Anti-Anti-Whaling Actions

Some of the footage coming out documenting efforts to stop anti-whaling actions. The sound you hear in the video is a Long Range Acoustic Device being used against the Steve Irwin.


Web as Trash Dump

I'm looking through email and come across a Google Alert for "Spencer Schaffner." Two or three links come in a day via this net, usually amounting to nothing, but I use the alert (and others like it) to keep track of the basic parameters of my web footprint.

Today's link is to coursehero.com, a site based (in part) on mining syllabi and reposting them in altered, stripped-down form. Soooo, since I post course materials and a syllabus every time I teach, and I have been doing this for the past nine years, you can imagine my astonishment at the volume of mined and reposted material over at coursehero.

In a little iFrame, my materials in their unformatted new form look like this:

I used to get bothered when I learned that someone had taken something I'd put online and presented it as their own (without attribution). And syndication can be equally frustrating online; in this case, it's happened without consent and via mechanisms of automation. Via such tools, the web becomes a garbage dump of duplicates and copies. As I've mentioned a couple of times before, originals seem to exist online only momentarily before being copied and republished for further purposes of copying.

In the case of syllabi being ripped off, I'm not too bothered: course materials are meant to be shared, tweaked, and repurposed. If someone can find something useful in course materials, and students benefit, then that's cool. At the same time, by stripping my course materials of all features of design and context, they now look kind of sad online.

I'm tempted to turn all text I post online into images in some desperate attempt to limit the extent to which my words are mined and spread around. But why bother?


HASTAC 2010 is still accepting applications. It should be another great conference, so get yer dang application in!


Rhetorical Pollution

As someone interested in rhetoric about pollution, I got a bit of a giggle out of this headline: Rhetoric polluting debate surrounding global warming. The punchline of the piece, as you might imagine, goes like this: "Bring on the facts because the rhetoric is polluting the debate."

Rhetoric as toxic cloud, as irritating pollution, as a vile contribution to debate, as if a debate were a kind of pure, unpolluted, arhetorical space that rhetoric enters into and (gasp!) messes up.


Google Chrome

I've been annoyed by all the Google videos lately: Google this, Google that. And then this one comes around, hyping Google Chrome, which took like way to long to make it to the Mac, and I can't help but say it: it's the best video of all time. Or at least of the second half of the week:

The vid puts the low in low.tech, simulating the webscape over and over again using various creative gimmicks. There have been so many terrific low-tech vids lately, and this one is just part of that scree, but the pacing is just too much, and it's too funny that the Mr. and Mrs. Goog would hype their browser with things like knitted simulations and dioramas. Oh yeah.


Street Soccer

Hybrid futbol breakdance capoeira parkour. Flying dirt multilayered videography. Multinational circulation of embodied action. Sport integrated with dance. The introduction of a soccer ball as limiting/enabling mediating artifact.

What began as this:

Became an ad for Nike here:


Feel Good Video of the Week

The Feel Good Video of the Week (F-G.Vid) is the story of Rob. Sure it was a prank, but it's nice to see people come together around a common cause.