Thursday, January 29, 2009

letter exchange with Bryan Crow

The post below this finishes up a letter exchange that started here, on the eap2 website, where Mr. Crow pointed out that my student's eloquent defense of the falcon quoted him and mentioned an article that had slightly misrepresented the nature of the chemical substance that is endangering the falcon.

I replied and said that, although I had tried to teach my students the meaning of "canary in the coal mine," I am fully aware that calling the falcon one, which it certainly is, may or may not work with this particular population.

It's interesting, because in effect he's telling us that our weblogs are very important in the public discourse about issues such as the endangering of the falcon. He's saying: Keep up the good work.

And, he's saying more. I invite you to read it in order: start at the eap2 blog, then go to my response at the bottom of this post, then his response at the top.

Reply to Bryan Crow, and his response

I do not object to that at all. The course of dialogue, in print or in speech, is to first, open the door of conversation, then to open the mind to thought.

It is refreshing to hear that falcons (all the genus) are still of interest to younger people. The falcon is connected to so many cultures in so many ways. Unfortunately, what was taught and learned, over time becomes myth, then legend. We seldom remember how bad something was until we experience it yet again. We are seeing that with many of our raptors. We escaped the DDT period only to fall into yet another created environmental issue. Only this time are we going to listen to what our wildlife and ecosystems are trying to tell us before it is too late?

Your papers, such as Mr. Mohammed AlOtaibi, which are placed on the internet, do get read. That is one way ecological problems get tracked and issues are templated, to get a broader overview. Issues, such as BDE, and the effect it has on indicator species, is much too great to chase down all the leads, so we (not me exactly, others), look for papers with key phrases to make sure that we all are open to a larger problem. Upon their return, thank your students for me.

One may never understand that a source that they found to support their paper, could just be the piece of a puzzle that someone else was looking for. Never take anything lightly (trust me; I have personal experience with this. Another East coast institute, and myself ran into the same issue, but through opposite means and were put together by a third party that had read both of the papers and contacted us).

As for the "Canary in the Coal mine", I will try to find another description that better, more broadly, illustrates the desired example. See, thanks to you and your students, I now know that something I stated was not totally understood, and that I need to develop a more globally recognized illustration.

If you were to put aside what you know

because of what other people told you,

how much of what you know
do you truly know for yourself?

John Tarrant

Explore, experience, learn...Then teach others

Cheers and Happy Holidays

Byron Crow, Ex. Dir.
Montana Raptor Institute for Research & Education
five, 13th. Ave. W.
Polson, MT. 59860
C: 406. 253.1514


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 10:12 PM
To: Byron Crow
Subject: Re: EAP2B Student Salama; R.P. Peregrine Falcon paper, 12-06-'08

Dear Dr. Crow,

Thank you for the letter. Our term is over, but several of the
students who studied the big birds encountered this chemical
and this problem, so I took the liberty of simply putting your
letter verbatim on the central blog of the class:

Please let me know if you object to this & I will remove it if
you like.

Our Saudi students in particular were very interested in the
plight of the falcon and were very interested that in some
cases it has become an urban bird. One did the Saker falcon in
Kazakhstan and found that it is almost extinct there also. The
reference to you actually appears in a paper by Mohammed

Thank you for your patient correction- almost all students
found themselves genuinely liking the birds they were writing
about, although the immediate purpose of the class was to
improve their writing itself. They will be happy to know that
their papers are being read carefully; I have always told
them, "write to change something; write to actually help this
bird." We can only hope that this will play a part.

In any case, I hope they understand the experession, "canary in
a coal mine," as we encountered it several times, and I
explained it more than once.

Tom Leverett

Saturday, January 17, 2009

facebook & friendships

Selin Davis, L. (2009, Jan. 17). Does Facebook replace face time, or enhance it? Time.,8599,1871627,00.html. Accessed 1-09.

This article is hot of the presses, still tinging the electronic nerve-endings. I haven't read it thoroughly, much less decided on an opinion, but I do have a number of points to make: first, there are many old friends, who I care about a lot, who are now in my life virtually every time I open up the computer. Second, going over into their online space is somewhat like chatting with them on main street in a small town- you take in a slice of their reality, find out what they're thinking and doing. Finally, it changes the nature of the friendship I do have with people- in general, for the better. It's no small thing though. You let someone into your network, they find out every detail of your status, from now on- and see every picture, in which someone tags you- that is, if they want...I'm sure people are uncomfortable refusing to be someone's friend, but, on the other hand, the more you know about what this entails, the more complicated the decision is. My conclusion is: people aren't 100% or 0: there are grades of friendship.

I'm collecting information here.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

old media fades away

First it was the Tribune; now they say it's Lee Enterprises, which owns the Post Dispatch and the Southern Illinoisan. Did blogging do in all these traditional newspapers? No, apparently craigslist and the people who replaced the classified ad system with a cheaper one. Classifieds were the main source of newspapers' revenue.

What would life be like without the Post Dispatch, the Trib, or the Southern? I can't imagine. But even with them, you couldn't argue that we had an educated populace.

'Nuf said.

more to read

Howell, D. (2007, July 20). Im in ur Facebook app, slurpin' up ur feedz. ZDNet. Accessed 1-09.

Elgan, M. (2008, Dec. 29). Work ethic 2.0: Attention control. Accessed 1-08.

Carton, S. (2008, Dec. 22). Is Twitter the next Second Life? ClickZ. Accessed 1-09.

Huang, L. (2008, Aug. 2). The death of English (LOL). Newsweek. Accessed 1-09.

Thompson, T. (2008, Dec. 12). Due diligence with social networks. Accessed 1-09.

Morien, C. (2008, Dec. 3). Education and the web look for happy medium. Central Florida Future. Accessed 1-09.

Thompson, B. (2008, Nov. 25). Moving to the second classroom. BBC News.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Delete ten Facebook friends, get a free Whopper;posts
Zuckerberg: New year, 150 million Facebook users
Facebook launches chat (of historic interest)

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facebook revisited: often

Like many people, I have found myself drawn more and more often to Facebook over break. Have free time? Check in and see what any of my extended friends are saying, doing, posting, etc. Late at night, I might troll through lists of friends' friends, finding people I grew up with or went to college with; next thing I know, I'm finding out what they're doing every day, or chatting with them. I keep up with my children, in various cities: what they do, what they say, what they say about me. One night my son and my sister were both on the chat at the same time and we agreed to go over to web-boggle (not part of FB) and play as a team.

I know enough about it to know that millions of people are doing this just like me, though my tech colleagues are less likely to be doing it, than just my everyday friends, other teachers, social people attracted to fb like moths to light. It's much different from the telephone or Christmas cards. It's too much information, in some cases like those of my students, who need to tell & show each other stuff, they don't really need to show me (they do, however, want to be my friend, and I enjoy this). So, there's a tension there when one has kinds of friends, and fb doesn't distinguish.

A couple of interesting stories highlight aspects of it that are interesting though I really have no idea what to make of it at this point. First, a colleague went in to change her "profile status" - wanted the world to know she was married in the personal description (which also, btw, gives your birthday, and a number of other juicy pieces of info.)...anyway she ended up announcing that she was married in the "status update" - thus setting herself up for considerable teasing from people who knew she already was. Second, a language program marketer confused personal space and professional space, and signed up on one side or the other of Proposition 8 (?) in California, thus taking sides on the issue of gay marriage; his/her program was then boycotted in an organized movement, to very bad effect.

I don't quite know what to make of these; on the one hand, I'm fairly cautious, don't join a lot of groups anyway, but have no need to set up separate accounts (another possibility, though fb doesn't approve) - for personal and professional. I'm spending the break carefully putting personal pictures, etc., on personal space (or SIUC mypages, which were intended for that purpose)...and it's important to me to delineate, not only because I do have personal opinions, sometimes, but also because I make personal mistakes, sometimes, go places as a person, or even do pop art, writing, or music as a person. I have nothing to hide in particular, I just feel like I could possibly have two profile pictures, only one with the tie.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

No photo service

I'm going into the third day now, without my photo service, Fotopic, which went offline early on the 2nd, UK time, inexplicably. As one who cares a lot about my pop art, not to mention pictures of my family, I've been hanging around the computer waiting for these photos to come back (it could just be change of server, a plausible possibility) or for some reasonable explanation, but so far, none. Rumors are flying: bankruptcy, plug pulled on it by server agency, etc. But what do I know? Only that my pages, particularly my pop art blog, are full of empty pix spots. It could be messy, cleaning it up; much of this stuff is on one desktop or another; some will be lost forever; some of these empty holes may stay empty for a while. C'est la vie. :-(