One of the few things more interesting than Anonymous, are the internal sub-groups that have begun to develop.  Libcom is currently running a story about the Anonymous Anarchist Action hacktivist group.  This group seeks to specialize in capitalist targets and (in true anarchist fashion) constructing a horizontally organized coalition of people with a wide variety of expertise (not just programming or web science).

by Space Invaders

Last week, fellow editor Nathan Jurgenson made a post entitled “Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality” with a call for more concept work surrounding this topic.  I hope to make a contribution to that effort by discussion three competing theoretical paradigms of Internet research.  These three distinct perspectives perceive the Internet as either virtual reality, mediated reality, or augmented reality.  I argue (in the spirit of Saussure) that these three perspectives are only fully comprehensible defined in relation to one another.

Let’s start with the definition of “augmented reality” found in Wikipedia, society’s great font of prosumptive wisdom:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or a [sic… I fixed it] indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real-world with a simulated one.

This is an unsatisfying definition.  While it does contrast augment reality and mediated reality to virtual reality (mediated and augmented reality describe relationships between the online and offline worlds, while virtual reality describes their separation), it (self-admittedly) fails to distinguish between mediated and augmented reality.  As presented in this definition, mediated and augmented reality are basically synonyms.

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The integration of biological and technological systems in the design of an interactive human interface is explored through an installation where plants rigged up with sensors provide a kinesthetic user experience based on movement, touch, sound and light. Human interaction with the system affects an algorithmic projection and soundscape.
More images after the jump. more...

Visualizing the immaterial landscape of Wi-Fi networks reveals a layer of our augmented reality.

This post was originally published March 2, 2011 by Racism Review and is reproduced with permission. This work is part or an ongoing series by Jessie Daniels on race and social media.

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(CC photo credit: ERNESTO LAGO)

I’ve been doing a series about what academic research on race and racism on the Internet.    The series continues today with a look at what researchers are finding about one the most talked about aspects of the popular Internet: Social Networking Sites.

Social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook and MySpace, are phenomenally popular and important to the field of Internet studies, (Boyd and Ellison, “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship,” JCMC, 2007, Vol.13(1):210-230).    According to a recent report, the top SNS is currently Facebook, with over 65 million unique visitors per month.  Facebook has displaced the former leader in the field, MySpace, which still currently gets about 58 million unique visitors per month.  These are staggeringly high numbers of people participating in these sites.    But what does this phenomenon have to do with race and racism? more...

Protesters charge their mobile phones in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

In my previous post on “Digital Dualism Versus Augmented Reality,” I lay out two competing views for conceptualizing digital and material realities. Some view the physical and digital as (1) separate, akin to the film The Matrix, or (2) as an augmented reality where atoms and bits are increasingly imploding into each other.

I prefer the latter, and want to apply this augmented paradigm to the revolutions occurring in the Arab world that have been taking place this winter as well as the subsequent debate over the causes. I, like many others, am equally frustrated by those who give either all or none of the credit for these uprisings to social media tools and argue instead that what is occuring is an augmented revolution.

On one side there are those that promoted the phrase “Twitter revolution” during more...

Cool tool that uses Google’s Street View to allow users to tag street art from around the globe. Check it out.

Expect more on street art and social media right here on Cyborgology in the near future.

New Millimeter-scale computer. Photo Credit: Greg Chen
New Millimeter-scale computer. Photo Credit: Greg Chen

I have terrible eyesight. Correctable medium myopia, with a heavy dose of astigmatism, keeps glasses on my head for 90% of my waking hours. (The remaining 10% is split between showers and punctuating dramatic one-liners.) My first eye doctor made a point to remind me of, upon each visit,how hard it is to repair a damaged eye. Thus, fueled by a fear of losing my eyesight, I always get excited about new technology for the eyeballs.

Researchers at The University of Michigan have successfully developed one of the first millimeter-scale computer systems. They aim to use the technology to monitor eye pressure in glaucoma patients, by inserting this tiny computer near the eye. Their overall goal for the technology however, has much broader implications. Dr. David Blaauw explains:

“The next big challenge is to achieve millimeter-scale systems, which have a host of new applications for monitoring our bodies, our environment and our buildings. Because they’re so small, you could manufacture hundreds of thousands on one wafer. There could be 10s to 100s of them per person and it’s this per capita increase that fuels the semiconductor industry’s growth.”

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FlowingData posted this great infographic that shows how prostituion in Manhattan is increasingly dispersed. The Internet allows sex work to be less anchored by physicality when much of the process happens online. More analysis here.

This post originally appeared on one of our favorite blogs, OWNI, 18 February, 2011.

“Internet Freedom? There’s no app for that!” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech on Tuesday concerning Internet freedom resembled an online activism campaign from Steve Jobs. A year after laying the foundation for the “21st Century Statecraft” (the catch phrase invented by spin doctors to define diplomacy connections), Clinton was once again promoting Internet freedom, though this time she chose her words more carefully.

At the beginning of 2010, her speech coincided with the incident between Google and China. This time, Clinton waited patiently for positive results from the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions before launching into her diatribe. With a storytelling air, she started her speech by referring to the temporary Internet black-out initiated by Moubarak:

A few minutes after midnight on January 28, the Internet went dark across Egypt.

She did not waste much time before mentioning Neda, more...