WE KEPT OUR CHRISTMAS lights turned off for several days during this Christmas season to honour two neighbours who died in their homes on our street. Their passing, along with continued COVID-19 restrictions, marked Christmas 2020 as the darkest in my lifetime.
IN A MAJOR case against Facebook, the US government is defining "harms" in a holistic way. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges harm occurs if a company buys another company specifically to hinder its ability to compete.
Facebook's dominance in the market has degraded privacy, eroded user experience, increased the number of fake accounts, and facilitated misinformation. Each of these side effects is harmful. The FTC seems to be arguing that all of these harms would not have occurred if Facebook had to compete with the services it now owns. One of those services is Octazen, an exceptionally capable data scraping service that I wrote about 10 years ago.
I EXPECT TO CONTINUE teaching third level students in a hybrid fashion for the rest of my days. Looking at my current teaching methods, I realise I use six rather unique technologies while delivering course material to a mix of creative media, digital animation, and game art design students.
I HAVE BOOKS on my shelves that teach me lessons from generations ago. One of those books is written by Thucydides who explains how the citizens of Athens survived a major pandemic in the fifth century. The story is wonderfully told during a two part Ideas Podcast from the CBC. (Subscribe to Ideas from the CBC.)
I STARTED LISTENING to early exit polls from the 2020 US election and somehow transported myself back to 2002 when Ruth and I walked alongside the River Liffey. I can find only a few photos from November 2002 but it's easy to lose myself in the sound track of my life from those less stressful times.
I HAVE LOGGED SEVEN MONTHS in a remote teaching mode and need to ensure I have more than one way of producing content because my laptop's AC power adapter has failed. It will take more than a week to get a replacement part from my main campus 50 km away so I'm in a scavenger mode as I try to sort out a solution.
LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I struggle to pull away from the dumpster fire that is the Trump Presidency. But I can't because Donald's sociopathy is a matter of American national security. To get an evidence-based insight to the one particular psyche that threatens the American way of life, I joined a million others and bought Too Much and Never Enough. RECOMMENDED.
ON HER FINAL DAY of primary school, Mia (12) joined with 30 other classmates in a surreal setting that typifies the way her life has been for the previous 15 weeks. She stayed two metres apart from friends she has known throughout primary school. I watched the setting and wondered what lies ahead in what may be a hybrid form of education for our two school children.