So we really do have say? Questions for Dr. Bartle
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I enjoy virtual worlds because I can escape reality.  While in game, my teammates and enemies alike are unaware of me; my avatar is what's important; it's who they interact with; it is an ambiguously accurate representation of "me" according to the inputs I give "it."

In virtual worlds, is anonymity of users necessary to establish a detachment from reality? 

One of the attractions of virtual worlds is that users are able to escape their real lives and assume another.  In a segment highlighting escorts in SL, many avatars commented that they did not want real-world contacts to know of their secret SL fetish.  Likewise, many regular users of virtual worlds also enjoy the detachment from their real lives. 

Does increasing popularity of virtual worlds also threaten one's ability to escape; will a gamer willingly deny interaction with a friend in order to remain anonymous?

Are virtual worlds only as virtual as we continue to say they are?  Wouldn't it be more beneficial to motivate participation in virtual worlds by saying, "this isn't virtual, it's real-life"...?

Looking forward to your visit!

WARNING: DO NOT PLAY AARDWOLF WITH RED EYES
ildirigente

I enjoyed playing Aardwolf and was able to get into the narrative and game environment.  The Aardwolf download is great because it shows the different elements of the game on one-screen, which definitely made the actual playing of the game easier on the eyes!  I was actually really addicted to the game, and it reminded me of my days in Pokemon--the good ole days?

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Iron Sky -- nazis, again? wtf
ildirigente
Figured I'd share, and yes, it is true, they are coming back.  Check out this crazy film, Iron Sky

Interesting

To make a long story short
ildirigente
Hey Annalee,

First off, I enjoyed your interview, especially your reaction towards the Mini Cooper billboard campaign..!  I read your Avatar critique on io9 When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?, and have to express my utter agreement, but also I want to pose some questions.

Thinking of Avatar as an example of white racist propaganda is disheartening, but I think very true.  After twenty minutes or so, the hilariously pathetic parodies of white prowess and racial dominance killed any sort of buzz I had from enjoying the 3D a bit too much...Read more and I'll let you borrow my carmex...Collapse )

The mind as a mobo
ildirigente
Newitz and the Pixies ask “where is my mind.”  And although I can probably accurately say where their minds were when they thought to ask, “where is my mind” I do feel this is an important, interesting, and enabling question.  The thought of placing a mind in a vat has always intrigued me.  I remember reading about the cracking of genetic code, hacking it, and essentially manipulating the biology of humans as needed.  The mind seems no different in that it should be, one day, hacked, just like anything else.  To me, this paints a picture of the mind as a motherboard.  Like the mobo, the mind controls processes, actions, and (I wish I was an expert on this) wants/desires/movements, etc.--all of which can be hacked  The mind, and mobo, are representations of power.
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Power of safety
ildirigente
The transhuman movement is both awesome and provocative.  From my perspective and according to my definition, transhumanists attempt to promote the human race to its fullest potential, but fail to provide a sense of safety for those not involved or unaware.  This may be one of the problems of the movement: in the past when things were more simple, before internet, tv, or even telephone, humans were able to capture their necessities to life, and had the sense of safety knowing that their offspring will grow up in a world relatively similar to their own.  In one day today, humans do so much more than they used to doRead more...Collapse )

the rise of data & surveilance, watch it now
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In Connected, Shaviro speaks of surveillance and its increasing reliance on the power of data.  Interestingly enough, does this infer that the world will become full of nothing but data?  It seems from the reading that surveillance in every its every form is leading the way for constant observation.  The difference between surveillance and observation, to me, can be seen in the motives involved.  Surveillance seems to elicit a “need” for control or power; there is always something to be collected from surveillance, to be archived and put into forms that cross-reference one another for purposes of monitoring/implementing control.  Observation, on the other hand, seems to serve the purpose of data-tizing our life, which I believe Shaviro states when he speaks of Bill Gates’ house and the Microsoft House of the Future.  But by putting our lives into data, transforming them into process thereof, and using them for the sole intentions of observation (having computers look into eyes, measure body temperature, all for the purpose to change the AC in your house), when can we draw a line between the surveillance and observation?  To succinctly summarize, our lives are being transformed into data, some of the data is collected for surveillance (need to inflict control) and other data is collected from observation (to achieve efficient streamlined lives

rd mr plz xdCollapse )

 


hahaha... this could get ugly
ildirigente
 I've seen live webcams for cities and such before... I've always been a fan of checking out a local town back in Arizona, Flagstaff!  It's fun to watch the main view of the historic downtown, watch people walk by the pub, and perhaps (if I'm lucky enough) see something cool (like someone slipping on ice,Read more...Collapse )

Lennox ARG
ildirigente
Wouldn't it be cool if we could lure in audiences to view our Reality Hackers by means of an ARG?  The task would be difficult and probably unrealistic with our limited timeframe, but possibly starting an ARG within the community would be a fun idea.  We could go to UTSA, IW, SAC, and elsewhere to publicize a website which would serve as the rabbithole to our game.  In order to solve the puzzle and win the game, voluntary participants would all have to meet and listen to the speakers talk.  Maybe an incentive/prize would be given in the end?

It would be fun, but yea, probably not possible to do in a week or so.

Other ways we could reach out to others would be to talk with Comm profs at the other univ's around town.  I'd imagine that students from IW and SAC/St. Mary's (and UTSA but a bit farther away) would like to hear the lennox seminars.  Do they even know about it?  

Assuming we connected with others thru an ARG, we could use email, websites, text messaging (maybe), pay phones, campus phones, etc. and share/spread the clues.  Maybe a murder story, the murder of the past and exposure/emergence of the future (taaadaaah: our lennox seminar speakers, idk bout you, but I am fairly optimistic and can only hope that their ideas will become reality!

What yall think?

The Coming of the Next Messiah
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Southland Tales struck me as a direct allusion to the Book of Revelations.  Constantly we continued to hear Biblical quotations and metaphors to the end of the earth and we see figures that probably represent key aspects of Revelations.  I’d like to first talk about the Baron Von Westphalen who I saw as the anti-Christ.  The Baron and Treer are committed to bringing change to the world, what they wanted I’m not entirely sure.  But I think they were aware of Krysta Now’s ability to see the future, which is why she wrote “The Power.”  I’d like to talk about the Baron though, especially his last name Westphalen.  Is this a direct allusion to Voltaire’s work on optimism, Candide?  In Candide, the Baron is from the town of Westphalia and employs a philosopher who Voltaire candidly dubs Dr. Pangloss as the professor of métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigologie.  Voltaire sarcastically refers to him as such because of his delapitated view on the world and society, explaining that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.”  Examples later in the text suggest that God is in control of everything and humans have no intervention into the well-being and progression of their future.  Is Richard Kelly comparing the Baron, the anti-Christ, to someone who believes in the philosophy of divine intervention w/out human interaction?  It sort of seems like a contradiction of an anti-Christ.  The anti-Christ being the one who changes the controls of God, but Kelly might be saying that even though the anti-Christ can manipulate God (in theory) they are still subsequently inhibited by divine powers.  This may be a stretch, but Southland Tales seemed to compare to similar thoughts as expressed by Voltaire in Candide.

The Whore of Babylon seems to be portrayed by Krysta Now.  When she flew through a rift in space-time she was the only one onboard who did not develop amnesia, resulting in her keen ability to foresee into the future.  She plays the role of the Whore of Babylon because her screenplay, “The Power” alludes to the Beast of Revelations, or the event of destruction.  “The Power” was sort of her form of modern-day Revelations in itself, so she is the bearer of the destruction, maybe? 

The two witnesses are Boxer and Pilot Abilene who both seemingly understand the end is near.  Pilot Abilene constantly quotes from Revelations and reiterates Eliot’s quotation: “This is the way the world ends, Not with a band but with a whimper.”  Both Boxer and Pilot Abilene are aware (although at different times) that Roland/Ronald Taverner is perhaps the next messiah?  Which leads into who was Jesus Christ?  I believe that Jesus Christ was Martin Kefauver, the guy who got drafted to go to Iraq.  In this scenario, Christ as Martin, I viewed his decision to shoot down the mega-zeppelin as the last and final decision Christ makes before the end of the world.  As Martin jumps off the ice cream truck and dies, he is making way for the next messiah: Roland/Ronald Taverner.  When the Taverners are having their dynamic and dramatic dialogue with one another this is the point, imo, that the next messiah realizes his newly granted duties.  When one of the Taverner brothers stops crying after being “Forgiven,” his eyes are then able to see the destruction of the world, Christ as the previous messiah, and Jerusalem in its truest form, allowing him to assume his new reign.  With Jesus, Martin, back on earth passing judgment (decision to shoot down the mega-zeppelin) and falling to his final death, he departs this earth for the last time, never to be resurrected again but to make way for Taverner.

Maybe this interpretation is incorrect, but it is nevertheless interesting and fun to think-up.  To sum, the Baron is the anti-Christ who is possibly plauged with Dr. Pangloss’ corrupt view on humanity; Bobby Frost is the false prophet, Krysta Now is the Whore of Babylon, the two witnesses are Boxer and Abilene, the ice cream truck is the white horse, Martin is Christ, and Roland/Ronald Taverner is the next messiah.  
I could be wrong, but it sounds right, to me at least. :)  Any other viewpoints? 

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