[site stats: doh...]


I guess I can take this as a good sign....


Thanks to Angela, I'm aware of yet another development of digital storytelling (Have a look Creative Writing and New Media Masters' students).

YouTube Users Spoof Google’s Acquisition of YouTube With Fake Kidnapping Story
Online video creators are collaborating on the first viral video series that exposes a fictional “GooTube” Conspiracy. The series was initiated by one person, and has evolved into a collaborative storyline. YouTube video creators — who have never met — are participating in the plotline by posting new videos and advancing the plotline.


[currents in electronic literacy is ba-ack]

Currents in Electronic Literacy is back and is boasting a "new and improved Currents [...] e-journal of the Computer Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas." Sounds promising.

"We are excited to announce that Currents is moving in a new direction. The Spring 2007 issue of Currents will focus on reviews. We believe a journal based on reviews can be of much greater relevance to the field than our past models, which consisted of a few long articles supplemented by short book reviews. However, in this new model we will conceive of “reviews” more broadly. In addition to reviewing books, we are soliciting reviews of software, websites, blogs, conferences, parallel academic programs, and pedagogical practices. We hope that the new version of Currents will point out emerging trends in the field of electronic literacy.

We see ourselves as opening up a new frontier in the discipline because Currents is the first publication dedicated solely to reviewing new technologies, literatures, and "currents" in the field.


[freebase - like crack for databases]

According to Jon Udell "Freebase is like Wikipedia in the sense that it’s an open data project. But where Wikipedia is a database of unstructured articles, Freebase is a database of categorized and related items. You can use it to add or edit items and, more ambitiously, to create or extend the categories themselves."

Esther Dyson
explains: "It's basically an extensive tool to represent the world in a way that can be understood by computers as well as by people. The excitement is not that it can support better search, but that it can support more powerful applications. Rather than present information to humans so that they can figure out what to do with it, it represents information in a way that lets computers manipulate it.

For example, suppose you want to plan a trip to Moscow (or imagine your own favorite information-intensive task that involves integrating information from several sources, making a few transactions, and ending up with some complex task accomplished). You may search for information about venues and hotels. You will check your schedule to see what appointments you have to plan, and perhaps look at Google or Yandex maps to minimize your travel (and time spent in traffic). But in the end, you don't really want search results: You want to book hotels, schedule appointments, communicate with the people you're going to visit."

sums it up nicely: "While freebase is still VERY alpha, with much of the basic functionality barely working, the idea is HUGE. In many ways, freebase is the bridge between the bottom up vision of Web 2.0 collective intelligence and the more structured world of the semantic web."

[cyberbullying or so this is what you get for being a woman?]

BlogHer asked where the women bloggers were - and found them.

We know gender diversity at techy conferences "
still sucks." Jason Kotte collected these statistics:
"Future of Web Apps - San Francisco September 13-14, 20060 women, 13 men. 0% women speakers.
Tokion Magazine's 4th Annual Creativity Now Conference October 14-15, 20066 women, 30 men. 17% women speakers.
PopTech 2006 October 18-21, 20068 women, 30 men. 21% women speakers.
Web Directions North February 7-10, 20075 women, 16 men. 24% women speakers.
LIFTFebruary 7-9, 200710 women, 33 men. 23% women speakers.
Future of Web Apps - London February 20-22, 20071 woman, 26 men. 4% women speakers.
TED 2007 March 7-10, 200712 women, 41 men. 23% women speakers.
SXSW Interactive 2007 March 9-13, 2007147 women, 378 men. 28% women speakers.164 women, 373 men. 31% women speakers. (updated 2/22/2007)
BlogHer Business '07 March 22-23, 200743 women, 0 men. 100% women speakers.
An Event Apart Boston 2007 March 26-27, 20071 woman, 8 men. 11% women speakers.
O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference March 26-29, 20079 women, 44 men. 17% women speakers.
Web 2.0 Expo 2007 April 15-18, 200717 women, 91 men. 16% women speakers.
Future of Web Design April 18, 20072 women, 12 men. 14% women speakers.
GEL 2007 April 19-20, 20072 women, 11 men. 15% women speakers.
MIX07 April 30 - May 2, 2007 0 women (UPDATE: now 8 women, see comment below from Beth - thanks!), 4 men. 0% women speakers.
The New Yorker Conference 2007 May 6-7, 20073 women, 21 men. 13% women speakers. (updated 2/28/2007)
Dx3 Conference 2007 May 15-18, 20075 women, 48 men. 9% women speakers. (updated 3/2/2007)
An Event Apart Seattle 2007 June 21-22, 20070 women, 9 men. 0% women speakers.
Dori Smith responds to Kotte and adds this: "great list of women speakers for your conference:

InfoWorld Special Report on "Why are women exiting IT professions?". That's a good question; sadly, the articles don't even attempt to answer it. But I suspect that there's a correlation between the lack of women at these conferences and the declining numbers of women in tech.

And finally, just because it's a great article and I felt like I was looking in a mirror when I read it:
Why some women just can't fit in. Go read it. And yes, again, I think that it's related to the bigger picture here."

BlogHer just held the BlogHer Business Summit: "How to Succeed in a Social Media World"

NLab is holding a conference with the focus on women, business & blogging where all speakers will be women (although men are invited to attend).

But then a few bloggers have to go and ruin it.

Scobel weighs in: "It’s this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. I really don’t care if you attack me. I take those attacks in stride. But, whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn’t happen if the interviewee were a man.

It makes me realize just how ascerbic this industry and culture are toward women. This just makes me ill."

----- but is silence really the best answer?


[Does storytelling change in context of new forms of media?]

A perenial question answered by Sue Thomas and Scott Lloyd DeWitt in this interview by Katie Haegele:

Reading a novel delivered in installments to your e-mail inbox is different from flipping through a book as you curl up in bed.
Animated hypertext poems that dance across your computer screen do a kind of storytelling different from poems that sit still on a page.

The reading experience is different for print versus digital, no doubt about that.

But what about the writing experience? Is literary writing for digital media different in a way that matters? This is a question I keep returning to as I interview a variety of digital writers for this column. Does good, old-fashioned storytelling really change just because it is distributed in new forms of media?

I asked Sue Thomas, professor of new media at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, what she thought. In conjunction with Kate Pullinger, author of the multimedia graphic novel Inanimate Alice, Thomas devised a master of arts program in creative writing and new media that is taught online.

"Good, old-fashioned storytelling was oral, and storytellers often changed their stories according to context and circumstance," Thomas said. "You only have to look at how simple fairy tales and urban legends evolve whilst still often keeping the core of the narrative intact to realize that they need a fluid environment to stay alive and fresh. Multimedia prevents the stagnation of fixed type and maintains a much longer tradition, stretching way back beyond the last 500 years."

As director of the digital media project at the Department of English at Ohio State University, Scott Lloyd DeWitt says he wants to "expand notions of literacy" rather than abandon print for something new.

"We are giving students the opportunity to produce a variety of digital media texts. Along the way, we ask them to think about the affordances of these media and make choices about using them according to their rhetorical goals: Who is your audience? What sense of ethos are you trying to establish? Where do you imagine this text appearing?"

In other words, the same questions writers have always asked.

Robert Coover, the T.B. Stowell Adjunct Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, is a prominent novelist who realized in the late '80s that "the digital revolution was real and immediate; I wanted my students to be wholly aware of what was happening and comfortable with it."

Today he leads the groundbreaking Cave Writing Workshop, a spatial hypertext writing workshop in immersive virtual reality he dreamed up in 2002.

Electronic-writing workshops are in many ways similar to traditional writing workshops, Coover said: Students are given a project they present to the class for critique. But Cave Writing is unique. Powered by a high-performance parallel computer, the Cave is an eight-foot-square room with high-resolution stereo graphics shown on three walls and the floor. Students do not simply "write a story" - they create 360-degree multimedia projects incorporating images, sound, art and text. Imagine standing in the middle of this room as a multimedia narrative is projected all around you, and you've got the "immersive" part of the equation.

Coover, who wrote an essay titled "The End of Books" for the New York Times Book Review in 1992, says new literary forms don't emerge simply because the artist wants them to.

"Art forms are partly made by audiences," he said, "and if the reading public was in the process of moving from page to screen, then young writers had to understand that and know how to live and write in the new world. . . . E-writing is a very collaborative genre, often involving writers, artists, composers, and computer programmers."

That made me think that the image of the writer suffering over her masterpiece in solitude might soon become out of date - which wasn't a bad thought at all.


To experience "Inanimate Alice," go to http://www.inanimatealice.com/

For more on Robert Coover's Cave Writing Workshops, go to http://www.cascv.brown.edu/cavewriting/workshop.html

Katie Haegele (katie@thelalatheory.com) is a writer who lives in Montgomery County. She just bought a pin from the independent publishing resource Fall of Autumn that says "My zine has a MySpace," because hers does.

Thanks to Chris for the heads up.

Update: Thanks to Ian for pointing me to PurpleCar's post on this interview. She makes an excellent point: "As writers, we want the reader to feel immersed in our fiction world. Is adding music and images "cheating?" By no means will digitalit wipe away traditional literature, just as the written word hasn't erased oral traditions."


[creative writing and new media masters: towards some lecture notes]

To the Creative Writing and New Media Master's Students:

Here is a power point presentation outlining some key aspects (from my point of view) of the web today in relation to (potential) literacy.

Please feel free to add any comments here or by e-mailing me.

I'll look forward to our online chat on Tuesday, 27 of March at 2:00pm British Summer Time.

UPDATE 1: Thanks to Angela's post. Podcasting a narrative a day:

Sam Has 7 Friends is the story of Samantha Breslow as she searches for life, love, happiness, and an acting career in Los Angeles.

Sam's life is on display. She spends time with her boyfriend Patrick, hangs out with her best friend Dani, quarrels with with her agent Roman, avoids her ex-boyfriend Willie - all while being unknowingly watched by her neighbor Scott.
On December 15, 2006, the darkness will win and Samantha Breslow will die.

UPDATE 2: Here is another example of online storytelling.

A You Tube story spanning 12 episodes (but growing) with a myriad of video responses. Most interesting is this one which asks the audience to add to the video narrative via their comments on the video.

Example Comment:

UPDATE 3: My questions to you (the Master's students):

After having read (or browsed or sensed or glided your way through) a variety of online narrative works share with me:
• a quotation that shows the importance of place (the setting) in the fiction
• a quotation that shows the relationship between two characters (e.g., for Disappearing Rain, the twin sisters Amy and Anna)
• a quotation that helps establish a metaphor explored in the fiction
• a passage or quotation that captures the essence or main meaning (for you) of the work (for example, for me “How does one describe the way she looks? The atmosphere as she moves? As she enters or exits one gets a sense of her body's upper half moving forward while the lower's retreating; the sensation one gets of the tension at her waist — a conscious or unconscious tension that must exist there as she tries to keep that balance perfect” is an excellent synopsis of the play/tension between different modes at work in Claire Dinsmore’s High Crimson)

Where Do You Think You're Going, Mister!?


[semantic web failure?]

Two days ago I blogged about the negative reactions My Space elicits by limiting personalisation (specifically in the case of adding particular widgets to My Space profiles). Interestingly, Stephen Downes sees this kind of mentality as securing the downfall of the semantic web. "The Semantic Web will never work because it depends on businesses working together, on them cooperating."

Read on:

"And I'm saying the semantic web won't work. Can't work.But how do you explain that intuition?And I was thinking about the edgy things of Web 2.0, and where they're working, and more importantly, where they're beginning to show some cracks.A few of key things today:- Yahoo is forcing people to give up their Flickr identities and to join the mother ship, and- MySpace is blocking all the widgets that aren't supported by some sort of business deal with MySpace- the rumour that Google is turning off the search APIAnd that's when I realized:The Semantic Web will never work because it depends on businesses working together, on them cooperating.We are talking about the most conservative bunch of people in the world, people who believe in greed and cut-throat business ethics. People who would steal one another's property if it weren't nailed down. People like, well, Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch.And they're all going to play nice and create one seamless Semantic Web that will work between companies - competing entities choreographing their responses so they can work together to grant you a seamless experience?Not a chance.Now - there are many technical reasons why I think the Semantic Web is a loser, along with some cultural and philosophical reasons. Namely: the people who designed the Semantic Web never read their epistemology texts.But the big problem is they believed everyone would work together:- would agree on web standards (hah!)- would adopt a common vocabulary (you don't say)- would reliably expose their APIs so anyone could use them (as if)Shall I go on?So...Maybe we won't be building clusters in Moncton, maybe we will. I don't know - I'd like to keep trying. Maybe people will listen to us or maybe (more likely) they won't.The future is not in the Semantic Web (or in Java, or in enterprise computing - all for the same reason). Careers based on that premise will founder. Because the people saying all the semantic-webbish things - speak the same language, standardize your work, orchestrate the services - are the people who will shut down the pipes, change the standards, and look out for their own interests (at the expense of yours)."


[not myspace anymore]

From :

Some users of MySpace feel as if their space is being invaded.

MySpace, the Web’s largest social network, has gradually been imposing limits on the software tools that users can embed in their pages, like music and video players that also deliver advertising or enable transactions.

At stake is the ability of MySpace, which is owned by the News Corporation, to ensure that it alone can commercially capitalize on its 90 million visitors each month.

But to some formerly enthusiastic MySpace users, the new restrictions hamper their abilities to design their pages and promote new projects.

“The reason why I am so bummed out about MySpace now is because recently they have been cutting down our freedom and taking away our rights slowly,” wrote Tila Tequila, a singer who is one of MySpace’s most popular and visible users, in a blog posting over the weekend. “MySpace will now only allow you to use ‘MySpace’ things.”

Ms. Tequila, born Tila Nguyen, has attracted attention by linking to more than 1.7 million friends on her MySpace page. To promote her first album, she recently added to her MySpace page a new music player and music store, called the Hoooka, created by Indie911, a Los Angeles-based start-up company.

Users listened to her music and played the accompanying videos 20,000 times over the weekend. But the Hoooka disappeared on Sunday after a MySpace founder, Tom Anderson, personally contacted Ms. Tequila to object, according to someone with direct knowledge of the dispute. She then vented her thoughts on her personal blog.

MySpace says that it will block these pieces of third-party software — also called widgets — when they lend themselves to violations of its terms of service, like the spread of pornography or copyrighted material. But it also objects to widgets that enable users to sell items or advertise without authorization, or without entering into a direct partnership with the company.

A MySpace spokeswoman said yesterday that the service did not remove anything from Ms. Tequila’s page. “A MySpace representative contacted her and told her that she had violated our terms of service in regards to commercial activity,” the spokeswoman said. “She removed the material herself, after realizing it was not appropriate for MySpace.”

Ms. Tequila and her representatives would not comment.

But Justin Goldberg, chief executive of Indie911, said MySpace’s actions undercut the notion that the social networks’ users have complete creative freedom. “We find it incredibly ironic and frustrating that a company that has built its assets on the back of its users is turning around and telling people they can’t do anything that violates terms of service,” he said.

“Why shouldn’t they call it FoxSpace? Or RupertSpace?” Mr. Goldberg said, referring to the News Corporation’s chief, Rupert Murdoch.

The tussle between MySpace and Indie911 underscores tensions between established Internet companies and the latest generation of Web start-ups. Without a critical mass of visitors to their sites, many of these smaller companies are devising strategies that involve clamping on to sites like MySpace and Facebook and trying to make money off their traffic.

MySpace, meanwhile, is trying to show that it can generate stable revenue. Google will pay it at least $900 million over the next three years to serve ads to the site’s users. And last fall, MySpace announced a partnership with Snocap, a San Francisco-based company, to sell music.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this year, MySpace blocked widgets from Revver, a video-sharing site that embeds advertisements in its clips, and Imeem, a music buying service.


“We probably should have stopped YouTube,” Michael Barrett, chief revenue officer for Fox Interactive Media, a part of the News Corporation, said in an interview in late February. “YouTube wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for MySpace. We’ve created companies on our back.”

MySpace and its corporate parent say they want to find ways to support and exploit the growing widget economy. Last year, Fox Interactive Media introduced a service called Spring Widget. The service provides tools to help developers create widgets for use both on computer desktops and online networks like MySpace.

In a recent use of its technology, the studio behind the horror film “Dead Silence” used a Spring Widget tool on its promotional MySpace page to count down the minutes until the film’s release.

Continue reading the article

Links added by me.


[vasto beach]

Driving down from our place at the top of the hill down to the seaside.


[frontline blogging]

This is what Elisa of BlogHer fame says of my blog at Frontline Books :

"I'm quite impressed with the kind of blog this shop is letting you create and manage...so above and beyond an e-commerce blog. Consider me subscribed."

wooo hooo!

my post on transliteracy for Frontline Books is the 4th most popular post and the post with the longest viewing (or should that be reading) time of 3 minutes 31 seconds

And, rather nicely, Frontline Books has just extended my contract for more professional blogging.


[bob stein visits the ioct]

Today we had a wonderful treat, Bob Stein, from the Future of the Book in New York, came over to talk about "Reading and Writing In The Networked Area." Bob was incredibly easy to listen to with an eloquence that is not often apparent in talks that I've been to. Here are just a few words used that made me sit up straighter:


When I wasn't mulling over Bob's eloquence I managed to jot down a few points:

bob stein

  • books are the one medium where user/reader is in control - random access, reader chooses when to turn the pages, how long to spend on each page, whether to flip to back or middle...

  • producer-driven media will turn into consumer-driven media

  • suddenly this richer media (multi-media cds were the example) is under our control which encourages deep reflection

  • the advantage of making physical books electronic include adding source documents, original text alongside the author's comments on the making/writing of the work which Bob says makes for a much richer reading experience

  • books are authoritative "frozen" objects

  • books are vehicles for moving ideas around time and space to "enable, encourage, engender conversation"

  • blogs are opportunities to "think out loud" where the author can gather a "coterie" or readers/co-conspiritors

  • it took 70 years to figure out page numbers so of course we're still figuring out new media/electronic works

*update* on the train to London Kate Pullinger and Bob Stein illustrate their techy tendencies:

*Update 2* Bruce has written an interesting post on Bob Stein's talk at the PaRT blog.
*Update 3* Chris Joseph writes about Stein's multimedia authoring platform - Sophie.


[go geeky girls!]

At any press conference plugging sci-tech, it's an all-balls affair. Fat chance you'll find many women in the male-dominated world of inventing and reporting on new technology. But beneath the surface, gender equality in this area is quietly gaining ground.

Apparent to insiders in the industry, female geeks are finding a home in their various pursuits, from blogging to engineering to tech journalism. Press conferences today might not reflect that upswing; it takes some digging to find the women who are bringing technology to the masses.

ABC News predicted an instant page-view spike for its online home when it lured vidcaster Amanda Congdon from her online show, Rocketboom, to report on Web happenings for ABCNews.com. Bringing a humorous perspective to tech news, Congdon is one of the first female crossover stars from the Web-video era.

But she's not the only one. Closer to home, Toronto's Amber MacArthur is doing triple duty in the tech arena: she's Citytv's new media specialist, she hosts the weekly vidcast CommandN, and she also co-hosts net@nite, a podcast on all things geekified. She hopes her 24/7 work in the digital world will inspire other women to do the same.

"Sometimes people think that a woman doesn't know her tech stuff," she says. "But as soon as you show them that you do, you should just hold your head high and support other women who do the same."

From Now Magazine - Toronto.

nlabwomen logo Now I can surreptitiously slip in a link to the NLab Women, Business & Blogging conference.

[spam e-mail - mais non?]

there is something poetic in this: Note the use of txt spk and the final line ending on a question:

"Against, themif writes dont.
Suspect consult provider strongly recommends,
physician beginning. Julie andrews bowen christie delpy dreyfus newmar. Saving
uploading server bandwidth theft? Hall rice biel lange pare jet li. Wednesday
thursday friday saturday.
Than what, already chances seek, isnt readily.
Mexico easiest childhoods child dropped met biological adopted.
Writers refrain journal ended reason daily.
Ashton kutcher audrey tautou ben. Aniston beals
connelly esposito gimenez, grey love, hewitt.
Eliza dushku geri halliwell gillian. Child dropped
met biological, adopted committed suicide husband. El camino school oceanside spent.
Hard stud biggest besides ghost indecent. Both,
overall rating exotic? Tree hill house smallville prison break, blanket keyword
dogs! Emergency personnel press charges ibanezwild ryanthe enoughdr? Why going
friend, relative coworker may presence impede.
Kiss even pull knife. Background, make, them, more
attractive animals. Entirely choicedont psycho stalkeryou shouldnt! Celebrity
photo gallery by. Brewster jorge posada joseph mcginty nichol josephine baker josh.
Illegal case complain layout show script graphic.
Them more attractive animals that eat.
Annette bening ashlee, ashton kutcher audrey
tautou! Wallpaper music contact still ab cd ef? Sarah gellar parker, scarlett
johansson, tara reid. Andrews bowen christie delpy.
Elmos, fire rest young cast including. Naomi
campbell natalie portman neve nicole kidman imbruglia ornella?
Marc jacobs york annual toronto festival party
volver. Material note, frequently changes date?
Bad girl, think carry dark secret im obsessed,
death. Jones christina aguilera ricci cindy.
Behavior erratic feared, safety claimed physically
verbally. Stacy saysjolie tertium quid mon?
Shields bruce willis



An example of why I discourage students from using wikipedia:

"The Essjay controversy occurred after a prominent English Wikipedia editor and administrator — briefly a Wikia employee — known by the name
"Essjay" "forged his credentials and
faked having a doctorate."

NEW YORK: In a blink, the wisdom of the crowd became the fury of the crowd.

In the past few days, contributors to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, have turned against one of their own who was found to have created an elaborate false identity.

Under the name Essjay, the contributor edited thousands of Wikipedia entries and once was one of the few people with the authority to deal with vandalism and to arbitrate disputes between authors.

To the Wikipedia world, Essjay was a tenured professor of religion at a private university with expertise in canon law, according to his user profile.

But in fact, Essjay is a 24-year-old named Ryan Jordan, who attended a number of colleges in Kentucky and who lives outside Louisville.

Jordan contended that he resorted to a fictional persona to protect himself from people who might be angered by his administrative role at Wikipedia. He did not respond to an e-mail message, nor to messages conveyed by the Wikipedia office.

Read the rest of the article

Further info available at
wikipedia too.

Thanks to
Angela for the head's up.

[la mort d'un philosophe]

Some people might know of Baudrillard in relation to hypertext or philosophy or postmodernism or questions of hyperreality or that oft' used word: "simulacra."

For Baudrillard, there are four "successive phases of the image" in the transition from representation to simulacrum but it is the final stage that bears
"no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum."
Simulacra and Simulation (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994) 6.

However you came to know Baudrillard, his texts and thinking have undoubtably had strong impact on critical thinking. I would have to agree with Kroker and Levin, Baudrillard continues to be "a talisman: a symptom, a sign, a charm, and above all, a password into the next universe." (See Baudrillard's Challenge," CJPST 8:1-2 (1984): 5). His death on 5th March 2007 marks the loss of "
une pensée singulière."

Article and image below from Le Figaro.

Sociologue de formation et philosophe de vocation, auteur de livres traduits dans le monde entier, Jean Baudrillard est mort hier à Paris à l'âge de 77 ans. Cet inclassable opposait volontiers la liberté de l'esprit au confort intellectuel de ses contemporains. Refusant de s'identifier à un quelconque esprit de système, récusant la figure de l'intellectuel donneur de leçons et prescripteur de morale, cet anti-Bourdieu était né à Reims en 1929. Après avoir acquis une formation de germaniste et de sociologue, il fut nommé à la faculté de Nanterre en 1966, puis au CNRS.

Sensible à la pensée de la déconstruction de la métaphysique chère à ses compatriotes Jacques Derrida et Jean-François Lyotard, mais aussi influencé par les théories structuralistes du langage, il imposa une pensée singulière en quelques livres. On se souvient notamment du Système des objets (1968), de La Société de consommation (1970) et surtout de L'Échange symbolique et la mort (1976), peut-être son texte le plus ambitieux, réflexion sur les notions de don et de dépense, à partir des grands travaux des anthropologues, en particulier ceux de Marcel Mauss. Resté à l'écart du marxisme, très critique à l'égard des modes intellectuelles issues des années 1968, il a élaboré une critique acerbe et ironique de la postmodernité marquée selon lui par l'érosion des grandes explications du monde et l'hégémonie d'un mode de vie consumériste.

Pour Baudrillard, nous sommes partie prenante d'un univers où, non seulement, tout référent transcendant s'est évanoui, mais où la définition même de la « réalité » objective est devenue problé­matique, ce dont témoigne la prédominance des représentations virtuelles du monde sur les valeurs qui mettent en avant les notions de sens et de vérité.

Une dépression symbolique qui explique un abstentionnisme politique croissant que nous cherchons à conjurer par une exhortation, elle-même significative de l'apathie ambiante. Étayées dans Simulacres et simulations (1981), De la séduction (1982) ou Les Stratégies fatales (Grasset 1984), les thèses de Baudrillard vont connaître un retentissement considérable aussi bien en France qu'à l'étranger, notamment aux États-Unis. À partir des an­nées 1990, le penseur va prendre des positions publiques qui vont susciter une polémique récurrente, notam­ment à partir de son livre La Guerre du golfe n'a pas eu lieu (Galilée) en 1991 où Baudrillard affirmera que la première guerre contre l'Irak, qui avait donné lieu à une surenchère de « performances technologiques », n'en avait pas été une, à proprement parler, la guerre supposant un principe de sacrifice incompatible avec l'idée du « zéro mort » mais aussi la reconnaissance d'un ennemi non réductible à la fonction de « voyou ».

Au-delà des guerres contre l'Irak, Baudrillard conteste la notion même d'ordre mondial, parce que celui-ci suggère l'idée d'un achèvement historique et d'une conception de l'universel où la figure de l'autre est par définition rétrograde, barbare ou archaïque.

Pour lui, comme pour l'essayiste Philippe Muray, théoricien critique de L'Empire du bien, le laxisme et la permissivité de la société démocratique occidentale ne sont pas incompatibles avec un hypermoralisme qui nous rend incapable d'appréhender la fonction du « mal » et du « négatif », dont témoignent la violence ou encore les radicalités politiques ou idéologiques, réduites à des pathologies qu'il faut éradiquer.
Il récidivera dans le rôle de « mauvais sujet » en affirmant, dans une tribune parue dans Le Monde que « nous avions tous rêvé » l'attentat du 11 septembre 2001 qui a détruit les tours de Manhattan, symbole, selon lui, d'une prétention mortifère à la toute-puissance.

Intervention qui lui vaudra de déclencher les foudres de ceux pour qui ce genre de rhétorique est, par définition, irresponsable. Inclassable politiquement et éclectique dans ses domaines d'intervention, il écrira aussi beaucoup sur la photo et sur l'art, notamment contemporain, qu'il qualifiera de « nul », Jean Baudrillard est, à certains égards, un moraliste désabusé comme en témoigne la prose parfois mélancolique de Cool-mémories (Galilée), livre de mémoires et de réflexions dont cinq volumes paraîtront entre 1987 et 2005.

En suggérant l'évidence et l'irréversibilité de sa civilisation, l'Occident légitime paradoxalement, à ses yeux, cet « ailleurs » irréductible que représente l'islam des fondamentalistes.
Une série de prises de position qui contribuera à « démoniser » jusqu'à un certain point un intellectuel atypique, aussi radical dans son style et ses intuitions que détaché des débats conventionnels.


[women, business & blogging conference OH MY!]

Women, Business & Blogging

Come to the Women, Business and Blogging Conference on Friday 8 June 2007 at De Montfort University to find out how blogging by women and for women builds networks, improves customer reach, monetizes creativity and infuses your business with Web 2.0 goodness!

Business is becoming increasingly interested in social media and especially in blogs. In Europe over the last year several conferences have explored the
potential of Web 2.0 networks to increase business opportunities - see
LIFT07 (Geneva) and Le Web (Paris) for just two examples. But there have been no European events focusing specifically on women and social media - until now.

Women, Business and Blogging is organised by
NLab at De Montfort University, Leicester. NLab was developed in the Faculty of Humanities by Professor Sue Thomas to connect creative businesses with writers and generate pioneering partnerships. In 2006 NLab ran a series of professional workshops and seminars on blogs, wikis, games and new media writing. In 2007 NLab is proud to present this first-ever European conference for and about women who read and write blogs.

Who should come?
This event is for small businesses, individuals, researchers, nonprofits, artistic and educational organisations interested in:
- women bloggers
- women in business
- women customers
- social media and networking
- creative communications
- innovation and cooperation
- customer relationships
- opportunities of Web 2.0 and the Long Tail
- usability
- you!!!

And, just to be clear, men are definitely invited. All the speakers are women, and we'll be talking about women users, readers and bloggers. But everyone is welcome to attend the conference and participate in the sessions.

Join the conversation
We'll be blogging right up to the day and beyond it too. Join the conversation at Tracy Harwood's Biz Benefits and Jess Laccetti's Blog This

How much does it cost?
The conference fee includes refreshments, lunch and a delegate pack
Full Rate: £60 GBP including VAT
Concessionary Rate: £40 GBP including VAT
Bursaries: A limited number of Full Rate bursaries are available for delegates living in the UK East Midlands.

Where is it?
Bede Graduate School, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. A 5-minute cab ride from Leicester Train Station.
Leicester is in the heart of the UK, less than 90 mins from London by train and 30 mins from East Midlands Airport.

We hope to see you there!

See the website for more information and how to register http://www.nlabwomen.com

For all enquiries, including press and sponsorship, please contact:

Margaret Barton
Short Course and Conference Co-ordinator
De Montfort Expertise Ltd
De Montfort University
Innovation Centre
49 Oxford Street
Tel: +44 (0) 116 250 6213
Fax: +44 (0) 116 257 7982

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(02/28/07) Si-young, Hwang

The Institute for Information Technology Advancement in Korea, working with 3,500 researchers from industry, academia, and research centers, has released a study on future trends in IT, including 365 wide-ranging technology needs. Predictions include mobile phone batteries that will last up to two months off of a single charge, available by 2012, and robots that can perform surgery, available by 2018. An example scenario involves a person being hit by a car and knocked unconscious: They could be identified by examination of their eye and their family members alerted via a nationwide integrated medical system. Once at the hospital, a remote treatment system could then redirect them to surgery if necessary, where a micro robot could conduct the operation under the remote direction of a doctor. Out of the 365 technologies the researchers envisioned, 52 were judged to be core technologies that should be developed and deployed immediately based on criteria including technological relevance, time-to-market period, technological complexity, and who will lead the development. Seventy-six percent of the 52 core technologies are predicted to be completed by 2011, and about 75 percent of the 52 will make it to the consumer market by 2013.

Interesting that the article is in English.


[driving along the A3]

and we spotted a car with what look like bullet holes....c'est possible?

we had our doubts about the driver as the sign hanging in the back window proclaimed: "horn is broken so watch out for the finger"....hrm....


[happy world book day]

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In a survey to mark the tenth anniversary of World Book Day these are the world's favourite books (2000 people participated):

1) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 20%
2) Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein 17%
3) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 14%
4) Harry Potter books – J K Rowling 12%
5) To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee 9.5%
6) The Bible 9%
7) Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 8.5%
8) 1984 – George Orwell 6% tied with His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 6%
10) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens .55%

Here are a few of my favourite reads (in no particular order):

  • La Divina Commedia - Dante Alighieri

  • A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman

  • The Oxford English Dictionary (this is a great help when it comes to scrabble!)

  • Beloved - Toni Morrison

  • The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

  • Lives of Girls and Women: A Novel - Alice Munro

  • The Doors of Perception - Aldous Huxley

  • Nomadic Subjects - Rosi Braidotti (academic, I know, but such a good read)

  • Wise Children - Angela Carter (I love the Shakespearean references down to the road Nora and Dora grow up on: Bard Rd.)

  • Goblin Market and Other Poems - Christina Rossetti (interestingly, Gabriele Rossetti, Christina's father, was born in Vasto, Italy, the very place I spent my early years and where I now enjoy my summers)

              • Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

              • Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (One summer in Italy, at 11 years old, this is the only thing I read and reread and reread

              and the list can go on and on and on....

              BTW: an excellent site that promotes children's love of books and has some excellent reviews, check out Jen Robinson's book blog.

              Hrm. What are your top ten reads?