to build it first.

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How to (seriously) read a scientific paper

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-08-10 15:24

Elisabeth Pain, Science, Aug 10, 2016

This is not a how-to article as the title suggests but rather a collection of dozens of short comments describing how various people - ranging from students to professors to editors - read scientific papers. There's a lot in common across the different accounts. They typically start with the title and abstract, jump to the conclusion, and look at the figures. From there the methodology varies a lot. I read scientific papers every day as a part of my job. My method is similar. I will focus more on methdology because it helps me weed out the trivial (eg., studies where n=6). I skim the literature view (which is almost always a list of cites in prose form, and rarely an actual summation). I focus on the discussion. The conclusion is less interesting than you might think; researchers often 'bury the lede' - the most important point may be something they observe in passing rather than in the statement of outcomes.

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