I remember first learning about emergent properties from Elliott Sober at the University of Wisconsin. Of course back then the focus was on emergent properties in biological systems.
Like any great concept, however, it easily applies itself to other areas, like education. I've pretty much made a career out of harnessing the emergent properties of a classroom--those seemingly unpredictable results of 25+ students interacting as a group--let's call it the "personality of the class at hand."
Well, I'm learning a lot about emergent properties in web hosting. Taken apart, I feel like I can grasp PHP, MySQL, and an application like Moodle. Host all of them on a Debian Linux server and you'd think it was all black and white.
Enter emergent properties. Suddenly the web host's PHP configuration and Moodle decide that I can't upload files. Or rather, I can, but then I can't access them--which is not a good thing on a Moodle class page. :-( I'm trying to find the problem, but spending five hours on this has only made me want to just delete the whole mess and start over. At lease I've got Wordpress working correctly for the new migrant/ELL blog I'll be hosting.....