//
archives

Richard Coyne

The cultural, social and spatial implications of computers and pervasive digital media spark my interest ... enjoy architecture, writing, designing, philosophy, coding and media mashups.
Richard Coyne has written 544 posts for Reflections on Technology, Media & Culture

Decryptopolis

Newly elected US Members of Congress and their staff were disoriented and nervous as they hid in the basement of the Capitol. Included in their concern was the fear of contracting COVID-19 while close to one another, and in the company of people who wouldn’t wear masks (Washington Post). Elsewhere I’ve identified cases where the … Continue reading

Deplatformed

Facebook and Twitter have “deplatformed” Trump. In any grievance it’s shrewd practice to focus on just one offence rather than confuse the case with a barrage consisting of all the complaints you could advance.  Following that restrained practice, Twitter Inc. drew attention to Trump’s 2 most recent tweets. In their Twitter blog the company declared: … Continue reading

Filter variables

When did you decide to grow a beard? Not every event over which a person assumes agency has a singular moment or an origin. Nor does it, of necessity, involve a decision. A slightly less gendered scenario is that of strolling through the neighbourhood — perhaps as exercise during pandemic restrictions. Sometimes we just wander … Continue reading

What’s the use of variables?

Trumpian-style relativism and denialism assumes the right to make up some numbers and refuse others: votes, profits, employment rates, infections and crowd sizes. That’s to mistake variable for uncertain, unreliable and arbitrary as if “up for grabs.” Variables 101 In maths and logic a variable is a symbol standing for something unspecified, though you might … Continue reading

Unclear thinking

It came upon a midnight clear. Clarity and its converse unclarity are in the air this season: as people seek clarity on what they can and cannot do during this phase of the pandemic. Clarity is about optics. Something is clear if the perception of it is unobstructed by darkness, fog, blur, glare, distortion or … Continue reading

Secret norms

“Normal” is an architectural term, according to the OED derived from the Latin noun norma which was a square of wood used by carpenters and masons for creating right angles. As known to any student of geometry, a line (or wall) is normal to another if it meets it at right angles. The term has … Continue reading

Place is the code

In cryptographic communication, a sender has a message in mind then converts that into a coded signal. The sender dispatches the signal through a communication channel and it is picked up by a recipient who decodes the message. The coding and decoding algorithms at either end of the channel select from an array of alternative … Continue reading

Permeable portals

The satirical fantasy The Good Place is ostensibly about the afterlife, and features different mechanisms for moving between the Good Place, the Bad Place, the Medium Place and Earth via magical doors, a hot air balloon, a train, a snap of the fingers, pneumatic chutes and giant round doors that clamp shut like the iris … Continue reading

Parallel worlds

He’s making few public appearances but “the pixels of his Twitter feed continued to live in a world of alternative reality,” echoed the Washington Post this week about Trump. Meanwhile, His Dark Materials that also taps into a multiverse of realities is back on the BBC. A helpful entry in Wikipedia under multiverse lists several … Continue reading

Hidden dimensions

Cryptography hides messages from the senses, observation and interpretation. It belongs within an array of practices that fit comfortably within the field of semiotics. I’m content to think that cryptographic practices extend C.S. Peirce’s semiological pragmatism. After all, messages hidden in code are signs. On the subject of messaging, I’m also interested in hiddenness as … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook

Latest FB image
Or "like" my Facebook page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 509 other followers