Category Archives: Ideas

But it moves: the New Aesthetic & emergent virtual taste

In the wake of South-by-Southwest, Bruce Sterling has posted a grand, thorough, ruminative essay about the New Aesthetic. If you don’t know the New Aesthetic, you should go and have a look at the tumblr that serves as both its wonder cabinet and its manifesto. Hosted by technologist, impresario, and publishing artist James Bridle, the […]

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Of dead trees, living networks, and encyclopedic ambition

At The New Republic, David A. Bell offers a wistful threnody for the paper edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which the eponymous publishing house announced it would cease publishing after 244 years. “With the disappearance of paper encyclopedias, a part of the Western intellectual tradition is disappearing as well,” argues Bell, the Sidney and Ruth […]

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Interactive documentary and the wild, wired world

Bear 71 isn’t your grandfather’s grizzly. She knows the name of the drug that tranquilized her, knows too about Zoloft and Viagra, knows that her radio collar broadcasts in the VHF range. She can tell you that a rubber bullet is traveling 650km/hr at 100 feet. She reports that Canmore, near Banff in Alberta, gets […]

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Touch, lag, and the haptic uncanny

Verisimilitude doesn’t happen only in space, but in time as well. That’s the takeaway from this Microsoft Research video about recent work in the effect of reducing the lag time of touch-interactive interfaces. The effect of lag, which becomes especially noticeable in large interfaces, is a familiar one—and it has its analogues in the physical […]

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Twitter, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Dreams of Flatland

In a bit of ragged analysis of the social geography of Twitter this morning, NPR’s Morning Edition demonstrated the survival of hidebound, “a-and-then-the-ring-around-it“-era prejudices about the nature of social media and the Web. Host Steve Inskeep interviewed Shankar Vedantam, who was reporting on a study he attributed to Barry Wellman at the University of Toronto […]

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The Cryoscope: using networking materiality to tactilize the weather

I love the possibilities suggested by the “Cryoscope,” a project cooked up by R.I.T. industrial-design student Rob Godshaw: Godshaw’s gadget picks up the temperature forecast by zip code and reproduces it within a gorgeous aluminum block; you touch it to feel tomorrow temperature. It’s a lovely piece of networked materiality, and it promises much more […]

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Cooking up some dishes in the Library Test Kitchen

Bibliotheca II, alias “son of Bibliotheca” (last semester’s seminar/studio jointly run by Jeffrey Schnapp and John Palfrey), has now been launched with the help of Ann Whiteside (chief librarian at the Loeb Design Library), Jeff Goldenson (Law Library Innovation Lab), and Ben Brady (GSD). Otherwise known as The Library Test Kitchen or the “library rapid […]

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Tweet withheld: (mis)understanding censorship on the Internet

Since Twitter announced its Country Withheld Content policy last Thursday, fear and outrage have spread at tweetspeed across the blogosphere and the connected media, with Reporters Without Borders director Olivier Basille firing off an open letter to Twitter’s chairman Jack Dorsey decrying the advent of “geolocative censorship” and a broad range of voices, from Egyptian […]

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Typecasting the digital humanities

The carnival of digital-humanities metacommentary takes a curious and compelling turn in Daniel Anderson‘s Waves, a screencasting remix of blog posts using captured keystrokes and cut-and-paste, text autocomplete, and a collage of videos. The piece features (very much inter alia) the interactive documentary and metaLAB touchstone Welcome to Pine Point and the text of a […]

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DH baby steps and generative verse

In the midst of making my own initial forays into Python, I was fiddling around last night with a simple exercise: to make a script that grabs lines containing a given word from a source text and spits them into a new file. Veteran digital humanists will recognize this as a real kindergarten task—but I […]

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