Whenever I substitute teach in High School or Middle School, I survey my classes by asking “Do you use Facebook?” The answer is usually everyone. But when I ask “Do you use Twitter?” the unanimous response is “No. Why would I?”
Twitter appears to most people to be a vanity tool used to announce what I’m eating for dinner. Howard Rheingold agrees, but sees something there that most people miss:
“Sure, Twitter is banal and trivial, full of self-promotion and outright spam. So is the Internet. The difference between seeing Twitter as a waste of time or as a powerful new community amplifier depends entirely on how you look at it – on knowing how to look at it.”
[From Twitter Literacy (I refuse to make up a Twittery name for it) : Howard Rheingold : City Brights]
When you follow quality users, and dig deeper into trends and tags, you have the opportunity to receive an ongoing education in diverse thinking, news and tools that you can’t find anywhere else.
Give Howard’s article a read for yourself. I think you will find it describes a Twitter you didn’t know existed.
And then, if you are interested, you can follow me here:
“Stupid risks are what make life worth living.”
– Homer Simpson
Are We Losing Our Memory? How ever-changing technology is causing us to lose the visual record of our history.:
Rising over the battered surface of the moon, Earth loomed in a shimmering arc covered in a swirling skin of clouds.
The image, taken in 1966 by NASA’s robotic probe Lunar Orbiter 1, presented a stunning juxtaposition of planet and moon that no earthling had ever seen before.
It was dubbed the Picture of the Century. “The most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” remembered Keith Cowing, who saw it as an 11-year-old and credited it with eventually luring him to work for NASA.
But in the mad rush of discovery, even the breathtaking can get mislaid.
NASA was so preoccupied with getting an astronaut to the moon ahead of the Soviets that little attention was paid to the mountains of scientific data that flowed back to Earth from its early space missions. The data, stored on miles of fragile tapes, grew into mountains that were packed up and sent to a government warehouse with crates of other stuff.
And so they eventually came to the attention of Nancy Evans, a no-nonsense woman with flaming red hair that fit her sometimes-impatient nature. She had been trained as a biologist, but within the sprawling space agency she had found her niche as an archivist.
Evans was at her desk in the 1970s when a clerk walked into her office, asking what he should do with a truck-sized heap of data tapes that had been released from storage.
“What do you usually do with things like that?” she asked.
“We usually destroy them,” he replied.
In the Winter 2000 issue of Whole Earth Magazine I came across an article about Long Now Foundation’s work to create a 10,000 year clock. (shown above)
The following comment in the article caught my eye. “Danny Hillis’s idea was that by slowing down the usual speedy movements of a clock, he hoped to slow us down and have us think about the long term. The purpose of a clock that runs for 10,000 years is to encourage us to create things that require 10,000 years to measure. A great civilization for instance.” Continue reading
Today, while driving to Ephrata, we were listening to the classic rock station. I looked at my 12 year old daughter and asked “who is this band?” She gave me a sheepish look and said “I don’t know.” I threw up my hands in despair and said “U2!”
I’ve been on a path to try and teach my kids what I consider to be the essential bands to know to be culturally literate. U2. Journey. They already know Prince. The Beatles. The Beach Boys. I was trying to think who else to add. Madonna. Probably the Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead. Phish. Of course, this is only rock, and only from the 60′s on. Credence Clearwater Revival probably belongs on the list. Bob Dylan too, though I’m actually unfamiliar with his music.
Aesthetically, I should make them familiar with Jazz and Classical too. Bill Evans. Pat Metheny Group. John Coltraine. Miles Davis. Mozart. Handel.
Who would you add? Post in the comments. And if anyone says “Weird Al,” you are getting flamed
I remember sitting in class at Bible college while my teacher would explain different points on a timeline of the end times. It all seemed so speculative to me, though shared with such an air of certainty. I’ve always been a skeptic regarding end times prophecies, including those that are interpretations of the authority itself, the Bible. Then I happened across the Bible teaching of Steve Gregg and discovered that the current school of Biblical prophecy interpretation is very modern. Someday I’ll write more about it… I’ve been meaning to. Suffice it to say, the beliefs popularized by the “Left Behind” books are very different from that of the historical church.
This has left me with the germ of a thought that I would like to research more. Why are we so fascinated by end-times prophecies and speculation. I don’t really know where to go to research the psychology behind it. So I thought I’d ask you, my readers. What do end-times prophecies mean to you? What meaning do they give to your life? Why is studying them important to you? Do prophecies help you by making the future more tangible? Do they make you hopeful or afraid?
I hope to hear from you.
All around us, we are seeing signs that the economy is going south. The dollar is weak. Gas is nearly $4 a gallon here in Idaho. People are losing their homes and those who are selling theirs are having a hard time.
I’ve spotted another sign: checking cashing and high interest loan businesses. My wife and I both work full time jobs. And we have the added income of student loan money. But still times are tough for us. Because I had to take a job living away from the family we have an additional rent cost. And I drive over 30 miles to work every morning. So we have troubles making ends meet. When we find our selves with more month then money, I often find myself noticing all the check cashing places on the boulevard and thinking “there but the grace of God go I,” and worry that God’s grace is going to run out and there I’ll be.
Recently I noticed that there seemed to be an awful lot of these places. So yesterday I drove down the boulevard and counted. I discovered there is a whopping 13 of these businesses in just two miles.
I think that this is a sign of the economy we live in. The cost of my yogurt, milk and gas have gone up, but my earning power has not.
A couple months ago I was with my wife at a debate contest. We sat down at the judges lounge with an acquaintance of hers who travels with the team. I sat uncomfortably through his demeaning talk about the poor clients in his social work and how they take advantage of the system. But then he decided to minimize the pain of the recession by comparing it to the depression. I blew up. People who are comfortable don’t understand the pain lower income people are in as the economy turns south. They don’t understand that the working poor are becoming trapped by the cycle of credit at these predatory lending businesses. 13 of them!
There but by the grace of God go I. These institutions are preying on the working poor. We need to show more compassion for those who are working hard but having trouble making ends meet. I know I’m talking about myself here. But I have also fallen prey to the lure of judging the poor, thinking they are getting a free ride by the system. That they have control of their situation if they would only work hard. It’s not as easy as that. Poverty is a complicated problem. And part of the equation now are these yellow buildings with red trim offering temporary relief at a high interest rate.
I’ve put a lot of time into trying to organize my world and read a lot about personal productivity. Always with the mindset that I am not accomplishing all I could, and am dropping balls. But this quote from Howard Thurman on the Inward/Outward site says that there is something else to be gained from ordering our lives.
It Takes Time
is true that for many people the demands upon their lives are so great
that only careful planning in terms of a workable time table can see
them through. Even where the demands are not great and overwhelming,
the economy, the efficiency of an established way of functioning, is
undeniable. The purpose of such a pattern is not merely to accomplish
more work and with dispatch, but it is to increase the margin of one’s
self that is available for the cultivation of the inner life. It takes
time to cultivate the mind. It takes time to grow in wisdom. It takes
time to savor the qualities of living. It takes time to feel one’s way
into one’s self. It takes time to walk with God.
Source: The Inward Journey