“The 1,000 Drones Project: an interview with Joseph DeLappe” [#geekgirl]
“Marc Garrett: Could you tell us why you felt it was necessary to do this project even though there is already much media attention out there relating to the use of drones in domestic, military and commercial culture?
Joseph DeLappe: There has indeed been much media attention surrounding the use of militarized drones as a part of US foreign policy. Our drone policies have received much attention yet, as with the coverage of civilian casualties from the Iraq war, the actual human costs of our drone strikes remains rather illusive. Through the work I am doing regarding drones that specifically focuses on memorializing civilian deaths I hope to actualize the estimates of civilian deaths and to call into question the moral issues surrounding such remote killings. You might say that drones have struck a nerve with me. There is something different about drones. They seem to perfectly combine aspects of our worst fantasies of digital technologies, interactivity, computer gaming and war. One might consider them a bit of a “gateway” weapon (the drug reference is of course intentional here). I suspect we have indeed opened a Pandora’s box leading to the further utilization of remote and robotized weaponry that will make our current drone usage seem quaint.”
Robobees [#sadface] [#geekgirl]
The Harvard Robobee Project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In an article in scientific American in March 2013 the project’s members discuss the complexity of building and controlling tiny robots. One central problem is that any power source capable of running the robots is too heavy for flight to take place.”
The New Who vs Oldskool Timey-Wimey Whovians [#geekgirl] [#DrWho]
—–[“The Time of The Doctor” SPOILERS (Sweetie) Alert]—–
On the 25th December 2013, Doctor Who received 12 new lives. In the episode “The Time of The Doctor”, the current series showrunner, producer and lead writer Steven Moffat imbued the once-labelled as 11th [and now redubbed the 12th, or even 13th] Doctor a new regeneration cycle. In this episode filled with heavy-duty retconned plot threads, we see the New [old] Who emerge.
From a traditional Whovian perspective, there’s been substantial trouble with Moffat’s version of a character who, like his regenerations, has undergone substantial re-jigging as part of the entire franchise reboot, many of which have been largely controversial. When Moffat plucked the Doctor Who writing mantle from Russell T Davis, there was substantial concern that his [then] largely episodic inflected story style wouldn’t be able to adequately extend beyond flashy emotion-inducing viewer bait, complete with thrill laden plot segments and incomplete long arc shifts where foregrounding, consistent character development and plots worthy of the previous writers were/are [mostly] abandoned.
In this pivotal episode, Moffat attempts to disassemble and reassemble elements of the Who Canon in an effort to extend the longevity of the franchise beyond the Doctor’s accepted and restricted Regeneration cycle. The episode contains all the benchmarks we’ve come to expect from Moffat: companions posited as disposable tools or eye-candy mannequins, story gaps you could drive a TARDIS through and plot-hole-construction-gloss thrown about almost randomly by the shiny bucketful. The result creates a type of standard willing Suspension of Disbelief that only just lightly grips the edges of believability. Emotional key points fall cheaply and wantonly [like the death of his handy Cyberman-head-pal “Handles”, or the Doctor's promise to Clara that he'll never abandon her again]. The rushed passage-of-time markers rub the viewer in any manner of annoying ways, and flimsy self-referential exposition becomes paramount when the contrived CGI effects fail to impress.
And yet, given all of the failings of this crucial episode, the emotional reefing that Moffat does best still manages to evoke a type of stretched wonder-thrall. Moffat discards [and has now for many, many episodes] conventions that traditional Dr Who fans hold dear: Joseph Campbellesque hero variables and crucial sci-fi story elements are bypassed in order to cater for more incrementally-oriented audience members used to absorbing their story snippets through 2 minute YouTube blipverts or Tumblr-emulating focals. Moffat knits together these contemporary absorption points via a method that, instead of catering for narratives comprising sequential beginning, middle and ends, seeks to harness the power of discrete narrative units. These units merge techniques drawn from graphic novel variable truncation to story-board framing, resulting in staggered story-time acceleration and retconned plot explosions designed for nonlinear attention spans.
Moffat may not be the great grand hope for old-timey-whiney Whovians [ahem] who yearn for believable extensions to Who chronology beyond an established and pre-mapped regenerative timeline. But through the New Who incarnation, Moffat instead offers us an extension of a well-worn and much-loved character, one that at least utilises the very methods that a contemporary audience regularly deploys to maintain narratives beyond standard story knitting.
Happy New Year All, #2014. If it makes you happy, do it! If not, don’t. [#geekgirl]
Infection of Biological DNA with Digital Computer Code [#geekgirl]
“Biological life spreads in the biological-chemical world, computer codes can spread in the digital computer world. That is a rule – no self-replicator has ever overcome the digital-biological barrier. Until today. Here I show a method how a digital computer code can infect biological DNA, thus spread in the biological-chemical world. The method is mainly based on the fantastic research by the J. Craig Venter Institute on synthetic life, and might ask new questions about the definition of life itself.”
Women Shift Digital – A Conference to celebrate Women in Digital Careers [#geekgirl]
[Disclaimer: I'm honoured to have "cross.ova.ing ][4rm.blog.2.log][" shown and discussed by Dr Maria Mencia at this fabbo event]…“A collective reflection on the positive impacts women are making in digital-led careers. Represented in this conference today are creatives, managers and executives, working with the digital in education, creative industries, business, design, STEM, skills development and the arts. Here we have upfront inputs on the present scenario from experienced leaders and professionals working across the technology sector, with a debate on how to increase the essential involvement of women in the digital future world of work.
Start following the debate now #womenshiftdigital
A conference to:
- Celebrate women in digital careers for the 21st century
- Promote and share good practices
- Network the networks
- Influence the influencers
- Recognise the positive benefits of equal yet diverse teams at all levels of creation and production.”
Intelligence Squared Debates: Copyright is Dead, Long Live the Pirates [#geekgirl]
The bottom is dropping out of the Hollywood box office, while television stations are being hammered by free-falling ratings for blockbuster shows (think: Homeland). We’re watching in droves, but many of us are not paying for what we watch, and we’re too impatient to wait for traditional delivery systems.
Meanwhile, in book publishing, the e-revolution is seeing the boom of digital publishing – and pirated books. Will it go the way of the music industry?
With such open access to information these days, how do we know where one person’s work ends and another begins? Is the very idea of intellectual property becoming a nonsense – or is it too important to give up on, for the continuing functioning of the arts and the sciences? And – the million-dollar question – how can we ensure creativity continues to pay?
In this debate, chaired by Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams, our speakers will consider the obstacles and opportunities ahead.”
Coat Made Entirely of Male Chest Hair [#eww] [#geekgirl]
“We doubt if a phone call to PETA would result in a protest response to a new “fur” coat made entirely from millions of male chest hairs (yes, it’s true and no, men were not injured in the making of this product). UK dairy company Arla commissioned the coat for a series of parody advertisements in support of a new chocolate milk drink aimed at men for the brand Wing-Co. The “Man-fur Coat” is said to be “a wake-up call for the nation’s gents. A way to encourage them to readopt the values of assured ‘men’s men’ from yesteryear who would laugh nonchalantly in the face of adversity and be proud of their abundant manliness”.” [Via ecouterre]
#Antimedia by Florian Cramer [#geekgirl]
“The Cover of Florian Cramer’s new book is, in short, beautiful (and us posting this here has *absolutely nothing* to do with the fact he devotes an entire section of the book to discussing a work by our Creative Director…*cough*…).”
Hunger in Los Angeles – Immersive Journalism [#geekgirl]
“Hunger In Los Angeles is a recreation of an actual event at a food bank line. The audio is real. You experience what happened wearing virtual reality goggles that track where you look and how you move.”