Thursday, February 21, 2013

how's this for immersion?



Tuesday, 26 February – Enfolding systems & complexity sciences
• Complexity handouts (handed out, emailed, and PDF1PDF2.) 
• make sure you are caught up on everything we have read so far

Thursday, 28 February – Complexities – GO TO CONFERENCE TODAY & TOMORROW!

• There is no class time today, in order to free up a bit of time for conference attendance which is required! You should be at the Complexity Conference as much as possible: whenever you are not working for wages or in another class!
• read ahead, think about femcriticon!


The Measurement That Would Reveal The Universe As A Computer Simulation:

Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation

Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation


2012 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced [click pic for link]
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announces the nominees for the 2012 Nebula Awards (presented 2013), nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

exoplanets and on being science communications


This could be a poster for FemCritiCon!

inhabiting ourselves as portals to the universe?

February 12, 2013

"A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all."

"13.7 billion years scaled into one year helps makes sense of the universe's massive scale in this video + chart."


Friday, February 15, 2013


NOTICE: Femcriticon is in about a month! Time to begin planning! class buddies help each other come up with ideas and edit each other's work; and you can pick a partner for collaboration if you like too! 


The theme is "Media Ecologies." Our class' expertise is in "Design Fiction." 
Explore what these mean as you consider what to do. 
=Johnson is your best resource for our approach to media ecologies, so be sure you are caught up with having read the whole book. Merrick is also all about media ecologies with a feminist SF focus.
=When you think of design fiction, think of all the ways we have been approaching and thinking and talking about our readings, and the interactions among the extraterrestrial relativities of multiple ways of exploring "sf." Look at the website carefully, as well as Helmreich's essay. Both are your best resource for understanding the multiple realities of designing fictions. Fictions = makings.
=How does the NearFuture Laboratory share thinking? How would you do this same kind of analysis yourself? (Some clues are in the Media tab of the website too.)

The essays for this week are longer and quite challenging: try reading them like poetry. Or like software documentation.... In a back and forth bits of reading, wondering, connecting with this week's stories, and with everything we have read and talked about up to now....

Tuesday, 19 February – encountering natures as alien/not 
• ESSAY: Hustak & Myers (2012) Involutionary Momentum: Affective Ecologies and the Sciences of Plant/Insect Encounters. differences 23/3: 74-118. [has been emailed; also PDF]
• THIS WEEK’S STORIES: Hopkinson: Part IV: Encounters with the Alien 

Thursday, 21 February – XenEstrogen 
• ESSAY: Hayward (forthcoming), Transxenoestrogenesis. manuscript for Transgender Studies Quarterly 1:1. [email only. check your mailbox.] 
• THIS WEEK’S STORIES: Hopkinson: Part IV: Encounters with the Alien 


Monday, February 11, 2013

trans realities

Tuesday, 12 February – trans knowledges 
• MAKE APT TO TALK TO KK: off hrs W13 4-6; W20 2:30-4; W27 2:30-5
• ESSAY: Kier (2010) Interdependent Ecological Transsex. Women and Performance 20: 299-319. (On website, link to PDF.)
• [trans CFP example scholarship]
• THIS WEEK’S STORIES: Butler: Bloodchild&, Evening&, Martha&

Thursday, 14 February – exterrestrial relativisms 
• ESSAY: Helmreich (2012) Extraterrestrial Relativism. Anthropological Quarterly, Special Collection: Extreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos 85: 1125–1140. (On website, link to PDF.)
• THIS WEEK’S STORIES: Butler: Bloodchild&, Evening&, Martha&

Check all links including all the pics that are links! 
Pay attention to the processes of attention, interaction, and even work this is. And note, when pleasurable, that as well! Think of it as a game, and where do you level up then?

We will make some decisions.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Second Life hooks into our distributed being....

From Katie's Pinterest Board Complexity Tales:
Source: via Katie on Pinterest


Woman with Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching

This is Fran, an 85 year old woman who plays Second Life as an avatar named Fran Seranade, and while that’s interesting in itself, many other senior citizens like her are known to be active in SL. Here is the truly extraordinary thing: For over 7 years, Fran has been afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system afflicting millions around the world, including actor Michael J. Fox and sports legend Muhammed Ali. In Fran’s case, Parkinson’s has made it difficult for her to stand from a sitting position, and maintain her balance while upright. But now Fran reports she’s gained significant recovery of physical movement -- as a direct consequence of her activity in Second Life.

More Here....

Scifi Feminisms TA Flyer.pdf by Katie King


Friday, February 8, 2013

Changing sex, a desire to love

trans gendering ideas? how do they fit into our sf worldings? Here is the latest essay by Eva Hayward: 

"Changing sex, a desire to love: Following your desire is a brave way of recognizing that something is happening to you, something remarkable. Perhaps it will break open your world, or perhaps it will simply open your heart. Things will change."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

double consciousness & play

Tuesday, 5 February: MEET AT WOODS! – Everything Bad is Good for You
• Johnson, Part One: Games, Television, Internet, Film
• Johnson vocabulary & tools for cognition (handed out)
• find & read something “sf” connected to these ideas from either Butler or Hopkinson; be ready to discuss what you picked and why
• boxes of SF: pick 5 and tell us why; send KK email listing which ones 

Today we will meet at Woods Hall to comb through sfs, boxes of books and stuff, friends of the class, con creativities, and share experiences, hopes, assumptions, and passions!

Thursday, 7 February – double consciousness & play
• Johnson, Part Two: cognitive complexity and attentions good & bad
• find & read another story connected to these ideas from either Butler or Hopkinson; be ready to discuss what you picked and why


"Astronaut [Mae Jemison] who rode Endeavor into space in 1992 making her the first African-American female in space. Founded the Jemison Research Group which runs an international science camp for kids." (See also: NASA on Nichelle Nichols visit to Goddard; Jemison on 100-yr Starship Project; Jemison on TED about teaching art & science together.)

Double takes and double consciousness are at the heart of the theories of play and fantasy that Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman find useful for game design, and for new education projects.

They challenge what they call “the immersive fallacy” – the idea that games get better and better as they become whatever that thing “more real” is. Anthropologist Gregory Bateson is their touchstone for “metacommunicative media”: “play is a process of metacommunication, a double-consciousness in which the player is well aware of the artificiality of the play situation.” (Salen & Zimmerman 2004: 451)

As animals and children learn to play they come to know that there are some ways a play self can and must be separated from an everyday self, and they learn to perform this separation in interactive cognitive and social communication forms of “not”: they amuse themselves by performing the communication “this is not it.” The puppy nips, but not hard enough to injure. (Violence? Not.) The teen kisses in spin the bottle, but not necessarily the person they like the most. (Sex? Not.) Yet at the same time there are also other ways in which these selves simply are not separated, in certain physiological processes and psychological equivalences. The nip actually hurts a bit, the kissing blush and stammer. A double consciousness of being in both these states at the same time is possible, as Bateson puts it in formal terms, because play creates its own commentary in itself about itself as an intense and pleasurable interactive dynamism — communicatively social, as well as neurological and hormonal. Such metacommunications — or communications about communication — are performed by embodied selves at multiple “levels” of organic and social system, some sequentially, some simultaneously. (Bateson 1972, 1980)

Notice that metacommunication and metacommunicative media are at stake in double binds: good signaling skills make nonabusive play on the edge of double binds possible: “My body is reacting as if I am in danger, but really I’m in front of a computer screen.” (Reality? Not.) But Bateson was well aware that not every edge of play is so easily resolved: that transcontextual confusions and gifts arise from situations in which “tangles” remain – in which finding out which bits are active, which bits are context, which bits can be made explicit, which rules are perceptible, which distributed embodiments, cognitions, and infrastructures are in play, matters. And the skills for all this, transcontextual movement without falling apart – what restructuring academies, nations, and industries call “innovation” – are at the very heart of all those things that the word “gaming” now covers – from gambling to economic game theory, from game art and design to games as learning, from role-playing to systems theory – many of these playing with our distributed being, individual and collective, neurological and hormonal, industrial and creative. This is one context for considering sf feminisms today.

Tiltfactor game lab:

Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal:

Offering a new course, even a new kind of course, I have wanted to get to know you all a bit better before finalizing our syllabus. But you should have that version this coming week. As soon as it is ready, I will email you a copy, offer a link here to a pdf version, and include it in this website as well. Notice changes in office hours, social hours, and conversations with Irene on the right hand panel of this website too!

Until then, for this coming week you should be reading Johnson's book (which is a very quick read and short), and reading some stories in either the Butler or Hopkinson collections (also full of very short and stunning stories). 

• So, for Tuesday, Johnson Part I and pick a story from either collection that you think works in some way as an example of the kind of thing Johnson is addressing. 

• For Thursday, Johnson Part II and another story similarly.