Sunday, April 23, 2023

self sufficient production

A Fab Lab in Iceland

I've updated my reference list to my 2021 Fab Lab article, Your town needs a community Fab Lab. I'll provide a brief big picture summary of the potential again here. The Fab Lab initiative can achieve the following:
  • personal design of commodities when required or desired
  • local production, global shared design (open source hardware and software)
  • personal production of almost anything
  • training opportunities in the required digital and manufacturing skills
  • access to almost anyone, after some essential training
  • an educational reform agenda to bring education into the 21stC
  • reduced cost in commodity production due to far fewer supply chains
  • recycling of "junk"
  • possible to achieve both quality and quantity commodity production

Neil Gershenfeld describes this transformation as the Third Digital Revolution, meaning the interchangeability of bits and atoms to achieve personal fabrication of almost anything (contextual note, the 1st digital revolution was the Internet; the 2nd digital revolution was the smart phone). Rather than another new commodity, the idea of the Fab Lab is to put the means of production into the hands of more and more citizens. See my earlier article for a list of the 5 types of machines that are found in a Fab Lab.

REFERENCE UPDATE: (see original 2021 Fab Lab article for full references as well as more detail)
MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld on How to Make Anything (Almost). (video, 28 minutes, 2023)
Gershenfelds. The Promise of Self Sufficient Production (2021)
Coronavirus tracking project for fab lab network development and deployment (2020)
Gershenfelds. Soon You’ll Be Able to Make Anything. It’ll Change Politics Forever (2018)

Sunday, March 26, 2023

maker education resources update

Technology, Tools ... Curriculum. You might be sold on the technologies (for example, the micro:bit) and have purchased the tools you need for maker education (servos, glue guns etc.) but you haven’t got time to develop a comprehensive curriculum which makes the most of those tools.

Not to worry, a very smart person has probably developed the curriculum you need. This blog is an update and reiteration of some of those curriculum resources

1) Micro:bit curriculum
A new Micro:bit book published by the Invent to Learn group
Maas, Pauline & Heldens, Peter. The Invent to Learn Guide to the micro:bit.(2023) is all you need to get the most out of the micro:bit. It is written by teachers for teachers and deals with all the issues involved there. I plan to use it next term with a Year 8 Digital Technology class.
2) Circuit Playground Express (CPX) curriculum
Maker Course for the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express I’ve written about this one before. Rob Morrill has written a great course based on the CPX technology. We have been running this for a few years for Year 7s now at one of my schools and the course is very popular.

I'm now working part time in an all aboriginal student school and this has encouraged me to search out maker activities without using a computer at all.

3) Darrell Wakelam has a wonderful website and very generously has made many of his materials available for free online, here
#ArtJumpStart is a collection of easy art projects to try at home using materials from your recycling. Download the full collection as a PDF or browse the images below

His book, Art Shaped: 50 sustainable art projects to kickstart children's creativity, can be preordered through Bloomsbury (available in May this year)

4) Rob Ives books

Rob Ives has published large collection of books and the details are available on his website

I have bought one, Build It! Make It! Become a Super Engineer (2020)

First impression – some of the designs require complicated materials but others are simple and good.

5) Jason Erdreich Projects

This has roughly 100 projects of all sorts, I'm still checking these out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

books I am reading in 2023

BOOKS and some articles 2023:

Arthur, W. Brian. The Nature of Technology: What is is and How it Evolves (2009)
Deutsch, David. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World (2011)
Ives, Rob. Build It! Make It! Become a Super Engineer (2020)
Kurti, Peter & Mundine, Warren (editors). Beyond Belief: Rethinking the Voice to Parliament (2022)
Marcus, Gary & Davis, Ernest. Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence we can Trust (2019)
Maas, Pauline & Heldens, Peter. The Invent to Learn Guide to the micro:bit.(2023)
McWhorter, John. Woke Racism: How a New Religion Betrayed Black America (2021)
Mitchell, Melanie. Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans (2020)
Schmidhuber, Juergen. Annotated History of Modern AI and Deep Learning (2022)
Smil, Vaclav. How the World Really Works: The Science Behind how we got here and Where We're Going (2022)
Shellenberger, Michael. SanFransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities (2021)
Swaroop. A Byte of Python (online)
Tooley, James. The Beautiful Tree: a personal journey into how the world's poorest people are educating themselves (2009)
Topol, Eric. Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again (2019)
Wakelam, Darrell. ArtJumpStart (2023)
Widdowson, Frances. Fired for Asking Questions (2022)

Previous: Books 2022

Saturday, January 14, 2023

an argument against strong identity politics

Only aboriginal people know what is best for aboriginal people? Is that what The Voice is about? But in a cosmopolitan society normal people are both free and often want to learn interesting stuff from other cultures.

The argument from strong cultural relativism goes something like this. Culture refers to the collective identity of a group. This culture in turn determines the identity of the individuals in that group. There is a special moral value in my culture, it determines my true, essential, authentic identity. There is an essential link between my culture and my identify. You are not allowed to criticise any aspect of my culture, even if you find some aspects repugnant (eg. the right of a man to beat his partner) because that is criticising my essential identify.

This is a quasi biological argument, that my capabilities are an extension of the culture I was born into. To make a fetish of culture can lead to white racism at one pole and indigenous separatism at the other pole.

From within this framework what can we learn from other cultures in such a world? My culture determines me. Your culture determines you. The next step in the argument is incoherent: My culture can teach your culture valuable lessons. Refer Moody Adams, pp. 215-6. Strong cultural relativism leads to separate development.

Another problem with strong cultural relativism is that it doesn't explain, given that culture is dynamic and can change (which nearly everyone agrees with) , why it is so important? Why is it so important given that it can be changed? Why not just work to change the culture?

Moody-Adams, Michele M. Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy (1997)