community · creativity · play

Knitting the potholes together in Paris

In 2009, Juliana Santacruz Herrera began filling Paris’s potholes with elaborate knitted plugs; she called it “Projet Nid de Poule” (Project Pothole). What the yarn lacks in durability it makes up for in whimsy.

projet nid de poule (via Craft)

children · cognition · education · family · learning · technology

Using the Internet as a Learning (and play) Tool

Great article from Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing:

…my 2.5-year-old daughter and I use my computer as part of our imaginative play and storytelling, using YouTube searches, Flickr image searches, paper story books, toys, and trips around town to play and explore.

Now that she’s more active, she usually requests something – often something from YouTube (we also download her favourite YouTube clips to our laptops, using, or she’ll start feeding me keywords to search on, like “doggy and bunny” and we’ll have a look at what comes up. It’s nice sharing a screen with her. She points at things in her video she likes and asks me about them (pausable video is great for this!), or I notice stuff I want to point out to her.

But the fun comes when we incorporate all this into our storytelling play…

This is great that Doctorow is using YouTube as scaffolding to teach his daughter, rather than just plopping her in front of the TV. The interaction is the most important part here, and it’s great that he’s incorporating digital media into the lesson plan, encouraging her to think critically even at a little itty-bitty age. 🙂

behavior · environment · Social · technology · youtube

YouTube – RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time

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Philip Zimbardo. Image by Kanaka Menehune via Flickr

Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Zimbardo argues in this lecture that time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

I love the Silician Poet’s comment. I’d also be interested to hear what people’s thoughts are, especially if they speak the Sicilian dialect.

via YouTube – RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time.


community · Social

Building communities through online tools

It used to be considered sketchy to combine our online and offline worlds. With programs like Meetup and Foursquare, however, those days are long gone.

Lisa Gansky an author, instigator & entrepreneur, wrote a book about it, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. She also wrote an article for Boing Boing about 100k Garages “a Mesh-web-enabled sharing-platform that pairs people who want to make things (Makers) with digital fabrication tools (Fabbers).

“Many projects are small businesses that sell unique items. But 100k Garages, a team-up of ShopBot Tools and Ponoko, uses grass roots enterprise and ingenuity to help get us back in action — to modernize our public infrastructure, develop energy-saving alternatives, or simply produce great new products for our homes and businesses. There are already thousands of ShopBot CNC tools in garages and small shops across the country, ready to locally fabricate the components needed to address our energy and environmental challenges and to locally produce items needed to enhance daily living, work, and business.”

There are other non-business examples too; the sport Parkour spread internationally thanks to YouTube and online forums. People donated to the Haiti Earthquake relief fund in record numbers because they could do it via text message. People have Meetups and Tweet ups all the time. Foursquare is based entirely on allowing people know virtually where you are physically. However, security and safety are still a major concern, and some people still feel odd sharing these kinds of details online where anyone can access them, not just the community members they intended.

How do online communities translate into interactions in the real world and vice versa? What has your experience been with the navigation of having specific communities that exist both online and in-person? Does one seem more real than the other? Comment below.


Penguins chasing a butterfly – Boing Boing

A lovely antidote to Monday [or Tuesday] blues! As Jon Stewart of The Daily Show says, “Now here it is, your moment of Zen…”

see the original post Penguins chasing a butterfly – Boing Boing.

autism · cognition · language · psychology · youtube

Power of communication: "In My Language"

This video, which I found on the blog neuroanthropology, was created by a woman who is severely autistic. The first three minutes show the woman interacting with her environment, and then the woman, through typing on the computer, provides a translation of what she describes as her native language. She is severely critical of people who do not understand and appreciate how she views the world and who call her non-communicative.

This video is fascinating to me on so many levels (warning: possible spoilers). Watching her behavior from a psychologists’ standpoint is interesting with observing her self-stimulating behavior and how her mind is processing all this. But it also from a visual anthropology perspective. She chose to include these specific examples of her language in the movie, and even though she explicitly says they do not symbolize anything in particular, I wonder why these were chosen. Why did she choose to use a visual format to explain herself? Was this video made originally for Youtube, or some other audience? There is obvious editing, and not so much a storyline but definite parts to the movie. How did she decide on this structure, and who helped her, if anyone? Did anyone else film her (from what I can tell I don’t think so). How was she aided in this project? She gives credits at the end of her film, but they’re all thanks as opposed to assigned jobs.

From a communication studies and linguistics perspective, she’s challenging the definition of language. She argues that she has a discourse (several, actually) with her environment, with the objects in her house; they even get a credit at the end of the film. She also uses the “dominant language,” as she describes it, to explain herself and language and berate those who do not appreciate hers for what it is.

She also points out that most of us would probably not look at her on the street, or deliberately look away, which is absolutely correct, which makes a great statement about humans’ fear of the different, “disabled,” and unknown.
(end spoilers)

So a really interesting video on many levels, and I’m sorry my visual anthropology class is essentially over this quarter because I think it’d be great to show to the class and have them discuss it.