In this issue:
Fast Company • September 1, 2010
Spreading the wealth. TED, which began as an exclusive in-crowd gathering and has now morphed into a global online knowledge-sharing enterprise, in many ways represents the learner-centered education model we've been looking for, says writer Anya Kamenetz: "With the best minds, an experiential aspect that doesn't burden the venture with ridiculous overhead, a business model that works, a brand name that creates great opportunities for alumni, and a fantastic way of disseminating this learning to the world, TED seems pretty far along in creating a 21st-century education model that's open, yet high in prestige."
I've promoted the TED talks in Above The Fold many times. This article nicely summarizes what makes the events and the talks special. Richard Saul Wurman, the founder but not current owner (that's Chris Anderson, NOT Mr. Long Tail), crafted a brilliant event. Get the TED iPhone app or just bookmark the site which supports HTML5 and you'll fill those bits of found time very satisfactorily. Check out Wurman's latest project, 192021, on his Web site. P.S. For all it's wonderfulness, TED is not the 21st century education model—that's just journalistic hyperbole. ( Michalko)
Smithsonian Magazine • August 2010
Shifting focus. Author Joel Kotkin offers an upbeat perspective on future population growth, immigration increase, environmental stress and suburban sprawl.
I like articles that force me to think about a world that I won't experience. Somehow that makes me feel more objective about evaluating their arguments and forecasts. (I might be more convinced if this had been built on top of the 2010 US Census results.) The article has some serviceable click-through graphics but they sure look tame relative to the Wurman project mentioned above. ( Michalko)
O'Reilly Radar • August 9, 2010
Seeing isn't believing. As complex data visualization technology becomes increasingly amateur-friendly, beware of depictions like the one in this article representing "Your New Healthcare System." Data is easily manipulated and pictures pack a powerful message.
We seem to have a visualization theme emerging from this set of ATF choices. In this case I think the visualization actually represents a purposeful sort of advocacy journalism. My favorite current favorite visualization of real-time data is the WebTrend Map brought to you by the clever folks who also produced the map of the most influential Internet sites displayed on the Tokyo Subway system. You might also enjoy the TED talks on data. They are visually arresting as you might imagine. ( Michalko)
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History • Summer 2010
Finders keepers? The debate over stolen art has been raging for centuries, as evidenced by the opening anecdote that describes the Swedish Army's sweep through Prague in 1648, plundering artwork, jewels, scientific instruments, statuary, an entire library and a live lion on the direct orders of Sweden's Queen Christina. Despite repeated requests, the most valuable item—the Silver Bible—remains at the University of Uppsala. Read on for a cogent discussion of the difficulties in establishing artifact ownership through the ages.
Fascinating article on a topic with which I am unfamiliar. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the library, archive and museum readers in the Above The Fold readership have faced this issue. I found the commentary on the article equally interesting. ( Michalko)
Meanland • July 28, 2010
Giving back. Author McKenzie Wark ponders the merits of the gift economy of the Net vs. the commodity culture of publishing: "Make something, give it away, let people find it and do what they want with it, and sooner or later someone will return the gift. Someone will offer something back, even if it is just their own time and attention to what you made." Read on for his perspective as someone who has tried it both ways.
Redefining intellectual property as a new kind of social relation seems a bit strained but this is a cogent article by somebody who has been on both sides of the intellectual property discussion. This utopian tone is so at odds with the mainstream business view of this issue I can't imagine them every being reconciled c.f. this interview with Lewis Hyde, the author of Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership. ( Michalko)