magic kingdom pilgrimage

[abstract:] This essay explores the proposition that Walt Disney World is an amusement park whose form is borrowed from the pilgrimage center. Bateson, Norbeck, and Turner have shown that play and ritual together comprise a metaprocess of expressive behavior rooted in our mammalian past. Substantively both traditional pilgrimage centers, especially Mecca, and Walt Disney World are analyzed in terms of shared activities, symbols displayed, myths evoked, and tripartite time-space processes of rites of passage. The Magic Kingdom is shown to be a giant limen ritual threshold, which symbolically replicates the baroque capital. To go there is to engage in transcendent … Continue reading

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material cyberculture

[abstract:] This essay offers a polemical exploration of spatiality in new media culture, one based on a materialist, as opposed to a ‘ virtualist’ paradigm. Its goal is to intervene in the thought processes of liberal-phenomenological cybertheory. The latter tends to see computer users as consumers, rather than producers, within national and global economies. Because of this leisure-consumption orien tation, theories of new media are easily appropriated within ideologies of postindustrial capitalism. This has led to some oversimplified models of spatiality in cybertheory, many of which proceed from the premise that the material world is fast disappearing under the pressures … Continue reading

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cues in cyberspace

[abstract:] Although the relative paucity of social cues in computer-mediated communication poses problems of the organization of social relations in cyberspace, recent studies have begun to focus on the ways in whicht this deficit is managed. This article contributes to this research by addressing the question of how participants distinguish between contexts in online discourse. Data on cues, and on naming practices in particular, in text-based virtual realities called MOOs illustrate the structure of contexts and the dynamics of contextualizing communication and interaction in cyberspace. JACOBSON, DAVID. 1996. Contexts and cues in cyberspace: the pragmatics of naming in text-based virtual … Continue reading

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corporeal virtual reality

[abstract: ] This paper considers the experience of embodiment in current and (possible) future virtual reality applications. A phenomenological perspective is adopted to explore user embodiment in those virtual reality applications that both do and do not include a visual body (re)presentation (virtual body). Embodiment is viewed from the perspective of sensorial immersion, where issues of gender, race, and culture are all implicated. Accounts of “disrupted” bodies (for example, phantom limb and dissociation of the selffrom the body, paralysis, and objectified bodies) are advanced in order to provide a context for understanding the ways in which embodiment in virtual reality … Continue reading

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what is he?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #19 What is the man in the picture?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution (14 March 2012): Again Alexander Rabitsch ↵did it way … Continue reading

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astronaut mike mullane

He promised it ↵in a comment here, and made it true: The podcast ↑JetHead live with astronaut Mike Mullane is online. ↑Mike Mullane is a former NASA astronaut and author of the book ↑Riding rockets: The outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut (2006). The tagline of JetHead’s interview with Mullane reads: ‘What’s it like to ride over 4 million pounds of explosive thrust into earth orbit? Three times?’ This gives an overall impression, but there’s more in the book and the podcast, e.g. Mullane’s evolution from a ‘male sexist pig’ [his own words] towards a human being ;-) Much … Continue reading

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legonaut

  Two 17-year-olds from Canada attached a LEGO minifigure to a helium-filled weather ballon and had it soar up 24 km, which is right in the middle of the stratosphere. During the journey upwards the helium inside a balloon expands until the balloon bursts. The legonaut was found 122 km away from the two teenagers’ home—it had safely landed on its homemade parachute. A time lapse camera documented the journey. from PK via e-mail—tnx! … Continue reading

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riding rockets

Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once. Thus wrote ↑Tom Vogel at IMDb on the novel ‘↑The Right Stuff‘ (Wolfe 1979) and the ↑movie of the same name (Kaufman 1983). It couldn’t be summed up better, and I … Continue reading

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sphere from above

what goes up must come down Do you remember ‘↑The Gods Must Be Crazy‘ (Uys 1980)? That old comedy movie telling the story of Xi, a Kalahari bushman, who undertakes an epic journey to bring an artefact which fell from the skies back to the gods? Well, in the midst of November this year it wasn’t a Coca-Cola bottle, but a metal sphere that fell from the skies over Namibia. On its impact the sphere, 35cm in diameter and about 6kg heavy, dug a crater about 30cm deep and 4m in diameter. Local authorities contacted NASA and ESA, asking for … Continue reading

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