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Call for Participation: The Long Now Foundation Summer Teacher Institute

Posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 02016 by Laura Welcher
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The Long Now Foundation Summer Teacher Institute

Fostering Long-term Responsibility

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

August 8-10, 02016

“Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase. Some sort of balancing corrective to the short-sightedness is needed—some mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where ‘long-term’ is measured at least in centuries.”

-Stewart Brand, Co-founder and President of the Long Now Foundation

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Introduction

When today’s students become tomorrow’s civic leaders and entrepreneurs, they will confront global environmental and societal challenges that require long-term strategies and solutions. The Long Now Foundation is offering a new program—the Summer Teacher Institute—to engage with educators to develop middle and high school curricula that will better prepare students for these challenges by cultivating their ability to think critically, frame issues, and solve problems using time frames that include centuries and even millennia.

During a three-day engagement including interactive presentations with Long Now thought leaders and hands-on sessions using Long Now’s multi-media and museum resources, participating teachers will design creative and compelling curricula that foster long-term thinking skills within a wide range of subject areas and disciplines.  Teachers will leave the Institute with a new approach to framing critical thinking and problem solving in a long-term time horizon; concrete curriculum activities to implement in their classrooms that build long-term thinking skills; and a new network of Long Now educators committed to fostering long-term thinking and responsibility among its students and schools.

Program

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop projects to challenge our short term attention span and time frame and embody the notion of deep time. It hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common through its ambitious projects such as:

  • The 10,000 year clock, a mechanical clock that ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.
  • The Rosetta Library, a publicly accessible digital library of human languages.
  • Revive & Restore, an initiative to selectively bring back extinct species.

The Long Now Summer Teacher Institute is an opportunity for educators to collaborate on creating practical teaching approaches and learning activities that develop long-term thinking among their students with the intention of cultivating graduates with the skills and responsibility to balance the short and long views of civilization.

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Imagine…

  • 12th grade history of science students discussing the long-term implications of a world without disease;
  • 6th grade humanities students prototyping what farming looks like in a century;
  • 10th grade science and humanities classes comparing the outcomes of immediate short-term interventions with long-term strategies for living with severe drought;
  • 8th graders exploring urban life by examining a specific city’s history, present and future across centuries to determine what has changed and what remains constant.

The Summer Teacher Institute is designed to take educators through a three day schedule of provocative conversations with experts, field trips, and hands-on problem-solving activities that culminate with the development of implementable curriculum activities.

(more…)

Stephen Pyne Seminar Tickets

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 02016 by Andrew Warner
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Stephen Pyne on Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep

Stephen Pyne on “Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep”

TICKETS

Tuesday February 9, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

Fire acts in the short-term & long-term. It periodically destroys landscapes with devastating speed, yet, if properly managed, it leads to the long-term health of many ecosystems.

Stephen J. Pyne is a professor at Arizona State University, author of Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America (amongst many other books), and considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the history and management of fire.

PanLex Looking for Endangered Language Digital Detectives

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 02016 by Julie Anderson
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Archives

Every word

The PanLex project aims to translate every word from every language into every other language. We already have solid groundwork with 10,000 language varieties and 22 million expressions in the PanLex database, but we still have a long way to go, especially with the more obscure and under-documented languages of the world which are most susceptible to extinction. Ethnologue: Languages of the World explains:

Language endangerment is a serious concern to which linguists and language planners have turned their attention in the last several decades. For a variety of reasons, speakers of many smaller, less dominant languages stop using their heritage language and begin using another.… As a consequence there may be no speakers who use the [heritage] language as their first or primary language and eventually the language may no longer be used at all…. Languages which have not been adequately documented disappear altogether.

In light of the fragile situation facing many smaller languages, PanLex is in a hurry to track down existing data on them, and we’d love to get some help from the larger Long Now community.

Digital detectives

We are looking for some intrepid, word-loving, puzzle-solving language sleuths who can help us search for words in some of the world’s most obscure languages. Do you love a challenge? Are you a brave armchair world traveler? Can you defy the needle-in-haystack odds? Let us send you a list of five little-known languages to search on the Internet using your best cyber-snooping creativity. You’ll think of places to hunt that we haven’t. Find a dictionary, glossary, or sociolinguistic research paper with a word list in the appendix. Check social media, booksellers, and library catalogs. Tweet your followers. If you find something, you’ll simply email us the URL or the publication info and we’ll take it from there.

What your research will do

You’ll be our springboard towards gathering words in more than 2,000 languages still needed in our database, shoring up the most neglected and least documented in the world. Indigenous communities, researchers, translators, students, and linguists will have online access to this valuable data. Increased visibility and accessibility of these languages allows the stakeholders to develop their projects in the directions they choose, be it research, education, or language revitalization. Pressure may be relieved on some smaller communities who are in danger of abandoning their mother tongue in favor of a politically dominant language. Your efforts support long-term preservation of linguistic diversity, accessibility of data, and ultimately improved communication. Plus, you may gather an esoteric name or two to complete your next high-brow crossword puzzle.

Getting technical

If you prefer, we can also use some help on the technical side:

  • designing apps and interfaces
  • localization tools
  • mobile apps
  • graph visualizations
  • adding links to other linguistic or geographic databases
  • investigating translation inference algorithms

Archives

We’d love to hear from you

Contact us at anderson@panlex.org to volunteer, your support will be greatly appreciated!

Long Now Meetup Guide

Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 02016 by Danielle Engelman
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Meetup

Long Now has members all over the world, and one of the most frequent requests that the Foundation receives is how can members connect with each other and host conversations and events around long-term thinking in their own area.

We have created this Long Now Meetup Guide to provide some broad guidelines and point to some online resources to help members get started with events in their own area.

Long Now considers these autonomous Meetups by members to be very valuable to a deeper and wider dialog around long-term thinking. But due to our small staff size and the number of projects already being worked on by the Foundation, we do not have the bandwidth to individually manage and support these member events.

MeetupLong Now Members in San Francisco, December 02015

We’re hoping with this Guide, members will be encouraged to start events in their own area and meet some of their fellow members while exploring long-term thinking. When a new Meetup group is getting started, Long Now can reach out to our existing members in that geographic area to connect them to the new group. Both Long Now London and Long Now Boston offer inspiring examples of what Long Now Meetups can become!

Long Now Meetup Guide

How to set up a Long Now Meetup group:

  • Create an account on Meetup.
  • Once you have an account, “start a Meetup group”.
  • Meetup will ask for the city in which this group is taking place.
  • It then will ask you what your Meetup Group is interested in, put in “Long Now”. This will add your Group to the larger “Topic” of Long Now, which makes it easier for people to discover you.
  • You then need to give your Meetup a name, we recommend including the name of your city and “Long Now” in the title of your Meetup.
  • Add a description to the group – please remember at some point in the copy to mention that this group is inspired by Long Now and not officially affiliated with the Foundation.
  • Once you have a group, create an event within the group and give a description of what people can expect at the event.
  • Once you have your group & event set-up, please compose an email that you would like forwarded to Long Now members in your city, and send it to us at membership@longnow.org. We’ll forward your email (with the links to your meetup group & event) to members in your area on your behalf.
  • If you want some examples/references for your group & event description, please feel free to check out the other Meetups on the “Long Now” Topic page.

What Long Now can do for member groups and events:

  • When a new Meetup group is getting started, Long Now can reach out to our existing members in that geographic area to connect them to the new group.
  • Long Now Meetups do not have to be member-only; anyone interested in long-term thinking is welcomed.
  • Long Now will supply a logo with a tagline that says the group/event is ‘inspired by’ Long Now, email us at membership@longnow.org for the files.
  • Long Now provides basic instructions on how to set up a Long Now Meetup group, but we can not do the setup for events or organizers.
  • In some cases we might refer a speaker or let a local organizer know if someone we know is in your area. This is at our discretion.
  • Depending on the event and our own production schedule, we may be able to help promote a local event through social media. This is at our discretion.

Guidelines for member organized events and groups:

  • Member meetup groups and events are organized under their own agency and in no way represent Long Now as an organization. There is no title conferred by Long Now to the group/event organizers, nor can we provide email addresses, business cards or other collateral.
  • Long Now can not provide any liability coverage, financial oversight, money handling, contract review, event advice, or other services for these groups/events.
  • Use of Long Now’s name in discussions with other institutions, or use of logo needs to always be with the caveat that the group/event is inspired by Long Now, not that they are representing Long Now as an institution.
  • Long Now generally cannot provide connections to our speakers or board members unless asked by them, as we already tax them with internal requests and can’t add anything more to that.
  • To avoid confusion, Long Now requests that member events and organizers don’t use exact names of our events and speaking series such as Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT).
  • Events may be filmed or recorded at the discretion of the member group. If they are posted online or in some way re-broadcast we request to review the media before our name is associated with it.
  • Long Now does not have any expectations around whether or not events or groups need to charge for tickets or dues of any kind. Any charges or fund raising for a member group is solely at the discretion of the organizer.  It should be clear that those funds are not being raised by Long Now, but by that event or organizer for that group.
  • Long Now requests member organizations use Meetup to organize the events. This helps set correct expectations from members, makes organizing easier, and Long Now can keep referring people to the platform instead of having to keep track of each group individually.
  • Long Now requests that no domains be used with our name in them (other than the Meetup one supplied) that might lead people to believe the event or member group is organized by Long Now.
  • It is our long-term hope to build out features within our own internal membership system to better support local area member groups;  if new features become available over time, we will notify all of our members and group organizers.

Potential Long Now Meetup ideas:

  • Conversation groups seeded by ideas from our lecture series, blog and website.
  • Watch the live-stream or pre-recorded Long Now Seminars and Conversations at The Interval with a small group and include a discussion afterwards.
  • Presentations and lectures by people doing interesting work that involves or touches on Long Now themes and ideas.
  • Field trips, guided tours and excursions to locations that have a connection to Long Now themes and ideas.
  • Workshops, classes and maker events that explore or touch on Long Now themes and ideas.

Online resources for Long Now Meetup groups:

  • Long Now Meetups: The home page for Long Now meetups around the world.
  • Long Now Membership: Members are an integral part of Long Now and support our mission to foster long-term thinking. Please email us at membership@longnow.org to receive the Long Now logo files.
  • Long Now Live Stream: The Live Stream of our lecture series; can be watched with a small group.
  • Seminars About Long-term Thinking: Our in-depth lecture series, curated by Stewart Brand; can be watched with a small group.
  • Conversations at The Interval: Our dynamic lecture series, held at The Interval; available on our Long Now Live Stream.
  • Twitter: Follow our ideas on Twitter and share news and pictures of your events by tweeting @longnow
  • Facebook: Follow our ideas, or create a Facebook event to go with your Meetup event.
  • Flickr: We have a large selection of photos from Long Now projects and programs available to use.
  • Vimeo: A collection of short video pieces about Long Now projects and ideas; can be watched with a small group.
  • Blog of the Long Now: Ideas about long-term thinking, good for seeding conversations, discussion groups.
  • SoundCloud: Embeddable audio of our Seminars About Long-term Thinking and a selection of Conversations at The Interval.

Rick Prelinger Seminar Media

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 02015 by Andrew Warner
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This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 10

Wednesday December 9, 02015 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Prelinger Seminar page.

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Cocktail Mechanics class at The Interval

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 02015 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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The Interval at Long Now cocktail classroom series:

Cocktail Mechanics” class at The Interval (tickets $100 each)

Taught by Jennifer Colliau (Beverage Director of The Interval at Long Now)
The Interval’s new cocktail classroom series will teach you the art and science of making drinks. In small, hands-on classes you will learn the fundamentals and finer points of making exceptional cocktails directly from one of San Francisco’s finest bartenders, our own Jennifer Colliau.

In Cocktail Mechanics, Jennifer explains both fundamentals and finer points while teaching several recipes from behind The Interval bar. Then you take a turn to practice what you’ve learned under her supervision. The Interval will be closed during the class, so you can use all the tools, ingredients and glassware that our bartenders do.

Jennifer will show you how to make both classic cocktails and newer drinks created by some of San Francisco’s top bartenders. Next you and your classmates will stir or shake them yourselves. Of course you’ll also drink your creations, before leaving with copies of all the recipes so you can make them again at home.

Along the way you’ll learn skills you can use with any drink you make: measuring, different mixing methods (and when to use them), the proper glassware for each cocktail, and more. These are the same techniques our bartenders use every day.

Jennifer’s knowledge and attention to detail assure that The Interval’s cocktails are always delicious and true to their recipes. In this class you’ll have the rare opportunity to learn from her, so you can bring that bartending excellence home.

Jennifer Colliau is The Interval’s Beverage Director and a world famous bartender and cocktail historian. She designed and authored The Interval’s drink menu. A recognized authority on classic cocktails and contemporary mixology, Jennifer has been written about or written for publications such as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Wired, 7×7, The Washington Post, and Imbibe Magazine. Her company Small Hand Foods specializes in making artisanal syrups and other authentic ingredients for cocktails old and new. In 02015 the San Francisco Chronicle named Jennifer a “Bar Star” and they have also said the drinks on our menu are “some of the most finessed in town.”

Eric Cline Seminar Tickets

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Eric Cline presents 1177 B.C: When Civilization Collapsed

Eric Cline presents “1177 B.C: When Civilization Collapsed”

TICKETS

Monday January 11, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

In 1177 B.C., the Bronze Age came to a sudden end, and with it the end of the dominance of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Trojans, Hittites, and Babylonians– empires that had ruled for over a millennium. Eric Cline’s research paints a vivid picture of these thriving cultures and the complex causes that led to this “First Dark Age.”

The Fund of the Long Now

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 02015 by Bryan Campen - Twitter: @bryancampen
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June 02016 marks Long Now’s twentieth anniversary. In terms of a new nonprofit, it is a pretty good run. But for Long Now it means that we still have at least 9,980 years left to go…

So we decided to build a fund to better ensure our future, and at the same moment put deep time in your hands. We have created The Fund of the Long Now, a donor fund that we will invest in to help make Long Now a truly long-term institution.

The Bristlecone Pine Kit that includes its own tiny greenhouse tube.

As a thank you to those who provide tangible support to The Fund, we have made a limited edition set of Bristlecone Pine Tree Kits. These kits will be sent to everyone who can make a substantive donation.

The bristlecone is one of the longest living species on earth, and a living symbol of our shared commitment to the deep future, whether we measure that in centuries or millennia. The Fund of the Long Now is being built to back up our promise to that future, and to support the operating budget of a truly long-term cultural institution.

Once we reach $500,000, The Fund of the Long Now will go into active management that is specifically designed around long-term thinking. We have been testing the principles of the fund with our financial advisors for several years, and will continue to tune it as we move forward.

What your bristlecone tree will look like after about 5,000 years. Individual results may vary.

The idea behind the Fund originates from one of our core principles, to leverage longevity, and was best illustrated in Stewart Brand’s The Clock of the Long Now. So as you consider making a contribution we leave you with his quote:

The slow stuff is the serious stuff, but it is invisible to us quick learners. Our senses and our thinking habits are tuned to what is sudden, and oblivious to anything gradual. Between the near-impossible win of a lottery and the certain win of earning compound interest, we choose the lottery because it is sudden. The difference between fast news and slow nonnews is what makes gambling addictive. Winning is an event that we notice and base our behavior on, while the relentless losing, losing, losing is a nonevent, inspiring no particular behavior, and so we miss the real event, which is that to gamble is to lose.

What happens fast is illusion, what happens slow is reality. The job of the long view is to penetrate illusion.

Philip Tetlock Seminar Media

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
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This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Superforecasting

Monday November 23, 02015 – San Francisco

Audio is up on the Tetlock Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

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All it takes to improve forecasting is KEEP SCORE – a summary by Stewart Brand

Will Syria’s President Assad still be in power at the end of next year? Will Russia and China hold joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean in the next six months? Will the Oil Volatility Index fall below 25 in 2016? Will the Arctic sea ice mass be lower next summer than it was last summer?

Five hundred such questions of geopolitical import were posed in tournament mode to thousands of amateur forecasters by IARPA—the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity–between 2011 and 2015. (Tetlock mentioned that senior US intelligence officials opposed the project, but younger-generation staff were able to push it through.) Extremely careful score was kept, and before long the most adept amateur “superforecasters” were doing 30 percent better than professional intelligence officers with access to classified information. They were also better than prediction markets and drastically better than famous pundits and politicians, who Tetlock described as engaging in deliberately vague “ideological kabuki dance.”

What made the amateurs so powerful was Tetlock’s insistence that they score geopolitical predictions the way meteorologists score weather predictions and then learn how to improve their scores accordingly. Meteorologists predict in percentages—“there is a 70 percent chance of rain on Thursday.” It takes time and statistics to find out how good a particular meteorologist is. If 7 out of 10 such times it in fact rained, the meteorologist gets a high score for calibration (the right percentage) and for resolution (it mostly did rain). Superforecasters, remarkably, assigned probability estimates of 72-76 percent to things that happened and 24-28 percent to things that didn’t.

How did they do that? They learned, Tetlock said, to avoid falling for the “gambler’s fallacy”—detecting nonexistent patterns. They learned objectivity—the aggressive open-mindedness it takes to set aside personal theories of public events. They learned to not overcompensate for previous mistakes—the way American intelligence professionals overcompensated for the false negative of 9/11 with the false positive of mass weapons in Saddam’s Iraq. They learned to analyze from the outside in—Assad is a dictator; most dictators stay in office a very long time; consider any current news out of Syria in that light. And they learned to balance between over-adjustment to new evidence (“This changes everything”) and under-adjustment (“This is just a blip”), and between overconfidence (“100 percent!”) and over-timidity (“Um, 50 percent”). “You only win a forecasting tournament,” Tetlock said, “by being decisive—justifiably decisive.”

Much of the best forecasting came from teams that learned to collaborate adroitly. Diversity on the teams helped. One important trick was to give extra weight to the best individual forecasters. Another was to “extremize” to compensate for the conservatism of aggregate forecasts—if everyone says the chances are around 66 percent, then the real chances are probably higher.

In the Q & A following his talk Tetlock was asked if the US intelligence community would incorporate the lessons of its forecasting tournament. He said he is cautiously optimistic. Pressed for a number, he declared, “Ten years from now I would offer the probability of .7 that there will be ten times more numerical probability estimates in national intelligence estimates than there were in 2005.”

Asked about long-term forecasting, he replied, “Here’s my long-term prediction for Long Now. When the Long Now audience of 2515 looks back on the audience of 2015, their level of contempt for how we go about judging political debate will be roughly comparable to the level of contempt we have for the 1692 Salem witch trials.”

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Support Long Now while you shop Amazon this Holiday Season

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 02015 by Andrew Warner
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This holiday season you can support Long Now while you shop on Amazon by listing us as your charity of choice for “AmazonSmile.” When you list us as your charity, .5% of the price of eligible products will be donated to us when you purchase them on Amazon.

To list us as your charity, follow our AmazonSmile link.

Thank you for all your support.