First Post (27FEB2005)       Previous Archive      Next Archive      Most Recent Post

senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

May Day isn't a holiday in Canada ...

permalink Thursday, 01MAY2008:

today marks the end of the current round of universe wars, so some lucky sod will win an xbox out of the deal. it's funny that some analysts figure that the latest 'grand theft auto' game might bite into the opening weekend box office for 'iron man'. gaming has really come out of the ghetto that i remember it being in when i was growing up. that whole man-child phenom is poked at by 'knocked up' and 'superbad', but really, why would someone willingly take on more responsibility if there isn't any social cost to *not* playing the conventional societal game ?

sort of along those lines, why work for an org that doesn't get it, when you can work for one that can ? May Day is supposed to be about the empowerment of labour, but i think these days labour needs more *enlightenment*. larry page, co-creator of google, is interviewed by 'fortune' magazine on 'how to save the world'. here are a few tidbits:

    "... The question is, How many people are working 
    on things that can move the needle on the economy 
    or on people's quality of life? ..."
    "... it's hard to get people to work on those kinds 
    of things because of the personal risk they feel 
    they're taking.  Also, people don't have the right 
    training. If you say you want to automate cars and 
    save people's lives, the skills you need for that 
    aren't taught in any particular discipline. ..."
    "... As a society, on the larger questions we have, 
    we're not making reasonable progress."
    "<Interviewer>: What kind of background do you 
    think is required to push these kinds of changes?
    I think you need an engineering education where you 
    can evaluate the alternatives.  For example, are 
    fuel cells a reasonable way to go or not?  For that, 
    you need a pretty general engineering and scientific 
    education, which is not traditionally what happens. 
    ... If you look at the people who have high impact, 
    they have pretty general knowledge.  They don't have 
    a really narrowly focused education.
    You also need some leadership skills. You don't want 
    to be Tesla.  He was one of the greatest inventors, 
    but it's a sad, sad story.  ... If you invent 
    something, that doesn't necessarily help anybody. 
    You've got to actually get it into the world ..."
this recalls an interesting discussion i had last weekend with xan, em's sister who was up visiting, about the perils of inflexible pedagogies. there isn't much sympathy for generalists at universities these days, which i think is a shame (consistent with my opinions when i was in student politics as well). universities are gradually introducing more time-flexibility (poor xan is taking summer classes), but opportunities for cross-disciplinary exposure are limited by curriculum requirements. i was lucky in snagging a co-op job on campus during my MLIS, which allowed me to take additional courses beyond my degree requirements, including a Ph.D.-level course on the political economy of information, which really helped to cement everything i had taken in library school up to that point and justified the tuition expense and time spent away from the workforce.

one of the reasons that i picked selkirk college over the degreed film programs was that i wanted an environment where i had more control over what i learned. nelson is a smaller city, with fewer distractions than the metropoli of toronto, montreal or vancouver, and the program is only going into its 3d year, so nothing will have had time to ossify. as well, with only 2 semesters to worry about, they can react very nimbly to changes in the marketplace - e.g., the potential actors strike this summer may give them an opportunity to have a star instructor for some of their courses in the fall.

so, now i just have to figure out what grand project i'll be interested in applying my varied skill-set towards after i graduate - who knows, i may just end up at google, which i had contemplated at the same time that i was considering library school, way back in 1998 ...

section divider

going north, going south

permalink Friday, 09MAY2008:

so, my trip up to pond inlet at 72 degrees north latitude went swimmingly. umm, not literally, as the sea ice there is still ultra-frozen unlike the puddles now spreading around iqaluit. the scenery was fabulous and the locals were ultra-friendly. i've posted an album on facebook, but here are a few teasers:

the hamlet of pond inlet (legal aid office in the foreground):
hamlet of pond inlet

bylot island 24 kilometres away across eclipse sound:
bylot island background

the wall of an iceberg with exquisite blue striations, frozen into the sound south of the hamlet:
iceberg wall with blue striations

the iceberg cavern in all its massive glory:
pond inlet iceberg cavern 2008

sandwiching the trip, i hit up the astro theatre for the debut friday showings of 'iron man' last week and '21' tonight. i enjoyed both films, but will likely only allow 'iron man' a repeat visit tomorrow nite when i also take in 'the forbidden kingdom'.

'iron man' really hit the spot and demonstrated that even a mid-level superhero can be transmorgriphied into film properly, even after hollywood gets its mitts on the property. '21' had lots of escapist vegas fare, just made for a time when the general economy appears to be going down the tubes. 'i *need* this money' may be a refrain that we'll begin to hear more often in real life, but the music in the movie was excellent, and the editing in both movies was unjarringly seamless. however, the performances by gwyneth paltrow and robert downey junior gleamed in 'iron man' and that tips the re-viewing balance in their favour.

section divider

First Post (27FEB2005)       Previous Archive      Next Archive      Most Recent Post