Category Archives: Panopticonic

The Internet Others and the Art of Never Not Always Responding

Living and working on the internet provides many interesting and resistive conundrums. You want to share information, and learn things, and try to propagate knowledge forward with some semblance of permanency and purpose; but there are always — The Others — also online, who appear to live to thwart any attempt at compulsive fact collecting. Sure, we all know the Comments Troll — but there are other ugly demons that abound, just waiting to leap at you and waste all your time.

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Quantifying Ubiquity: You Are Eight in Eight Million

There is a fun old saying — “You’re One in a Million” — that is meant to convey a specialness using data-driven facts.  What I find most interesting in the million specialness is how absolutely non-special you are depending where you happen to live in the world.

For example, in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska — with a population of 160,000 while I was growing up — I was super-extra-crispy special, because it would take 6.25 times my city’s population to make me unique one time in a million tries.

In New York City, the story is different. There are currently 8.3 million people in The Big City — and that means my specialness is drained in the larger lake from my small pond pool of the Midwest.

Instead of being “One in a Million” in NYC, I’m now, actually, eight in 8.3 million — and that’s a pretty sobering number.

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Michelangelo’s 16th Century Cipher Image Communication

One internet meme that is taking flight on social media is the handcrafted glory of a grocery list Michelangelo created in the 16th century for his illiterate servant to use while shopping.

Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate,” writes the Oregonian‘s Steve Duin in a review of a Seattle Art Museum show, “Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and ‘a small quarter of a rough wine’ — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.” As we can see, the true Renaissance Man didn’t just pursue a variety of interests, but applied his mastery equally to tasks exceptional and mundane. Which, of course, renders the mundane exceptional.

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Kitten Explosion!

I have had to move away from my old house, I have children of my own to protect from the unfriendly dogs and the foxes.

I do sneak back from time to time — and thought I would update you on some of the changes in the growing family of Alentejo cats .

I had heard rumours about new kittens and thought I would go and investigate.   My first couple of return visits I saw nothing but the usual crowd I knew all growing up well. Little Squeak is no longer frail and tiny.  He is growing up into a fine specimen of a cat and his sister Bubbles is blossoming too as is the aloof Nimbus.

Here is Mr B.  One of the naughtiest cat I have ever met!

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Our Re-Future: Limitless Lifecasting and Shiftless Re-Winding

In the comments stream for — Cracking the Fiery Core: We Are Not What We Have — I said this, that has, ever since, had me thinking about the unfolding of such future events:

I think the next wave push is going to be “Limitless Lifecasting” — where you just stream video of your life all day and all night long. You’re online 24 hours a day. Google Glass will be the first step into the bloody morass. Re-winding will be the new Re-tweeting and Re-blogging.

With the revelation this week that Google Glass, Part II is set to debut soon — along with the news that current Glass users now able to invite three of their most gullible friends to shell out $1,500.00USD to share in the pioneer experience of getting punched in the face — our new, shiftless “re-” future is officially embedded among us.

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Curtains Make Good Neighbors and Bad Art

The quickest way to lose any social argument is to hide behind claiming the wellbeing of your children is at risk while not standing in front of them and offering them direct protection.  If you’re truly concerned about the welfare of your offspring, instantly act on their behalf, and don’t slog into the courts to beg a remedy to a simple matter of privacy that could be solved simply by drawing the curtains.

There’s an old saying in the Deaf Community when it comes to watching other people’s Sign Language conversations from across the room — “eyes for for?” — meaning “my eyes are for watching, and if you don’t want to be watched, then move out of my line of sight. Make your own privacy.”

Today, we could say the same thing about a camera in situ — “photos for for?”

There’s a big hoo-hah here in New York City over the right of a family to demand privacy in their floor-to-ceiling windowed apartment — even though they leave the curtains open — so anyone, and everyone, can see directly into their living space.

One neighbor, Arne Svenson, found the patterns of the family’s windows intriguing and took a series of images of them as part of his “The Neighbors” photography series.  Here’s an example from his fascinating collection:

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