This is absolutely stunning: Ian Bogost had his computer science students at George Tech modify Stella, the opensource Atari 2600 emulator, to reproduce the same kind of visual artifacts you would've seen when you played the VCS on a CRT television (those big boxy TVs with tubes, for those of you who don't remember). Their… Continue reading Television Emulation for the Atari VCS
Lately I've been wondering how to use Jane McGonigal's Zen Scavenger Hunt idea in my teaching. A Zen Scavenger Hunt is essentially a reversed-engineered scavenger hunt. The hunters go out and find ten or or so items and only afterward do they receive the list of the items they're supposed to be scavenging for. The… Continue reading Zen Scavenger Essay Writing
A few of my English department colleagues and myself are preparing to propose a new Electronic Literature course, to replace a more vaguely named "Textual Media" class in the university course catalog. Here is an incredibly first draft version of the course description, building in part on language from the Electronic Literature Organization's own description… Continue reading Electronic Literature Course Description
I've written before about the way Africa still functions for the news media as a "dark continent" of primitive savagery. So what a sad gift this headline was the other day in the New York Times: "Warming Leads to Water Shortage and 'Africanization' of Spain." I was getting all psyched up to write about this… Continue reading “Africanization” Disappears from NYT Headline
My course descriptions for Fall 2008 have been up for a while, but here are the specific reading lists for both classes (cross-posted from my official university site): Reading List for ENGL 343 - Textual Media Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary by N. Katherine Hayles Afternoon: A Story by Michael Joyce Understanding Comics:… Continue reading Reading Lists for Fall 2008
Anybody who follows Facebook has probably heard about the user who found it impossible to delete his account; even after he deactivated his profile, it showed up in searches and various Facebook news feeds. If you can't get out of Facebook when you're alive, what happens when you die? What happens to your Facebook profile… Continue reading What happens on Facebook when we die?
Slashdot has a post today about a professor who requires students to edit Wikipedia for a class assignment. Come on, Slashdot, this is old, old news! My colleague Mills Kelly has had many Wikipedia assignment in the past several years, while over a year ago I had my 21st Century Literature Class do extensive edits… Continue reading Making Wikipedia a Class Assignment
It doesn’t attempt the kind of analysis I try with the State of the Union addresses, but chir.ag has a great visual tool that builds tag clouds for hundreds of important presidential speeches and texts, all the way back to the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's State of the Union speeches. The site has… Continue reading More Political Tag Clouds
Clive over at Collision Detection reports on the new Amazon service called Amazon Mechanical Turk, which allows companies to hire (via Amazon) "Turks" who, in their spare time, do seemingly mindless tasks online, for example, tag photographs of shoes according to color. The tasks are mindless--but only for humans who have minds. For computers, the… Continue reading The Amazing Amazon Mechanical Turk
Taking Games Seriously: The Impact of Gaming Technology in the Humanities Monday, May 15th from 4-6pm Location: Car Barn 316, 3520 Prospect St. NW, near Georgetown University Overview and Participants: Please join Michelle Lucey-Roper (Federation for American Scientists) and Jason Rhody (National Endowment for the Humanities) for a discussion moderated by Mark Sample (George Mason… Continue reading D.C. Area Humanities Forum on Video Games
Yesterday I received this bizarre spam, from someone "named" Solly Brit. The subject heading was "time card celibacy" and this nonsense phrase only hints at the random strings of English in the message, which reads like some methed-up computer-generated poetry slam: zest, detect pronoun imperfection and lens radically, in as historian disposable of rest home… Continue reading The Best Spam. Ever.
A recent article in the New York Times details some of the changes that email has wrought upon professor-student relationships in higher ed: At colleges and universities nationwide, e-mail has made professors much more approachable. But many say it has made them too accessible, erasing boundaries that traditionally kept students at a healthy distance. I… Continue reading Professors, students, and emails
My students and I have been playing with WordCount, Jonathan Harris's slick database of the 86,000 or so most commonly used words in the English language, ranked according to frequency. As Harris points out (playfully calling it a "conspiracy"), there are many sequences of adjacent words in the ranked list of 86,800 words that are… Continue reading WordCount Poetry
A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts about the rhetoric of the hyperlink, which I was working on with my Textual Media course. I've complicated my students thinking (I hope) by suggesting that we can use Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud's wonderfully insightful dissection of comics (itself in comics form) to understand new media. Among… Continue reading Using Understanding Comics to Understand New Media
Rhetorics of the Web (by Nicholas Burbules at Wesleyan University) is an often-cited overview of various kinds of hyperlinks and the rhetorical strategies that they employ. In the course of teaching a new media class this fall, I've begun to wonder whether Burbules' examples are too general, ahistorical, or even naive about the possibilities of… Continue reading Rhetoric of the Link