Jesse tells me about this discussion thread on Free Republic, where conservatives discuss the appearance of a mysterious meteor near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. It's fun to watch the ARGish interaction of storyline promoters, the credulous, and the clueless,
In a recent letter to Nature, Scott Atran and Jessica Stern find the web to be a crucial link between individual identity and global jihad. Terrorists emerge and link up in the shadow of web sites:
Seeking a sense of community, these small groups bond as they surf jihadi websites to find direction and purpose. In the past five years alone, jihadi websites have increased in number from fewer than 20 to more than 4,000.
I received this by email. Could be urban legend or rumor, but it's a fine example of Gothic horror as everyday life for now:
Mistaken as prank, body left hanging --------------------
October 28, 2005
FREDERICA, Del. -- The presumed suicide of a woman found hanging from a tree went unreported for hours because passersby thought the body was a Halloween decoration, authorities said.
The 42-year-old woman used rope to hang herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road late Tuesday or early Wednesday, Delaware state police said.
The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be seen easily from passing vehicles.
State police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham and neighbors said people noticed the body at breakfast time Wednesday but dismissed it as a holiday prank. Authorities were called to the scene about three hours later.
"They thought it was a Halloween decoration," Fay Glanden, wife of Mayor William Glanden, told The News Journal newspaper in Wilmington.
"It looked like something somebody would have rigged up," she said.
Presenters are working very hard, and impressing us all. Brian Lamb is now rocking the house, with a rich, wiki-fied presentation. He's introducing social software, carefully situating it within the higher education context.
I'm looking forward to this for many reasons. One is the chance to learn from, and exposure more people to, the brilliance of people like Joel Foreman, Brian Lamb, and Alex Chapin.
I'm also excited about being able to focus on the topic of emerging technologies and practices in general. Brian and I (Br*ans) are going to speak to how to keep abreast of information about this stuff. Which is crucial to my new position.
Quick notes as I reach the halfway point in Neal Stephenson's third book of the Baroque Cycle: This is a luxuriant, charming work. As before, the novel glories in details and obsessions. There's the steady rain of historical detail, with bits of fiction woven in, and a touch of fantasy. We see more of Newtorn and less of Jack, which makes for a good balance. One downside: what happened to the glorious writers of the period? It's as if the chacters work around London precisely to avoid Swift, Pope, and that splendid group. Another downside: the book suffers from a geek's assessment of religion as functional, rather than content-based. Beliefs are political, but have little weight of themselves. That's quite ahistorical in this period (and would be so for our own epoch).
A new article in the IHT notes that video creators can reshape tv-screen content to better take advantage of the small screens of cell phones, PSPs, video iPods, etc.
About 70 percent of the images he used were close-ups of actors, because panoramic shots appeared blurry. He said he used tiny speakers to hear what "the sound of a neck cracking" would be like on a cellphone after one of the episode's characters died from a snapped vertebra. But for gunshot wounds, the director was forced to make the bullet holes extra large and to double the amount of blood so they could be easily identified on the small screen.
This reminds me of the PSP comics we blogged about recently, which also made formal changes to fit this format.
The article also mentions mobisodes. Very short, short-short video clips, I gather. Where's the social component that "mob-" indicates? Added: Wikipedia has an entry on mobisodes.
We'll be attending the Educause 2005 conference in Orlando this week. Haven't been there since 2003. I'm on a panel concerning faculty development, after Matt's interviews me for a podcast. I'm looking forward to seeing many folks from the NITLE community.