Professorial Podcasting

…as if members of academia needed another outlet for their blowhard bloviating. And I mean that nicely.

Last week I noticed iTunes introduced”>a selection of class lectures from Stanford profs, along with other silly university marketing content. I listened to a discussion on whether philosophy is the handmaiden or queen of the sciences with Peter Godfrey-Smith, guesting from Harvard University. Not a terribly stimulating session, but the potential is there for exposing your pedagogy and advancing your thinking in a way that is both hip and accessible.

Stanford is the first university to take advantage of Apple opening up iTunes for free hosting and distribution of college/university content. Josiah, I know that you were working on something like this for some Covenant faculty. Perhaps a setup like Profcast could assist in getting that off the ground–between Profcast and the new iTunes U, you have the recording, editing, hosting, and distribution of content, close to maximally automated.

February 7th, 2006 | College, Covenant, Information, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Science, Technology | 2 comments

Questions on a Tuesday

I’m back, and ready to begin the 2006 blogging campaign. We’ll catch up with other things later. For now, I have some questions.

First Question.

What ever happened to distributed peer-based digital signatures and public keys using webs of trust? I am reading The Code Book, and today at lunch hit the chapter on the development of public-key crypto and the saga of Phil Zimmerman. I remember quite a fuss in the mid-90s about cypherpunks bootstrapping a decentralized trusted-key infrastructure. It seems quite relevant and do-able today. Has that project met demise and failed to get off?

Next question.

Has anybody done thinking on the epistemological criteria of encryption systems? Is there a formulation for knowledge wandering around which includes encryption? The history of crypto has seen a succession of knowledge-claims about the unbreakability of systems, and a matching set of persuasive counter-examples. Is there work in this area of philosophy? Additionally, what is the status of encrypted information? Is it knowledge, and what affect does the encryption state have on status?

Last question.

In day-to-day practice, I’ve supplanted my previous criteria for precise knowledge (being able to ask a good enough question that I can get a useful answer from someone knowledgeable) with the criteria “be able to formulate a Google search query which returns the desired information.” Is that wrong? What is the qualitative difference between the two?

Please answer below, or in trackbacks. I exist to be enlightened by someone other than myself.

January 3rd, 2006 | Computer, Information, Next, Philosophy, Science, Security, Technology | 3 comments