I thought, I might add another category for the new year. analogies. This springs from two separate and seemingly conflicting tendencies in my intellectual life. One is to expose potentially harmful and disparate analogies and the other is to create new analogies to illuminate similarities otherwise unnoticed.
The study says 68 percent of men and 66 percent of women now go online. Since women make up a larger portion of the population, that means they outnumber men in cyberspace.
Although a similar percentage of men and women use the Internet, the study found they often use it quite differently.
The research suggests men largely go online to pursue solitary pursuits, while women use the Internet to enrich their existing relationships.
Propp and other formalists had many things figured out quite right. Then the structuralists came and elevated emergent properties to the level of meaning creation. This post is an analogy in the sense that it compares the idea of the 'morphology of the folktale' but takes the source domain from cognitive morphology rather than traditional semi-structuralist morphology.
Now, here's an analogy that occured to me as I was pondering the indeterminacy of the meaning of some technical term in social science (I think it was metaphor). But it occurred to me that creating meaning (in the Brunerian sense) is very much like playing certain instruments (such as slide guitar). With slide guitar, a note is played by approaching the position on the fretboard. However, unlike playing a normal tone, i.e. pressing a finger on a certain position, the note is held by constant motion of the slide over the fret.
Christmas season's TV brings a lot of classic stories back to people's narrative environment. Many of these contain complex and multilayered representations of humanity's quest for self-understanding. These narratives play other roles, as well, connected to the psychological well-being of individuals. They are broadcast in moments of communal and familial rituals designed to promote group cohesion and they play a performative role, as well.
BBC - Radio 4 - All in the Mind
It's just under a year since the Tsunami devastated coastal communities around the Indian Ocean . Raj reports from his recent visit to the Tamil Nadu region of India with the charity Action Aid, where he met some of the people affected, and observed the work that's being done on the emotional rebuilding of their lives.
BBC - Five Live - Mark Kermode film reviews included this and last week an interesting exchange. First, the reviewer claimed that watching the film The March of the Penguin makes it possible to assume some level of intelligent design (while criticising some American views stating essentially the same thing). Predictably, in the subsequent program, a discussion on this topic ensued which bore some interesting gems.
Another great interview on onthemedia.org. This one dealing with the reliability of expert predictions (in the media and in general).
On The Media-- THE GUESSING GAME
PHILIP TETLOCK: When an expert has very, very strong opinions on an issue, when the expert places a high value on simplicity and has little patience with contradictions or ambiguity, and when the expert is making longer-term predictions, that expert's likely to go off the cliff.
I am coorganizing a conference Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD) to be held at the University of East Anglia on June 29-30, 2006. The first call for papers goes out today. More on http://discourse.uea.ac.uk.
My Week In Thought
This PBS essay neatly summarizes almost all the arguments I would ever make - or in some cases have made - in defense of video gaming.
OK, there may be a fine line between vanity and self-referentiality but here we go.