Digital artefacts

Is a digital artefact the same artefact if it is republished again at a new time or in a different environment? Is it the same artefact if the original author does not press the re-submit button.

Or is a digital artefact the culmination of thing and context.

Is it even possible to re-use the digital, or does to re-use mean new.

An xMOOC may have multiple instances but each instance is a different entity – it is a different MOOC. The content may be largely the same but the people, the time, the current affairs context will be different, thus rendering every instance essentially different.

A digital copy like creatures of the same species – a ladybird looks like many other ladybirds, until you count the spots.


A Pale Blue Dot

The Earth as imaged from the Voyager 1 Spacecraft, as it exited the solar system in 1990. Earth is nearly 4 billion miles away in this image.

Pale Blue Dot – bit like a MOOC :)


Human USB

Although humans are really good at storing information and even better when strengthened by technology, the idea of encoding further information into DNA structures elicits many questions:

- As technological advancements can both inform and be informed by nature, could such discovery help us better understand how information is stored in the brain?

- Could the natural be the new form of the digital? The next step of digital (or digitalised) evolution?

- Will this be the next Bond storyline, where a frightened looking blonde Scandinavian child (running with a stereotype) is protected by every secret service on the planet as their DNA was created as a back-up system for all knowledge known to man, but it went wrong and ‘life’ was accidentally created but although their DNA is equally precious dead-or-alive, the trigger of life is now most sought after…?

Just a thought!


DNA ‘perfect for digital storage’

UK scientists demonstrate how DNA could be used to archive digital data, encoding Shakespeare’s sonnets and other information in the “life molecule”.


Architect plans 3D-printed building

An architect in Holland reveals plans to 3D print buildings inspired by the Earth’s landscape.


Web ‘re-defining’ human identities

Social networks such as Facebook and on-line gaming are changing people’s view of who they are and their place in the world, says a UK report.


Where do you draw the line?

iPad = digital. Apps = digital. The internet = digital.

A naturally growing buttercup in a school field = not digital. A chair = not digital.

… However, what if that chair has not been hand-carved by a trained carpenter from a locally felled tree and instead is the product of a large factory with automated carving using laser-precision technology. In this instance, the chair itself though tangible in standing is the product of the digital.

And what if it were carved by the carpenter from scratch, unless he was taught through traditional skill transference between generations, it is likely he went to learn the trade – he may have used books, tools and I potentially the internet, both of which are digital to some extent. Is then the chair a product of the digital?

If so, arguably everything could be seen as on the digital spectrum. If not, where is the tipping point? Where does the arbitrary line fall to define when digital/not-digital?

It seems the more we try to retrofit our new age definitions, the more we lose sight of the emergent, gradual process of the digital and its interwoven nature with what is “not”.


What is ‘real’


Facebook is changing…

… potentially the way we communicate :

… and the way we search for information:

The search engine is a funny one – the ambiguous wording and picture of a baby make it difficult to know whether “photos of friends before 2005″ would find pictures that were taken pre-1995 which feature the friend at a younger stage of development but could have been uploaded post-2005 or simply photos which were uploaded during or before 2005, which may not actually be of the person themselves, instead could be of a tagged image of their children.

For some reason, this made me think of Wall-E:


Digital vs. digitalised

Although not initially intended, downloading Spotify has made me think about Sterne (2006) and question whether there is a difference between the digital and digitalised.

Whilst listening to the recent ‘most popular’ tracks on Spotify, there is vast array of (or arguably all) tracks which feature ‘digitalised elements’, whereby a song has been recorded (which for the purpose of this initially, does not count as digital!) and then digitally manipulated to create a new sound. These are usually quite distinct from those which have been nurtured from a digital birth – Kraftwerk or Electro Swing for example vs. errrm… Britney Spears though even this is likely to have been born digital… maybe earlier Britney numbers!

[Strangely, the process of reflection has shown even a linguistic distinction can be more of a spectrum in reality...]

The point I was hoping to make initially was surrounding the differences – listening to the top 40, everything became a samey blur of similar sound, with little personality, e.g. generic club music, whereas other such as those highlighted above have a distinct personality. Digitalised suggests a manipulation from an original analogue/non-digital source, whereas digital is digital. Simple.

Thinking back to many of the other readings, these refer to a digital culture rather than a digitalised culture. A digitalised culture would suggest digital intervention (welcomed or not) and digital suggests either a born digital identity or emergent transition into the digital. The process of finding examples of modern-day digitalised songs may in itself support the notion of transition, whereby now we are surrounded by the simply digital.


A 7-year walk of our ancestors (+ twitter)

One man, alone in the wilderness – time to think, without the constraints of our modern-day world, simply walking like our ancestors from Ethiopia to South America… except for the obvious use of twitter and a laptop for blogging!

On one hand, the use of technology could be seen as a distraction; defeating the object of retracing the steps of elders (although it is very unlikely they did it in a one-er!) – whereas, the other would say this is a unique opportunity for others to learn more about our world, a human experience through one man’s eyes, with technology providing an archive of something otherwise only held by a single individual.

As we see in the readings this week (esp. Bell 2001) people learn through stories and this is an excellent one to tell!

… Much like the day I invited a sofa-surfing nomad in for a cup of tea and he told me of his (far less glamorous) 6 year walk against the system… but that’s for another day! :)


Rainbow Education

“There are stories to be found everywhere you look, if you look in the right way”

- Reading Rainbow Remixed

There is education to be found everywhere you look, if you look in the right way – why does education have to be constrained by traditional thought that it can only occur in a formal classroom setting, with a teacher sitting at the front. And why is daydreaming in these settings a bad thing – they might be creating an exciting story, which with a little nurturing could be the next creative writing phenomenon! And surely stories are one of the ways education is most powerfully conveyed – people learn well from the experiences of others, humans are vicarious beings!

“You can be the expert by picking up a book” – Reading Rainbow Remixed

Knowledge is all around us – if we can become knowledgeable by immersing ourselves in this, formal education systems much serve a different purpose than simple knowledge transference.



“The uncertainty, the fear of the unknown was driving him, almost to the point of desperation. He felt as if he was going down a dark stairway, missing a step, hurtling into the unknown and having no idea where he would land.”

Ken Puddicombe, Racing With The Rain

Why is there such a fear associated with an unknown future – surely to know that your unborn child of 10 years’ future will inherit your nose loses some of the excitement of not knowing?!


A whistling language revived

A whistle Spanish-based language is being revived in the Canary Islands – such calls can be heard up to 2 miles away. Whereas a mobile phone… may not have signal!