Category: Culture

Between the NFL and Data Packets: Usain Bolt Is the Potential of Being Modular

Image source: Daily Mail

By Eduardo Navas

Note: This text was previously released on the Huffington Post on August 31, 2012.  A week before the NFl began their official season.


The NFL prepares for its upcoming season, and during exhibition games on television, as wide receivers go deep for spectacular catches, I cannot help but be reminded of exciting moments from the London Olympic Games, particularly in track & field — when Usain Bolt ran to take three gold medals in the the 100 m, 200 m and 4×100 m relay.

Coincidentally, there has been speculation that Bolt may transition to professional sports such as football in the NFL, although he may prefer soccer. The main reason behind his potential future in either sport is not because he is a good ball handler, in fact, the ball is hardly mentioned. What matters is that Bolt is fast.

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Not a Remix–Nor a Sampling: Why Fareed Zakaria’s Plagiarism is Unacceptable

Image: Huffpost

By Eduardo Navas

Note: This entry was updated on August 19, 2012 with an extra commentary at the end of the main text.

As an educator in higher education and researcher specializing in remix culture and authorship, when I first learned about Zakaria’s admission to plagiarism, I was very disappointed in him, and thought that there was no way around it, that his admission of plagiarizing parts of Jill Lepore‘s work on gun control written for the New Yorker puts into question his intellectual integrity.

I thought that his apology was quick and to the point, but that somehow it was not enough. I thought that it was necessary for Zakaria to come forward and explain in as much detail as possible the reasoning for his behavior. And I thought that I wasn’t alone in hoping for this to happen–that if an actual explanation was delivered, it would all serve the constructive purpose of discussing the seriousness of plagiarism with students while providing a concrete example of a public intellectual who committed such an unacceptable act.

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Watching The Olympics on TV Is Still About Collective Participation

Image source: Washington Post

By Eduardo Navas

Note: This text appeared previously on Huffington post.  Since its original publication on August 8, 2012, NBC decided to at least make available live streaming of the closing ceremonies. Other than this, much of what is observed in the following commentary remains relevant.

Viewers well versed in media expect delivery-on-demand for major events. This has created a peculiar tension when viewing prime-time Olympic coverage consisting of competitions that previously took place throughout the day, but which were not broadcasted live on TV. After the first week of events, it appears that audiences are tuning-in to NBC’s evening broadcast in larger numbers than previous Olympics, and this has become the network’s main justification for holding out on selected events until prime-time.

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Support RE/Mixed Media Fest

The RE/Mixed Media Festival, now in it’s 3rd year, is an annual celebration of collaborative art-making and creative appropriation. It’s the artists’ contribution to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it.

The festival – which this year will take place at the Brooklyn Lyceum – a 3-floor 10,000 sq. ft. venue on the border of the Park Slope and Gowanus neighborhoods of Brooklyn – will feature performances, panel discussions, live musical collaborations, hip-hop, sampling, film & video, DIY, food and drink, DJs, technology, interactive installations, painting, sculpture, software, hacking, and much more!

Read more at KickStarter and

Book Sprint on The New Aesthetic

Post by Eduardo Navas

Note: Previously this entry read “book print.”  This was a mistake on my part. It should be “book sprint.”

I recently read the “book print” New Aesthetic, New Anxieties by a group of media researchers, theorists and curators, who got together for three and a half days from June 17–21, 2012,  at V2, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The concept of coming together for just a few days to brainstorm a book is certainly something worth considering as an act of creative critical practice.  The book from this standpoint functions surprisingly well, especially because its premise is delivered to match the speed of change that its subject (The New Aesthetic) experiences in the daily flow of information throughout the global network. I personally find amazing that a book of this sort can be put together with some cohesion.

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Digital archivists: technological custodians of human history

Game creator Jordan Mechner wanted to teach the next generation. So the man behind the groundbreaking 1989 Apple II game Prince of Persia recently posted his original 6052 assembly source code to Github. But getting the code from decades-old floppy disks “covered with dust” was no simple task. Mechner employed the services of vintage computer expert Tony Diaz and digital archivist Jason Scott to extract the bits from the floppies and assemble it into a readable code file.

Without Diaz and Scott, Mechner’s code could’ve been lost forever. The exact methods he used to create this landmark game would have become as obsolete as the 1976 technology it was played on.

Read the complete story at Ars Technica

Wagamama First UK Restaurant Chain to use Augmented Reality Placemats

A restaurant chain in UK has harnessed the power of Augmented Reality technology to put a marketing campaign into motion in all of its 80 restaurants around the country. The campaign which is set to launch on the 7th of May will be the first restaurant in the UK to use AR in its venues.

Read more at Ubergizmo

Portland mayoral candidate Eileen Brady: On arts funding, advocacy and other cultural issues

Recently, The Oregonian’s D.K. Row  interviewed the three major candidates running for Portland mayor about arts funding, cultural advocacy and other issues related to the creative economy.

The candidates were interviewed separately. Each interview was approximately one hour. Each candidate was asked the same series of more than 20 questions. One additional question, however, was specifically directed at the candidate based on his or her previous job experience.

Read the complete story at Oregon Live

Changing face of plastic surgery

Many people aren’t happy with their face or body, and a proportion of those turn to plastic surgery to try to alleviate their displeasure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual report shows just how many have opted for cosmetic surgical procedures. There were nearly 1.6 million of them performed in 2011, along with 12.2 million minimally-invasive procedures.

Read the complete comment at Flowing Data

New forms of school violence emerging

New forms of school bullying are emerging as technology develops and society becomes more prosperous. Alerted by shocking school bullying that has driven victims to suicide, the government is updating its view of school violence.


In recent cases, bullies forced their classmates to subscribe to expensive unlimited access rates and make them share access. They also took humiliating pictures of their victims and distributed them to other students via mobile messengers.

Read the complete story at the Korea Herald