Posts Tagged ‘internets’

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So, seriously, how many?

July 5, 2010

I am bored, and sitting on a bench, and decided to start asking google some questions. As you do.

First question: how may linguists DOES it take to change a lightbulb?

Possible answers:
Nine, though by this answer my entire department only counts as one person.
One. Plus a photographer, I guess.
One, but apparently this one’s more of a grammarian prescriptivist type. (It’s at the very bottom of the page, after several dozen other jokes misusing my job title. Such as it is.)

And, my favorite, a new question altogether.

Okay, I am a nerd and am going to stop now.

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The Situation Has Failed to Resolve Itself.

February 11, 2010

I have done some thinking, and had some conversations with my father. He laughed at me, um, a LOT when I told him about my qualms about public/administrative figures following me on my public social networking device. He says it’s like standing on the street corner with my megaphone (I have a megaphone, by the way) and then getting mad when people I don’t like stop and listen to my inane rantings.

So, okay, I can accept that. I shall either stop whining, or lock my account so that I have a right to whine.

However! I still can’t accept @benladen’s banning. We’ve had confirmation (I’ll get back to this with links and screencaps) that it was really @mark_yudof’s office that reported Ben. We’ve had confirmation that Ben is not the only one to whom this has happened. I’ve read through Twitter’s Rules again, and the thing is, Twitter hasn’t officially said what Ben did wrong. The mechanism for contesting a suspension is essentially “Tell us what you think we think you did wrong and then tell us that we’re wrong about it.” This policy smells so much like a trap, and I can’t help but feel that @mark_yudof’s office knew this when they reported @benladen.

Ah, that is another thing. I have come to the conclusion that @mark_yudof and Mark Yudof are not entirely the same entity. The behavior on the account is too bizarre and erratic, and it only makes sense if both Mark Yudof the Person and Mark Yudof’s P.R. Staff are both using it. I hope I’m not wrong about this, because if I am the implications about Mark Yudof the Person are weird and unsettling.

Now, I’ve gone through what data we have and I’ve decided that while I remain hugely ambivalent towards Mark Yudof the Person (who can come to my party if he promises to warn me ahead of time and bring some good wine and not kick anyone out this time), I’ve got huge objections to @mark_yudof the Twitter Entity. That @mark_yudof, I intend to keep bugging, because that @mark_yudof is making the other one look bad. Worse. Whatever.
Read the rest of this entry ?

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Mark Yudof, go to someone else’s party.

February 1, 2010

So, I’m having a bit of a hard time with something, and I’ve been a little nervous about mentioning it in public because frankly it could well be slander depending on how I phrase it, and I just don’t know how diplomatic I want to be.

Thing is, Mark Yudof follows me on twitter.

That’s… well, that’s weird enough as it is. Yudof is the president of the University of California. I’ve never met or spoken to the man. I have occasionally sent him angry emails, because being a conscientious UC student requires one to send angry emails at one’s president once in a while. However, I certainly have no personal connection with him. And while I did use my Twitter for a short time while involved with the UC Occupations, I rarely tweet about anything that University administrators should be especially interested in.

My twitter is a personal thing, a toy, a microblog where I talk about what I ate for breakfast and how cool my Translation Theory class is and how I think that kid in my lit section is super cute. Mark Yudof does not need to know these things. I don’t want my dad’s boss showing up at my birthday party, and I don’t want my university president following me on twitter. Mark Yudof is, in fact, disinvited from the party that is my twitter.

But Kirby! You say. Why not just block him and continue blithely tweeting about porn and ice cream as you are wont? Well, the same reason I wouldn’t kick my dad’s boss out of my birthday party if he showed up: I don’t want him there, but I don’t want to get in trouble for kicking him out.

See, a friend of mine, @Benladen, just got suspended from twitter because Yudof decided that he didn’t like his tweets. (My dad’s boss just kicked my loud, drunk friend out of my party.) I do not think he had the right to do this. I do not think Yudof has the right to BE on twitter. But we can’t tell him to leave, because then he might kick US out. It’s not fair, and I feel invaded in what was a safe, fun place for my peers and me. If I want to get to know him, I will approach him myself. It’s inappropriate for him to try and get to know me in this way, because I feel so pressured and trapped.

I don’t follow him back. I don’t expect him to actually read most of my tweets. (Thank god.) But I’m very, very angry about the suspension of @Benladen, and I wish someone would convince Yudof that @mark_yudof has other, cooler parties to go to.

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Three Links, all somewhat creatively inclined

March 29, 2009

Firstly! I’ve seen a number of blogs/articles about knitted grafitti, but this one has the best pictures I’ve yet seen on the internets. Entire trees are cozied! I absolutely want to do this.

Relatedly! It’s kind of old news, but I just love looking at the dramatically-lit pictures of this crocheted coral reef.

And lastly (and unrelatedly)! I’ve just finished reading a story (fragment? very long excerpt?) called Brains Pt. 1: What is a Valedictorian by Tony Tulathimutte. I have no idea how I found this writer’s webpage, but his prose style is absolutely lovely, very clean and slick and high-brow without feeling uncomfortable or vacuous. The story linked is a pretty simple one, and very elegantly told. I’d very much like to be able to write like that someday.

Actually, you know what, I lied. Twice. First lie is that the above is not the last link, and the second lie is that I do know how I found Mr. Tulathimutte: it was through the links page of the site of artist Justine Lai. Ms. Lai’s Big Art Project, Join or Die, consists of paintings of the artist having sex with all the U.S. presidents in chronological order. It’s a lovely style and a very intriguing concept, especially when viewed within the context of the statement she provides on the site.

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End of the Quarter (and some thoughts on Internets)

March 19, 2009

So here I sit, garbed in the spoils of my recreational consumerism of yesterday. The new purple suede boots are absolutely my favorite. We’re (we being myself, Raquel the pre-vet Hermione-lookalike (especially when she passes out across her textbooks), and Harry who is my favorite anthropologist ever) sitting around drinking tea and half-watching Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel. I’m recuperating from my final final, Latin, which commenced at way too early this morning. I think I did alright. I also got my grade back from my Java final: an 86%, which brings my grade to a very tenuous 88% overall–that may yet change, depending on whether the teacher ever feels like grading my fifth program. Best I can hope for is a B+, I think, but that’s not terrible.

As I’m mulling over this quarter, I’m contemplating something that occurred to me while I was reviewing Vernor Vinge’s True Names for the final essay in Cyberpunk. Early in the descriptions of the proto-Internet, the protagonist spends some time zipping through physical servers (they’re not called that in the book, but that’s what they are) with a distinct awareness of where in the world his servers are as his consciousness travels through the medium. I was wondering, as I reread this, why we don’t actually do this. I have no idea where my servers are, no idea what physical locations my data travel through on their way to and from my computer. I think it probably has something to do with the corporatization of the internet, which happened very very quickly and thoroughly through the nineties, and the paradigm of which survived the dot-com bust very well, thankyouverymuch. There’s money to be made in dumbing it down for us, so that we don’t need to know where our data are. I’ve got more thoughts on this, but I have to explore it a little more first. Might make a fun paper, anyways.