Archive for May, 2012

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Social capital at its best

May 20, 2012

After a day of house cleaning to get my life outside academia back in order, I am back at it today feeling ready to tackle the last assignments.  I have enjoyed my face-to-face learning – who wouldn’t with such a great group of colleagues and instructors!  We created a social network a year ago when we met, the ties strengthened over the past year in our online learning and in the past three weeks we have created a dense network.  What has impressed me the most about this group is the kindness and collaboration that abounds.  We truly do want to make each other better – help each other out.  In so doing we have raised the entire group up.  Our social capital is so rich! Sheldon wouldn’t understand it, but Penny would be proud!  I am truly honored to be associated with the MACT 2011 cohort!

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Silence cannot be taken away

May 17, 2012

This blog post focuses on Zizek’s article “Occupy First. Demands Come Later“.  I find the entire article worth the read, but what really caught my attention were the last two paragraphs.  Zizek’s proclamation that protestors need to remain silent and not come up with solutions as requested by the politicians was insightful to me.  According to Zizek, politicians push for protestors to provide their suggestions early on so that they can quickly discredit them as solutions that will not work, thereby giving the politicians permission to continue on with the status quo.  In Zizek’s words,  “time is needed to deploy the new content… All we say now can be taken from us – everything except our silence”.  The demands of business and government to label the movement to be about something tangible was very real.  The inability for anyone to articulate it was also real.  Yet that hole where the answer should be needs to remain silent, until we figure it out.  The problem has been identified – the solution cannot be rushed.

I think it is ironic  that one of the final readings for COMM 506 is about the value of silence – not exactly what we have been doing for the last three weeks!

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Social media is not a revolution but rather an opportunity

May 16, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell, in his article Small Change, Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted makes the point that it is not Twitter and Facebook that are the face of revolutions, but rather the people who are on the street in the flesh, fighting for their cause. While I agree that social media is not the revolution, I would have to say that it is an important part of it.  Information in this globally connected world is power.  Whether the people in Iran used Twitter to get their cause organized or not, does not take away from the fact that they likely knew that their cause would get a global audience through social media and that was an important part of their revolution – even if they weren’t successful in their own country, they likely knew that the information about what they were trying to do would reach a global audience.

As Clay Shirky says, “Behavior is motivation filtered through opportunity…and new technologies have, across the board, created new opportunities for people to DO things.”  The people of Iran were motivated through opportunity – the opportunity afforded by social media.

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Where is the line between privacy and freedom of access to information

May 15, 2012

It is easy to proclaim that we should have free access to information, but when does this freedom infringe on the rights to privacy of information?  It is easy to get up in arms when we see the government withholding information to which we feel entitled.  On the other hand, when we see access to information as infringing upon our private lives, we see things differently.  Being in healthcare I am more than aware of confidentiality requirements and FOIPP.  I would not be comfortable with health information becoming available to the public as I can see all kinds of potential abuses, including decisions made by insurance companies that could affect individuals’ lives.

Julian Assange uncovered a lot of corruption, but do the ends justify the means?  Assange invaded privacy under the premise of uncovering government secrets and exposing illegal activity.  He is enraged by the government’s access to information in the name of homeland security and yet he too violates privacy rights to get what he wants. I see it along the same premise as violence breeds violence – corruption also breeds corruption.

A recent article that shows a few examples of how police have uncovered suspects by Facebook illustrates our dilemma – what information is free information and what is private?

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Poster References for MACT Students Scrambling to Be the Best that They Can Be!

May 12, 2012

In the fall I attended the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension seminar on making posters.  I sharing the PDF of PPT Poster Presentation that was distributed for this session as well as a Poster Presentation Info.pdf they handed out which I have scanned for your referral.  Lots of info for you to refer to – use as you need!  Remember we are in this together and we’ll all make it through!

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Social capital explained through The Big Bang Theory

May 11, 2012

The Big Bang Theory  (the TV sitcom, not the start of civilization – although I must say dissecting Kadushin has been a bit of what I might call an evolution – sorry I am digressing once again!) has helped me teaze out the concepts of social capital.  Please watch the episode of Penny’s Christmas gift to Sheldon to see what I mean and then feel free to look at  my PowerPoint which explains some of my take-aways from Kadushin’s chapter on Social Capital through the Big Bang Theory lens.

Yes I continue to use mindless TV programming to understand Master’s level concepts – this may be a bit of a worry!

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War over the wires

May 10, 2012

It wasn’t so long ago that electronic warfare was being fought by militaries.  The computer technology aboard new jet fighters in the military initiated the electronic warfare era where enemies tried to improve the software aboard their aircraft to increase their ability to “see” the enemy and decrease their enemy’s ability to see them.  It was a cat and mouse game played out in the skies above us and lands far from us.

It is appropriate that electronic warfare specialists have become the experts in network security.  Now their job is ensuring security features are in place on websites and sometimes finding out who hacked in when the security is lacking.  It is the cat and mouse game all over again, just in a battlefield – one less defined and more difficult to conceptualize.  One of Canada’s most reputable organizations that once dealt with fighter jet security and now deals with network security is EWA Canada – and yes the EWA stands for Electronic Warfare Associates!