Author: marmar1028

  • On Heroes and Objects

    If you could have any superpower, which one would you choose?

    I’ve given this question (probably too) much thought since I started watching Heroes three years ago, but until last week, had no definite answer. In last week’s episode, Nathan (having all of the abilities Sylar had) touched objects to receive flashes of their histories: their previous owners, their former uses, and the events that happened around them. This superpower has a name – clairsentience*– and this is definitely the one I would choose.

  • Researchers at LANL Invite You to Celebrate the Interdisciplinarian Within

    One particularly illuminating aspect of the thesis writing process has been situating my interests in the existing disciplines.  Right now, I would say I fit somewhere in the intersection of human geography/economic sociology/anthropology of markets with an STS twist.  Very exact, I know.  For those of you similarly confused about where in academia you might find a home after graduation from CCT (and taking into consideration whatever unrelated major you studied in college and whatever odd or professional position you may have held), scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have a tool that can help: a detailed graphical chart showing the interconnected relationships between the various academic fields.

  • Blog Wrap Up: Journalism, Culture, and Digital Diplomacy

    On gnovis

    Continuing the ongoing conversation about the journalism crisis, Brad reframes the question asking about the kinds of opportunities the collapse of old media creates for new media.  In a comment, he points to Clay Shirky's post on the topic: "When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work."

  • Enlarged to Show Texture: Should Fashion Magazines Be Forced to Disclose Photographic Manipulation?

    I have a distinct memory from my first year of immigrating to America involving cereal boxes.  I remember looking at the bowls on the front filled with monster sized cereal and feeling completely confused when, upon opening the box, I would inevitably discover a much smaller version.  We didn't have cereal in Russia, nor did we have advertising, and the discrepancy remained a mystery until I learned to read English well enough to understand the "Enlarged to show texture" disclaimer.

  • Academic Freedom vs. Resource Allocation: The state of Georgia and Queer Theory

    Today, an article came across my Facebook news feed about Georgia legislators trying to stop the funding of research areas deemed "unnecessary", such as Queer theory. The argument is framed as an economic one - the lawmakers are tired of "spending state dollars on close studies of oral sex and male prostitution."  Some who commented on the article interpreted it as a religiously, rather than an economically driven action, even though there is almost nothing to suggest that in the language of the legislature.  Others brought up the issue of academic freedom.  So, is this an attempt to spread a particular religious agenda couched in economic terms?  Or, is it an economic argument to be taken at face value? And is it an ideologically motivated attack on academic freedom, or is resource allocation part of the state's job?

  • Visualization Technology and Darwin's Tree of Life

    I recently blogged about citizens becoming scientists by observing how nature around them is reacting to changes in climate and imputing their observations into a database. In other words making visible that which would otherwise remain invisible.  Keeping with the theme, I recently read an article in the NYT about biologists collaborating with computer scientists to construct the tree of life, first sketched by Darwin in 1837.

  • Crowdsourcing Phenology: the Citizen Scientist

    This summer, about a month into my research of rising land prices in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, I experienced a moment of profound clarity.  It came in the form of an answer to a question I had asked a million times: what changes have you observed in Vilcabamba in the past 5-10 years?  The answer hardly varied (more foreigners, more cars, rising prices, etc) and the question soon became simply a routine to get the conversation started, so much so, that when I heard a dramatically different response, it took me a minute to fully comprehend it.  Before she answered my question, this elderly Ecuadorian woman looked at me for a long time, until she finally said: "The sun is hotter...and the winds are stronger."

  • Blog Wrap Up: Inauguration, Rationality and the Ubiquity of Twitter

    As everyone recuperates from Inauguration weekend, the blogosphere is buzzing with inauguration reflections, planning for the new administration and social media critique.

    On Gnovis:

    Reflecting on her Inauguration Weekend experience, Trish discusses embodiment and offers some reasons why being there in person, despite the giant screens, is still a more authentic experience than watching it online.