13 July 2006

The Return of Me

Paralyzed Man Uses Thoughts to Move a Cursor

Published: July 13, 2006

A paralyzed man with a small sensor implanted in his brain was able to control a computer, a television set and a robot using only his thoughts, scientists reported yesterday.

Matthew Nagle, left paralyzed when he was stabbed five years ago, and the circle he drew on a computer screen by using only his thoughts.

Those results offer hope that in the future, people with spinal cord injuries, Lou Gehrig’s disease or other conditions that impair movement may be able to communicate or better control their world.

“If your brain can do it, we can tap into it,” said John P. Donoghue, a professor of neuroscience at Brown University who has led development of the system and was the senior author of a report on it being published in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

In a variety of experiments, the first person to receive the implant, Matthew Nagle, moved a cursor, opened e-mail, played a simple video game called Pong and drew a crude circle on the screen. He could change the channel or volume on a television set, move a robot arm somewhat, and open and close a prosthetic hand.


12 July 2006


Thanks to Ron Jones for this:

Transhumanism: Yearning to transcend biology

by Cathy Young The Boston Globe

Published: July 10, 2006

BOSTON With everything else that's happening in the world today, debates about whether humanity should embrace as yet nonexistent technologies that could enhance our physical and intellectual abilities and someday make us "more than human" may seem frivolous.
Nonetheless, a debate on "transhumanism" has been going on for a few years, with naysayers and doomsayers on one side, optimistic futurists on the other, and too little in between.



26 June 2006


By davidng

Last year, I had a decidedly Jungian experience, which is odd for me as a rational scientific sort. This synchronicity event happened at a local bookstore where I was searching for an issue of a Canadian magazine called Maisonneuve, a publication nice enough to print an essay of mine. As I was looking over the rack, my eyes wandered and noticed an issue of The Believer, where lo and behold, I saw my name on the front cover - a very observable and clear “by DAVID NG”, written with agreeable font, and even flanked by two pretty star icons. I hurriedly flipped through the magazine to see if I could find any information on this author, confused that my life had perhaps become so busy that I was submitting articles without even knowing it.


11 June 2006

Professor, scientist, art collector, crook: jail for conman with millionaire lifestyle

· Fraudster caught in £1m Christie's art scam
· Five years for man who created string of identities

Paul Lewis
Saturday January 21, 2006
The Guardian

In his time Robert Hyams has posed as one of the world's top microbiologists, claiming breakthroughs in the field of Aids and cancer. He has tricked banks, property agents and car companies out of fortunes. But it was his pretence to be a millionaire art buyer that finally led to jail for the conman when he attempted to swindle the auctioneers Christie's out of more than £1m worth of French masterpieces.


08 June 2006

Clones' Debut Is a Test of Genetics, and Bettors' Wits

Thanks to Laurie for this:

Anyone trying to select a winner at the mule races this weekend in Winnemucca, Nev., will no doubt have a hard time choosing between Idaho Gem and Idaho Star. They may have different names, but they are not necessarily different mules.

Idaho Gem and Idaho Star are clones.

Published in New York Times: June 3, 2006


01 June 2006

Second Life

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by over 200,000 people from around the globe.

Second Life.

Apple's take on MMORPGs

By Brad Cook
A little while after breakfast, you enter the Wailing Caverns to retrieve the four gems possessed by the leaders of the Druids of the Fang. You defeat each of them in turn and carry the precious stones to Nara Wildmane, a Tauren who dwells in Thunder Bluff. She expresses her deep gratitude.

During lunch, you help the Allies take the town of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. Your emerge as one of the few who survive an intense firefight with Axis soldiers. The victory is not only key to the war effort, but it also earns you officer status, granting you the ability to direct future missions and lead troops into battle.

In the afternoon, you fly across a landscape studded with odd-shaped buildings and fantastic-looking characters. You land among a colorful group playing Tringo and join the action before taking to the air once more. You’re on your way to Atlantis, where you’ll tour the sights in a submarine.



by Julian Dibbell
Published in: Village Voice, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 51, December 21, 1993

They say he raped them that night. They say he did it with a cunning little doll, fashioned in their image and imbued with the power to make them do whatever he desired. they say that by manipulating the doll he forced them to have sex with him, and with each other, and to do horrible, brutal things to their own bodies. And though I wasn't there that night, I think I can assure you that what they say is true, because it all happened right in the living room - right there amid the well-stocked bookcases and the sofas and the fireplace - of a house I've come to think of as my second home.

Call me Dr. Bombay. Some months ago - let's say about halfway between the first time you heard the words _information superhighway_ and the first time you wished you never had - I found myself tripping with compulsive regularity down the well-traveled information lane that leads to LambdaMOO, a very large and very busy rustic chateau built entirely of words. Nightly, I typed the commands that called those words onto my computer screen, dropping me with what seemed a warm electric thud inside the mansion's darkened coat closet, where I checked my quotidian identity, stepped into the persona and
appearance of a minor character from a long-gone television sit-com, and stepped out into the glaring chatter of the crowded living room. Sometimes, when the mood struck me, I emerged as a dolphin instead.


Glass Artists Face Off in Court

By TIMOTHY EGAN, New York Times
Published: June 1, 2006

SEATTLE, May 31 — As an ever-moving maestro in the world where fine art and commerce converge, Dale Chihuly is perhaps the world's most successful glass artist.

His clients include Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, and his elaborate installations of sea gardens and flower clusters show that mere sand transformed by fire can elevate a casino ceiling to the level of gallery spectacle.

But now Mr. Chihuly is in the midst of a hard-edged legal fight in federal court here over the distinctiveness of his creations and, more fundamentally, who owns artistic expression in the glass art world.


30 May 2006

Museum of Hoaxes

Contains entries such as (and thanks to Laurie for this one too):

A Virgin's Plea
Status: Hoax
Here's a hoax that I missed while away in Scotland. Geoff (who withheld his last name) claimed to be a twenty-five-year-old virgin. He launched a website (avirginsplea.com) on May 1, declaring that if his site received five million hits by the end of the month, a girl he knew had promised to sleep with him. Soon blogs were linking to his site to help him out, and the media (unable, as always, to resist an unusual story about sex) deluged him with requests for interviews. Predictably, it all turned out to be a hoax. Geoff, although a real person, was not a virgin, as reporters found out who tracked down a former girlfriend of his. In addition, Geoff hadn't created the site. He was merely the front man for it. The creator of the site was web designer Matthew Gamble who had intended it, so he later claimed, to be an experiment in viral marketing.

I learned about this hoax yesterday when I got a call from MTV Canada, who, after initially having been taken in by the hoax, were now interviewing Gamble on air. They telephoned me to get my opinion as a 'hoax expert'. Specifically, they were very curious about whether Gamble's hoax warranted inclusion in the Museum of Hoaxes. I assured them that it did, which seemed to make them happy. I didn't add that my standards for what warrants inclusion on the site are pretty low. As long as something sounds kind of hoaxy, I'll post about it on my blog. (The standards for what makes it into the Gallery sections of the site are much higher.)

I should also note that avirginsplea.com was a spoof of helpwinmybet.com, a site launched in March by a guy claiming that his girlfriend had agreed to a threesome if his site received two million hits. To my knowledge helpwinmybet.com hasn't been exposed as a hoax, per se, but I'm guessing that it's just a scheme to generate revenue from ads for dating sites.

Museum of Hoaxes

29 May 2006

End of Me tutorials/Tuesday 30 May 2006

On Tuesday 30 May we will focus on your projects and interpretations of course themes via individual tutorials (30 mins per tutorial). Please sign up for a time via the "Comments" function with EITHER Ron OR Rolf.

Ron’s available times are:

09.00-9.30 Anders Johansson
11.00-11.30 Karin Nilsson
15.00-15.30 Kira Carpelan

Rolf’s available times are:

13.30-14.00 Felicitas Rohden
15.00-15.30 Helena Regius
15.30-16.00 Joshua Webber

This is your opportunity to rehearse and receive feedback on your response to course assignment #3 before Thursday, so please be prepared to discuss your final essay/presentation as outlined below. Where? Ron's office in IS for those seeing Ron and S5 for those seeing Rolf. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Best wishes,

Rolf Hughes & Ronald Jones

3. The final essay/presentation (comprising 50% of course grade) should be an exploration of one or more of the course themes of innovation, authenticity, and/or exhaustion. Students should carefully research, write and/or present and discuss a hypothetical or real life dilemma concerning an aspect of one of these themes. For example, a case of architectural plagiarism is afoot in U.S. courts that could be used to examine questions of authenticity and originality: U.S. Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, ruled in August 2005 that a lawsuit brought in the fall of 2004 by Thomas Shine against Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for copyright violations involving SOM's Freedom Tower design and Mr. Shine's 1999 student project at Yale (when David M. Childs, a partner at SOM, was his Professor) could proceed. Based on visual evidence alone, Judge Mukasey ordered that the case proceed leaving open the chance for Mr. Shine’s “originality” to be protected against Mr. Childs alledged appropriation of his design. Skidmore’s motion for dismissal was unsuccessful. Does Judge Mukasey’s decision lay the groundwork for deciding the existence of “originality” in the field of architecture, a field long known to be “collaborative” and “interdisciplinary?” If the courts determine ownership in this case, should that constitute a definition for “originality” in 2006? Should the courts be involved at all? And if not the courts, should professionals in the field create a governing body to protect the ideas of young artists, designers, craftspeople, and architects against poaching from larger firms and more successful practitioners? What are the implications for your practice if Mr. Shine does not prevail? Presentation due: Thursday 1 June.

23 May 2006


Cloning has made it possible to Xerox copy organic life and confound the traditional understanding of individualism and authenticity. In the public sphere, genetics is often reduced to 'finding the gene for .... (fill in the blank)', misrepresenting the complex interactions with environmental influences. The swelling cultural debate that contrasts genetic determinism and environmental influence has consequences for understanding our own agency in the world, be it predetermined by genetic inevitability or constructed by our actions and environment. The OneTrees project is a forum for public involvement in this debate, a shared experience with actual material consequences.


Who should own Swedish patents?

From NordForsk:

Many think that Swedens leading role in research and innovation is due partly to its patent legislation securing researchers employed at universities and university colleges the right to their own inventions. Now a possible abolition of this legislation might be the case according to a new government report. Naive, says patent-rich researcher.


The End of Gilbert

NY novelist, poet, essayist Gilbert Sorrentino – who once declared "Art cannot rescue anyone from anything.” – has died aged 77.


22 May 2006


ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show, an international art exhibition for robotic art and art-making robots


“MEART – The Semi Living Artist”

“MEART – The Semi Living Artist” is a geographically detached, bio-cybernetic research and development project exploring aspects of creativity and artistry in the age of new biological technologies.

It was developed and hosted by SymbioticA - The Art & Science Collaborative Research Lab, University of Western Australia.


From an historical context, artists have always been concerned with imitating life and with giving life/animating qualities to non-living entities. Technology has also joined forces with art forms to create more sophisticated types of artificial life systems and “intelligent” machines. The uniqueness of MEART is the attempt to create an intelligent artificial/biological artist that has in itself the capability or potential to be creative. We are focusing on creating the artist rather than the artwork. MEART proposes to embody the fusion of biology and the machine - creativity emerging from a semi-living entity.


The UK Face Transplant Information Website

This website is an up to date resource providing information about facial transplantation. It has been compiled by the UK facial transplant team and summarises progress so far in research which underpins the development of this new technique.

The aim is to outline the reasons that facial transplantation is being considered, to clarify any misconceptions about facial transplantation, and to outline what we see as the main challenges to be met before the first facial transplantation takes place.


21 May 2006

Victim Art

Artforum International       

Homi K. Bhabha


Victim art has created an ambivalence among art critics since it avoids the objectivity of the creative process by offering up the artist's own harsh experience as an artistic product. Thus, one literature professor has eliminated the writings of Sylvia Plath from his curriculum because of Plath's obsessive writings on her suicidal behavior. Performing artists who also seek recognition for their disability or illnesses seem to be merely indulging themselves instead of allowing art to transcend its creator.

Victim Art

17 May 2006


From Ron's lecture yesterday:

NationMaster is "a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD."

Satisfy my Soul

16 May 2006

The Perils of Soft Power


In recent years, a number of American thinkers, led by Joseph S. Nye Jr. of Harvard, have argued that the United States should rely more on what he calls its "soft power" — the contagious appeal of its ideas, its culture and its way of life — and so rely less on the "hard power" of its stealth bombers and aircraft carriers. There is one problem with this argument: soft power does not necessarily increase the world's love for America. It is still power, and it can still make enemies.


Scan this book!

by Kevin Kelly

In several dozen nondescript office buildings around the world, thousands of hourly workers bend over table-top scanners and haul dusty books into high-tech scanning booths. They are assembling the universal library page by page.

The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, past and present. All books, all documents, all conceptual works, in all languages. It is a familiar hope, in part because long ago we briefly built such a library. The great library at Alexandria, constructed around 300 B.C., was designed to hold all the scrolls circulating in the known world. At one time or another, the library held about half a million scrolls, estimated to have been between 30 and 70 percent of all books in existence then. But even before this great library was lost, the moment when all knowledge could be housed in a single building had passed. Since then, the constant expansion of information has overwhelmed our capacity to contain it. For 2,000 years, the universal library, together with other perennial longings like invisibility cloaks, antigravity shoes and paperless offices, has been a mythical dream that kept receding further into the infinite future.


Why the future doesn't need us.

Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species.

By Bill Joy

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.

Ray and I were both speakers at George Gilder's Telecosm conference, and I encountered him by chance in the bar of the hotel after both our sessions were over. I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness. While we were talking, Ray approached and a conversation began, the subject of which haunts me to this day.

I had missed Ray's talk and the subsequent panel that Ray and John had been on, and they now picked right up where they'd left off, with Ray saying that the rate of improvement of technology was going to accelerate and that we were going to become robots or fuse with robots or something like that, and John countering that this couldn't happen, because the robots couldn't be conscious.

While I had heard such talk before, I had always felt sentient robots were in the realm of science fiction. But now, from someone I respected, I was hearing a strong argument that they were a near-term possibility. I was taken aback, especially given Ray's proven ability to imagine and create the future. I already knew that new technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnology were giving us the power to remake the world, but a realistic and imminent scenario for intelligent robots surprised me.

Wired 8.04

14 May 2006

Sonic Outlaws

I ordered the "Sonic Outlaws" DVD today. Here is a review, of sorts:

No Copyright? Sonic Outlaws Director Craig Baldwin

by Deuce of Clubs

Sonic Outlaws is the product of self-described "film bum" Craig Baldwin, who for almost two decades has been scavenging snippets of film and video and transforming them into "film collage-essays," as he calls them (his first film, Wild Gunman, was completed in 1978). Baldwin's 1991 film Tribulation 99 (with a soundtrack featuring the music of Yma Sumac) attracted a lot of favorable attention. "It was a very successful film, if I do say so myself," says Baldwin. "It did really open up a lot of doors for me." One of those doors led him to a spot on a lecture panel with Negativland's Don Joyce, from whom Baldwin learned of the band's troubles with Island Records.

Baldwin immediately saw that his own work was open to the same kind of legal challenge as Negativland's—and that the whole issue would make a great film. "This was just a good story," he says. "Not only was it a good issue to do a documentary on, but there was a kind of narrative hook to the whole thing...it had this humor and irony built into the story. It was a real drama. It wasn't just a discourse, it wasn't an intellectual treatise. It had this kind of pathos to it. And I was always interested in making films about ideas."


09 May 2006

The Tattoo Copyright Controversy

“Tattooing as an artistic culture is highly derivative and once an image is out in the community it is fair game for reproduction. We take art from all cultures and all styles and transform them into skin art. It is impossible to make two absolutely identical tattoos, and even if the client asks for a copy they will get their artist’s version of it, based on subtle changes to fit their body and the artist’s competence.”

That’s an important point. Human beings are not two dimensional canvases. Our bodies are various shapes and sizes. Ink takes to skin differently. I figured that this argument would blow a hole through the whole idea of copyrighting tattoos. But to be sure, I contacted an expert in copyright law, Mark Radcliffe, partner in the law firm of Gray Cary, who specializes in intellectual property protection.
I first asked him the basic question: is an original tattoo design inked into the skin a copyrightable work? He said, “Yes, all ‘original’ works of authorship are copyrightable: the design was probably originally created as a drawing, so the actual tattoo is a ‘reproduction’ of the original work. It is covered by the general provision of the copyright law.” He then added that, in suing for infringement of copyright, the tattoo must be substantially similar, not exact. Thus, a custom tattoo on an 18-year old supermodel copied onto a 300-pound couch potato would be in violation of the original work’s copyright protection.

Full article.

What Would a Clone Say?

New York Times
27 November 2005

You know from the start that there's something creepy about Kathy H., the narrator of "Never Let Me Go," Kazuo Ishiguro's recent and widely acclaimed coming-of-age novel. Though Kathy's fond memories of adolescence are set at a tony English boarding school, with its cliques and pranks and furtive hookups, it's clear that she is no child of privilege. As we learn to our dismay, she and her peers are clones - members of a caste created and trained for no other purpose than to provide healthy organs for the sick and feeble.

Genetic duplicates are hardly new to literature and pop culture - think of Huxley's worker-drone Epsilons in "Brave New World" - but Ishiguro's protagonist is different. Despite the novel's fantastic premise and Kathy's gruesome lot, she is unmistakably a person - not a monster or a menace or a comic device but a young woman struggling to figure out who she is and what she wants. "Never Let Me Go" is something of a cultural landmark: a subtle, sympathetic portrait of the inner life of a clone.

Full article.

Embryo with two mothers approved

UK scientists have won permission to create a human embryo that will have genetic material from two mothers.

The Newcastle University team will transfer genetic material created when an egg and sperm fuse into another woman's egg.

The groundbreaking work aims to prevent mothers from passing certain genetic diseases on to their unborn babies.

Full article.

Own Original Chinese Copies of Real Western Art!

New York Times
Published: July 15, 2005

SHENZHEN, China - Zhang Libing has painted more van Goghs than van Gogh ever did.
At 26, Mr. Zhang estimates that he has painted up to 20,000 copies of van Gogh's works in a paint-spattered third-floor garret here where freshly washed socks and freshly painted canvases dry side-by-side on the balcony.
A block away, Ye Xiaodong, 25, is completing 200 paintings of a landscape of pink and white flowers in another third-floor garret. And down the street, Huang Yihong, also 25, stands in an art-packed store and paints a waterfall tumbling gracefully into a pool, mixing the paints on an oval palette.

Full article

On architectural plagiarism

Hi, Gorgeous. Haven't I Seen You Somewhere?
New York Times, August 28, 2005

WHEN a federal judge ruled this month that a lawsuit brought by Thomas Shine, formerly a student at the Yale School of Architecture, against David M. Childs, a partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, could proceed, the architecture world was caught off guard.

It wasn't the accusation - that Mr. Childs appropriated one of Mr. Shine's student projects in a 2003 design for the Freedom Tower at ground zero - that seemed puzzling. The surprise was that Skidmore's motion for dismissal had been unsuccessful. For once, an accusation of architectural plagiarism had taken on a life beyond cocktail party chatter and snippy blogs.

Hi, Gorgeous

On The Commons.Org

Will we have a culture that's authentic, participatory and diverse — or a commercial monoculture based on concentrated media companies selling proprietary product? Much hinges upon the rules for market competition, copyrights and trademarks, Internet and software design, and the electro-magnetic spectrum. Much will also depend upon strengthening libraries, academia, indigenous peoples, Internet communities and other guardians of the cultural commons.

On the Commons

Let the Owner Beware

New York Times
Published: May 7, 1995
SLIDE MOUNTAIN Or the Folly of Owning Nature. By Theodore Steinberg. 212 pp. Berkeley: University of California Press.

AS anyone living along the coast of the Pacific Rim can attest, the earth moves, sometimes rather dramatically. And as the great Mississippi River flood of two years ago showed, rivers can rise up out of their beds and jump all over the place, defying the best orthodontic designs of the Army Corps of Engineers. But even the most impulsive acts of nature have not kept us from forever trying to corral a slice of unruly land, branding it as our own and demanding that it behave itself.

The sometimes comic attempts to own the air above us, the water beneath us and the land in between are the subject of Theodore Steinberg's fascinating new study, "Slide Mountain."

SLIDE MOUNTAIN Or the Folly of Owning Nature

Copyrighting Corpses

Posted by David Bollier 16 August 2005

When I was researching my book of stories about copyright and trademark absurdities, I kept turning up stories that I thought could never be topped: the tattoo artist who secured a registered service mark on a full-body tattoo of angel wings (the ® is between the feathers on the person's right buttock)”.the biologists who created electronic music based on sequences of DNA molecules from slime molds and sea urchins (Who are the “authors” of these “original” tunes, the scientists or the slime molds?)”.the yoga entrepreneur Bikram Choudhury, who claimed a copyright in the “original” sequence of yoga positions used by his national franchise of yoga studios. (The case was settled in May 2005.) How could these stories be topped?

I am astonished to report that the assertion of intellectual property rights has reached a pathological new extreme. There is now a lawsuit claiming ownership in the poses of dead bodies.

Copyrighting Corpses

Beyond Human

New York Times
23 October 2005

Many of the fans milling into this year's postseason baseball games have been wearing authentic major league uniforms, with GUERRERO, say, or OSWALT, stitched on the back. True, society has traditionally encouraged kids to fantasize about what they'll be as adults. But most of the people I've seen in $200 regulation shirts are adults. What they're fantasizing about is an alternative adult identity for themselves.

Why do they do this? The literary critic Paul Fussell once speculated that wearers of "legible clothing" like T-shirts were merely losers trying to associate themselves with a success, whether it be a product (Valvoline) or an institution (The New York Review of Books). A conservative view held that dressing like a child meant shirking the responsibilities of adulthood. It was a subset of dressing like a slob. But these explanations do not cover the ballpark people or (to take a similar phenomenon) those weekend bicyclists in their expensive pretend-racer costumes, with European team logos and company trademarks. The message in their clothing is aimed not at others but at themselves. It is a do-it-yourself virtual reality.

Beyond Human

07 May 2006

The teenage plagiarist

Steve Bloomfield and Andrew Gumbel piece together the extraordinary tale of the Scottish-raised Harvard student who got her fingers burnt. (And it's all their own work)

Published: 07 May 2006

The teenage plagiarist

04 May 2006

MacRonald in the Rubble

Computer Analysis Suggests Paintings Are Not Pollocks

New York Times
9 February 2006

A physicist who is broadly experienced in using computers to identify consistent patterns in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock has determined that half a dozen small paintings recently discovered and claimed by their owner to be original Pollocks do not exhibit the same patterns.


Reaction here: 



Originality, copy, innovation, authorship, design theory, creativity, auto-poiesis, accountability, authority, ownership, oeuvre, intention, emergence, generative & evolutionary design, interdisciplinarity, art, metaphor, biotechnology, nanotechnology, fake memoirs, art forgery, film "mockumentaries", masquerades, ventriloquism, counterfeits, internet hoaxes, urban legends, branding, logos, rip-off goods, frauds, scams, swindles, cons, digital imaging, virtual reality, confidence tricksters, detection and authentication, plagiarism, copyright, disguise, deception, retro repro, conspiracy theories, forged evidence, misinformation, faked archaeological & scientific discoveries, and more.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals

This precisely is the long story of how responsibility originated. The task of breeding an animal with the right to make promises evidently embraces and presupposes as a preparatory task that one first makes men to a certain degree necessary, uniform, like among like, regular, and consequently calculable.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, Second Essay

Concerning the use of case studies on the course

Accepting 'intelligent design' in science classrooms would have disastrous consequences, warn Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne:

One of us spent years as an Oxford tutor and it was his habit to choose controversial topics for the students' weekly essays. They were required to go to the library, read about both sides of an argument, give a fair account of both, and then come to a balanced judgment in their essay. The call for balance, by the way, was always tempered by the maxim, "When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong."

Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne

Erik Bunger writes...

An article about plunderphonics

A radio essay

(We originally invited Erik to undertake a workshop for The End of Me, but unfortunately the course budget this semester does not permit this).

Fabricating a new identity

The buying and selling of "good" stories, stories to win asylum, has become common practice in refugee circles, among people terrified that their own real story is not powerful enough. How easy then, how natural, to shape the past in such a way that it provides more hope for a better future. (...) In recent years, as numbers of people arriving in the West and claiming asylum began to grow steeply, and pressure mounted on immigration officers to turn away as many applicants as they reasonably could, so the idea of what is truth and what is a lie has acquired a very particular potency in refugee matters...

Full article.

S Korea cloning research was fake

Research by South Korea's top human cloning scientist - hailed as a breakthrough earlier this year - was fabricated, colleagues have concluded.

A Seoul National University panel said the research by world-renowned Hwang Woo-suk was "intentionally fabricated", and he would be disciplined.

Dr Hwang said he would resign, but he did not admit his research was faked.

Full article.

The world's first face transplant

The woman who underwent the world's first face transplant spoke in public for the first time today at a press conference in France.

"I now have a face like everyone else," said Isabelle Dinoire. "A door to the future is opening."

Full article.

Remote-controlled humans enhance immersive games

Remote controlled humans might sound a bizarre and nightmarish prospect, but Japanese researchers hope to harness the trick for computer gaming.

By remotely stimulating a person's vestibular system - the fluid-filled tubes in the inner ear that guide their sense of balance - with electrodes placed on the skin just below the ear, researchers at NTT's research laboratories in Kanagawa have found a way to turn humans into oversized radio controlled vehicles.

Full article.

Face/Off (1997)

Face/Off (1997) “In order to catch him, he must become him.”

Plot Outline: A revolutionary medical technique allows an undercover agent to take the physical appearance of a major criminal and infiltrate his organization...

IMDB entry.

Artlaw Archive

Archive of over 200 articles written by art lawyer Henry Lydiate:



Tim Adams looks at the long and honourable tradition of ghostwriting...

As in the film industry, writers these days take what credit they can; the billing goes to the star. If you were asked to name four of the hottest authors around your list should by rights include Rebecca Farnworth (who puts words into the mouth of Jordan, including two forthcoming novels), Tom Watt (David Beckham), Penelope Dening (Sharon Osbourne, Posh Spice) and Andrew Crofts (who has cornered the market in 'misery memoirs' with four number one bestsellers in two years). Ghostwriting is no longer the sector of publishing that dare not speak its name; it looks a lot like the future of the book trade.

Full article.


By Slavoj Zizek, 15 September 2001

The ultimate American paranoiac fantasy is that of an individual living in a small idyllic Californian city, a consumerist paradise, who suddenly starts to suspect that the world he lives in is a fake, a spectacle staged to convince him that he lives in a real world, while all people around him are effectively actors and extras in a gigantic show...

Full article.

On image rights, copyright, appropriation art, moral rights etc.

Harvard Law School has a useful collection of articles on image rights, copyright, appropriation art, moral rights etc. here: