Photo by Robbie Cooper
It's past one in the morning and my sleep schedule is shot all to hell, both from a nasty head cold and the medicines I'm using to fight it. And I've seen so many interesting things, readers, that it's high time I shared some of them with you. Thank insomnia.
* Behind the Avatars A fascinating photo series from Robbie Cooper that puts people's images side by side with the virtual avatar they've created. In a more fractured cultural landscape, we increasingly individualize our identities, with countless cultures and fantasias to draw from. To top it all off, there's now virtual worlds to roam around in where we can create new visual identities with a few clicks.
Like the best photography, Cooper's series speaks volumes. In lesser hands this could've ended up with simple exploitative gawking ("Wow, look at who chose to have a hot chick as their avatar hur hur"), instead it's surprisingly poignant and doubly interesting for how many avatars do resemble their offline bodies.
* Children by the Millions Wait for Alex Chilton Speaking of brilliant poignance, Joshua Ellis' superb essay from Coilhouse 04 has now made its way to the online edition. It starts with a personal story and makes its way to the mutated state of our current cultures.
Ellis' time predated (and was radically different from) mine, but like all the best stories it resonates no matter where you are. This is a piece still has me thinking about its points large and small, long after I first read it. Only the best essays do that.
* Keats in Space Molly Young's interesting call for a re-fusion of poetry and science, harkening back to the days when Milton's poetry graced astronomy books. I don't think Art and Science can merge as comfortably as some might believe, but this is an excellent reminder that both mentalities can learn from — and need — each other greatly.
* The State of the Internet Operating System Tim O'Reilly (poetically, at some points) breaks down exactly how the fuck the internet does what it does and how quickly that's changing. For those of us to whom the nuts and bolts of technology don't come that naturally, this is an excellent primer on how infrastructure matters — and why we should pay attention to what form tomorrow's may take.
* Stealing Krakatoa If anything that better sums up, in the most batshit supervillain way "Well fuck, the future's here" than Indonesian black marketeers hauling away the most famous volcano on the planet, I can't think of it.
* Lawmakers announce bipartisan transparency caucus Interesting, and while I'll have to see where it goes, worth applauding. I hope this marks the point where some of the Gov 2.0 ideas begin transitioning into the larger political realm. The air can get a little rarefied up there.
Just in case you're wondering, here's all the bastards on Twitter.
* Iceland bans stripping, adult entertainment, declared female-friendly haven Ah, Neo-Puritanism ain't dead yet. A disturbing story on a number of levels, not least because the reaction of some media is to take the idea that women need to be sheltered from witnessing or participating in certain acts as empowering, instead of disturbing paternalism Bullshit, of course, and Salon's writers justly call them on it.
* Captain Planet is not as cool as a jetski Just think about it for awhile. He's really not.