Avatar: from the Sanskrit avatāra ‘descent’, from ava ‘down’ + tar- ‘to cross’. A manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher. An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea.
Whilst most of us would hesitate to describe our virtual representation as a deity manifest, few would have any problem with considering our pixel form as an incarnation, embodiment or manifestation of ourselves, or of the more esoteric, nebulous constructs that define who we are. Indeed, a great many of us consider our avatars to be more representative of who and what we are than we would ever dare show, if indeed we could, in our real lives.
There’s little doubt that SL has the capability to release aspects of our character and make up that are heavily suppressed or hidden in our day to day lives,
It’s been said the avatar is a mask; but for me, it isn’t. A mask hides what lies behind – SL reveals it. A mask is expressionless, but SL give us the freedom to express ourselves; there are various explanations for this – many of which I’ve explored before in the pages of this blog. Whether it’s the anonymity that allows us to be our true selves, the freedom we’re given in virtual form, the wide variety of concepts, ideas and cultures, contained within such a small world, or the distance that SL allows us to put between the actions of our virtual selves and reality that gives us the scope to be other than what we appear to be, is largely immaterial. What matters to the majority of us is the simple fact that we can, and do, perceive our virtual selves to be more able, more honest and more open than perhaps we can ever be in the real world.
I’ve heard it frequently stated that the way we present ourselves inworld is, in essence, a mask – that what those around us see is how we choose to be seen. A mask, of course can be perceived in more ways than those which we may think we are presenting to others. It can create anonymity; a mask can hide the truth; we can disguise or change how others see us; a mask can be employed both for good and for less savoury purposes. We can employ masks to mystify, intensify, challenge, invoke fear, provoke laughter and hide our feelings entirely. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can certainly employ our avatars in any one of these diverse fashions, however I feel that to do so misses an extremely important and significant point: Certainly, our avatar can be employed as a mask, however our avatar can equally, and perhaps in even greater measure, be the mechanism by which we unmask ourselves.
I’ve already mentioned in this post how SL permits us to ‘be ourselves’, and over the years I’ve spoken to many, many people who would aver this is true for them, whether in terms of their inworld pursuits, confidence-building or allowing them to be accepted as they are, without the prejudices, brick walls and difficulties that they face daily in real life. Surely this is quite the opposite to putting on a mask, hiding who we are and retreating behind the safety that such a construct provides?
I firmly believe that a great number of SL adherents spend a huge amount of time in the real world wearing a mask of some description. It may not be a tangible, physical mask; even so it can be as effective as any facial covering – obfuscating, obscuring and protecting the truth that hides away behind it. Yet, when these very same people log in to SL, their first action is to take off that mask, hang it on its inworld virtual peg and face the Grid, unmasked and in complete honesty, proclaiming both to themselves and to all those they come across: “This is me.. The real me!”
It’s powerful stuff. We’re in control. We do what we choose. We are who we are.
I use the Firestorm viewer for Second Life and it is very good. I have been using it for over a year and just upgraded to the latest release. Yesterday had what I thought was a disaster. I couldn’t see mesh the 3D modelling of objects. There were just gaps where clothes would be. I thought my graphics card had broken, and it had. I had just updated the drivers. However I didn’t know this and I asked friends what to do. They took me through various settings nothing worked. Then it was suggested I ask the FS Support group in chat. I joined the group and typed my problem into chat. Almost immediately the answer came that I had to roll back my drivers to an earlier release. It was the new AMD drivers that were doing it. So I did a system restore. Everything went back to 4th December. And everything worked.
So my Firestorm does not support certain builds of AMD drivers. I went back to release 13, 14 seems to have problems in its various forms. Finding this out took a matter of seconds. What a great resource to have that Chat. Excellent stuff. I watched it yesterday and picked up some tips. It seems no problem is too small to help, from fiddling with a graphics setting to a complete install. Well done Firestorm. They also have a wiki and JIRA and forums. http://firestormviewer.org
Need a cure for romantic love? Then turn to the Ancient Greeks, who identified six different kinds of love. Writer and cultural thinker Roman Krznaric talks about their radical and inspiring approach to love, drawing on his book THE WONDERBOX: Curious Histories of How to Live (Profile Books).
He describes how the Ancient Greeks were far more sophisticated in the art of loving than we are today. Their different words for love included ‘eros‘ (sexual passion), ‘philia‘ (deep friendship), ‘ludus‘ (playful love), ‘pragma‘ (mature love), ‘agape‘ (selfless love) and ‘philautia‘ (self-love).
N.B. It is a statue of Anteros in Piccadilly Circus NOT Eros.
In Greek mythology, Anteros (Ancient Greek: Ἀντέρως, Antérōs) was the god of requited love, literally “love returned” or “counter-love” and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love.
Anteros was the son of Ares and Aphrodite in Greek mythology, given to his brother Eros, who was lonely, as a playmate, the rationale being that love must be answered if it is to prosper. Alternatively, he was said to have arisen from the mutual love between Poseidon and Nerites. Physically, he is depicted as similar to Eros in every way, but with long hair and plumed butterfly wings. He has been described also as armed with either a golden club or arrows of lead.
Recorded live at All Ears Storythyme, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London, November 22, 2011. www.allearsevents.co.uk
SOUNDS GOOD TO ME< HEY LADIES WANT SOME LUDUS TODAY?
The Libor scandal is a series of fraudulent actions connected to the Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) and also the resulting investigation and reaction. The Libor is an average interest rate calculated through submissions of interest rates by major banks in London. The scandal arose when it was discovered that banks were falsely inflating or deflating their rates so as to profit from trades, or to give the impression that they were more creditworthy than they were. Libor underpins approximately $350 trillion in derivatives. It is controlled by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).
The banks are supposed to submit the actual interest rates they are paying, or would expect to pay, for borrowing from other banks. The Libor is supposed to be the total assessment of the health of the financial system because if the banks being polled feel confident about the state of things, they report a low number and if the member banks feel a low degree of confidence in the financial system, they report a higher interest rate number. In June 2012, multiple criminal settlements by Barclays Bank revealed significant fraud and collusion by member banks connected to the rate submissions, leading to the scandal.
Because Libor is used in U.S. derivatives markets, an attempt to manipulate Libor is an attempt to manipulate U.S. derivatives markets, and thus a violation of American law. Since mortgages, student loans, financial derivatives, and other financial products often rely on Libor as a reference rate, the manipulation of submissions used to calculate those rates can have significant negative effects on consumers and financial markets worldwide.
On 27 July 2012, the Financial Times published an article by a former trader which stated that Libor manipulation had been common since at least 1991. Further reports on this have since come from the BBC and Reuters. On 28 November 2012, the Finance Committee of the Bundestag held a hearing to learn more about this.
George Osbourne at JP Morgan offices.
AND its JP Morgan who suffers or do they? :>
America’s scandal-racked JP Morgan Chase smashed Wall Street’s forecasts yesterday with the help of a revival in so-called simple banking.
The bank, the world’s biggest by assets, has been reeling in the wake of a trading scandal in which Bruno Iksil, nicknamed the London Whale, lost $5.8bn (£3.6bn) through derivatives trades.
Yesterday, however, a boom in simple mortgage lending helped the bank to roar back and post a $1.4bn rise in third-quarter post-tax profits, which came in at $5.7bn.
The bank’s earnings per share of $1.40 were well ahead of analysts’ forecasts of $1.21, and the 34 per cent rise in profits came in a traditionally quiet quarter for earnings.
Simple banking simple mortgage lending, seems to me “simple” equals the ordinary person. AND:>
The Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group could receive a major discount to possible UK libor-rigging fines given each lender is substantially owned by the British taxpayer, legal experts have told the IBTimes UK.
RBS, which is 83 percent owned by the government, is said to be within days of agreeing a settlement with US and UK authorities that could mean around £500m ($785m/€577m) in fines. Lloyds, which is 41 percent owned by the taxpayer, is one of a number of banks being investigated by US and UK authorities for its role in the scandal but has yet to reach a settlement.
JP Morgan is the biggest bank in the world with assets of $2 trillion. Who owns it? Mainly the private investment group The Vanguard Group. Which means Not Us. Its in Private hands. No doubt the top 1% in America. Do they pay fines? Do they suffer losses? No. Do we? Yes. Its not right AND its not fair. The Poor get Poorer The Rich get Richer Everybody Knows. No one is doing anything about it.
So you’ve finally decided that you need to get into this strange, unfamiliar world of Social Media everyone’s talking about. I haven’t got a bloody choice, you grumble. My boss met the MD of our closest competitor the other day, and he was going on and on and on about Facebook. My boss was caught red-faced when he asked who the author of “the Face book” was.
It feels a little like that time when Spice Girls ruled the world and you were forced into listening to their shrieks about girl power everywhere you went, doesn’t it? Not to make you feel any more vintage than you already feel, but the Spice Girls domination was about 10 years ago.
You find yourself inviting your agency to ask for a presentation on Social Media and a proposal on how your brand can be marketed in this medium. Considering your minimal knowledge of this medium, how do you know if your agency is bullshitting you or not? Well let me, the web designer/advertising suit/ blogger/ digital strategist, tell you how.
1 | The habitual Googler
If you find yourself being shown 50 slides of social media statistics and 3 slides on execution ideas, you know that your agency knows as much as you do – that the medium is important, but they don’t know what the hell to do in that medium.
2 | The social media channel becomes the solution
A common recommendation goes something like this, “We will set a blog up, a Twitter account, and a Facebook fan page!” They don’t identify the problem you have in this medium, they don’t prescribe the solution as a result of not knowing the problem to begin with, but strangely enough, they have array of social media channels to recommend to you. Ask them this question – what do I do on my blog, Twitter account and Facebook fan page?
And no darling, like how your customers do not rush home to watch your TV commercials airing at 7pm, your customers online will not visit your blog to listen to you talk about you.
3 | Using plural with social media channels
Run the moment your agency says “Twitters”.
4 | Using buzz words
Run EVEN FASTER the moment your agency says “New Media”. I agree with what consultant Marc Shelkin says about this term – it is used by agencies who haven’t realized that it isn’t new any more and don’t know what to call projects that aren’t print.
Social media marketing isn’t as complicated as empirical formula unlike what Ivory Tower wannabies want you to think.
Source: Preparatory Chemistry
5 | Spewing social media theories
If your agency’s leading man is too busy penning articles about social media and his theories on trade publications and dissing competitors off with words and not actual works, you should evaluate why you’ve engaged this agency in the first place. The problem with the social media theories penned by Ivory Tower wannabies is that in this unique medium, application is crucial for success. Try sending your boss a 3,000-word article from your agency as proof of a successful social media campaign. Let me know if he/ she buys that bullshit.
6 | Quoting the big boys
A common habit of agencies is to quote the likes of Jeremy Owyang, Brian Solis and Peter Kim one slide before the slide where they tell you “We will set a blog up, a Twitter account, and a Facebook fan page!”. Again, ask them this question – what do I do on my blog, Twitter account and Facebook fan page? Special thanks to my partner-in-crime Tania, for this point.
7 | They hire a blogger, and not a communicator, to be your digital strategist
Your 55-year-old Aunt Amy has a blog talking about her two dogs, Snoopy and Miffy. Will you hand her a 100 grand to market your brand online?
Anyone has anymore to add?
The views expressed on this blog are my personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or its clients
Half of all food ‘thrown away’ claims report (BBC)
The report said half the food bought in Europe and the US ended up in the bin
The graphic below was made be me ( for my http://irishsecure.com so it fits in my web tab on my sl profile )from Poverty.com showing how 25,000 people mainly kids die every single day because they do not have enough to eat. (mine)
As much as half of the world’s food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up being thrown away, a UK-based report has claimed.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said the waste was being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness.
The study also found that up to 30% of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance.
The institution’s Dr Tim Fox said the level of waste was “staggering”.
‘Waste of resources’
The report found that between 30% and 50% of the four billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year went to waste.
It suggested that half the food bought in Europe and the US was thrown away.
Dr Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today.
“It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.
“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers.”
The report – Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not – also found that huge amounts of water, totalling 550 billion cubic metres, were being used to grow crops that were never eaten.
The institution said the demand for water for food production could reach 10 to 13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050.
The United Nations predicts there will be an extra three billion mouths to feed by 2075 as the global population swells to 9.5 billion.
Dr Fox said: “As water, land and energy resources come under increasing pressure from competing human demands, engineers have a crucial role to play in preventing food loss and waste by developing more efficient ways of growing, transporting and storing foods.
“But in order for this to happen governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.”
The Huffington Post is a newspaper I subscribe to and comment on. This weekend was a TEDWeekend where various authors (4) were asked to comment on the following video but there are two remarkable coincidences. Firstly I put up the same video on DudeStarship dot com 5 days previously. Secondly two days before, I quoted the same video in starting a TED conversation. Thirdly, despite not being able to count, I put up a new blog dealing with serendipity the day before including an image taken from the video. I was notified of the TEDWeekend yesterday. You would think that I would be pleased at how in step with events I am . Watch and read:
The first commentator I read concluded:
Much work remains on the research I discuss here; through future waves of the online study, a rich, academically sound understanding of how social media and mobile technology consumers use the technology, how they interact with their network, and how they make purchase decisions based on social media input will be developed. At the end of this project, I will defend my dissertation to earn my Ph.D. in marketing. But beyond that, the goal is to provide a rich contribution on how social media and mobile technology usage by “Connected Consumers” is associated with psychological and technology factors.
“Much work remains…” .So many of us are already living what needs to be researched, according to his view, before we should embrace it ,what utter drivel A study, a two year dissertation for a Ph.D ,will be hopelessly out of date by the time it is published. Marketing? OMG what a waste of time. He is already out of date in his chosen field. Where is collaborative consumption ? See my earlier post last December. Failure to do proper TED research. Failure to read Time magazine that lists collaborative consumption as one of the ten things that will change the world. Failure to see how things are changing (RSAnimate Networks, Motivation, Outrospection). The Did You Know? YouTube video of 2008 states quite clearly that buying habits are more influenced by Blog recommendations and technological word of mouth than advertising. “Like” something on Facebook and it can be viral so this comment, (That video has had more than 15 million views) peed me off. Two videos one academic / TED one Social media BOTH 2012.
The Second Commentator said this
The good news is that you can work anywhere, anytime. The bad news is that you can work anywhere, anytime. It’s hard to know when work ends if you interact with global teams across time zones or you don’t leave an office to signify the end of the day.
You can work anywhere anytime is both a good thing and a bad thing. In English this is a) meaningless and b) presumes no self discipline, no technological management and no self control. Children often act in a stimulus response type of way. Has not this person heard of answering machines where you do not have to respond because technology can? Oh we both know I could go on. I have different email addresses that ….oh nvm they probably have two. I got peed off at the suggestion i couldn’t handle 24/7 global technology, in different time zones, that I was a child. Never heard of multitasking either. The idea of one person working 18 hours has already been tackled by some countries nationally by having 3 people work 6 hours and collaborating. See Microsoft > putting a PowerPoint presentation on line and configuring sharing with a team working in their time zone..Networks! :> Stupid comment.
The third commentator said and I will not bore you with the full article :
My years of personal experience and professional practice and research have led me to one rule that governs all of my electronic communication: I never email about anything important. (The same rule applies to text messaging, tweeting, social networking, etc.)
What century is this person living in? Presumably her article was written with a quill pen and delivered by hand. This is denying everything that 21st Century Networks are all about. An emergency with your offspring, friend, colleague, client not at “home”? Use semaphore? I was horrified and very peed off.
Robots vs Avatars : Social interaction can be better facilitated through a robot or through an avatar?
An avatar I shall be referring to is one created in Second Life (secondlife.com), a global 3D cybercommunity discussed in an article on cyberculture (onlybrackets.hubpages.com). Firstly an avatar is capable of a far greater range of gestures and interactions than a robot. It can be modeled and dressed to suit any virtual or real environment. If it is winter where one user is they can mimic the real world and dress accordingly. An avatar is ideal for communication at a distance. Real family’s exist in second life and I have witnessed 3rd generation interaction. Young avatars can interact with grandma avatars. Grandma will assist the youth in creating their avatar thus creating a sense of identity and ownership. Interactive play goes on. Currently a 16 year old age limit is in force but could this not be reduced?
Communication can be through voice (microphone) or for those able through typing in a chat box.
As a learning / teaching aide an avatar may attend programmed classes, a gym for example and will be expected to follow a regime in the real world. By engaging in a virtual group activity as an avatar peer support can be had. It would be possible to mimic an overweight avatar, programmed with the users bmi and, as they progress in the real world the avatar would change shape. Virtual classrooms with programmed study exist.
An avatar is also your cyber representative able to meet new people and explore new environments. An avatar is ideal for those with mobility difficulties.
This is all on screen therefore would fall short of having the physical interaction that a robot can provide. We anthropomorphize robots how much easier this is with an avatar. I may own a mobile phone that can do a Gallic shrug yet dancing with a friend on a mobile phone in a blues club is better done with an avatar.
But are they two different things and therefore not comparable? A robot is an independent entity its true but what if an avatar had artificial intelligence?
My answer to this question is in favour of the avatar because generally it is free. Robots are incredibly expensive and the construction of such a mechanical device uses far more resources than warrant the benefits. Ideally the answer is both. However I realise now after seeing the TEDWeekend that the question is totally meaningless to mainstream as exemplified by the above. They just do not understand the technology nor how to use it. It saddens me but ignorance always pisses me off especially by so called “experts” or “leaders”.
I have an acquaintance who writes a blog I admire. She wrote a post on flatterbots . These are bots that go around and will flatter you and then demand money. I commented as a flatterblogbot in fun, flattering her and asking that she put up an ad for me as “payment” but I also created a wordpress blog where I discussed flattery, its divisive nature and included a wonderful video of a flash site I had.