Link-dump in extremis…

According to Mr Webb and Mr Gyford (with whom I work), it is inappropriate web behaviour to have four full lines of bookmarks in your Mozilla toolbar, all waiting to be properly written-up and posted to your site. Probably less appropriate still are the eleven tabbed browser windows I have open as well, each containing something I’d like to talk about in more detail. So – because it remains vaguely fashionable, and because I’d much rather go and play Black and White – I’m going to do yet another link-dump. Don’t hate me. I’ll come up with some proper content one day. I promise…

  • Wireless Cultures at the Tate Modern
    “Driven by a Brechtian ideal to ‘mobilise the user and redraft him/her as a producer’, small grassroots groups are connecting neighbourhoods into local area internet networks. How can these spark new areas of creative practice, and what precedents were set by the historical radio pioneers? This half-day seminar explores the use of wireless communication in artistic and social contexts…”

  • Butterfly etymology
    In what must be one of the most deliciously wonderful pieces of etymology ever, I discovered today that the word psyche – which I knew came from the Ancient Greek word for ‘soul’ or ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’ also meant butterfly. The word today – of course – generally refers to a quasi-scientific concept of ‘mind’ that is heavily implicated in Platonic divisions between mind and body…

  • People react to the Bloggies
    Despite the fact that the nomination and judging process of The Bloggies is open and well-known the first round nominations seem to have surprised quite a few warbloggers and celebrity bloggers. There are a number of possible reasons for this, of course. One reason is that right-wing warbloggers are self-selecting to be less community-spirited and engaged in ‘society’ (these being the realms of wooly liberals) and so may simply not have bothered to volunteer to be first round judges. Or of course it could be that warblogging and the associated celebrity figures are much more widely read by members of the public than they are by other webloggers. Admittedly some of the nominees are a little weird and there are some very notable absences, but it hardly seems fair to lambast the nomination process for their own inability to motivate their colleagues to take part… (The nomination process is as follows: members of the public nominate and some volunteer to be first-round judges. Then a percentage of the volunteers are randomly chosen to become second round judges who visit a substantial block of the nominated sites and then vote on their favourites, whittling them down to a manageable five per category. These five are presented to the public to vote upon.) And anyway – it’s supposed to be a fun content to take part in – a way for a community to get together and chat about stuff. Like a village fete or something. It’s not particularly serious…

  • 10 ways to tell if your co-worker is an extra-terrestrial
    “Many top scientists believe that aliens live secretly among us. The sneaky intergalactic travelers often pose as our friends, neighbors and co-workers while they learn the ways of Earth. But how can you tell invading aliens from real humans?”

  • Joe Clark talks balls
    One of the most interesting things about Joe Clark’s site is how often his arguments hinge upon how everyone has a vile self-serving secret agenda, or how they’re nasty manipulative people that want to squish the common {gay cinema/web usability/accessibility expert} man or that they occasionally make typos (and are therefore clearly incompetent and unpleasant).

  • They don’t get blog
    Found while wandering through the Bloggies nominations for best article, this piece on how people like Andrew Sullivan miss the point with weblogging (spitting on community, talking about publishing) really hit home for me and reminded me a lot of a piece I wrote a while ago for a talk at the BBC. In it I argued that mainstream publishers had – to date – only interacted with weblogs on the most superficial level, as something to write about or as a territory to claim. Journalists often take the second approach when they go online. I also wrote about this in my debate with Simon Waldman about the Guardian’s Best British Blog prize. There is something very profoundly different about the polyphony of voices interacting and arguing one another. It’s not just a way to shout your opinions as loudly as possible in as flat and featureless a way as possible. Engaging in that community – not of webloggers, but of citizens who happen to be empowered to respond and engage with you – is the whole point as far as I’m concerned.