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Art Fossett on SL

Yesterday I attended a very fun and immersive Second Life talk by Art Fossett, the in-game avatar, accompanied by his on-earth alter ego, Andy Powell of Eduserv. It was fun mostly because he'd organised it to take place on Eduserv island, in the conference room, and invited friends and colleagues to attend online. They kept chuckling like a misbehaving class, turning into dinosaurs, cartwheeling around, and calling him Chubster behind his back (on the projection screen, but he could spy them from his laptop so he caught them out). All very innocent fun though and it complemented his talk quite well.

The presentation was organised as a series of t-shirts, which took a while to res the next topic name on the avatar's chest. Interesting for the links it turned up, although they kept mentioning something called slideshare, (which I guess I should google!) where the slides will probably turn up soon enough.

There are a lot of mailing lists following Second Life activity in higher ed…

Planning for dream machines

Workshop is in 2 months, have found http://www.ventrilo.com/ and http://forums.facepunchstudios.com/forumdisplay.php?f=24 and above all discovered Garry's Mod, a modification of half life 2 that allows you to position characters from the game, and the many sci fi characters that forum users have created and posted online, can be used to create situations, poses and scripted movements or multiplayer acting environments. The link I gave above was for a forum where people post the videos they're making, or making calls for actors to be in their movies.

But I have to remember that we aren't making movies. Maybe we're making archives, personal archives or documentation about things by encoding it in a three dimensional space. Or maybe parody star wars re-enactments?

Garry's mod costs 10 dollars, so I'm tempted to use it to create characters in the workshop on the second day, although that would mean windows machines again, and some of this is so limiting because it&#…

Dumped, Channel 4

Yesterday's Dumped (new eco-reality programme on British TV where people are left at a rubbish dump for 3 weeks) was wonderful! Great mix: surreal post-cataclysmic landscape, lazy people having tea, and lots of more extreme eco-talk than I've ever heard on TV - like to what extent do we really need to adapt, where do we stop in our efforts, how far will we have to go etc.

The sad possibility I saw was that not only will we one day walk the mounds of rubbish in the dumps, but we'll also fight over them, as some have called them the treasure troves of the new millenium. When there is no other way to get that kind of stuff here from other countries, those will be the only places to get them...

So I was spellbound until I realised I'd sat through 1 hour of TV when I usually just catch the news for a second, in that time pondering how to word my letter to TV Licensing about how TV sucks and why I don't want to pay for it anymore.

My Interpretation so far of the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings

This Sutra, handed down by Ananda, the Buddha's companion, then found and translated to Chinese by Kumarijiva, is part 1 of a trilogy consisting of the Lotus Sutra, The Innumerable Meanings Sutra and the Meditation Sutra. It is studied and known among others, by Nichiren Schools of Buddhism, and it's his interpretation that I probably share most with: http://nichiren.info/OngiKuden/text/Muryogi.htm

First of all, it is meant to be read by Bodhisattvas. Boddhisatvas are people who use what they learn to teach others about how to be Buddhas. When I think of Boddhisatvas, I think of people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King etc, people who fought beyond their own lives for the greater good or peace, perhaps even without knowing what the right way or right practice is.

The Innumerable Meanings Sutra says these people will attain the supreme enlightenment that the Buddha attained, eventually, although the short term effect will be that everyone is a lot better off. Laws, people and soc…

Section 4

Here are all the areas of the Section 4 open exhibition, with comments on how they were received and where they could develop:

Symbolic Jumble Sale: This was a strong piece - as it constituted the full first week of the Pierian Centre exhibition on it's own and a lot of people saw it. It is basically all the items I picked up when my friends Cristina and family were deported, on display on a table. At first I thought it hadn't gone well because a lot of people looked very upset looking at it, but it's an upsetting thing to see. A visitor reminded me of this, and said it probably really affected people. I thought success would have been if some wealthy visitor had offered to buy for example, the extension lead or the phone charger for £2000 as a work of art, so I could send it back to Bolivia, but although I think this is viable as an installation, I need to do just that, and none of the other things, or it loses focus. Just each item, with a huge price tag. The fact that th…

Section 4

mp3 excerpt: Father Richard MacKay talks about deportation as practiced in the UK.

Here are my preparations for an exhibition on section 4, failed asylum. Feel free to join in :)
STILL TO PRINT:Father McKay http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bristol/somerset/3961289.stmLabels for recordingsWorld Map (and pins)
Failed Asylum Snakes and LaddersLetter for Co-op on the triangle.
Copyright document: The material in this collection is licensed under a Creative Commons By-Nc-Sa license. This entitles re-use of all material donated for further work, as long as it is attributed to "Section 4" and used for non-commercial purposes. Any other uses will require contact with the original author, via the exhibition organiser, Alejandro Fernandez, 12 Bruce Avenue, Bristol. By submitting material for this exhibition, you are agreeing to put your contributions under this license.
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Call montpelier health centre, ask for 192.com - Local Search…

Poem for peace, from a pirate recording in a Cairo Museum.

My love
With peace I have placed loving flowers
at your feet
With peace
With peace I stopped the seas of blood
for you
Forget anger
Forget pain
Forget your weapons
Forget your weapons and come
Come and live with me my love
Under a blanket of peace
I want you to sing, beloved light of my eyes
And your song will be for peace
let the world hear,
my beloved and say:
Forget anger
Forget pain
Forget your weapons
Forget your weapons and come
And live in peace

These I believe are the words of a widow at the tomb of her beloved. I got the words from this italian website.
It was used in a seminal Italian anti-war song "Luglio Agosto Settembre Nero" by the band Area (although I guess they weren't called anti-war songs then) - whose vocalist Demetrio Stratos indirectly gives the name to this blog, and whose music is the inspiration for a lot of my mine. It's adapted in turn from a greek folk song, but no-one knows who wrote the original words, except that Stratos was probably the one who made this p…

Ideas for a possible Ninjam front end

In my nightly jams with Ninjam I've recently found out loads about how it can be improved. Firstly there's now a linux client (there's always been one but this one is gui based). It's called gninjam. Best of all is that in doing this, Tobias the author of this first derivative, separated display from core functionality creating libninjam and a front end which he wrote in Glade.
Setar and Tabla improvisation on very cheap microphone
I want to write a new front end for it then, using libninjam and wxpython which looks simple enough, although this is all very ambitious, and I may never actually get to do it, but here's all the ideas meanwhile:


a last.fm-like client that is able to :


* Simplify the process of setting up audio: loads of ninjam users get in, but cant' hear themselves, some other player, or are coming through distorted etc and have to rely on the irc window to help them. For this I'd make a "testing room" - a room run on a standard server…

Asylum Seekers Violently Deported in Easton

Right under our very doorsteps, on the streets of Greenbank that have such lovely names, there are people who look like the rest of us but live under house arrest because they would not sign documents agreeing to leave this country for somewhere more dangerous. There are people being deported all the time. There are also some broken bin bags at the end of Bellevue Road, containing some of the lost clothes of a small boy who used to go to Bannerman Road Primary School. Up till Wednesday 17th January.

Felipe came home that day and barely had time to settle down after school before a helicopter pulled up outside his house, in the sky. Last time the police had come for them, on December 8th, they had been taken at 6am, out of the blue and in a very traumatic episode, to a detention centre with the idea that they would be deported as soon as a plane was free. But they were not together, the father had left the house just before they had come, and called with his lawyer and they were freed. …

The racist within

There is a racist in all our hearts
And it has to come out and face reality
That's the ultimate reality tv - the people around us.

But no-one should be abandoned: we all have prejudices,
and great good can come from the worst person turning around.
Because they take with them their distorted environment,
and it gets to see it too.

Fitting that it happens to India from it's old decaying invader, when the Buddha himself tried so hard to make a change in the barriers between different castes in Brahmanic society, castes which continue to this day to affect society there. This means there is lots of Buddhist teaching to choose from when looking at this. I'm, I guess, now just a Nichiren Buddhist, so to name a few from my adopted tradition: dependent origination, the oneness of life and the environment, but mostly the possibility that all people being living beings intrinsically have Buddhahood within them, and no-one should be excluded, no matter what they believe, from the possibil…