Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “Philosophy 2715”

  1. My father was a nondeterministic polynomial-time algorithm

    xkcd 329: Turing Test Extra Credit

    For perhaps the first and last time ever, "Oxford English Dictionary" was trending on Twitter last Friday. Why? Well, aside from an overdue recognition of this authority's awesomeness, the OED was trending because its latest update adds entries for online initialisms such as OMG, LOL, and FYI. As if that were not enough to send language purists into apoplexy, but the OED now recognizes "heart" as a verb meaning "to love; to be fond of," in the sense of "I heart pyjamas." That's right: Internet diction has taken over our most beloved of English language institutions. We must draw the line in the sand and say, "Enough! This far and no farther!"

    Or not. Rather than looking at this as a compromise of the OED's purity, we could take it as evidence of how our usage of the Internet has shaped language. I admit to uttering "OMG" aloud, telling people I "heart" things, and while I tend not to say "LOL," because I'm not sure how to pronounce it in a way that doesn't sound stupid, I do love me some "for the win" (FTW, for those of you playing initialism bingo at home).

    As the school year draws to…

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  2. Is that a heterotopia in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

    Let's talk about porn.

    Er, I mean, I didn't just wake up today and say, "Hmm, I think I'll write a blog post about porn." Though that would be totally OK.

    No, for those of you keeping score at home, this is my third critical response to a reading from my Philosophy & the Internet course. Last week we read "Pornography in Small Places and Other Spaces," by Katrien Jacobs, first published in Cultural Studies, Vol. 18. A PDF version is available on her website. It's an interesting article; go read it.

    Back? Good. So, we're talking porn. Specifically, online pornography analyzed through the lens of Foucault's heterotopias. Jacobs approaches pornographic sites as spaces online. She differentiates between place and space by drawing from Michel de Certeau's distinction:

    Whereas places are distinct locations and imply an indication of stability, spaces are constituted through movements and operations of bodies and minds.… De Certeau's "spacing" allows us to conceptualize complex attachments and reflect on networked agency.

    In this sense, we might be able to consider websites "places," because they have distinct locations in the sense that, when one directs one's browser to a static URL, one expects…

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  3. Stage-managing the most popular one-person show

    The Facebook image for those with no profiles, modified to wear Groucho Marx glasses

    Each time I try to compose a post for my philosophy class, I resolve not to discuss Facebook or Google this time. I keep mentioning them, using them as examples, to the point where one might think I spend all my time using one or both of those services. Not so. Not even close.

    Wait, sorry, need to check Gmail on my Android phone….

    Well, I will succeed in not mentioning Facebook and Google eventually. Not today. No, because for my second critical response, I am discussing "Friend Me if You Facebook: Generation Y and Performative Surveillance," by E.J. Westlake. This article is in volume 52 of TDR: The Drama Review, available through Project MUSE (couldn't find an openly-available copy, sorry). We will be discussing this during week eight of class.

    This is an article that is exactly what it says on the tin (or title, as the case may be). Westlake discusses how Generation Y uses Facebook, arguing that members of older generations tend to be dismissive of Generation Y's proactive use of Facebook, focusing on it only as a tool that promotes exhibitionism and apathy. At the same time, she examines how one's activities on Facebook is…

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  4. Your Internet may be monitored for quality control purposes

    Poster advertising the surveillance of London Metro stations by CCTV

    This is a critical response to David Lyon's "The World Wide Web of Surveillance: The Internet and off-world power-flows," published in the Spring 1998 issue of Information, Communication & Society. Those of you lucky enough to have a university account that has access to such things can find it there; those of you following along at home can read the earlier version presented at a Canadian Association for Information Science meeting in 1997.

    That was the single most difficult aspect when considering my response to this reading: it was written in 1997. True, that's only 13 years ago--but the World Wide Web itself is only 20 years old. That is pre-Google, the entity that has, perhaps more than any other Internet-based company, single-handedly changed the way we use the Web--not to mention introduced a suite of privacy and surveillance concerns that weren't around in 1997. So as a technophile upstart who came to the Web in 2004 and writes in HTML5, I had to keep my reservations regarding the article's age in check. After all, despite the changes since Lyon wrote this, most of the article is still valid. There are parts that read as outdated, and…

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  5. We interrupt your irregularly-scheduled blog posts

    This term I'm taking Philosophy & the Internet. Appropriately, it is online; more appropriately, part of our evaluation will be based on how we use an online service--be it a blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc.--to respond critically to four of the weekly readings of our choice. Since I already have a blog, and I'm lazy, I'm just going to use this one. I thought I should make a post about it first, in part so that other people reading this know what's going on, but mostly because I don't want the "philosophy 2715" tag to be empty when I post a link to it on Moodle.

    Now, since I like discussing the Internet and technology in general, and I have been known to apply the occasional philosophical eye to previous posts, this will not be strange fare. The format might be slightly different, and I will be referring to things we have discussed in class to which my wider audience will not be privy. You should have registered for the course, suckers.

    I'll likely start posting in two and a half, three weeks, once we start talking about capitalism and the Internet and online surveillance. Until then, here is…

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