New Media Literacies website

Posted by jerry on February 21st, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology, Writing

MIT’s New Media Literacies website is integrating new media into education for K-12 students. The siteΒ  makes good use of participatory technologies – blogs, Flickr, and so on to stimulate students. And it showcases free videos and student activities. One of the best introductions I’ve seen to video-blogging or vblogs is the tutorial by Steve Garfield, John Barth, Jason Crow and Four Eyed Monsters on Flickr

vblog tutorial

The series includes:

  • Welcome to videoblogging
  • Is videoblogging news?
  • basic production
  • Community and conversation
  • Film making2.0
  • Ethics and Ownership
  • Vlogs as citizen media

It’s well worth a visit πŸ™‚

Thanks to Beth’s Blog for the link.

Hi-tech fibre is green… er orange actually

Posted by jerry on February 20th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Technology

From fishing rods to warships and presumably motorcycles too, a new nano-fibre has been developed from …er… carrots. Developed by Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale, the fibre material – to be first used in fishing rods – is a renewable resource that is pretty much carbon neutral – so it’s great for the environment. According to Dr Hepworth, when the material is burnt the carbon it creates is cancelled out by the carbon absorbed by the carrots when they were growing.


The new fly fishing rods being manufactured at the inventors’ company, CelluComp in Burntisland, Fife, Scotland go on sale in March. They will retail at about the same price as normal fishing rods, and each contains about 50 percent carrot, using about 2kg in its construction, – according to an article in The Scotsman dated 9 Feb 2007.

The Scotsman

The pair got together during their PhD studies at Reading University, when studying biological materials. The nano-fibers in the carrots are extracted and combined with high-tech resins to create a substance that can be moulded into any shape, flexibility or weight as required. The product hits the market just when there is global shortage of carbon fibre (which is extracted from non-renewable oil)

BBC news online - high tech fibre

And if the process results in a sudden surge in the carrots futures market, they can always use turnips parsnips or swedes πŸ™‚

I’m wondering whether there might also be a new strong thread here that could be used in clothing or other textile manufacture – the way kevlar and carbon fibres are used today in motorcycle gloves and jackets. The possibilities of these biocomposite materials seem endless!


New Literacies Sampler book – online!

Posted by jerry on February 19th, 2007 — Posted in New media, Technology, Theory, Writing

This is an excellent read, with many of my favourite authors – Colin Lankshear, Michele Knobel and Angela Thomas to name a couple πŸ˜‰

new literacies sampler

And better still,Β  New Literacies Sampler is not only available as a hard-copy book, but has also been published electronically online by the publisher – now THAT’s what I call a forward thinking publisher!

Thanks to Angela for pointing to this one πŸ™‚


Wheelsurf – Unicycle with motor!

Posted by jerry on February 18th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Motorcycling, Technology

The Wheelsurf is an amazing machine – part 50cc motor scooter, part German wheel (circus wheel)Β  πŸ™‚ And it looks like a load of fun! – Click on the image to see how it goes πŸ™‚


I can see my daughter coming up with a whole new circus act coming up with these…


Copyright, copyleft and creative commons

Posted by jerry on February 17th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology, Writing

I have had occasion recently to address a copyright issue, when one of my papers turned up on an Estonian website and then many iterations of it around the web all linked back to the Estonian one, and not to my original on my site. While I’m not precious about my work, and am quite happy to see the text appear on Wikipedia, my objection was to the further links that did not come my way.

I was able to amend the link on Wikipedia, but other derivative sites clearly had old versions. After writing a series of emails pointing out the error of their ways, I found the major sites like Wikipedia and responded within hours by amending the link to reflect the true copyright owner – so congratulations to those sites. Others seem to stream the information to seemingly orphan pages devoid of any email contact points, and to those I wrote to the top level domain operator pending further action.

But it did also get me thinking about the concept of copyright, and of its variations aimed at allowing people to take something in the public arena and develop it collectively with anyone who stops by. This broadly, is the concept of copyleft.


Then there is a kind of middle ground – a creative commons licence, in which copyright is still retained, while allowing free downloads and use of the material. In a sense, that is the spirit in which my band site offers its MP3 downloads – you can download for free and enjoy as many times as you like, as long as you attribute the music to Full Circle Band, and not claim it as your own.

Creative Commons

As far as my material is concerned, I’m happy for people to quote it, download it, or link to it – all I ask is attribution for my work and a courtesy link to my version of the piece. Site rippers are, in the words of the great Jar Jar Binks: ‘So rude!’