In the movie “The Cinderella Story” there is a visual pun that would make Picasso proud. As Cinderella rushes away from the Ball to make her midnight curfew, she drops her cellphone (which had been set to give an alarm before midnight and was attached to her ankle under her gown). Prince Charming, chasing her on cue, picks up the cellphone as the only clue he then has to her identity. The plot of the movie rests on the text messaging of teenagers. Dropping a glass slipper would have been inappropriately retro.
Click the “Unwired College Honor Roll” title above to see the list just released by Intel of the top 100 unwired colleges. Contrast that with my last post about the scarcity of unwiring in K-12 schools. Go figure.
An article in today’s New York Times mentions in passing the sad fact that less than 1,000 K-12 schools in the United States have fully wireless campuses. In all of the other schools our children are still tethered to computers by cables in classrooms and labs – if and when they have access at school to the internet at all. The same article mentions that in Maine, where schools have led in providing wireless, there have been stories “of students on the weekend sitting in their parents’ car just outside school, accessing the network.” It is a key insight into the rising recognition of wireless learning that the only critic cited in the article is Larry Cuban (again!) who has been railing against technology in schools for decades. Wireless learning simply cannot be discounted like the classroom movies Larry and I saw back when we were in high school in the fifties. A fresher perspective is sketched out at HEWAC — in an article about colleges with may powerful reasons why our younger kids should be unwired as well. The good news from today’s New York Times article is that unwiring is happening for K-12 at last!
The grand vision of the intellectual cream of the age of the Ptolemys was to gather every scroll ever written into the library by the sea at Alexandria. Ships docked at the library’s wharf for decades, and off and on for centuries. Scrolls burned, or were intentionally burned – we don’t know for sure. We do know that the collection was never comprehensive for the Mediterranean world, to say nothing of civilizations to the east and the proto writings of Europe and the Americas.
Now Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle tells us: “Universal access to all human knowledge is within our grasp. It could be one of the greatest achievements of all time.” And he is talking every book in every language, plus audio, video and all the rest be available on the internet.
What compounds the magnitude of the achievement is that the coming universal interactive connectivity means every person on the planet can access every node of knowledge. No Ptolemy could have possibly imagined everyone alive using the scrolls that flowed into Alexandria.
Click on the title “Bat Chat” to visit a collection of bat echolocation calls. You can listen to them as they fly, and to their social chat too.
This handsome web offering from Newsweek and MSNBC is “an interactive guide to unmanned military weapons.” I found it while exploring the robotics section of the Sandia National Laboratory website. Although I heartily support any step toward machines in combat to replace human soldiers, believe the future of war will take a very different direction. We tell ourselves that fanaticism is at the root of terrorist belligerence, and I believe that is entirely true. So the future of that sort of war we now face will be determined by the future of fanaticism. The fighters, human and robotic, will be relieved of duty when isolated people can no longer be persuaded to blow up innocents and themselves.
The cascading epidemic of fanaticism which has supplied the soldiers in the war conducted by terror will be reversed by universal mobile connectivity. Little boys and girls being conditioned to hate America will be much harder to radicalize if they have a cellphone and access to the Internet. It would be a good idea to modify the Sand Dragon into a delivery bot that would be able to penetrate into villages and pass out cellphones and laptops to the population. Beaming bots could roam nearby to support villages as WiFi hot spots.