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The pleasures of the mouth

The soft human voice signifies comfort. Some would say that parental cooing and burbling sends babies to sleep. That affinity with the voice persists into later life. Thanks to telephones and mobile phones, the voice-in-your-ear is ubiquitous in contemporary life — compounding opportunities for the voice to do its work. The soft voice, breath, the … Continue reading

Wood-wide web

To state the obvious, a tree starts from the ground with a trunk that extends into branches and twigs. You could be excused for thinking that nature is shaped like trees. The primary biological morphology is a root and branch structure. Embryonic cells form into tubes that branch, fold, specialise and merge. The form (morphology) … Continue reading

The twist

“Now … every story ever told can be broken down into three distinct parts: the beginning, the middle … and the twist.” That’s a line spoken by the actor Jack Black in the kid-friendly horror film Goosebumps (2015). He’s actually playing R.L. Stine, the author of the popular book series on which the film is … Continue reading

Haze

I can search the photographs on my smartphone based on key words. I’ve activated automatic upload of all photos to iCloud. So, if I search on “haze,” I get all pictures that I’ve taken over the past 15 years that have a haze component. Unknown to me, some algorithm has been at work tagging my … Continue reading

AI and advertising

Most prominent web publishers such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit and news sites, generate revenue by placing banner, side-bar and in-text adverts on their pages. The ads are tailored for your eyes, and may differ from what others see on the same pages. Programmatic advertising directs what ads you see on web pages and social … Continue reading

The well tempered intellectual

I was pleased to read Alberto Perez-Gomez’s recent book Attunement: Architectural Meaning After the Crisis of Modern Science which endorses the pivotal importance of attunement, emotion, mood and Stimmung in architecture. In fact Alberto’s book came out at the same time as my Mood and Mobility: Navigating the Emotional Spaces of Digital Social Networks, both with MIT … Continue reading

Mixed feelings

Here’s the grimy hull of an abandoned ship on an isolated beach surrounded by barbed wire and covered in rust and flaking graffiti. If you like that kind of ruin then you are drawn to it. If not you will probably keep away. You are either attracted or repelled; you approach or avoid. (My instinct was to approach.) To approach … Continue reading

Evaluating the flipped classroom

Here’s an evaluation to conclude my documentation of the flipped classroom experiment. There were four main sources of data for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the course and our application of the flipped classroom model: (1) reflections by the teaching staff, (2) attendance records taken in class using attendance software and engagement monitoring via the VLE (virtual … Continue reading

Cover up

The cover is out. The book follows in January 2016. The cover indicates the starting point of the book, which is travel. What we do with our mobile devices reproduces what by now are common, ubiquitous, and habitual practices. To immerse yourself in sound and screen-based digital devices makes the journey go faster, provides opportunities to catch … Continue reading

Emotional contagion

Now I know what Facebook does, thanks to the controversy generated recently over the academic article by Cornell researchers collaborating with a research team at Facebook Inc. See Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Facebook 101 On your personal Facebook home page there’s an invitation to “Update Status,” which means entering text into a field to … Continue reading

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