Saturday, February 26, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Future—An Argumentative Essay Assignment"I found the material of the actual 21st Century richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary 21st Century could ever have been. And it could be unpacked with the toolkit of science fiction. I don’t really see how it can be unpacked otherwise, as so much of it is so utterly akin to science fiction, complete with a workaday level of cognitive dissonance we now take utterly for granted.”—William Gibson
For this assignment, you will construct a carefully reasoned argument based on a small topic that concerns the future. It would help if you have had some direct experience with it. Select an issue, problem, or situation that interests you, research the topic at the library, and carefully present a case for your thesis. Include in your argument a plausible scenario as to what will happen several years in the future. Many of the essays will likely take the form of an investigation of a problem for which you will provide a solution.Possible topics (with related links): cloud computing, the hive mind, the rise of some aspect of social media, resource depletion such as peak oil, changes in smart phone technology, the future of apps, future job skills, stem cell research quandaries, viral culture, the future of internet search, product placement in the media, the ethics of Photoshopping images, future traffic, the future of information technology, extinction of species, data visualization, the overfishing of the oceans, supercities, Google’s vision of augmented humanity, climate change, data overload in the military (and in everyday life), the attention economy, robotics, the ageing population, overpopulation, the internet and privacy, special effects in movies, internet startups, the revolution in Egypt and cybersubversion, hackers, genetic engineering, surrogate parenting, zombies, the acceleration of change, visions of the apocalypse in the media, brain science, artificial intelligence, developments in mortuary science, WikiLeaks, organ transplants, superbugs, terraforming, cyborgs, coolhunters, future garbage, the cyberpunk movement, the digital footprint, surveillance technology, the culture of appropriation, internet piracy, the digital future, the die-off, cyber warfare, food scarcity, dead malls, and sustainability.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
"To a degree unheard of even five years ago, we live our lives mediated by Firefox browsers and Droid screens. And that means—whether it’s ostensibly protected sensitive data (financial and medical data), ostensibly inconsequential personal data (Flickr photos, YouTube channels, Twitter feeds) or ostensibly depersonalized behavioral data (browsing patterns, search queries, HTTP cookies)—our lives are nowhere near as private as we might presume them to be.
“Precisely because the tech advances have come in so many places, it’s really quite hard to pick any one particular spot that’s the biggest problem,” said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “They all converge. Because we have a giant personal information superhighway, where all of our information travels around both the government and the business sector, what gets picked up in one place is being transferred to another place. So it all ends up, not necessarily in a central basket, but in a lot of different baskets—where it can always be accessed.”
“Data collection is becoming ubiquitous,” said Jules Polonetsky, co-chair and director of the Future of Privacy Forum, and former chief privacy officer at AOL. “It’s not science fiction anymore to think there are lots of databases that have everything we’ve done: every search we’ve done, every website we’ve visited.”
It might be comforting to think that our online identities are just anonymous strings of ones and zeros, but that’s just not true anymore. So what we used to loosely define as “privacy”—an admittedly amorphous concept—is changing fast. And only recently do consumers, voters, politicians and the media seem to be grasping that fact.
Before, “We had privacy from obscurity,” said David Ardia, another fellow at the Berkman Center, and the director and founder of the Citizen Media Law Project. Now, almost everything worth knowing about almost anyone is online.
“That means it’s searchable, and it’s available forever. And I don’t think we’ve caught up to that change in the way we structure our lives and the way we understand privacy.”
---Winklevii behind the scenes
---David Carr's "At Media Companies, a Nation of Serfs"
---film editor Michael Kahn interview
---The Black Keys send up Tarantino with "Howlin' for You"
---the lyrical and very bloody Dead Island trailer
---Mark Harris contemplates the doom of the film industry:
"For the studios, a good new idea has become just too scary a road to travel. Inception, they will tell you, is an exceptional movie. And movies that need to be exceptional to succeed are bad business. "The scab you're picking at is called execution," says legendary producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, True Grit). "Studios are hardwired not to bet on execution, and the terrible thing is, they're right. Because in terms of execution, most movies disappoint."With that in mind, let's look ahead to what's on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children's book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title.1
This whole set-up, in turn, fuels the view that narcissism and hipsterism are increasing society-wide, since self-production in the mode of marketing copy (developing the personal brand) is more and more what people do, if not for a living, then simply to appear, to be socially relevant."
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
5) Aron's erstwhile girlfriend Rana (Clemence Poesy) tells him "You're going to be so lonely, Aron." And, lo, the rock proves her right, but isn't he also right to get away from the mass conformist crowd?