Posts tagged ‘About’

November 26, 2012

Collective Intelligence

hive mind by Luke Ramsey

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in organisms (including some bacteria) and computer networks. The term appears in sociobiology, political science, and in context of mass peer review and crowdsourcing web applications (e.g. Wikipedia). This broader definition involves consensus, social capital, and formalism such as voting systems, social media and other means of quantifying mass activity.

Everything from a political party to a public wiki can reasonably be described as this loose form of collective intelligence. The notion of collective intelligence has also been called ‘Symbiotic intelligence.’ A precursor of the concept is found in entomologist William Morton Wheeler’s observation that seemingly independent individuals can cooperate so closely as to become indistinguishable from a single organism. Wheeler saw this collaborative process at work in ants that acted like the cells of a single beast he called a ‘superorganism.’

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November 11, 2012


woman in bath by roy lichtenstein

wei wei

Appropriation [uh-proh-pree-ey-shuhn] in the arts is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literary, visual, and musical).

Appropriation can be understood as ‘the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.’ In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle, or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture. Most notable in this respect are the ‘Readymades’ of Marcel Duchamp (are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called ‘retinal art’).

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November 10, 2012

Fair Use


steal like an artist

Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving, and scholarship.

It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test (Purpose and character; Nature of the copied work; Amount and substantiality; and Effect upon work’s value). Along with Public Domain, Fair use is one of the ‘Traditional Safety Valves’ (techniques that balance the public’s interest in open access with the property interest of copyright owners)

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October 10, 2012


Assemblage [uh-sem-blij] refers to a text ‘built primarily and explicitly from existing texts in order to solve a writing or communication problem in a new context.’ The concept was first proposed by Johndan Johnson-Eilola (author of ‘Datacloud’) and Stuart Selber in the journal, ‘Computers & Composition,’ in 2007. The notion of assemblages builds on remix practices, which blur distinctions between invented and borrowed work.

Johnson-Eilola and Selber discuss the intertextual nature of writing, and they assert that participation in existing discourse necessarily means that composition cannot occur separate from that discourse. They state that ‘productive participation involves appropriation and re-appropriation of the familiar’ in a manner that conforms to existing discourse and audience expectations.

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October 8, 2012

Free Culture Movement

free culture


The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media. The movement objects to overly-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system ‘permission culture.’ ‘Creative Commons’ is a well-known website which was started by legal activist Lawrence Lessig. It lists licenses that permit sharing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various creative-commons-licensed productions.

The free culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is of a whole with the free software movement. Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project (a free UNIX competitor, and free software activist, advocates free sharing of information. He famously stated that free software means free as in ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer.’ Today, the term stands for many other movements, including hacker computing, the access to knowledge movement, and the copyleft movement. The term ‘free culture’ was originally the title of a 2004 book by Lawrence Lessig, a founding father of the free culture movement.

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October 8, 2012

Information wants to be free



Information wants to be free is a slogan of technology activists invoked against limiting access to information. According to criticism of intellectual property rights, the system of governmental control of exclusivity is in conflict with the development of a public domain of information. The iconic phrase is attributed to American writer Stewart Brand who, in the late 1960s, founded the ‘Whole Earth Catalog’ and argued that technology could be liberating rather than oppressing.

The earliest recorded occurrence of the expression was at the first ‘Hackers’ Conference’ in 1984. Brand told Steve Wozniak: ‘On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.’

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October 7, 2012

Reliability of Wikipedia


truth in numbers

The reliability of Wikipedia (primarily of the English-language edition), compared to other encyclopedias and more specialized sources, is assessed in many ways, including statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia.

Several studies have been done to assess the reliability of Wikipedia. A notable early study in the journal ‘Nature’ said that in 2005, ‘Wikipedia scientific articles came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of ‘serious errors.’ The study was disputed by ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ and later ‘Nature’ responded to this refutation with both a formal response and a point-by-point rebuttal of Britannica’s main objections.

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May 11, 2012



Infornography is a portmanteau of ‘information’ and ‘pornography’ used to define an addiction to or an obsession with acquiring, manipulating, and sharing information. People ‘suffering’ from infornography enjoy receiving, sending, exchanging, and digitizing information. The definition (without explicitly using the term itself) is also greatly applied in many cyberpunk settings, where information can almost be considered a currency of its own, in a sense facilitating the development of an alternate world for ‘escapism.’ Megacorps, hackers, and other kinds of people use information to thrive; they can subtly be called infornographers.’

The term was popularized by the 1998 Japanese TV cult cyberpunk series ‘Serial Experiments Lain,’ an avant-garde anime influenced by philosophical subjects such as reality, identity, and communication. The series focuses on an adolescent girl living in suburban Japan, and her introduction to the ‘Wired,’ a global communications network similar to the Internet. Communication, in its wider sense, is one of the main themes of the series, not only as opposed to loneliness, but also as a subject in itself. Director Nakamura said he wanted to show the audience — and particularly viewers between 14 and 15 — ‘the multidimensional wavelength of the existential self: the relationship between self and the world.’

April 11, 2012

Remix Culture

everything is a remix

Remix culture is a term used to describe a society which allows and encourages derivative works. Remix is defined as combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A Remix Culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holders.

In his 2008 book, ‘Remix,’ Lawrence Lessig presents this as a desirable ideal and argues, among other things, that the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process.

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March 29, 2012



Spoiler is any element of any summary or description of any piece of fiction that reveals any plot element which will give away the outcome of a dramatic episode within the work of fiction, or the conclusion of the entire work. It can also be used to refer to any piece of information regarding any part of a given media. Because enjoyment of fiction sometimes depends upon the dramatic tension and suspense which arises within it, the external revelation of such plot elements can ‘spoil’ the enjoyment that some consumers of the narrative would otherwise have experienced.

The term spoiler was introduced in the early days of the internet, and is often associated with specialist internet sites and in newsgroup postings. Early rules of netiquette insisted that spoilers could and should be normally avoided, but if the posting of “‘spoiling’ information was unavoidable, it be preceded by a warning (‘SPOILER!’), or the spoiler itself has to be masked so that it can not be visible to any but those keen for details and not fazed at the thought of such potentially plot-revealing information.

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March 28, 2012

Dionysian Imitatio


Dionysian Imitatio

Dionysian imitatio is the influential literary method of imitation as formulated by Greek author Dionysius of Halicarnassus in the first century BCE, which conceived it as the rhetoric practice of emulating, adapting, reworking and enriching a source text by an earlier author. It marked the beginning of the doctrine of imitation, which dominated the Western history of art up until 18th century, when the notion of romantic originality was introduced.

The imitation literary approach is closely linked with the widespread observation that ‘everything has been said already,’ which was also stated by Egyptian scribes around 2000 BCE. The ideal aim of this approach to literature was not originality, but to surpass the predecessor by improving their writings and set the bar to a higher level.

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November 22, 2011

Openness to Experience

big five

In contemporary psychology, the ‘Big Five’ are five broad domains or dimensions of personality which are used to describe human personality: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Openness involves active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.

A great deal of psychometric research has demonstrated that these qualities are statistically correlated. Thus, openness can be viewed as a global personality trait consisting of a set of specific traits, habits, and tendencies that cluster together.

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