In the art world’s internal sense of time, the degree show is in many ways the equivalent of New Year’s Eve: a point at which to collectively celebrate the birth of the future, while taking stock of the events of the past year.
As The Guardian reports: “Reflecting on the 2013/14 academic year, it is clear that one of the most pressing issues is that of value, and the need continually to defend the arts in this respect.
“It is interesting to note the difference between making art for yourself – which holds value for you as an individual – and pursuing a career as an artist by studying for a degree in fine art or a related field. By doing the latter, you are implicitly deciding that your creativity also holds value for others.
“Ten years ago, when it came to discussions of creative processes, the question of value for others was not on the table. Now, as a result of continued pressure on the arts to justify their worth to society, the notion of value is very much becoming part of art school rhetoric.
“As this pressure manifests itself within educational institutions – theremoval of government funding for all but STEM subjects and continual space audits of fine art programmes – the question must be asked: to what extent can these programmes and their degree shows persist in their current form? My consideration of this matter is informed by an awareness of technology – I am not only head of fine art at York St John University, I’m also head of computer science and a member of the Internet of Things Council. The Internet of Things is an umbrella term used to describe a next step in the evolution of the internet: to augmented “smart” objects, accessible to human beings and each other over network connections.
Continue reading “The internet of things”
When people talk about how to diversify the tech field, a common solution is, “Start earlier.”
As discussed in a recent essay in The Atlantic, “Rather than focus on getting women and minorities hired at tech startups or encouraging them to major in computer science in college, there should be a push to turn them on to the discipline when they’re still teenagers—or even younger.
“It’s already too late,” Paul Graham, founder of the tech entrepreneur boot camp Y Combinator, said last month in a controversial interview. “What we should be doing is somehow changing the middle school computer science curriculum or something like that.”
“Right now, the “start early” strategy doesn’t seem to be working: The students doing advanced computer science work in high school remain overwhelmingly white and male. According to data from the College Board compiled by Georgia Tech’s Barbara Ericson, only a small percentage of the high-schoolers taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam are women. Black and Latino students make up an even lower percentage of the test-takers.
“Ericson’s analysis of the data shows that in 2013, 18 percent of the students who took the exam were women. Eight percent were Hispanic, and four percent were African-American. In contrast, Latinos make up 22 percent of the school-age population in the U.S.; African-Americans make up 14 percent. (I don’t need to tell you that women make up about half.) Continue reading “Gender, race, schools and technology”
At Pinterest, the four-year-old online bulletin board service that is valued near $3.8 billion, some 70 percent of the users are female.
But, as Reuters reports, the company’s board of directors is 100 percent male:
“Male-heavy boards dominate in the start-up mecca of Silicon Valley, which prides itself on progressive thinking and putting talent first. A Reuters survey of the 10 top venture-backed start-ups, as measured by venture funds raised, shows that six do not have any women on the board, including Pinterest. And none has more than one.
“Reuters’ research relied on publicly available data and discussions with start-up executives and board members.
“The gender imbalance has been the norm for years despite some recent signs of change. Google, Facebook and Twitter all went public without a woman on the board. They are more diverse now.
“Big, established companies, by contrast, frequently have two or more female directors, based on the 10 largest U.S. tech companies by market value. All of the top 20 have at least one. The dismal record of start-ups when it comes to gender diversity was highlighted last month when Twitter came under fire for its all-male board on the eve of its public offering. On Thursday, the company announced that it had added former Pearson chief Marjorie Scardino to its board. Entrepreneurs and executives contacted by Reuters did not question the conclusion that there are few women directors at start-ups, but they frequently described it as unintended, and some such as Pinterest say their executive ranks are more balanced. Start-ups tend to blame the lack of women on their boards on factors such as their youth, their small boards, their single-minded focus on growth to the exclusion of other priorities, and a scarcity of women steeped in technology. Continue reading “Men rule in Silicon Valley”
At first glance, “Feminism and Technology” sounds like another massive open online open course. But Professor Anne Basalmo hasother plans
Basalmo’s course will involve video components, and will be available online to anyone, with no charge, as InsideHigher Ed reports. “There are paths to credit, and it’s fine for students to take the course without seeking credit. An international student body is expected.
“But don’t look for this course in any MOOC catalog. “Feminism and Technology” is trying to take a few MOOC elements, but then to change them in ways consistent with feminist pedagogy to create a distributed open collaborative course or DOCC (pronounced “dock”).
“The DOCC aims to challenge MOOC thinking about the role of the instructor, about the role of money, about hierarchy, about the value of “massive,” and many other things. The first DOCC will be offered for credit at 17 colleges this coming semester, as well in a more MOOC-style approach in which videos and materials are available online for anyone.
“We’re not saying bad bad MOOCs, but we’re asking how else we might innovate,” said Anne Balsamo, co-facilitator of the DOCC and dean of the School of Media Studies at the New School.
“A DOCC is different from a MOOC in that it doesn’t deliver a centralized singular syllabus to all the participants. Rather it organizes around a central topic,” Balsamo said. “It recognizes that, based on deep feminist pedagogical commitments, expertise is distributed throughout all the participants in a learning activity,” and does not just reside with one or two individuals. Continue reading “The feminist and the mooc”
Small-town independent movie theaters may soon be driven into extinction by digital movie houses. The LA times reports that “On the redwood-lined banks of the Russian River, dozens of local residents and tourists gathered in a grassy field on a hot Sunday afternoon, lining up to buy raffle tickets and $10 plates of barbecued chicken as a bluegrass group rehearsed a number for a Ramble at the Rio concert.
“It might have been a church social or a school fundraising picnic. But this event was to raise money to save a centerpiece of the community: the Rio Theater.
“Built from a World War II Quonset hut and adorned with murals from local artists, the Rio has been screening films in this town of about 1,200 people since 1950. Located in the wine country north of San Francisco off the Bohemian Highway, a few miles away from the Bodega Bay filming location of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “The Birds,” the Rio has survived fires, floods and multiple owners. Continue reading “The Last Picture Show”
Worries are beginning to accumulate on the popular applications of what used to be called “rapid prototyping.” A growing number of devices that create objects from design programs are coming onto the market, potentially allowing just about anyone to make anything at home or at a nearby copy shop. NPR reports about the new concerns over the potential of 3-D printers to make guns or weapon parts.
“You may have heard about 3-D printing, a technological phenomenon that uses a robotic arm to build objects one layer at a time. As people get imaginative and create items in a one-stop-shop fashion, one more creation has been added to the printing line: gun parts.
On the West Side of Manhattan, behind large glass windows, a dozen 3-D printers build plastic toys and jewelry. Hilary Brosnihan, a manager at 3DEA, an events company that sponsored a print pop-up store, says things are moving rapidly. ‘This [3-D printing] is coming down the line; it’s coming down the line very quickly’ Brosnihan says. She also works as a toy manufacturer. The technology has boosted her business, but the idea of printing a gun horrifies her. She says most of her colleagues feel the same way.
“‘They are more of an open-source community that’s about developing things that are useful. And in our terms, weapons aren’t really useful,’ Brosnihan says. ‘Creating a way to adjust your sink faucet so you don’t have issues with it — that’s useful.’ But a lot of Americans do think guns are useful.”
Full story at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/02/06/171154845/using-3-d-printers-to-make-gun-parts-raises-alarms
Everyone thinks the recent availability of 3-D printers is a great thing. Well, not everybody.
What if do-it-yourself fabricating was a ruse to allow manufacturing to be transferred from sweatshops into homes? Writing recently in Le Monde, Johan Soderberg reflects on the positive and negative implication of this emerging technology: “Recently, electronic machines capable of producing objects, functioning as three-dimensional printers are available to the general public. They arouse enthusiasm in a vanguard that sees the seeds of a new industrial revolution. But supporters of these DIY tools technology often forget the story that they were born.
“It would be the industrial revolution of the twenty-first century: what previously had to be purchased in store may now be made at home using tools such as a laser cutter, a 3D printer, a CNC Continue reading “Be careful what you technologically wish for”