Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Diversity as quality
This is a continuation from a comment on the significance of language differences at Peters blog, on www.formandmatter.com, where I argued that there is a value in the diversity of human languages. More languages contain a larger amount of information and adds quality to human culture, generally speaking.
My friend who is a language-freak brought me a very fine chorizo from Mallorca, but the real gift was actually the package, where the name of the product was written in four different languages: Castellano, Basque, Gallego and Catalan. For the Spanish, the right to a regional language is an important part of living in democracy. Without allowing regional languages the nation might explode.
On the other hand in Yugoslavia, language was part of the ethnic conflict and Serbo-Croatian rapidly split into Serbian and Croatian, as the nation also did so, and all possible language differences were searched for and enlarged.
In Spain and Ireland for examples there are road signs with double languages. This is only starting to develop in Northern Sweden. Will we se a surge in Sami road signs, now that the Sami languages along with Meänkieli, Yiddish and Romani are acknowledged as parallel languages in Sweden? What will the political effects of this be?
Friday, May 19, 2006
Speciesism against beavers?
The night before last Sunday a beaver checked in at a hotel in Örebro, central Sweden, according to the Swedish news agency TT. It walked right through the reception and into a room. It was caught and evicted by the municipal hunter. Now this seems like an blatant case of speciesism. What was the reason given for this? Was it the rumours that beavers could start gnawing on furniture? Had it been served herbes or shrubs by the hotel this would likely not happen. Rock stars and other humans are known to devastate hotel rooms but hotels still go on letting bands rent rooms. Or was it a belief that the beaver would not pay for the room? The beaver would probably have a house somewhere in a creek that could serve as security at the bank. Maybe the hotel feared that the beaver would "lay a cable" on the hotel room carpet? But as far as I know beavers shit in water so it would most certainly use the WC. No, this can be nothing else than pure speciesism without any cause against beavers.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Inside or outside?
At the conference Netlearning 2006, we are – in an excellent lecture by Terry Anderson – asked to be skeptical against lectures…."if one thinks a teacher’s job is to dispense information, then teachers are obsolete"…..but we are also asked to be skeptical against his own lecture.
During the conference talks the room is lit by the blue light of scores of computer screens as the audience are following, and contributing to, the Internet chat about its video-streamed version. Yes, I have followed this at other occasions, either being ”inside” or ”outside” a conference or seminar. The new here was that the participants actually present in the room felt they had to get connected not to fear being ”outside” although they technically were ”inside” (or were they? This is like playing a game of Go).
Likewise, in an interview sent during the conference, with Finnish researcher Yrjö Engeström questioned if it is meaningful today to make a difference between “real” and “virtual” – as he said this in the studio, he commented whether the interview was “real” or “virtual” – and viewing this, we could not quite know how real the show we saw really was. Which I guess proves him right?
Highlights during the conference were the provocations by Elza Dunkels and Wim Veen about the net culture of a new generation. However I could not help thinking of us in the audience as inhabitants of a doomed planet trying to grasp life on another celestial body by sending out anthropological observers, searching informants among friendly natives. To what benefit for the galaxy?
True to my own nature, I stumbled head first, without intention, into the world of blogs. Well, so be it. This blog might come to deal with not only beavers but also Messapian culture, archipelago nature, seafood recipes or Ursula K. LeGuin’s short stories. Your comments will be appreciated.
Bloggers note: This blog started out as beaverblogger and later changed to earthsea.