Friday, April 30, 2010

THE RAGS: paraphernalia of menstruation

example objects from the collection

Menstruation is a matter for private lives, not public exhibition, so few museums collect artefacts associated with this defining occurrence in women's lives. In the collection of the Powerhouse Museum there is a small group of sanitary towels and tampons, pharmaceuticals to relieve the discomforts of the monthly 'period', and guidance booklets about puberty for adolescents and their parents. And in the Museum's Research Library there are magazines whose advertisements document evolution in the manufacture and marketing of menstrual products since the late 1800s. On The rags website you will find a selection from the Museum's collections, interspersed with menstrual anecdotes gathered during a wider research project on Australian home remedies.

Website content: Megan Hicks, Curator of Health and Medicine

Photography: Sue Stafford, Sotha Bourn, Jean-Fran├žois Lanzarone, Megan Hicks

I've just read Nina Funnell's great article on .. finally .. an ad for tampons that actually makes sense. Unfortunately the article is so softened that you have to evade the meaning free headline, ignore the horribly stupid picture and get through a couple of paragraphs of apologia before you get to the really good stuff. So I found some good stuff at the Powerhouse to sate my appetite for blood.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

John Cale - Hallelujah

Perfect ending to a day of string music. I was looking for "Do not go gentle into that good night" which is part of the Falklands Suite apparently, as well as the famous Dylan Thomas poem, for an illustrational point in a seminar on rational irrationality and McDonaldization. It's kind of hard to see how those things fit together, however I'm finding Foucault's biopolitics has a lot to say about how things have come to this point, which answers Ritzer's somewhat reductive fear and loathing better.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hitler gets reprieve from YouTube

Go Electronic Frontier Foundation! Although, somewhat like Dr Who's next episode with the Dalek's in World War II, this constant postmodern rereferencing of references, ironically, is starting to make for uncomortably entangled sentences structures. And a migraine. Or manic depressive episode.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hitler Finds Out About iSnack 2.0 - Impending Satiric Downfall

It's an oldie now but a very goodie. Very apt as Hitler was a vegetarian too. Now that Constantin films has invoked copyright infringements and is pulling all Downfall clips off the tubes... it's only a matter of time before the impending downfall of this one. Laugh while you can.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

George Nissen, Father of the Trampoline, Dies at 96 - Obituary (Obit) -

One by one, the trapeze artists topped off their routines by dropping from their high-swinging bars into the net stretched below, then rebounding into somersaults — to the roar of the crowd at the traveling circus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And one kid in the stands began to wonder: Hey, what if there was a contraption that made it possible to keep on bouncing and flipping?

George Nissen, a father of the trampoline, went airborne at the top of a pyramid in Egypt in 1977. George Nissen, 16, who was a member of the gymnastics and diving teams at his high school, was soon tinkering in his parents’ garage, strapping together a rectangular steel frame and a canvas sheet. Even though it was not quite as springy as he had hoped, he called it a bouncing rig. That was in 1930.

It would be several years later, while a business major at the University of Iowa, that Mr. Nissen and his gymnastics coach, Larry Griswold, would work together to make a more flexible contraption with a nylon sheet. They still called it a bouncing rig. Then, in 1937, Mr. Nissen and two friends formed a traveling acrobatics act called the Three Leonardos and began performing throughout the Midwest and Texas and then in Mexico. It was there that he heard the Spanish word for diving board: el trampolin. He added an “e” and registered “Trampoline” as a trademark for what has become a joy-inducing device for backyard tumblers, fitness freaks and, since 2000, Olympic athletes.

Mr. Nissen, who devoted his life to promoting and manufacturing the trampoline — once renting a kangaroo to bounce with him in Central Park — died Wednesday at a hospital near his home in San Diego. He was 96. His son-in-law Ron Munn confirmed the death. Dwight Normile, the editor of International Gymnast magazine, said of Mr. Nissen in a telephone interview on Friday: “He took the device all over the world and gave them as gifts. He wanted everybody to know about the health benefits of bouncing on a trampoline.”

Ten years ago, Mr. Nissen spoke of his enduring goal to see trampolining become an Olympic sport. For years, his friends told him he was just dreaming. “They said, ‘George, it will be the year 2000 before trampoline is ever in the Olympics,’ ” Mr. Nissen said in an interview with International Gymnast. They were right. “He was at those Sydney Olympics in 2000, 86 years old at the time,” Mr. Normile said, “and they actually invited him to bounce on the official trampoline.”
The sport of trampolining and gymnastics has lost a great inspiration.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Internet Policy 3.0 | Center for Democracy & Technology

Well, that set the cat among the pigeons! The resulting headlines included: “NTIA Chief: Net Needs a Ref,” “US Gov’t. Ending Its Hands-Off-the-Internet Stance," and “US government rescinds ‘leave internet alone’ policy." The danger is that foreign governments that seek to regulate the Internet, and many others who read these headlines but not the whole speech, will assume that the United States is giving the green light for the establishment of a newly aggressive form of “Internet Governance” – composed of new rules imposed by local sovereigns responding to the “cacophony of human actors” who demand that there be rules or laws to protect their specific interests.

First, we should note that the speech as written does not suggest that there should be a new rule, much less a governmentally imposed law or regulation, in response to every complaint. To the contrary, Strickling welcomes the possibility that some problems may be addressed by “individual actors accepting new processes” and calls for problem solving collaboration among “key Internet constituencies – commercial, academia, civil society.”

Second, no one can quarrel with Strickling’s list of issues that need to be addressed: Privacy, Child Protection and Freedom of Expression, Cybersecurity, Copyright and Internet Governance. What makes the speech notable is its suggestion that we need a new approach to addressing these issues – something so new that he dubs it “Internet Policy 3.0.” The fundamental problem with the speech is that, while saying “we must take rules more seriously if we want full participation”, it does not provide any framework within which to judge which rules to adopt, in response to which demands, or when regulatory efforts might go too far and destroy the core values of openness and innovation and free speech and association that he seems still to endorse.

Third, the speech goes off the rails, as a theoretical matter, right at the outset when it suggests that previous policy was based on treating the Net like an “ecosystem” that would, if mostly left alone, come to an “equilibrium.”  Now that there are people with differing values involved in this “social organization”, he suggests, we must recognize that “the Internet is not a natural park or wilderness area that should be left to nature.” Indeed, he suggests that “There are no natural laws to guide it.”

We must note that there is a big difference between a well tended park and a wilderness. And the question is, really, who should tend the Internet to enhance its value to a global society. The possibility that we might have many different gardeners, creating various areas of the Internet that appeal to people with differing values – but who share the core values of openness and freedom of expression and association – is invisibly dismissed by suggesting that the Internet is a single “organization”. The possibility of preserving the innovation that pushes the Internet ecosystem towards new, empowering forms of order (technically, “far from equilibrium”), simply disappears from view when the question is posed the way he posed it.

What He Meant to Say

We think what Mr. Strickling meant to say, or should have said, is that the Internet is now sufficiently important to global society that we must all think carefully about how best to preserve the core characteristics that enabled it to emerge and will make it even more valuable over time. CDT agrees with him that, sometimes, laws or regulations may be necessary to preserve openness (net neutrality), innovation (balanced intellectual property laws) and freedom of speech and association (laws that constrain government censorship or tyranny by unaccountable gatekeepers and preserve enough privacy and enough identifiability to engender trust-based interactions). We think it equally important to say that laws may not be necessary to address, or even capable of resolving, many of the problems that inevitably arise in global, online society. The optimal amount of “disorder” in society is, of course, not zero.

Most importantly, we need a road map to decide when regulation has gone too far, just as much as we need one to tell us when problems have gotten out of hand. We suppose that Mr. Strickling might have been saying that, if there is a continuum from overly restrictive regulation (rigidity) and overly permissive regulation (what he calls a “wilderness” and we will call “randomness – such that trust cannot be formed online), then the Internet has strayed too far towards the random side, away from the sweet spot in the middle. So, charitably read, his speech might just mean that we all need to be more innovative with regard to the kinds of institutions and rules that will restore enough social order so that users of all kinds won’t flee. But there is such a thing as too much social order, too much “trust” -- so many rules that consent of the governed and freedom of association are lost.

Even if what he meant to say is just that things are getting a bit too random – and we might quarrel with that, as a factual matter, given the growth rates that suggest that people around the world are finding the Internet increasingly valuable every day – he should have called for creative solutions that keep the power to make any rules in the hands of end users to the maximum extent possible. He uses the word “we” (“we must take rules more seriously”) without reflecting hard enough on the fact that we have globalized society but not sovereignty. He takes for granted that governments fully represent all of the interests of their citizens – a dubious claim even in the context of the United States. If the Internet is a “social organization”, it is a very complex organism that, to adapt and thrive, must be “regulated” by every one of its components, not treated like a machine that can be repaired from the outside. To treat global (online) society as a mechanism that can be controlled and repaired by US law is itself a violation of a “natural law” recognized by the founders of our democracy themselves.

In short, we applaud Mr. Strickling for calling us all to think hard about how to keep the Internet open, innovative and free and how to combat various problems and wrongdoers who threaten to get in the way of the development of an ever more valuable social organism that enables trust-based interactions. He does recognize that this will not be easy and that it will involve collaboration by all concerned. We don’t think he meant that it is time for governments to intervene with lots more regulation – he expressly says the opposite of this. So we hope that other governments, and those with special interests to advance, won’t misunderstand his most provocative speech. We call on him to take them to task if they do so.

This commentary on the speech by Larry Strickling, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, is illustrative of the content of the Internet & Governance course content so far. In summary, Strickling calls for an Internet Policy 3.0. Rejuvenating current standards governance and legislation by taking into account where the internet is now and where its going and developing innovative policies.

The Centre for Democracy and Technology's David Johnson (March 2 2010) responds with clarifications and raises some of the primary issues regarding the proposals, including the practicality of some and the ethics of others.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rocket Car Day - Success Whale

Whee! Someone took a fantastic photo of my #failwhale rocket car and obviously it wasn't me! I'm still patting myself on the back for just documenting it on da blog cause Michael was overseas and there were three kids somewhere and 24 hours to do it in before... ROCKET CAR DAY 11.
So go see my earlier posts cause I think it looks fantastic. Don't just take my word for it! @YiyingLu says so too! And she designed Fail Whale and is a VERY IMPORTANT ARTY PERSON (and all around nice person too I'm told) so she should know! End story.
OK, maybe she just said she enjoyed it.. or knew about it and wasn't going to sue me.. or maybe heard it mentioned once in passing, which is ok alright?
Either way. I've still got the Fail Whale on my bookshelf. Scorched arse and all. (and Rocket Car Day 12 was HighNoonormous!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Internet Architecture of Gender - Decoding the Layers

First in a series of posts on the architecture of gender in the infrastructure of the internet.

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Street races are a real blast - Just another Sydney Sunday

Rocket lobsters and careening corn cobs: street races are a real blast

April 12, 2010
Full steam ahead... a couple of hundred people gathered in Marrickville yesterday to watch contraptions being propelled by C4 rockets.

Full steam ahead... a couple of hundred people gathered in Marrickville yesterday to watch contraptions being propelled by C4 rockets. Photo: Dean Sewell

A TENNIS racket, a teddy bear, even a cooked lobster and a corn cob - if a rocket can be strapped to it, it is a worthy entrant.

What started as the obscure passion of a few mates - launching model rockets into the sky - has become somewhat of an underground phenomenon, with a couple of hundred people turning out yesterday afternoon to watch the rocket races in the backstreets of Marrickville.

''It became a little bit boring too quickly, so we thought to keep it more interesting we'd put wheels on the rockets and race them along the street,'' said an organiser, who wanted to be known as ''Mook''.

Dozens of cars raced in heats of four or five yesterday, to see which contraption, propelled by a C6 rocket, could travel the furthest.

Just another Sunday in the burbs of Sydney. We had lots of fun this year without the pressure of our own cars to look after, like previous year's FailWhale, Surfari, and the impeccable RockIt Zappa Fender which managed to set someone's leather jacket on fire.
We've got plans for next year. Secret plans for the secret location.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Review | Living Dolls

Filed for later. I may be lazy but Living Dolls and Princesses and Porn Stars look like they'll be part of my what happened to feminism and where is the third wave book shelf

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Women more likely to quit than men..... pardon me?

I was going to say it's surely not news that women's careers take the backseat to men's but i'm pleased there's some more research on when and exactly what. But the default article title.. women quit.. well, that's a really really annoying attitude. Just like work/life balance is seen as ALWAYS a problem for women, although most men would like to have better work/life balance, it's still optional for men, rather than a matter of ditch the career then.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Storytelling Alice - Presenting Programming as a Means to the End of Storytelling

From my hero, Caitlin Kelleher. Storytelling Alice was her PhD project in Randy Pausch's game design course. She hasn't stopped there however!

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New game brings knowledge to Girls Inc.

PicoCrickets from MIT and Lego, getting girls interested in engineering through play.

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CRAFT Video: Craft Meets Tech at MIT

My sewing machine has been gathering rust for some years now and the knitting needles lie idle. But I'm inspired. My soldering iron is always more fun than the laundry one.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Kevin Bales: How to combat modern slavery

The human being is becoming the cheapest commodity on the planet - average price per person is $90 (although $1,000 in America). 27 million people are currently enslaved across the world.

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