buy canadian, if you live in canada

Picked up this story in the IHT last week about an iphone application that enables you to scan the bar-code of a product and check out its ethical credentials. It’s derived from the Good Guide website that aims to inform ethical consumption choices. I was reminded of it when I was watching this video by Yoho Yue about why people should buy food produced in Canada. I think it would be a stronger piece of nubaganda if it could more explicitly show that the carbon costs of food miles outweigh the efficiencies of international global food production. By talking about other issues – such as the plight of local farmers – it kind of muddies the waters. Farmers may move on to better jobs or diversify what they produce, but the food miles won’t go away. When talking about, or making the case for ‘ethical consumption’ as a rule it only ever makes sense to make the case from one perspective. Different ‘ethical stances’ often end up contradicting one another. Supporting your local shop may mean buying a can of sardines packed by children in morrocco, organic lemons may have been shipped from spain… There is no such thing as a single universally ethical option per se, just different options. Presumably that’s why that iphone things going to be handy. You have to decide what you care about most, and er, maybe neat videos like this can help.


growing pains

Quite different from the video in the last post but similar in its ramble form. I have categorised it as ‘thinkingoutloud’ as it didn’t really seem to fit any of the other categories – not quite sure what it really got to the nub of.

stream of conciousness

Thanks to Pete B for flagging up this video from one of Michael Wesch’s students.

I dig it because the thoughts are all a bit vague and half-finished – it sort of makes you cringe. But this is kind of the point. kzhines, rather than producing a finished article, is ‘learning in public’ – the video is a sort of stream of consciousness. I know that digital anthropology is kind of the most zeitgeisty course out there, but I wonder how much this very public learning will become mainstream. It kind of makes authors who go ‘i’m sharing this draft with you now’ look a bit backward – the sharing of half-finished thoughts in this video is just so self-evident it would kind of be silly to flag it up. This raises all kinds of questions about what kind of learners are going to be be comfortable with this type of behaviour – this is extra intriguing because academia is so totally not about sharing half finished thoughts at all! When I was on holiday last week my friend was telling me how one year after its publication his study partner still won’t let him read her pHd thesis. It seems to be more the pop/commercial public intellectuals/writers who are sharing their work before publication rather than the hardcore academics.

I also dig it because it kind of bridges the disconnection between broadcasting and creating new ideas. I spoke at a conference in Barcelona about participative culture a few weeks ago where I tried to weald together the work we did at Demos about Video making and some of Charlie L’s wethink stuff. Put crudely Charlie’s slant on the web is that it is at its most meaningful when it is bringing people together to develop new ideas – the rest is noise. Much of internet video, and I guess the videos we blog about is still in the ‘broadcasting paradigm’  – somebody makes a video and wants other people to watch it. This is only very loosely connected to the development of new ideas. Maybe this is why we intuitively like the nubs that end with questions rather than statements – the question gives us a role to play and opens the idea. This video seems to step beyond that a bit. If you comment on this video, you’re not criting her thesis you’re helping it get written. I think there’s a good comparison to be made with Queen Rania’s open attempts to rewrite representations of women in the Islamic world.

I also half dig what she’s saying. I like the idea that anonymity is authentic as it (supposedly) excludes the possibility of your choices being seen. I also like the idea that the internet enables people to play with their anonymity – this seems like a more useful concept than enabling people to play with their identity which is how the socially networked generation is described. People have always been able to play with their visible identity which they have continued to do online – the interesting thing about the web is that it enables people to play with being anonymous, which is fundamentally different. It’s really hard to think about how you could have played with anonymity before – calling out a joke in a crowd, going to confession or an eyes-wide-shut style sex party, but that seems about it. I guess that given the newness of these anonymous forms of expression and connection, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that they suddenly seem authentic.

Finally, this video is so obviously so totally American. Americans are just so much more confident with putting themselves out there and saying what they think. We were talking the other day about how if the self-depricating British had invented youtube the tagline would never have been as brash as ‘broadcast yourself’ – ‘apologise now’ might have been more fitting. This just made me generally wonder how much social media is locking us into American cultural norms, or whether other cultures are are simply able to fit our own cultural norms into it. On a side, Paperlillies, a reasonably well known UK vlogger, despite poking fun at Americans seems to almost speak in an American accent now.

Ecstatic typography

Ah, this ain’t really a nub.

It’s a promo for Mos Def’s new album the Ecstatic, but it’s a nice little example of kinetic typography that’s moving the idea on a bit. The directors Coodie & Chike, also teamed up with design company superfad for the polished Casa Bay video, featuring more of that abstract typography business.

I’m trying not to turn this into a kinetic typo blog, but it’s a Sunday and it’s the mighty Mos so y’ know, just go with it.

Proper nubs coming during the week, promise!

See through science

Right, got a couple of nice vids to post later in the week, but here’s a little something for the weekend.

Ok, so this is about Creative Commons, which seems to be the subject of every alternate post I make, but I think it’s sufficiently interesting to warrant a peek.

This is 2 minuter is about Science Commons.

Now any of you who are required to look stuff up for your monthly remittance, will know the frustration of trying to find academic information ; there’s a million journals, in a million different databases, in a million non-obvious places, and they’re hidden behind an extortionate charge. Well, Science Commons is an attempt to insert some sweet copyleft jam into the dry, stale doughnut of academic access.

The vid is directed by the dude who directed that Barack vid with, and not anywhere near as laboured as my metaphors.

Matthew Taylor’s Face – like kinetic typography, but better.

Despite our recent lack of posting this blog is supposed to eventually turn into a way of connecting people who have ideas with people who can communicate them. A way that you could connect a Biochemist from Imperial College with a student at the London College of Communication who knows a bit of After Effects or Stop Frame animation. It might be a way for freelancers to get work, it might also just be a way for people with time on their hands to make media – a bit like the way my granny goes to her watercolor class once a week.

Anyway, annoyingly in this video director of the RSA Matthew Taylor, the Simon Cowell of public policy, screws the whole thing up by demonstrating his fairly devastating ability to get to the nub of a big idea in two and a half minutes without the aid of any animation or special effects whatsoever. I guess as he’s technically talking about other people’s ideas he might as well be the person who is animating the idea, rather than the person who has it. So maybe we’re OK to carry on blogging about this nub stuff. For a bit.

Smash, smash, smash the BNP

Sorry, folks meant to post this earlier in the week before everyone traipsed out to vote on Thursday. Instead, this is now more of a post vote analysis of how your vote might have helped keep our far-right blockheads from joining up with other far-right blockheads already ensconced in the EU.

This nice little video from the Green Party explains the threat of the BNP getting MEPS in North East England, and how a Green vote could stop them. The nubby bit is a nice little explanation of how European votes are counted and allocated, and therefore how votes for smaller parties will have more of an effect in blocking out the BNP than a big three vote. Informative, if a little confusing if you don’t pay full attention. I looked for other video explanations of how the EU voting system works but couldn’t find any, so if anyone finds one, post it in the comments. Tonight’s results will be interesting…