Walking through a vast network of medieval streets and houses, it’s easy to get lost. Luckily, I can fly. So I can see that up ahead, a team is building a castle with parapets and a wide moat. Someone next to me is posting signs with historical facts about the city. In outlying areas, people tend farms and raise livestock. Below, another team is creating a vast network of dungeons and prison cells. I’m in Minecraft, of course—the phenomenally popular, open-ended game that places players in a world in which they can live and build things infinitely. via MinecraftEdu Takes Hold in Schools | School Library Journal.
Serial: listeners of podcast phenomenon turn detectives – with troubling results – ©[theguardian.com]
I fell into Serial, the new podcast that re-investigates a murder, the way they used to say one fell into bankruptcy: slowly, then all at once. I only tuned in once six episodes had aired, but then it became a binge. A dinner with a friend interrupted me and I was palpably impatient, restless, wanting to get back to my listening. And then, when I was done, my appetite not quite sated, I satisfied my 21st-century curiosity in a prosaic way: I fired up Google.
That experience with Serial is hardly unique. Downloads of the show seem to increase each week, reportedly averaging at roughly 850,000 an episode. It’s viral.
From the protests in Hong Kong to Occupy and Sandy in New York, a new generation of tools is allowing communities to connect without using the Internet. Can they have a use in news too?
In the rush to get from here to there, not many travelers in Boston’s South Station are likely to notice the two blue wifi icons near the Martin’s News Shop informing them that they are now in range of the “Pulse of South Station.” And if they did, they might rightly assume that it was some kind of marketing campaign.
But at its inception in 2005, the Pulse of Boston of which that sign was a part was also much more than this: It was a cutting-edge experiment in hyperlocal, offline, wireless news and community. And while the original Boston Globe effort lasted less than a year, today both global events and advances in DIY wireless technologies are rebooting interest in this physically proscribed approach to hyperlocal communications — exploring how wireless connections that don’t rely on the Internet can serve as both community hubs and crucial information sources.
By associating itself with the selfish pleasures of visibility, the wearable camera GoPro has staved off criticism for how it enhances surveillance
In On Photography, Susan Sontag laments the disconnected voyeurism photography produces. “Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality,” she declared. Watching people stare at their phones rather than the world around them suggests that she was spot on. Capitalizing on that widely held impression, the thriving camera company GoPro sells a different view: Cameras don’t have to imprison reality; they can encourage you to engage with the world as fully as possible — all while documenting it, of course.
My friend is exasperated with her younger sister, who’s been crashing on her couch. Recently she asked her sibling to get up early to let the electrician in, but the sister slept through the appointed hour. She’d been up until dawn, playing World of Warcraft.
What was she doing for so long inside the game?, I wondered. She might have been counting out bloody coins for a nice new tabard, or sifting through Silverpines in search of spellbooks. Maybe she was extracting a gas cloud for raw motes a kind of raw resource, or taming sporewalkers a type of beast. Or maybe she’d been chatting with some other player, one encountered among the 6.8 million that inhabit the Warcraft universe. These are all things you can do to develop your character, build relationships, and make money there.
“When will she learn?” my friend groaned. But some researchers are asking an inverse question: What can the real world learn from what’s happening in virtual ones?
Massively multi-player online games MMOs like Warcraft, EVE Online, or Everquest are synthetic environments, but they function in ways that parallel real ones, socially and economically.
Ferguson is about many things, starting first with race and policing in America.
But it’s also about internet, net neutrality and algorithmic filtering.
It’s a clear example of why “saving the Internet”, as it often phrased, is not an abstract issue of concern only to nerds, Silicon Valley bosses, and few NGOs. It’s why “algorithmic filtering” is not a vague concern.
It’s a clear example why net neutrality is a human rights issue; a free speech issue; and an issue of the voiceless being heard, on their own terms.
I saw this play out in multiple countries — my home country of Turkey included — but last night, it became even more heartbreakingly apparent in the United States as well.
For me, last night’s Ferguson “coverage” began when people started retweeting pictures of armored vehicles with heavily armored “robocops” on top of them, aiming their nuzzle at the protesters, who seemed to number a few hundred.
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