Saturday, July 1, 2006

Friday gazette

Moved into the new house, surprisingly grateful for cleaning products that actually smell good, quite happy to be living next door to a beer salesman, and thankful for the kind souls nearby who leave their wireless networks open, without which we would have been entirely cut off while we waited two days for the stupid cable company to show up - and still wait for our stupid phone line. I should be unpacking or cleaning or doing something productive but, damn it, I just don't feel like it so I do some blog browsing instead.

Rhizome points to Art Fag City's post on raising the art and technology reblog bar: "I think it is high time the critique of the art and technology reblog is revisited, or rather the A&T reblogger, since this technology like any other software is only as good as its 'superuser'." And I'll go a step further and say that it's high time the critique of the art and technology blog is revisited, since reblogs often get their content from them. First of all, unless the author is as entertaining as Pamela Des Barres or Cynthia Plaster Caster, I'd prefer not to read the breathless reporting of an art and tech groupie. Secondly, we all know that quantity does not equal quality so there's a lot to be said for a couple of thoughtfully commented posts a day, rather than a dozen or so copy-and-pasted project or product descriptions. And finally, as all journalists and researchers know, interviews are only as good as the questions asked.

In other cultural news, the French are dealing with the reality that curating artefacts is never neutral, and the story of Aymara understandings of space/time continues to make its rounds, all the while focussing on research in cognitive science to the exclusion of more than 50 years of anthropological study. My own fieldwork was based in the Andean highlands, and a couple of months ago I wrote an essay about native conceptions of space/time and convergence that will be coming out as a Proboscis Diffusion eBook, so stay tuned for that.

Régine points to the beautifully political papel picado work of Dylan Graham, which focusses on the "consequences of colonialism and the ever current issues arising from immigration and forced migration."

Not one to support crass capitalism, I was actually kind of impressed that Warren Buffet has given $31 billion to the Gates Foundation, acknowledging that "a market system has not worked in terms of poor people". And as a big supporter of the Declaration on Great Apes, I'm completely thrilled that "Spain's parliament is to declare support for rights to life and freedom for great apes ... apparently the first time any national legislature will have recognized such rights for non-humans." (via)

In other science-related news, Jack Stilgoe, from my favourite think tank Demos, points to a recent Royal Society report on the barriers scientists feel interfere with their ability to engage the public, but notes that we're still not any closer to clear definitions of what constitutes public engagement.

New to me: Houtlust, an interesting blog on non-profit advertising campaigns.

And last but not least, in celebration of Canada's 139th birthday tomorrow, check out our first nationwide radio broadcast from Parliament Hill.


Blogger Phil said...

the story of Aymara understandings of space/time continues to make its rounds

Benjamin's Angel of History, innit.

Funny how Sapirwhorfianism never quite goes out of fashion - either They have lots of words for [undifferentiated stuff] or They have no words for [all kinds of stuff], and this shows... actually, what does it show? The thing is, you can mine any language for all kinds of interesting qualifications and blurrings; I was thinking this morning about the differences between the Italian words 'ora', 'adesso' and 'ormai', all of which translate as 'now'. It's interesting, but I don't see that it can tell you anything about Human Nature.

Blogger Imprez said...



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