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Your association of Downes with another Canadian icon, Neil Young, is dead on. Not just for enduring so prolifically (Long May They Run), but for integrity (can you imagine Downes selling out? This Post's For You). And versatility. Neil has made an album in pretty much every rock/folk/country mode imaginable, and Stephen can comment authoritatively on epistemology, theory, politics, IP, learning cultures, you name it... He's also a formidable technologist and coder in his own right. They share a similar idiosyncratic undeniably unique sensibilities that sometimes veer into cantankerousness, but leavened by a big heart and off-beat humour. And somehow the dude seems to read every single piece of material published on the internet relevant to his eclectic interests on a daily basis. His chronicling of the blogosphere is an epic feat in itself. So among other things, your post prompted me to expend very limited unbooked time this morning to remix this Neil Young meme ( to this one: I rarely waste time so fruitfully.
"...sometimes young people just need some space to find out what they want to do before getting caught up in work, and this often means they do better, more productive work later." Put me in that category. I changed my major of studies four times in two years, before settling on English. If tuition had been priced the way it was now, I probably would have flunked out of some "practical" discipline and gone back to working in the print shop (and thereby eventually be thrown out of work as digital disruption did its thing with that trade...). You've referred to the importance of "space" a few times on this blog, and it is such an under-appreciated attribute, probably because today's students don't really get the benefit of it. The stakes are too high.
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Apr 15, 2013