Archive for October, 2009

The Visual Display of Knowledge

Posted in Buckeye, Digital Innovation on October 23rd, 2009 by Elijah Meeks – 1 Comment

How would WOPR describe a recession? I suppose a little like this. There are collections of creative visualizations like Data Beautiful and theorists like Edward Tufte from whom we can draw rules for the visual display of information. But how do we use creative (visual) expression of knowledge to portray complex, deep and novel theoretical claims? If I have new scholarship and want to convey that new scholarship to my colleagues, is there a time when the best method of conveying that scholarship is non-narrative and non-textual? Or are visualizations better-suited for the purpose of illustration or pedagogy? Are they a spice that cannot stand on their own or can we make claims in multimedia that we cannot make using traditional linear text? And if so, what are the best examples of such claims?

I gravitate toward maps, both physical and conceptual. Flowcharts as slices of models also seem ripe with potential. And, of course, conceptualizations of “The Future” always contain animations and flashy visualizations that happen to be well-suited for portrayal in an episode of Star Trek, various attacks on the Death Star, or a Matthew Broderick vehicle from the 80s.

We’re Still Far Away From a True Image Search

Posted in Buckeye, Digital Innovation on October 15th, 2009 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Years ago I’d mentioned to a friend how someone should create an image search based on images and not on phrases.  So I could put in a picture of a Ding Tripod and get all sorts of images that somehow shared visual similarities with Ding Tripods across the world (Even if the image name was J00001.jpg or someweirdmayanthing.png).  Just played around with Google’s Similar Images search, expecting that the folks who just handed 30 million books to Stanford had finally gotten it.  They haven’t.  Similar images to this:

are, according to Google Similar Image Search, a whole bunch of classic 2d maps.  Documentation is scarce, but it seems to have a text- or peer-collaborative- backend that doesn’t have anything to do with image analysis.  Oh well, on to Google Wave, which I hope will live up to all the hype.

Craigslist is Dying?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Unlike the earlier fear that Wikipedia is on the decline, this one seems serious.  Outsourcing bogus Craigslist ads is a staple of sites like Rentacoder, and even with Craigslist experimenting with account verification via phone, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough.  Of course, Craigslist has other problems, but it’s this structural one that might kill it.  Imagine a world where every spammer can create a phony ad…

The Underculture

Posted in Academia, Art, Buckeye, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Fiction, Games on October 9th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and the Unknown Troper?  Yeah, maybe.

Because while you’ve been desperately trying to keep up with the mind-shattering connectedness of Facebook and Twitter, an entire culture based on shows, books and, well, tropes you’ve probably never heard of has sprung up, organized itself and managed to co-opt the very classics you’ve neglected to read.  Didn’t realize the Epic of Gilgamesh has elements of a Zombie Apocalypse in it or that the Anenid has anything in common with The Blues Brothers?  That’s because you don’t get it.  Somehow, while we weren’t looking, the Internet soup finally managed to get that Cthulhu, Dungeons and Dragons and All Purpose Cat Girl Nuku Nuku really do make up a common culture with Daoism, Lando Calrissian, 西游记, Final Fantasy, hip hop, the Lolrus and, well, everything.

It’s all tied together with a common understanding of comic book superhero powers, video game mechanics and memetic mashups.  Even the academics recognize that there’s something that ties together all these strange, seemingly dissimilar cultural artifacts.  Don’t know what a critical existence failure is or the tripartite model of videogame space?  Would you be able to recognize a 30 Xanatos Pile-Up?  If you’re sure by now that I’m making this up, put yourself in my shoes, I have to live here.

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Bipolar Blogposter!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

As a note to my fan(s), I’m going to break the triforce and try to maintain my off-the-wall and primarily socially-oriented, web-enabled posting at Seven Lions while donning the Digital Humanities Guy outfit and posting on the more academic stuff over at HASTAC, where I’m a HASTAC Scholar (The pay isn’t so great, but you get low-level membership into the Illuminati, so it’s a career builder).  So if you want to read my critique of current Digital Humanities projects, you’ll have to look here.  If you want to enjoy the occasional reference to whacky singers, game-inspired art and Bughunter, keep your Seven Lions bookmark.

Remember, Gazey the pen-and-ink gazelle is always watching you at Seven Lions.

Remember, Gazey the pen-and-ink gazelle is always watching you at Seven Lions.