Thursday, November 5, 2009

Claude Levi-Strauss posted an interesting article on one of the folks we talk about in T&T: Claude Levi-Strauss. This article may not make it to the Reading List, but It might be good to add to your notes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Myths about open-access journals

Here's an interesting article about a topic that most of us will likely be thinking about: whether or not to publish in open-access journals (and what are those exactly?). Published by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, it's entitled "A Field Guide to Misunderstandings About Open Access". Basically, it looks at 25 "myths" about open-access journals (including "They're not peer-reviewed" and "They all charge too much to publish anything").

Anyone have experience with any of these journals, good, bad or ugly?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting online journal on transhumanism

I've just found out about the online Journal of Evolution and Technology, which features articles on transhumanism and embodiment. I thought it might be a good reference for those of us working on those topics. The articles look like they range from ethics to technological discussions, so it's pretty wide-ranging.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ellen Berry

Please attend any or all of these events! This is an excellent opportunity relevant to T&T work and many of our class discussions. Let me know if you have any questions! Leandra


Brown Bag Lecture and Discussion: The Horrors of Power: Negative Aesthetics and Feminist Critique in Contemporary Women╩╣s Writing.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Workshop: Starting an Online Scholarly Journal
Thursday, March 26, 2009
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Dr. Ellen Berry is Professor of English at Bowling Green State University, where she specializes in Contemporary Cultural Theories, especially cultural theories, feminist theories, film theory, theories of the avant garde, theories of modernism and postmodernism, transculture studies, and postcommunist cultural studies. Dr. Berry’s interests include 20th‐ and 21st‐century writers, especially women’s writing and experimental forms of writing, narrative theory, history of the novel, and cultural narratives.

Publications include Transcultural Experiments: Russsian and American Models of Creative Communication (co‐authored with Mikhail Epstein and published by St. Martin’s), as well as essays on Kathy Acker, Gertrude Stein, and Jeannette Winterson. Dr. Berry is founder and co‐editor of Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, a peer‐reviewed, bi‐annual journal of cultural studies.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sniffing Packets is Cooler than Teacher's Dry Erase Markers

We are used to observing written materials after the fact. Or theoretically, in an instructional narrative. The teacher draws a diagram on a whiteboard. How do you perceive (using all your senses) writing in progress? The scent of dry erase markers lingers for a little while; then there is ink, a freshly sharpened pencil. How about digital writing? With a bionic nose! A packet sniffer is a software tool that samples network traffic, best employed by setting the Ethernet interface into promiscuous mode. This exercise has all the marks of cool: Transgression, Nonlinearity, Multiple meanings, Commutation, Imagery.

How-to demonstration: configuring Wireshark, creating filters, saving data

Phenomena to sniff: joining a network via DHCP; an iPhone receives a call; web browsing; network print job; Wii

What to do with it: collage/montage, create a narrative,

Thoughts on Mob Teleaction

Getting Content:

Many recordings of “the same” phenomena using different technologies from different positions

Managing Content:

Collecting these recordings into a (or distributed) database(s), tagging them, associating them


Presenting the database contents in different ways, the reversal of the recording. Using off-the-shelf tools like iPhoto, GIMP, OpenOffice, etc. as well as creating web pages, stand alone applications, etc.

Even if you are concerned that a goal to “synthesize subjective impressions into a single narrative” violates Rice's definition of cool, you get out of it by realizing that the group forming just one of many presentation mechanisms as the course is reiterated escapes the supposition of a single, individual viewpoint constructed by a single, individual writer (artist, creator, generator, builder, copyist, etc.).

Kind of like the “double funnels” model from Memmott's Lexia to Perplexia


This project should be hosted on or some other global, free, open source development community: to extend the work beyond the boundaries of the classroom both spatially and temporally, to provide world-class development, bug tracking, feedback, source control tools, and to expose students to these processes.
Over time and iterations of the course (perhaps taught at other locations, too) this toolset will grow and mutate so that it will not be necessary to enroll the help of a cadre of developers every time, expecting that the class enrollment will contain a mix of interests and proficiencies.

Design and Hosting are also project development aspects that must be handled along with behind the scenes programming and the actual collection of digital media.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Social networking eats our brains!

Well, not really. But here's another article expressing concern about the effect of social networking on developing minds, from The Guardian. From the article:

Greenfield believes ministers have not yet looked at the broad cultural and psychological effect of on-screen friendships via Facebook, Bebo and Twitter.

She told the House of Lords that children's experiences on social networking sites "are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity".

Arguing that social network sites are putting attention span in jeopardy, she said: "If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviours and call them attention-deficit disorder.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Does Facebook Want to Own Your Life?

I thought some of you might find this interesting (disturbing, maybe?). To access the original article/blog, just click on the title. Leandra

Facebook terms of service compared with MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter

February 16, 2009 – 2:28 pm

With today’s outrage over Facebook’s newly altered Terms of Service at its peak, I figured I’d do a quick comparison of their terms of service as regards user-uploaded content to the terms specified by other social networking sites, just to see if said outrage is fully justified. It looks as though the finger-pointing at the Bush robots.txt file wasn’t justified, for instance, and I was guilty of spreading that story.

Conclusion? Go ahead and be outraged. Facebook’s claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby and arrogant. Here’s the rundown, which I go through in more detail below:

  1. Facebook apparently wants to keep all its rights to your stuff after you remove it from Facebook, and even after you delete your Facebook account; they just removed the lines that specified that their rights end when your content comes down. Nobody else (of those I looked at) would dream of that; mostly they specifically state that their rights to your content end when you remove the content from their site or delete your account.
  2. This one kills me: Facebook claims it can do whatever it wants with your content if you put a Share on Facebook link on your web page. Unbelievable–and unique, as far as I can tell. People can post links in Facebook to your content just by copying and pasting the URL, but if you want to save them a few keystrokes by putting a link or a widget on your site, Facebook claims that you’ve granted them a whole mess of rights. Count me out.
  3. Other sites point out in their terms of service that you still own your content: Facebook doesn’t mention that little fact. Facebook also neglects to remind you that you’re giving other Facebook users rights to your Facebook content, too — YouTube, for example, makes it clear that other people besides YouTube have a right to use and spread around the videos you upload. In general, other sites’ terms of service just have a more helpful tone.

So let’s look at what other popular user-generated content sites say about their rights to your stuff:

MySpace’s rights to your stuff:

6.1 MySpace does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain any such rights that you may have in your Content, subject to the limited license herein. By displaying or publishing (”posting”) any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to MySpace a limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on or through the MySpace Services, including without limitation distributing part or all of the MySpace Website in any media formats and through any media channels, except Content marked “private” will not be distributed outside the MySpace Website. This limited license does not grant MySpace the right to sell or otherwise distribute your Content outside of the MySpace Services. After you remove your Content from the MySpace Website we will cease distribution as soon as practicable, and at such time when distribution ceases, the license will terminate. If after we have distributed your Content outside the MySpace Website you change the Content’s privacy setting to “private,” we will cease distribution of such “private” Content outside the MySpace Website as soon as practicable after you make the change.

6.2 The license you grant to MySpace is non-exclusive (meaning you are free to license your Content to anyone else in addition to MySpace), fully-paid and royalty-free (meaning that MySpace is not required to pay you for the use on the MySpace Services of the Content that you post), sublicensable (so that MySpace is able to use its affiliates, subcontractors and other partners such as Internet content delivery networks and wireless carriers to provide the MySpace Services), and worldwide (because the Internet and the MySpace Services are global in reach).

See? MySpace grants itself a “limited” license and carefully spells out what those limits are. MySpace does a terrific job in that second paragraph especially of explaining what’s going on, I think. Maybe your average thirteen-year-old would still need some help, but way to go with the “human-readable” language, MySpace. Getting an explanation about why they need to be able to sublicense the content is terrific, and I’m sure that if they then tried to sublicense it for other purposes, they’d be tripped up by their own TOS.

Yahoo!’s rights to your Flickr stuff:

Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Yahoo! Services. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services, you grant Yahoo! the following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable [...]:

With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services.

Yahoo! makes distinctions between its Groups and other services like Flickr, but that need not concern us here (Yahoo! reserves fewer rights to Groups stuff than to Flickr stuff). They start by reminding you that they don’t own your stuff, then go on to say that they have the right to copy your stuff “solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted.” In other words, they don’t grant themselves the right to use it in their advertising, as far as I can tell. And, sanely, the license ends when you (or they) take the content down. I checked out the Flickr Pro TOS, as well, and there’s nothing extra in there, whew. I also love that Flickr makes it very easy to stick a Creative Commons license on your photos, although to be honest I’m not sure if I’ve done that with mine. Must check.

Google’s rights to your Picasa stuff:

Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Picasa Web Albums. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Picasa Web Albums and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Picasa Web Albums, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content through Picasa Web Albums, including RSS or other content feeds offered through Picasa Web Albums, and other Google services. In addition, by submitting, posting or displaying Content which is intended to be available to the general public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google will discontinue this licensed use within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed from Picasa Web Albums.

Sounds reasonable. I don’t really mind their using my stuff in their advertising, though “other Google services” may soon encompass every single conceivable service on the planet. They, too, stop the license when you take the content down.

YouTube’s rights to your stuff:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in User Videos terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your User Videos from the YouTube Website. You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of User Submissions that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in User Comments are perpetual and irrevocable.

I really like it when these paragraphs start with the helpful information that “you retain all ownership rights.” Also note that YouTube points out that “You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website” some rights. Way to look out for the community. Good job. Now add the ability for us to put Creative Commons licenses on our videos somewhere other than in the description, okay? Thanks.

LinkedIn’s rights to your stuff:

License and warrant your submissions: You do not have to submit anything to us, but if you choose to submit something (including any User generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant by concluding this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royaltyfree right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

LinkedIn is the one exception to the general conclusion I state above: its language about its rights to your content is at least as strong as Facebook’s, if not more so. The thing is that people don’t upload pictures and videos to LinkedIn; the main user-contributed content is the facts in a profile (where I worked, where I went to school). People usually don’t mind having that information spread around. Also, you can tell that LinkedIn is thinking mainly about the suggestions for improvement that people submit (”ideas, concepts, techniques”) — but still, LinkedIn would be well-advised to revise.

Twitter’s rights to your stuff:

1. We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Twitter service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours. You can remove your profile at any time by deleting your account. This will also remove any text and images you have stored in the system.

2. We encourage users to contribute their creations to the public domain or consider progressive licensing terms.

Isn’t that sweet? Granted, the only stuff people contribute to Twitter are their little 140-character tweets, plus a profile pic or two — these terms don’t cover what you post to TwitPic, for instance. But Twitter wants you to know that your stuff is yours, and it wants you to share your stuff with others. Twitter doesn’t reserve to itself the right to use your tweets in its promotional campaigns — does Twitter even do any self-promotion? They hardly need to; the New York Times has certainly been giving them enough press lately.

Facebook’s rights to your stuff:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Yeah, so I took the Facebook icon out of my Sociable WordPress widget. All my stuff here has a Creative Commons license, so I’ve already allowed everyone including Facebook to use my stuff for “non-commercial” purposes anyway; it’s not quite clear what counts as a “commercial” purpose in a Creative Commons license, granted (though they’re working on clarifying the term), but any use that Facebook would make would probably be commercial. I don’t even mind all commercial uses: I don’t really care if they want to use my profile picture to show that the people who use Facebook are really sexy and good-looking. But the stuff on my blog does not become Facebook “User Content” if I put a link that allows people to share it on Facebook. Come off it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barthes' S/Z

Here are a few links related to the subject of S/Z, Balzac's novella Sarrasine:

Roland Barthes

Here is a little information on "The Master of Myth," structuralist, poststructuralist theorist, Roland Barthes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Derrida and Texts and Technology

Derrida's Milieu

Nietzsche: attack on essentialist metaphysics; pioneered genealogical investigations; amor fati response vs. Rousseau's melancholy; play and active forgetfulness

Heidegger: “sous rature” (under erasure); Dasein (Being of beings) becomes transcendental signified; method of destruction inspired deconstruction; ignores absolute authority of text

Freud: dispels Cartesian consciousness and sovereignty of self; psyche is written; interpretation of dreams (“words” as “things”); psychoanalysis as method of deciphering texts (deconstruction), looking for the “navel of the dream”; origin of differance

Husserl: voice is most immediate evidence of self-presence

Saussure: primacy of speech; writing is representation of representation; admits language is a species of writing; “there are no phonemes before the grapheme” (Grammatology, 245); differences

Levi-Strauss: bricoleur vs. engineer

+All of Western literature (especially Plato, Rousseau, Hegel)

Derrida's Works that are relevant to T&T (by faculty)

See Peter Krapp's extensive bibliography:

Of Grammatology (1967; translated 1976) (Landow, Scott)

Speech and Phenomena (1967; translated 1973)

Writing and Difference (1967; translated 1978) (Landow)

Dissemination (1972; translated 1981) (Landow, Scott)

Margins of Philosophy (1972; translated 1982)

Glas (1974; translated 1986) (Saper)

The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond (1980; translated 1987) (Saper)

“Mes Chances” (1983) (Mauer, Saper)

“Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression” (1995) (Saper)

Key Derridean Terms

presence: Descartes' self-assurance of solitary mental life

transcendental signified: the thing-in-itself, pure reason

trace: disappears in place of transcendental signified; writing is representative

absence: enables presence as space for desire for it to appear fully

differance: “combines and confuses 'differing' and 'deferring' in both their active and passive senses” (Positions, p. 98, n. 3)

supplement: what is added, such as writing to clarify thought; there is always a lack (absence)

logocentrism: belief that meaning emanates from speech, logic, effacing the signifier (writing)

grammatology: science of writing, the trace

deconstruction: method of interpreting texts by looking for slips and breakdowns

under erasure: printing a crossed out term to indicate that we don't know what it means

Derridean Texts and Technology

Gregory Ulmer (1984) Applied Grammatology (Saper)

Jasper Neel (1988) Plato, Derrida, and Writing (Bowdon)

Sharon Crowley (1989) A Teacher's Introduction to Deconstruction (Scott)

Avital Ronnell (1991) The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech (Saper)

Mark Taylor (1994) Imagologies (Saper)

George Landow (2006) Hypertext 3.0

Discussion Questions

  • Can Derrida's analysis be carried over into the study of computer languages and source code?
  • Is Freud's method still relevant in light of snack-size writing styles and the interference of software assistants? How do you deconstruct hypertexts?
  • Does Derrida's project yield “Questions that can only be asked” but not answered?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teen Sociality Dissertation

danah boyd, a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley, has just posted her dissertation online, entitled Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics. This might be really interesting to look at for many of us in the T&T program. Here's her abstract:
Abstract: As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices - gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantly used by teens as a peer-based social outlet, the unchartered nature of these sites generated fear among adults. This dissertation documents my 2.5-year ethnographic study of American teens' engagement with social network sites and the ways in which their participation supported and complicated three practices - self-presentation, peer sociality, and negotiating adult society.

My analysis centers on how social network sites can be understood as networked publics which are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics support many of the same practices as unmediated publics, but their structural differences often inflect practices in unique ways. Four properties - persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability - and three dynamics - invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private - are examined and woven throughout the discussion.

While teenagers primarily leverage social network sites to engage in common practices, the properties of these sites configured their practices and teens were forced to contend with the resultant dynamics. Often, in doing so, they reworked the technology for their purposes. As teenagers learned to navigate social network sites, they developed potent strategies for managing the complexities of and social awkwardness incurred by these sites. Their strategies reveal how new forms of social media are incorporated into everyday life, complicating some practices and reinforcing others. New technologies reshape public life, but teens' engagement also reconfigures the technology itself.

There's a lot of other interesting stuff on her website- take a look!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Be careful what you Twitter

Interesting story about a "social media" specialist who made the mistake of Twittering an unkind comment about a client's hometown, just after he stepped off the plane for a meeting with that client...