Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace:
In MySpace, comments are a form of cultural currency.
So what exactly are teens _doing_ on MySpace? Simple: they're hanging out. Of course, ask any teen what they're _doing_ with their friends in general; they'll most likely shrug their shoulders and respond nonchalantly with "just hanging out." Although adults often perceive hanging out to be wasted time, it is how youth get socialized into peer groups. Hanging out amongst friends allows teens to build relationships and stay connected.

Teens have increasingly less access to public space. Classic 1950s hang out locations like the roller rink and burger joint are disappearing while malls and 7/11s are banning teens unaccompanied by parents. Hanging out around the neighborhood or in the woods has been deemed unsafe for fear of predators, drug dealers and abductors. Teens who go home after school while their parents are still working are expected to stay home and teens are mostly allowed to only gather at friends' homes when their parents are present.

By going virtual, digital technologies allow youth to (re)create private and public youth space while physically in controlled spaces. IM serves as a private space while MySpace provide a public component. Online, youth can build the environments that support youth socialization.

When i asked one teen about requests from strange men, she just shrugged. "We just delete them," she said without much concern. "Some people are just creepy." The scantily clad performances intended to attract fellow 16-year-olds are not meant for the older men. Likewise, the drunken representations meant to look "cool" are not meant for the principal. Yet, both of these exist in high numbers online because youth are exploring identity formation. Having to simultaneously negotiate youth culture and adult surveillance is not desirable to most youth, but their response is typically to ignore the issue. ... They want to be visible to other teens, not just the people they they've friended. They would just prefer the adults go away. All adults. Parents, teachers, creepy men.
Youth are not creating digital publics to scare parents - they are doing so because they need youth space, a place to gather and see and be seen by peers. ... youth will continue to work out identity issues, hang out and create spaces that are their own, regardless of what technologies are available.

Monday, February 20, 2006

pow pow

holy cow the snow was good this weekend...

possibly the best conditions i've ever ridden.
blue skies, 2-3" of fresh powder, light dusting of new snow the entire time (just enough to look cool without white-out)

quite the awesome weekend. 

oh, and if you have the means to stay across the street from the lifts, i highly recommend it. being able to walk "home" for lunch and have a nice shower and dinner at the end of the day is killer. 
much better than a 4 hour drive.

Friday, February 10, 2006


so lately i've been on a bit of a sci-fi trip.

i've listening to Xenocide (3rd book in the Ender Wiggen saga)

i also caved and bought my first video on iTunes, i got the Battlestar Galactica mini-series (over-priced, but good. borrowing DVDs of the rest)

its tough having two alternate universes (well, techically they're both extensions of ours) in your head at once. i kept mixing up storylines in my head, imagining the Hive Queen and the Cylons in battle.

Stereotyping: Pit Bulls, Terrorists, and the NYPD

A great article by Malcom Gladwell (of "Blink" and "The Tipping Point"). It's based on a story of a Pit Bull attack, but he pulls in examples from Terrorism, NYPD / Border Patrol studies, etc.

The final point is the recognition of the failures of generalizations based on unstable category-trait relationships (e.g. "New York is full of crime" and "Terrorists carry 2 bags and have beards" vs "Kenyans are good runners" .. read the article)

The New Yorker: Fact
What pit bulls can teach us about profiling.

A few good snippets:
After the attack on Jayden Clairoux, the Ontario government chose to make a generalization about pit bulls. But it could also have chosen to generalize about powerful dogs, or about the kinds of people who own powerful dogs, or about small children, or about back-yard fences—or, indeed, about any number of other things to do with dogs and people and places. How do we know when we’ve made the right generalization?
And now for the jump...
"Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes. I think profiling is just nuts."

Eighty-four per cent of the pit bulls that have been given the test have passed, which ranks pit bulls ahead of beagles, Airedales, bearded collies, and all but one variety of dachshund. ... "When pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle. And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”

You’ll find nothing here about race or gender or ethnicity, and nothing here about expensive jewelry or deplaning at the middle or the end, or walking briskly or walking aimlessly. Kelly removed all the unstable generalizations, forcing customs officers to make generalizations about things that don’t change from one day or one month to the next. ... After Kelly’s reforms, the number of searches conducted by the Customs Service dropped by about seventy-five per cent, but the number of successful seizures improved by twenty-five per cent.

The kinds of dogs that kill people change over time, because the popularity of certain breeds changes over time. The one thing that doesn’t change is the total number of the people killed by dogs. When we have more problems with pit bulls, it’s not necessarily a sign that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. It could just be a sign that pit bulls have become more numerous.
This one is for Andria:
I’ve seen virtually every breed involved in fatalities, including Pomeranians and everything else, except a beagle or a basset hound
Back to the mean dogs:
The junk-yard German shepherd—which looks as if it would rip your throat out—and the German-shepherd guide dog are the same breed. But they are not the same dog, because they have owners with different intentions. ... “It is usually a perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions—the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation."
And finally:
It would have required, that is, a more exacting set of generalizations to be more exactingly applied. It’s always easier just to ban the breed.