Curating the 9/11 pager messages

29 11 2009

Wikileaks is an international non-profit organization that has released some 573,000 pager messages from the 9/11 tragedy. This corpus of text messages covers a 24 hour period directly related to the attacks in New York and Washington. As Wikileaks notes:

Text pagers are usually carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults at investment banks inside the World Trade Center

The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war.

There have been some interesting visualizations, applications and tools but this corpus is a research report waiting to happen. Journalism students, linguists, social scientists: get cracking.





Excursions in hip hop theory

26 11 2009

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but never really found the right outlet for: write about hip hop scholarship. Presenting: Excursions into Hip Hop Theory, a 10 post series about what hip hop is and what it is not. I’ll be posting a new episode on a weekly basis on your other favorite space: laid-back.be. Big up to Julius.

Picture by Anattitude Magazine @ Flickr.com





DiO Workshop on CMC and style

24 11 2009

A successful conference in September 2009, a new logo and invitation template and a new workshop series. Things are looking up for Discourse in Organizations. On 11 December, Michael Opgenhaffen (Lessius/K.U. Leuven) will give a DiO talk on presentation style in computer-mediated communication. Participation is free as of this year. Drop us a line if you’d like to attend the workshop at the Modern Chinese Art Foundation.





Blazing a triathlon trail: Dan Martin

24 11 2009

Some people think outside the box. TEDxBrussels promised to burn the box but forgot to light it. Dan Martin intends to swim, cycle and run the box around the world. Seriously.

At high tide on May 8th 2010 I’ll dive in to the Hudson River from Battery Park in New York. I’ll swim down stream past the Statue of Liberty and across the Atlantic to Brest in France. I’ll be swimming eight hours a day, no wetsuit, no shark cage. When I touch the boat at night we will GPS mark the spot I finish and start from there the next day.

From Brest I’ll cycle east through Europe and across Russia. Pedalling through Siberia in winter and then crossing the Bering Straits when they’re (partially) frozen from Uelen to Cape Wales. The Bering Strait will be by far the most dangerous and challenging part of the trip. I’ll essentially be manhauling me and a floating sled across 50miles of slush ice and strong currents mainly in the dark.

From Cape Wales in Alaska I’ll run to New York finishing with a New York Marathon in November 2011.

What could possibly go wrong?

Dan, I wish you the best and will try to support you any way I can.





The grape escape: vigneron indépendent

22 11 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about wine, but the ‘salon de vin des vignerons indépendents‘ at Lille was a temptation I could not resist. A measly 6 euro buys you a tasting glass and access to some of the finest independent winemakers in France. Here are some of my soul inspired tasting notes.

Rhône wines are like Bill Withers: underestimated yet unparalleled. The Domaine de Chantegut Vacqueyras Tradition 2007 will make any (winter) day a lovely day. And I’ll be sure to enjoy the Domaine La Garrigue Gigondas 2007 magnums I bought with, well, just the twelve of us or so.

I also discovered a white Burgundy oddity in the Domaine Felix Saint-Bris 2008. The Saint-Bris AOC allows sauvignon grapes. That’s the viticultural equivalent of James Brown singing about abstinence. Ain’t it funky? No, it isn’t. It smells of summer and tastes great.

Lastly, I invested in some delicate red Burgundy produced by Domaine Nudant. Now sitting pretty in my wine cellar are three bottles of Vosne Romanée 2007 and three Ladoix 1er Cru La Corvée. I’m saving those for a special occasion, like Bill Withers in concert.





Deconstructing Martha Stewart’s style

19 11 2009

Lovely paper by Jennifer Sclafani in the latest issue of the Journal of Sociolinguistics. Sclafani investigates “parodies of a linguistic style that has been attributed to the ideological construct of the ‘Good Woman’ (Eckert 2004), as it is used by lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart” (2009: 615).

Using Lakoff’s list speech elements typical of Woman’s Language (which I am reproducing below, just for the fun of it), Sclafani illustrates how Martha Stewart parodies exploit these features to expose Martha Stewart’s ‘Bad Woman’ alter ego.

1. lexical items related specifically to women’s interests (e.g. dollop, mandolin);
2. hedges (you could, if you like);
3. hypercorrect grammar (British pronunciation of herb with initial /h/ aspirated intervocalic /t/);
4. superpolite forms (double-thanking guests, i.e. ‘thank you, thank you very much’);
5. no joking;
6. speaking in italics (i.e. using emphatic stress);
7. the use of intensive ‘so’ (these are so tasty);
8. empty adjectives (gorgeous, utterly fantastic);
9. wider intonation range; and
10. question intonation in declaratives.

(Sclafani 2009: 617)

Sclafani, Jennifer (2009). Martha Stewart behaving Badly: Parody and the symbolic meaning of style. Journal of Sociolinguistics 13 (5): 613-633.





Kasterlee is Old Dutch for ‘mudfest’

15 11 2009

Right, my marathon debut. Got up at 6:45am, drank a cup of ambition and force-fed myself 16 slices of white toast with strawberry jam. A delightful way to start the day. A quick trip to physiotherapist Steven to get my hamstrings taped and then on the road to a very rainy Kasterlee.

Read the rest of this entry »








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