Friday, December 31, 2010

Start out 2011 with a Belly Laugh

If you would like a wonderful way to start the 2011 drama season I suggest you make your way to the Wakefield School in The Plains, Va for the independent school's extension of their holiday show, All In The Timing. The school added two more shows to the run on January 7 and 8 2011. The school is located just off exit 31 w on I66.

Here is another Cappie's review of the show.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ivan Illich on Health Care....

I was thinking about health care this morning and bumped into these ideas from Ivan Illich, the radical former Jesuit, who usually thinks in ways that I find imaginative and creative.

Here are some thoughts:
Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn't organized to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.

I knew a doctor once who told me that to me "it was strep throat, but to him it was meat and potatoes." Illich reminded me of that idea. If we cured disease there would be no need for doctors. We cannot have that can we. especially if you are a member of the AMA.

Here are two more Illich thoughts:
Effective health care depends on self-care; this fact is currently heralded as if it were a discovery......Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet; in an environment equally fit for birth, growth work, healing, and dying... Healthy people need no bureaucratic interference to mate, give birth, share the human condition and die.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Thought from Paulo Friere

"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world." — Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)

I believe that education is the practice of freedom. The problem is that school is so often confused with education. School accomplishes the first part of the above quotation. It re-inforces the present and preserves the status quo. School is almost propaganda for the status quo. Education and learning come from the truth around you. Empowerment comes from the self discovery of that truth. We must all become self learners and self teachers with those around us. Learning liberates the spirit!!

"We should all be judged by what we do to empower other people."
-Bill Clinton 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ivan Illich--revisit him

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question. Ivan Illich Deschooling Society (1973: 9)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Literacies

I hope that you enjoy this video. It looks pretty good from my stool! Please comment on it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Government needs a Warrant to read EMail

The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday in US vs Warshak that the government needs a warrant to compell an ISP to turn over email to the government.

Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection.... It follows that email requires strong protection under the Fourth Amendment; otherwise the Fourth Amendment would prove an ineffective guardian of private communication, an essential purpose it has long been recognized to serve.... [T]he police may not storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call--unless they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber's emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement

See the entire EFF article for all of the details.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

EFF News

In a decision issued yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can seize and search emails stored by third party email service providers. Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in our amicus brief, the court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and postal mail.

And today, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with EFF and refused the government's request to reconsider an earlier pro-privacy decision, which held that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records. That decision, based on EFF's briefing and oral argument as a friend of the court, has implications far beyond cell phone location privacy. It could apply to a broad range of communications records - including the content of your emails, your web search or browsing histories, as well as the location of your phone

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Congressman Hoyer's response to previous Post

Dear Mr. Constantine,

Thank you for contacting me to share your views on S. 3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. I certainly appreciate your taking the time to make me aware of your concerns about this legislation.

S. 3804 would give the Justice Department an expedited process to crack down on websites that offer counterfeit materials or infringe on copyrighted content by offering the content without the consent of the copyright owner. The legislation would aim to regulate the distribution of copyrighted works and fight against online piracy. S. 3804 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont on September 20, 2010, and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. You may be sure that I will keep your concerns in mind should this legislation be considered by the House of Representatives.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. I encourage you to visit my website at While there, you can sign up for the Hoyer Herald, access my voting record, and get information about important public issues. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With kindest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,
Steny Hoyer

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

There is a bill before the Congress of the United States which threatens to stiffle even further the free spread of information across the Internet. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has come out against the Bill and I believe that this bill needs to be defeated. I urge you to write to your member of Congress and U.S. Senators urging the defeat of this bill.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

New PodCast Fron Zach and Irbs......

Here is another podcast from two students at the Wakefield School in The Plains Va. This pcast appears weekly in the school's digital newspaper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Edublog Nomination

I have decided to make a few nominations to the Edublog Blog Awards. I have always wanted to do this and so today I am.

Here are my nominations to the Edublog Blogging Nominations in the the following catagories.

Best individual blog Dangerously Irrelevant
Best individual tweeter Shelly Blake-Plock
Best teacher blog TeachPaperless by Shelly Blake-Plock
Best librarian / library blog The Unquiet Librarian by Buffy Hamilton
Best school administrator blog The Art of Education by Troy P. Roddy PhD
Best educational wiki FlatClassroom Project
The Best use of a PLN George Siemans
Lifetime achievement Steven Downes

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Norm At Nite

A video post from a few years ago. I am still exploring Picassa and wondering why more people are not using it. This is so east!!!!
Posted by Picasa

Just a photo I found today when I put Picassa on my home computer. It is of my daughter's high school graduation in 2008. I just thought I would put it up with Blog this feature.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Guest Blog--

Kourtnee’s Korner: Bathroom Etiquette

Proper Bathroom Etiquette Rules. Rule 1: Place a toilet seat cover or toilet paper on the seat. Rule 2: Squat or sit, whatever floats your boat. Rule 3: Do your business. Rule 4: Clean up. Rule 5: If you leave anything on the toilet seat CLEAN IT UP!!! Rule 6: FLUSH the toilet. Rule 7: Courtesy flush. I am tired of walking into the bathroom and all of the stalls are unusable, when I really have to go. I have to take time, which I really don’t want to waste, to clean up after someone else. We are all old enough to know how to use the bathroom properly and how to clean up after ourselves, so DO IT!! How hard is it to clean up after yourselves?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clocks, Clocks and more Clocks

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The day the music lived..........

Conor Malone and Robert came back to Nanny O'Brien's on a Saturday night this summer and on that night the music lived...the old Nanny's lived. The Guiness just tasted better! The battery was low on the IPhone so I didnt get a lot of music but here is a clip that unfortunately had Connor replacing a string. Still you have to love the fiddle!

A word from John Jay

I believe that the idea that the writers of the constitution would be in the Tea Party camp in contemporary American Politics is false. The convention of 1787 came together to reduce the power of the states in favor of a national government. There may have been some discussion about the exact nature of the national government, but there can be little argument, in my view, that they wished to establish a government that would dominate the states. In Federalist #2 John Jay writes:

Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, or that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government

I do not believe that Jay, Hamilton or Madison would be at all upset at how thing turned out!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How did the Apple guy know................

"Apple of My Eye" - an iPhone 4 film from Michael Koerbel on Vimeo.

PG County Blues at the Zoo Bar

Another great night at the Zoo bar after eating Cod Head and several other interesting courses at a Korean Resturant in Alexandria on Duke Street.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Marc Prensky talks......

I have been very engaged with the work of Marc Prensky since I read Digital Game Based Learning a few years ago. Here is great interview with Prensky which highlights the core values of his thought over the years. He is much more accomodating to other viewpoints now a days without retreating from his positions. A kinder, smoother Marc........

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A remixed Hamlet

Here is link to my friend Stephanie Blog Stories to Tell.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Yeats Poem

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
by William Butler Yeats

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday Night at the Zoo Bar

On Friday night, driving home from work I decided to call my friend Paddy and see if he wanted to go out and have a few beers. I liked this blog a lot more when Paddy actually contributed to it but he has become rather existential of late, and longs to leave this modern madness for the wilds of Alaska. As much as Paddy talks about 2 foot trout and salmon he still enjoys an imperial pint of Guiness, so we treked off to the Zoo Bar across from the Connecticut Street Zoo in Washington, DC. The Zoo Bar has some of the best blues music that I have ever heard. It harkens back to my college days when I frequented the Bueno Vista Cafe on Hertle Avenue in Buffalo, New York.

The Zoo Bar is a throwback, of that there is no question. It is full of older folks like me who are gray at more than the temples. Those folks however are real characters with genuine life experiences. I tip my hat to Cliff and his lady friend who I met at the bar and engaged in real conversation with.

The second Friday of the Month the Sookey Blues Band fills the Zoo Bar with extraordinary delta blues and coastal rock and roll. I try to get to the Zoo every time they play. I was driving home this Friday but somehow I made it to my stool at the long wooden bar across from the zoo. It was so worth it. Though they seldom play country, SBB banged out a wonderful rendition of Orange Blossom Special which is still ringing in my ears.

Though the sound is not the best (I was too close to the band) here is that song. Friday night I was in "the zone" at the Zoo Bar. Make it out there whenever you can.

Monday, May 03, 2010

History Matters

On another web site (Teachpaperless) I am involved in a discussion that centers around the idea of the internet as our repository of facts and memorization. The discussion centers around whether or not prior knowledge is internal or external. A commenter brought up William Jennings Bryan's 1896 Cross of Gold speech to the Democratic convention. He referred to its bibical allusions and remarked that you could not look those up on the internet unless you knew the bible.

That reminded me of an Declaimatory oratory contest that I was in at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York where I declaimed Jennings Bryan's speech. Though this recording of the speech by Bryan himself existed in 1968 I never listened to it because I did not know about it or found it in my research on the speech. I found it in 30 seconds with an internet search. That is power. That is why history matters!! Read the speech and listen to the recording. It connects you in ways that memorization cannot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tom Dew's Singing away................

My friend and former colleague at STA singing on YouTube.....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patricks Day--And a Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal

Wish I was in a pub listening to this right now.....ah for the old Nanny's!!

Here is a wonderful talk by Dr. Jane McGonigal about the power of gaming.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sookey Blues Band at the Zoo Bar

I love the Sookey Jump Blues Band and the Zoo Bar in Washington DC.

Here is another Zoo Bar regular band, Big Boy Little.

Here is another Big Boy song.

Conrad Oberg at the Zoo Bar

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another idea becomes reality---by someone else.

Many years ago I imagined taking a trip across Russia traveling from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok on the Siberian coast on the Trans Siberian railroad. The Trans Siberian Railway actually runs from Moscow to Vladivistok. My dream had me getting off the train where ever I felt like and meeting the local residents and playing chess at the local chess club. I also thought I would record the entire trip over the Internet before it was fashionable to do such things. People thought I was crazy. I actually started learning Russian, but like so many ideas I have, I never really did anything about it. To be honest I was afraid.

Well, Google has done it. Check out the following link: Virtual Tour on the Trans Siberian railroad. Though the chess is missing the railroad trip is here. Enjoy!

Here is a segment:

Bobby Fisher playing at the Moscow Central Chess Club in 1957

Thursday, February 04, 2010

NSA and Google together--Scary!!

This is scary. It was reported today in the Washington Post that NSA and Google are joining forces to fight cyberterrorism and industrial espionage.
The world's largest Internet search company and the world's most powerful electronic surveillance organization are teaming up in the name of cybersecurity.

I find it very difficult to understand how NSA could do this at all without having access to the Google servers and search files. In order to find something you have to have access to the area where it is taking place. Given that idea I find the following lines in the Post hard to believe.
the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communications. The sources said the deal does not mean the NSA will be viewing users' searches or e-mail accounts or that Google will be sharing proprietary data.
I do not think that this is a good idea for the privacy of the American people and is just another attempt by the NSA to use fear to gain another entry point into the lives and thoughts of Americans. I mean why is it any less outrageous for American spy agencies to have access to Google files than it is for Chinese spy agencies to try to examine them to search for dissidents. Does anyone think that the NSA will not examine those same files for intelligence on those same dissidents and on American dissidents? I will be talking about these issues on NormAtNite next Tuesday night. Tune in if you have ideas on this issue.

We made a mistake after 911 by allowing NSA to begin spying on Americans without warrants. In my view, we are now compounding this error by not screaming bloody murder about this potential alliance between Google and NSA. As written in the Post,
But achieving collaboration is not easy, in part because private companies do not trust the government to keep their secrets and in part because of concerns that collaboration can lead to continuous government monitoring of private communications. Privacy advocates, concerned about a repeat of the NSA's warrantless interception of Americans' phone calls and e-mails after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, say information-sharing must be limited and closely overseen.

I am not sure it can be overseen. Call in next Tuesday and let me know.


On another issue. We will be asking the question Is Internet access a civil right? This question was raised in a blog I read, and recommend to everyone called TeachPaperless. Teachpaperless believes that Internet access is a civil right and makes a solid case for it. We will talk about this on NormAtNite for 15 minutes on Tuesday also.