Links for the Week — February 14, 2009

BLOG Links for the Week — February 14, 2009

“25 things about me” collage; thanks to Pete McGregor for #25; all other photos except #8, #10, #16 by the author

Mindmap as Course/Conference Curriculum: My friend Geoff has done something important, world-changing: He has used a mindmap (a tool called Mind42 that lets you post your mindmaps online) to outline a complete conference presentation, with embedded links to blog posts, videos, podcasts, slide presentations, and articles, in the order you should read/view/listen to them, with a lead-in to each from Geoff, in the context of a mindmap showing how they all interrelate. Why is this important?: (1) This format really obviates the need for bums-on-chairs conferences and courses entirely. If I am asked to present at conferences in future, I will use this tool to organize and illustrate my presentation, and show the audience that this is a better way to learn. What about the Q&A? No reason why this can’t be scheduled right on the mindmap, in real time, or using a wiki you can add your question to, or even offer with a link to the speaker by IM or Skype at a specified time. (2) Geoff’s links in the presentation are amazing. Not only are the speakers in these videos excellent (way better than you get in conferences and classrooms), but the sites and tools the videos are hosted on are also noteworthy and bookmark-worthy. And you can go at your own pace, and drill down or skip over what you think merits more/less attention. Wow!

Laugh Your Way to Zen: Communicatrix Colleen provides us with a hilarious guide to discovering and achieving your purpose. Lots more fun than my book, and it has the same destination in mind, and the same caveats on getting there. “Really, how the hell are you supposed to know what the hell it is you want when either you haven’t experienced it yet or it doesn’t exist, or both?” Brilliant.

25 Things About Me: Sharon takes a novel and poetic approach to the exhausted Facebook meme ’25 things you didn’t know about me’. I’m still thinking about how I would respond — is there anything significant my readers don’t already know about me? The illustration above is a collage I put together that might tell you a bit about what’s important and meaningful to me in the meantime.

Joe Bageant on our Prison/Asylum Culture: My buddy Joe writes about the deep and broad psychological malaise in America, and the efforts of psychologists to heal it, exploit it, and keep the lid on it.

Obama Afraid to Admit Bank Insolvency?: A leading British economist says Obama knows that the major US banks like CitiBank are insolvent and will have to be nationalized or allowed to fail, but won’t say so because it would set off a market panic. Thanks to Valdis Krebs for the link.

The Art of Hosting on Video: Three people pointed me to this video featuring three facilitators I know through Art of Hosting. This video has a really good quality picture — why can’t YouTube do this?)

drought map
Top: Major agricultural producers (dark green); Bottom: Countries facing drought in 2009 (red) – another crisis looms. Thanks to Dave Smith for the link. And NOAA suggests seven of these areas (SW North America, E South America, S Europe, N Africa, S Africa, SE Asia, W Australia) will soon face 1000-year-long dust bowls. Thanks to my Oz colleague Kim Sbarcea for that link.

The Future of the American West?: Photographer-travel writer Erik Gauger travels precariously to the hard-to-reach, spectacular Coyote Buttes in Arizona, and speculates on what it will be like when the American West runs out of water and the world goes plunk.

The Art of Memory: Tuzz writes about the difference between men’s and women’s brains, Botticelli, and how we remember. The Loci/Memory Palace technique she describes (for those wanting to learn it) is explained here.

The Amish on Technology: Tree points us to an article on how the Amish use technology:

A few years ago they installed a massive, $400,000 computer-controlled milling machine behind the horse stable. This massive half-million dollar tool is about the dimensions of a delivery truck. It is operated by [the Amish patriarch’s] 14-year old daughter, in a bonnet. With this computer controlled machine she makes parts for grid-free horse and buggy living.

One can’t say “electricity-free” because I kept finding electricity in Amish homes. Once you have a huge diesel generator running behind your barn to power the refrigeration units that store the milk (the main cash crop for the Amish), it’s a small thing to stick on a small electrical generator.  For re-charging batteries, say. You can find battery-powered calculators, flashlights, electric fences, and generator-powered electric welders on Amish farms… Nowadays solar panels are becoming popular among the Amish. With these they can get electricity without being tied to the grid, which was their main worry. Solar is used primarily for utilitarian chores like pumping water, but it will slowly [penetrate] into the household. As do most innovations. The Amish use disposable diapers (why not?), chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and are big boosters of genetically modified corn.

All is never as it seems. Their aversion to reliance on the grid is probably wise. I’d respect them more if they didn’t abuse animals.

The Family: The Hard Right’s Religious Cult: An underground reporter infiltrated the evangelical extreme’s most powerful clique, replete with leading Congressmen, and paints a frightening picture of what might happen if fans of the Rapture capture the White House. Thanks to Dale for the link.

Just for Fun:

Adobe’s site has an intriguing “house of cards” animation (it takes a while to load). Some of their case studies are also worth a look (especially photoshop apps ‘episode 2’ and ‘episode 5’). Thanks to my neighbour Brenda for the links.

A really serious biker has made a 20,000 mile tandem bicycle trip from the North to South extremes of the Americas. Thanks to Tree for the link, and the one that follows.

Have a 10 foot by 110 foot garden to spare? You can grow enough grain there to make 120 loaves of bread per harvest.

Obama’s stimulus package is lampooned by a libertarian group as if it were a ‘performance enhancing drug’ in a send-up commercial. Thanks to Sojourner for the link.

And my friend Ivor says that, if we have ‘comedy clubs’ to get together to laugh about things we find funny, why not ‘rage clubs’ to get together to rant about what drives us crazy?

Thoughts for the Week:

Crisis Down Under: My thoughts go out to those in SE Australia coping with the horrific and tragic fires and in NE Australia coping with devastating floods. Bloggers and Twitterers and other social networkers in Oz have played an important role in coordinating disaster response and communicating information. Hats off to them! Thanks to Cheryl for the link.

Lines From a Robot Owner’s Manual: More amazing work from Dave B. I’m just in awe of this guy’s writing ability, and imagination.

Bestiary, by Joanna Macy (thanks to Eric Lilius for the link):


Short-tailed albatross
             Whooping crane
                          Gray wolf
                                    Woodland caribou
                                                Hawksbill sea turtle

The list of endangered species keeps growing longer every year.
With too many names to hold in our mind, how do we honor the passing of life?
What funerals or farewells are appropriate?

Reed warbler
           Swallowtail butterfly
                         Bighorn sheep
                                       Indian python
                                                   Howler monkey
                                                               Sperm whale
                                                                            Blue whale

Dive me deep, brother whale, in this time we have left.
Deep in our mother ocean where I once swam, gilled and finned.
The salt from those early seas still runs in my tears. Tears aren’t enough anymore.
Give me a song, a song for a sadness too vast for my heart, for a rage too wild for my throat.

Giant sable antelope
           Wyoming toad
                     Grizzly bear
                                Brown bear
                                            Bactrian camel
                                                         Nile crocodile
                                                                    Chinese alligator

Ooze me, alligator, in the mud whence I came.
Belly me slow in the rich primordial soup, cradle of our molecules.
Let me wallow again, before we drain your swamp and pave it over.

Gray bat
                  Pocket mouse
                              Sockeye salmon
                                            Tasmanian kangaroo
                                                           Hawaiian goose
                                                                          Audouin’s seagull

Quick, lift off. Sweep me high over the coast and out, farther out. Don’t land here.
Oilspills coat the beach, rocks, sea. I cannot spread my wings glued with tar.
Fly me from what we have done, fly me far.

Golden parakeet
           West African ostrich
                       Florida panther
                                 Galapagos penguin
                                               Imperial pheasant
                                                              Snow leopard
                                                                         Mexican prairie dog

Hide me in a hedgerow, badger. Can’t you find one?
Dig me a tunnel through leaf-mold and roots, under the trees that once defined our fields.
My heart is bulldozed and plowed over. Burrow me a labyrinth deeper than longing.

Thick-billed parrot
           San Francisco garter snake
                     Desert bandicoot
                               Molokai thrush
                                         California condor
                                                      Lotus blue butterfly

Crawl me out of here, caterpillar. Spin me a cocoon.
Wind me to sleep in a shroud of silk, where in patience my bones will dissolve.
I’ll wait as long as all creation if only it will come again — and I take wing.

Atlantic ridley turtle
          Coho salmon
                    Helmuted hornbill
                              Marine otter
                                        Humpback whale
                                                  Stellar sea-lion
                                                              Monk seal

Swim me out beyond the ice floes, mama. Where are you?
Boots squeeze my ribs, clubs drum my fur, the white world goes black with the taste of my blood.

        Sand gazelle
                 Swamp deer
                           Musk deer
                                                         Asian elephant
                                                                    African elephant

Sway me slowly through the jungle.
There still must be jungle somewhere, my heart drips with green secrets.
Hose me down by the waterhole; there is buckshot in my hide.
Tell me old stories while you can remember.

Desert tortoise
         Crested ibis
                   Hook-billed kite
                               Mountain zebra
                                           Mexican bobcat
                                                        Andrew’s frigatebird

In the time when his world, like ours, was ending, Noah had a list of the animals, too.
We picture him standing by the gangplank, calling their names, checking them off on his scroll.
Now we also are checking them off.

Ivory-billed woodpecker
            Indus river dolphin
                            West Indian manatee
                                             Wood stork

We reenact Noah’s ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting.


Your tracks are growing fainter. Wait. Wait. This is a hard time.
Don’t leave us alone in a world we have wrecked.

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4 Responses to Links for the Week — February 14, 2009

  1. Jon Husband says:

    He has used a mindmap (a tool called Mind42 that lets you post your mindmaps online) to outline a complete conference presentation, with embedded links to blog posts, videos, podcasts, slide presentations, and articles, in the order you should read/view/listen to them, ( … ), in the context of a mindmap showing how they all interrelate.Variations on this way of building and delivering a presentation have been done before. I guess you have just not run across them in your information flowpaths.

  2. Kevin says:

    I LOVE the idea for the 25 things thing. I have been tagged several times and just can’t find the motivation to answer – but this I can do! Just wish I had thought of it!

  3. Two things…the art of hosting piece was shot on film and is hosted at Gandy Dancer, which is why it is so beautiful looking. Also on the comedy club thing…I don’t know about rage clubs but there are complaints choirs:

  4. Amanda says:

    I smile with a child’s grin and scrunched nose to see my blog on your links for the week. I did my first links for the week post today. :)

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