Sunday, September 30, 2007

Learn Swedish In Second Life

If you wish to begin learning a little Swedish (you never know when you may need it) there are four free lessons being held at the Second House of Sweden sim in Second Life beginning on Tuesday 2nd October at 7am SL time (4pm Stockholm time, 10am New York time):

Ever wish you spoke just enough Swedish to break the ice with the cute Swedish boy/girl/furry you’ve been spying at the other end of the dance floor? The Swedish Institute can help.

Starting Tuesday, October 2, at 7am SL time (4pm Stockholm time), we’ll be giving a series of free Swedish lessons in Second Life for beginners. You’ll find that you in fact understand quite a lot, even if you have never have heard spoken Swedish before. You don’t need to prepare beforehand or know any Swedish — just show up, hang out and have fun learning.

Instructor Lasse will be conducting four courses in total, using Second Life’s voice chat technology and a video screen. Expected dates for the subsequent courses are October 9, 22 and November 5, all at 7am SL time. Attend one, some, or all.

See you there!

Note: Please be sure to have voice-chat enabled (to hear Lasse and others) and Quicktime installed (to view the live video).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The weekly downstreams

My weekly choice of streamed and downloadable media did not appear last week (I was at a conference in Stockholm) and was not put up on the web yesterday due to a very busy week. But now I thought I would put a few pieces for your weekend entertainment and education.

The film Open Skies, Open Minds is a four minute long journey that takes you from north to south and gives you a glimpse of contemporary life in Sweden. The film has just started being shown at The Second House of Sweden. the Swedish embassy in Second Life, where I work.

The solo project of Jonna Karanka, one of the prime movers of the Finnish freak folk contingent (Avarus, Maniac's Dream, Anaksimandros, Herta Lussu Assa etc.), Kuupuu's legend has spread quite a bit thanks to the efforts of Dekorder Records, who've compiled tracks from her first four CDR releases across two compilation LP's, though this first release of hers traverses a bit different territory than the bulk of her releases that follows on from here, as the wispily warped and gauzily ephemeral detunage of her ghostly methodology originally possessed a bit more of an assertive edge, though relatively speaking, this is still a pretty gossamer affair, plinking and warbling away in inspired naif style.

Steampunk Magazine Issue #3
Before the age of homogenization and micro-machinery, before the tyrannous efficiency of internal combustion and the domestication of electricity, lived beautiful, monstrous machines that lived and breathed and exploded unexpectedly at inconvenient moments. It was a time where art and craft were united, where unique wonders were invented and forgotten, and punks roamed the streets, living in squats and fighting against despotic governance through wit, will and wile.

Total Recut
Total Recut provides online resources and social networking opportunities for fans and creators of video recuts, remixes and mash-ups. Users can watch videos or showcase their own work in the galleries, download copyright free source material to use in their own remix projects, learn about remix culture and copyright issues, undertake instructional video tutorials and enter contests to win prizes or just for fun.

Recombinant Poetics by Bill Seaman 2000
We are in the midst of profound technological changes that impact upon how people communicate, share knowledge and learn. Potentially, along with these technological changes comes a related change in poetics. Thus a techno-poetics is explored. Where once we focused on analogue media as the primary means of embodying our ideas through artifacts of thought, our understanding of reality is now interwoven (structurally coupled1) with an expanded linguistics of interpenetrated fields of meaning.2 Some would say this is not a techno-linguistics but an expanded computer-based environmental semiotics. Through Recombinant Poetics virtual space becomes a mutable field for evocative media-related exploration.

Computer-based environmental meaning is potentially explored through the authorship, inter-authorship, and operative experiential examination of a diverse set of media-elements and media-processes. The media that becomes evocative within this techo-poetic virtual environment is diverse. This media includes digital video, digital still images, 3D digital objects, 3D animations, digital spoken and written text, digital music/noise Ñ sound objects, and digital texture maps Ñ both still and time-based. Each media-element could be said to convey its own field of meaning. Varying combinations of these fields of meaning are experienced through fleeting electronic environmental perceptual stimulation's. The mind-set of the participant represents another active field. The vuser (viewer/user)3 becomes dynamically involved in the construction of meaning. It is through the combination and recombination of these evocative digital fields of meaning, as experienced by an engaged participant, that a new form of poetics can emerge Ñ Recombinant Poetics.

Salamander Jim, Sydney 1984

Live to Air for Salamander Jim from 2MBS on 1st August 1984.

The Mark of Cain (Mp3s and Videos)
One of the most underrated bands from Australia, barely known outside the country. The Mark of Cain are the masters of controlled guitar power with a despotic rhythm that I witnessed several times in the inner city pub venues of Sydney in the early 1990s. I would recommend Battlesick, their 1989 release as a good starting point for the music of this trio from Adelaide.

Thank you and enjoy your flight.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"This Will Install a Story. Do you Want to Continue?"

Welcome to When Fiction Meets Interaction, a day of exploring electronic literature in HUMlab.

"This Will Install a Story. Do you Want to Continue?", so begins the installation of Michael Joyce's 1987 hypertext work of fiction, Afternoon, a story. The use of the term 'Install' ("To connect or set in position and prepare for use") preempts many of the key concepts in electronic literature that remain relevant even 20 years after the first version of Afternoon, a story was published. The works of electronic literature (eLit) we will look at today are read and responded to using a monitor screen. Behind what is on the screen are at least two layers of computer programming or code. The human readable code of an authoring program such as Macromedia Flash and the machine readable binary code that all digital media rely upon. The setting up of the story ready for use is not something one associates with books outside the the use of a book to perform an act, such as a marriage or oath of office when a bible is installed for the ceremony. Electronic literature is installed, used and performed as the reader/user/player interacts with the codes of the text to produce a story. The Electronic Literature Organisation is a useful source for information and a definition of eLit:

What is Electronic Literature?
The term refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

* Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
* Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
* Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
* Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
* Interactive fiction
* Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
* Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
* Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
* Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing

There is more to eLit than the short list given here. For example how would we classify 34 North 118 West(2004) - a location aware interactive game that can be played when you visit "real world" Los Angeles. GPS tracks your location as you walk around in Los Angeles, and what your story will be like depends on how you move around in the city.

Although they may vary considerably in form and content we can use Joyce's Afternoon as a prophetic starting point for a short tour of the history of eLit and what he says of the text has resonance in many previous and subsequent works:

"Pursuit of texture", to quote Joyce, could be a summary for the whole of eLit I think, to have the curves and crevices as our journey through a text is to interact with it. If it is a game the goal is to tell the story, a story, which ever story emerges at that time. The means of telling a story electronically did not emerge over night, as Jan has pointed out in his introduction today dealing with computer development in the 1940's; this thing has a pedigree and here is just a few of the many antecedents:

The Ancient Stories where everyone interacted.

The Bard
"It were miserable for a person not to come and obtain
All the sciences of the world, collected together in my breast,
For I know what has been, what in future will occur." - Taliesin (c.534 – c.599)

The bard learnt the stories from a teacher and then retold them from memory, adding their own elements to the telling. Improvisation is the seed of interaction for where there is uncertainty there is invention.

Pilgrimage: Reading a text (the bible, the koran, the vedas, the sutras) and then acting out their contents in a journey to a sacred place has many similarities to the quest and epic narratives of certain genres of eLit. Pilgrims have been dressing in special clothes and performing rituals based in texts for a very long time. A good example is The Book of the Wanderings of Felix Fabri (Circa 1480-1483 A.D.).

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream by Francesco Colonna (1499)
The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili relates the story of the dream of Poliphilo 'in which it is shown that all human things are but a dream, and many other things worthy of knowledge and memory.' The tongue twisting 'Hypnerotomachia' poetically translates as the 'strife of love in a dream'. This magical book reads like a work of interactive fiction as the hero in the "labyrinthine plot, moves through many strange places encountering dragons, wolves, and maidens, against an ever changing backdrop of mysterious ruins, monuments, orchards, gardens and fountains." Richly illustrated with artistic use of typeface and layout the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili borders upon the interactive with its intricate plot and engaging design.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759-1769)
Trying to explain Tristram Shandy is not easy. Best just include a single image from the text:

Tristram Shandy is real in the sense that one must face the same moments Tristram faces as he attempts to tell his story. We wait while he waits and we all wait together.


In the 19th century technology and language, although always a couple, really started to flaunt it. The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson recorded The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Charge of the Heavy Brigade in 1890.
"Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change"
Locksley Hall, Alfred Tennyson.

In Paris in 1925 some artistic friends developed a game they called cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse):

The technique was invented by Surrealists in 1925, and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution.

Later the game was adapted to drawing and collage, producing a result similar to children's books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the torso, and the bottom third the legs, with children having the ability to "mix and match" by turning pages. It has also been played by mailing a drawing or collage — in progressive stages of completion — to the players, and this variation is known as "exquisite corpse by airmail", or "mail art," depending on whether the game travels by airmail or not.

The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau." ("The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.")

"El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan" ("The Garden of Forking Paths") by Jorge Luis Borges (1941)
"The form of the Garden is that of a detective story. At the centre of the narration is a book written by Chinese philosopher Ts’ui Pen. The book itself comments on the notion of time. Stephen Albert, the Sinologist friend of the narrator Yu Tsun, explains to him that Ts’ui Pen’s two goals, construct a labyrinth and write a book, merge into the published book based on his ‘chaotic manuscripts’. The book’s title is the ‘Garden of Forking Paths’ as well. The book is the labyrinth, the Garden. The construction of the maze is explained by Albert: In all fictions, each time a man meets diverse alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the work of the virtually impossible-to-disentangle Ts'ui Pen, the character chooses simultaneously all of them. He creates, thereby, ‘several futures,’ several times, which themselves proliferate and fork" The Garden of Forking Paths

Concrete Poetry
Concrete poetry, pattern poetry or shape poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on. It is sometimes referred to as visual poetry, a term that has evolved to have distinct meaning of its own.
Early examples of typographically-based poetry include poems by George Herbert (1593-1633) and parts of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. More recent poets sometimes cited as influences by concrete poets include Guillaume Apollinaire, E. E. Cummings, for his various typographical innovations, and Ezra Pound, for his use of Chinese ideograms, as well as various dadaists.See the online text by Mary Ellen Solt, Concrete Poetry: A World View (1968, Indiana University Press).

The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets
The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine that bears that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s; its central figures are all actively writing, teaching, and performing their work today. In developing their poetics, members of the Language school took as their starting point the emphasis on method evident in the modernist tradition, particularly as represented by Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky. Language poetry is also an example of poetic postmodernism. Its immediate postmodern precursors were the New American poets, a rubric which includes the New York School, the Black Mountain School, the Beat poets, and the San Francisco Renaissance.

Eliza (1966)
ELIZA is a computer program by Joseph Weizenbaum, designed in 1966, which parodied a Rogerian therapist, largely by rephrasing many of the patient's statements as questions and posing them to the patient. Thus, for example, the response to "My head hurts" might be "Why do you say your head hurts?" The response to "My mother hates me" might be "Who else in your family hates you?" ELIZA was named after Eliza Doolittle, a working-class character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, who is taught to speak with an upper class accent.

We are now at a point were we can talk about electronic literature. In 1970 computer programmers Theodor H. Nelson, Nicolas Negroponte and Les Levine exhibited electronic works in Software: Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art. The Software exhibition was pivotal in the development of the creative use of computers as “neither a celebration of technology nor a condemnation, but an investigation, through implementation of new shapes for the processes brought into the culture via computation.” (Theodore H. Nelson “[Introduction] From Software – Information Technology: It’s New Meaning for Art” 1970, The New Media Reader, Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort Eds. p248)

In Afternoon, a story the narrator, Peter, begins by addressing the reader, "I want to say I may have seen my son die this morning." The quest for closure on such a powerful concept as the death of a child drives the story through multiple labyrinths comprised of 539 interconnected lexias.

[The text under study, Balzac's short story "Sarrasine,"] will be cut up into a series of brief, contiguous fragments, which we shall call lexias, since they are units of reading. This cutting up will be arbitrary in the extreme . . . . The lexia will include sometimes a few words, sometimes several sentences; it will be a matter of convenience: it will suffice that the lexia be the best possible space in which we can observe meanings . . ." Roland Barthes S/Z (1970) p13.

"Closure is, as in any fiction, a suspect quality although here it is made manifest. When the story no longer progresses, or when it cycles, or when you tire of the paths, the experience of reading it ends. -- from "Work in Progress", a lexia in Afternoon. (Overcoming Closure)

Maybe we should read some of Afternoon, a story.

If you want to spend more time pondering the ways of early commercial hypertext fiction this is a good power point on Hypertext.

Further Hypertexts of the First Generation:
Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden and Reagan Library, Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl and Deena Larsen's Marble Springs, and more from Eastgate.

Newer Hypertext that have moved into more visual and three dimensional forms:

Cybertexts (some of these links are old as I compiled this list in 2003)..

Some newer stuff;

the works of Jason Nelson
Last Meal Requested
Red Riding Hood
Slipping Glimpse
Inanimate Alice

And I would just like to leave you with the kinetic brilliance and overstated simplicity of Y0UNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES........THANK YOU.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Power of Art: Picasso

"Or is it that when the bombs are dropping we find out what art is really for?" Simon Schama - The Power of Art

Many will remember in February 2003 the covering up of a tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso's 1937 work Guernica in the UN foyer:

Just prior to when Secretary of State Collin Powell delivered a speech to the Security Counsel, where he beseeched the U.N. that war with Iraq was a necessary international action, U.N. officials covered the Guernica mural with a curtain.

The echo back through the decades to the atrocity which inspired Picasso to paint the wall size piece is clear. The killing continues in Iraq today.

Tonight, for our Swedish readers, the British art critic and academic Simon Schama will be dissecting the life of Picasso on SVT 1 at 22:50. I am three quarters of the way through Anne Friedman,s The Virtual Window, which also pays homage to the visual exploration of Picasso. If it weren't for cubism the world would look different today. See why on SVT 1 tonight.

The Burning Life 2007

The Burning Life 2007 is a week long series of events in Second Life using the same themes that are the Burning Man Festival. The program of events can be reached from here (with URL for the sims).

In Second Life, where the place itself is art, a counterculture festival like Burning Life is expected to "exhibit the unexpected", leaving residents teetering on the edge of what is artistically possible in virtual space.

The past year has seen mega-marketers from Coca-Cola to Coldwell Banker dipping their corporate digits into Second Life's ubiquitous waterfalls, testing the waters of virtual places. Whether big corporations decide to take the plunge will eventually depend on the interests and desires of the hordes of new residents, whose arrival has coincided with the mainstream commercial invasion.

This whirlpool of corporate interests and wide-eyed 'newbie' avatars seems destined to create a rising wave of consumer mentality in Second Life: a boon to the Linden economy, virtual entrepreneurs and to all those avatars who are looking for "just the right thing" to enhance their virtual lives.

And yet, there is another side to the Second Life sims: cultures that counter corporate constraints, and embrace unrestrained creativity. So where is the much-touted expansion of experience we expected from this new digital space?

This weekend is going to be a feast of culture with lots of music and visuals. No dollars are allowed to change hands on the sims during the festival and anyone can come in, you just need an avatar.

Internet Reality and Cash

The genre of email extortion took a new turn for me this morning with the narrative device of the Iraq war being introduced into a 'request for assistance'

Good Day,
Good day. My name is LINDA JOHNSON, I am with the US Army and I am serving in the
military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. my partner and I moved funds belonging
to Saddam Hussein,the total is $25,000,000.00 (Twenty Five million US dollars) this money is being kept safe. Click on this link to read about events that took place here
[the link is safe and reports on:
"Foreign currency worth nearly $200m has been found in a Baghdad neighbourhood, the US military say. Troops found $100m and 90m euros in 31 containers, US Central Command said"]

Basically since we are working for the American government we cannot keep these
funds, but we want to transfer and move the funds to you, so that you can keep it
for us in your safe account or an offshore account.

We will divide the total funds in three ways, since we are 2 that is involved. This
means that you will take 10%, I will take 40%, and my partner will take 30%. 10%
will be kept aside for expenses.

Twenty five million in cash must take up a bit of room in the ol rucksack.......

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Computer Museum Online

Alto from Xerox, 1973 (© PC World, courtesy of Digibarn Computer Museum)

This is one computer from the Digibarn, a project led by Bruce Damer who is an advisor to HUMlab. More from the Digibarn can be seen on the msn slide show In Pictures: The Most Collectible PCs of All Time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Representation and Self-Representation: Arabs and Muslims in Digital Games

Representation and Self-Representation: Arabs and Muslims in Digital Games
by Vit Sisler
This paper presents the ways in which Muslims and Arabs are represented in mainstream European and American digital games. It analyzes how games — particularly of the action genre — construct the Arab or Muslim ‘Other.’ Within these games, one finds the diverse ethnic and religious identities of the Islamic world reconstructed into a series of flat social typologies, often presented within the framework of hostility and terrorism. The second part of the paper deals with selected digital games created in the Middle East, whose authors are knowingly working with the topic of self-representation. Recent digital games originating in the Middle East can be perceived as examples of an ongoing digital emancipation taking place through the distribution of media images and their corresponding meanings. A key part of this ongoing digital emancipation involves the construction of Arab and Islamic heroes, a process accomplished by exploiting distinctive narrative structures and references to Islamic cultural heritage.

Powerpoint from M3 Online

My slides from the M3 conference are online (minus the video and other URL links). There a few other presentation on M3.thevirtual's Slidespace as well if you want to check them out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some Pics from My 'Weekend'

Two images from my presentation at the M3 Interaction 2007 conference. It was a great experience. I have just got back home, tired but happy. I spent all day today with my two thesis supervisors in Stockholm going over my work in some detail. the title Prefacing Interaction comes from a thesis chapter on copyright, storage and distribution but we thought today that 'Prefacing' needs to be reviewed. On the plane home I thought about "Frames for Interaction: The Implied Respondent in the Digital Preface". My next task is preparing for a seminar presentation of this chapter on 2nd October. Some sleep and then back to work tomorrow. No weekend this weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Recombinant Poetics

Thesis by Bill Seaman (2000) available as a PDF download:

We are in the midst of profound technological changes that impact upon how people communicate, share knowledge and learn. Potentially, along with these technological changes comes a related change in poetics. Thus a techno-poetics is explored. Where once we focused on analogue media as the primary means of embodying our ideas through artifacts of thought, our understanding of reality is now interwoven (structurally coupled1) with an expanded linguistics of interpenetrated fields of meaning.2 Some would say this is not a techno-linguistics but an expanded computer-based environmental semiotics. Through Recombinant Poetics virtual space becomes a mutable field for evocative media-related exploration.

Blogging M3

The M3 conference has been great. Some really interesting people and lots of great presentations. Lisa Nakamura is the keynote speaker today. I blogged a long text of the notes from Jeffrey Bardzell's presentation on the HUMlab blog last night. You can get to it from HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blogging Dilemma Situation

The conference dilemma is when one has lots of interesting things to blog but if one blogs about it then one misses the interesting things. I present my paper in about 30 minutes. All is in readiness. The coffee is good here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meet Henry

"Henry Lawson (17 June 1867 - 2 September 1922) was an Australian writer and poet. Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson, Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period."

I think Henry was a much better poet than Paterson. My favorite Lawson poem is Faces in the Street from In the Days When the World was Wide and Other Verses (1896). A statue of Lawson has just been restored to its position in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney (the motivation behind this post) and a slide show with audio about that can be seen here.
I recommend anyone interested in Australia spend some time with Henry. I visited his grave at Waverley Cemetery, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and decorated with flowers, cards and a few bottles of grog (he liked a drink did Henry).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flight Was Achieved this Morning

Almost too busy to blog. This morning on the way to taking my 7 year old to school our bicycles collided at some speed. Silas was sent face first into the asphalt and I was airborne. We returned home with me carrying him. I think he is alright, some grazing to the side of his face. He is asleep now but I am watching for signs of concussion (sleeping being one of them). Apart from that drama it is university full power. I was up until 1am last night and have completed 14 pages of the first draft to my thesis introduction and will give it to my supervisor today as he is in town. It will be our first face to face meeting since June. I have a meeting with Kerstin Munck,associate professor in literature at Umeå University, today about a seminar we will be having on digital literature in HUMalb. Also involved is Jan Van Looy, who I met for the first time yesterday, the co-author of Close Reading New Media and now a postdoctoral fellow at HUMlab. Exciting times in HUMlab. On Thursday I leave for Stockholm and the M3 Interaction 2007 conference (aahh I have to print out and read the other papers yet!). I am hoping to be able to put together my slide presentation today and tomorrow. It is the first time I have presented a paper at a conference and the first time I have thought to use slides. I think I will use Slideshare or Zentation. Not sure which yet.
Finally tomorrow is Benyamin's birthday. Two years old and a joy to behold. Yiippee!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Toowoomba Camera Obscura

Glen Rees. Camera Obscura Building, Picnic Point, Toowoomba, Queensland. 1995. National Library of Australia

I am reading The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft by Anne Friedberg at the moment. I am really enjoying it. It begins with an account of Renaissance perspective and the concept of the window. Then it looks at drawing machines and moves on to a history of the camera obscura, and this is where I am up to at the moment. With reading about the camera obscura I came to realize that one of my earliest experiences of virtual technologies was the camera obscura that was built in my home town, Toowoomba (pictured):

The lens of the Toowoomba Camera Obscura is an achromatic doublet of about 6" diameter with a focal length of about 13' 6" giving a focal ratio of F13. The dished screen is 5 or 6 feet across. It was designed and built by W.M. Lowe at Picnic Point in about 1966. The octagonal building is made of white pine and rotated on 16 industrial castors. It holds about 30 visitors at a time. This camera obscura has now closed down.

On several occasions in the 1970s and 1980s I visited the camera obscura at Picnic Point Toowoomba with my grandmother. I remember sitting in a darkened room as the cylinder wall rotated noisily about us and we were shown scenes from the escarpment outside of the city, treed slopes of the Great Dividing Range and significant buildings below in the ancient crater where Toowoomba is situated.
I will blog a more detailed review of The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft next week.

Digital Humanities Quarterly Summer 2007: v1 n2

The latest issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly looks delicious (all online and free):

"Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther's Original
Adventure in Code and in Kentucky", Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill

"All Hope Abandon: Biblical Text and Interactive Fiction", Eric Eve,
Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

"Aporias of the Digital Avant-Garde", Steve F. Anderson, University of
Southern California

"The End of the Irrelevant Text: Electronic Texts, Linguistics, and
Literary Theory", David Hoover, New York University

The Sherriff is Coming

It seems the Web Sheriff is coming to Sweden. The Web Sheriff is John Giacobbi (pictured) who works for the Entertainment Law Associates (ELA) who have managed to recruit Prince who says he is going to sue The Pirate Bay (and ebay and YouTube). What is most appealing about this story is the character of Sheriff John Giacobbi, who seems to be pulling away from the pirate metaphors used so often regarding file sharing technology and is taking up the wild west outlaw motif (ELA also includes Wild West Management).
Maybe we are entering a new phase of the P2P situation? I watched the BBC series Blackbeard recently and I learnt something about pirates from it. The "Golden Age of Piracy" began with the 'discovery' of the Americas by Europeans and ended with the establishment of European law around the colonies in the 18th century. With the establishment of law began the expansion west and from that the mythology of the frontier was developed.
Perhaps the digital frontier is now taking over from the utopian 'uncharted territory' (terra incognita) motif that, although it remains regarding cyberspace, is not as strong as it was 10 years ago.
Whether or not Sheriff John Giacobbi can ride into town (Sweden) and take out a mean hombre remains to be seen. Judging by the Torrentfreak reactions it is not being taken too seriously.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Downstreams: Changing Colors

As Autumn takes its leafy hold of our sensory apparatus we turn indoors to the cheery hearth and the glowing's some media for the weekend.

Soviet Tourist Posters in English
Advertising was almost unknown in the USSR but there were some advertisements made for an international audience. These series of posters for various locations around the USSR always seem to feature a large work of industrial construction. Perhaps making the point that taking a holiday is not so good for productivity.

A Journey Into The Mind Of P
An 88 minute documentary in English from Germany looking at the work of Thomas Pynchon. I have read part of Gravity's Rainbow and I do intend to one day return to Pynchon when I am old enough. This film is stored on Altertube, a video sharing network that has just come to me attention and which looks very promising (and very freaky and twisted....sort of the same thing actually).

The World Without UsThe World Without Us by Alan Weisman is a book about what the world might be like if humanity suddenly and without violence would disappear:

The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world’s cities crumble, asphalt jungles give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically-treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama, and paleontologists – who describe a pre-human world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths – Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.

The website for The World Without Us features flash animations, narrative images and diagrams of how it may be if we all just left.

Sound Team
Sound Team is an American band based in Austin, TX. Several of the band's previous and current members--including Bill Baird, Michael Baird, Will Patterson, Jordan Johns, and Sam Sanford--attended Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio, TX, where they played music in several different loud ensembles. Oliver attended High School in Houston and in Paris, briefly. Eventually they all ended up in Austin."
Correction, Sound Team were from Texas. They are new to me but they split up this week (so I read) and are putting their entire catalogue of videos, CD, ring tone (!!!), remixes and 'experiments' online for free download. Get to it!

Great Lake Swimmers, Live from the Church of the Reedemer EP
Great Lake Swimmers is an indie rock/folk band built around the melodic folk rock songs of singer-songwriter Tony Dekker from Wainfleet, Ontario. the current line-up includes Erik Arneson on banjo and Colin Huebert on drums. The band's style has been compared to Red House Painters, Nick Drake, Will Oldham, Gram Parsons, Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine and Neil Young.
Great Lake Swimmers are offering up a free 5-song live EP from their sold-out show at Toronto's Church of the Redeemer. The set featured Owen Pallet on violin, with backup vocals coming courtesy of Basia Bulat.

L.A. Free Music Society (4 CD 1999) recorded 1972-1983
Contains a dizzying wealth of essential material for LAFMS obsessives, not least some 20+ minutes of otherwise unavailable Smegma material, along with nearly an LP's worth of work by Smegma's Ju Suk Reet Meate (whose LP from the period was just reissued on Destijl). 91 tracks over 4 CDs.

FORA.TV : The World is Thinking
There are brilliant ideas, expressed everyday in public discussions and events, all over the world. Don't miss them. delivers discourse, discussions and debates on the world's most interesting political, social and cultural issues, and enables viewers to join the conversation. It provides deep, unfiltered content, tools for self-expression and a place for the interactive community to gather online. Travel to New York and pick up the Village Voice. Or look in TimeOut London. Or check out the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Sydney Morning Herald. Every day, poets, authors, policy experts, activists, madmen, government leaders, visionary thinkers speak in public, hosted by institutions such as nonprofit councils, bookstores, universities, or public spaces. If you're lucky, their remarks will be covered by the press, edited and compressed, and hard to find when you want it. But you can't be there. You can't express your opinions. You can't chat with other likeminded or different-minded listeners. You can't easily search for similar content, study background material, read the transcript. enables a new, global media opportunity by aggregating a daily range of events, produced and electronically shipped by institutions or freelance producers, from around the world. The word fora is simply the plural of "forum." The dictionary definition of forum is: the public square or marketplace of an ancient Roman city that was the assembly place for judicial activity and public business. expands the public forum for discussion of important world issues to multiple, simultaneous fora in a digital venue.

Soylent Green (Film 1973)
Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction movie starring Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor Young, Joseph Cotten and Chuck Connors. It is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, about overpopulation, but it diverges to its own pointed plot points and ideas. Soylent green is the supposedly natural, but really artificial, plankton food product at the center of the story. Because of the film's cult popularity, the term "soylent green" and the famous last line "Soylent Green is people!" have become catch phrases in English. Many subsequent works refer to Soylent Green for either dramatic or comedic effect.

24 Hours and 33 Minutes A Tribute to John Cage
Listen on demand to WNYC's first-ever online music festival, celebrating the life and legacy of the patriarch of American contemporary music, John Cage. Helga Davis guides us through 24 hours and 33 minutes of exclusive audio from the WNYC archives, as well as Cage tributes, commentary, and performances by some of the most influential musicians of our time.

I have been trying out Deezer this last week and due to it having content from less known and non-contemporary musicians I like it. I have had problems however embedding the playing in my blog page and building play lists that can be accessed from different computers.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joost Getting Better

When I first downloaded Joost, the TV over Net program, I was not so impressed by the content. I revisited Joost this morning and watched Joe Winston's 1997 documentary The Burning Man:

This movie was shot at the 1995 Burning Man Festival. Its release coincided with a great deal of international press coverage of the festival. Film Festival screenings: 1997 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 1998 Burning Man Film Festival, San Francisco, CA 1998 Around the Coyote Film Festival, Chicago, IL This film has aired on television in France and Denmark.

I enjoyed The Burning Man very much and it restored my hope in Joost; if it can send content that is not easily accessible on cable or regular TV and is not permitted on the video share sites (where it often turns up but does not stay for long) then they may have a chance to capture audience.

If anyone wants to be 'captured' by Joost send me a mail and I can invite you in.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

M3 Abstracts Online

Next week I will be spending three days in and around Stockholm. On Thursday I will travelling to Almåsa Conference Center for the M3 Interaction 2007 conference. The abstracts are online and it looks like it will be an interesting three days. On Saturday I will be travelling back to central Stockholm where I will spend the night on the Red Boat. Then on Sunday I spend the day with my supervisor and auxiliary supervisor in a long seminar session before returning to Umeå in the evening.
Before all this I am meeting some third term culture students on Friday who I will be supervising for their term papers. As well I am working in Second Life at the Second House of Sweden tomorrow and over the weekend and I am writing the first draft of the introduction to my thesis. Oh, and I have a mild cold.......that was the news.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Production of Space

Tribute to Henri Lefebvre

I had to return to the undergrad library today The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre. I only managed to read 312 pages of the 430 pages but it was a week overdue and I could not extend the loan as there is a waiting list to borrow it (I will buy it when I get the money and finish it). It was not an easy read, requiring much concentration and I took pages of notes from it, but what a book. I have not been so impressed by a text for a long time. First published in French in 1974, The Production of Space is a tour de force of enormous intellectual proportions. Lefebrve dissects the western evolution of conceptualised and representational space, beginning with Ancient Greece and going up to the point of the alignments leading to our present global capital ascendancy ('globalization'). Architectural space, dramatic space, the fictionalized space of novels, avant garde art, urban planning, the body, and nation states are united under the canopy of critical spatial practice by Lefebvre. His analysis is dialogic and intense. I have gained many insights into my own work on the spatial elements and assumptions present in digital literary texts from The Production of Space. For this I am very appreciative.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The History of Toast

I amused myself this morning with what I thought would be a strange idea for a text; "The History of Toast" but it seems it is already a field in which many are interested:

The ancient Egyptians, around 6000 years ago, were the first to develop the bread that we know today. They realised that if they let the bread sit out in Egypt's warm climate it would rise, and when baked would retain its risen shape. However, they also noticed that after a few days in the dry desert air, the bread would become hard and unpleasant to eat. BBC

as well we have:

British Toast Racks for Collectors and the History of Toast (Paperback)
Author: Margaret Crumpton Joint Author: Peter Crumpton (I wonder if they are ever refered to as the crumpets?)
This book discusses the history of toast- a peculiarly British way of serving bread- and illustrates over 1,000 ceramic toast racks from the late eighteenth century to the present day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Place in the World

I was hoping to see Billy Marius (the base player in the video) when I travel to Stockholm on the 22-23 Sept. but he is in Paris making a film about Pygmy peoples for French television. So I am looking for a hut to sleep in on the night of the 22nd September if anyone can help....

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Downstreams (Current Strong)

So much media this week that you are going to have to take Monday off to get through it all on the weekend. We begin in Morocco:

The World Sacred Music Festival (Festival des Musiques Sacrées du Monde)
Performers from every corner of our planet in a week of artistic shows in Fes Morocco's ancient holy city. The festival intends to represent the spiritual heart of Islam – peaceful, pluralistic, generous and cheerful, honouring all the world's spiritual traditions and dissolving musical boundaries. The 2007 festival with new Artistic Director Cherif Khaznadar gave us perfomances by Gnawa Diffusion, Hassan Hakmoun, Majeda Yahyaoui, Mazagan, Darga, and the Sufi Brotherhoods. Via this link there are Mp3s available here of Kids Call of Peace, Kids Meowing and Singing, Gregorians Lisbon, Semlali shop Guimbri demo, Majda power outage, Kids on mic, Fes market ambience, Gnawa Ouled, Parissa Live and Sahraui radio aircheck.

Off the fence : documentaries, wildlife television, natural history programs
Established in 1994, Off the Fence is an independent distribution and production company, specialized in non-fiction programming for the international marketplace

The inter city rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney is legendary. Ask any Melburnian and they’ll give you a passionate debate as to why Melbourne is far better then Sydney. Ask any Sydneysider and they’ll tell you it always rains in Melbourne. In 1983/84 two compilations appeared showcasing the then punk scenes ‘Flowers From The Dustbin’ from Sydney & ‘Eat Your Head’ representing Melbourne. Tragically both these records are out of print and so are their CD re-issues. In retrospect, the true genius of both these compilations was the fact it archived a music scene that normally would’ve gone unheard.

All Color News Sampler (1978)
A remarkable collection of clips from the feature news program for cable TV. Hard, gritty, this is the early political and socially oriented work by artists now well-known as sculptors and filmmakers. Includes John Ahearn, Tom Otterness (Subways, Golden Gloves Boxing and Rats in Chinatown);Scott and Beth B (NYPD Arson and Explosions Squad vs. FALN); Charlie Ahearn (Bums Under the Brooklyn Bridge). Also includes Virge Piersol and Alan Moore (Bombing of JP Morgan) and Michael McClard.
Potato Wolf, Colab Compilation (1980)
Potato Wolf was an artists' cable TV show produced by Collaborative Projects form approximately 1979-84. Each week a different artist would produce a new, mostly always, "live" program in which other member would participate, improvising with acting, set design, costumes, music, etc. This compilation includes Ulli Rimkus, Chris Kohlhoffer, Liz X, Kiki Smith, Ellen Cooper, Cara Perlman, Matthew Geller, Sally White, Bobby G., Peter Moehnig, Rebecca Howland, Alan Moore, Jim Sutcliffe, David Levine, Peter Fend, Taro Suzuki.

La Coquille et le clergyman (English: The Seashell and the Clergyman) 1926
Considered by many to be the first surrealist film. It was directed by Germaine Dulac, from an original scenario by Antonin Artaud in 1926. Although accounts differ, it seems that Artaud disapproved of Dulac's treatment of his scenario, and the film was overshadowed by Un Chien Andalou the following year. To this day, Un Chien Andalou is considered the first surrealist film, and its foundations in The Seashell and Clergyman have been all but overlooked. The British Board of Film Censors famously reported that the film was "Apparently meaningless" but "If there is a meaning it is no doubt objectionable".

Lester Bangs and Peter Laughner jamming in Creem's offices in 1975 or 1976
Leslie Conway Bangs (December 13, 1948 – April 30, 1982) was an American music journalist, author and musician. Most famous for his work at CREEM and Rolling Stone magazines, Bangs was and still is regarded as an extremely influential voice in rock criticism. Lester Bangs and Peter Laughner jamming in Creem's offices in 1975 or 1976. As would be expected, most of it isn't quite safe for airplay, young children, or senior citizens. Or at least that's what the FCC would like you to believe.

Scratch the Movie (2001)
Scratch is a 2001 documentary film, directed by Doug Pray, that examines cultural and historical perspectives on the birth and evolution of hip-hop disc jockeys (DJs), scratching and turntablism and includes interviews with some of hip-hop's most famous artists.

Locust Street
All songs are posted for a very limited time and are imported at a low bit rate level. They are meant to encourage purchase of the original albums. Please do not direct link to them. If you are the copyright holder of a posted song and do not want the song posted, by all means contact me and I will remove the song.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Mp3 Complete)
Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most famous of Shakespeare’s plays and is thought to be the most famous love story in Western history. It concerns the fate of two very young lovers who would do anything to be together.
The Montagues and the Capulets of Verona, Italy, are in the midst of a long-standing feud when Romeo Montague drops in on a masquerade party at the Capulets’. While there he meets and woos the daughter of the house, Juliet. She likewise returns his passion, and their secret meeting later that night on her bedroom balcony begins a series of tragic events that no one could have foretold.

Music Moz: The Open Music Project
Music information is one of the most searched topics online and a very important application of the internet. Commercial and fan websites offer an abundance of information on thousands of bands, artists, orchestras, composers and just about every other aspect of music. One of the biggest drawbacks to this wealth of information is that it can be very disorganized and can often disappear as websites continually shut their doors.

howard rheingold's | tools for thought (entire original text)
Tools for Thought is an exercise in retrospective futurism; that is, I wrote it in the early 1980s, attempting to look at what the mid 1990s would be like. My odyssey started when I discovered Xerox PARC and Doug Engelbart and realized that all the journalists who had descended upon Silicon Valley were missing the real story. Yes, the tales of teenagers inventing new industries in their garages were good stories. But the idea of the personal computer did not spring full-blown from the mind of Steve Jobs. Indeed, the idea that people could use computers to amplify thought and communication, as tools for intellectual work and social activity, was not an invention of the mainstream computer industry nor orthodox computer science, nor even homebrew computerists. If it wasn't for people like J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, Alan Kay, it wouldn't have happened. But their work was rooted in older, equally eccentric, equally visionary, work, so I went back to piece together how Boole and Babbage and Turing and von Neumann -- especially von Neumann - created the foundations that the later toolbuilders stood upon to create the future we live in today. You can't understand where mind-amplifying technology is going unless you understand where it came from.

The Unknown Bird
This one here is for days like these when the apathy monster pays a visit. Wishing I could have stayed home and vegged out all day listening to music. Some jazzy flourishes and warm acoustic sounds, the musical equivalent of a reassuring hug when you’re feeling drowsy and crabby.

C.G. Jung The Wisdom of the Dream: Vol.1 "A Life of Dreams" (Video)
Viewers follow Jung's life from his childhood, through his years as a hospital psychiatrist, to the initial influence of Freud, to their disagreement and split. Former pupils reveal Jung's impact on their lives.

BLUE (Zine Download)
BLUE meditates on melancholy and seasonal themes and collects new writing, drawing, photography and digital art.

Beat Boys (1968)
Babel Fish (Surrealist) Translation: Celebrities for following Caetano Veloso in III the Festival of Brazilian Popular Music of the TV Record, in 1967, with music Joy, Joy, the band Beat Boys was composed of a compound of consolidated Brazilian and Argentine musicians in São Paulo. With Tony Osanah in the vocal guitar and, Cluster Valdez in the guitar, Toyo in the agency, Willie Verdager in the low Cold e Marcelo in the battery, them had scandalized the puristas (as well as the apresentração of Gilbert Gil and the Mutants in Sunday in the Park) when mixing for the first time rock and MPB in a festival of popular music.

Les Fleurs de Pavot - S/T (1968)
This is considered to be one of the finest French psych records out there, and rightly so. Les Fleurs de Pavot were far from being actual hippies, however--their image was created by their Svengali, Jean-Pierre Rawson, in an exploitative effort that was rather typical of the era. The band had issued several EP's as the serviceable beat quintet Les Bourgeois de Calais before Rawson decided that transforming them into hippie freaks (one of them was supposedly named Jesus and from San Francisco) was the way to go.

Jack Kerouac on the Internet Archive
Yesterday I got my copy on On the Road the Original Scroll. It was fifty years to the day on Thursday that the original On the Road was published. On the Road is an upcoming movie, produced by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on Jack Kerouac's book On the Road. It is a story about two young men traversing the roadways of 1950's America. The screenplay was written by Jose Rivera and it is due to be directed by Walter Salles. This is a link to all the material on the internet archive to do with Jack Kerouac.

Digital Land Management

Bryan at Infocult made reference to a demographic study of labor by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM) which pointed out that presently the majority of human beings are not working in agriculture, something that has not been the case for a long time (10 000 years?). Bryan then proposed the question "How much of the history of information has been shaped by the divide between urban and rural ways of life?"
This could be a great thesis topic. I thought about the way land is an information system in traditional Aboriginal cultures. The urban/rural divide does not apply to Aboriginal socities that are still inhabiting traditional lands and following culture. The concept of agriculture does not apply either as they do not cultivate but follow seasonal patterns of food production. However, information is stored and distributed, created and altered on a vast scale in Aboriginal narrative systems. Three projects that are dealing with the storehouse of knowledge that resides with Aboriginal cultures are:

Digital Songlines
The Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID) is host to an innovative and exciting project aimed at conserving Indigenous heritage using virtual reality technologies. Digital Songlines is an ACID project that is developing protocols, methodologies and toolkits to facilitate the collection, education and sharing of indigenous cultural heritage knowledge. The project explores the effective recording, content management and virtual reality delivery of indigenous cultural knowledge in way that are culturally sensitive and involve the indigenous custodians, leaders and communities.

Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways
Welcome to the Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways (TKRP) website. The Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways was developed from the aspirations of Indigenous Elders, to preserve and recognise Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. With the guidance and instruction of our Aboriginal Elders, we are supporting them to collect information that will be beneficial for County and Community, both in the present and the future.

Warumungu Community Digital Archive Project
Since December we have made great progress on the archive. Based in community feedback we simplified and streamlined the upload process, we revamped the user interface, and we have made changes to the user profiles and restrictions sections of the archive. We also got a new name for the archive: Mukurtu Wumpurrani-kari Archive. Mukurtu is a Warumungu term meaning “dilly bag.” Dilly bags were used as “safe keeping places” for Warumungu sacred materials in the past. The archive’s name reflects the fact that this is a new type of “safe keeping place” mirroring the cultural protocols for the proper circulation, distribution, and viewing of cultural materials

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Physical Anomaly Encountered in Second Life Today

'Head Up Own Butt Code' has been introduced into Second Life it seems. The teenage humor continues in SL.

New Thesis online: "Born Digital: Writing Poetry in the Age of New Media"

I just received a copy of my friend and colleague Maria Engberg's thesis, Born Digital: Writing Poetry in the Age of New Media. The abstract goes like this:

This study investigates Anglophone digital poems, created with and disseminated through digital computer media, for their visual, kinetic, and textual practices. I seek to articulate an analytic method grounded in close readings of selected poems. I have chosen to focus on poetic practices that raise questions about spatiality, temporality, kineticism, and word-and-image construction. My chief interest lies in how poetic form is orchestrated and what forms of engagement these digital constructions present the reader with.

Underlying the main arguments of this study is an understanding of literary works in general as materially, culturally, and historically situated entities. Such “attention to material” is brought to bear on the digital poems that I analyze. Building upon N. Katherine Hayles’s notion of a “media-specific analysis,” I propose a materially specific analysis. In line with this proposition, I investigate particular properties of three clusters of poems. I propose terms such poemevents, cinematographic poems, and visual noise poems.

A common feature of digital poems is the multisensory experience created through visual, auditive, tactile, kinetic, and textual artifice. The reader’s level of interaction is often of utmost importance. To articulate the different roles that the reader has to take on, I use two compound terms: reader/user and reader/viewer/listener. I argue that the active embodied engagement that is required of the reader/user in some digital poems and the denial of an active participation in others is part of the works’ materiality.

Digital poetry as a field is expanding; it would not be too daring to claim that the exploration of the writing of poetry in the age of new media has only begun. I conclude the thesis by looking forward to what might lay ahead, how literary scholarship can be inspired by digital poetic work, and the questions about literary materiality that it poses.

The entire text is downloadable online. Having known Maria for the past three years I know that this text will be of the highest standard and it will become an important contribution to the field of digital text theory. Congratulations Maria!

Doctoral Appointment in Humanities and Information Technology with a Focus on Gender Studies

Eight doctoral positions have been announced at Umeå university. One of which is a "Doktorandanställning i humaniora och informationsteknik med inriktning på genusvetenskap" (Doctoral appointment in Humanities and Information Technology with Focus Upon Gender Studies). The position will be from 1 January 2008 and will be in HUMlab. Application forms (HERE) and a 5 page research plan are to be marked with Dnr 313-3530-07, and shall be submitted to Umeå universitet, Registrator, 901 87 Umeå no later than 2007-10-08.

Information on doctoral position in Swedish

Umeå Advanced Gender Studies (English)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Copyright the Catch

The government of Sweden has a problem that is not unique but perhaps is in a more advanced stage of development than many other technologically developed countries with a high standard of infrastructure. It's peer to peer file sharing of course. In Sweden to say it is a widespread practice is to understate it. Millions of Swedes are sharing material over digital networks.
Two days ago the government announced the publication of a report, Musik och film på Internet - hot eller möjlighet? (Music and Fim on Internet - Threat or Opportunity?). At 379 pages and having taken two years to compose it is not lightweight consideration of the problems arising from having large percentage of the population online via broadband super fast Internet.
Some in the Swedish debate propose a restructuring or even abandoning of copyright law, but this is not possible. No state can withdraw from international copyright agreements and not expect a sever reaction from such powerful states as the USA and the EU (sanctions, legal challenges, embargoes).
I have not read the document Musik och film på Internet - hot eller möjlighet?, but here is a (improvised) translation of one of the paragraphs from the introduction:

De omfattande intrång som olovlig fildelning gör i upphovsrättigheter är enligt utredarens bedömning ett betydande hinder för investeringsviljan i, och utvecklingen av, de lagliga alternativen. Därför föreslås att Internetleverantören ska kunna vitesföreläggas att vidta åtgärder, t.ex. säga upp avtalet med abonnenten, för att hindra fortsatta intrång med hjälp av den tjänst Internetleverantören tillhandahåller. Abonnentens intresse av att behålla uppkopplingen ska beaktas vid bedömningen av om avtalet får sägas upp och om ett föreläggande ska meddelas.

The extensive infringement which uncontrolled file sharing creates for copyright protection is, in the judgement of the investigators, a considerable hindrance to the willingness for investment in, and further develop of, the legal alternatives. Therefore proposes that the Internet service provider shall be able take punative measures, for example cancelling service contracts, to impede the infringement with the help of the appointed ISP services. The subscriber's interest for continuing the connection shall be considered with the judgement of whether the contract shall be made void and a court order issued.

A bad translation but maybe you get the idea. Of course, it took all of 24 hours for the proposal to meet resistance from within the government itself. Welcome to Catch 22.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mail from Home

When a reader takes the trouble to contact me I am often surprised. Most of what I write here seems to be important to me, but when someone else dedicates words to it I...just don't know what to say.
Anyway, I just got an email from Doug Holden, the Director, External Relations Chair COAL21 Communications Group. Doug is concerned with the truth about coal, an important topic. He seems to be responding to the post APEC in Sydney, but I am not sure as he does not quote my text. Apparently "COAL21 is not an organisation. It is a partnership between the coal and electricity industries, unions, federal and state governments and the research community." Here is Doug's mail:


I find the ubiquity of blogs does not seem to add much to the quality or accuracy of information on the net (unfortunately my Google alerts do not distinguish between quality well researched journalism and illinformed polemic. I wish I could filter out the latter).

I wont go into responding to much, if anything about your comments, re Australian coal, suffice to indicate it's inadequacy by saying Australia exported precisely 4.3 million tonnes of coal to China last year: it burned 2 billion tonnes - that would of course be two thousand million tonnes - in its power stations. To be precise Australia provided 0.21 per cent of China's needs. We export 4% of the world's coal and produce 6% per cent. Should you be wish to be better informed I have attached a
background paper.

I was always taught at University that my views had to be first and formost (sic) empirically based. As a holder of a Masters degree myself I was further taught that a thesis needed rigorous research and reference citing before conclusions and original ideas are promulgated..seems this does not apply to blogs, or maybe even Universities these days.

Feel free to post this, should I have any confidence you will ?

best wishes


Doug Holden
Director, External Relations
Chair COAL21 Communications Group
Tel:(02) 6273 6060
Mobile:0431 006 044
Fax:(02) 6273 6060

and here is my response to Doug, to which I have yet to receive a reply:

Dear Doug,
I am glad I am building a readership so far afield. It always surprises me when a reader makes themselves seen/heard. To think that people actually pay attention to me is almost embarrassing.
Thanks for you response and I will reply to it on my blog. I have no problem posting material that goes against things that I say ("Feel free to post this, should I have any confidence you will?"), as you may remember from university, the seat of learning is large, there is room for all.
Since you did not quote the text you referred to (always important in critique), I presume it is this passage:

"Clean coal technology has received millions of dollars from the federal Australian government in the last year. With record exports of coal being sent to China one does not have to ponder long to explain the agenda put forward by Howard at APEC. Anyone who opposes the development of the fossil fuel agenda is branded a hypocrite." APEC in Sydney

The first sentence in this statement refers to the subsidies which the coal industry receives from the Australian Federal Government. According to the working paper "Subsidies that Encourage Fossil Fuel Use in Australia" the coal industry received significant subsidies from the Federal Government. I quote:

In November 2000, the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee released the final report of its inquiry into Australia’s response to global warming (ECITA References Committee, 2000). The report estimated direct fossil fuel subsidies at $2 billion per year, referring to NIEIR’s earlier work, but found an additional $4 billion in indirect subsidies such as ‘tax incentives, startup grants, preferential purchasing agreements for oil, and biased market structures’ (ECITA References Committee, 2000, p.xxxvi).

The second sentence in the passage quoted above said that coal exports are at a record high for Australia at the moment. According to the Australian Coal Association;

Black coal remains Australia's largest commodity export, worth around $A24.5 billion in 2005-06 (or $A2 billion per month) - an increase of 43 per cent over 2004-05.

In 2005-06 black coal represented around 19 per cent of Australia's total commodity exports

I would say this is a record. According to the IEA Key World Energy Statistics - 2004 and 2005 editions, Australia is the worlds largest exporter of coal:

"Australia maintained its position as the world's largest coal exporter with exports of 233 Mt in 2005-06, or 30% of the world total" Australian Coal

The rest of the quote taken from my blog is my own opinion based upon supposition of the facts given here (it is not really a thesis and I would argue that the format of a blog entry can not support developed argument on the level of a thesis). That you say Australia only "provided 0.21 per cent of China's needs." is misleading when we consider that China is currently opening a new coal fired power station every week to meet energy demands that are being driven by a level of economic growth that is almost unparalleled in world history.

"It is building a new power station every week to meet a surge in demand for electricity." David Shukman, Science correspondent, BBC News, Shanghai

Thanks Doug for the chance to revisit this topic.

Smooth/Striated Sydney

The appropriation and modification of space in Sydney for the APEC summit this week has moved into a new stage. It started with the closing off of spaces, restriction of visual access to key areas that will be inhabited by power over the next few days. Now the spaces around these key points are being striated to prevent movement, assembly and ultimately dissent. What has been described as Fortress Sydney is an interesting example of urban space being 'remixed' in quantitative terms, segmented to allow for altered flows or for no flow at all. Once the 'security' and 'protesters' meet in this space (defined only by the 'security' side of the exchange) we will see the meaning of the space be played out. I hope no one gets hurt.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Touchgraph: The Google Browser

This is the Google browser touchgraph image for this blog. Quite amazing although I have not yet had time to go through it all. Clicking on links opens other networks as well URLs are color coded in the column to the left. The website summarizes it like this:

The TouchGraph Google Browser reveals the network of connectivity between websites, as reported by Google's database of related sites. What a cool toy.

APEC in Sydney

Love and money bring these two together

This week my old hometown, Sydney New South Wales Australia, is hosting the massive APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit. Twenty one world leaders, including such lovers of democracy as Vladamir Putin, George Bush, Hu Jintao, and the leaders of Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia will be in town. A new water canon has been purchased for the occaison, 5,000 police and soldiers are patrolling the city by land, sea and air, a three-metre high, and a five-kilometre long barrier erected around the Sydney opera house. Security is extreme with no photographs allowed of the fence, nobody allowed near the fence, google earth has even blanked out the details of the opera house area on their online maps, and already twelve Greenpeace protesters were arrested and charged after they rode inflatable dinghies out to a ship carrying coal in a port north of Sydney and painted an anti-APEC slogan on its hull.

Those opposing the agenda of the APEC summit have been labelled as "hypocrites" by the Prime Minister of Australia, "Stop and think for a moment. Are you really going to alleviate poverty by killing economic growth?" he said.

I think that depends on what type of economic growth you are talking about John. So far what has been said about APEC is that climate change will be framed by economic growth, that social justice will be framed by economic growth, that environmental management will be framed by economic growth, that all forms of pan national cooperation will be framed by economic growth. Apart from the economic disasters that are looming in the Pacific region in the micro island states (none of which are represented at APEC), lets just take the environmental agenda of APEC and see what it entails:

We must be realistic about what can be achieved on climate change. We won't reach agreement, nor do we imagine for a moment that we could reach agreement on binding targets amongst the member countries of APEC. The developing countries have made that clear and for very understandable reasons. But we can reach a framework agreement if we work hard enough on the shape of a post-Kyoto approach to the international response to climate change. Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard

Clean coal technology has recieved millions of dollars from the federal Australian government in the last year. With record exports of coal being sent to China one does not have to ponder long to explain the agenda put forward by Howard at APEC. Anyone who opposes the development of the fossil fuel agenda is branded a hypocrite. A recent video of Barbara Dudley Portland State University professor Former Executive Director of Greenpeace USA Former President of the National Lawyers Guild, gives us a glimps of the war on dissent being preached at the APEC summit:

APEC is Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

On the Road the Original Roll

the opening of On the Road as typed by Ti Jean Kerouac.

Last month the original manuscript for On the Road by Jack Kerouac was published for the first time. It differs from the first edition which came out 50 years ago on September 5 1957 in several ways. All the original names were used in the text, pointing to the fact that much of it was first written by Kerouac as the events depicited were occuring around him and he scribbeled in his little notebooks. Reading the vast Visions of Cody one gets a much clearer understanding of how Kerouac worked; lighting fast, intoxicated (by life as much by substances) and pulling everything he could into the creation of prose.

As the story goes, On the Road was written by Kerouac in three weeks while living with his second wife, Joan Haverty, in an apartment at 454 West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, which he typed on one long scroll of teletype paper, which Kerouac called "the roll."[2] The roll does exist — it was purchased in 2001 by Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, for $2.4 million — and it was indeed typed in a blazing three weeks, singlespaced with no margins or paragraph breaks. But the story overlooks some of the finer points of the novel's composition. Much of the book was actually written as it happened, over the seven years of Kerouac's travels, in the small notebooks that he always carried with him and wrote in during his spare time. The myth also overlooks the tedious organization and preparation that came before Kerouac's creative explosion, as well as the fact that Kerouac revised the novel several times before Malcolm Cowley of Viking Press agreed to publish it.

I think this is an important event, not in the sense of us obtaining some 'orginal' On the Road, as the one that was published is the one Kerouac had to live with. Rather this is a chance for us to gain an image of the man Kerouac and those people who surrounded him at the time he was looking around and taking notes.

The Sounds of Psychic Wells

This is not advertising, it is a service for the psychic wellness of humanity:
Do you feel that modern popular music is getting you down? If so you should know that the boundaries of music art and how to live within the laws of physics and man are being explored by the music your mind will love you collective with some seriously interesting results. They have some new experiments in reality on the books which they call music but you may have a better term: CHECK THEM OUT. You won't be sorry you did.

The Life of a Second Life Guide

I have just finished my first session as a guide for the House of Sweden in Second Life. The image is taken from our introduction meeting last night. This morning I spent an hour watching Johan , our beloved leader, welcoming and answering questions about the embassy and Sweden in general. I was then solo from about 30 mins chatting to people and pointing out some stuff about the building and how it is to live in Sweden. All this before breakfast. What a life!