The interface as mediator

December 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Digital Art and Aesthetics by Umberto Roncoroni

Digital Art and Aesthetics by Umberto Roncoroni (photo of the cover by me)

Umberto Roncoroni:

The interface is a mediation between the desire and the imagination of the user and all the tools one might need and the real functions of the software, which are limited.

—  Digital Art and Aesthetics: Studies and criticism from Latin America

The above is my translation. Here’s the original Spanish (let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement):

La interfaz es una mediación entre el deseo y la imaginación del usuario y todas las herramientas que se podrían al respecto necesitar y las funciones reales de software, que son limitadas.

— Arte y Estética Digital: Estudios y críticas desde Latinoamérica

Johanna Drucker on data vs. capta

December 2nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Johanna Drucker in Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display:

Capta is “taken” actively while data is assumed to be a “given” able to be recorded and observed. From this distinction, a world of differences arises. Humanistic inquiry acknowledges the situated, partial, and constitutive character of knowledge production, the recognition that knowledge is constructed, taken, not simply given as a natural representation of pre-existing fact.

Also, in her paper on Graphesis: Visual knowledge production and representation:

Data are considered objective “information” while capta is information that is captured because it conforms to the rules and hypothesis set for the experiment.

Hat tip to Mark Hansen when he mentioned the former at #NICAR14. And hat tip to Tim Carmody for first introducing me to Drucker when he recommended The Visible Word.

Highlights from #cj2014 opening keynote: Jon Kleinberg

October 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m following the Computation + Journalism 2014 symposium via the hashtag and livestream. Below are some highlights I collected from the opening keynote.

#cj2014: Tracing the Flow of On-Line Information through Networks and Text

Keynote by Jon Kleinberg at 2014 Computation + Journalism symposium at Columbia University

  1. Event page:
  2. Highlights from the keynote (in chronological order):
  3. Keynote by Jon Kleinberg of Cornell: metaphors of information travelling online include the library and the crowd #cj2014
  4. #Information travels on-line via #library (pages, links, association) & crowd (memes, contagion) | #data #CJ2014
  5. Jon Kleinberg opens #CJ2014 with a ref to the classic essay As We May Think.  http://j.mp/ZPWaO1 
  6. Jon Kleinberg, speaking right now at #cj2014, did some really cool work tracking chain letters online in 2008  http://www.pnas.org/content/105/12/4633.full 
  7. We can track the flow of information temporally, structurally, and in terms of content, says Jon Kleinberg #cj2014
  8. But are crowd & library metaphors dual: people trailblazing through documents or documents transmitted through networks of people? #cj2014
  9. It’s easier for algorithms to track items (quotes, photos, phrases) than stories. Q: Does that encourage pack journalism? #CJ2014
  10. Tracking stories through networks reveals difficulties eg., natural language. But can track quotes to show news cycles #CJ2014
  11. Kleinberg explains tracking essential elements of a story (like phrases) as they move through networks. #cj2014 http://t.co/V1fiFZWUBS
    Kleinberg explains tracking essential elements of a story (like phrases) as they move through networks. #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/V1fiFZWUBS
  12. Half of all reshares on FB happen in large cascades (>500) | #paradox #viral #CJ2014
  13. Basic question: how to predict what content will be shared widely? Or, are cascades unpredictable? #cj2014 http://t.co/Q7dCleEkXH
    Basic question: how to predict what content will be shared widely? Or, are cascades unpredictable? #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/Q7dCleEkXH
  14. #cj2014 Is virality predictable? You as poster rarely experience it w your content, but you as consumer see it often http://t.co/IEgOmZtWIv
    #cj2014 Is virality predictable? You as poster rarely experience it w your content, but you as consumer see it often pic.twitter.com/IEgOmZtWIv
  15. One solution: reframe question as tracking rather than snapshot instant: what are the chances of this being shared further? #cj2014
  16. On whether something “goes viral”: “An important moment in a cascade is the moment it escapes the neighborhood of the root.” #cj2014
  17. Temporal features most powerful in predicting resharing of photo memes #CJ2014 http://t.co/3ZKFHIzO7Y
    Temporal features most powerful in predicting resharing of photo memes #CJ2014 pic.twitter.com/3ZKFHIzO7Y
  18. My thoughts are on how narratives or stories in news, eg images of ‘typical’ migrants, circulate and are widely diffused #cj2014
  19. Troubling finding here seems to be that actual content has less impact on how likely something is to go viral #cj2014 http://t.co/lver1zx14e
    Troubling finding here seems to be that actual content has less impact on how likely something is to go viral #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/lver1zx14e
  20. Research to understand discussion and comment threads - #cj2014 keynote by Jon Kleinberg http://t.co/3HUQi1uZj1
    Research to understand discussion and comment threads – #cj2014 keynote by Jon Kleinberg pic.twitter.com/3HUQi1uZj1
  21. Kleinberg now moving from global discussion to local conversations via threads or friends. What makes them engaging, long, short? #cj2014
  22. Tracking the virality of memes: Speed is important. Pics that get the first 1k of shares fast are more likely to go viral after. #cj2014
  23. Content more likely to spread if strangers share it = good reason for journalists to make sure their networks are diverse #CJ2014
  24. #visualization shows 2 kinds of threads: long due to many contributors posting once or convo among few ppl #cj2014 http://t.co/Js2wFv0lyy
    #visualization shows 2 kinds of threads: long due to many contributors posting once or convo among few ppl #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/Js2wFv0lyy
  25. Super interesting question!: why do certain quotes/content stand out? Linguistic markers? #visualization #cj2014 http://t.co/1muOY6tZxI
    Super interesting question!: why do certain quotes/content stand out? Linguistic markers? #visualization #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/1muOY6tZxI
  26. For a week in September 2008, Obama commandeered the news media with the line “lipstick on a pig,” says Jon Kleinberg #cj2014
  27. That would be a nice job description for a business card: Meme tracker. #cj2014
  28. Kleinberg compares memorable & unmemorable movie lines as lab setting to see what features contribute to memorable or viral text #CJ2014
  29. How to track virality of content - use movie quotes: "These aren't the droids you're looking for." #cj2014 http://t.co/Z1YqXGlsgM
    How to track virality of content – use movie quotes: “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” #cj2014 pic.twitter.com/Z1YqXGlsgM
  30. Why do we like “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” but not “you don’t need to see his identification” #CJ2014
  31. Memorable quotes are sequences of unusual words with common part of speech patterns #cj2014 – application to headline writing?
  32. Memorable quotes are less probable in their word choices but more probably in their sentence (part-of-speech) structure – Kleinberg. #cj2014
  33. Jon Kleinberg: Socially shared information - how to predict success stories? Try a sequence of unusual words.#cj2014 http://t.co/AVzW3vImS6
    Jon Kleinberg: Socially shared information – how to predict success stories? Try a sequence of unusual words.#cj2014 pic.twitter.com/AVzW3vImS6
  34. Is there an algorithmic pattern to why a movie quote is memorable? Take “you had me at hello.” What’s so special about it? #cj2014
  35. “Memorable quotes need to have a certain portability” _Jon Kleinberg #cj2014
  36. Memorable quotes tend to be more ‘general': more present tense, indefinite articles, fewer third-person pronouns >> ‘portability’ #cj2014
  37. #CJ2014 The ‘You had me at hello’ paper reference by Jon Kleinberg (including movie quotes memorability test):  http://www.mpi-sws.org/~cristian/memorability.html 
  38. Slogans in #advertising are like memorable quotes. “It just keeps going & going & going.” | #marketing #NLP #CJ2014
  39. Is there an analogy of genetics for text: ‘fitness’ of text for sharing, mutation of ‘junk’ parts of quotes while core parts remain #cj2014
  40. #cj2014 Just as genes have functional parts and junk parts, so does text - Beautiful analysis of content prolongation http://t.co/oFsLnMmrN7
    #cj2014 Just as genes have functional parts and junk parts, so does text – Beautiful analysis of content prolongation pic.twitter.com/oFsLnMmrN7
  41. “Genetic analogies for memes are becoming increasingly rich” -Jon Kleingberg #cj2014
  42. Sharing on social networks: “Can cascades be predicted?” — paper by Jon Kleinberg et al  http://bit.ly/1nCkspI  #cj2014
  43. Kleinberg wraps up his fascinating talk with new avenues for computational insight into info flows #CJ2014 http://t.co/vTloP7pllJ
    Kleinberg wraps up his fascinating talk with new avenues for computational insight into info flows #CJ2014 pic.twitter.com/vTloP7pllJ
  44. Great question: What are the features of content that make people STOP watching/reading/commenting? #CJ2014
  45. Another great question: Are there computational ways to evaluate WHO gets to be quoted in the first place? #CJ2014

Images of inspiration: The visual genealogy of Kon, Jodorowsky and Friedrich

September 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Watch this video essay by Tony Zhou about filmmaker and animator Satoshi Kon (h/t Robin Sloan on Snarkmarket).

First off, Zhou’s piece is absolutely wonderful.

One thing I find particularly fascinating is when you’re shown the original scene and a scene inspired by it — e.g. Inception and Black Swan.

The documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” which I watched last weekend thanks to Sandro Mairata, offers similar examples in the context of science fiction, which are mentioned near the end of the trailer (1:42) — e.g. Alien, Blade Runner and The Matrix.

It also reminds me of “The 19th Century Painting That Most Blockbuster Movie Posters Are Based On.”

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich (Courtesy Wikipedia)

It would be awesome to have a tool that maps the genealogy of visual imagery. Maybe something to incorporate into the Visipedia project.

Tell me: What are some other works that reveal the visual inspiration of a painting or a movie scene?

This piece is based on my comment on Robin’s Snarkmarket post.

Running for ONA board re-election

September 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

[Update: I won a second term, yay! Congrats to everyone who was elected/re-elected!]

It’s almost time for the ONA14 conference (yeah!) and that means another board election approaches.

My first term on the board is almost complete and I’m running for re-election. It’s been an honor to serve on the board with such a wonderful and talented group of journalists. ONA continues to make great progress and I’d love to continue serving the members and the organization. If you’re a member (or not yet a member, you should join) — I’d greatly appreciate your vote.

Here are some highlights from my candidate page. I also want to know what you would like from ONA going forward, so please drop me a line in the comments below, on Twitter or privately here:

Vision for ONA and skills I would bring to the board 

ONA members include every type of journalists in every type of news outlet. As an organization we deal with subjects that affect a wide spectrum of the industry — such as leadership, ethics and diversity — and more specific topics — like how to protect sources, use a new tool or adopt new reporting methods.

In order to best serve our members and take advantage of ONA as platform (see http://bit.ly/GLonaboard12), we need to include more voices.

We need more members and participants who are in business, advertising, sales. They also work in the news business and are a notably absent group in our conversations about the present and future.

We similarly need to expand our community to include others outside of news — professionals and academics whose fields share similar fundamentals, themes and practices or who have methods we could learn from and apply to journalism. We should recruit them as associate members.

Artists and architects. Biologists and book-creators. Filmmakers and forensic accountants. Game animators and geographers. Industrial designers and improv actors. Linguists and librarians. Mathematicians and musicians. Poets and philosophers. Sociologists and screenwriters.

We have so much to learn from our peers and colleagues. But, beyond learning from each other, we have even more to learn from those outside our field — the subject-matter experts and specialists.

What are their processes? How do they solve problems? How have they been disrupted? How have they adjusted their business models? What have they made? How have they spearheaded change?

It’s like you’re writing a story. You have the seed of an idea, so you ask a reporter in the next pod if it sounds worth checking. Then you start contacting sources, asking them for other experts and broadening the scope of what you know.

That’s the same kind of expansion we need.

Invite them to local meetups. Ask them to speak at annual conferences. Include them in dCamps and leaderships breakfasts. Appeal to them for guest posts on journalists.org.

Let’s update our rolodex.

 

Quick history of ONA involvement:

  • Member/conference attendee since 2008
  • ONA DC participant and volunteer since 2009
  • Conference video stream team leader 2009-2012
  • Conference speaker in 2012 and 2013
  • Board member since 2012
  • Helped plan dCamp in DC in 2013
  • Board’s point person for journalist.org redesign
  • Conference karaoke instigator since 2011
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