You’re who you think you are

30 09 2009

A whopping 11 minutes of symphonic soul jazz. This song put honey-voiced Randy Crawford on the map and makes me dance. No matter what.

Picture courtesy of Steve Greenwood (drop.io wizard)

The Crusaders (feat. Randy Crawford) – Street life (MCA, 1979)





I can see myself go passing by

30 09 2009

Here you go. A wholesome blend of soul, hip hop, jazz and funk. You’re welcome.

The Rebirth – This Journey In (vocal) (Kajmere Records, 2002)

Lyrics. Purchase. MySpace. Unwind.





Personas: How the internet sees you

28 09 2009

File under jaw-dropping: Personas
Personas

Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, recently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person – to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile.

Source: personas.media.mit.edu (via Michel Smekens)





The Economist: Shift happens

26 09 2009

“So what used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket
what fits in your pocket will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years”

Ray Kurzweil





The contingency of academic labor

26 09 2009

There are a number of methodological and theoretical similarities (and differences) between journalism and what I call ‘soft’ science (i.e. mostly qualitative, social science like media anthropology or linguistic ethnography). In essence, journalism and soft science are eclectic sense-making practices that produce accounts which are situated (socially, geographically, topically) and interpretive.

There is another link between news work and academic work: the labor conditions in these two fields are becoming increasingly precarious, contingent or otherwise ‘atypical‘. The arts faculty at my alma mater no longer offers post-doc positions because it simply cannot afford them. External funding, downsizing, increased teaching loads and productivity demands (publish and perish) have become symptomatic of an ongoing trend towards the commercialization and marketization of tertiary education.

I am writing this down not just out of self-indulgent frustration over professional insecurity but because I share Mark Deuze’s concern that if the market orientation of the university

does not come with specific caveats, protections, checks and balances, the university as we know it becomes just another factory workplace – not a place for independent and critical reflection; a place that teaches people to make up their own minds.

This post is loosely based on Michael Bérubé’s feather-ruffling Op-Ed and Mark Deuze’s eloquent rant on the precarity of work in academia.





When Muammar Gaddafi speaks to the UN

24 09 2009

Think international politics is boring? Think again. The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington reports that Muammar Gaddafi’s maiden speech to the UN was one for the ages. Living up to his reputation “for eccentricity, bloody-mindedness and extreme verbiage”, Gaddafi spoke for 100 minutes, six times longer than he was allotted. I pity the poor soul who chaired that session.

He tore up a copy of the UN charter in front of startled delegates, accused the security council of being an al-Qaida like terrorist body, called for George Bush and Tony Blair to be put on trial for the Iraq war, demanded $7.7tn in compensation for the ravages of colonialism on Africa, and wondered whether swine flu was a biological weapon created in a military laboratory. At one point, he even demanded to know who was behind the killing of JFK. All in all, a pretty ordinary 100 minutes in the life of the colonel.

The colonel looks at his notes (Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand /AFP)





A re-issue for the ages: 24 Carat Black

21 09 2009

For all I care, 24 Carat Black is a party game. I’m not in the mood to reproduce Stax tales and non-release rumors. All that matters is the album is available and offers a delectable mix of deep, pained soul. Plus, it features an absolute epic track, Best of good love gone. Feel the Hammond (via soundonthesound.com).

24 Carat Black – Best of good love gone (The Numero Group, 2009)