relocating science and technology

Global Knowledge, Traveling Technologies and Postcolonialism. Perspectives on Science and Technology Studies in the Global South ↓Call for papers for a workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany, from 18 through 20 July 2012. Here’s a snippet: As an interdisciplinary endeavour to study knowledge systems and technologies, Science and Technology Studies (STS) have become popular within the humanities and social sciences over the last three decades. However, most of the canon as well as recent scholarly work concentrate on Euro-American techno-science. Social scientists involved in STS focused mainly on the centres of western scientific knowledge … Continue reading

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brains ain’t computers

When, ↵like recently, I am talking about the historical significance of cybernetics for contemporary culture and society I more often than not mention that in the process of marking itself off from mechanistic visions (Ashby 1957 [1956]: 1-6), cybernetics quite early emphasized a whole array of concepts: networks, complexity, self-organisation, reproduction, adaptation, cognition, aiming at and maintaining goal-states, purposeful behaviour (or action?), and autonomy. This line-up implicitly leads towards a vision of cybernetic systems as independent actors, maybe even gifted with ‘free will’. Therefore it is not astounding that a hypothetical analogy emerged early on: ‘mind to body’ is like … Continue reading

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guy in parliament

In Ireland they’ve got a saying which roughly goes like this: ‘Guy Fawkes was the only man ever who had honest intentions when he set foot into parliament.’ Well, members of the ↑Palikot’s Movement protested in a session of the Polish parliament against Poland signing ↑ACTA (a kind of international version of ↑SOPA and ↑PIPA) by holding paper Guy-Fawkes masks in front of their faces :o) See also ↵occupy guy, ↵moore on fawkes, and ↵guy headroom. … Continue reading

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do anthropologists dream of electronic savages?

anthropology, technology, and new worlds The ‘↑Ethnologische Salon‘ in January ↑Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München—Foyer Friday, 27 January 2012, 19:00h —‘Do Anthropologists Dream of Electronic Savages?’ lecture by Alexander Knorr, lavishly illustrated by projections —‘Man and Machine’ Reading from the book ‘↑Cyberanthropology‘ by Alexander Knorr. Read by Karin Sommer and Stefan Eisenhofer —Independent Short Films: ‘↑World Builder‘ by ↑Bruce Branit (USA 2007) ‘↑Fragile Machine‘ by ↑Ben Steele (USA 2005/2007) … Continue reading

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technology fundamentally human

↑The Next Web links to the ↑Study: Robots inspire new learning & creativity possibilities for kids (the LEGO Group is involved). Here are The Next Web’s closing paragraphs: Taking a deeper look at the stories the children created, the survey found that unlike many adults who see technology as separate from humanness, it seems that “kids tend to think of technology as fundamentally human: as a social companion that can entertain, motivate, and empower them in various contexts.”     While this dreamy perspective is partially the result of childhood imagination (something kids from any generation can have), it is … Continue reading

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mad mex

In India and Pakistan trucks get decorated until they are gaudy pieces of art on wheels:  In Japan the same is done, but there, hardly surprising, the dekotora [decorated trucks] follow the neon æsthetics:  In Sudan trucks are completely deconstructed and then reconstructed—the results are visually not as spectacular as their Asian kin, but are masterpieces of a comparatively young engineering culture (↓Beck 2009):  In Mexico, and within a totally different context, the not so conspicuous Sudanese trucks seem to have cousins: ‘Rhino trucks, narco tanks, Mad Mex-inismos? No one can agree on what to call the armored monster vehicles … Continue reading

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propaganda war games

In ↵manchurian operations club among other things I mused about the detailled historical naturalism of ↑Kuma Reality Games‘ ‘Kuma\War’ [scroll down a bit]. Now those games seem to have generated a dramatic backlash into empirical reality. The ↑Day 6 Documentary: Propaganda Games by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: You don’t have to be a Middle East expert to recognize the relationship between Iran and its western foes has gotten just a wee bit tense.     There’s been sabre rattling military exercises, threats to slow the flow of oil to a trickle, downed drones and uranium enrichment in a highly protected … Continue reading

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church of kopimism

Oh, how I do like this—first ↑The Pirate Bay was a website tracking torrents, then a ↑political party sprouted from it, now there’s a religion. In Sweden ‘Det Missionerande Kopimistsamfundet’ (‘↑Missionary Church of Kopimism‘) is officially recognized as a religion since late December 2011. Especially I do embrace the reference to ↑Aleister Crowley via the slogan ‘Copy and Paste what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’ [all in all there are five chapters on Crowley [rhymes on holy] in my old book ‘↓Metatrickster‘ (2004)]     At last year’s biannual conference (14-17 September in Vienna, Austria) of … Continue reading

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