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"Welcome, foolish mortals!"

You can hear the entire thing online --and also get some background info--by going to this link on my favorite blog
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1. Communications Forum | Oct 25th, 5:00 PM |
Why I Write Poems
Linda Gregerson

Linda Gregerson will discuss her new book of poems,
The Selvage,
and her calling as a poet and professor of Renaissance literature in conversation with Forum Director David Thorburn and members of the audience.

A 2007 National Book Award finalist and a recent Guggenheim Fellow, Linda Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English
Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature. She is the author of four books of poetry and two books of criticism. Gregerson's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Granta, The Paris Review, The Kenyon
Review, The Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Among her honors and awards are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award
in Literature, the Kingsley Tufts Award, four Pushcart Prizes, grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Mellon, and Bogliasco Foundations,
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Poetry Society of America, and the National Humanities Center.

2. Communications Forum | Nov 1st, 5:00 PM |
Digitizing the Culture of Print: The Digital Public Library of America and Other Urgent Projects
Robert Darnton, John Palfrey, and Susan Flannery

3. October 26                "The Stuff of Romance: Lyric Materialities and the Old French Romance Tradition"
                                      Emma Dillon, University of Pennsylvania
Note: not much info, but refer to

4. Colloquium | Nov 8th, 5:30 PM |
Finer Fruits: Experiment in Life and Play at Walden
Tracy Fullerton
Sponsored by the Purple Blurb series. Note time.

Walden, a game, is an experiment in play being made about an experiment in living. The game simulates Henry David Thoreau's experiment in living a simplified
existence as articulated in his book Walden. It puts Thoreau’s ideas about the essentials of life into a playable form, in which players can take on the role of Thoreau, attending to the “meaner” tasks of life at the Pond—providing themselves with food, fuel, shelter and clothing—while trying not to lose
sight of their relationship to nature, where the Thoreau found the true rewards of his experiment, his "finer fruits" of life. The game is a work in progress,
and this talk will look closely at the design of the underlying system and the cycles of thought that have gone into developing it. It will also detail
the creation of the game world, which is based on close readings of Thoreau’s work, and the projected path forward for the team as we continue our sojourn
in experimental in play.

Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A., is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she holds the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. The Game Innovation Lab is a design research center that has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey -- a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola. Tracy is also the author of "Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games," a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide.
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My favorite blog posted a link to one of my favorite Muppet episodes, so I'm sharing

I love the way this episode not only adds a literary tone to the mix, but slyly sends up the social panic of the time that rock 'n' roll was converting kids to Satan. It also sounds as if Alice can't stop grinning through the entire thing.
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From the CMS e-mail announcement

Introducing the new Ancient and Medieval Studies Speaker Series, with its first speaker,
Jeffrey Hamburger, and
organized by Dr. Arthur Bahr of Literature at MIT.

Jeffrey Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture at Harvard University

Thursday Sep 27, 5:15PM
MIT Building E14, Room 633

Ancient and Medieval Studies Seminar Series and co-sponsored by Literature at MIT, HTC, and the SHASS Dean's Office.

About the Talk

Writing, in relation to such affiliated topics as literacy, linguistics, cognition, and media studies, has a central place across and beyond the humanistic disciplines. It is time, in turn, for historians of medieval art to take a broader view of paleography, rather than view it primarily as a means of dating or localizing monuments, or, at the most literal level, deciphering illustrated texts or epigraphic inscriptions.
Within the realm of visual imagery, the written word can rise to a form of representation in its own right, prior to and independent of the complex phenomena generally considered under the rubric of “text and image” -- a generalization as true of modern art as it is of the Middle Ages. In contrast to modernity, however, through much of the Middle Ages, as in Antiquity, the primary status of the spoken word and oral delivery ensured that writing, no less than picturing, was subject to suspicion.
Professor Hamburger's presentation will survey some, if hardly all, of the many aspects of medieval script as a pictorial form, using examples ranging from Late Antiquity to the late Middle Ages and beyond.
Jeffrey Hamburger's teaching and research focus on the art of the High and later Middle Ages. Among his areas of special interest are medieval manuscript illumination, text-image issues, the history of attitudes towards imagery and visual experience, and German vernacular religious writing of the Middle Ages, especially in the context of mysticism. Much of his scholarship has focused on the art of female monasticism. His current research includes a project that seeks to integrate digital technology into the study and presentation of liturgical manuscripts, a study of narrative imagery in late medieval German prayer books and a major international exhibition on German manuscript illumination in the age of Gutenberg.
Professor Hamburger's books include The Mind's Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Medieval West and The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany.
Hamburger holds both his B.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Yale University. He previously held teaching positions at Oberlin College and the University of Toronto. He has been a guest professor in Zurich, Paris, Oxford and Fribourg, Switzerland.

See you Thursday...
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I'm trying to find some books about early women photographers, including descriptions of the cameras and techniques they used, but ran across
this page with photos,_early-20th_c.
and thought some of my friends might enjoy it.
I think the 1913 photo of a party of women in male attire sounds like a great inspiration for a 21st c. party.
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You're invited to explore the world of games + literature, with Games by the Book.

A new exhibit at MIT's Hayden Humanities Library, it's open to visitors until October 6.

Games by the Book features games and interactive fiction built around classic titles, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Great Gatsby, and more.

Learn more at and below...

Games by the Book
September 7th - October 8th, 2012

Curated by Clara Fernández-Vara and Nick Montfort
Humanities Library
14S-200 (map)
Hayden Library Building

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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"The Brain's Politics: How Campaigns Are Framed and Why"

George Lakoff, Featured Event
Next Tuesday 5 PM | Bartos Theater

"Everything we learn, know and understand is physical — a matter of brain circuitry. This basic fact has deep implications for how politics is understood, how campaigns are framed, why conservatives and progressives talk past each other, and why progressives have more problems framing messages than conservatives do — and what they can do about it."
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As Alexx mentions in the following post, he is difficult to find presents for, which makes me crazy around Christmas and his birthday. This year, however, with a little help from one of my favorite blogs, I found him something he always wanted: the map from the film "Time Bandits." Alexx wrote some cool things about the movie, and I think his post also includes an image of the map, so check it out if you are intrigued. For the benefit of my blind friends, this map is about three feet square and Alexx and I are holding it up in front of us but, since I am less than five feet tall, you can just see the upper half of my face peering over the top of the map, so I look a bit like Kilroy.
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Even my nightmares are kind of meta: this morning, right before I woke up, I had a triple feature horror anthology in the cinematic style of Hammer films, complete with elaborately-detailed pseudo-Victorian sets with lots of red and the slightly saturated film colors. It's the fact that I didn't get Christopher Lee in my film that kind of makes me feel cheated.
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Kes: It would be great to find more stories like this, perhaps with people creating their own superheroes with disabilities.

From the Daily Bits Web site

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Anthony Smith is a four-year-old boy who has medical conditions, including total deafness in his right ear and some hearing loss in his left. He has been using a hearing aid, but as things go with little boys, he just suddenly didn’t want to wear the device anymore.

His reason?
Superheroes do not wear hearing aids.

Parenting perspectives aside, how do you argue with a little kid about superheroes not wearing hearing aids?

Fortunately, Anthony’s mom seems to be quick on the ball. After hearing her son reason his way out of wearing his hearing aid, she got in touch with the guys at Marvel Comics via e-mail. To be honest, I am actually surprised that they got back to her. Just imagine the volume of e-mails they must receive!

In any case, the Marvel’s response is brilliant. They sent back an image of Hawkeye, who suffers from 80% hearing loss. This was in reply to Anthony’s mom asking for an example of a superhero who uses a hearing aid.

It gets better. Marvel created a new superhero just for Anthony. They call him Blue Ear, and guess what? He is named after Anthony’s hearing aid, Blue Ear.
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A post in which a media studies professor describes the results of an assignment in which college students had to find a print resource not available online and then scan it, run it through OCR, and upload it to the Internet.
The big epiphany: it's hard!
I don't think you need to be teaching media studies to find this an interesting assignment, as it would also demonstrate how little non-mainstream, non-bestseller, and indie literature is not online, and how that would shape what people read, and even what people are aware of as potential reading.
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Reserve your free tickets now!

This Thursday:
Technology in Stagecraft and Storytelling
with Robert Lepage and Peter Gelb
Thursday, April 26, 2012
5:00pm | Kresge Auditorium
48 Massachusetts Avenue‚ Cambridge, MA 02139

FREE and open to the public.
Online tickets available until midnight Wednesday April 25. Tickets available in person in Kresge Auditorium starting at 3pm on Thursday April 26.

Robert Lepage, 2012 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT recipient in dialogue with Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera.

Join Robert Lepage and Peter Gelb in a conversation about the use of technology in stagecraft and storytelling that includes highlights from the Met's Ring cycle.
In residence at MIT from April 24-26, Robert Lepage will collaborate with MIT students, meet with the MIT community, and participate in two free public programs. Learn more about Lepage and his MIT residency:

Lepage's residency is made possible by:
Council for the Arts at MIT
Arts at MIT
MIT's Department of Music and Theater Arts

The arts at MIT are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking and imaginative problem-solving.
More at
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Kes: During my recent experience with depression, the fact that I worked so hard to earn a degree from MIT and am still not employed felt like a huge sign of being a failure but, oddly, this article made me feel better--not because I get any enjoyment out of other women being in the same situation, but because it reminded me that sometimes finding humor in a situation is the best way to deal with it.

The slacker is back – and this time she's female
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Kes: While not an Austenphile myself, I foresee many of my Fb and LJ friends suddenly becoming very very obsessed. Also, this would make a fantastic media studies paper.
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Hugo and the magic of film trickery
J Hoberman

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With Georges Méliès as its subject, Martin Scorsese's Hugo – up for 11 Oscars – is a film that gives meaning to the cliché 'the magic of the movies'

Should you stay up for the Oscars, here's a surefire way to be hammered by the end: pour yourself a drink each time you hear the word "magic", and you'll be watching the winner's tearful acceptance speech in an alcoholic haze.
Is there a phrase more hackneyed than "the magic of the movies"? From the moment of their invention at the end of the 19th century, motion pictures have been perceived as simultaneously hyper natural and supernatural.
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Kes: I'm fascinated by the opposing perspectives given to reading in these two recent articles, as one focuses completely on reading as work, while the other embraces reading as a kind of mental playfulness. I'm adding three of my favorite quotes about reading because my own reason for reading would probably best be described as "serious play," as I love the intellectual play of reading, but I also have a dead serious need for the way reading opens up possibilities for seeing the world differently. On the other hand, I loathe the sort of sentimental tripe which must force a trite feel-good message or moral onto a story--life isn't full of glib feel-good messages, so why should my books try to tell me it is?

Stories don’t need morals or messages
A "stupid" test shows that the Puritan ethic lives on. Why do we insist on learning lessons from the books we read?
articles beneath cut )
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Software mines security footage to help business owners see what people do once they're inside the store.

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The huge success of online shopping and advertising—led by giants like Amazon and Google—is in no small part thanks to software that logs when you visit
Web pages and what you click on. Startup Prism Skylabs
offers brick-and-mortar businesses the equivalent—counting, logging, and tracking people in a store, coffee shop, or gym with software that works with
video from security cameras.

"There's a lot of wonderful information locked up in video, and 40 million security cameras in the U.S. collecting it, but it's data that's not been available,"
says Steve Russell, cofounder and CEO of Prism, based in San Francisco. "We want to free up that information."

Prism's software can count people that come into a business, measure the length of the line at checkout, and produce static or animated visualizations showing
how people moved around a store. It is designed so that it cannot identify or track individuals. One national wireless carrier is already using Prism's
technology to generate heat maps of where visitors go in their showrooms, to compare the level of interest in different devices—valuable data to them and
to the device makers.

Prism's software can also be used to turn security footage into a live version of Google's Street View, says Ron Palmeri, Prism's president and other cofounder.
"We give the ability to go beyond the facades of businesses and show you the inside and even how busy it is, using very effectively privacy-protected imagery."

Prism's software can blur people into anonymous ghosts, show them in what Russell calls "predator vision" (a pixelated image), or remove them altogether
and replace them with a "heat map," on which colors signal the density of people. One gym in San Francisco trialing the technology plans to use it to show
customers a live view of how busy it is.
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