Monthly Archives: January 2008

High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi – New York Times

High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi – New York Times
“No one should eat a meal of tuna with mercury levels like those found in the restaurant samples more than about once every three weeks,” said Dr. Michael Gochfeld, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.

Uh-oh.  No more spicy tuna rolls for me.

I wonder about other fish.  Why would tuna collect Hg and not other fishies?

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Filed under Food, public health

Writing is Hard

Here are some thoughts about how writing is hard for me and some lessons I have learned (am learning).

I love listening to Sigur Ros to write.  Especially Takk.

Writing is hard.

I continue to learn in the sense of integrating into my behaviors that

1) Momentum is critical;

2) Each work is a world unto itself.  Like a song.  It has its onw reality .  I have to make that so.  Then It can be lilnked to , compared to, integrated with the other knowledge ou t there.  In the past I worried too muc that whatever I am saying or writing is instantly a part of the world, is accountable to the world . and the burdens, the internalized expectations, are crucshing.  If what I write is seamlessly synced to all th e knowledge of the world then:

a) Originality is a bastard

b) Accuracy is everything

c) I am acutely aware of my ignorance

d) Reputation can sink or rise

These damnable expectations, like a flock of albatrosses, would weigh down my neck forcing me to only mumble pathetically and gaze at my navel.  Anyway, purple prose aside, even though progress on both terror paper and SL paper is slow and I stare at the screen wanting to be anywhere else, I do feel like the painful process of giving birth to myself as a scholar is improving.

I think I am also aware of just the time crunch.  Like, to be an expert in the too-may areas I am trying to be an expert in requires me to read and stay abreast of so much information!  Its exhausting.

And I have been staying away from actually reading much of anything which may help me get words down, but also, I worry, can become a vicious cycle of me writing something, feeling its good and original, continuing to not read, and writing and so on.  And then I get to the end and start to read and realize that I have nothing original to say and I have basically recreated the language and conceptual framework that someone else has already done.

I am particularly worried about this process with SL paper in which, a bit like Castronova in his book, since we are dealing with a whole other world every bit as complex as this one, we end up doing a kind of superficial gloss on o, all of economics and sociology.


Filed under writing

Serious Play… A Title for Paper on Second Life

Here is the abstract Ted and I are working from. I am not sure whether to go for the Organization and Management Theory division or the Organization and Communication Information Systems division of AOM.


The Influence of Economic and Social Incentive on the Evolution of Virtual Worlds


Serious Play in Synthetic Worlds: Theorizing the Sustainability of
Second Life

Jordi Comas, Bucknell University

Ted Tschang, Singapore Management University


The hype and dashed expectations over Second Life simply highlights the
need for a better understanding of the nature of SW. SL is an important
case because it highlights how the dynamics between individual play and
collective socioeconomics drive the evolution of a SW. Early attempts
to comprehensively understand SW have privileged either a view of SWs as
games or as marketing channels. We attempt to correct this view by
proposing a comprehensive framework for theorizing the evolution and
sustainability of a SW using SL as one example of this process. Our
framework is a “bathtub” model to explain joint processes at individual
and collective levels. The motivations of users to participate are
broadly described as play, although work done on video games and
role-playing offer important types of play. However, due to the
persistence and open-endedness of SL, the motives of users are only part
of the picture. The evolution of social and economic systems (a system
of roles, exchanges, and even institutions) continually alters the world
that playful or role-playing users interact with even as their actions
affect the evolution at a higher level. Once we develop a framework to
identify user motivations and forms of economic and social organization,
we validate it with a series of illustrations. We conclude by
developing a research agenda derived from the framework that will guide
researchers and inform discussions about the keys to success in SWs.

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Filed under digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Research, Second Life, social theory

Surviving the Strike

Virginia turned me on to John oliver and Andy Zaltzman’s HILARIOUS podcast called the Bugle.


Its helping me get through the writers’ strike.

Recent bits that cracked me up:

+ Pope adds more exorcists… Cuz its hard to find a good exorcists these days.

+ Predicting England will take Euro 2008. You just got to believe! (England did not qualify).

+ Discussion of how much of a hottie Florence Nightingale was.

Enjoy, Bud.

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Filed under humor, Politics, Power, Activism

Peer-Reviewed Journals – SaLamanderWiki

Peer-Reviewed Journals – SaLamanderWiki

Aha!  A list of peer-reviewed journals.  That is nice to see since I am trying to publish an article about SL.  I wonder about SSRN?  Something else I ave been meaning  to check out.

First Monday as on my radar screen.  Ted, the others…?

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Filed under Research, Second Life, virtual worlds

Plaxo Is Said to Be for Sale

Social Net Site Is Said to Be for Sale – New York Times

They were getting beat out by Facebook and LinkedIn.  What has happened with Orkut, Friendster,, and other SNS (social networking sites)? Will they adapt, consolidate, or disappear?   Seems like a good case study of an emerging field of competitors.  Do new rules apply, or the same old industrial organization and strategic evolution? Or, like the persistent synthetic worlds Castronova described (like Ultima Online), will they persist due to the stickiness of social ties?

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Filed under economic evolution, economic sociology, innovation, management, Social Network Sites

My best guess for Iowa

Its wide, wide open.  Bu for bragging rights, I’ll take a stab.

For Dems:

  1. Obama
  2. Edwards
  3. Clinton
  4. Richardson

For Repubs:

  1. Romney
  2. Huckster
  3. McCain
  4. Paul

Can’t go into reasons why.  Not sure they are justifiable, anyway.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism

Youth Voting in an Interent Caucus

Just in case any of my students read this blog! :<)

I am officially too old!

Tonight in Iowa, Democrats and Republicans will start picking their nominees for President. But this election affects us all—we shouldn’t let Iowans have all the fun.

That’s why we’re helping the League of Young Voters launch their online youth primary today on Facebook. Nationwide, anyone under 35 can log on, vote for their favorite candidate, and see how others at their school or in their city are voting.

You can vote here:

Young people are more engaged in this election than ever before, but the media and the pundits still pay little attention to this critical emerging block of voters. By drawing attention to the voting power of younger people, we can help change all that.

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Filed under activism, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Politics, Power, Activism