danwinckler.com/nyc


Aug
10

“Terrorists can be defeated simply by not becoming terrorized — that is, anything that enhances fear effectively gives in to them.”*

This moment in history will be remembered as a high-water mark of fear and hysteria, a time when small groups of men successfully bred fear around the world, a fear which politicians encouraged and manipulated to secure their control over government. Today I called my Congressman and Senators’ offices to ask them to speak out against this “no liquids” policy on airplanes and the manipulation of this foiled act of terrorism by the party in power to make people more fearful, and thus, more easy to control. The response by our government to acts of terrorism is turning our country into a fearful, reactionary monster. I hope you’ll call or write your representatives, too.

http://house.gov
http://senate.gov

* From “A False Sense of Insecurity?” (alternate link), an essay by John Mueller from the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.

Aug
8

Wow, done.

Eight 13 – 15 year old New York City students + five 19 – 21 year old Amsterdam students + 1 co-director + four assistant teachers (later, two and a half) + nine guest teachers + two Amsterdam teachers X (five weeks here | eight days there) + three-ish administrators + a whole lot of help from other people, especially Andres :), == quite a lot of work. Kids Connect workshops concluded on Friday. I’m stunned and delighted at the relatively huge quantity of free time I have now. Back to three squares + eight hours sleep + a social life (! surprise) + a whole lot of thesis writing to do, not to mention the proposals for the next Kids Connect workshop ~= relatively not as busy but quite busy and it’s a good thing I like being busy. 🙂 I gave Carl and IDMI a little posable man as a token of our thanks (I find it amusing that his IKEA name is “Gestalta”). Carl got quite a giggle out of it. I’ve got three minutes left on the remorseless Pester before it’s back to writing thesis stuff…what to say. Hmm. My friend Adam Kendall gave me a DVD of some of his work the other night at the Speigel Tent EyeWash show. I have yet to watch it but it’s a beautifully crafted CD and jewel case so it allures me. Perhaps in 10 minutes or so Pester will give me a break to check it out….au’voir.

Jul
24

How can you argue with this video? These kids are cool.

Kids Connect is going very well. Our students are learning a lot, they like us, we like them, it’s an avalanche of busy and all good. Tomorrow we’ll open a window (read: video conference) with our counterparts in Amsterdam; we put the above video together in VJ-U today with Benton Bainbridge, who thought it’d make a great welcome when they join us on the Kids Connect island. More later, stories and pictures now:

Things are going very well.

We students and teachers are making lots of stuff for the island.

I made something today that gives me great pleasure. I took a photo of one of the Lawrence Weiner manhole covers and made it a 3D texture in Second Life. Click the pic for full effect.

image: a shot of me in Second Life standing over my masterpiece: a texture of the Village manhole covers by Lawrence Weiner

Last week, Josephine and I attended the Games 4 Change conference, put on by the Serious Games Initiative (among many) and hosted at Parsons. It was an energizing experience that gave a definite boost to Kids Connect. We met other educators (many from Second Life), program directors, game developers, and one futurist; saw several really good panels on serious games, funding of, grassroots organization with, benefits of, big media interest in, building alternative spaces in, and reaching new audiences through; and — a subject I’m keenly interested in — the realization/evolution of the 3D Web through virtual worlds like Second Life. We met Barry Joseph et al from Global Kids (the first educational initiative in Teen Second Life) who not only gave two excellent presentations on panels but also gave generously of their time to share their learning experiences in Second Life with Josephine and me. A lot of this is covered in one their Holy Meatballs’ stories, which I’ll call What (Not) To Do When Starting an Educational Island in Teen Second Life (pdf) and it’s an essential read for anyone starting to teach in SL. We’re going to ask the Lindens to put our island next to theirs so our students can skip right over without a teleport. We may collaborate on some projects in the future, too. 🙂

Tomorrow is the first day of Kids Connect workshops in New York. It will be a somewhat messy start because of some typos in the mailing but no matter — most things start messy. 😉

Today’s Second Life recommendation: check out Svarga (teleport link), an artificial ecosystem where all the plants, animals, rain, clouds, sun and terrain communicate with each other, grow and evolve procedurally a la The Game of Life. See Pathfinder Linden’s photoset of Svarga and the New World Notes post about it.