August 2009 Archives

Isometric Concordia

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The farther I get from Concordia, the more I seem to wind up doing representations of it. Below, the major buildings in the Quartier Concordia, towering above a flat downtown.

Video games as accomplishment substitute

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I have a hypothesis and an idea. Bear with me through a series of statements and questions.
The payoff of a task is in the hit of accomplishment gained from a job (well) done.
Video games (everything from freecell to The Sims) give artificial tasks that provide (largely)meaningless feelings of accomplishment.
Time and energy that could be used to accomplish tangible things in the real world are instead used to accomplish the goals set out as artificial tasks in video games.
The drive to accomplish is transferred from reality to video game.
Video games are a more convenient accomplishment engine because they give a series of small, easy to accomplish goals.
How do we use video games as substrates for real accomplishment?
Can the structure of small, easy goals be applied to real things that need to be done?
In short, can we use video games as engines to accomplish real life tasks?

Teachable creativity components

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I posted last month about methods for teaching creativity ( I now have some more developed ideas on the subject. Here's my shortlist of teachable skills that I think are essential components of creativity.
  • critical thinking
  • observation
  • brainstorming and idea generation
  • open mindedness/lowering of mental filters
  • perseverance
  • sorting and association of concepts/ideas
  • curiosity
  • non-standard problem solving OR solving the same task in a different way
  • extrapolation
  • creating within constraints

Student Occupational Hazard Icons

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A series of graphics detailing some of the occupational hazards involved in getting a university education:

The results of excess partying on a week night.

The high risk of silly hats involved in excess party, any day of the week.

The crash that comes along with all-night study sessions.

Learn About Things I Know About

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My traditional end-of-summer zine development time has come around again. This year, I think I've come up with quite a good idea. I'm working on a little imprint of zine books. They're going to be 5.5"x8.5" and either staple bound or sewn, between 20 and 40 pages each. And they're going to be accessible, understandable non-fiction. They're going to explain things to people who don't know about them. But they won't talk down to readers. I'm talking about literate, clever book zines for literate, clever people. The point is to broaden horizons and give people a comprehensive look at something they didn't know about already. The first one, about Open Source (cover pictured below) is underway. I'm also thinking of tapping someone to do one on gender. Expect to see these with me at Expozine 2009, whenever it rolls around.