Thursday, January 31, 2008


Joyce Fetteroll found a fun article. It's a review of Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good for You, but is fully informative on its own. Here's a quote and the link is below.

It doesn’t seem right, of course, that watching “24” or playing a video game could be as important cognitively as reading a book. Isn’t the extraordinary success of the “Harry Potter” novels better news for the culture than the equivalent success of “Grand Theft Auto III”? Johnson’s response is to imagine what cultural critics might have said had video games been invented hundreds of years ago, and only recently had something called the book been marketed aggressively to children:

Reading books chronically understimulates the senses. Unlike the longstanding tradition of gameplaying—which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical sound-scapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements—books are simply a barren string of words on the page. . . . Books are also tragically isolating. While games have for many years engaged the young in complex social relationships with their peers, building and exploring worlds together, books force the child to sequester him or herself in a quiet space, shut off from interaction with other children. . . .

But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can’t control their narratives in any fashion—you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you. . . . This risks instilling a general passivity in our children, making them feel as though they’re powerless to change their circumstances. Reading is not an active, participatory process; it’s a submissive one.
I've added that to my video games page:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Score! and counting sheep in prehistoric languages

I've changed the name of the topics blog to "Playing with Ideas," and the current topic has to do with counting sheep, historically, traditionally, and can lead in as many directions as you help me take it!

Anyone having trouble with the concept of "strewing" might be helped by those topics, and those who are totally into strewing already should have fun!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Walls, connections, feedback

Walls, as a new topic.

Here's how "walls" got there: I wanted to see if there's been any commentary "out there" about a radio interview I did lately, so I went to look. Didn't find any, but found some mentions of me or quotes on other people's sites and blogs. I collected a few to put here, on the feedback page.

One of those had a very cool set of photos about The Great Wall of Target. I didn't save it, but the most powerful tool I've ever used, Google, found it for me again when I read something about a bass guitar line on a Rolling Stones song and remembered I hadn't posted to the topics blog for over a week.

I went to the list of topics Deb had recommended, and one was "walls," and so there it all came together!