HAUTE POP

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In the absence of “grand narratives,” what we are left with is a politics of the personal that demands an accounting of any and all personal affectations, language, comportment, and private choices. Suddenly, everything we say, everything we do, how we do or don’t fuck, is lardered with almighty political importance.

Postmodern ideas demand that we accept that there supposedly is no objective truth, and turn instead to the wisdom of experience: our unique experience, which is the only thing any of us knows for sure. And like a pointillist painting, hopefully everyone’s discrete dot adds up to a big picture. Thus comes the emphasis on managing private trauma as an important site of activism.

New from @robertjparkin over on our FACE work blog:

How To Detect Communities Using Social Network Analysis 

In it, Rob explains the network diagram pictured above:


Let’s start by revisiting the ego network from my Facebook graph that we investigated in the previous blog.

Here nodes are portioned by modularity, with each node belonging to a separate cluster or community, and coloured accordingly. For many of the separate and very distinct clusters on the edges of the network, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these people belong to their own community.

What is interesting is within the main component, where without the colour coding it’s hard to see any clearly divided partitions. But now we now have four different communities (blue, brown, purple & maroon-ish). So the question is, are these 4 different groups just statistical figments of the network structure? Or do they relate to anything real about the relationships between the people involved?

The blue community is made up of people I met at school, all around my age (17% of the network).
The brown community is people I went to school with, but also lived close to where I grew up (9% of the network).
The maroon community also went to school with me, but all at least a year older that me (7% of the network).
The purple community is people I attended college with directly after finishing school (also 17% of the network).
This is a great example of how we can segment individuals by very subtle differences, simply by analyzing the structure of the connections they share.

But how could a network “know” these things about my friends? Well, it’s all based on the connections they have with each other. People who were in the same yeargroup at school are more likely to know each other, and therefore be friends on Facebook – so that’s what connects the real world to the network relationship.


This got me thinking more about brands and communities:

A community is most often defined as a  group of individuals living in the same geographical location. It can also be used to describe a group of people with a shared characteristic or common interest: the research community, for example. Within the social sciences, communities are often understood as something socially and symbolically constructed - for example, the “imagined community” of the nation state (Benedict Anderson, 1983).

Using social networks analysis we define communities differently – by looking at how people are connected to each other through who follows whom, or who retweets whom - and clustering these into similar groups. So it is a statistical measure of connectedness, and it’s not based directly on whether these people would recognize themselves as being part of the same community. 

However, what’s so fascinating about networked community detection is that the communities it identifies very often DO have significant real-world meaning - as demonstrated by Rob’s analysis of his Facebook friends - and can help us explore what it is that joins a community together.

At FACE we’ve done a number of network analysis projects, sometimes for PR (especially with Twitter), but also for internal use, helping brands understand the audience they’re talking to on Twitter.

What I’d like to see is more companies going public on their network analysis, illustrating their audiences back to their followers.

In part because it’s important to give back to the commons, the shared value that we all create through posting on Twitter. Twitter legally own this data, and there’s a fairly well-recognised value exchange in that users essentially sell the information value of their content in exchange for getting Twitter free. And speaking for myself, I certainly get a vast amount of value from using Twitter. 

However, one thing we might say distinguishes a real community from just any old group of people is that relationships exist beyond the purely economic. There’s some degree of trust, and a greater degree to do favours. It’s called prosocial behaviour, and it stems from altruism rather than an expectation of immediate return. People give to their community.

Brands need to think more about how they can give to their communities. They get a lot of value from having communities - loyal purchasers and word-of-mouth advocates. And one way they might give back is by sharing insights and visualisations and research, the kind of thing that individual people just can’t do, or create, or find out - but might like to know and see. Like an understanding of the shape & dynamics of the community they’re part of.

Ideally I’d like to see a LOT more open research. 

I just did a social media study on the different types of sustainability that the client is talking about sharing & publishing in this way, and that’s really exciting. Of course some research can’t be shared publicly because it’s strategically sensitive - but social media research, built on the commons of open data APIs, doesn’t tend to be so. So why not publish it, and give back insights and learning to the community who generated it?

The second reason to publicly share community visualisations is because, as we said, community isn’t just about shared interests but a shared imaginary, a shared recognition that “We are part of the same group.” 

Sharing social network visualisations - illustrating that group as an entity, a multicoloured digital jellyfish - could be one tool for a brand to make real “customer community” beyond the jargon of a thousand Powerpoint decks. The visualisation illustrates the audience as a whole, makes it seeable, thinkable, comprehensible as a unit. It helps people see themselves as part of something bigger.

This happens already - the nod of recognition when you see someone with the same bike or dress as you. It’s a recognition that you have something in common, as expressed by your purchasing choices. (This may or may not be something you feel is a good thing, but that critique is another blog post.)

So what a social network visualisation may do, in a little way, is actually create community. It’s able to help a brand move beyond a 1-to-1 individualised relationship with buyers, towards something bigger and more powerful - positioning their brand as a source of cultural meaning and social value.

New from @robertjparkin over on our FACE work blog:

How To Detect Communities Using Social Network Analysis

In it, Rob explains the network diagram pictured above:

Let’s start by revisiting the ego network from my Facebook graph that we investigated in the previous blog.

Here nodes are portioned by modularity, with each node belonging to a separate cluster or community, and coloured accordingly. For many of the separate and very distinct clusters on the edges of the network, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these people belong to their own community.

What is interesting is within the main component, where without the colour coding it’s hard to see any clearly divided partitions. But now we now have four different communities (blue, brown, purple & maroon-ish). So the question is, are these 4 different groups just statistical figments of the network structure? Or do they relate to anything real about the relationships between the people involved?

  • The blue community is made up of people I met at school, all around my age (17% of the network).
  • The brown community is people I went to school with, but also lived close to where I grew up (9% of the network).
  • The maroon community also went to school with me, but all at least a year older that me (7% of the network).
  • The purple community is people I attended college with directly after finishing school (also 17% of the network).

This is a great example of how we can segment individuals by very subtle differences, simply by analyzing the structure of the connections they share.

But how could a network “know” these things about my friends? Well, it’s all based on the connections they have with each other. People who were in the same yeargroup at school are more likely to know each other, and therefore be friends on Facebook – so that’s what connects the real world to the network relationship.

This got me thinking more about brands and communities:

A community is most often defined as a group of individuals living in the same geographical location. It can also be used to describe a group of people with a shared characteristic or common interest: the research community, for example. Within the social sciences, communities are often understood as something socially and symbolically constructed - for example, the “imagined community” of the nation state (Benedict Anderson, 1983).

Using social networks analysis we define communities differently – by looking at how people are connected to each other through who follows whom, or who retweets whom - and clustering these into similar groups. So it is a statistical measure of connectedness, and it’s not based directly on whether these people would recognize themselves as being part of the same community.

However, what’s so fascinating about networked community detection is that the communities it identifies very often DO have significant real-world meaning - as demonstrated by Rob’s analysis of his Facebook friends - and can help us explore what it is that joins a community together.

At FACE we’ve done a number of network analysis projects, sometimes for PR (especially with Twitter), but also for internal use, helping brands understand the audience they’re talking to on Twitter.

What I’d like to see is more companies going public on their network analysis, illustrating their audiences back to their followers.

In part because it’s important to give back to the commons, the shared value that we all create through posting on Twitter. Twitter legally own this data, and there’s a fairly well-recognised value exchange in that users essentially sell the information value of their content in exchange for getting Twitter free. And speaking for myself, I certainly get a vast amount of value from using Twitter.

However, one thing we might say distinguishes a real community from just any old group of people is that relationships exist beyond the purely economic. There’s some degree of trust, and a greater degree to do favours. It’s called prosocial behaviour, and it stems from altruism rather than an expectation of immediate return. People give to their community.

Brands need to think more about how they can give to their communities. They get a lot of value from having communities - loyal purchasers and word-of-mouth advocates. And one way they might give back is by sharing insights and visualisations and research, the kind of thing that individual people just can’t do, or create, or find out - but might like to know and see. Like an understanding of the shape & dynamics of the community they’re part of.

Ideally I’d like to see a LOT more open research.

I just did a social media study on the different types of sustainability that the client is talking about sharing & publishing in this way, and that’s really exciting. Of course some research can’t be shared publicly because it’s strategically sensitive - but social media research, built on the commons of open data APIs, doesn’t tend to be so. So why not publish it, and give back insights and learning to the community who generated it?

The second reason to publicly share community visualisations is because, as we said, community isn’t just about shared interests but a shared imaginary, a shared recognition that “We are part of the same group.”

Sharing social network visualisations - illustrating that group as an entity, a multicoloured digital jellyfish - could be one tool for a brand to make real “customer community” beyond the jargon of a thousand Powerpoint decks. The visualisation illustrates the audience as a whole, makes it seeable, thinkable, comprehensible as a unit. It helps people see themselves as part of something bigger.

This happens already - the nod of recognition when you see someone with the same bike or dress as you. It’s a recognition that you have something in common, as expressed by your purchasing choices. (This may or may not be something you feel is a good thing, but that critique is another blog post.)

So what a social network visualisation may do, in a little way, is actually create community. It’s able to help a brand move beyond a 1-to-1 individualised relationship with buyers, towards something bigger and more powerful - positioning their brand as a source of cultural meaning and social value.

"This presentation is not a primer. Nor is it a marketing deck, though that is its form. It is a stunning work of speculative fiction about a future that must be avoided at all costs. It imagines a generation defined exclusively in opposition to the ill-defined one that came before. Its incoherence, like the incoherence of its subjects, it what gives it such paralyzing power."

The Looming Threat of “Generation Z”
by John Herrman, The Awl
19 June 2014

Referring to the presentation Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials by Sparks & Honey, a “culture briefing” / trends agency in NYC.

Via @justinpickard

Gratuitous lifestyle blog photo post, aka I have been working damn hard to sort out my living room and it’s starting to come together. So here it is.

Illustration: Velo Citizens by Steve Thomas, ICON magazine 2010
On trunk: ‘Suzanne Walking’ 3D hologram thing by Julian Opie, broken (salvaged from The Foundry, Old St, c.2010)
Print: ‘La Torre Rosa’, de Chirico
Paint: ‘Dust’, by Habitat
Shelves: DIY
Trunk: my grandfather’s

Image: Metahaven.

Quote: Neil Smith, Gentrification In Brief - a Marxist geographer writing in the 1980s about gentrification on the Lower East Side, NYC:


“Die Yuppie Scum” isn’t a very good analysis of gentrification. Even yuppies have very limited choices in the housing market, albeit far more choices than the poor. By contrast, the owners of capital intent on gentrifying and developing a neighbourhood have a lot more “consumer choice” about which neighbourhoods they want to devour, and the kind of housing and other facilities they produce for the rest of us to consume. There is a huge asymmetry between the power of multi-millionaire capitalist corporations in the market and the “power” of someone trying to rent a flat on an average city income. So while the question of consumption and the availability of consumers is by no means irrelevant, it is secondary to the far greater power of capital.

Found via The ‘Fucking Hipster’ Show: Mocking hipsters in the service of capital. by Anthony Galluzzo, Jacobin magazine, 9 May 2013.

Image: Metahaven.

Quote: Neil Smith, Gentrification In Brief - a Marxist geographer writing in the 1980s about gentrification on the Lower East Side, NYC:

“Die Yuppie Scum” isn’t a very good analysis of gentrification. Even yuppies have very limited choices in the housing market, albeit far more choices than the poor. By contrast, the owners of capital intent on gentrifying and developing a neighbourhood have a lot more “consumer choice” about which neighbourhoods they want to devour, and the kind of housing and other facilities they produce for the rest of us to consume. There is a huge asymmetry between the power of multi-millionaire capitalist corporations in the market and the “power” of someone trying to rent a flat on an average city income. So while the question of consumption and the availability of consumers is by no means irrelevant, it is secondary to the far greater power of capital.

Found via The ‘Fucking Hipster’ Show: Mocking hipsters in the service of capital. by Anthony Galluzzo, Jacobin magazine, 9 May 2013.

Anonymous asked: Well done for following the urban study route...

I don’t know whether to say “Thanks”, or think that this is sarcastic.

My Masters degree is in urban geography (UCL Modernity Space & Place, now basically the same as their new Cities programme), but I’ve been working in social media research for the past 3.5 years, which isn’t urban at all.

That said I still see cool urban things going on such as Urban IxD (http://urbanixd.eu/) working on urban interaction design, or people like Han Pham (@designswinger) who have job titles like “London Future Cities Anthropologist & Experience Strategist” at Intel. Or UCL CASA, if you want to get quant.

So there were (or are) other futures possible - roads as yet untrod.

New Statesman | Paul Mason: what would Keynes do?

I’m glad Paul Mason’s addressed the ‘information economy’ because there’s a lot of bollocks being spouted about it, and I was trying to work out what the social implications really were.

Or maybe it’s just Jeremy Rivkin has a new book out on ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’, where he claims that basically everything will become FREEEE and bye-bye capitalism, hello “Collaborative Commons”. I was sure he’s wrong - and now Mason helps me articulate better how.

Rivkin, it seems, has forgotten that things are made of stuff, and stuff remains finite. Mason is far clearer on what’s becoming super-abundant (information goods, i.e. only some things such as music recordings, or opinions) - but also fascinating on how information kind of “infects” (or rather augments) physical goods - “Everyday products are alive with information” (very Jane Bennett) - such that the aeroplane is inseparable from the stream of data that tests and tracks and determines its journey from A to B.

So in this way, many things are at least in part information goods - and the failure of economics is its inability to recognise or measure this. Mason’s essay is important because he properly connects the dots on the social implications of this:

"Consider the social implications: if the cost of information goods tends towards zero, and the ability to standardise and virtualise the manufacture of real things also rapidly reduces their cost, the real price of labour will also fall because a) supply exceeds demand and b) the input costs fall."

Will technological progress create fresh demand, as it has in the past with the invention of gadgets, geegaws, and in fact the very concept of “leisure” itself? Well, that’s the problem - because in 1910 it was demand for physical things (e.g. electricity, domestic appliances), but 2010s demand for information goods doesn’t solve the problem.

Demand for services, then?

"But services, too, can be automated. And so what we may be left with is the nightmare the French writer André Gorz envisaged: that just as it tried to privatise water in the 1980s, capitalism is forced to privatise and commodify simple human interaction. That just as we have sex work now, we might have affection work, sympathy work, anti-loneliness work in the future."

And that’s how you get Autonomist ideas in the the national press.

Launching Safe Cracker

My friend benjamesward on how he built a million-download mobile game:

image

This is part two of a blog post series on creating the mobile game Safe Cracker. If you haven’t read part one, you can do so here.

The team was working to complete Safe Cracker throughout November and December. We had no real release strategy initially - we just worked on it as quickly as we could. We knew the quality bar we wanted to hit, so it became an intense slog to get the game where it needed to be. As things came together, I came to realise that launching before Christmas had suddenly became achievable.

Every year Apple shutdown the developer publishing tool, iTunesConnect, for the holidays. Even the brilliant people at Apple can’t work every single day of the year! The company is very good at messaging the dates of this shutdown to devs ahead of time, so we suddenly had a deadline. If we wanted Safe Cracker to launch in time for Christmas then we NEEDED to meet that date. We killed ourselves to get the game done before iTunes Connect holiday shutdown.

As the deadline drew closer I began to slightly panic that things wouldn’t be done in time. I had been slack in getting a decent brief to our composer, and as such he was suffering the knock-on and the work was coming in hot. It was time to make contingency plans. I actually submitted a version of the game with slightly unpolished SFX in order to hit the deadline. I knew that it could take a couple of weeks to pass through submission, so this build would be our backup if things didn’t come together in time. Fortunately, this build was approved by Apple and held offline as our backup. At least we had something to release for Christmas now, even if we couldn’t pull the final SFX together in time.

I’m incredibly fortunate in the people I work with. Neil, the Safe Cracker Audio Designer, is not a man to miss an opportunity. I had left him in a bad situation by not providing enough time and information, but he didn’t let this beat him. Poor Neil pulled out all the stops and stayed up crazy late for several nights in a row to work on the game’s sound effects! We worked together to finish the game, and were able to submit the proper version to iTunesConnect in time to be approved before shutdown. Woo!!

image

Even though the game was finished and approved, the work of an independent developer is never done. In the old days when I worked in console development the studio would celebrate and we would all have a few weeks off to recuperate. Not so when you’re also responsible for the publishing side of things! I went straight into building a press release to announce the game, and also pull together the release assets: screenshots, gameplay breakdown document, video trailer, etc. A note for other devs who might be reading: don’t underestimate now long this can take. It’s a major undertaking which can be just as difficult as mastering a game!

Once the assets were created, I paid for a press release service to supplement my own mail blast to my existing PR list. I don’t think the paid-for service was massively worth it and I’m not going to bother using them again, but it was an interesting experiment. I then leaned on contacts in specialist press for coverage, calling in as many favours as I could. Unfortunately, if I’m honest, it didn’t work very well; I think industry has changed a lot since my days of AAA. Either Safe Cracker didn’t appeal to the (hardcore) specialist press en-masse, or there has been a big change in how games press cover mobile games. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Not to be deterred, I hassled Apple with information about the game. It took several attempts to get through to my contacts at Apple, but eventually I was able to chat to them directly and explain why Safe Cracker was worthy of their attention. Their internal teams reviewed the game, and eventually it was featured in the “Best New Games” category over Christmas. This was a fantastic achievement, and something that I’m really proud of.

image

I’m a little surprised that the specialist press were so unreceptive to the game, but I think it’s indicative of a growing negative attitude toward mobile in general from those guys. That said, it didn’t make a big difference for Safe Cracker. The Apple feature spot more than made up for the snub, and to be honest it has made me re-evaluate my marketing priorities for the future. The world is changing, and it pays to stay impartial and go with the tide on things like this.

I worked over Christmas to create the game’s first level pack, released in mid January. It actually doubled the size of the game, with another 64 levels. I was able to build all the new levels and associated mechanics inside of two weeks, which was a bit mental to say the least. I also took the chance to localise the game into several new languages, including Mandarin Chinese. Over the next few weeks the Android version launched with mixed results, but that’s for another blog post…

image

Safe Cracker was downloaded over 350,000 times in it’s first month. It was also played over 1,000,000 times in that period. It’s stats for number of sessions per user and session length all break industry averages. Since then the game has broken one million downloads overall across all platforms, and has been the fastest growing game I’ve built so far. Usually I find myself being hyper critical of the games I build, only seeing the faults. However, I’m really proud of Safe Cracker. I think it achieved most of the things I set out to do, and it’s performance has been decent.

In the months since Safe Cracker launched I’ve been pulled onto another urgent project; a geography quiz title called Worldly. However, that game is now pretty much finished, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to Safe Cracker. It’ll be nice to optimise the game, bring it to new platforms, and perhaps even grow the game in unexpected ways. Thanks for reading this post, and if you haven’t tried Safe Cracker yet then you can download it from here.

Patients at the Workhouse

trespassingassemblies:


In the photographs of the Workhouse, which is also inconsistently also named the Infirmary, perhaps because the two buildings sit side by side, sharing an internal wall, there are a group of men who are known as inmates, or so it’s written here, or sometimes patients, as it’s written…

The Magdalene Laundries - three links

hautepop:

The McAleeser inquiry in Ireland has reported on the Magdalene Laundries. These workhouses for “fallen” women - unmarried mothers, prostitutes, or just flirts, bad girls and the socially deviant - saw up to 30,000 women detained for months, years or life and forced to work unpaid - as recently as 1996.

This is an Irish national scandal, and the process of recognition and reconciliation is only early underway. Accounts from the woemn involved have been published elsewhere; after an evening’s reading, I wan to recommend these three (four) articles for helping do the difficult work of placing these horrific institutions in social and cultural context:

1. "It is regrettable that the Magdalene homes had to exist at all"
Hardcore For Nerds (@HC4N)
Tumblr, 7 February 2013

HC4N takes a deep, measured, and serious look at the complexities the Magdalene system raise for Ireland - both prison and refuge, workhouse and social service. He asks Ireland to look at how "the state and the wider society relied on the ‘charitable institutions’ to sweep their perceived failures under the carpet - and to literally scrub some of their dirty linen at the same time.".

A powerful conclusion:

There’s a sense in which it is not entirely an exaggeration to call the institutionalisation of women and children along with people with mental illnesses, by both Church and State, the Irish Holocaust - in what it asks of us in terms of memory and atonement and self-examination.

2. Coercive confinement in the Republic of Ireland: The waning of a culture of control [PDF]
Eoin O’Sullivan & Ian O’Donnell
Punishment and Society, 1462-4745; Vol 9(1): 27–48

Essential academic article which puts the laundries in the full “penal-welfare” context - that is, as one of a range of institutions from prisons, to mental hospitals, to industrial schools and religious organisations “that confined men, women and children in the name of treatment, care, rehabilitation and repentance.” Foucault’s “carceral archipelago”. Ireland was an extraordinary place in the 1950s, with over 1% of the population in “coercive confinement” - a higher rate even than the prison capital of the world today, the United States. But this was mostly through non-prison institutions, and the article details the dramatic shift over the course of the twentieth century.

2a. A few months ago, the Differential Association (a Dublin criminology reading group) reviewed O’Sullivan & O’Donnell’s 2012 book on this subject, Coercive Confinement in Ireland: Patients, Prisoners and Penitents.

What they have to say about the social context of the laundries is the most incisive social analysis I’ve seen:

The authors noted that upon the publications of the Ryan and Fern Reports there has been a collective denial of institutions of coercive confinement; ‘if only we’d known…’ has become something of a collective anthem. As the authors told us, with a staggering 1% of the population being held against their will at one time, it affected so many families that widespread denial of their existence is utterly implausible. Both said they were moved by a John Banville article in the New York Times in which he speaks frankly about the tacit and widespread awareness of the institutionalisation which faced the poorer boys in his class when it came to post-primary. He is also honest about the silence that pervaded Irish society on this issue, ‘Everyone knew, but no one said’.

[…] What factors underpinned and drove the use of coercive confinement in Ireland? Their sophisticated analysis illuminates the fundamental role of the rural economy in sustaining high levels of coercive confinement in Ireland. This is a tricky and sensitive topic, and the authors handle it in a fair and considerate manner.

Life had an economic calculation, for those in poverty institutions of confinement were a valuable resource, a sort of safety valve. The small farmer class also used the network of institutions as a repository for surplus family members. Further, these surplus family members, excluded from inheritance or unlucky in the marriage market, themselves often joined religious orders, thereby completing a closed system which sustained the network of institutions. While Ireland was certainly a conservative and puritanical society it was the cold calculus of economics that often drove the high numbers of those coercively confined rather than simply oppressive morality. It was only as rural Ireland began to abate that the use of coercive confinement declined; the shift away from rural fundamentalism meant the need for institutions of confinement were no longer a necessity.

This family culpability is explained further by:

3. It’s not just the State that needs to say sorry to Magdalene survivors
Victoria White
Irish Examiner, 7 February 2013

Now we know the State’s share of the blame for the slavery of our women in the Magdalene laundries. We know more than a quarter of the women were sent there by agents of the State. We know agents of the State, including the President, ate their dinners off tablecloths had washed by Magdalenes and dried their mouths with napkins they had starched.

Of course the Taoiseach should admit as much and say “sorry”. But when eventually that full apology and compensation come we will still be left with a huge feeling of disquiet. Because the truth is — as Martin McAleese’s report makes clear — it was our society which confined those women in those laundries.

And it is clear that some of the women could have been better off in those appalling conditions than they would have been outside them. There were no women’s refuges then, few social services, no lone parents’ benefit. Some of the homes the women came from were cruel and dangerous. “We were robbed of our childhood, but then I had a mother who beat the crap out of me,” one woman told Mc Aleese’s committee. Another told them she had ended up in the laundry as a safety measure because her father “interfered with the bigger girls”. You wouldn’t want to get “big” in the family, would you?

After this report, we may finally move away now from our habit of blaming the Catholic Church for everything we have done wrong as a society. […] Our society produced the religious organisations. There’s a very telling moment in McAleese’s report when a nun says, “We were institutionalised too, of course.”

[…]In Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, James Smith argues that we did it because we had just been through a period of Civil War and wanted to present an image of Irishness which was both “pure” and uncomplicated: comely maidens and athletic youths.

I think that’s a man’s reading of it. As a woman who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth in Ireland, I think it all goes much deeper. We incarcerated women because we were terrified of female sexuality. We incarcerated pretty girls, girls who had babies out of wedlock, girls who had been abused by their relations.

What’s more, McAleese’s report gives the lie to the idea that women did not send women to the laundries. There are terrible stories here of mothers. One responded to her daughter’s plea for freedom with the request that she be kept in for another 20 years.

These were women who, on some level, hated women. They must have hated themselves. Perhaps their daughter’s dawning sexuality reminded them of what their sexuality had cost them: unwanted sex, unwanted pregnancy or even rape or abuse.

Perhaps they saw in their daughter’s bright eyes the hope which had been dimmed in theirs. So they put it out of sight. Most of all, surely, they feared their daughters’ wombs which could so easily bring shame on the family. And surely that fear went back to a chronic fear of having another mouth to feed which went back to the Famine.

*

Ireland in the last five years has been an extraordinary country. More than anywhere else in Europe, there seems to be a national sense of implication in, even culpability for the collective madness of the property boom. Not all the risks of the financial crisis, to be sure - but the notion that money could be borrowed and houses could be built, and the Irish Tiger would keep roaring on and it was upward all the way. Now, guilt at not having asked the questions sooner that might have revealed it was all a house of cards.

And now, as HC4N and Victoria White put it both, the need for an intense social and personal reckoning about women, human dignity, the Church, the state - but perhaps most of all, a coming to account with “the priest inside the head”.

*

Sadly I need to update this with two more links:

4. Tell us the truth about the children dumped in Galway’s mass graves
Emer O’ Toole
The Guardian, 4 June 2014

"Forget prayers. Only full disclosure by Ireland’s Catholic church can begin to atone for the children who died in its care"

5. Bodies Of 800 Children Were “Just Resting” In Mass Grave, Claims Catholic Church
Waterford Whispers News, 3 June 2014

Somehow a satire blog’s dead baby joke manages to cut to the quick and say everything.

The joke is that that the Father Ted joke in the headline really isn’t a joke at all.

"“Well, I’m 55 so a bit before my time but when we used to visit my aunt up in Donegal, she would tell us to stay away from the fields down the road because there were babies buried there but if only someone knew about it,” John Drummond, a Dublin native explained. “It’s all changed now though in fairness,” John said of a country that saw 196 children in state care die between the years 2000 and 2010."

Seriously, read it - in terms of how humour can deal with cultural trauma, it feels important.

And read some of the other links above too. Ireland as a carceral state as a release valve for an impoverished rural economy - this is European social history we need to know.

(I don’t know if it’s my family history. My grandfather was Irish , from Tipperary, but emigrated after the war (or before?) as did almost all of his siblings. All long dead now. I’ve no family left in Ireland.)

The point is that no successful payment system ever attracted users by an argument; you can’t build a mass brand in this category by winning debating points, but by demonstrating convenience and confidence points.

—Adam Hanft. “Why Bitcoin Needs its Own ‘Got Milk?’” (via peterspear)

This article’s good. Basically Bitcoin can either be about overthrowing the fiat currency monetary system, or it can be a mass-market proposition for transferring money. It can’t be both at once.

Another great point from Adam Hanft (@hanft), the author:

“Crypto” is a prefix that has nothing good about it, especially as far as the mass market goes (and currency is the ultimate mass market product, after all). The word raises all the negatives of bitcoin – mysterious, not trustworthy and dangerously complex. It also triggers other “crypto” associations – like crypto-fascist, crypto-Nazi, and cryptosporidium, a germ found in fecal material that causes diarrhea. Not exactly the neural associations you’d want for your brand.

Because advocates aren’t marketers, the word appears all over bitcoin company websites – there’s even a “Cryptomining Blog”.

The alternative? Well, since we’re talking about something as deeply psychological as money, we need to understand how the mind is organized to think about it. George Lakoff, a brilliant semiotician and author of “Metaphors We Live By” has studied the way language actually shapes the mind and influences judgment and perception.

For bitcoin, that means the virtual currency runs up against the metaphorical construct of money as something real and solid. […[ So the descriptor for bitcoin has to work within those existing metaphorical structures, rather than challenge them. That’s just what “wireless” accomplished; it worked within the construct of a landline phone – while making the point, first, that it was an outgrowth of something you were already familiar with.

For example, bitcoin could describe itself as “hard virtual currency” or “real virtual currency” or even “bankless money” to remind people how much they dislike banks. “Currency” is abstract, “money” is real.

Not uncommon, I think, that the creators or early adopters of a tech product prove really bad advocates for it because they’re so far distant from the users they need to attract. “Crypto” is the whole lure of it for many Bitocoiners, I’d wager - Cryptonomicon, crypto-mysterious, crypto-elite, crypto-sexy. But that’s not a turn-on for everyone.

Kinda the Twitter problem too, right?

prostheticknowledge:

The Internet in Real-Time
Online data visual presents how much activity that occurs on familiar online apps and services.
Link

I like Matt Muir’s comment from his weekly Web Curios roundup (recommended, btw):

PRO-TIP - keep this in the background next time you have a meeting with a client in which they demand that you make CONTENT for them, and just look at it significantly when making the point that the terrible likelihood is that NOONE WILL CARE BECAUSE LOOK AT ALL THE OTHER THINGS.

prostheticknowledge:

The Internet in Real-Time

Online data visual presents how much activity that occurs on familiar online apps and services.

Link

I like Matt Muir’s comment from his weekly Web Curios roundup (recommended, btw):

PRO-TIP - keep this in the background next time you have a meeting with a client in which they demand that you make CONTENT for them, and just look at it significantly when making the point that the terrible likelihood is that NOONE WILL CARE BECAUSE LOOK AT ALL THE OTHER THINGS.
wheredidmypostgo:

 Reblog network of an anonymous tumblr post. This image is based on 129 reblogs (34.77089% of the total number of notes on the post).  Where Did my Post Go? is a bot that posts GIFs generated from the reblog networks of posts that you submit 
                                      (more info: 
                                      tumblr, 
                                      github, 
                                      reddit.)

Animated network graphs, oh my!

wheredidmypostgo:

Reblog network of an anonymous tumblr post.


This image is based on 129 reblogs (34.77089% of the total number of notes on the post).

Where Did my Post Go? is a bot that posts GIFs generated from the reblog networks of posts that you submit (more info: tumblr, github, reddit.)

Animated network graphs, oh my!

(via continuants)

M.I.A. & The Partysquad - Double Bubble Trouble

Two takes on what it means:

The Crazy Design Future of M.I.A.’s New Video
by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

If there’s a set of common assumptions beneath the diverse set of design references M.I.A.’s making in “Double Bubble Trouble,” it’s that the future won’t look like a city square of (mostly white) Americans hanging around shiny ziggurats while tapping on their glassy phones. The future, instead, is compiled from parts of the present. It’s an extension of the present, really, and as such, it’s full of failed public housing, improvised weapons, and streets turned into canals.

That means a lot of things. It means the future will be fun. You can get drunk in this half-broken, bricolage future; you can dance in your apartment with friends. You can program quadcopters and shoot video from them. But you can also get shot there, and you can shoot other people. The future’s just the present plus more time, so the full range of human actions—horror and triumph, justice and injustice—will be possible there.

high priestess of future-weird
by Adam Rothstein, The State

It seems like a laundry list: cram as much of it as possible, overload the viewer with future-weird for the sake of being future-weird. But as much as we play Bingo with our subjects of interest, marking ironically when we all seem to recite the same list of buzzwords and concepts, there is a reason behind our obsessions. We clothe ourselves in self-defined logos because they are sigils. We make the same faces in our selfies because they are gestures. We 3D print or otherwise obtain the same icons, relics, and holy books because these objects are animate, the small everyday gods of the thin DIY religion that holds it all together for us.

People feel this stuff. Half a million Youtube views in a few days. MIA isn’t just reciting things that she saw in an image search. She went out and built drones, or had someone build them, and people are feeling it. People went to see Spring Breakers multiple times not because they wanted to rob people or because they couldn’t go out and get drunk and naked if they wanted, but because the manic pattern of media image was saying something that they needed to hear. In this glitch-clash of future-weird, there is something we were waiting to hear.