Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Mad Cover

:: Mad Magazine cover, September 2008 ::

I'm mostly a lurker in this meeting, which involves modeling the issue of class size reduction (CSR) in Oregon, a focus of The Chalkboard Project, which is providing a real world example for testing working code, a Google appengine with an object model.

A semi-structured approach mixes SQL style thinking with a more XML based approach, as evidence and opinions are more subject to tagging, like on Delicious. Buzz crawlers take advantage of consistent tagging without requiring the grid-iron lockstep approach of only-tabular data, ala SQL. Both approaches have their upsides and downsides.

How does one extract implementable programming from position statements? Not every discussion yields practical, actionable minutes, as Quakers might put it. Sometimes "action minutes" even get flagged as such. A democracy engine might borrow this infrastructure, helping users refine their discussions in the direction of actual, executable programs (working code, implementable policies).

I'm learning a lot from Scott (ECF project lead for Eclipse) about Google's new GWT: develop an AJAX or more static GUI in Java using these various widget libraries, then generate the corresponding JavaScript for embedding in the client browser, no Java required. Use this as a front end to a Pythonic Google appengine maybe. What a concept! DemocracyLab is quite forward thinking in using these tools.

Although I did hit the gym last night, appreciate the new personal DVD equipped machines for "pedalphiles" (also iPod ready) that doesn't justify the maple bar I ate, while waiting for this DemocracyLab meeting to start.

I've got that latest Mad for political content, a good balance for my unrelentingly technical diet around GnuMath teaching these days. I've been collecting these covers lately (search my blogs?).