the power of twitter for pseudoarchaeology

Twitter: Because when reason, logic, common sense, facts, evidence, and scholars all say "No," you can always appeal to faith and beg the public to keep the story alive.

Twitter: Because when reason, logic, common sense, facts, evidence, and scholars all say “No,” you can always appeal to faith and beg the public to keep the story alive.

how facebook’s launch of video calling can help scholars

Facebook + Skype = VideoCalling

Facebook + Skype = VideoCalling

what would have been the death of skype is now its salvation. facebook launched its ‘videocalling‘ today (most likely because ‘videoconferencing‘ was already taken by this guy – which is a story in itself!)

skype’s collaboration with facebook benefits both companies. i can now video chat someone as easily as i can fb message them, meaning i’ll likely never use standalone skype again because the only people i’d want to watch me talk to them are already friends on facebook.

but videocalling shouldn’t be simply seen as the mother of all distractions from actual work. videocalling has the potential to be a very time effective tool for scholars, as instant video communication with trusted colleagues can allow scholars to discuss articles, relay visual information, and will be especially helpful for language studies involving pronunciations and languages that do not use western characters and therefore do not lend themselves to easy transcription into digital fonts. and as soon as group video chat is launched (standalone skype already does this), colleagues can hold meetings and plan conferences right over facebook. and did i mention the service is free? (for now…)

now, i’m just waiting for the first documented case of, “omg! i accidentally left my fb videochat on and he saw me naked / watched me eat / heard me fart / saw me dancing to justin beiber / heard me laughing at student essay answers while grading” or, worse yet, “my wife saw me working on that article while i was talking to her.”

review of tout: it’s twitter for youtube

ToutWith Shaq’s recent announcement that he is retiring coming via the new social networking technology Tout, I thought I’d sign up (Tout: XKV8R) and give it a try.

Here’s my brief review.

Tout is Twitter for YouTube. You take a YouTube video, clip it (read: crop it) down to 15 seconds (which must be the Tout equivalent of Twitter’s 140 characters), tag it with some keywords, and you’re done. You can then share your Tout to Twitter and Facebook. The result is a Tout page with an aggregate of 15-second clips of YouTube videos you like (which may very well be uploads to your own YouTube channel), along with the Touts of those you follow.

I found it:

  • Very easy to sign up
  • Very quick to edit your account info (bio, email, location, etc.) and add background and icon pictures (note to Mac users: use Safari – Firefox is buggy with icon pic)
  • VERY intuitive (read: no directions needed). Just paste in a YouTube URL, clip it, add some tags, and share.
  • Excellent integration to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
  • Click on the YouTube logo to browse to the full length YouTube videos you want to watch

This will be a solid tool for aggregating your favorite YouTube clips and those of your friends. If you like browsing YouTube and you are on Twitter (especially if you have ever uploaded videos to YouTube), you should check out Tout!

society of biblical literature awarded 300k neh grant for interactive website

Society of Biblical LiteratureCongratulations to the Society of Biblical Literature for being awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the development of a new interactive website that will connect biblical scholars to one another and to the public.

This is valuable because it will allow scholars “to speak directly to new audiences and to gain a stronger voice in the public square when questions arise about the Bible and its contexts.” In short, the website will connect scholars and their research to one another, and will provide an avenue for credible scholars to disseminate scholarly research and commentary directly to the public.

Congratulations to both the SBL and the NEH for their vision and hard work!

Read the announcement below:

ATLANTA — We are pleased to announce that the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) was awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to build an interactive website that invites general audiences to engage with
biblical scholarship.

This is a rare opportunity for the SBL to speak to the continued importance of the Bible in modern culture and to communicate the value that biblical scholars bring to the study of the Bible and to the humanities.

The NEH review process includes peer review along with deliberation by the National Council on the Humanities. The award announcement described the grant recipients as highlighting the breadth of high-caliber humanities projects and research supported by the Endowment. “These projects represent some of the most innovative work happening in the humanities today,” said Jim Leach, Chairman of the NEH.

The site will begin production immediately, with a planned launch in 2013. Once completed, the site will become a powerful public platform for SBL members to speak directly to new audiences and to gain a stronger voice in the public square when questions arise about the Bible and its contexts.

“This is a huge opportunity for SBL to showcase the work of biblical scholars, educate and engage the public, and foster biblical scholarship,” said John Kutsko, executive director of SBL. “It also goes without saying that this award comes at a time of increasing pressure on the public support of the humanities at the state and federal levels. Thus, the award commitment is all the more significant in this context, and we are all the more grateful that the NEH has made us stewards of their support of scholarship, education, and the humanities.”

A strong team of SBL staff and members, led by Kent Richards, executive director emeritus, advised the project to its current status, and S2N Media developed the prototype site. For further information contact: Moira Bucciarelli, mbucciarelli@sblsite.org.

* * *

The Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest non-sectarian international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, SBL’s membership includes scholars, teachers, students, and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical, academic study of the Bible. SBL’s mission is to foster biblical scholarship.

ucla digital humanities twitter project preserves voices of egyptian protesters

UCLA Hypercities Egypt

UCLA Hypercities Egypt

A front page story by Jonathan Lloyd on the NBC Los Angeles website highlights a UCLA Digital Humanities project that is using Twitter to preserve the voices of the protesters in Egypt.

The Hypercities Egypt project streams Twitter updates and overlays them on a digital map of Cairo.

My UCLA DH colleague, Yoh Kowano, explains how it works in this video. He says:

“You just let the program run, and you almost feel like you’re there,” explained Yoh Kawano, a member of the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities program, who built the program’s interface. “It collects tweets live from Cairo and displays them in real time on a map.”

A story by UCLA’s Meg Sullivan offers more details:

Subtitled “Voices from Cairo through Social Media,” the program displays a new tweet every four seconds over a digital map of Egypt’s capital. Because it gathers tweets from those who have enabled Twitter’s “add location” function, the program also maps the precise location in Cairo from which they were sent. And the Twitter users’ avatars — often photos of the protesters themselves — accompany the poignant messages, providing a moving immediacy to the experience.

Visit the site here.

this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us: jim west is on twitter

Dr. Jim West on Twitter

Dr. Jim West is now on Twitter @drjewest.

yes, jim west is now on twitter.
so follow him @drjewest!

(this ought to be fun!)

the facebook setting you should change as soon as possible

Gawker is reporting that Facebook is finally making https protocol available to provide at least some protection against Firesheep and other credential-sniffing hackerware.

Facebook has at long last offered an option to use the encrypted “HTTPS” protocol, a feature it will begin rolling out today but won’t finish for a “few weeks.” You should check now if it’s available, and sign up as soon as it is enabled for your account. The performance overhead is minor—zippy Gmail, for example, uses HTTPS for everything—and it’s an important step to keep your Facebook account safe from being hijacked on an open or poorly secured wireless network.

By default, Facebook sends your access credentials in the clear, with no encryption whatsoever. Switching to HTTPS is important because a browser extension called Firesheep has made it especially easy for anyone sharing your open wireless network—at cafe or conference, for example—to sniff your credentials and freely access your account. One blogger sitting in a random New York Starbucks was able to steal 20-40 Facebook identities in half an hour. HTTPS solves this longstanding problem by encrypting your login cookies and other data; in fact the inventor of Firesheep made the software to encourage companies like Facebook to finally lock down their systems.

You can sign up for Facebook HTTPS by going to Account Settings and then selecting “Account Security,” third from the bottom. Then click under “Secure Browsing” — if it’s there. Facebook says everyone should have this by the end of the day, but in the meantime you might be missing the relevant option toggle.

Check your account and switch to https security now (!), especially if you use a laptop at internet cafés. Otherwise, who knows who might be reading your mail…

The Paradigmatic Facebook Argument

The Paradigmatic Facebook Argument jim pointed me to a graphic i found hilarious. it essentially encompasses 90% of ‘debates’ on facebook.

Read More
via Zwinglius Redivivus

daily bruin: tech-savvy professors take to tweeting

Dr. Robert R. Cargill's Jerusalem Course Twitter Page

Dr. Robert R. Cargill's Jerusalem Course Twitter Page

Flavia Casas has authored an article in UCLA’s Daily Bruin entitled, Tech-savvy professors take to tweeting.” In the article, the author highlights professors who have developed ways to incorporate and utilize social networking technologies into their classroom instruction. The article begins:

Logging onto Facebook, Twitter and Blogspot are all part of a hard day’s work for Professor Robert R. Cargill.

At any given time, Cargill may be uploading lecture notes, links to articles, or posting last-minute announcements on the Twitter account he created specifically for his UCLA course on Jerusalem.

Cargill is one of a few UCLA professors who have taken the uncommon step of integrating Twitter and other social media websites into their courses.

“The idea for me is to go to where the students are,” Cargill said. “If I’m truly interested in teaching students, I’ll meet them halfway.”

Part of my job as Instructional Technology Coordinator at UCLA is to assist university instructors with incorporating new technologies into their courses. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, YouTube, iTunes U, and UCLA’s CCLE/Moodle online learning management system have provided my students with up-to-date resources and notifications regarding my Jerusalem, the Holy City course. Perhaps the best part is that it’s all automated: an update to the blog automatically updates my Twitter page, which in turn updates my course Facebook page. Students are therefore provided with class updates in the places they already are, and what looks like a lot of work is actually quite simple.

If you’d like to learn more about incorporating social networking into your classroom instruction, please feel free to contact me at cargill(at)humnet(dot)ucla(dot)edu.

Top 10 Viral Videos of the Year on YouTube

YouTube has ranked its top 10 videos of the year in a video of its own. Some of these still crack me up, including the #1 video.
Check ‘em out.

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