Hic Sunt Dracones

the smylere with the knyf under the cloke

Archive for April 2008

Stunting Social Surplus

Watch TV much?

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV.

We did that for decades. We watched I Love Lucy. We watched Gilligan’s Island. We watch Malcolm in the Middle. We watch Desperate Housewives. Desperate Housewives essentially functioned as a kind of cognitive heat sink, dissipating thinking that might otherwise have built up and caused society to overheat.

[Source: Here Comes Everybody: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus]

Social networking, social bookmarking and wikis. Where do people find the time?

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of this asset that’s finally being dragged into what Tim calls an architecture of participation.

Now, the interesting thing about a surplus like that is that society doesn’t know what to do with it at first–hence the gin, hence the sitcoms. Because if people knew what to do with a surplus with reference to the existing social institutions, then it wouldn’t be a surplus, would it? It’s precisely when no one has any idea how to deploy something that people have to start experimenting with it, in order for the surplus to get integrated, and the course of that integration can transform society.

And it’s only now, as we’re waking up from that collective bender, that we’re starting to see the cognitive surplus as an asset rather than as a crisis. We’re seeing things being designed to take advantage of that surplus, to deploy it in ways more engaging than just having a TV in everybody’s basement.

[Source: Here Comes Everybody: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus]

Then again, when they do get into the internet, knowledge is not really one of their objective. Take my colleague(s) for instance. The arc of the internet pathway is more to the tangent of social networking of friendster, myspace and facebook; than social networking of photography and art like Flickr and deviantART.

Social bookmarking like Slashdot, Digg, del.icio.us and StumbleUpon is more likely to be a filler for surfing experience, rather than participating, and sharing.

Podcast is under utilized. Apple iTunes even got iTunes U for anyone on the road of lifelong learning. Apple iPod shouldn’t just be a music boom box through the ear canal. There’s one special section for podcast if you even care to look.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a one stop centre for thinkers and doers to find inspiration. RSS feeds and downloadable video is at the ready, while transcripts of TEDTalks is on the way.

RSS Aggregator like Bloglines for example is the best way to minimize your reading time online and offline (or even maximize it, if you’re a RSS freaks like me).

YouTube. You know there’s a better channel to subscribe than a mere farce of internet toilet. There’s always 4chan by the /b/tards for the lulz.

So there. GTFO.

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Assessing Culture

How enlightening, Social Science in between the technical courses of ROV Sensors, Hydrography, Underwater Acoustics and Geodesy.

The five Cultural Dimensions of Geert Hofstede:

  • Power Distance.

The degree of inequality among people which the population of a country considers as normal.

  • Individualism vs. Collectivism.

The extent to which people feel they are supposed to take care for, or to be cared for by themselves, their families or organizations they belong to.

  • Masculinity vs. Femininity.

The extent to which a culture is conducive to dominance, assertiveness and acquisition of things. Versus a culture which is more conducive to people, feelings and the quality of life.

  • Uncertainty Avoidance.

The degree to which people in a country prefer structured over unstructured situations.

  • Long-term vs. Short-Term Orientation.

Long-term: values oriented towards the future, like saving and persistence. Short-term: values oriented towards the past and present, like respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligations.

Kebebasan Kehakiman: Singa di Bawah Takhta Dijerat (Satu Kezaliman)

How many years justice will shout back in my homeland? Reverberating like an echo from the past.

While Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim celebrated the end of 5 years ban of political activities with Black 14 congregation last Monday, 14th April 2008. Today, Tun Dato’ Haji Mohamed Salleh Abas, after 20 years, anticipating a closure of the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis.

A new chapter for the Malaysian judiciary has begun.

One: A Judicial Appointments Commission will be appointed to nominate, appoint and promote judges in a transparent and representative manner.

Two: The 1988 upheaval of the judicial system is laid to rest with acknowledgement of “the pain and loss” suffered by the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and their families, Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh and Datuk George Seah.

[Source: The New Straits Times – REDEMPTION: Ghost of 1988 put to rest]

Ex gratia compensation may not equate to apology for the “pain and loss” suffered but for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, that’s the best he could do, for now — “So STFU Bar Council, I’m going back to sleep” — before nap time.

Written by cthulhu

April 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm

links for 2008-04-17

Written by cthulhu

April 17, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Posted in del.icio.us

Duffy, Welsh Singer-Songwriter

Welsh female soul singer-songwriter Duffy performs the track ‘Stepping Stone’, taken from her 2008 debut album Rockferry, at BBC2’s Later…with Jools Holland.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dajZeREsYBQ]

British newcomer Duffy performs the track ‘Mercy’, taken from her upcoming 2008 debut album Rockferry, at BBC2’s Later…with Jools Holland.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoQwliMAZC8]

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Links:

Written by cthulhu

April 17, 2008 at 3:33 am

On the Road, On the Map

The work of Stefanie Posavec during the On the Map exhibition. Her pieces focused on On the Road, by Jack Kerouac (New York Times: “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance” during the Beat Generation).

The maps visually represent the rhythm and structure of Kerouac’s literary space, creating works that are not only gorgeous from the point of view of graphic design, but also exhibit scientific rigor and precision in their formulation: meticulous scouring the surface of the text, highlighting and noting sentence length, prosody and themes, Posavec’s approach to the text is not unlike that of a surveyor. And similarly, the act is near reverential in its approach and the results are stunning graphical displays of the nature of the subject. The literary organism, rhythm textures and sentence drawings are truly gorgeous pieces.

[Source: NOTCOT – Stefanie Posavec “On the Map”]

A map of uniformed visualisation out of the chaotic humanity, as observed by Jack Kerouac.

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Literary Organism
A visualisation of Part One of On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Literary_Organism

Basic Structure
Each literary component can be divided into even smaller parts, the smallest in this diagram being words. The diagram is read clockwise, starting from the first chapter, paragraph, or sentence.

Part > Chapters > Paragraphs > Sentences > Words

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Rhythm Textures
Selected Quotes from On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Rhythm-Textures

Basic Structure
Variations in punctuation and pauses in the sentence create individual patterned diagrams for each sentence.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Rhythm-Textures_Basic-Structure

Diagram One
Beginning > italicized word > comma > semicolon > dashes > mid-sentence exclamation point > mid-sentence italicized word followed by an exclamation point > mid-sentence question mark > colon > parentheses > exclamation point.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Rhythm-Textures_Chapter-One

Chapter One
Paragraph Fifteen
Sentence Seven

Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, but Dean just raced in society, eager for bread and love; he didn’t care one way or the other, “so long’s I can get that lil ole gal with that lil sumpin down there tween her legs, boy,” and “so long’s we can eat, son, y’ear me? I’m hungry, I’m starving, let’s eat right now!”—and off we’d rush to eat, whereof, as saith Ecclesiastes, “It is your portion under the sun.”

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Sentence Drawings
The entirety of On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Sentence-Drawings

Basic Structure
After each sentence, the line turns right, creating the drawing.

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Sentence Length
Every sentence in On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, organized by words per sentence.

Stefanie-Posavec_On-the-Map_Jack-Kerouac_On-the-Road_Sentence-Length

Colour Coding

Eleven thematic categories with colour coding for each theme.

  • Dean Moriarty (Protagonist)

An insight into the character of Dean Moriarty, the protagonist. Background into Dean’s life, his friends’ perception about him, Sal Paradise’s (the narrator) observation about his behaviour, and description of how he acts of speaks.

  • Bop & Jazz Music

Description of the bop music nights the circle of friends often attend, explanation of the history of bop or jazz in America, and vivid sketches of the music itself as well as the musicians who create it.

  • Social Events & Interaction

Relate to times when Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty are meeting and spending time with friends in various social settings.

  • Travel

Experiences had by Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty, and the rest of their circle of friends while travelling.

  • Sketches of Regional Life

Sal Paradise, the narrator, uses words to sketch a picture of the places he travels through, creating vivid images of the environment and the people who love in the locations in the mind of the reader.

  • Parties, Drinking & Drugs

Detail the parties Sal, Dean, and their friends go to as well as scenes which involve drinking or drug-taking.

  • Work & Survival

Describe the characters’ jobs of their experiences while searching for money to survive in their daily life or travels.

  • Sal Paradise (Narrator)

Sal Paradise is the narrator of On The Road, describing his travel across the United States and Mexico as well as reflecting upon his friendship with Dean Moriarty, the main character. Sections of the novel that either give background into Sal’s character or his thoughts and beliefs about the people and places he meets on his travels.

  • Women, Sex & Relationships

Any section of the novel that deal with sex, women, relationships with women, or a character’s personal philosophy about women.

  • Illegal Activities & Encounters with the Police

Designate the passage within the novel where Sal and his friends commit illegal acts such as stealing food or cars; also, it designates the group ‘s encounters with the police or other self-imposed forms of law enforcement.

  • Character & Sketches

The term “character sketches” refers to the sections in the novel when Sal Paradise gives background information about specific character in the book (except Dean Moriarty, who is referenced by his own colour). This background information aids the reader in learning more about the personality of the character described.

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Also, check out William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust (1948) and George Orwell’ Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) infographics.