Got some more links to burn through today, and even more after this. And I still owe Z. a reply on why the “games as art” question is worth asking at all. And I’ve got half-finished posts lying around about video game genres and Nintendo’s “urban” clothing. I’ll address these in more, all in good time. For now, lots of links in no particular order.
Understanding Webcomics: Anne Thalheimer, a webcomics blogger, muses over what a “webcomic” really is, given that plenty of comics artists whose stuff exists online don’t consider themselves webcomics artists. (Link via Journalista.) As we’ve discussed here recently, there aren’t as many formal differences between web and print comics as some predicted, which makes this, as far as I can tell, a purely academic question. Seeing as how Wittgenstein couldn’t find a single, unifying definition for ‘game,’ I suspect that the webcomics community may not have much more luck in achieving its analogous goal. Still, these kinds of debates have a lot of practical use within the community of artists and enthusiasts, as discussing formal issues inspires innovation and potentially also outreach to broader audiences. (I wrote a paper about how this happened especially during the 1990s with regard to print comics and Scott McCloud’s definition of comics which I may finally get around to sending to a conference this week.)
The Other Nerdcore: Kotaku brings the Nerdcore Calendar to my attention. I assumed that this was nerdcore as in “hip-hop,” but no, it’s more like nerdcore as in “softcore,” and softcore as in “porn.” Last year’s calendar had a retro gaming theme, and this year’s has a superhero comics theme. Both feature trivia on selected dates, sort of saying, “what happened on this day in geekdom.” You can check out the calendar’s page at TotallyNerdcore.com, titled with “Welcome geeks, nerds, and dorks of all kinds!”—but be warned that it’s not safe for work.
Television Genre Hodgepodge: G4 is technically a cable channel about gaming, but it will be airing syndicated episodes of Lost. The rights will be shared with the SciFi Channel, a genre which Lost (probably?) belongs to. G4′s version, “Lost 2.0,” will have an online version and little “factoids,” which apparently attracted a younger audience when they did the same thing to Star Trek and Cops.
Tearing Down Science: Robert Lee Hotz reports for the Wall Street Journal on medical scholar John Ioannidis’s claim that most published research findings are wrong. According to the Dr. Ioannidis, “A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true.” I really need to follow up on this to read the original article, as it seems pretty relevant to me for two reasons: one, from here it looks like his claims are general enough that some may look to apply them to social science research, including media effects research; and two, among many nerds, faith in science resembles something like a religious fundamentalist’s faith in scripture (a claim that is meant without offense but which members of both groups may get huffy about).
Blogging for Academics: My fellow Annenberger Deb points me to a post on blogging for academics. It all seems pretty obvious from my perspective, but sometimes I forget that not everyone quite understands how internet searches work, and not everyone quite understands how academic job hunting works. Long story short: Only use your full name for stuff that you don’t mind associated with your professional identity, and note well that many or most “First Person” columns at the Chronicle of Higher Education are pseudonymous for a reason. Oh, and as blogging software goes, I personally prefer WordPress to Blogger because I find it useful to categorize posts for ease of browsing and searching later, but Blogger is indeed simpler.
Hippies and UFOs: Andy Roberts describes hippie culture’s fascination with UFO imagery. (Link via Boing Boing.) I’m not sure how I want to elaborate on this, but it seemed worth mentioning here for two reasons: one, geek culture has been directly compared to hippie culture, so the shared sci-fi preoccupation is interesting; and two, because I was just chatting with someone the other day about how UFO abductions seem to have become passé since X-Files jumped the shark.