Archive for the ‘Futurism’ Category

Tomorrow at a god awful hour of the morning, I board a plane that, through a series of other destinations, will eventually get me to San Francisco. At least, that’s the plan-there’s a chance the snow will decide otherwise. But most likely, I’m off to the C’s.

This is not my first conference, but it is one of the scariest. It’s without a doubt the biggest conference I’ve ever been to. So I’ve done more preparation for this than I have for any other conference. I may even have a power point presentation (though I am limiting myself to 7 slides, including a title screen).

In the meantime, though, I wanted to get back to my ‘class planning’ project.

Last time around, I came up with course goals. The next step is reading lists. (more…)

At the start of the semester, I had a research question planned out. It was basically asking what the future holds for technology, and how we can prepare for using that technology in the classroom. Since then, I’ve refined things a bit. And in the interest of clarity, I’ve broken it down into a list of more specific questions:

  1. What methods can be developed to shorten the time it takes to incorporate new technologies into the classroom?
  2. How can we make sure that the way we incorporate a new technology is the best way to go about it?
  3. What technology should we prepare for?
  4. What potential paradigm shifts are coming, and what do they mean for pedagogy?
  5. How do we prepare for those shifts?

All good questions, I think. And all focusing on a common theme. Which brings me to a brief presentation I’ll be doing later today.

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Quite a bit of reading this week. Much of it was outside of what was assigned for class. But I’ll get back to that. First, let me talk about Mary Sue MacNealy’s Strategies for Empirical Research in Writing and the three articles I read. (more…)

The Burning Question

Posted: September 9, 2008 in Brainstorm, Futurism, meta, Methods, writing

When I was in college, I came to the conclusion that the only way to really go through with a PhD was to have a burning question, something that kept me up at night, that demanded my constant consideration. I should say that by ‘came to this conclusion,’ I mostly mean that I was told this by people who I trusted, and it rang true to me.

Thankfully, at that time I had a burning question: Does personal identity depend on outside forces? This leads to questions about downloading the brain into a computer, about virtual persons, about cloning, and all the other great sci-fi geek questions. That question kept me going through my BA, and, though I wasn’t cut out for the Philosophy PhD program at the research university where I was at the time, the question still burned bright enough to get me an MA.

Yesterday, I was asked what my research question was. What do I want to research about? It was in class for Research Methods, so it makes total sense that I would be asked. I wrote something down, the first question that came to my head.

Last night, it kept me up. (more…)

I’m writing this as a separate post because it isn’t set in stone. It isn’t certain. But it is possible.

The long and short of it is that I may be asked to write a chapter in a book on Biomedical Defense, and that I may publish my MA thesis at least once, if not twice (though the second time would really be the same topic, whole different paper).

As for the details, well, that’s the longer part. (more…)

There is not as much research being done as I had hoped there would be. I wanted to get back into academic reading, and start posting regularly to this blog. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my brain decided, as it often does over the summer, that I need time off. So I haven’t been able to read anything that isn’t strictly for pleasure, and I’m even having difficulty at that.

Part of it is the move. I’m now in Minneapolis, still settling in and getting to know the city. But that’s neither here nor there.

One of the ways I’ve been spending (wasting?) my time has been with Stumble Upon, which pretty much drains productivity. I like to imagine it’s collecting all that lost productivity somewhere. While stumbling, I have often come across articles about life extension. As science fiction is a passion of mine (especially as it becomes more predictive), I’ve found myself thinking about life extension and immortality quite a bit.

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The end of the semester was coming, I had finished my thesis, and I didn’t really have any more grading to do for my classes. So I was pretty much done. But instead of just taking time to break and let my brain recharge, I picked up a pair of books. One of them was Deep Economy (the other was Al Gore’s Assault on Reason but I haven’t finished it yet). I ended up taking a break for two weeks after school ended for recharging, and now I’m back to the grind, so I finished Deep Economy first and foremost. (more…)

The ultimate technology

Posted: April 28, 2008 in Futurism

Years ago, I read K. Erik Drexler’s book Engines of Creation: The coming age of nanotechnology. Aside from the cold war paranoia in the book (and there was a lot of it), there was a lot of very intelligent talk about nanotechnology and what it could accomplish.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a few science fiction writers (Tony Ballentine especially) taking on this idea and examining just how effective those little things could be. First, though, let me give a quick overview of nanotech, from my admittedly limited understanding:

Nanotechnology is the technology of very small things. It’s the idea of a machine so small that it could actually manipulate atoms. It would reproduce by changing the material it was attached to into copies of itself, and would then follow the program to build the new thing. That’s a very non-scientific explanation, but it’s the best I could do on short notice, and I think it will satisfy for our purposes.
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Technology vs. Environment

Posted: April 28, 2008 in Futurism

Lately, I’ve been noticing a very interesting trend. In those few times when I watch TV (I’m not pretentious about it, it’s just that there is very little on that I like, and most of what I do won’t be back until the fall) I’ve noticed some commercials that are trending towards the green. Clorox has a line of products now that are environmentally friendly and work just as well. Sure, they’re still in plastic bottles, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.

This trend, which keeps coming up in just about every advertisement, interests me. It’s more than just the fact that green sells now, and it’s popular, so everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon. That’s true, and I think it’s great; whatever it takes to help the planet, I don’t care what their motivations are.
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I’m very nearly finished my thesis. I achieved the non-content goals (4 pages of citations, more than 40 pages of text) without problem, and I believe I’ve answered all (or most) of the comments I was given on an older draft. Point is, I’m feeling like it’s almost over. The End is Nigh! but in a good way. (more…)