Presented without comment #22

‘Persona_Ebooks’ And Game Community In The Web 2.0 Era‘ by Leigh Alexander at Gamasutra.

What is “Horse_ebooks?” If you’re a high-volume Twitter user, or you participate in some of the more cultish avenues of internet culture, you’re familiar with this feed — it’s just a bot designed to sell ebooks about horses, apparently.

It seems to populate itself automatically, primarily with snippets from the books themselves. Combine that with other inscrutable fan algorithms and the Tweets are surreal and funny enough that “Horse_ebooks” has attained memehood.

Examples of fan-favorite Horse_ebooks Tweets include: “I hope for your sake you are ready for a life WITHOUT back or neck”; “Famous Crab”, and “How to Teach a Horse to Sit, Give a Kiss and Give a Hug,” as well as lines that look more like erectile dysfunction spam than anything one would find in an ebook about horses.

Rethinking learning and assessment and the dmlbadges competition‘ by Alex Reid at Alex Reid dot net.

 What do we want to say about real, authentic learning? It marks you. As Frank O’Hara writes in a different context, “If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.'” If you learn, you are transformed. Your medals won’t help you run faster or farther, but the hours of running will. As an undergrad, I realized I could take a course, purchase none of the books, show up for half the lectures, and still get a B. Personally, I never cared about the grades or the diplomas that resulted. I just went about learning what I wanted to. If I spent long hours practicing music and learning studio recording by trial and error, which I did, the proof was in the music I produced. If I studied creative writing for my MA, the proof was in the poetry I wrote and the readings I gave. Today, I am still marked by learning and that mark is visible in the writing I publish, the courses I teach, the program I administrate, and so on. As we all know by now, you just do it.

This is part of what’s so insidious about press savviness: it tries to hog realism to itself.” by Jay Rosen at his Public Notebook.

Savviness! Deep down, that’s what reporters want to believe in and actually do believe in— their own savviness and the savviness of certain others (including operators like Karl Rove.) In politics, they believe, it’s better to be savvy than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.

Savviness is what journalists admire in others. Savvy is what they themselves dearly wish to be. (And to be unsavvy is far worse than being wrong.) Savviness—that quality of being shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, “with it,” and unsentimental in all things political—is, in a sense, their professional religion. They make a cult of it.

Facebook is a monopoly, so why shouldn’t it be nationalized?” by David Mitchell at The Guardian.

I’m sure Facebook would claim it’s not a monopoly – strictly speaking it isn’t – but it clearly wants to be and, if there are whole sections of society who feel obliged to sign up in order to be able to communicate with one another, then its dreams are coming true. Next there’ll be electric sheep. Facebook isn’t aspiring to be Cable & Wireless or AT&T, major players within a medium; it wants to be the whole telephone network.

In some ways, this works well for everyone. It’s more convenient if we’re all joined up by the same social network, just as Google is more useful as a search engine because almost everyone uses it. It would be different if, like phone providers, different social media sites communicated with one another – if you could send someone a message from your Facebook account that popped up on their LinkedIn or Netlog page (I looked up those names on Yahoo). But you can’t and, while it’s providing its services for free, there’s no pressure on Facebook to rein in its monopolistic urge.