Experiment: A Class About Youtube, on Youtube

February 23, 2008 at 11:40 am | Posted in Youtube | Leave a comment
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This is a rather interesting experiment, interesting for everyone involved in learning and teaching: Professor Alex Juhasz taught a course about YouTube at Pizer College – on Youtube. You’ve probably already heard about it – quite a number of people and mainstream media have reported about it. Alex writes:

I had decided that I wanted the course to primarily consider how web 2.0 (in this case, specifically YouTube) is radically altering the conditions of learning (what, where, when, how we have access to information). Given that college students are rarely asked to consider the meta-questions of how they learn, on top of what they are learning, I thought it would be pedagogically useful for the form of the course to mirror YouTube’s structures for learning–one of the primary being user, or amateur-led pedagogy. So, the course was student-led, as well as being amorphous in structure within a small set of constraints, for this reason of mirroring, as well

This is something I immediately want to emulate! I have an appointment with my PhD adviser on Monday evening, and I might suggest it to him. First, however, I need to work myself through the VAST amount of material that Juhasz’ class has produced – it’s really amazing. Start with her own mission statement here:

Update: It really took my quite a while to work myself through some of the videos, and I am far from having covered them all. All in all it seems as if the experience, while it was going on, was pretty frustrating for the students – they got a lot of attention, both form peers and parents and from the media. For the media, it was mainly just another topic to be served to audiences and they packaged it mainly along the lines of ‘You kidding me? A class on Youtube?’. The feedback the students got from peers was, by and large, that they sure must be ‘slackers’ because a Youtube course must clearly by an ‘easy’ course, right?

It’s usually hard to grasp when one is in that situation, but learning effects are usually most profound when they ARE frustrating. And I LIKED their videos in particular because they bring across the intensity of that struggle. Here is my favourite student midterm assignment – it is my favourite assignment as part of its strategy is that it makes the reader/viewer YEARN for a copy of the message written down on a piece of paper where he or she can control the speed of delivery itself. So: Youtube is not the answer to all our questions – but better than many people think.

If one were to emulate the experiment, then I’d certainly provide for a closed learning environment – the class itself mustn’t be exposed to the Youtube public, as people are vulnerable when a learning progress is underway.

Here are two more videos, just so that you don’t misconceive the project as something created by a media-illiterate crowd (the video above used that appeal as a strategy)

Lilshowstoppa – Media Competency at the Margins of Society (?)

February 15, 2008 at 4:46 pm | Posted in video, Viral, Youtube | 3 Comments
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I don’t have much time to blog today, but I’ll leave this for your consideration. What do you think: Is it a fake (i.e has somebody with more media competency prompted this girl to do this as a skit in front of the camera) or has media competency finally reached the margins of society (and to which avail)?

Officer Salvatore Rivieri has been watching Full Metal Jacket a few times too often

February 14, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Youtube | Leave a comment
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I love Youtube! Control the Controllers! Sousveillance rules! Looks like officer Rivieri needs to sign up for anger management 😛 Update: Officer Rivieri has just been suspended, Fox News reports.

Just a thought: Is the Interwebs turning into a lynch mob? See also rottenneighbour.com which releases info like this (complete with satellite picture):

druggy mom
Ashpark Ln
West Carson, CA 90710 US
has had 9 kids so far. does not take care of any of them.claims to be a house painter, but really just steals from your house.

More web 2.0 dirt (and it’s old, too)

January 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm | Posted in video, Youtube | Leave a comment
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While I do think that I am pretty well wired to the interwebs, the occasional fad does escape me. The Numa Numa Lip synching fad, for instance. I didn’t even know the classic Numa Numa impression by a guy called Gary Broisma.

And since I stopped listening to the radio some years ago (why? Austria has got fm4 – what else do you need?), I was also (at least consciously) unaware of the existence of the song featured in that vid: Dragostea Din Tei. Not a song one needs to be worried about having missed, yet I have a terrible propensity towards getting carried away by songs with ear-tingling rhythms, no matter how foreseeable they are. This does, of course, make me a dupe of the culture industries, and of Dragostea Din Tei, but hey, dancing is good for the soul and the body, so I am not even trying to restrain myself.

I deeply understand Gary’s enthusiasm.

This video below is my favourite of all Numa Numa versions (after having watched Gary for half a dozen times). My favourite lines are “Graze the flesh there” and “Ragu sledding yay”:

I love youtube! And I’d like to buy a bottle of fries

September 15, 2007 at 10:20 am | Posted in Comedy, German, Youtube | 3 Comments
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Once again: A piece for the German audience – the classic sketch “Palim-Palim” (an onomatopoetic representation of the sound of the doorbell in a grocery store), also known as “‘ne Flasche Pommes Frites (A bottle of fries)”, starring Didi Hallervorden and featuring Gerhard Wollner. The sketch appeared in Hallervorden’s show Nonstop Nonsens, which was on air from 1975 to 1980 and is still aired occasionally. I guess that in a random group of Germans, at least three would still know it.


Two inmates are bored by their daily routine of sitting on their bunk beds (“I’m bored… if only I had known this before…”). They decide to play shop, a shop in which the doors are always unlocked (that’s a pun). When they open they door, it goes “Palim-Palim”.
At first Gerhard is the shop-keeper. Didi enters the store and asks for a bottle of fries, an unexpected request for Gerhard. He tells Didi to try again.
Didi does his Palim-Palim routine again and this time asks for … a small bottle of fries. Gerhard suggests they swap roles so that Didi will learn how to act as a customer.
Now Gerhard enters the store, yet is asked by Didi whether the door bell was broken (no Palim-palim was to be heard). “Door’s already open”, Gerhard says, and proves it by opening and closing it (and making that sound) again.
Gerhard approaches the counter and says that he would like to buy some fries.
“Well”, Didi replies, “do you also have a bottle with you?”

Ahem. Maybe this is another example of German humour, but most Germans quite like that sketch. And if only for nostalgic reasons. Didi has indeed for years been one of the most anarchic comedians the country has to offer (and probably still is the most anarchic one, besides Helge Schneider, if you look at the current generation of German comedians).

Here is a transcript of the sketch.

The Zimmers rock!

June 6, 2007 at 7:34 am | Posted in Film, Television, Youtube | 1 Comment
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This is the kind of thing that moves me! The Zimmers is a band with a choir of pensionists, most of which live in old people’s homes or isolated in their flat. They’re not just old, they#re impressively old people, the lead singer is 90 and by far not the oldest. The band grew out of a BBC documentary to advocate the cause of older people and have been name after a British brand of walking frame. Here is their myspace page – revenues from the song will go to a charity for senior citizens. And here is the video:

It may sound this ridiculous, but I watched this with tears in my eyes and the urge to liberate other old people from their homes.

Suicide Media 36/40

April 4, 2007 at 6:26 am | Posted in video, Youtube | Leave a comment
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You’ve probably seen this already: a video documented by the Palestinian Media Watch – A Self-Portrait of Palestinian Society. In their own words, PMW “has been playing the critical role of documenting the contradictions between the image the Palestinians present to the world in English and the messages to their own people in Arabic. The world’s view of the Palestinian Authority, to a significant degree, is the result of Palestinian Media Watch research.”

Their documentation includes some really scary stuff, e.g.about the way in which the Palestinian authority indoctrinates Palestinian children to seek Shahada [death for Allah] and die as a suicide bomber. The video below comes from that category.

More videos served here.

That’s how wars get started 30/40

March 28, 2007 at 6:48 am | Posted in Blogging, Bollywood, Friends, Teaching English, TEFL, Youtube | 10 Comments
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I’ve been a regular to the blogosphere since August 2006, and a regular blogger (one post per day, except when I am on vacation) for four months. This practice has fundamentally changed the boundaries of what I used to consider private and public. Things like using an IUD, for instance, I don’t think I would have wrote about on my first website, around 1998, over at tripod. (Btw, they used to call themselves “one of the leading personal publishing communities on the Web”, but have now hopped on the blog bus as well.) As I’ve probably written somewhere before, using a diary did never make much sense to me in the past – it just didn’t appeal to me to write something that isn’t addressed to someone. But who’s the address of blogging? Some individuals of course, both real life and blogosphere friends, although not immediately. Not in these same way as in writing (an email or letter) directly to them. The public? In a way. But with a difference. It’s as if blogging is also a way of getting reconciled with the world, with the things you’re doing, the problems you’re confronting. I suspect that this type of ‘public’ operates very much in a super-ego fashion – it would be worthwhile to examine this closer, but that’s actually not the topic I wanted to write about today.

Occasion for this intro is that I am going to use this blog today to write about a personal conflict I had with someone. This is definitely another step towards the blurring of the public and the private, or maybe even an attempt of making my concern heard by the super-ego that can accept or dismiss my request (following my half-baked theory above).

What is peculiar about this conflict is that, in our own minds, we both are right. It is an illustration of the great degree of subjectivity to which our perception of a situation is subjected. It explains why wars get started: both parties being trapped in their own little constructions of their world.


I’ve changed my mind meanwhile. I am not going to write about this on the blog, at least not in the detailed way that I wanted to. It might be better, if you think of the death threats that some female bloggers are receiving these days. I’ve wondered in the past how Lenina’s ‘BF’ might respond to her posts about him, or his friends, which are not always favourable, but maybe he doesn’t know the address. Anyhow, explicit communication about this might only make the situation worse, as the person might read this blog and get offended (not a blogger….).

Although it would be a story worthwhile sharing, featuring dissent arising from using diverging terminology from different disciplines, misunderstanding and mistrust originating from wrong assumptions about the workings of technology, a clash of gendered behaviour, and a mutual pushing the buttons of each other’s inferiority complexes (I don’t know exactly which buttons exactly I pushed, but I know which of mine were activated: Never say something to a TEFL person that would make it appear as though you thought TEFL folk weren’t proper academics. They already think they are not, and being a TEFL person alone gives most of them a sense of failure. Most of them have turned to teaching English because it was their last exit to a regular income. More about the inferior complexes of TEFL people to be found at the English droid’s page.)

A brief excerpt of the actualized gendered behaviour (also suggesting that the argument arose via email):

masculine: “You are wrong. That’s my view. And I don’t believe you. I am not going to respond to anything you write about this from now on.”
feminine: keeping up the the communication via email nonetheless, trying to substantiate that she was falsely accused, animating the other side to respond…

This example of masculine behaviour, btw, reminds me of the character of the patriarch played by Amitabh Bachchan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (already mentioned a couple of times on this blog). The patriarch rejects his adoptive son for marrying the wrong woman and declares him a persona non grata. Talking about him is no longer condoned. Numerous attempts are made (mainly by women or characters with feminine connotations) to animate him to rekindle the communication about and with the son. But all attempts are brutishly silenced by the patriarch:

“I’ve said it. That’s it. Bas.

I think this post should end on a positive note nonetheless. There’s nothing better for that than a sequence from a Bollywood movie. I’ll pick one from the end of KKKG, when everybody is reunited in wedding and happiness, and the patriarch appeased.

God, I love this movie. I’m not normally a fan of Hritik Roshan, but I just love his little tongue in cheek dance in the first part of this scene.

Two odd war movies: 300 vs Asoka 21/40

March 13, 2007 at 7:30 am | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Film, Stars, Youtube | 3 Comments
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I’ve got some thoughts on my mind about the relation between the consumerist mindset, the popularity of wellness products and services and the ever spreading belief of some people that they should ‘learn to do something for themselves’, relating furthermore to a certain tendency with some to assess friendship on the basis of its ‘what one gets out it’ value. But before I formulate this any clearer, I’d like to wait for a response from Jetsam on my response to his most recent Baudrillard post (don’t feel pushed into anything though!).

While that thought keeps fermenting, I’d simply like to juxtapose two films featuring scenes from the battlefield – the upcoming film 300, directed by Zach Snyder and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller on the one hand and the already mentioned Asoka on the other, directed by Santosh Sivan, featuring Shahrukh Khan, and loosely based on the life and times of the Indian emperor Ashoka who embraced Buddhism after realizing the cruelties of the wars he had waged.

While the former aspires to a hitherto unseen, graphic, formally aesthetic depiction of the fights on the battlefield, the latter eschews graphic detail, in spite of the numerous fighting scenes. The former relies heavily on the bluescreen, the latter on costume and physical abilities. The former is graphic eyecandy, the second a family movie and vehicle for SRK.

I didn’t manage to dig up a fighting scene from Asoka, so you’ll have to make do with the trailer. Please appreciate the suggestions of bloodshed which can be found throughout the movie, for instances splashes of red water against the sea shore. But for most of the time, choreography hides the bodily part where the wound is afflicted.

The piece from 300 was heralded as the ‘most violent scene in the entire film’. Please appreciate in particular the achievements of the Foley artists, in particular the sound of blood gushing out of the fresh wounds. Sounds pretty much like a bathroom party to me;-)

I don’t know how you feel about 300, but I am no more interested in watching it. According to Jetsam’s review, the images are stunning, but the characters contrived and uninteresting. Judging from the footage and screens I have seen, you can expect a photorealistic trying to be surrealistic image overflow – but I’ve already grown tired of CGI, to be honest.

On the other hand, the swords and armament in Asoka resemble the equipment of toy soldiers all too often – neither is the story the most intriguing ever told, but hey: it’s got SRK in it. I am afraid to sound too fanatic or naive – but SRK is definitely the best reason for watching the film. If anybody has the magic aura of a star, then him – goofy nose, warts and all. You just don’t want to take your eyes of him – from the blood feast in 300, I do happily want to avert my eyes.

Visual Enactment of Web 2.0

February 13, 2007 at 8:21 am | Posted in Web 2.0, Webfilm, Youtube | 5 Comments
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A colleague forwarded this to me: A brief explanation of Web 2.0, provided by someone in charge of Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University. Being a technology lecturer herself (my colleague), she missed the importance of technology in this bit. I’m not too fond of the Youtube title The Machine is Us/ing Us, as I am currently bored by both the luddite and the transhumanist stance (but I guess I would resent any stance towards the web 2.0 hype, for the sake of being one). Also, it’s becoming fairly buzzwordy at the end. Nonethless, I thought it was pretty cool how they used text interfaces to bring across their message.

At least it doesn’t have the bad musical score of the first post by jutecht to which it is a video response.

N.B. This is my #100 post on this blog!

SRK in my bathtub and on KBC2 – a star descending to TV?

February 8, 2007 at 9:57 am | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Film, Popular Culture, Television, Youtube | Leave a comment

Yesterday I stumbled upon the Shah Rukh Khan rules! group in flickr. Quite some time ago, when I posted about the state of the European (in particular German) infatuation with SRK, I took a picture of my bathroom adorned with Bollywood themed devotional cards. Someone called Another Penny Lane left a note on the picture, showing the man in HER bathtub.


Who wins? No comment necessary. 😀

Penny’s comment also reminded me that it is time to check how SRK is doing on KBC2 – Kaun Bangea Crorepati (Who wants to be a millionaire?). See for yourself – I think he is keeping up, although not quite big enough to walk in Amitabh Bachchan’s shoes.

Regardless of the question of the competition with the Big B, I’m intrigued by the fact that it seems to be possible, after all, for a Bollywood film star to descend to TV (also think of Shilpa Shetty in the Big Brother house – or was her career already faltering?). No such thing is likely to happen in the Western World. Imagine Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow or Meryl Streep becoming a TV show host! It would spoil their glossy veneer, I suppose… but does not seem to harm SRK. Or does it? What do you think?

Btw: Watching KBC also seems to be one possible way of learning Hindi – the host’s speech is riddled with English words, and the questions are presented both in English (in writing) and Hindi (read out by the host).

Brief DSDS update: Lindsay and Aleksin were sent home yesterday, Mark Medlock was the show’s king of of hearts [link to video]…

Slavoj Žižek: Love is Evil

February 7, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in Entertainment, Youtube | 9 Comments
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Posting just this cliplet featuring maverick philosopher Slavoj Žižek probably means to discuss him (or whatever he stands for) out of context – but it might be fair if one considers how difficult it is to stay up to scratch with his thinking. I suppose that I don’t really understand any of Žižek’s theories. And even worse, the main reason for that might be that I don’t WANT to understand or think of psychoanalytic theory as anything more than a metaphore (even if it is of the Lacanian denomination). But Žižek is certainly entertaining, I have to give him that.

So even if I fail doing Žižek justice, this piece is still good for explaining why I am fascinated with the public persona Žižek, and at the same time sceptical regarding his coherence as a theoretician. He’s sharp and quick as silver (and in a way a world wonder in his own right), but I sometimes feel that he is missing out a few tiny logical steps in his argument. I saw him “perform” once in Cologne and also had the feeling then that he sometimes got carried away by his own inclination to hog the limelight when confronting an intellectual crowd.

Lest I forget: Johnny Malmedy posted about this two days ago, but I couldn’t find what he wrote about the sexual act in this video.

I’m hooked onto DSDS (German Popidol)

February 4, 2007 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Entertainment, German, Popular Culture, Television, Webfilm, Youtube | 4 Comments

There is no point in denying: These days, the lack of TV reception or a cable hook-up cannot prevent you from getting sucked into the abysmal depths of private television. You don’t need a TV set anymore, it’s all on youtube, clipfish, dailymotion (and in no time, all of us computer owners will be coerced to buy a TV licence…).

Nico RaeckeYesterday, for the first time in years, I went OUT in order not to miss a TV show… I watched the DSDS Recall show at my boyfriend’s flat – and unfortunately missed the first ten minutes in which the Nico Raecke story line was resolved. From what I could reconstruct based on the three seconds I managed to catch and what I found on several web pages afterwards, it seems as if Nico gave up, or rather, his probation officer forced him to resign from the show. According to a news report from RTL two days earlier, youth welfare took his four months old son and put him in foster care, allegedly due to the 17-year-old mother’s drug problems. What a story! It would have made an excellent piece of social porn (“Sozialporno”, m., being a term that is currently used in German to refer to reality TV programmes) and would have ensured high ratings. The (in that sense equally pornographic) picture above is taken from a dubious interview conducted by Berliner Zeitung. EDIT: I dug up the web video covering the bits from the show that I missed – but all pieces put together still do not form a coherent story.

Mark MedlockThat kid having gone, there are still enough weirdos on the remaining brigade of wannabe popstars to cause trouble. Camp boy soldier Mark Medlock has already shown that he’s prone to losing his cool (refusing to go on stage in the final round of the recall, then coming up to perform a rather freakish rendition of Summertime without piano accompaniment).

British sounding names are apparently en vogue:

Lauren TalbotHaving appeared with Mark in a duet before, Emily-the-Strange lookalike Lauren Talbot first botched up her final song, and then sang another, a very peculiar but interesting version of, again, Summertime. My prognosis: The two of them will cause some serious psycho trouble if they make it into the motto shows – and considering that the jury’s power is reduced to commenting from the next show on, we can probably assume that both of them already have enough of a fan base to continue.

Here’s a gallery of all 20 contestants – including two brothers and one half of a set of identical twins (and if the better half didn’t have to have surgery on a benign tumor, there could have been two sets of siblings).

Searchmash, Google’s New Search Testlab (?)

February 2, 2007 at 11:11 am | Posted in Entertainment, Google, Web 2.0, Wikipedia, Youtube | Leave a comment

The McCord Webdesign Newsletter has pointed me to this – btw, it’s no newsletter that you need to subscribe to, but which I keep anyway, just because it is so tacky and oldfashioned; at the same time it is perfectly tailored to the needs of medium-scaled enterprises and their clientele, and a solid, although boring example of email marketing. Oh, and of dull American design.

Google Inc. is currently experimenting with a search engine that comes with a set of widgets to allow you to search images, blogs, videos and Wikipedia in a bar on the right hand side. Unfortunately, the widgets aren’t working properly in my browser of choice, which is Safari, but they run ok in Firefox (Internet Explorer? Who cares…). If they do work, they give you a short preview of the search results.


In a sense, it’s a search interface catering for Web 2.0 content – the results are the same as in Google, is just a matter of the presentation and navigation. You also have the option to hide the details of a result, giving it a nice uncluttered appeal. AdSense isn’t plugged it, so no there are no text ads (yet). No Google branding, either but the imprint is more telling.

It also seems as if Searchmash comes up with suggestions to narrow your search, apparently for entertainment related content only . I’m not quite sure whether this is the true criterion, but see for yourself and enter the terms ‘holiday’ and ‘big brother’.


Reality TV Update

January 29, 2007 at 10:20 am | Posted in Entertainment, Popular Culture, Television, Youtube | 1 Comment
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Here’s the update on my currently favourite Reality TV shows: Celebrity Big Brother & DSDS (German Pop Idol), both watched via Youtube and Clipfish.

Shilpa ShettyShilpa Shetty wins the 5th season of Celebrity Big Brother, bagging 67% of the votes. Runner-up is the soft-spoken Jermaine Jackson a.k.a. Muhammad Abdul Aziz, bronze was claimed by A-team hunk Dirk Benedict. Fourth came Ian “H” Watkins who had his coming out just briefly before stepping into the house. The media (including Wikipedia) like to point out that Shilpa is the first Indian to win CBB. I’d like to point out that this was the first time that the candidate with the most refined behaviour won, with the second most behaved contender leaving in second place. Dirk, whilst being somewhat of an old grump, still maintained a relatively sophisticated edge, certainly viewed in contrast to the proclaimed “face of hate” (The Sun) Jade Goody and her mother. And it does in my eyes not make a difference whether Shilpa’s demeanour is “authentic” or the conscious result of acting skills and professionalism – it’s quite refreshing seeing someone being NICE to the people around in a reality TV scenario (which normally seems to encourage people to transgress the rules of good conduct), whereas nobody escaped unscathed when Jade and her mom Jackiey were around. So I’d like to take the (possibly) reactionary, opposite stance to the common pro-trash attitude which would perceive of Jade’s and Jackiey’s behaviour as direct and honest, but not necessarily rude.

Related articles: Race, Class, Culture & the Big Brother House
Finally: The Backlash against White Trash TV?

Nico RaeckeThe current edition of DSDS has its first scandal: Nico Raecke appeared to be a particularly conspicuous candidate, first because of his vampiresque eyes, then because of the story he dished up, of a youth spent on the street and in jail, toting a picture of his one-week-old son and presenting himself as a father and husband. Turns out the story was made-up: He does have a son, but also a mother, and she is not a prostitute, but lives in a residential area in Pinneberg with her partner. And what’s worse (for such a format): Nico now sports a ridiculous haircut with shaven ornaments above the ears.

Nico Raecke and motherIf you can read German: Here is the full story, along with a video of him waiting outside his mother’s house to apologize. It will be hard for him now to enter the show, but even if he makes it into to the top ten, he’ll soon be voted out. TV audiences don’t like to be openly lied to, they prefer to ignore that TV is a lie altogether.

Related articles:
Hooked onto DSDS (including a link to Nico’s final appearance on TV)
German Pop Idol: DSDS online

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