Cirrus 120108

In the last week I have received links to a number of interesting items.

From the ABC:

I liked the idea of a car parking itself … not from new technology features but from driver error.

A car reported stolen last month in the Adelaide Hills is believed to have rolled into the garage of a nearby home, parking itself perfectly.

From AUSPIN members:

The State Governments of New South Wales and South Australia have developed open access interactive web-based resources. Health Statistics NSW provides open access to data about the health of the NSW population. Data include “the health status and demography of the NSW community, current health challenges and inequalities, trends in health, and comparisons between age groups and geographic locations”. Public Heath SA offers an interactive mapping tool that enables data visualisation.

From the EHealth Blog:

The slides, videos and photos of the recent HINZ (Health Informatics New Zealand) conference are now online for open public access.

From the Computing Education Blog a link to Kazuhisa Shibata, Takeo Watanabe, Yuka Sasaki, and Mitsuo Kawato’s paper Perceptual Learning Incepted by Decoded fMRI Neurofeedback Without Stimulus Presentation. I was interested to read in their abstract:

With an online-feedback method that uses decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals, we induced activity patterns only in early visual cortex corresponding to an orientation without stimulus presentation or participants’ awareness of what was to be learned. The induced activation caused VPL specific to the orientation. These results suggest that early visual areas are so plastic that mere inductions of activity patterns are sufficient to cause VPL. This technique can induce plasticity in a highly selective manner, potentially leading to powerful training and rehabilitative protocols.

I look forward to reading the full paper given the plasticity possibilities signalled in the abstract. As I result of following up on the lead from the Computing Education Blog post I found a helpful meta review of visual perceptual learning (2010).

From various LinkedIn groups:

Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool

The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives in which Habit #7 is: they stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past.

Many CEOs on their way to becoming spectacularly unsuccessful accelerate their company’s decline by reverting to what they regard as tried-and-true methods. In their desire to make the most of what they regard as their core strengths, they cling to a static business model.They insist on providing a product to a market that no longer exists, or they fail to consider innovations in areas other than those that made the company successful in the past. Instead of considering a range of options that fit new circumstances, they use their own careers as the only point of reference and do the things that made them successful in the past.

The Living We – An Ecology for Transformative Action. I was delighted to discover Helene Finidori’s work and the innovative use she has made of debategraph. I had not seen debategraph before which is disappointing given my interest in deliberation. Debategraph is: Debategraph is: a debate visualization tool “to help groups think through complex topics by building and sharing dynamic, collaboratively-editable and ratable maps of subjects from multiple perspectives”; and a creative commons project “to increase the transparency and rigor of political debate around the world”.

My final cirrus link this week comes from my wife Sue’s scanning of her Guardian RSS feed. She found a great article by Ruaridh Nicoll, The Art of Fielding: baseball, growing up and the great American novel. Ruaridh writes about Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding and the story behind that story (Keith Gessen’s How a Book is Born: The Making of the Art of Fielding). Last week I wrote about The Science of Baseball (1910 version). I am hoping I will have a great science and art story to combine separated by a century.

Photo Credit

Car park

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