Archive for the ‘audio’ Category
Tags: exams, slapsista, youtube
Richard Hill on Radio National’s Big Ideas, talking about Whacademia:
We are forever talking about the importance of education, but what type of education are our universities providing? According to Richard Hill, the contemporary Australian university is under-funded and characterised by overburdened academics, falling standards, and never ending reviews and audits. It’s a world he describes as Whacademia and he speaks with Paul Barclay about it.
Tags: send more paramedics
The university, where whatever it is, we cannot officially say it. Where we find
about half the current academic workforce planning to abandon universities in the next five years and many of our “best and brightest” younger academics giving up on wanting to work in universities altogether.
Where nearly all ‘output’, eventually, is eaten alive yes? Where we count so much that even cool heads approximate occasionally to the steady state algor mortis we recognise at Zombivory Towers. Where there are vandals at the gate:
We’re moving toward control societies that no longer operate by confining people but through continuous control and instant communication. Burroughs was the first to address this. People are of course constantly talking about prisons, schools, hospitals: the institutions are breaking down. But they’re breaking down because they’re fighting a losing battle. New kinds of punishment, education, health care are being stealthily introduced. Open hospitals and teams providing home care have been around for some time. One can envisage education becoming less and less a closed site differentiated from the workspace as another closed site, but both disappearing and giving way to frightful continual training, to continual monitoring of worker-schoolkids or bureaucrat-students. They try to present this as a reform of the school system, but it’s really its dismantling. In a control-based system nothing’s left alone for long.
You’re going to need one of these.
Mark Fisher (aka k-punk) talking about nubureaucracy and capitalist realism, particularly as regards the university, just over a year ago:
Tags: slightlysmiths fantasy rosterteeth
Great pseudo/pop science YouTube series from RosterTeeth Productions, the group responsible for the machinima series Red versus Blue, ‘testing’ the basis for familiarity with weapons in Zombie apocalypse shooter games like my favourite Left4Dead (L4D). I like the way the production integrates iconography and thematics from the L4D game series in the video. Check it out.
Also, the third person this week to recommend the band The National (all for different reasons) finally convinced me to go take listen to Conversation 16, highlighting the track as “slightly-smiths-esque indy sad song, which for no apparent reason turns into a Zombie fantasy…”
Dr. Steven Schlozman, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School, gave a fascinating account of the neurobiology of the Romero zombie as part of his introduction to the classic Night of the Living Dead, shown as part of the ‘Science on the Screen’ at the Coolidge Corner Theater in the US last year.
Go watch this movie or download the podcast for a great introduction to neurobiology, and a clear scientific explanation for what might be going on with the Romero zombie. The distinction between the Romero zombie and the Rage zombie is made clear in Dr Schlozman’s talk, with attention to the different parts of the brain that would distinguish between the two versions of the zombie.
I really enjoyed this public lecture, especially at about 30 minutes in when Dr Schlozman suggests why it is that we find zombie films (and games) entertaining as he talks about Mirror Neuron theory and the ‘wiring’ of the human brain to form strong emotional responses to other’s displays of emotions – a wiring of connectivity. He suggests that we enjoy zombie movies because they give us permission to look at things that appear human, but are easily understood as being categorically non-human, and then blow their heads off. This ultimately starts to feel uncomfortable – for the protagonist and the audience – and we are forced to consider how eager or willing we are to forsake our own humanity in giving up attempting to make that empathic connection with the zombie. He draws attention to that critical question of zombie narratives, like the Walking Dead: at what point do we throw in the towel, when is it not enough simply to survive?
Another great observation Dr Schlozman’s makes is in response to the question about the recent exponential growth of the popularity of zombies. He suggest that because we live in ‘scary times’ the popularity has to do with what animates the dead being that which scares us the most at the time: in the 1960s it was radiation, in the 1970s/1980s it was biowarfare and the plague, in the 1990 and 2000s it’s is contagion and viral outbreak.
The best defense against these fears is humour, the zombie movie lets us see this fear written large on the screen and typically to find humour in the situation. Humour is the best defence against the loss or disconnection of empathy represented by the zombie. In the movie Pontypool, language become the vector for the zombie outbreak, and the survivors attempt to switch language, avoid contractions and words that have lost their meaning through overuse, but perhaps humour might have worked just as well as a defense against the zombiefication and destruction of empathy.