Second Life backlash no. 2

Nicholas Carr: A second life avatar consumes as much energy as the average Brazilian.

Lately I’ve been looking at the possibility of using Wikipedia’s interlinking to study collective memory – seeing what associations are made and so on. Here’s an article about using similar techniques to make computers smarter. For example, with anti-spam technology:

This shallow understanding is what makes an e-mail spam filter block all messages containing the word “vitamin,” but fail to block messages containing the word “B12.” “If the program never saw “B12” before, it’s just a word without any meaning. But you would know it’s a vitamin,” Markovitch said.

“With our methodology, however, the computer will use its Wikipedia-based knowledge base to infer that “B12” is strongly associated with the concept of vitamins

But the makers are also interested improving intelligence work – if this is done, it will be worth asking if linking practices on wikipedia generate ‘an impoverished database’ in the sense that Mark Poster used the term…

Amsterdam is using a Google map mashup to display complaints they’re dealing with. Imagine, those two neighbors who hate each other, constantly using this mashup to get even.. Speaking of, what does the local web mean for that old web favorite, ‘flaming‘?



The Oracle Machine

An installation for the façade of De Balie in Amsterdam.

“This is what we write, this is what we read;
this is how we deal with information today”

PRESENTATION: Saturday January 20, 20.00 hrs / De Balie, Amsterdam.

Designer Jeroen Joosse devised an interactive installation for the façade De Balie, centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam. The Oracle Machine consists of a five screen window projection, which can be seen daily, starting from January 20th – after sunset – from the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen and the Leidseplein on the windows De Balie.


I herewith include the essay I wrote for New Media Theories, which is about location-based social networking websites. I did a small member survey by interviewing members of sites like Dodgeball, Plazes and Meetro. The many responses I received were surprisingly detailed and are still coming into my mailbox… So if you’re interested: have a look!


Essay location-based social networking websites

This Thursday I will be visiting the Dr Leo Kanner house in the Netherlands. In this house there is a special multimedia theatre were people can experience the world through the eyes of a person with autism.

The headquarters (the multimedia theatre) are shaped like a large head made out of steal brands and it has screens and headphones. In the head 9 people can take place and by means of audio and image they will be brought into the world of people with autism.
More information (only in Dutch):

The Telegraaf (Dutch newspaper) reported in their issue of yesterday that Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) is being sued for 7.5 million dollars by 7 photo agencies. This blogger searches the internet for photo’s of celebrities and then places them on his own blog. The blog of Perez focusses on gossip about celebrities, one could say he scoops the internet for dirt and gossip on stars and then places it on his blog.

I find this lawsuit interesting, because it shows that bloggers are not just eagles who are in complete freedom of what they place on their blog. Bloggers need to realise that laws and rules also apply to them and that there are blogger ethics that bloggers have to follow. Albert Benschop writes on his sociosite that bloggers need to realise that the entries they place on their blogs are being consided as publications. That means they can be sued by others if the information is insultive or in the case of Perez Hilton can be considered as copyright infringement. has draught a bloggers code of ethics, based on the code of ethics from the society of professional journalists. So it would be wise for bloggers to be aware of these ethics and to apply them to the information on their own blogs. (more…)

image of european commission

Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for information society and media, has released a document (a “communication”) in which the European Commission reveals its plans to require scientists to publish the results of subsidized research.

For those who believe in Vannevar Bush‘ opinion that collective human knowledge should be available to anyone, this is a very important step, since the internet offers the possibility to give people access to this information wherever they may be (as long as they have an internet connection). And as a researcher in training I think it is very helpful and useful to be able to read a thesis or a research publication in the area I am researching. This way you do not invent the wheel again, but you build on existing research.
A petition to support these plans can be signed here:

I recently came across a Dutch student who is doing research on bloggers and social bookmarking and he is currently seeking people to fill out a short survey.

It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to help out a fellow researcher! :)

Survey: How popular are social bookmarking tools en web 2.0 search engines to bloggers?


Science Fiction, Science Faction
An exploration of the visions behind the contemporary digital world.

Organized by the Waag Society, Internet provider XS4ALL and the
Cyberspace Salvations Research Team (University of Leiden, Erasmus
University Rotterdam):

In the mid-1980s, due to the rapid spread of personal and networked
computing and the development of computer graphics, digital
technologies seemed to change the world profoundly. Only nobody knew how.
Computer designers, entrepreneurs and opinion makers put
tremendous effort in envisioning and creating the kinds of futures they
thought these technologies could and should bring. In this quest, many of
them were inspired by science fiction.


Dispatches from Second Life

A series of minifilms entirely shot on location in Second Life.  The series can be found at  A preview is, of course, available at YouTube. The series is produced by the Dutch new media production company Submarine. Moltov Alva on YouTube


In January 2007, a man named Molotov Alva, disapeared from his Californian home.

Recently, a series of video dispatches by a Traveler of the same name have appeared within a popular online world called Second Life.

Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton came across these video dispatches and put them together into a documentary of seven episodes.

Currently the Dutch television format Call-Games is under investigation with regards to fraudious practices, illegal gambling, and misleading of viewers. In Belgium the same program is used to interact with its public for the same fraudious and misleading reasons; to empty their pockets… however, I’m not so sure about the ‘gamble factor’.

See this video montage:


Link LoveThis next thing is an interesting initiative. Make a blogpost and link as many people to disrupt -or maybe you could call it hack- Technorati’s ranking system. Or you could just call it link lovin’ , since everyone sees through their (for example WordPress) blog dashboards who links to them, people will actually see that you posted their name on your blog. Meeting people is easy, right?

On the other hand it’s like the Google bomb for blogs, and why shouldn’t we participate in such an initiative to check out what it does, right? It would be interesting to see what happens if this thing grows big. Web statistics would become less reliable.


Peter Fischli and David Weiss made a kinetic artwork in 1987, called Der Lauf der Dinge. [Medien Kunst Netz]

My mother was very sensitive and would show this to me and my brother instead of Bambi. I still have good memories. Lately I have been looking for (digital) remediations of this work of art and I found a couple of very interesting ones. (and many not so interesting ones)

More interesting ones (to me) are:
Ass kicking device (Made in HL2 Garry’s mod) and The Oblivion Domino Day (made with the game Oblivion)
The Honda ‘Cog’ commercial (Wieden + Kennedy 2003)
Die Lauf der Data, a project from Jonas Hielscher for the School of Arts, Utrecht (2007)
NHK’s “Pitagora-Switch”, originally aired for Japanese children on public TV
The new HEMA website
Also, Fischli and Weiss is most connected with Rube Goldberg.
And the Blue ball machines Roman Tol mentioned earlier

Isn’t it nice when things just (don’t) work?

CiteULike is a free service where academics can share, store, and organise academic papers they are reading. You can add papers on the web that interests you with one click button to your personal library. You can share your library with others, and find out who is reading the same papers as you. In turn, this can help you discover literature which is relevant to your field but you may not have known about. Furthermore, CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details, so when it comes to writing up your results in a paper, you can export your library to either BibTeX or Endnote to build it in to your bibliography.

Matthijs Rutten has developed a digital survey for his thesis. It itvolves new media and politics, or in particular the manner in which politicians use digital communication tools in order to get as many votes as possible. In this survey Matthijs tries to find out the manner in which people are influenced by these digital communication tools when they choose the political party they will vote for. So if you understand Dutch (the survey is in Dutch) and you are between 18- 35, please fill out the survey and help a student get data for his thesis! (There are 30 questions, so it only takes a minute)

Message from Matthijs in Dutch:

In verkiezingstijd wordt de kiezer allang niet meer toegesproken vanaf de zeepkist!
Virtueel ontbijten met Marc, een humoristische tekst te downloaden voor de TomTom van Femke of de persoonlijke boodschap van Jan: nieuwe media worden in toenemende mate ingezet om stemmen te winnen. Maar is deze manier van campagnevoeren ook effectief? In welke mate kunnen nieuwe media effectief het stemgedrag van jongeren beïnvloeden? Ben jij tussen de achttien en vijfendertig jaar oud, heb je bij de laatste tweede kamerverkiezingen gestemd en heb jij een paar minuten tijd om dertig vragen in te vullen? De responsies worden discreet behandeld en uitsluitend gebruikt voor de vervaardiging van mijn scriptie. Bij voorbaat heel hartelijk dank.

Met vriendelijke groeten,

Matthijs Rutten

Mom t-shirt

We have officially opened a Masters of Media store at Cafepress.

You are welcome to visit us and buy one of our wonderful t-shirts.

I was kind of amazed to see this real-time visualization of the a selected portion of the blogosphere. It is ‘marketed’ as a screensaver, but has much more potential than just a screenfiller when you’re away from your screen. It is available for free to download at the site of the Swedish Primelab developers.


This is just a nice coincidence that deserves sharing. The top post at Slashdot right now explains that

The Tamil Tigers Liberation Front […] has moved up from routine sea piracy to a space-based one […] They have been been accused of illegally using Intelsat satellites

while the bottom post informs us that

the Department of Defense plans to launch in the first quarter of 2009 a satellite-based router to deliver military communications. Satellite operator Intelsat will manage the three-year Internet Routing In Space (IRIS) project

Perhaps the DoD made their decision just a few minutes too soon?

For your info:

What: Second Open-Search Workshop
When: Saturday April 28, 2007, 13.00h CET, 11.00h GMT, 06.00h EST, 4.00h EET, 01.00h HST, 04.00h MSTDuration: official program will be 4 hours
Where (physical): CREA, room 204, Turfdraagsterpad 17, 1012 XT Amsterdam (route:
Where (virtual):
Cost: free attendance, free drinks
More info:

If you can hold a keyboard, you should be at this workshop! (more…)

While Viacom is sueing YouTube for $1 Billion for “massive intentional copyright infringement” the Dutch public broadcasting company VPRO is embracing YouTube. After entering the Digital TV market it now sees YouTube as a new distribution channel. The VPRO is going to broadcast on four different YouTube channels.Read the whole story by Erwin Blom (head of the VPRO Digital department) at: VPRO begint 4 kanalen op YouTube (the making of) & Waarom op You Tube? Vervolg …

Or visit one of the four channels:

  1. VPRO
  2. 3voor12
  3. HollandDoc
  4. Geschiedenis TV

Graduate students Interactive Media at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam are organizing Vers Geperst. Inspired by the concept Pecha Kucha, a presentation format for creative work originally devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein-Dytham Architecture (KDa) in Tokyo in 2003. The format has spread to many cities across the world.

Vers Geperst is an informal gathering that offers young creatives a chance to present their finest work and inspire the audience. The Dutch term ´Vers Geperst´ roughly translates as freshly squeezed. But it also stands for a creative event with a strict presentation format, in which participants have only six minutes each to present their ideas to the audience. So no long-winded speeches, but a series of quick and sharp presentations. This Vers Geperst Night, which will take place in 11 (the club in Amsterdam), focuses on the youngest generation of creative designers. Young creative professionals as well as graduation students are invited to present their work. After the presentations, there will be plenty of time to mingle with the audience, which will also include a few scouts from creative companies and cultural institutions.

The MoM blog will be presented at this event in 242 seconds :-)

Date & Location: 29th of May, 11. Amsterdam
Time: Doors open at 7:30 PM (19:30). Event starts at 8:00 PM (20:00)
DJ: My Little Soundsystem

I received this message from dr Eric McLuhan:

Dear Miss van der Klink,

I have just returned from speaking at a convention in Mexico City. The
students at the university there became somewhat excited about some work of mine and posted the essay on the convention web-site. As a result I have
decided to simply give this particular piece of research to the world. It
is a major discovery in the field of art, and in particular in the field of ancient Egyptian art.
Here is the URL:
Please have a look at the piece, and, if you think it is worthy, please
send it–or the URL–along to all of the artists that you know. I wish
particularly that it get in the hands of artists (who can use the technique
discovered 4500 years ago, and which I rediscovered) and students.

Best regards,

New Network TheoryToday’s final speaker is Florian Cramer of the Piet Zwart Institute, who has a nicely low-key website. Florian’s work deals with text, code and aesthetics – one piece of his is the extended essay, Words Made Flesh: Code, Culture, Imagination, which is a kind of alternative history of code. His presentation here is about Text and Networks.

Florian asks, what is the effect of having the metaphor of the network at the center of new media studies? That is, metaphors can come to act like maps or models, making some lines of inquiry more amenable while closing others off. To answer this, Florian takes us back a little and addresses the relationship between the words network and text. Etymologically, there is little difference, as text is closely aligned with the word ‘web’ (it comes from ‘textus’, basically meaning ‘something woven’).