Friday, December 3, 2010

Louis Cyr


Louis Cyr, originally uploaded by susanvg.
Another quick shoot as I was passing by in my car. This is Louis Cyr, Montreal's famous strong man. This sculpture is by Robert Pelletier.

As I was driving I was listening to Q on CBC radio. William Gibson was on and he was asked if the Internet was dumbing us down. I loved his answer. First he said that we are the only creatures that have created prostheses for memory from writing on scrolls to handmade books to printing and on through the various media. The Internet is just the latest prosthesis. With facts on hand we can free our brains to think, to ask the questions we need answered, to think more deeply.

A colleague recently pointed me to Conrad Woolfram's TED Talk on computers and mathematics and how letting the computers do computations we could be free to do the thinking. We have to understand what computation needs to be done, but can give that part of the task over. In this way, students can be doing more mathematical thinking.

So the computer in both situations can make us stronger - doing the low level tasks and freeing our brains for the deeper work. In this odd way there is a connection between what I heard and what I saw. While Louis Cyr is a celebration of brawn; I like to think of the computer as a brain expander.

4 comments:

  1. Great post - now if we could only shave down those multiple educational standards that expect students to recite facts! :)

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  2. I see the computer has given you time to think and make your brain stronger. Powerful post and a great picture to match. Love the pic in sepia.

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  3. Oh - after spending 10 hours in the past week at the local Apple store, trying to solve a problem, I need my brain expanded! I read an article last week in the NYTimes about attention span in the techno age - it was also an interesting viewpoint.

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  4. Interesting shot! Oh, to be that strong!

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