Urban Comm roundup: Smart cities, hostile architecture, and placemaking

Smart Cities Writing for Forbes, Rich Karlgaard reports on the smart-city champions, i.e. the countries and companies poised to benefit from the smart city boom: I see three categories of winners. The first will be suppliers of digital technology, from high-speed telecom, cloud services and digital security to apps, for example, like Uber’s and Airbnb’s … Continue reading Urban Comm roundup: Smart cities, hostile architecture, and placemaking

Media Ecology Monday: Golumbia and the Political Economy of Computationalism

In The Cultural Logic of Computation Golumbia raises questions and addresses issues that are promising, but then proceeds in making an argument that is ultimately unproductive. I am sympathetic to Golumbia’s aims; I share an attitude of skepticism toward the rhetoric surrounding the Internet and new media as inherently democratizing, liberating devices. Golumbia characterizes such … Continue reading Media Ecology Monday: Golumbia and the Political Economy of Computationalism

Pittsburgh: driving transportation innovation

"Ride-sharing" service Uber recently announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to establish a research center in Pittsburgh. As the Post-Gazette reported: Uber, a San Francisco-based ride-sharing company, announced a joint venture with CMU on Monday creating a robotics research lab and technology center at the RIDC Chocolate Factory along 43rd Street that is already … Continue reading Pittsburgh: driving transportation innovation

Next-gen gaming with Oculus Rift, McLuhan on surveillance state, Rushkoff on viral media

Brian Phillips at Grantland thinks spy movies present a fantasy of tourism: The spy is the ideal tourist because he represents an inner self perfectly contained within an outer self that is adapted to any possible location or circumstance. Travel can broaden him by the width of a new sexual conquest, but for the most … Continue reading Next-gen gaming with Oculus Rift, McLuhan on surveillance state, Rushkoff on viral media

Update: Chomsky contra Žižek

Noam Chomsky has responded to Žižek's response: Žižek finds nothing, literally nothing, that is empirically wrong. That’s hardly a surprise. Anyone who claims to find empirical errors, and is minimally serious, will at the very least provide a few particles of evidence – some quotes, references, at least something. But there is nothing here – … Continue reading Update: Chomsky contra Žižek

Multiple angles on gaming’s Ebert, Kubrick, and Citizen Kane

Roger Ebert ruffled some feathers a few years ago when he declared that "video games can never be art". One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say … Continue reading Multiple angles on gaming’s Ebert, Kubrick, and Citizen Kane

Žižek contra Chomsky

A minor war of words has emerged between two of my favorite public intellectuals: Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Žižek. Late last month Open Culture posted audio of an interview with Chomsky (apparently from 2012). The interviewer asked for Chomsky's thoughts on Žižek (along with Derrida and Lacan) in light of Chomsky's views on the use … Continue reading Žižek contra Chomsky

Hollywood implosion: end of an era?

Last month Steven Spielberg and George Lucas caused a bit of a stir when they predicted an impending "implosion" of Hollywood that would forever alter the filmmaking industry. Speaking at a USC event, Spielberg posited a scenario in which a series of big budget flops would necessitate a change in the Hollywood business model: "That's … Continue reading Hollywood implosion: end of an era?

Twenty years of Last Action Hero, Reality TV Hoaxer, whistleblower heroics and more

The film Last Action Hero opened twenty years ago today. I saw the movie in theaters and loved it as a child. Having been a fan of Terminator 2 (which came out a few years earlier) Last Action Hero elaborated on the boyhood fantasy of having your own personal Ah-nuld, just like John Connor and … Continue reading Twenty years of Last Action Hero, Reality TV Hoaxer, whistleblower heroics and more