NYT article on the at-risk lifestyles of high-speed, high-stress, high-adrenalin lifestyles of pro-bloggers chasing new improved on-line newstories 24/7.

Thanks to twitter and Steve Rubel’s lifestream for bringing this article to my attention.

“digg.com blurb: “Some professional bloggers complain of physical and emotional strain created by an Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.”

read more | digg story

This reminded me of an article by Kate Argyle (1996) in Rob Shields useful anthology entitled Cultures of the Internet. Argyle’s account of what happens when a member of a virtual community dies challenged notions of that Internet communities were blasé and that the Internet itself fostered  a culture of distance and indifference. See http://www.socresonline.org.uk/1/3/van_loon.html

Webliography and bibliography

Argyle, Kate. 1996. “Death on the Internet.” in Shields, Rob. 1996. Cultures of the Internet: Virtual Spaces, Real Histories, Living Bodies. Chapter 8. London: Sage. ISBN 0 8039 7519 8

Reflection Nebula NASA

© NASA: Hubble Heritage Project
NGC 1999, a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion

This nebula in the constellation Orion is a reflection nebula which does not emit visible light on its own but is illuminated by a neighbouring recently born white star, V380 Orionis which is visible left of center. NGC 1999 became famous when the first Herbig-Haro object was discovered next to it. Herbig-Haro objects are now known to be jets of gas ejected from very young stars. V380 Orionis has a mass three times that of our sun and it twice as hot on its surface. This jet-black cloud near the centre is an example of a “Bok globule,” (after Bart Bok) a dense, cold light-eating cloud which might be where new stars are formed.(NASA 2006)

read more | digg story

Hosted by NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration on their image of the day, November 21, 2006.

Space invasion with fireplace and PC (1998-1999)

Space invasion with fireplace and PC (1998-1999),
originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

I began making my first web pages when Dave and I lived here on Lac Gauvreau, Chemin de la Baie Ste. Anne, Ste Cécile de Masham, Québec. I had already taken my first contemporary social theory courses with Rob Shields. From that time onwards he has been a valued mentor for my grad studies. I was working on the year long PhD seminar course with Professor Wallot at the University of Ottawa. This Canadian Studies PhD was a life-transforming experience. It was education as its best. The institution provided everything a grad student could need including access to a super coach and computer lab. As always Dave and I were squeezing as much as we could with bare bones technology. I was using our first digital camera and this flat bed scanner. My son Dan, who was studying at the Cite collegiale in Ottawa, taught me just enough .html coding so I wouldn’t make too much of a mess for him to clean up. He was a bit of a purist.

This acrylic painting was painted over the Christmas holidays in 1998-1999. I had already painted the tree outside our cabin by Lake Gauvreau. The next day the branches were so burdened with snow I had to repaint them entirely. I decided to let them invade the inner space of the cottage since their presence was so insistent.

The painting is 30″ x 22.5″ on Arches paper.

It was shown in March 1999 at an exhibition on Bank Street in Ottawa, ON and again in a gallery on Great George Street , Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in the summer of 1999.

Space invasion with fireplace and PC was one of the first images on my Carleton University home page and on the collaborative, innovative virtual space called artengine. It is one of my favourite images and after our chaotic move out west I really don’t know where the actual physical painting is or the great high resolution digital images the professional photographer took of my work in May-June? of 1999.

One of the challenges for me is to find the kinds of sites that provide me with ideas I can build upon. For example, currently I am unable to simply use a search engine to find useful information on the concept of memory work. I have kept track of this concept over the years using my EndNote bibliographic database. My sister Sharon introduced me to EndNote c. 1992?, an authoring software for creating digital databases with a powerful cross-referencing ability. Thousands of useful entries later and numerous upgrades later I continue to thank you Sharon.

Frimr was the ninth free topographical tool I investigated in my exploration of the connectivity/content potential. On Hallowe’en 2006 we parted ways. Christophe from Frimr could not explain to me which of the feeds I had listed on my Frimr account were not mine. He could not explain why my score was too high. (I suggested to him that maybe the site urls that hosted my feeds were being counted in as my feeds because of their programming?) I know I’m not famous but I also know I play fair.

The size of the Frimr icon (which I had compared to a pumpkin) as it appears on a Frimring member has something to do with being a boastful frimeur or frimeuse. The idea behind this fictive service is that the user can map out their presence or absence on the web. The first time I realized I had a zero rating was a bit unsettling. Why would anyone expect anything else unless you publish or blog in a network or community hooked into the blogosphere?

Anyhow a couple of weeks ago the audio stopped working on our aging television, the VCR conked out and my beloved Kodak digital camera died after having been a hard working member of my team for many years. After having used up my two for a toonie budget of DVDs I took out a number of free public library DVDs on the centuries biggest storms, tours for tourists, Einstein, etc. Dave was able to hook up the sound from the DVD directly through the speakers which he borrowed from my PC so I can watch DVDs on our television but not VCRs. Leno and Jon are just not as amusing watching with captions. The timing is off and the spelling is impossible. So during this period where I am off on medical leave I began to explore what is free out there in this virtual space where smart people fix broken things and help me to find useful stuff including where I’ve put my own things. I don’t have any idea how it works. But if only a few people find something that I have done provides them with a pointer, an idea or a new word, maybe all that energy, passion and hard work teaching, learning and research can still be socially useful.

I had become more courageous in moving from my status as blurker (is that the word? I can check it on the glossary of blog terms I have bookmarked on my del.icio.us space) to searchable participatory citizen of the blogosphere. It was the rapture of deep space provided by Google Earth that lured me out of my security zone. It was the tagging on Picasa, then Flickr that enmeshed me even further. It was the seamless interconnectivity between certain sites (I’m still figuring out which are which) that compelled to get more deeply into it.

Mirrored mountain, marina and clouds

The fish bowl/rose bowl
often half-filled or empty reflecting my own image and the subtle changes in light of my embodied living space became a visual metaphor for the complex reflexive way I see and live the world Strange it is that I am still unable after all these months to pick up the phone to call a dear friend or family member or to write them a personal email but I feel safe, solitary and satisfied while growing this strange, organic rhizome of virtual synapses from the security of my fish bowl here in this tiny but stunning island village. It is easier for me to compose the bulk of this reference letter as a blog than it is to open an MS Word document and write it. How can I be so verbiose and speechless at the same time?

Well, I’ve just gotten off the phone with a lawyer whose daughter was a former student. She’s now applying for law school and needs a reference. The letter would have written itself since she has such a stellar personality but I had asked to talk with someone who knows her well so I could refine adjectives and situate the fine qualities I had come to know within the broader framework of where she has been and where she is going. I had cautioned her that I am on medical leave and have not been doing teaching or research since 2005 and a letter from me might have no academic capital. But she still preferred to ask me. It is a bit ironical because that class was the last I taught at the university that turned me into a ghost, a non-entity in the department. Talking to her father reminded me of why I loved teaching so much. With or without my letter this young woman will become a fine lawyer with a fresh approach who will examine the law from a broader perspective. She isn’t afraid to ask “Why?” Her creative, original arguments will make judges blink without being disrespectful. Her clients will be in excellent hands. She will model ground rules of fair play by debating her arguments skillfully and forcefully without belittling her opponents or making personal attacks. She recognizes her God-given talents but they have not made her arrogant or boastful. Although she is a strong advocate of human rights she has a heightened sense of inclusivity and is therefore not blind-sided by the ‘we’ question. While she has the courage to take risks she is not rash or imprudent as it is in her nature to be reflexive in her thinking.

Her father acknowledged that the law itself is not rigid and timeless but organic and changing as we evolve. I understood that he was reminding me that something might be legal without being ethical. I found these useful citations through Google which I have added to my del.icio.us bookmarks.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. Jacques Anatole François Thibault) (1894) The Red Lily

What does it profit a poor and ignorant man that he is equal to his strong antagonist before the law if there is no one to inform him what the law is? Or that the courts are open to him on the same terms as all other persons when he has not the wherewithal to pay the admission fee?” Vance, William (1926) “The Historical Background of the Legal Aid Movement,” The Annals from the National Equal Justice Library

The following is a list of my new navigational tools for the blogosphere. Unfortunately when I try to let my dear friends know about this they are made uncomfortable my the need to download a reader, etc for some of these:

Reflecting on the Fall

October 11, 2006

Glass Bowl Flaming Colours I am not sure when I first became intrigued by the miniaturized worlds of spherical reflections. Was it while I was a contract art educator working on the National Gallery of Canada’s M. C. Escher exhibition? Was it while examining the Jordaen’s painting in the Baroque room where I found a reflection on the wine glass, a speck of blue sky and brick buildings across the street from the artist’s 17th century studio? Was it in the reflections in the eyes of Others that some artists like Lucas Cranach captured? Or was it when I did my first painting of the light effects on a wine glass half-filled with water. I had noticed this effect while sitting at the café in the NGC’s Great Hall of the glass. The domed parliamentry library literally mirrored in the Great Hall’s architecture was captured in an inverted tiny reflection in the wine glass. It seemed at the time like an ideal metaphor for the topsy turvy politics of the gallery management.
Once I began to record these reflections I saw them everywhere. They were no longer the visual equivalent of white noise. I sought them out. Eventually they became the visualization tool for concepts of Self and the Other-Eye. This manipulated photo taken in the fall of 2004 showing a glass water-filled sphere reflecting fall colours and the fireplace is on my Flickr ocean.flynn space. It’s another way for me to attempt to create a multimedia digital topology of self and the other using free technology of the blogosphere. This morning I also blogged on my beached wail blog. Eventually I want to connect my del.icio.us to all of this.

Del.icio.us Flickr WordPress

October 10, 2006

Panorama from Malahat with Vancouver visible in distance
In a way it is like building rhizomic connections between blogs that eventually will form a virtual topography of self in relation to others. I uploaded the image to my free Flickr account ocean.flynn which is also connected to my del.icio.us account which also lists my other blogs. I am not sure how it will all be connected but it enraptures me.

Post-WWII theories of the acceleration of history (Halévy 1948 [1961], Jeanneney 2001, Nora 2002) unsettled notions of temporality itself. Beck (2002) continues this study of shifts in space-time (2002). A frenzied pace of change worldwide resulted from rapid successions of significant events. It seemed to indicate that virtually if not physically, time had accelerated while the globe itself was shrinking. What happens to the ethical dimension of memory work as time accelerates?