Monday, May 7, 2007

Second Life Rape

Virtual Rape is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime?

"Last month, two Belgian publications reported that the Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape -- in Second Life."

No. This is not a joke. Some people are emotionally traumatized by what occurs in a digital realm. Even though they feel no physical effects, the act of being 'raped' (basically sexually harassed on the internet) hurts some. Apparently.

But can it really be considered a criminal offense? This seems absurd to me, but we'll have to wait and see what our judicial system decides, if this ever -- which it probably will -- become an issue here in the U.S.

4/23/07 Algorithmic Culture

With the absurd processing power of computers nowadays, we are seeing the development of efficient algorithms for just about anything you can think of. Some of the more popular uses are for searching (Google), advertising (Google), and tracking web browsing activity of different users (now, too, Google).

Basically, the premise is that it tracks your browsing history and archives it for you, so you are able to search pages that you have already viewed since whenever you signed up for the service. It also uses your browsing trends to rank pages according to what you've looked at before. I find it slightly frightening that we're giving Google and their web servers information about what we do on the internet ('Now what I do, say, and view on the internet matters? Oh no!'). Amazon has a service like this as well that tracks your shopping history on their site and recommends things you might like to buy ('Buy this! Buy this!). Scary to think of the prospect that a bunch of code can know more about us than we ourselves do....

4/2/07 Information Graphics

With the utterly vast amount of information that is now so readily accessible via the internet, people need methods for both organization and consumption. One way that satisfies both of these needs is organizing and conveying information graphically. Using computer technology, and some coding and algorithms, the organization can be done mainly by the computer, so as to be very efficient. Here are a few examples I found to be applicable and interesting:

Digg Labs

Because Digg is so popular, and has so much information streaming through it constantly (so much so to cause bandwidth on even large servers to crumble -- known as the digg effect), users need a way to take it all in. Though Digg's main page is fairly effective, it leaves much to be desired for following community trends in depth and over time. Because social bookmarking is so new and revolutionary, many might like to study the properties of a Web2.0 community. Presenting: Digg Labs. Consisting of a variety of different graphical tools, this section of the site helps users take a look at what is popular on the internet at any given time, but also shows larger-scale patterns.

Music, music, music!

All of these sites are devoted to demonstrating either trends of music listening or similarities between music for the recommendation of new artists/songs to users.
  • Musicovery is essentially internet radio that allows users to listen to music based on mood, genre, and era. With a graphical, flash-based interface, this site visually conveys a web of different songs that are interrelated and connected by one of the three above-mentioned qualities.
  • Musiclens also recommends music with internet radio, likewise with a graphical interface. But this one has a series of sliders on the topics of music volume, tempo, voice, size of group (of musicians), purpose, sex, age, mood, color, and time. Adjusting these can yield some very interesting recommendations that attempt to fit exactly what you're looking for at the moment.
  • is a way of logging the music you personally listen to, and then being able to see your own trends, as well as others' in the community. It also recommends music based on your perceived tastes (from what you play, recommending similar artists, mainly), and connects you to other users with similar tastes, whose trends in music are also viewable to you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hello world.