— aleatory

big society

Dropping the old ICT curriculum with it’s much maligned emphasis on M$ Office is a brave move by education minister Michael Gove. It could be argued that from purely a learning point of view this one action is more important than any of the recent decisions on increasing education cost. Sending children back to where it all began – the formulation of grammars and statements thereof into machine-readable instructions that produce new computing tasks rather than just learn old ones by rote – is in many ways fundamental to getting a British engineering discipline back on track.

But it’s easy to get carried away here.

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The cinema language happened by experimentation – by people not knowing what to do. But unfortunately, after 15-20 years, it became a commercial industry. People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, “Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.”
Coppola, Marrakech International Film Festival, Morocco

Although he was referring specifically to the film industry here what Coppola says holds true in the general case – during a time of disruption, as the moving pictures obviously were to therather staid arts world of the time, there will be great advances, but at a cost of predictability. There is a human need to reduce risk. Particularly once a disruption has turned from something inexplicable and chaotic, into a neatly boxed and apparently understood ‘thing’.

Take the disruption around the dawn of the welfare state. Another time of great change, moving from a previously very set class system of society to one where merit not background decided what you could accumulate in life.

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bit.flow image courtesy Marc Wathieu

A grand title, considering the relatively niche aspect of government communications that piqued my interest in the subject. But it’s something that should perhaps be given much greater emphasis as society increasingly interacts with the state online.

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I had initially hoped to keep my Big Society posts on the positive end of the political spectrum. Unfortunately there is a wide dearth between it’s high ideals and the complete and utter self-absorption espoused by vast swathes of the media and public at large. This is a post about why this self-absorption is wrong and who is at fault.

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Image courtesy Ardfern

The Derry~Londonderry bid has won the right to host the UK’s first City of Culture in 2013. Apparently one of the organisers trumpeted on the night of the announcment that she wanted to see ‘every child with a musical instrument’ by the time they get round to hosting it.

And that’s what irks me most about this notion of ‘Culture’ being bestowed on a city for a certain period:

Culture is surely one of the most incorrectly used words in the English language today.

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