Human-ities · Science · Social/Politics

The Reformation: Can Social Scientists Save Themselves?

Academic hoaxes have a way of crystallizing, and then shattering, the intellectual pretensions of an era. It was almost 20 years ago, for instance, that a physicist named Alan Sokal laid siege to postmodern theory with a Trojan horse. You may remember the details: Sokal wrote a deliberately preposterous academic paper called “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” He filled it with the then trendy jargon of “critical theory,” and submitted it to a prominent journal of cultural studies called Social Text. Amid worshipful citations of postmodern theorists and half-baked references to complex scientific work, the paper advanced a succession of glib, sweeping assertions (“Physical ‘reality,’ no less than social ‘reality,’ is at bottom a social and linguistic construct”). Social Text published it without demanding any significant editorial changes.

When Sokal revealed that his paper was a practical joke, the media went wild—or as wild, at least, as the media has ever gone over an academic prank. By successfully aping the methods and conventions of postmodern cultural analysis, and using them to serve intentionally ridiculous ends, Sokal had, for many in the public, exposed once and for all how unsound those methods and conventions were.

Continue this article at Pacific Standard.

Human-ities · Science

Is Mythology Like Facebook?

How can you tell if an ancient story is completely fictional or based on reality? One method, says a team of physicists, is to map out the social network of the characters and test whether it looks like a real social network. When they used that method for three ancient myths, they found that the characters have surprisingly realistic relationships.

Ancient stories are called myths for a reason. No one believes that Beowulf, the hero of the Anglo-Saxon epic, slew a talking monster named Grendel. Or that the Greek gods described in The Iliad actually appeared on Earth to intervene in the Trojan War. But historians and archaeologists agree that much of those ancient narratives was based on real people and events. The supernatural features of the narrative were then layered onto reality.

Excerpt of an article written by John Bohannon, Science NOW. Continue HERE

Digital Media · Film/Video/New Media · Motion Graphics

GOLDEN AGE – SOMEWHERE

Within ‘Somewhere’ We are transported to a time where the boundaries between what is real and what is simulated are blurred. We live online and download places to relax, parks and shopping malls. We can even interact with our friends as if they were in the same room with simulated tele-presence. Everyone is connected and immersed in nanorobotic replications of any kind of object or furnishings, downloadable on credit based systems. Distance and time become as alien as the ‘offline’ The local becomes the global and the global becomes the local. Consumer based capitalism has changed forever. A truly ‘glocolised’ world. The singularity is near.

The film places us into this vision, observing an average inhabitant within the ever changing environment of the latest SimuHouse. From a painting to a park and from a telephone call to a shopping mall. That is until there is a leek in the system and everything malfunctions. The film concludes with the house being forced to reset, giving the character and viewer a stark reminder that nothing is ‘real’ even her dog, which re-materialises in front of her.

CREDITS:

Directed By: Paul Nicholls
3D, 2D, Tracking, Post Production, Compositing, Camera Work: Paul Nicholls
Cast: Indre Balestuta, Iffy
Sound Design: Jesse Rope
Narration: Robert Leaf
Greek Vocal Talent: Lia Loanniti
Serbian Vocal Talent: Mina Micevic
Store Voice: Guillaume Nyssens
System Voice: Anita Shim
Music By: Kourosh Dini, Twighlight Archive, Pete Berwick

http://www.factoryfifteen.com/