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Stephen Downes
Works at National Research Council
Attended University of Alberta
Lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
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Stephen Downes

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I posted an item in OLDaily today from Forbes touting the benefits of formerly 'useless' liberal arts degrees. In this item Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is quoted: “Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfiel...
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Responding to David Wiley... https://www.facebook.com/opencontent/posts/10154199574548475

Many countries have what you call "advanced citizenship", including my own, and many countries are as free - or, I would argue, freer - than the United States.

We manage such discourse - and to have advanced and enlightened social policies - by understanding the difference between the use of speech as discourse and the use of speech as a weapon.

And it's not about whether such discourse is legal in a society. The doctrine that whatever is legal is acceptable is pernicious. It's about understanding that it is as offensive and unacceptable to bludgeon a person with words as it is to do so with one's fists.

To proclaim in public that a person should be barred from employment, should be prohibited from marrying, should be subject to physical and emotional abuse - this is understood to be unacceptable, whether or not it is legal. It is unacceptable when asserted on the basis of religion, it is unacceptable when asserted on the basis of race, and it is unacceptable when asserted on the basis of gender or sexuality.

I don't think "advanced citizenship" involves inflicting harm on others, and it is precisely this distinction that sets apart civilization and citizenship from rank tribalism and the politics of fear.
Thinking a lot about free speech today. There seems to be a wide divide between those who support gay marriage and those who oppose it. What many on...
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When their "view" is about the personal choices, they make, then fine. When their "view" is that everyone "should" live that way, meh. When their view is that the government should prohibit people from living differently, then they are the ones doing the "inflicting".
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The current government plans to deface some pristine Cape Breton wilderness with a 'Mother Canada' monument. Here's the proposal. Here's some coverage of opposition. A photo below:   What I find a bit puzzling is why Canada's...
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What I was thinking when I wrote this is that, as a child, my role models were explorers and scientists. Sure, they needed to make a living, but their primary goal in like was to make new discoveries for the good of society (indeed, for the good of humanity).
 
In other years, people like police, fire and military staff became the role models for children (more in the U.S. than in Canada). And even though I don’t identify with these as role models, they still serve society first, and worry about making a living second.
 
Today, though, the role models being offered are entrepreneurs. These are not people who serve society first; they seek out and serve, as I said, people with money. And making money is their higher value; if they can offer some service to society, it is only because the demand for this service creates an opportunity to make money.
 
So I see this as an unwelcome development, and would seek to (ideally) return to the role model of explorers and scientists, if I could.
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I wrote the other day that the study released by George Siemens and others on the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning was a bad study. I said, "the absence of a background in the field is glari...
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This is a summary of Mozilla CEO Mark Surman's talk at Oppen Education Global in Banff April 24 (today). It is a paraphrase with lots of direct quotation, but shouldn't be taken as word-for word literal. All errors are my own...
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Hello sir how are you 
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Drafted in January and just released, the Johns Hopkins statement on academic freedom will no doubt be widely cited.I cite the full text below. This post is a version of the document designed to draw out and represent exactly...
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Stephen Downes

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The Fuel Strike

I was also one of the people caught up in the action as I was traveling home from Ottawa via Toronto. I eventually made it at 3:00 a.m. and my luggage is still en route somewhere, as WestJet opted to load fuel rather than luggage in Ottawa.

It’s really hard to find a newspaper article that actually explains why the workers are taking the action, but when you find it, you find it’s hard not to sympathize with them.

Basically, they’re all being replaced, and their replacements will earn about half what they make – as pointed out above, a sub-standard wage of $14 per hour. 250 of 300 workers involved in refuelling are due to lose their jobs on Oct. 1.

Under current legislation, the union leaders have to be ‘opposed’ to the action or they risk going to jail.

I am 100% in support of the workers. You spend 40 years working with a company and then they dump you out on the street? And do you really want people earning only $14 per hour responsible for refueling your aircraft? Think about it. This is no way to run a society.

This is why we have to get rid of the bums who run the country, both Tory and Liberal. This sort of behaviour by corporations should no longer be tolerated.

- http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/07/03/jet-fuel-dispute-delays-cancels-pearson-flights-friday.html

- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2015/07/my-love-letter-to-maude-after-spending-the-night-at-the-airport/#comment-254978
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We are now reading that the exodus of people from New Brunswick through the winter was the largest it has been since 1976. It's the 17th quarter in a row the province has lost people. And it shows no sign of slowing. I live i...
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good morning how are you?
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There are three separate threads in Siemens's response to my last post, all of which are fascinating: The thread concerning whether or not the study he published was bad, The thread examining the question of whether univer...
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Defending himself against my criticism of his recently released reserach study on distance and online learning, George Siemens tweets: Au contraire mon frère. There are many non-research articles cites, with a particular pre...
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Education
  • University of Alberta
    Philosophy, 1987 - 1993
  • University of Calgary
    Philosophy, 1981 - 1987
  • SAIT
    Computer Science, 1980 - 1981
  • Algonquin College
    Computer Science, 1979 - 1980
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Free Learning
Introduction
Stephen Downes
Moncton's most prominent cyber-citizen. See also my main website at http://www.downes.ca
Work
Occupation
Researcher
Employment
  • National Research Council
    Researcher, present
  • Athabasca University, Assiniboine Community College, Grande Prairie Regional College, University of Alberta, Texas Instruments, Versa Foods
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Previously
Metcalfe, Ontario, Canada - Brandon, Manitoba, Canada - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada - Eaglesham, Alberta, Canada - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Candiac, Quebec, Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Austin, Texas
Stephen Downes's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Why Numbers Exist
halfanhour.blogspot.com

by Stephen Downes One exists to show us the way It is the self, it is today It is the place where we departed It is the one to get us starte

Half an Hour
halfanhour.blogspot.com - written by Stephen Downes

This is a summary of theexpert discussion at the conclusion of Day One of the International Monitoring Organization conference Each paragraph denotes a ...

» How I ended up leaving Poynter JIMROMENESKO.COM
jimromenesko.com

How I ended up leaving Poynter. “How did this go off the rails?” Poynter's attorney asked me during a Nov. 12 phone conversation about m

Half an Hour: October 2011
halfanhour.blogspot.com - written by Stephen Downes

This is a summary of theexpert discussion at the conclusion of Day One of the International Monitoring Organization conference Each paragraph denotes a ...

Half an Hour: A Conversation on Innovation
halfanhour.blogspot.com - written by Stephen Downes

A Conversation on Innovation. This is a summary of theexpert discussion at the conclusion of Day One of the International Monitoring Organization conference

Support Pussy Riot’s appeal for justice
action.amnesty.org.uk

Pussy Riot appeal in court next week. We need your help to defend free speech - ask the Russian authorities to stop their persecution of the

They gave me mountains of very good food, making it the only place in Oslo I could afford to eat while I was visiting there! My only regret is that I didn't find the place sooner. Seriously, if you're in the city on a budget, take the short walk from downtown and eat here.
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