November 2006

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There are references everywhere — I saw it on the news while I was travelling — but here’s an article at USA Today

IPSWICH, England — Tear down the traffic lights, remove the road markings and sell off the signs: Less is definitely more when it comes to traffic management, some European engineers believe.

They say drivers tend to proceed more cautiously on roads that are stripped of all but the most essential markings — and that helps cut the number of accidents in congested areas.

“It’s counterintuitive, but it works,” said urban planner Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who heads the British arm of a four-year European project, Shared Spaces, to test the viability of what some planners call “naked roads.”

I often get confused driving around trying to parse the many signs everywhere, and wonder if they’re really helping things — and marvel at how ugly they are. It didn’t occur to me that a more ‘zen’ approach might be better, and possibly even safer. Fascinating how when you take away some of the cues, you force people to *think* as they drive. (As long as you have just enough other cues to keep them somewhat managed.)

In some ways it’s kind of a wikipediazation of public roadway signage. Rather than dictating every move, put just enough of the right cues out there to get people to structure their own behavior appropriately.

Wills on Paul

Slate reviews Garry Wills’ “What Paul Meant”

If anyone can wean his fellow liberal Christians from their historic habit of denigrating Paul, it is Wills, whose translation of Chapter 13 of First Corinthians, tying Paul tightly to Jesus as a preacher of love, is characteristically fresh and gripping. The last six verses read: “Love will never go out of existence. Prophecy will fail in time, languages too, and knowledge as well. For we know things only partially, or prophesy partially, and when the totality is known, the parts will vanish. It is like what I spoke as a child, knew as a child, thought as a child, argued as a child—which, now I am grown up, I put aside. In the same way we see things in a murky reflection now, but shall see them full face when what I have known in part I know fully, just as I am known. For the present, then, three things matter—believing, hoping, and loving. But supreme is loving.”

I may need to read this book. It’s been years since I studied Paul in college (with a relatively ‘liberal’ professor who, unlike the stereotypes this reviewer refers to, was very balanced on Paul). I constantly find myself in conversations with friends and family over the New Testament and references to Paul’s letters. I guess a refresher wouldn’t hurt. Plus I completely love Garry Wills’ writing.

Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (Part One)
Participatory Culture

For the moment, let’s define participatory culture as one:
1. With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
2. With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others
3. With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices
4. Where members believe that their contributions matter
5. Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).

(via Terra Nova)

Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Irving in (a Virtual World) Wonderland

We see this people-centric evolution of the Web in social networks and Web 2.0 – capabilities that enable people to find each other, form communities, share information, and collaborate on a variety of endeavors. Now we are bringing to this new people-centric spirit the highly visual, interactive applications in Virtual Worlds. This new breed of applications is being rethought around the people who design them, maintain them and use them, instead of asking those people to come down to the level of the computers.

Irving has an avatar, and he’s digging what he sees.

He also reminds us that a lot of these quickly-becoming-mainstream activities have been around longer than we might think, in places like corporate and government supercomputer research labs, like the “CAVE.