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Andrew Piper

Reading your own cognitive decline

I recently attended the Digital Humanities section of the annual Canadian academic Congress. Ian Lancashire of the University of Toronto was on my panel and he gave a very moving paper on the correlation between language decline in writers and the onset of alzheimers. His most famous paper on this …

The Electronic Stage

A nice example of when electronic reading begins to infect the theater, too. Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman has written a new play, Pieces, currently being performed in Toronto that concerns a husband, wife, and the surprise visit of a former lover. The time-frame moves back and forth between the present and the past, …

The Visual Text

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is what happens when books, in the form of electronic interfaces, become far more visual than textual. Take for example Ken Perlin’s new Pride and Prejudice interface. It allows you to see the whole book as an image in the right …

Flatlining in Class

This graphic should give us as teachers serious pause. It shows how the periods of the lowest nervous activity for students occurred…during class. Ouch. The good news is that “lab” seems to have been far more stimulating. Here is the full paper by Ming-Zher Poh et al.

Human Media

A recent, and very disturbing, ad-campaign pretended that homeless people were wifi hotspots. It was a gag, but they were paid to wear t-shirts that said “I’m [insert name], I’m a 4G hotspot.” What to do with vagrant, impoverished populations? I know, turn them into mobile transponders and pay them! …

The Humanities and the Public

An event the other night at McGill called “The Public Digital Humanities” was indicative of much recent concern about the “relevance” or public mission of the humanities today (see for example the new initiative 4Humanities or the new book series by Iowa, “Humanities and Public Life”). Publicness, it seems, is …

Readathons

My son’s school is holding its annual Lecturothon today, where every student in the school has to read for five straight hours (I’m guessing there are breaks). They use it to raise money  and to make a statement about the value of sustained reading. He brings a sleeping bag, a …

Booksi

Media recycling has achieved a new degree of absurdity with Booksi. Designed by Richard Neely, these are charging docks for iPods/phones that are recycled books. What a fate: you were a book and now you’re a stand for the smart phone’s ass.  

Vestiges of Media

My friend Ina Ferris has been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between books and remnants — the way books were integral during the nineteenth century to think about how cultural forms and practices persist past their time. The book was itself already seen as a vestige during the …