Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If at first you don't succeed....

A few late thoughts on Second Life;

"I don't like the ramifications of an online universe. There are just too many things that can go wrong."

I first tried Second Life a long time ago. I didn't get the point of it and I still don't. When I first tried it, I wanted my avatar, Zobeida Deezul, to look something like this:

I remember my mother walking past and peeking over my shoulder and saying something like "That doesn't look a thing like you!" Is it supposed to look like me? At the time all I wanted to do was mess with other people on the internet (even if occasionally in bad taste, still all in good fun), but I felt safer goofing around as an orc/jedi/dwarf/zombie/wizard/campy Lord of the Rings gibberish as opposed to goofing off as a virtual version of myself under a silly name. In other words, I was immature and almost frightened by the idea of a virtual version of myself.

The next time I ever heard anything about Second Life was when I saw a news segment discussing dating and marriage via Second Life. The only concrete thing I remember about the segment is that every individual included did not look anything like their avatar. I also noticed that no one had an avatar like this:

I was wrong again. I thought about it again; maybe the point is to do whatever it is you would normally do, but if you want to, you can do it looking like this:

Because maybe in real life, you look like this:

Or maybe the point is to live in this way:

As opposed to living in this way;

Well, that's not exactly right. Second Life is just as messy, if not messier than real life. That brings to another unanswered question I have about Second Life: Is there a judicial system? I don't mean Second Life's privacy policy, I mean actually within Second Life, is there a judicial system? Maybe that's the best way to put it, but who can stop Zobeida Deezul from tearin' her clothes off all over Orientation Island if she can fly and teleport? And who can judge (and I mean critically, not legally) Zobeida Deezul when she can deflate or inflate and lessen or accentuate her jowls whenever it's necessary?

Also, I know Second Life is a venue for business meetings and classrooms.
Something like this;

Or this;

I really would love to see how that works. What if a student or business associate has that has a virus or a computer with continuous system errors?

Then again;

Looks like fun!

gender relations in the virtual world

fascinating study about avatars in the virtual world. click here to find out more!

"Thanks to video games and blockbuster movies, people are increasingly engaging with avatars and robots. So Karl MacDorman of Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana, decided to find out how people treated avatars when faced with an ethical dilemma. Does an avatar's lack of humanity mean people fail to empathise with them? The answer seems to depend on gender."

More info in article.

Happy national margarita day, you all! google's number one search term of the day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Die Antwoord aka "The Answer"

I think this music video is worth sharing.

Actual music video start 53 seconds in if you want to skip the monologue.
Also features a real life Progeria survivor.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Michelle Trachtenberg Spitting Nicki Minaj in the Holland Tunnel As Filmed By James Van Der Beek

For everyone else who grew up watching the WB and now likes Nicki, here are so many of your favorite things in one place.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

early language exposure and iq

Early Language Exposure

This link is basically plugging some technology but it features a study I hear on NPR a few years ago about how the amount of words that a child is exposed to early in life is strongly correlated with IQ later in life. The more words a toddler hears during 0-3 years, the smarter they will be later. I think this is probably true.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a personal field study in brain relaxation

Two weeks ago we were talking about exposure and how it's critical to the learning process, and how we need to give our brains time to rest

I had an exam to study for in my operations management class. Instead of studying relentlessly for several days and cramming as much as I could, I would study for an hour and a half max and then not do anything for an hour. I slept a lot at night time. I did this for 5 days before the exam, studying way less than usual by about 25-30%, and got one of the highest scores on the test.

Thylias' method works.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

internet/technology documentary on PBS tonight




In the World of Facebook

In the World of Facebook - The New York Review of Books


I thought this article was interesting because it touches on the concept of "digital homes," which I feel like we spent some time exploring today with Second Life and other forms of digital space. He makes comparisons between the "working class aesthetic" of MySpace and the more elitist Facebook, comparing Facebook profiles to "suburban front lawns." I especially liked the part where he was talking about how we use it and how it reflects this obsession with irony -- adding Celine Dion to your favorite music or being in open relationships with your friends or using fake pictures to promote this attitude of nonchalance. Here's a good part on social networking:

"What is "social networking"? For all the vagueness of the term, which now seems to encompass everything we do with other people online, it is usually associated with three basic activities: the creation of a personal Web page, or "profile," that will serve as a surrogate home for the self; a trip to a kind of virtual agora, where, along with amusedly studying passersby, you can take a stroll through the ghost town of acquaintanceships past, looking up every person who's crossed your path and whose name you can remember; and finally, a chance to remove the digital barrier and reveal yourself to the unsuspecting subjects of your gaze by, as we have learned to put it with the Internet's peculiar eagerness for deforming our language, "friending" them, i.e., requesting that you be connected online in some way."

a 2nd life for noise

You need to have Flash installed to listen directly on the site. Install Flash or you can download the recording instead

"Swine Flu" by Eric Hat

Echolon Recorded from Echolon. Check out more recordings from Echolon...

RjDj is an application for iphones that records sound and regurgitates a remixed version of all the noise. I can record myself saying "i hate second life," and some baby/dwarf/goofer version of me will return, "iiiiiiiii hateHATEhate sesesecondcond lifeLIFE." The words all change, some of them are erased, and ambient noise I would not have noticed in real time will be spat out by RjDj as a great boom of static. It's a tiny little P Diddy, dedicated to the remix, baby. But what's great about RjDj is that the sound landscape created by the remix application retains the feel and tone of original recording (it's EVEN better than a Puff daddy remix). Just follow the link and listen to swine flu... I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm catching the pig disease. A little infected pork for our limited forks.

On the subject of remixing, check out this Gil Scott Heron remix of Robert Johnson's blues classic:

What gets me about the video, besides Heron being one of my heroes, is that it expresses so much more than a simple guitar and a good blues singer ever could... it may just be a music video, but it's an interesting study on how an old blues standard can be rediscovered and remixed in the digital age.


We Edit Life

Video from Vicki Bennett, one of the most INSANE proponents of plunderphonics. From UbuWeb:

This is the first in a series of films using documentary, industrial and educational film footage from the Prelinger Archive and The Internet Archive. The film explores the theme of technology, showing how the future can be edited and manipulated through advances in computer science. As the narrative in the film says "The art of computer graphics is only in its infancy yet it is already stimulating creative thought in far out areas where research is likely to get complex and unwieldy".


"The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life"

Making Money in the Metaverse

When i first stepped into second life the first thing that popped into my head was not "how can I make money off this?" Quite the contrary, my initial reaction was to run around like a doofus and wreak minor havoc. I even had a gang with me to annoy people. This book looks hilarious. A barrel of laughs. But this is a very serious topic. Daniel Terdiman even says so: "You can only make money in Second Life if you are totally serious about it." That means I would really have to get my act together if I plan on making my first million through the internet.

Terdiman also has a blog, where he interviews and discusses Second Life entrepreneurs and innovators.


Some of the advice given also applied to the real world. For example: "To do well in business in Second Life, pick a product that people will buy over and over, not just once, such as clothing, hair, skins and fashion in general. People don't buy a new couch very often, but they buy lots of clothes."

On the other hand, one featured innovator gained her fame by creating "tiny" avatars, which is something unique to the second life world.

I guess since I have no business drive in the real world, it wouldn't really be possible for me to have any in a virtual world. As soon as I think of something goofy to sell i'll give it a shot and let you guys know how it goes.

discussion: classes in second life

what are possible pros and cons of having a class meet in 2nd life?

pro: shy people may be more likely to contribute because of greater anonymity and more time to think before articulating a thought. could facilitate greater participation.

poll - should i blog about business school?

Big Girls Don't Cry

I have been thinking about this video since I took a car trip to Ferndale to see a concert in early January, when I had just begun learning about Limited Fork Theory. This song first struck me because it was a remix of a song that is several years old, Big Girls Don't Cry (the earliest date I can find for it is 2007) while Fergie's album, The Duchess came out in 2006. I head this remix as a male imagining a response to Fergie's lyrics, like a fictional dialogue between the two of them.

The original version of this song was also used at the end of one of the seasons of the Hills, when Lauren and Heidi were fighting because Lauren would not allow Heidi's boyfriend Spencer, or anyone who associated with him into her life because he had offered to sell a non-existent sex tape of Lauren to various media outlets. Heidi begged Lauren to forgive Spencer, but ultimately decided to loose her friendship with Lauren and move in with Spencer, though she repeatedly tried to get Lauren back in her life.

So for me, this remix conjure up not only an imagined dialogue between Fergie and Sean Kingston, but also one between Lauren and Heidi (with Lauren, of course, as Fergie.) I find interesting the way in which the meaning of this song, a song about a girl needing some time and space to figure out who she is, was morphed through it various cultural applications.

Tour of Texas State Second Life Campus!!

Would you rather enter this virtual classroom than the ones you are used to for learning and discussion?


not 2nd life

I really like this TV show called Death Note. I have watched it twice and recently received the Manga box set on 2/14/2010. After playing 2nd Life I wondered if there were any 'Death Note' games...because my mind connected 'games' and the gift I got and the fact that I lost my trading card earlier. The Death Note is the most advanced/evil technology in the world. You can write someones name in it and then they will die in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. A student gets a hold of it and decides to RID THE WORLD OF ALL EVIL. It is super interesting. Also today I realized that 40 seconds/60 seconds is .66 = 6.66 = soo evil.

Second Life + Peacock

2nd life

2nd LIFE

I tried to open and play it but i did not really feel like learning how to do it even though it would not take very long to learn. I just did not want to play it. This is the same feeling I felt when I tried to play the TEXT BASED MUD. I guess I am just really not into virtual games.

The reason that I did not dive further into 2nd life is because I realize that for it to be fun, I will have to figure out all of the various commands and things you can do in the game and that is learning that takes time. I think that is a waste of my time because two things will happen, either I will become 'addicted to 2nd life' and play a lot at later times when I should be doing something else, or I will kind of stupidly walk around 2nd life, not really figure out how to do anything, and not play again which is pointless, more pointless than playing. I noticed everyone was having fun playing it, but I joined about an hour after every body else due to my initial disinterest. When I finally joined and everyone was already 'into' the game, it just made me less inclined to learn about it.

That is why I did not play 2nd life.


challenging chomsky

read this:

think about it

then read this:

i've been working on a project that's been growing and changing for a few months now. what started out as an innocent foray into the basis of language has grown to become an exploration of the interaction between humans and the signs we use to represent our experiences. there is much to be done, but i'd like to introduce you now in the hopes that my signs of progress will be somewhat intelligible to you.

essentially, i'm building a new language, or trying to, at least. language has been defined in terms of a set of rules, or a grammar. the roles of a grammar are to decide explicitly what is in the language and what is not, as well as to provide a means of pronouncing and understanding any sentence encountered. sounds simple enough, but here's the catch: each person has idiosyncrasies within the rules of his language's governing grammar (vocabulary and pronunciation, eg) and as such, has a specific, personalized version of grammar. the larger point to take from this is that language is not totally socially constructed, and that although rules exists, individuals are capable of creating and observing their own.

i'll leave you with one final thought, which you'll hopefully keep in mind as you watch my project progress. conventions require two or more people to create and maintain, but rules only require a single individual. the goal is for the logic of the rules i'm creating to develop appealingly enough to facilitate public consumption. here goes nothing..

Monday, February 15, 2010


Palestinians dressed as Navi in anti-wall protests.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

inneresting, very inneresting


the last line is priceless. accomplished teenage author lifts an entire page from someone else's novel, book award panelists don't seem to mind, unclear whether remix is plageurizing plagerism or if plageurism is plageurizing remix. if she wins that twenty grand, maybe writing term papers is about to get a whole lot easier...

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, February 8, 2010

language dead, dying, rebirthed

Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies

Somebody recently mentioned to me that I should be striving to learn new words every day because if you don't have a word to describe something you cannot comprehend it. I immediately thought about how I got in an argument with my cousin about the way an English speaker understands existence as compared to a Spanish speaker. My cousin brought up the idea that Spanish has to words that mean To Be, which are Ser and Estar. Ser refers to characteristics which are permanent, and Estar refers to things that in flux. For example, in English you could "I am sick," but depending on which form of To Be you use in Spanish you could either say "I am ill" or "I am a sicko." From this, my cousin argued that because of this, a Spanish speaker has an innate ability to better comprehend their existence as they subconsciously deal with making a decision as to whether a trait is permanent or ephemeral.

I thought that was total baloney at the time, and mostly still do, but there's no question as to how much this world has lost by allowing an entire language to die. The article mentions that "Even members of inter-related tribes were unable to comprehend the repertoire of Bo songs and stories." Without any way for the ideas of the lost culture to be understood by the world, their voice in the collective human consciousness has been snuffed out.

And then Canadian News comes out with this gem

Students failing because of Twitter, texting

This article is like a gift that will not stop giving because it just doesn't know what that means so it just sits there and grins like an idiot while you try and breath between laughing fits.

You might notice that, while the headline mentions twitter and texting as culprits for the decline of western civilization as we know it, the first sentance of the article mentions that it might also be linked to "Little of no grammar teaching."

University Officials seem to be baffled by kids these days:

"There has been this general sense in the last two or three years that we are finding more students are struggling in terms of language proficiency," says Rummana Khan Hemani, the university's director of academic advising.

Emoticons, happy faces, sad faces, cuz, are just some of the writing horrors being handed in, say professors and administrators at Simon Fraser.

"Little happy faces ... or a sad face ... little abbreviations," show up even in letters of academic appeal, says Khan Hemani.


"The words 'a lot' have become one word, for everyone, as far as I can tell. 'Definitely' is always spelled with an 'a' -'definitely'. I don't know why," says Paul Budra, an English professor and associate dean of arts and science at Simon Fraser.

"Punctuation errors are huge, and apostrophe errors. Students seem to have absolutely no idea what an apostrophe is for. None. Absolutely none."

By now it has become clear that article will not be giving you back the frisbee you so carelessly threw into its yard. This doesn't mean that I wouldn't happily fail a student for using "LOLCOPTER" in a formal essay, just that I would make sure not to sound like a complete out-of-touch nerd in an article that all but entirely misses the point.

I'd like to say more, but I think the conclusion of the article sums it all up in a nice little mind-trap of a quote:

James Turk of the Association of University Teachers takes all the complaints about student literacy with a grain of salt.

"There's a notion of a golden age in the past that students were wonderful, unlike now. I'm not sure that golden age ever existed," he says.

"You can go back and read Plato and see Socrates talking about the allegations that this generation isn't as not as good as previous ones," he notes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

eleven letters, third is m

1. pick up daily from newspaper holder
2. briefly look at the headline
3. remove cover and second section
4. place undesired sections in newspaper recycling receptacle
5. fold middle section hamburger style backwards over its seam
6. crease fold crisply
7. turn segment so bottom half is facing me
8. fold half segment hotdog style
9. crease fold crisply

these steps take approximately fifteen seconds and i do them every single day. i absolutely love doing the crossword. in addition to the la times puzzle printed in the daily, i also do the nytimes puzzle online, and most days i remember to put the ten-minute mensa page-a-day puzzle in my back pocket.

the crossword is an interesting form of reading. although successful completion requires a good vocabulary and cultural knowledge, i've come to find that there are definite patterns in puzzle construction. more simply put, there is a language of crosswords and familiarity with it makes doing them much easier. if you've seen wordplay (if you haven't, it's definitely worth checking out), you'll see that crossword experts can finish even extremely difficult puzzles in very short periods of time. are these people geniuses? unclear, but they do have immense crossword vocabularies which allows them to respond to clues with an immediacy that suggests a sort of crossword conditioned response. see clue and number of boxes --> automatic response.

it's fascinating, this manifestation of reading. if we consider the process of reading in general as associating written words with organizational mental schemas constructed of images and connotations (seeing DOG, imagining fido), crosswords hold a unique place in the mind. successful management of puzzles seems a result of constructing a different set of mental schemas in which words get new meanings, crossword connotations, if you will, in the form of schemas built of adjectives organized by number of letters. maybe these schemas are useless outside the world of crossword puzzles, but it makes me happy, and besides, there's plenty of room in my brain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reading Avatar

In City Reading, Devid Henkin writes about how the antebellum New York population was brought together by reading in public. For city dwellers, the common texts were commercial signage, newspapers, and handbills.

Nowadays, like it or not, i(maxi)pads are comin', and reading in public might never be the same. Remember those tablet screen thingamajigs used in avatar to map out patient's brain activity? Well now we have those, and we can watch all the Avatar we want on them. Even if you've got the Avatar blues, you could buy up a bunch of ipads and line all of the walls in your bedroom with various Pandora scenes on continuous loop. Unlike Sully, we don't need to lay in an incubation chamber in order to be transported into a new world; apple's incubation chambers have transported the new world to us. My Q is whether that's one we want to be a part of... and with all of these technological interfaces seeping into libraries, schools and shopping malls, how do we read public space now?

Reading Avatar

This article includes summaries of why some of the many groups who found avatar offensive did so, with links to blogs detailing the specific complaint.

Anti-American, Sexist, and Heathenous


A website for people that want to learn the language of the blue cat people from Avatar

make sure to check out the message boards!

"I agree that a suffix or "inflection scaffolding" would be very appropriate for the culture that's developing in this community and now having seen the film 3 times, I don't see how it could fundamentally conflict with Na'vi ways either. -ちゃん (-chan) is invaluable in Japanese society and many of my English+Japanese-speaking close friends spontaneously add -y (cf "willy, charlie, annie, bobby/i") on the ends of each other's names as a term of affection. I think we can make something "atmospheric" up based on the way Sa'nu, Sempu and 'Evi work. 'It is clearly already working in a similar fashion to the Irish ín in the vein of "a bit/a lesser/smaller/younger version of something" but we don't understand it fully, so I suggest staying away from that.

-u may be a safe way to go, but -uy- is the honorific/humble verb infix, so not a good idea to mess with u+i as a unit unless it move full on to -wi, I'd imagine.

How about -i/-wi/-tswi/-swi/-k.wi/-p.wi/-t.wi and/& /or -u/-un (which seems a tad bit more masculine to me)?

All are pretty cute/かわいい (kawaii) to me."

OH he is getting humble!

James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Won't Win At The Oscars

James Cameron says Avatar Won't Win At The OscarsJames Cameron is convinced his sci-fi epic Avatar will lose out at the upcoming AcademyAwards, but hopes his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow takes home the Best Picture Oscar instead.

Cameron's blockbuster will go up against Bigelow's gritty war drama The Hurt Locker for the coveted prize at the upcoming ceremony in March, along with eight other films including Up in the Air, The Blind Side and Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire.

The moviemaker will also compete with his former spouse for the Best Director Oscar, but he's convinced Academy bosses will overlook Avatar because of his previous behavior at the famous event. Cameron is adamant Oscar bosses weren't impressed with his speech when he picked up the Best Director trophy for Titanic in 1998, in which he quoted one of the film's famous lines, telling the crowd, "I'm king of the world!"

He tells Empire magazine, "I always believe it's very unlikely that lightening will strike twice. I believe it's very unlikely that we will win because I made such a jacka** out of myself last time. Although there might be some curiosity about what I might do."

However, Cameron hopes Bigelow's movie goes on to rule the ceremony instead.

He adds, "The Hurt Locker is a very, very strong picture. Of the contenders, it's definitely the strongest. Certainly it's Kathryn's moment. I would happily lose to her. I've already got one of those damn statues. I'd be p**sed off if somebody else won, but I wouldn't mind if she won."

Oeru txoa livu


However, if you find yourself in this particular camp, you can bring yourself a little bit closer to "home" by learning the Navi language.

China Renames Mountains

China renames a 3500 foot mountain to "Hallelujah Mountain" after the rocks in the film. It appears to be a tourism gimmick after the movie obtained extremely high popularity in the country. It has since been banned due to fears of public uprising.

For more information please visit this website

Reading Avatar

This image is property of Playboy

Or "Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,” even though that makes no sense"

James Cameron Playboy Interview

The "Eastern Garbage Patch"

From greenpeace.org:

The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre covers a large area of the Pacific in which the water circulates clockwise in a slow spiral. Winds are light. The currents tend to force any floating material into the low energy central area of the gyre. There are few islands on which the floating material can beach. So it stays there in the gyre, in astounding quantities estimated at six kilos of plastic for every kilo of naturally occurring plankton. The equivalent of an area the size of Texas swirling slowly around like a clock. This gyre has also been dubbed “the Asian Trash Trail” the “Trash Vortex” or the “Eastern Garbage Patch”.

Reading Public Spaces

librarydormlibrarycoffeeshop... indoor life neglects outside spaces. Walls are strictly regulated and sidewalks controlled. In our online spaces, we use and abuse to post blogs, wall posts, aim chats. I found this picture on creativitymachine.net, which asks us to think on how we use, abuse, read and subvert public spaces. Graffiti writers, skateboarders, guerilla artists, post-it note lovers and street-sign holders... this is one for you.



what does this mean to you? how do you read this work? what's cooler than being cool?