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15th-Jan-2009 01:20 am(no subject)
OK, seriously, why don't I go to bed at a reasonable hour? The Internet is my crack. Sleep is so underrated. Must sleep!!!!
6th-Jan-2009 10:59 pm - Photos
I realize I have been remiss in not posting photos since before Thanksgiving. So, here is a slideshow of each holiday: New Year, Christmas, and Thanksgiving (in reverse chronological order...just to mess with you):

New Year:




View Christmas and Thanksgiving...Collapse )
Discussion centered primarily around film but touched upon other media. Highlights:

  • Low-tech effects can serve an artistic purpose. We are willing to suspend our disbelief if the representation is more stylized and less literal, but representations/special effects/computer animation effects that are almost literal come off as plastic-looking.
  • Lack of resources (low-budget films) forces creativity in production process and results in a grittier feeling, which has an aesthetic value. For the people in this discussion, the more elaborate, realistic-looking computer animation in recent films feels colder and less intimate.
  • Discussion of the graffiti artist Banksy, who painted blank speech bubbles on billboards and then came back later to read what others had written in his speech bubbles. (What a fascinating experiment!)
  • I need to check out the blog Photoshop Disasters.

6th-Dec-2008 07:22 pm - Cyborg Camp Lunch
Lunch was kick-ass! I was impressed by the quality of the food available.
Highlights from this session:

If a photographer doesn't see every possible photograph in a room, he won't take the picture. He must practice "seeing."

Use computer program to take an image, compile and render the data in a way so that we see patterns in a way we wouldn't see with our naked eyes.
  • Sunlight patterns taken from photocells and webcams pointed at the sky.
  • Motion of buoy in deep water converted to auditory recordings of wave patterns. Auditory recordings sped up and processed into stereo. Also, visual waveforms representing the auditory ones.
  • His invention of the wiki - his greatest claim to fame. He sees wikis as a way to measure knowledge/information relationships.
    • Sources of ideas:
      • Edwin Schlossberg "Interactive Excellence" - people's tastes change based on the extent to which other people are clapping, showing enjoyment.
      • Wabi-Sabi - Allow a little bit of messiness by not clamping down on control of what people can add to wiki.
    • Do not allow one-word hyperlinks in the wiki. Allows one to see "like pages:" for page "Wiki Design Principles," we get pages with word "Wiki" in title and those with word "Principles" in title (excluded "Design" for some reason). Using these words as pivots (conversation pivots?). We can "see" the articles in a new way by creating a tour of topics through these conversation pivots.
Other comments:
  • In forum setting, when people's faces are present, the postings are more civil/less inflammatory, more personal.
This was a fascinating conversation, lots of great ideas from people. Highlights from this discussion:

  • Emoticons - The basics, maybe doesn't convey as much information as we'd like.
  • Digital mood rings?
  • Usability testing - When doing it remotely, require a webcam? Video helps give us the subconscious cues of what people think during a test and not just what they say.
  • Bonjour - you can see what people are typing into the IM, not just after they hit [return]. See how slowly people type or flit between chat windows, etc. Get contextual clues.
  • Neural feedback therapy - observe brainwave patterns during usability testing.
  • Demographic markers - race, gender, etc. becomes more visible online once we have video. Also, profiles on various sites can give away this information. We lose some of the benefits of not having race/gender available. But, in profiles we can chose what to disclose.
  • Twitter tweets as a dynamic profile - watch someone's tweets to get a contextual understanding of who that person is, versus
  • Can we port our entire mind into an online avatar at the moment of death? Have avatar parties in the graveyard? Is this immoral? Is this a different person, or a simulacrum of a real person (just a fancy recording)? Does the behavior of this simulacrum change the person's legacy change after death?
  • OpenID - do we want to consolidate our profiles/avatars/identities into linked ones? Or do we want to segregate parts of our identity to different audiences.
  • Tiered sharing - How can we control which parts of our identity to share? Should we hide our personal lives (e.g. sexuality) from certain audiences?
  • Facebook - We need to hide content in our profiles from certain people, or leave Facebook altogether. (This is covered by episode 1 of my Web 2.0 Exposed Show, once I finish editing it and post it online.)
  • Lack of control, progressive disclosure, forces us to scatter our pieces across YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, not all in one place. Could we port this into our own site for archival purposes in case these companies go out of business?
  • By analyzing facial expressions in slowed down video recordings, we can have 80% accuracy determining emotion. Referenced by Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Is it a privacy invasion for people to read our emotions so closely? Apple retail employees are trained to read emotions of customers - how do we feel about this? On Internet, we should be able to opt out.
  • Could we use facial analysis technology to assist people with Aspergers or people recovering from a stroke?
  • What is activation energy to participate? 5-star rating requires little effort, comments require more, etc. If the topic is familiar to people, lower activation energy. For example, a blog post about Miley Cyrus gets 50 comments whereas one about the implanting of RFID chips into AIDS patients in Malaysia gets 0.
  • It would be handy to opt-in to an emotional channel to broadcast to others, e.g. if you're a public speaker or want to build rapport with people online.
Attending a session about evolution of written language, signs and symbols. Interesting examples of historical and recent symbols. Some highlights:

@ - used to mean price per item in accounting, now implies location

# - means "context," group, event, topic, something happening

(used in print) - there's something available online

Buttons - Used to look like a physical button (box with rounded corners), then blue underlined text, then words with no decoration but positioned where one expects

~ - approximately, these people are sort of dating, etc.

☃ - wackiness? something that never actually occurs? Other possible meanings?

♘ - transportation? threat? condoms sold here?


Discussion about how we've compressed our communication into symbols and abbreviations. Reminds me of when my dad complained about how the students in a class where he substitute taught told him none of them had ever written a letter in their lives.
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jill Bolte Tayler, a neuroscientist whose resume includes working for the Harvard Brain Bank, describes the radically altered states of consciousness she achieved after having a stroke. The stroke incapacitated much of the left hemisphere of her brain, which she had allowed to dominate and inhibit the perceptions from her right hemisphere for most of her adult life. Freed from the tyranny of her inner chatterbox's worries and negative thought patterns, she experienced bliss and a sense of oneness with the universe. Although she was tempted to remain in this new state of consciousness forever, she chose to struggle through recovery so that she could regain some of the beneficial features of her left hemisphere, most importantly her language ability. She wanted to communicate her new perceptions with the rest of the world.

This book begins with a simple primer on brain physiology and then proceeds into a narrative describing the day Jill had the stroke and the months and years she spent recovering the functions of her left hemisphere. It concludes with Jill's philosophical musings on the wonder of human biology, her Buddhist-sounding suggestions for letting go of pain and suffering and embracing joy, and a few New Age-style ideas about the energy of the universe and the oneness of everything.

This is a very well-written and inspiring book. I loved it!


View all my reviews.
Friend 1: "I can't stand all these fucking Transformers fan videos people post on YouTube. It makes it impossible to find an actual Transformers video."

Friend 2: "That's like complaining that the landfill stinks. This is YouTube, for Christ's sake!"
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