Memory notes – yeah whatever (!)

The previously blogged videos about narrative and memory are for reference for the artificial intelligence in education project we are working on and where memory fits in. I don’t personally agree with the thoughts of the people that I am working with (not because I know better) that’s not especially relevant to this project or how I will work on it as my involvement will be very limited.

It’s a useful project to do and this blog is a useful scrapbook to put videos and notes in for now. There are many scientists doing brilliant work and there are also pseudoscientists working on projects in this area. It doesn’t make it right or wrong to do a project now, it can find a place.

Most of the writing about memory goes back to ‘Greek civilisation’ because that is the one which has the most recorded notes of thoughts / history including an idea of externalised memory & mind.

Narratives and fictionalisation of ideas are dynamic. Is it as simple as internal / external or irrational / rational choices or both? The idea of two opposing forces is common in different civilisations but doesn’t mean that that it is the best reference for thinking about anything. Nor that multiple interconnected complex forces or systems are a better way of referencing thinking.If people want to they will.

I don’t believe in globally connected minds and brains. I don’t believe that its important to connect to anything especially using ‘technology’ and I don’t believe in revolutionised anything. If people want to shout about revolutionising things because it sounds better than change, they will. Change itself is just a term which has been used over and over again but just because it’s in ancient writing, pictures, or anything else – they are just representations of ideas which have found some common ground with some people.

People ignore history and recordings of ideas in history so making records using some form of writing, audio or other form of technology in case we forget is some kind of memory insurance that hopefully won’t appeal to everyone not matter how loudly some people shout.

As long as the honest scientists and honest scholars in other disciplines care about the ideas in their disciplines and carry on their investigations honestly there is always hope of new forms of understanding.

Leaving social media again for a bit

Will carry on this blog for now. Ending with this which was only RT’d around 8k times, it should be far more

tomLDNcop: A colleague of mine died protecting them and just a few months later they cheer at not recruiting and continued real term pay cuts

AI in Education Research – updated diagram etc

Most of these are articles from International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. They did a review of their journal, the majority of articles were about Intelligent Tutoring Systems or Interactive Learning Environments. The terminology has changed especially in 2000s from knowledge to learning. Most articles are about domain based learning in STEM or languages. In 2014 they had 10 which had empirical data as opposed to 1 in 1994.  43/47 articles were from N. America, Europe, Oceania but none from SE Asia or Africa and suggested that it is a priviliged research area who address priviliged problems 1 The journal itself is not open access. The diagram does not explain the models and there are cross-research areas where messaging and action events or collaborative discussion can be looked at simultaneously with psychology and technology researchers, but it’s a representation of sorts.

Reference list attached and below

Full size:
AI in education research flow diagram

1. Roll, I., Baker, R.S.J.d., Aleven, V., & Koedinger, K. R. (2014a). On the benefits of seeking (and avoiding) help in online problem solving environment. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23:4, 537-560, DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2014.883977

Diagram References
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Weekly design links

Used to do a design digest on previous blog, going to resurrect – links or photos I found interesting:

Design Milk:



Bearr Trust annual lecture: Russia – the power of a narrative – Arkady Ostrovsky 

There are no thoughts from me in the talk /Q&A section below, just notes of his lecture and discussion. I don’t agree with his views on Putin and Kremlin narrative but I’m not Russian, however I hear more positive thinking. I was disappointed and this perpetual negativity is beyond irritating,  but it is their fundraiser so they probably want someone to tell British people what they think the British people in audience might like to hear. Politics is a hot topic.

I would be more interested in visionary speaker who has worked extensively in Russian health but perhaps more applicable for conference. So I didn’t stay for reception.

He did make the point about global convergence of views (I would add based on who shouts loudest and therefore not representative). His viewd are very similar to other Putin critics I have read.

He is very pro Navalny and doesn’t like Putin as in the below. Names may be incorrect due to lack of knowledge and phone typing.

I thought he seemed uncomfortable at times and modified what he was saying after thinking. There may have been people in the audience working in voluntary programmes who do not share his opinions.

I didn’t think his strong views are necessarily in the spirit of how Bearr Trust work but he met the founders when they were in Moscow, so this could be incorrect. 

Unfortunately didn’t get opportunity to hear about health projects other than ony tiny chat but they are not really focused too much on public health. 

Talk and discussion:

2013 – 2015 propaganda narrative by the Kremlin. Writing that Russia in a world of it’s own. Now making Russia ‘great again, raise Russia from its knees’

Symbols and narrative – there was a big demonstration on 12th June – like pageant, almost crude – opposition leader Navalny calling opposition to come out on streets. He escalated to Tverskaya. Navalny’s line is authorities stopped his routes. Tverskaya theatrical events in all centuries – reconstructionists. Then 16/17 yr olds with Russia flags on faces shouted Russia without Putin.

Symbols – Putin powers – reconstructionists, people demanding vision of future, both trying to claim Russian flag. Navalny also rehashes Yeltsin messages. Don’t give money to the centre.

Events of June 1991 also a fight with symbols. KGB with Soviet flag, Russian flag symbol of freedom and liberty. When coup ended, very clear narrative that drove people to defend Yeltsin. Narrative more important than reality.

Kommersant modelled on capitalist newspapers e.g. nyt Russia did not have the businesses, stock exchange. Kommersant 1917 – 1991 not published. Set out to program new country and Moscow intelligentsia loved it. It matters that it lies confidently and beautifully.

Not relevant to impoverished economy in 1990s. Picture created by media was different to Yeltsin’s health. Doesn’t think was a rigged election. Was a battle of narratives. Oligarchs no responsibility for country, controlling media, fighting for power. Financial crisis 1998. Yeltsin unable to rule country and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Started to turn more anti-American. New narrative – Putin constructed by media as macho sober figure using popular culture. Projected his own image – film character? Russian James Bond. German speaking, secretive was ideal match.

Film released in Russia – Brat – told story of patriotic, charismatic Russian who returns to criminalise St Petersburg with his own justice. Set out to clear ST P of Chechan mafia. language mimic’d by Putin.

Sequel Brat2, travelled to American to settle scores with dodgy Amerucan businessman who killed his friends. Message of film – very simple message – Russians right, truthful because they were Russian.

Russia’s biggest rock star – obscene euphoria from early 2000s, improving economy. Now alienation from politics, nihilism.

As Russian economy overheat 2007 the global crisis 2008-9. People wanted a new narrative, visible when Putin said coming back. Cool bars turned against Putin, protests in 2011.

P ruled using television. Used some targeted repression, used ideology and narrative to quell protests. Values of nationalism, traditional values peaked alongside Crimea, Ukraine. Television more powerful than reality.

Empowering Eastern Ukraine uprising.

2015 – produced scenes in Moscow, increasingly reminiscent of 1930s Germany. Saw marches in Moscow. Film that caught Russia’s imagination in last few years was story of Russian girl dressing for date, trying to seduce Western manager, trying to dress in Western clothes and imitate a poster. film ends, girl falls on face due to nail varnish, she gets up sees a light.

Mass culture can tell us more than opinion polls. Girl is a metaphor, is Russia herself, hoping for date with West, copying West then falling on her face.

Talks about 12th June again. When young people came out, demanding new narrative. What happens next will depend on who gets new narrative.

Q Do Russians believe or wanted to believe the narratives?

In middle of Ukraine war, Putin speeches of nationalism, moral staples. Does Putin believe in this – not relevant – what’s relevant is public rhetoric. 

New propoganda more subtle, ignores facts, Russia not so different from other countries going through populism.

Q current narrative run out of steam. So if young ppl don’t use TV but have Internet, so next one will need more depth.

Real incomes and investment down 15%, people from small towns struggling. Young ppl not necessarily more interested in facts, more interested in narrative. YouTube more powerful than text.

Q hearing more and more – is it Putin’s narrative or is it more small group formulating where Putin is face of group. We don’t know how decisions happen, first in Russian history true celebrity politician. There is a group who are constructing it, ppl running media. A man in charge of Russia’s biggest TV channel is Hollywood crazed movie producer. Completely switched onto media industry. I spoke to him and asked him, you know this was not true, he said yes probably not true, can you prove it.

Another on sanctions list – Started Russia’s NTV channel. Not Soviet, uses marketing to achieve political goals.

Q Are sanctions a good idea?

Depends on what sanctions trying to achieve. Doubtful that sanctions prevented violence in Ukraine. 

They have impact on Russian economy, makes it toxic for investment. People don’t invest because of uncertainty.

Q what narrative used next for young people used for them?

Narrative not dissimilar to populace world over. Nationalist and isolationist from Navalny. Clearly anti-immigrant. Let’s put borders up, visa regimes, taking jobs etc

When country has no institutions, we should forget about empire because can’t afford it. Gets most resonance – not penny, not rouble for debt forgiveness. Proposes civil nationalism.

Kremlin trying to find new narrative. Respect, justice but problem is they have undermined themselves. Risk is that’s what left is force.

Q why are they behind the curve now?

Generational shift,  young people risking more, more radical.

Q in collapse,  Russia wanted Western state, what do Russians want now? More Westernised? 

West has changed. More tied to values and doing the right thing. Was about freedom and consunmption. Right to buy food and not to waste time queuing up.

Navalny not saying we need to become the West, he says we are the West, he is trying to say, yes we also can. Not that Russia aspires to be something. Says Russians are white Europeans.

Q Russia not only one with narrative with fall of Soviet, West narrative – we won the cold war, humiliated Russians.

Agree up to a point. Has Russia felt humiliated?  no, not those who claim to be the case – not the privileged. Financial crises in 1990s were of Russia’s own making.

Yes, West did have narrative of war and winning. Did create sense that history is over, nothing to fight for. West lost narrative and linetslism veered towards technocracy. May have helped in construction of nationalist narrative.

Q official narrative tired – can’t create an exciting alternative. Is there anything left or can they bring in creative media to create one?

Tired because Putin’s regime was restoration. Probably since 2004 is backward looking, looking for legitimacy in the past.

Believes Navalny who says I’m the new Putin. Believes Putin approaching 70s cannot say I’m the future of Russia.

Mega Kickathon Fundraiser for Grenfell Tower

Created by Kensington Taekwondo chief instructor who so far knows of children from his club who have sadly lost their lives and children who have lost their parents. He has suggested several kicks which can be used to achieve the 1000 kicks and the donation page for the £10 or more is

You don’t have to do taekwondo or be in a class to do the kicks, I’ve added examples of the kicks below

Front snap

Half turning kick (first kick in video)

Roundhouse kick

Axe kick

Side kick

Reverse side kick

Reverse hook kick

Spinning back round kick

Crescent kicks

Carshalton Lavender & field history 

It originally flourished in Sutton / Carshalton / Wallington / Mitcham as London grew, sewage grew and lavender seemed to grow well with sewage! 

One of the original founders of the project, Nigel walked into our field today, he hasn’t been back since the first couple of years when they put the original plants in. The website will be adding more history soon but the project started in 1995 and they planted the first lavender plant in October 1998. 

They took cuttings from waste ground and local people’s gardens in order to recreate local varieties that flower well, produce oil well and oil of good quality. He has a massive folder of all the planning work they did as well as some photos from 19th century.

The two main varieties we have on the field are Seal and Pale Pretender.

All lavender is flowering earlier this year, our field now has a wide purple hue emerging and we are still on track for the harvest as there are still tiny green shoots as well too.

There are a couple of other lavender plants too, varieties tbc but they, like the ones around our seating area are in full flower:

These will have gone over by the harvest and may be replaced. We don’t have lavender plants that seed themselves so they do not cross fertilise again, all the replanting is done using cuttings. 

Loads more work to do before then. The rest of team don’t think we’ll have the top six rows ready in time unless we get more help but I am making small paths appear slowly and defeating the brambles albeit with blood and sweat, (not quite tears yet, depends how deep they bite!) 

Top rows before today’s work. You can’t actually see six rows yet. It’s a beautiful time of year to see the flowers emerging in spite of the jungle around them: