Sunday, 25 July 2010


Had a great evening at Fashion Popcorn, and have been sent some pics to prove it....
(There was free Martini, what can I say?)
Check out the fashionpopcorn blog for more info about who was there, what they said, when the next event will be.
In the meantime, here's a great pic from Andrea Vladova, which shows Harriet Fleuriot reacting to something I am saying to the nice young man from Peccadillo. At least I think that's what he said.

Friday, 23 July 2010

and another thing

The summer school for pervasive media producers has been running all week. Am sat at home recovering. Some of my time has been spent developing the blog to document the course, both for the students and us at the DCRC. I need to decide which blog to keep up and which ones to put on ice...

Mobiles and World Cup

I have hardly had time to write in here. Full time work and a month of Him Indoors being off at the world Cup in South Africa, so solo parenting for the first time in ages. I did a lot of rushing around trying to sort him a phone that wouldn't die while he was away. He was very attached to his old one (doesn't like change) which was a very old Nokia of mine that I'd given him to replace the first Nokia I bought him that he put through the washing machine. I went to the Orange store trying to find a Nokia with buttons, preferably biggish ones, but they don't exist. It had to be Nokia so he didn't have to learn a whole new way of interacting with a phone, needed a camera because occasionally he takes pictures, and as he was off to watch football & travel round South Africa meeting lots of old and new friends and take our son on safari I thought I might get to see some pictures.

But in the event he hardly used it anyway. What I didn't realise was that the sim card he had been given to use in South Africa wouldn't work with a phone that was designed to only be used with Orange phone cards. So there was still some remote organising to do; phoning Orange, getting the international roaming added in an attempt to cut the cost of communicating.

In the end he just borrowed a phone from someone who lives out there so he could organise his trip and make contacts. And we only got the occasional text back to the UK anyway - mostly about disputed referee decisions.

Oh! And I just realised I need to switch the international roaming off now they are back!

Friday, 9 July 2010

young women on facebook

Taking time out from getting to grips with philosophies I read this on It's a study of about 1605 young women, presumably in the USA, and their facebook habits. I was impressed that some young women manage to check facebook first thing in the morning before they have even gone to the bathroom.
None of the other highlights on mashable seemed particularly surprising. The article writers seemed disturbed that:

  • "42% think it’s okay to post photos of themselves intoxicated
  • 79% are fine with kissing in photos"
which all seems so normal now, and hardly worrying, as I have watched my nieces' exploits online for a while. I am glad that my own daughters did not have the ability to publish pictures of their teenage exploits, leading me to stay unaware of exactly what they were up to.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Experimental Society

I am sitting on my bed in a student room on Lancaster University's disorienting campus, where I am attending the last event of Experimentality at the Institute for Advanced Studies, trying to assimilate just a little of what I have been hearing for the last two days. I should be sitting in the plenary session on Science, Art & Religion but I wasn't sure that I would be able to take it in. It's an interesting conference, but is making me feel as though there must be a lot of books out there that I haven't read or maybe have read but haven't remembered.

Day One started with a brain-frying opening address from Scott Lash, called "To infinity and beyond: experiment/experience". His talk included references to Kant, Derrida, Stiegler, Aristotle, Francis Bacon (not the artist), Philip K. Dick, Michel Callon and Thomas Heatherwick, with Latour and Foucault popping up in the questions. I am sure there was a Mathematician in there too but can't find it in my notes.
Scott was bouncing around and explaining so many things that it's going to take me a while to work it out, but here's a rough version from my frantically scribbled notes. I'll take you through step by step but can't guarantee it will make any sense, as I only got about 10% of it. I'm sure it's just a question of concentrating, and perhaps doing a degree in modern philosophies.

Kant's Critique of Reason (apparently the second edition is the one to read) was first up. I recently read an essay of his, thanks to Patrick explaining something to me about Enlightenment as "man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity" so thought, phew, am recognising some names here. Derrida and Stiegler were mentioned, as was technological phenomenology, so I made a note that I really need to read some of that, as I have in the past and found it interesting.
  • Francis Bacon: the first empiricist; he wrote about experiments; defined his experimentation against the church dogma of the time.
  • He wrote about moving from the situation of experience to the situation of experiment; from subjectivity and experience to subjectivity and experiment
  • Bacon wanted to put experiment in the place of logic; logic is a tool that disagrees with metaphysics
  • (I ♥ wikipedia)
  • Bacon said there are two types of experience - accident & experience
  • a posteriori knowledge is what we get from experiment/experience
  • we need to keep a posteriori knowledge in our notions of experiment
I think that means that we experiment with open minds and only take from the experiment that which we learn from it.
  • Kant puts experience at the centre of knowledge; there is no knowledge without experience
  • we perceive the world, intuit the world, through transcendental aesthetic - space & time
  • Nowadays we do have knowledge with direct experience
(I did want to ask if they had books in Kant's day because surely that is not direct experience but thought I was probably missing the point somewhere)
  • Badiou (aha! here's the mathematician) says that knowledge has nothing to do with experience
Now I am confused - will have to check that out, but it is something to do with that in modern geometry the figure disappears, contemporary mathematics we have knowledge without direct experience, proving we have secular infinities, some infinities are bigger than others.
At this point I was wondering if Scott had disproved the existence of God, which would be handy.
  • Back to the theme.
  • What is an experiment?
I'm going to go read the rest of the notes now and come back to this when my brain is slightly less fried