What ever happened to Toots DeVille? (Teaser)

August 10, 2009 at 10:15 am | Posted in Culture | 6 Comments
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Willy DeVille died on August 6, 2009. He had contracted Hepatitis C and, beginning his treatment, doctors found he had pancreatic cancer. That was in June. R.I.P Willy DeVille.

Browsing his bio on Wikipedia, I stumbled upon a peculiar character, Toots DeVille, and decided to do a little research on her. It isn’t much I have yet found out, but I am going to to continue on this article. Doing this research sounds like an interesting side project.

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USA: 751 in 100,000 people in jail – Germany: 88 in 100,000

April 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Culture | 1 Comment
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The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. …

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London. China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China’s extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.) …
The United States comes in first, too, on a more meaningful list from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. It has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.)

The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63.

Read the full NY Times article here

Jam-packed trains in Japan, thanks to the Oshiya

April 15, 2008 at 11:30 am | Posted in Culture, Globalization | 1 Comment
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Incredible! I am so glad I don’t have to commute in Japan. In Japan, railway companies hire people for the position of the oshiya, i.e. the pusher who pushes people into the train. Seeing this, I wonder how many people have already died in Japanese commuter trains? Shudder

Carnival Photo Report

February 1, 2008 at 11:56 pm | Posted in Culture, Life | Leave a comment
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It is the first time in x years that I am not spending carnival in Cologne – but yesterday we had our own little carnival celebration here in Vienna at ncl@MQ. We even set up a live video conference with a friend who has a little shop/gallery in Cologne where the party started – and they staged a little Polonaise for us in front of the camera:-)



See more here

Namefagging – or why it is so hard to stay anonymus

January 31, 2008 at 12:27 am | Posted in Culture, Internet | Leave a comment
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This is an interesting follow-up to the Privacy/Transparent Human debate this week: The ‘Anonymous’ hacker group who had declared war on Scientology (but had accidentally launched a hacker war in which unrelated individuals were harmed) was apparently made vulnerable because some members had been unable to STAY anonymous, as they too much enjoyed to put their name to what they where doing. Mind Richard’s comment (with which I don’t agree whole-heartedly, yet Anonymous case proves he has got a point): “As soon as you’re registering with a service on the Internet, you should be prepared to being associated with that service sooner or later. And frankly, this is what most people who make ample use of Web2.0 services want.” As a hacker, you BETTER KEEP A LOW PROFILE – but that seems hard to do.

Read this message on Anonymous’ (now hi-jacked and exposed) virtual home 711chan.org:

It has been said before that this raid would fail, and although we do not see that happening at this moment, we as a network have taken a vote and decided that this raid on Church of Scientology was not done correctly.

It has come to our attention that this raid has evolved into more than Anonymous attacking Co$, the raid has turned into namefagging, giving people an area to attack.

This is not what the raid originally started as. Partyvan declares this as a threat to the network, and Anonymous alike. We have been under constant botnet attacks, 711chan hacked, and tons of drama over this. You guys did a very poor job of staying Anonymous. It’s obvious that a lot of you broke rules 1, and 2.

We are sorry to inform you that any more of this Scientology stuff will no longer be allowed on this network due to the epic amounts of spam, namefagging, and bullshit that goes on.

You may feel free to use our Wiki as a base, but 711chan will no longer support the ‘raid’ either.

Long live Anonymous.

TL;DR: Decentralize.

For those who want to continue this, please join this network instead.

/server -m irc.esylum.net -j #xenu

711chan in whole will be back online shortly. Just stick with us guys. We love you.
<3~ plasma

Damn. I fully supported Anonymous’ cause (they were also the originators of that spooky video). Too bad a few namefags brought a beautiful project to its knees. Urban Dictionary’s definition of a namefag:

Term used on 4chan.org for people who post using a name instead of simply post as “anonymous” like most others do. Usually used as in insult.

Namedude: I didn’t really like that movie.

Anonymous: STFU namefag, that movie was awesome!

4chan.org. Another mystery to be solved. Why ‘chan’ is a favourite ending to obscure communities to start with.

The End of Privacy: Transparent Humans, Courtesy of Social Media

January 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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This was a 45-minutes discussion which I hosted at the 4th Barcamp in Vienna. Here is my translation of the summary posted on the Wiki of Barcamp Vienna (where it’s probably going to evolve).

The starting point of the discussion was the observation that the readiness of users to publish information about themselves on the internet has clearly increased over the last years: While web 1.0 communities often struggled with the problem that users – after signing up – were too reluctant to publish their information on their profile (thus limiting opportunities for further social rapport), the same users are now volubly feeding platforms like Facebook/Studivz, Twitter, Xing etc. with their personal information – real names, office addresses, documented conversations with others (e.g. Wall-to-Wall), current place of residence, party photos, etc. The scenario is complemented by services like spock.com, 123people.com or 30boxes.com which allow for the aggregation of information in one place, needing no more than a name or an email address. Anyone can place a request.

The main trajectories of the discussion:

_Discrepancy between immediate user experience and technological consequences: The type of information that is communicated via social media corresponds roughly to that communicated in small talk, in face to face conversations. What we do not take into consideration, however, is that this very information can now a) be stored b) be brought together. By means of this aggregated information much more can be be found out than we believe to have revealed.

_The lack of historicity in digital media: Digitally stored items exist in a permanent present – and that applies also to our digital traces on the net. Old curricula vitae, the little sins of our youth, previous communications are forever returning, over and over again, the fading away of information and recollections which is characteristic of non-digital existence has become impossible.

_Discrepancy between real person and on-line existence: As personal information/communication is turned into data, new online existences come into being that have little to do with real life individuals – and for many business models, these real life individuals are not of import anyway; what counts are micro communities that transform themselves into data.

_Illusion of control: Nonetheless – many users do still foster the believe that one can control the situation – two (absolutely contrary) approaches to regaining (imagined) control are on the one hand the strategy of acquiring many virtual identities (so as to cause confusion – yet as soon as the connection between them is revealed, they are mapped permanently) or the idea to only use one’s real name (so as to make sure that one always ‘behaves’ in way that cannot be turned against oneself).

_We are searchable: Those who engage in social media act similarly, exchange similar information like they would in real life – yet in real life our conversations and our behaviour are not ‘searchable’. Because all things digital have become searchable (and will never fade away, see above) new personality configurations emerge with which we have not yet learned to deal.

_We are aggregable: We have not only become searchable, but also aggregable. Information / communication which was intended only for certain addressees will sooner or later be brought together. Instead of only a small circle of friends/acquaintances, everything reaches a general public. Any form of electronic communication is public – sooner or later.

Evaluations of those taking part in the discussion corresponded in that it was widely believed that we are yet to face the biggest data-related disaster. On a more pragmatic note, it was believed that it lies with the current generation of users to find out how far we can allow ourselves to go with personal data.

See a corresponding article in Austrian daily newspaper Standard [German].

My First Barcamp: The Vienna Session

January 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I attended my first Barcamp, a socalled un-conference which took place in Vienna for the fourth time this time. Here’s a brief description of what a Barcamp is, according to its originators:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. The name BarCamp was inspired as a complement to FooCamp. [Source]

I was dreadfully tired yesterday and would have loved to nod off a couple of times, of course not because of the discussions and presentations which were indeed quite intriguing: fresh, straight-forward, coming from competent folk who abstained from proselytizing. Nearly all sessions that I went to were instant favourites, in particular the ones about blog networks [Lenina, any ideas how to translate ‘Vernetzung’?], the Netvibes Q+A (the chap who presented it had the uttermost modest demeanor, but netvibes rocks), the concluding Web 2.0 discussion and – of course – the brief demonstration of how to turn your beamer projector into a touchscreen/electronic whiteboard using a Wiimote (see a similar video below).

I hosted a discussion myself – wasn’t too keen on it really as I was both tired an unprepared, but was determined to heed Barcamp rule #8: ‘If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present.’ Topic of the discussion was ‘Gläserner Mensch dank Social Media’ (something like: Transparant Humans, Courtesy of Social Media). The German version of my summary is available on the Barcamp’s Wiki; I posted an English translation here on my blog.

Can Alert Citizens be Found in Footed Pyjamas?

December 2, 2007 at 10:30 am | Posted in Culture | 1 Comment
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Just a thought. I came across this US-American site who sell footed pajamas for adults – in fleece, flannel, waffle knit, velvet, sweat shirt fabric AND they have a special product range that cames with a “trap door” at the back:

Our Drop Seat Back Footy Pajamas (or “Trap Door”) allow you to practically live in these things! Elastic top and 4 velcro squares and the fact that the opening tucks in “envelope style” will keep drafts out, but allow you to take care of the “Call of Nature” without taking your PJs off.

Footed PJs

Question remains though whether an alert mind can be found in a person that wears a pajama 24/7? Not that I haven’t myself spent entire days in my PJs, but, you know – shouldn’t one appreciate to have come past the pajama phase instead of putting on regression wear?

The wonderful world of media snacking

November 22, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Culture | 2 Comments
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Am busy putting together a brief presentation about Media Snacking and Micro learning. The point I am going to make is that Micro learning and Media Snacking is basically the same, but viewed from a different perspective: Media Snackers are considered media junkies, micro learners have the much more positive image of sustainable learners who have developed strategies for informal learning, using new media gadgets and who have learned to cope with the handicap of their short attention span 🙂

In that process I came across this perfectly senseless, yet endearing viral video: The two talking cats, currently #4 in the viral video chart.

Telugu Condom Song – is this for real?

November 2, 2007 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Culture | 3 Comments
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Dear people like Nova and Lallopalo who speak one or more Indian languages (even if not Telugu) – is this for real, according to you?

Spartans! Harr!

October 2, 2007 at 10:56 am | Posted in Culture | Leave a comment
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In spite of better intentions, I am becoming of fan of ICanHasCheezburger.


And people still freak if the borders of ethnicity get blurred

October 1, 2007 at 8:24 am | Posted in Culture | 43 Comments
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Laren Galloway has a good Scottish surname. His parents are from New Orleans and the fact that they are both African-Americans and have produced a blue-eyed baby seems to have caused some irritation. The pictures taken by and published on the website of photographer Terry Green have been circulating on the web for a while now. Why it is the photographer who holds the copyright or why it was him and not the parents who started a corresponding (sparsely filled) blog is beyond me, but I noted with interest the discussion that the pictures seem to have spawned, in particular in the black community. Somebody on Black Chat UK writes:

What a weird looking baby…poor thing looks like he has some eye defect or something! He would have been MUCH cuter if he did not have that eye colour

Somebody else snatched the pictures from Terry Green’s site and turned it into a youtube movie – also here the story was met ambiguously. The person who uploaded the movie writes:

man,most of you are disgusting and pathetic.i cant even put a picture up of a precious baby without people making racist comments.ive have 2 erase like 12 comments and some people were trying 2 turn the comment section into a race forum. ridiculous.

In places like Cape Town, which has a sad history of apartheid, but an even longer history of interracial relationships, you see people in all colours and combinations of skin and hair – the blond, green eyed girls among the Cape Coloureds were my favourite ones to look at, as they give you a sense of what people would look like if there wasn’t such a thing as racial bias. Yet how odd that a baby like this Laren Galloway can cause such confusion!

Maybe this is just a photoshop stunt of an artist. That’d be cool, an intervention to expose racial bias in both black and white people.

Rainbows and Gay Sex

September 27, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Culture | 3 Comments
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I’m having a friend here who’s visiting, hence not much time for a long post. Just a brief report about a gay proverb that was hitherto new to me and that Austrian mobile communication provider ‘one’ is using in their gay marketing strategy:

Every time you see a rainbow God is having gay sex.

Corporate exploitation of subcultural knowledge.

Anti-Americanism is Becoming Rife

September 25, 2007 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Culture, Politics | 42 Comments
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…yet I cannot help to chuckle at this photoshoppery (I hope it is one!):

Our Oil Their Sand

Or maybe this was meant to be ironic? If they were (and this was real) then they were certainly not aware that Europeans are currently not able to read Americans (as mass phenomenon) as ironic/able to show irony. Sad but true. As such, I read this picture as an enraged outcry: How did those Arab fellows manage to snatch our oil and hide it under their sand?

Comments of the friend who sent me this confirm he sees it the same way.

Aaw – all mixtapes go to heaven

September 22, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Culture | 2 Comments
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A really sweet picture from the PR blog that I cannot stop reading, although it also often annoys me (completely down wif capitalism, dem fellas):

Mixtapes go to heaven

Unfortunately it doesn’t say what the source was – did he possibly draw it himself?

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