The El Paso Shooting and Video Games as a Partisan Issue – The Atlantic

Ferguson insisted that the debate about video-game violence will live on as long as there are video games to play and researchers to study them. “But the evidence is very clear that there’s not a relationship between violent video games and violence in society. There’s not evidence of a correlation, let alone a causation,” he said. Other researchers have come to the same conclusion, and the American Psychological Association’s media-psychology division issued a public statement in 2017 discouraging politicians and journalists from connecting games and violence. In his own recent studies on longitudinal behavior, Ferguson and his collaborators have concluded that violent games don’t appear to predict anything useful about violent thoughts or acts—not physical aggression, social aggression, or even cyberbullying.

Source: The El Paso Shooting and Video Games as a Partisan Issue – The Atlantic

This article by Ian Bogost is published and written urgently after the white-suprematist shooting in El Paso, Texas, earlier this week. It lays out the history of the moral panic and it presents outcomes from an interview with researcher, Ferguson.

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August 6, 2019

How to run a small social network site for your friends

Since August 2018 I have run a social network site called Friend Camp for about 50 of my friends. I think Friend Camp is a really nice place, and my friends seem to agree that it has enriched our lives. I’d like to see more places like Friend Camp on the internet, and this document is my attempt to provide some practical guidance as to how you might run a social network site like this.

Source: How to run a small social network site for your friends

This is a project by Anil Dash. It reminds me of the work of Robin Dunbar whose Dunbar Number theorizes the maximum number was of active relationships a human person can sustain. The project is an attempt to make accessible the knowledge to create bespoke, artisinal, social networks.

We once taught this stuff at the University of Denver, when we had a program called Digital Media Studies. At that time we found it difficult to populate new social networks with enough vibrance to be self-sustaining. I wonder if there is a minimum number necessary for this.

It brings to mind another social phenomena named by Brian Eno, scenius. His critique of the myth of the lone genius is that a scene, or a network of interpersonal relationships, facilitates creative acts.

I wonder what is the smallest number of humans, or of relationships, in a location that are necessary to support the existence of scenius? What are the spatio-temporal boundaries that parameterize scenius?

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August 4, 2019

Intergenerational Trauma Animation – YouTube

This video on Intergenerational Trauma was shared with me by a former student upon seeing my post on FB about feeling wrecked by the news of the mass shooting at El Paso Texas yesterday, 2019 08 03. It’s a lovely bit of story telling and it points a direction towards healing.

My partner has noted that I am sad a lot and suggests I should see someone. I acknowledge that I feel a great sadness often. Sometimes they are moments of grief which, I have been told, arise at random. Other times the source of sadness is easy enough to see.

I am concerned for the people I know from El Paso, and who live there. We once shopped at the Cielo Vista mall. It is close to where we once lived. The population is such that it’s likely I had some connection with someone who was present, who was injured, or who perished.

This shooting echoed for me the night of the Aurora movie theatre shooting in Denver. On first blush it may seem irrational. Yet, both were premeditated and carried out with military style assult weapons by a perpetrator who is a youngish white man. The night of the Aurora shooting there was a 50% chance that my children were in that theater. The film was only premiering in two locations in town.

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August 4, 2019

The Buddhist History of Moveable Type Before Gutenberg –

Forget Johannes Gutenberg. The first person to ever make a book printed with moveable type was named Choe Yun-ui.
— Read on

Here is an addendum to the western narrative that places Gutenberg and Germany at the center of the invention of moveable type and printing of books. I have been looking for a history that is inclusive of the inventions and innovations from Asia. This one is a starting point. I remain hopeful for further scholarly histories.

The crux of this link is that Korea, China, and the Mongol empire played a role in humanity’s exploration with the printed word organized on/with metal, some 150 years before Gutenberg at an important inflection point. Those innovations may, or may not, have spread to Europe. There is where the gaps are.

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July 1, 2019

A closer look at Microsoft’s new Kinect sensor – The Verge

developers will be able to use it with or without Azure
— Read on

Microsoft has created a new Kinect sensor. During an invaluable conversation with artist Matthew Keff at the IEEE-GEM 2019 conference at Yale last week I learned about this re-introduction. The Kinect had been declared dead technology upon its notable absence a year ago at the 2018 E3 trade show.

We created a game, Sow/Reap, in the summer of 2013, that took advantage the Kinect for PC, an earlier model. That model was superceded by the model that accompanied the Xbox One which was effectively DOA. No new games used the new tech. Instead it was deemed an always on, always networked bit of spyware. Microsoft walked back from requiring Kinects be connected to Xbox One.

Now with the Hololens there is once again a use for depth-tracking/mapping for AR and VR. This is where the new Kinect fits into the Microsoft ecosystem.

I am curious if this new Kinect will be sufficiently open for us to remake/refresh/rethink Sow/Reap.

Information about Sow/Reap is available on

Matthew Keff is making wonderful work visible at

IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media conference program at

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June 24, 2019

Ecozon@ Vol 8, No 2 (2017)

Journal of Literature, Culture and the Environment
— Read on

Bookmarking here so I can find it again later. This issue of the bilingual journal (Spanish and English) is dedicated to Ecocriticism and Computer- and Video- Games. It may be that “ecocriticism” is a particular critical lens. The idea of the greening of games appeals to me.

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June 18, 2019

to watch: Pachamama

Pachamama looks utterly beautiful and unlike anything aimed at children today. And while it’s not necessarily evident from the trailer, Antin says he hopes to promote an ecological message with the film. Overall, the movie seems to take a complex history – Andean villagers struggling under the dominion of the Incas, who themselves are on the verge of being pillaged Spanish conquistadores – and makes it accessible and entertaining to a young audience.

putting this here so I remember to check it out on Netflix. Writer is of Peruvian heritage.

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June 16, 2019

Colombian bot pilots

The Kiwibots do not figure out their own routes. Instead, people in Colombia, the home country of Chavez and his two co-founders, plot “waypoints” for the bots to follow, sending them instructions every five to 10 seconds on where to go.

As with other offshoring arrangements, the labor savings are huge. The Colombia workers, who can each handle up to three robots, make less than $2 an hour, which is above the local minimum wage.

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June 16, 2019

afrofuturisms many (mis)identifications

Many Afrofuturist authors are described as sci-fi and Afro-surrealist, magical realist and fantasy, simply because their work links science, nature, and magic as one.

Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (2013)

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December 5, 2018

d-boy is with us again for a short while #jetlagged #timeshifted #arrivedatfiveam #crossedthedateline #fromthefuture

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July 6, 2018