The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Executive function, working memory control, and ADHD

Executive function (EF) and working memory
ADHD is largely defined in terms of executive function impairment (Biederman, 2004), and shares descriptive language.  Very recent studies describe executive function as "executive attention" (Kane, 2005) and show a unitary model that links it with working memory in terms of working memory control, or WMC, and higher levels of cognition.  WMC is central to  to EF, often called "central executive functioning"  (McCabe, 2010).  McCabe indirectly describes WMC in terms of ADHD: inhibitory control, and focus of attention.

WMC benefits from education
Gathercole shows benefits for impaired working memory through remedial education (Gathercole, 2006), and Berneir shows autonomy support as the "strongest predictor" for healthy EF in children (Bernier, 2010).   Jang suggests a blending of autonomy support and traditional structure, or "autonomy-structure," that has high understanding and leadership, and low admonishing and uncertainty in a way that should benefit working memory control in view of recent executive function material. 

Speculated benefits for ADHD
These executive function, ADHD understanding, and educational concepts form a tight matrix with respect to working memory and its control.  Perhaps, for this reason, parenting and early education strategies that target WMC development via autonomy and guidance will help children with ADHD and other executive dysfunctions.

Bernier, A., Carlson, S., & Whipple, N. (2010). From External Regulation to Self-Regulation: Early Parenting Precursors of Young Children’s Executive Functioning. Child Development, 81(1), 326-339. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01397.x.

Biederman, J., & Faraone, S. (2005). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Two case studies. Medscape

Gathercole, S., & Alloway, T. (2006). Practitioner Review: Short-term and working memory impairments in neurodevelopmental disorders: diagnosis and remedial support. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 47(1), 4-15. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01446.x.

Jang, H., Reeve, J., & Deci, E. (2010). Engaging students in learning activities: It is not autonomy support or structure but autonomy support and structure. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(3), 588-600. doi:10.1037/a0019682.

Kane, M., Hambrick, D., & Conway, A. (2005). Working Memory Capacity and Fluid Intelligence Are Strongly Related Constructs: Comment on Ackerman, Beier, and Boyle (2005). Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 66-71. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.1.66.

McCabe, D., Roediger, H., McDaniel, M., Balota, D., & Hambrick, D. (2010). The relationship between working memory capacity and executive functioning: Evidence for a common executive attention construct. Neuropsychology, 24(2), 222-243. doi:10.1037/a0017619.

No comments: