Ten years at McGee’s Musings

Today marks the tenth year that I’ve been writing here. Like all things organic the pace ebbs and flows. Topics evolve and morph. Technologies appear and disappear. Over all this time, the reward that turns out to matter most is the opportunity to make and build relationships.

This week brought an excellent example. I was in New York at the contactcon conference to talk about the work that David Friedman and I have been doing on Collaborating Minds. Besides all the fascinating new people we met at the conference, I was also able to finally meet several colleagues in person that I’ve come to know digitally because I’ve been present here. Both George Por and Flemming Funch were at the conference as well and we were able to expand on our friendship instead of starting them.

A special treat was being able to meet Dave Winer face to face and to thank him for all he has contributed to my work. I started blogging using tools and ideas he created. For that matter I started using his tools for writing and thinking (ThinkTank and Ready) in the very earliest days of personal computing.

Once again my thanks to all of you that I’ve been able to meet and get to know from this outpost on the Web.

Understanding the world around you – more insights from Richard Feynman

Another gem from Richard Feynman. In this clip he uses the game of chess to illustrate how scientists go from making observations about the world to better and better theories that account for the observations. There’s a lot of depth in this simple analogy and it’s well worth dedicating some of your own brain cycles to following Feynman’s reasoning.

Your morning dose of Feynman Boing Boing: “Your morning dose of Feynman By Maggie Koerth-Baker at 7:05 am Wednesday, Oct 12

Richard Feynman, God of Perfect Analogies, explains why it’s not a failure or a scandal when scientists adapt and change their understanding of the world. This is a really important point, applicable in a lot of public debates over science, especially those focused on evolution and climate change. Science isn’t about writing things on tablets of stone. It’s about taking a theory and constantly digging deeper into it adding layers of nuance, finding stuff that doesn’t make sense, and using both to build a more complete picture. Even if the big idea is right, the details will change. That’s how science is supposed to work.

Via W. Younes

Enormously moving speech on the way the Internet transforms lives Boing Boing

This has been lurking in my “to read/view” pile for months. The title from the original Boing Boing post sums it up quite nicely. It shows what is possible. Our challenge is to make it more common. The best 15 minutes I’ve spent in a long time.

Enormously moving speech on the way the Internet transforms lives Boing Boing: “Enormously moving speech on the way the Internet transforms lives By Cory Doctorow at 9:47 am Tuesday, Jun 7

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com

I’m at the Personal Democracy Forum at NYU today, and the morning plenary has been a series of fascinating short talks. But one talk, by Jim Gilliam’s “The Internet is My Religion,” brought the house down. Jim worked in many early and influential Internet firms, went on to produce Robert Greenwald’s extraordinary films, and do many other notable things. Among them was surviving two bouts of cancer and a double-lung transplant. The story of how he went from a Jerry Falwell born-again to an Internet advocate and film producer ended with a standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house. Watch this, please, I’d consider it a favor.

Jim Gilliam- The Future of Sharing