Monthly Archives: April 2009

Hidden track # 3: The World/Inferno Friendship Society linkfest

Take a broken-hearted Jersey-born Brooklynite, a bearded saxophonist, an accordionist, a rude chick playing bass guitar, The Dresden Dolls former drummer, a bunch of other wierdos and put them on stage. Bring in an audience of emo-prone kids dressed in their best clothes and ready to mosh and slam and sweat and swear. Make them play a mix of punk rock, Weimar cabaret, pop, kletzmer, and whatever else you can come up with. Shake energically. There you are: Ladies and Gentlemen, the WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY!!!


* The World / Inferno Friendship Society – Zen and the art of breaking everything
* The World / Inferno Friendship Society – Paul Robeson
* The World / Inferno Friendship Society – Fiend in Wien

* The World / Inferno Friendship Society – My ancestral Homeland, New Jersey
* The World / Inferno Friendship Society – Just the best party

Via Deezer.

Wisconsin student twitters his way to PhD in biomedical engineering

First off this video:

What is it all about? Just another day in the Twitter-crazed US media landscape: a high-profiled news report on Adam Wilson, a biomedical engineer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who, according to Wired, managed to send a tweet using only his brain. Quite self-referentially, the first telepathic microblogging message in the history of humankind simply read: “USING EEG TO SEND TWEET”. I cannot help but wonder if Antonio Meucci’s first telephone call went something like that, too – with him shouting “I’M USING MY MOUTH TO SPEAK ON THE PHONE!!!”


Support Prof. Horacio Potel!, or a portrait of the philosopher as a pirate

Addendum, Nov 14, 2009: As of today, we salute the recent decision of the Argentinian court dropping the charges against Prof Potel. Read more about this here (in English). Download court’s sentence here (in Spanish).

Argentinean professor charged criminally for promoting access to knowledge
By the CopySouth Research Group

A philosophy professor in Argentina, Horacio Potel, is facing criminal charges for maintaining a website devoted to translations of works by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. His alleged crime:  copyright infringement. Here is Professor Potel’s sad story.

Prof. Potel usually wears a pirate eye patch while lecturing in philosophy

Prof. Potel usually puts his pirate patch on *before* lecturing in philosophy at UNLA

“I was fascinated at the unlimited possibilities offered by the internet for knowledge exchange”, explains Horacio Potel, a Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional de Lanús in Buenos Aires. In 1999, he set up a personal website to collect essays and other works of some well-known philosophers, starting with the German Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Potel’s websites – Nietzsche in Spanish, Heidegger in Spanish, and Derrida in Spanish – eventually developed into growing online libraries of freely downloadable philosophical texts. Nietzsche in Spanish alone has already received more than four million visitors.


Journée d'étude Approches ethnographiques du Web

5 MAI 2009
9H-18H Salle A2 de l’ École Normale Supérieure – Campus Jourdan, 48 bvd Jourdan 75014 PARIS
Comité d’organisation : Anne-Sophie Béliard (doctorante au CIM-Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle), Baptiste Brossard (doctorant au CMH-ENS/EHESS)


What kind of government rules over the Facebook nation?

(from The Wired Campus, April 20, 2009 Jonathan Zittrain: A Bill of Rights for the Facebook Nation)

[…] in mid-February, Facebook posted a set of what its management seems to have thought were minor changes to its terms of service – the kind of things that just wouldn’t matter to its users. Instead a privacy panic ensued, reinforcing larger worries about Facebook’s power.

Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, responded quickly – in plainspeak rather than legalese – and I credit his view that the changes in terms of service really weren’t meant to be a stealthy way of doing surprising new things with users’ information. But he used the occasion to offer an analogy:

“More than 175 million people use Facebook. If it were a country, it would be the sixth most populated country in the world. Our terms aren’t just a document that protect our rights; it’s the governing document for how the service is used by everyone across the world.”

New discovery: actually Internet CURES cancer!!!

By Antonio A. Casilli (Centre Edgar-Morin, EHESS, Paris)

After putting online a post that satirized an article claiming that electronic media give cancer recently published by Aric Sigman in The Biologist (2009), I’ve undergone a phase of serious self-criticism. Sure, I was in fierce disagreement with the author. But the general tone of my post was un-academic and rude. Ad hominem attacks really don’t belong in science. Turns out I am a dismissive prick. What do you know? 😀

So I decided to make it right by you folks, and to hone my argument by providing evidence – hard fact-based scientific evidence. I did it like any other scientist would, by collecting a bunch of data, tinkering with them a little, cherry-picking something, hiding something else, and wrapping everything up in fancy graphics! What did I get at the end of the day? A revolutionary discovery: not only Internet does not give cancer, it actually cures it!

How did I come up with such a sensational breakthrough? First, I took a random data set from the United Nations Statistics Division. Then I arbitrarily decided that Internet access would be an accurate proxy for actual Internet use. So I asked myself the following question: do countries that are more connected (in terms of percentage of people having Internet access) have a higher number of deaths for two common types of cancer – breast for the ladies, prostate for the gents? For the sake of completeness, I focused on 2002 (because data were not available for several countries before that year). I put everything in my statistical blender, and this is what I obtained:

Correlation Internet access and prostate cancer deaths - via

Correlation bw Internet access and prostate cancer mortality - via


Canadian sociologist Barry Wellman's lecture on Networked Individualism

The director of NetLab at the University of Toronto, Barry Wellman has a reputation for being a pragmatic, rigurous, and coherent researcher having studied extensively networked communication and having helped internet research overcome its early-days “Real Life vs. Virtual Reality” divide. Wellman’s intellectual approach is social network analysis and his main contribution boils down to showing that computer networks are actually social networks. He was saying that as early as 2001, several years before Facebook made it obvious. Wellman heralded the idea the online communications are immanent to our lives – i.e. that they are  not located on some transcendent digital Great Beyond. According to his results, we tend to reproduce online the same social networks that we have in our family and work life.

In this lecture delivered at the Clinton School of Public Service (University of Arkansas) he explores the dimensions of networked individualism and buries the cyber-pessimist argument linking Internet to social isolation (as discussed also in this post).



CfP: Digital Cities 6: Concepts, Methods and Systems of Urban Informatics

Digital Cities 6: Concepts, Methods and Systems of Urban Informatics
Workshop at the 4th International Conference on Communities and Technologies
Penn State, USA, 24th June 2009

April 30th, 2009 Workshop position papers due
May 18th, 2009 Author notifications sent
June 24th, 2009 Workshop

Keynote speaker

We are happy to announce that Professor Carlo Ratti, Director of the SENSEable City Lab at MIT (, will deliver the keynote presentation at Digital Cities 6.

The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is allowing a new approach to the study of the built environment. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed – alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure. Studying these changes from a critical point of view and anticipating them is the goal of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a new research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.