Friday, August 22, 2008

The Future Of Education Is Games (Edutopia via Greenbush Labs Blog)

...or simulations if you prefer. If you don't believe me, watch this very compelling and well-argumented video of Professor James Paul Gee from Arizona State University. While you are at it, take a look around the Edutopia site. Very interesting stuff there (many thanks to the Greenbush Labs Blog for highlighting it yesterday).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Little Bit Of Pre-term Perspective (Beloit and YouTube)

Beloit College put out its annual mindset list this week. The purpose of the list is to act "as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation." Beloit uses the list as a way to help their faculty get inside the heads of the incoming freshmen and to explicitly recognize that some of the cultural touchstones of a 50 year old professor are not the cultural touchstones of an 18 year old student.

For 18 year olds coming to college this year, Beloit notes, for example, that IBM has never made typewriters and there has always been GPS. Beloit just about killed me last year when they noted that the Soviet Union had never existed for those freshmen. This year, in turn, it suddenly hit me that the incoming freshmen were 11 years old when 9/11 happened. How much do you remember from when you were 11?

If that is not enough perspective for you, then check out the video made by the always incisive Dr. Michael Wesch and his students at Kansas State University:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Intelligence Community, Meet The Future... (Image Metrics)

I just got wind of this video from a friend of mine (Thanks, John and Flint!). Watch it all the way through and see if you can spot the threats and the opportunities. Once you are done, highlight the space between the [ ] below to get the answer (I typed it using white lettering so I wouldn't spoil the surprise. Highlight the white space between the [ ]and the answers magically appear as white lettering on a black background. Steganography on the cheap, as it were...).

[Emily, the girl in the video, is fake. She was generated entirely using computer graphics software. Animation of this quality is coming to your video games next year. There are so many new threats and opportunities generated by this kind of technology that I am not sure where to begin. Post your thoughts to the comments...]

Monday, August 18, 2008

North Caucasus Insurgency -- Strategic Estimate (Original Research)

Last year one of my strategic intelligence teams took a look at the insurgency in the north Caucasus. You can see their final product on the Mercyhurst Caucasus Insurgency Analysis Team wiki. Their analysis was only designed to look out to the Russian presidential election but having reviewed some of the findings, methods and final products once again, I think it is worth sharing, particularly given the recent crisis in Georgia.

The team did not look directly at Georgian/Russian relations but there is still some interesting grist for the mill here. They have built a very good link chart of the insurgency leadership (you can download the PowerPoint here or see the full report with videos here) and the resources page has a wide variety of mapping and other resources listed. The violence database contains an ethnographic map of the region along with a brilliant use of the online mapping service CommunityWalk to map out all of the incidents prior to November, 2007 (when they completed the project). The final estimates, as mentioned, are out of date, but may include some items of interest, particularly relating to perceived Russian capabilities in November 2007. As with all of the wiki-based products (referenced below), there is much to be gained by looking at the methods and process used as well.

Related Posts:
Russia And Georgia Analysis: Its All About Timing
Security Sector Reform In Sub-Saharan Africa
Jihadist Use Of YouTube, SecondLife
Non-State Actors In Sub-Saharan Africa

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How To Pick A Lock With A "Bump Key" And 9 Other Interesting Or Useful How-to Videos (Lifehacker)

Close down The Farm! You can get all the black bag training you need on YouTube! Lifehacker published a list of 10 useful how-to videos recently. Some of them I have tried (like opening a bottle with a piece of paper) and could not get to work. Others I have tried and learned (like folding a t-shirt in 2 moves -- very cool!) but I didn't expect that learning how to make a bump key would make the top ten. Considered a "burglary tool" in many states, it is probably best to just watch the video...

You can see all of Lifehacker's top ten here but I have included one of my own favorite how-to videos below, "How to tie your shoes really fast":