the quantified body

Whenever I hear or read about the ↑quantified self—a lifestyle obviously deeply influenced by the heritage of ↵cybernetics—I am reminded of conversations I led and overheard while I still was visiting the gym regularly, three times a week. Already when just eavesdropping I was amazed by the topics the real bodybuilders talked about. The weights lifted almost aren’t a topic at all—with the exception when they spot somebody they care about using too heavy weights. This not only has negative training effects but greatly heightens the risk of injuries, too. Then, somewhat related to the former, there is the topic … Continue reading

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why technologies fail

Boingboing’s Maggie Koerth-Baker has written a fine column for the New York Times Magazine called ‘↑Why your car isn’t electric,’ investigating the question ↑why some technologies fail, and others succeed. For a deeper understanding of the matter at hand and and the examples used, I recommend Pinch & Bijker 1984 and Pfaffenberger 1992. PFAFFENBERGER, BRYAN. 1992. Technological Dramas. Science, Technology, & Human Values 17(3): 282-312. PINCH, TREVOR J. UND WIEBE E. BIJKER. 1984. The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science 14(3): … Continue reading

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technology, society, and the scope of anthropology

The ↓next biannual conference of the German Anthropological Association (↑GAA) will take place exactly one year from today, from 2nd to 5th October 2013, in Mainz, Germany. I am organizing a workshop there, called ‘Technology, society, and the scope of anthropology.’ The official call for papers will be sent out by the GAA around end of this month, but here you already have it: Technologies like—for example, but not exclusively—digital electronics in all its guises, on the one hand permeate everyday life on a global scale and at an accelerating pace. On the other hand, hardly surprising, those are omnipresent … Continue reading

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arab spring media

My friend ↑Vít Šisler just notified me via email that ↑CyberOrient 6(1) is out. Vít writes: [The new issue] aims for critical and evidence-based evaluation of the use of social media in the Arab Spring, the coverage of the Arab Spring in cyberspace and beyond, and the remediation and appropriation between social media and traditional media outlets, including satellite TVs and the press. See also ↵anthropologists on egypt, ↵irevolution in bahrain, and especially ↵heretics house tripoli and its follow-up ↵teliasonera’s black boxes. For those into computer games, check out ↑Vít’s publications, ↵computer games, Islam, and politics, and ↵tahta al-hisar—under siege. … Continue reading

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talking science studies

This comes very handy as I am right now putting the final touches to the class ‘Science and Technology Studies’ which I’ll deliver the coming semester: Thomas Lohninger, founder of, and force behind ↑Talking Anthropology, has done an interview on science studies with ↑Ulrike Felt: ↓TA43—Wissenschaftsforschung [in German | 01:55:54]. I haven’t listened to it yet, but the comprehensive description and given links do look very promising. Hopefully the two hours are suited as introductory material for the students. … Continue reading

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space aircraft carriers

Conceptual art for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s airborne aircraft carrier, the ‘↑Helicarrier,’ as seen in ‘↑The Avengers‘ (Whedon 2012). ↑Christopher Weuve, among other things a naval analyst and science fiction geek, ↑talked with Michael Peck of Foreign Policy about the dialectics between naval warfare and space warfare as depicted in science fiction. When Peck asked, “Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?” Weuve answered: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensman novels from the … Continue reading

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irevolution in bahrain

  The role online media played and do play in the so-called Arab Spring is not an easy one to understand. Anthropologists are at it and a student of mine currently prepares a thesis—and from what I have seen till now he already produced interesting insights. The ongoings around Amber Lyon’s segment of the CNN-documentary ‘iRevolution’ adds a new layer. You can read the whole ↑backstory of CNN suppressing its own documentary at the Guardian. via ↑entry at ↑boingboing … Continue reading

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relational reality revisited

Having ↵mentioned Alex ‘↑Rex‘ ↑Golub‘s ‘↓Being in the World (of Warcraft)‘ (2010), I allow myself to point you to my ‘The Stability of Cyberspace’ which I first presented at the Cyberspace 2005 International Conference, and which subsequently was published in the conference’s proceedings (2006).     In order to grapple with the problem of reality, Rex draws on ↑Alfred Schütz and ↑William James (Golub 2010: 24, 33, 39, 40)—the same choice I made in ‘↓The Stability of Cyberspace‘ [just uploaded the thing for your convenience]—here is the, somewhat preposterous, abstract: The lack of a suitable understanding of reality experienced by … Continue reading

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at tannhaeuser gate

  At boingboing they currently have ‘a ↑series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists.’ The day before yesterday it was ↑Gareth Branwyn’s turn. From his ‘Like Tears in the Rain:’ I can’t really say what made such a fundamental impact on me. The dark noir mood of the film, certainly, and the questions it raises about the nature of life, memory, what constitutes humanity, and whether “androids dream of electric sheep…” What I didn’t know I was looking at was a cyberpunk aesthetic that I would soon become completely immersed in, through … Continue reading

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our mundane world

In a longer blogpost/essay ↑on his Rule 34 Charlie Stross wrote, among other things: We’re living in the 21st century: it’s not possible to write a novel that seriously explores modern life without a background that includes rapid, cheap international travel: the commercial space industry: smartphones and the internet and spam: social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter: the rapidly shifting reference points of life expectancy, gender roles, and politics.     The mundane world we live in is rapidly accreting the baroque trappings of a science fiction novel. The internet has exploded messily across the world around us: ignoring its … Continue reading

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