Friday, August 15, 2008

Martin Parr, Revolutionary Photographer

You have to disguise things as entertainment, but still leave a message and some poignancy.

Martin Parr: Why Photojournalism Must Get Modern

Angry syntax, core values...

It's Summertime...

"the least curious and intellectual generation in national history."

and the living ain't easy at Forbes.

Politics and Place

Because representative democracy is based on geography, content created by citizens must be identified by place instead of simply organized by issue. Content, from a news story to an online comment to a picture or video, needs to automatically be assigned (or “tagged”) with a geographic place. In addition, content bounded by a state or region or identified as global will be essential.

Sidewalks for Democracy Online

by Steven L. Clift

Download the PDF

Thursday, August 14, 2008

British Libel Laws

The United Nations committee on human rights is interesting on British Libel Laws
the British libel laws have "served to discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as libel tourism".

New Media, New Money

From the American Political Science Association

Democratic politicians receive a 40% increase in contributions in the 30 days after appearing on the comedy cable show The Colbert Report. In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing. These findings appear to validate anecdotal evidence regarding the political impact of the program, such as the assertions by host Stephen Colbert that appearing on his program provides candidates with a “Colbert bump” or a rise in support for their election campaigns.

Read the research in PDF

Esthesis 4 - Kindle on fire?

Not an I-Pod, not yet.

It seems that’s Kindle is not the flop that many predicted when the e-book reader debuted last year. Citibank’s Mark Mahaney has just doubled his forecast of Kindle sales for the year to 380,000. He figures that Amazon’s sales of Kindle hardware and software will hit $1 billion by 2010.


"Turns out the Kindle is becoming the iPod of the book world," Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a note to clients. He kept a "buy" rating on the share.


My contrarian view is that just as most digital cameras are now smart phones, most ebook readers are also smart phones. People have been reading books on tiny screens since the days of the Psion and Compaq's iPaq, and it's common on Windows Mobile and similar phones.

So, while the Kindle might be Amazon's iPod, I reckon the iPhone is more likely to be Apple's Kindle - at least until e-newspapers take off.

The Guardian

Evaluating e-books nationwide - the JISC national e-books observatory project

Esthesis 3 - gender and the semantic web

Corinna Bath is currently research fellow at the "Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society" in Graz, Austria.

She investigates gender and technology in the context of the semantic web.

In my thesis I propose methodological concepts to evoke a de-gendering of IT on the basis of a close analysis of gendering processes. My research identifies practices in technology design, which often lead to “gendered” artefacts. One of these mechanisms is the so-called “I-methodology”, i.e. the implicit assumption made by computer scientists and software developers that users of the technologies they design would share their own interests, preferences, competencies and abilities.

More at Read Write Web

Such as:
There are no shortage of ways to describe documents, events, people or concepts. The roster of people who will participate in the creation of a standard way to describe them will become increasingly important as machine learning becomes more important in our every day lives. Failing to take this seriously, Bath argues, could lead to the silencing of "minority views, quieter voices, and allows the dominant voice to speak for everyone, which seems highly problematic".

Esthesis 2

Books are such an echo chamber.

Jeff Jarvis and the new new.

When we talk about the Google age, then, we do talk about a new society and the rules I explore in my book are the rules of that society, built on connections, links, transparency, openness, publicness, listening, trust, wisdom, generosity, efficiency, markets, niches, platforms, networks, speed, and abundance.

Is 2008 a return to the heady days of 1994?

Esthesis - an unelaborated elementary awareness of stimulation

The scholarly monograph has been compared to the Hapsburg monarchy in that it seems to have been in decline forever! Many publishers, university administrators and academic researchers are still largely wedded to historical and Balkanized Web 1.0 monograph settings.

Colin Steele
Scholarly Monograph Publishing in the 21st Century: The Future More Than Ever Should Be an Open Book


Newspaper publishers are facing a perfect storm thanks to three megatrends: rising inflation, America's growing green conscience and disruptive technology. To succeed in this era of great change, they need to think about how to make lemonade out of these perceived lemons. Unfortunately, so far, they haven't. Here's my advice.

RISING INFLATION: As gas prices rise sharply, so do distribution costs. To compensate, many newspapers have announced they are significantly increasing their hard-copy newsstand prices. However, that's a 20th-century reaction to what is a complex, 21st-century problem.

What they should be doing instead is using this as an opportunity to put a hard date on when they will abandon print altogether, close down plants and migrate completely to a digital paradigm. They need to have faith that their brands and quality editorial product will encourage readers who haven't already migrated to do so.

Steve Rubel
How Newspapers Can Turn Problems into Profit


If I have any real problem with Creative Writing courses, it’s that so many of them are run by and for people who see nothing inherently alarming about the phrase, “a dense and difficult but ultimately rewarding book”. Homer, Chaucer, Dickens, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Hemingway, Graham Greene, the Brontes, Patricia Highsmith and countless others would have been alarmed by that phrase, Joyce, Woolf and Rushdie wouldn’t - take your pick.

Kevin Wignal

Disruptive Writing Courses


AMID a flurry of diplomatic activity over the conflict in Georgia, European officials are questioning whether they could have prevented the crisis and gloomily comparing the tensions to those seen ahead of the second world war. Some have recalled Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland in the 1930s.

The Economist, Certain Ideas of Europe
Shuddering at memories of the 1930s

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reading and "Viewing"

A group of researchers the U.S. and the Netherlands peered into people's brains using fMRI machines while those people were doing a series of three tasks: reading about something disgusting, watching images of something disgusting, and actually tasting something disgusting. Turns out the same regions in their brains activated consistently regardless of whether they were imagining, watching, or tasting disgusting things.

More here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What did happen to that $100 computer?

The great, the good, the rich and the technocrats nodded in solemn approval.

And then some of them tried to kill it.

Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times magazine.