You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

The Longest Now

Tracking local news: a case study
Saturday May 12th 2012, 9:46 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,fly-by-wire,null

I passed a burning Bolt Bus this morning. I wanted to learn more about it, so I trolled some local news sites.
Then some hyperlocal news sites.
Then The Internetz, via various search engines.


Twitter? Came through after a fashion: people passing it, like me, on the NJ Turnpike. Some had cameras to match their rubber necks. (HT to LilianeHaub)

Someone also tweeted from another Bolt Bus that whose driver commented on the fire to them.
But no word from people on the bus, or involved with the event; and no actual coverage.

It’s locally newsworthy;
Are there any alternatives to find out more?
Alternatives that focus on certain subgenres?

If you really can’t find any information online, writing down your own interest and what information you’ve gathered is a poor second option. That at least gives others interested in the same topic a place to talk about it.

Calmly facing death: Sendak v. Colbert, Act 3 – a sweet post-mortem
Wednesday May 09th 2012, 10:18 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,Glory, glory, glory,Uncategorized

R.I.P. Maurice Sendak, brilliant children’s author and dry wit (1928–2012). He died yesterday of a stroke.

In a crossing of the stars, that May 8 was also the publication date of the satirical children’s book Stephen Colbert dreamed up for his interview with Sendak back in January.

In last night’s show, Colbert included more of the interview, to honor Sendak’s memory.

Act 3 (15 min. in)

Colbert: Today is the release date of my beloved children's
classic, I am a Pole (And So Can You!)

It's the heartwarming coming-of-age story
of a pole searching for its place in the world.
It's the perfect gift for mother's day, father's day,
graduation day... and all other days. 

And you know it's a good book because of this blurb:
  "THE SAD THING IS, I LIKE IT" - Maurice Sendak.

Well, the real sad thing is Mr. Sendak died this morning,
at age 83.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him
earlier this year, and tonight we'd like to show you
just a few more things that Maurice had to say.


Colbert: Mr Sendak, thanks for sitting down with me today.
This is a, this is a real honor.
 Sendak:  No shit!
Colbert: No, I'm not shitting you.  I mean it.

Now what's your favorite of your own books?
  I really wished you'd ask that question.
Well I'm glad I did then.
  I think the best is two books I've done.
  I can have two favorites.
All right.
  One is called 'outside over there'
  It is my attempt to do a Mozartian book,
  to take elements --

It's terrifying!  these goblins that make
ice babies... and replace a child with it!
  Yes... what can I say.  those were all --
  I was really deeply in love with romantic art
  of the beginning of the 18th century,
  middle of the 18th century.
  Mozart was dead, and this beautiful /thing/
  came out of his generation
  and Mozart of course being the best quality,
  the best artist, the best everything that ever --

Mozart is the highest quality.
He's like the Donald Trump of classical music.
Only the finest...
  I'm gonna have to... I'm gonna have to kill you.
  I'm gonna have to kill you! 

Donald is quality.  You've seen,
Everything he does is gold plated. That's quality.
  Yes, yes, he's just like Donald Trump.
Everything is primo. Primo.
  You got it, you nailed him.

  The other... is called 'Higgelty Piggelty Pop!'
  It's probably the best thing I've done.
Tell me the story.
  It's about a sealyham terrier.
  My sealyham terrier.  The dog i had.
  Her name was Jennie,
  and she appeared in all my books,
  up until the time she died.
  And higgelty piggelty pop! was the big book
  I wrote about her
  because I knew she was going to die, soon.
  She was getting old.

What happens in it?
  What happens is
  the little dog goes out into the world
  and leaves her master
  to find out, "is there more to life?"
  and the series of adventures that she has
  where she proves her total inadequacy
  to almost everything that happens to her.

  And - but she accepts that.
  and that is the truth of her life
  that she must accept her inadequacy
  and her failure to live up to expectations
  that others may have of her,
  that she surely has of her.
  And she just ends up a sweet, jerky dog
  which she is, noone ever really wanted
  anything more from her, so...

Does she return to him?

  No. She dies. She dies.
  And she leaves him a letter, saying
  "If you ever come this way, look me up.
  But I can't tell you how to get here."

  The book has had a very difficult life.  All of it.
  Considered like, "why is this a children's book?"
  Why not! What is a children's book?
  I don't have a clue!
  I'm famous for them, I write them,
  I illustrate them, but I don't know what they are
  I don't know why they're for children.

I like that your work does not sugargcoat childhood.
You bring the pain.  You keep it real.
  But some people think that is not
  appropriate for children -
  To suffer pain, read about it, think about it,
  feel about it.  Yet that's all they do.

Every moment of childhood is a sense of uncertainty
  Yes.  I think childhood is a period of great torment.
  We learn all these things about what is, what isn't
  what you can do, what you cannot do.
  It's hard.  It is very hard.

What's the best thig a parent can do for a child?
  Love him, her.
But what's that mean?
  Take them for what they are.


Saying thank you with pancakes:

Comments Off on Calmly facing death: Sendak v. Colbert, Act 3 – a sweet post-mortem

Henri’s Ennui
Tuesday May 08th 2012, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The pain of purrhisstance. via Ross Mayfield

Comments Off on Henri’s Ennui

Duolingo: double your pleasure?
Tuesday May 08th 2012, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Blogroll,international,Uncategorized

Big Lou at CMU is working on a language-learning and web-translation project, known in the lingo as Duolingo.

Class this with Meedan and livemocha under “facets of global collaborative translation that need to happen”: it’s one of a long line of shared translation efforts that I admire and follow; though I’ve yet to see one that was able to take a deep breath and just let the process unfold naturally.

I hope this one is different. I want it to be a pillar of our multilingual Web, not just one piece among thousands. They need some design help for an amazing poster campaign to Free Language Learning — see their latest blog post for an example. If you have a brainstorm on the topic, post up!

Nori Be!
Monday May 07th 2012, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,gustatory,international

Umino Hiroyuki: Featured at Tokyo’s Katagami Style through May 27.

Comments Off on Nori Be!

Thursday May 03rd 2012, 12:49 am
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,Rogue content editor

Meteor: The future of web-apps?

Congrats to deberg and others for pulling off an inspiring soft-launch.

Comments Off on Meteoric

Learning, freedom, and the Web
Wednesday May 02nd 2012, 7:32 pm
Filed under: meta,popular demand,Uncategorized,wikipedia

In late 2010, the Carnegie Foundation convened a few discussions leading up to the first Drumbeat Festival.  I took part in the last of those, and my detailed notes from the meeting are finally up on the Mozilla wiki.   Our discussions from the day have aged fairly well; covering critical issues about learning, the web, and the importance of being free to learn online.   We had a varied group of technologists, educators, hackers, and foundations trying to solve these issues.

Some of the projects mentioned there have already borne fruit, most notably Drumbeat itself; others are seed for good future efforts still waiting to be planted in fertile soil.  While I wish I had a universal projects platform/database where each seed could be broken out for improvement over time — until that exists, detailed notes are at least a world-archived first step.  Enjoy!

Universal feelings
Wednesday May 02nd 2012, 6:30 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,Blogroll,indescribable

On running a startup.

Have your own feelings?  Share them!

Winds of America
Tuesday May 01st 2012, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow. (via


Bad Behavior has blocked 225 access attempts in the last 7 days.