Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Slasdot Article Summaries?

The comments following the articles on Slashdot often contain some gems of additional information -- hidden under tonnes of junk. It'd be useful if people would wade through the junk and find the useful stuff so you didn't have to.

There is, of course, nothing stopping people now from adding comments to the discussion that contain this 'best of' information, but I think the way things are set up at the moment is not as conducive as it could be to doing so. Perhaps the simplest way of doing it would be to have separate types of comments for these 'best of' type summaries, simply so you could jump straight to them.

Creating these summaries would be a bit of work, so there is an incentive issue here. Slashdot employees would have a pay incentive. But I think you'd also want to slashdot readers doing it, and for them the notoriety incentive could work -- by gaining a reputation for creating good summaries. It's fairly obvious there's a parallel here with blogging.

Metaphors We Learn Languages By?

If the argument in Lakoff and Johnson's Metaphors We Live By is correct -- and it seems to me that their basic thesis, that the substance of language and thought is metaphorical in nature, has plenty of evidence and is hard to deny -- then could this knowledge be usefully applied to language learning, if it is not already?

If a large part of learning a language involves learning the metaphors used to express various concepts, then perhaps it would be profitable to more explicitly focus on teaching these metaphors. This is particularly because, as Lakoff and Johnson show, many metaphors are used and related in a systematic and comprehensible way. Understanding these details could be useful in making the language learning less rote and more grounded in understanding, which helps in reataining and applying knowledge.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

What You'll Wish You'd Known

Paul Graham gives advice, for graduating high-school students, but applicable to anyone who wants to make something of their life. Not the usual "follow your dreams" stuff, but on the mark, I think.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Jon Udell's Google Maps Screencast

Jon Udell provides a five-minute screencast tour of his home town, using Google Maps. A week or two old now, but cool as a demonstration of both the screencast medium and Google Maps.