Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel and the fabric of social life

Today marks the passing of one of the truly great chroniclers of human life, and champion of those who make history but who never figure in the history books. Studs Terkel was the son of a tailor and a seamstress who went on to weave masterpieces from the thread of social life. A sensitive interviewer with an unmistakable point of view, Terkel brought the lives, struggles, aspirations and values of ordinary people to life in a rare way.

"... when the Armada sank, you read that King Philip wept. Were there no other tears? ...[T]hat's what I believe oral history is about. It's about those who shed those other tears, who on rare occasions of triumph laugh that other laugh."

While he was so much more than an inspirational author of works based on exemplary conduct of oral history interviewing and a truly enviable capacity to craft narratives from the sense he made of interview data, he was certainly that.

Associated Press writer, Caryn Rousseau, provides a nice obituary here. For more at a click, there is the official Studs Terkel website And for some of the good oil, Working is where I first met him.

He lived 96 of the most active years aperson could reasonably wish to live.

Vale Studs Terkel.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Strategising possible futures: The "superstruct" game

On 6 October the Institute for the Future - a Palo Alto-based nonprofit research group specializing in social forecasting - launched what they describe as the world’s first massively multiplayer social forecasting game. Superstruct will run for 6 weeks, during which time players will suggest responses to problems social forecasters think could be major concerns in the world of 2019.

From the site’s FAQ list we learn that

"By playing the game, you'll help us chronicle the world of 2019--and imagine how we might solve the problems we'll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It's about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential."
Superstruct is played on forums, blogs, videos, wikis, and other familiar online spaces. We show you the world as it might look in 2019. You show us what it's like to live there. Bring what you know and who you know, and we'll all figure out how to make 2019 a world we want to live in."

It will be interesting to see how this exercise in leveraging potential wisdom will play out. The game rules are clear and players can expect to see the fruits of their collective labours rendered in concrete form in the not too distant future.

"Anything you submit to us or create on may be quoted in whole or in part in forecasts or future reports by The Institute for the Future. Anything we quote will be attributed to your public Superstruct member name."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cool-looking photoshop tutorial

I haven't had a chance to muck around with this tutorial yet, but it looks like a really useful step-by-step guide to not just creating a really nice apple, but a good basic introduction to layering in photoshopping (via BoingBoing).

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