Daily Archives: August 20, 2007

New words- Digindigenuous

I like to play with words.  When obtuse or overly specialized, this can become jargon in the worst sense of the word: words which deliberately obfuscate and insulate insiders.  When there is a new experience, a new phenomenon, the desire to name wells up and starts playing with words.

Operationalize is jargon.

Podcast is not.

I have seen people refer to the residents of virtual worlds (aside from editorializing them as geeks or nerds) as residents, digital natives, and so on.

Perhaps there is a whole category of practices and objects that are digitally native.

Hence, I humbly offer digital+indigenous= digindigenous.

Digindienous is not short and sweet, but it has a certain rhythm in saying it.

Maybe there is something better?

Digigenous?  Sounds like stuttering
Digenous?   Sounds to much like disingenuous.


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Filed under digital culture, pithy expressions, words

Banking Crisis in Second Life and the Convergence of real and virtual

Second Life Research: Banking Crisis in Second Life — Calls for Regulation

This blog post form one of my new favorite blogs, Second LifeResearch (because it helps me sort out the reams of info about SL) describes how an investment bank with $750,000 collapsed.  With no SL FDIC to back up deposits, the money is gone.  While this will surely make many people’s jaws drop as they start to mouth silently or out loud “what kind of idiot would put real money in a virtual bank?!?!” the blog post points out that many residents have nothing esle to do with their money. The fallout will be more oversight, by organized residents or Linden Lab itself, or, more likely, both.

I was thinking more about Edward Castronova’s point in Synthetic Worlds.  In the introduction, I found him trying to say that synthetic worlds have many of the same features as real worlds.  As they become more ubiquitous, they will become more like the real world.  This is the convergence argument.  And I find it compelling.  This banking story is a great example.  However, Castronova, at the same time as he is normalizing synthetic worlds to make them palatable to the academic/technophobe crowd, wants and needs to say that there is something profoundly unique in them  Well, this presents a dilemma.  SL is supposed to be just like the real world and also totally different!

As I read the book more, and think about my own research, I will have to resolve this dilemma more satisfactorily.  What is distinctive about the sociology of Second Life?

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Filed under Banking, Information and Communication Technology, Second Life

State of Play Conference

Ted Tschang, my new Second Life research pal, sent me this link to a conference…

I find it quite amusing that they use “metaverse,” a term originated by Neal Stephenson so many years ago.  Is this life imitating art?  or did Stephenson look into life and simply speed up what he saw into a likely future.

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Filed under Future of Technology, Gaming, Sci Fi

Colony Collapse Disorder in bees comes close to home

I was reading the New Yorker last week about Bees and CCD (colony collapse disorder):  a very nice article by Elizabeth Kolbert (she even gets into the act and becomes an amateur apiarist).   She has problems with bears trying to eat her honey. Guess Winnie the Pooh has a kernel of truth.   As it turnsout, the beekeeper who first “reported” this problem lives here in Lewisburg: Richard Hackenberg.

What’s more, some of my biology colleagues are studying this problem too.  I know Beth Capaldi!  I play Frisbee with her.

Small world?  Not technically here.  Just a coincidence.  The thing about the bees and CCD is really worrisome to me.  I asked my students last Spring if they had heard of it and less than 25% had.   Add high oil prices, collapsing housing starts,bubble popping in mortgage markets, and global instability around Bush’s lame duck foreign policy and you have a recipe for one hell of a recession.  I sometimes wonder if the technocratic managing of the economy has gotten so good as to keep the bottom from falling out like it did in 1929…

Now they may be in for a real test.

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Filed under Biology, Political Economy, Small World