A stranger approached me today.

A stranger approached me today. I was actually kind of terrified at first, since the last time a stranger approached me it was a security guard telling me I had overstayed my welcome in a mall that was closing for the night. (I was trying to get work done while waiting for a family member to return from a sidequest.) But this person was just curious, and friendly. And she…

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reducing print edition to 2 days a week; cites plan to go all digital

  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is scaling back its print edition to two days a week as part of the 235-year-old newspaper’s transition to an all-digital news operation, documents show. The plan is to eliminate its Friday print edition beginning Feb. 27, according to a letter from Post-Gazette’s human resources manager provided by the newsroom’s employee union. Without other changes, that would leave only a Thursday and Sunday edition in print.…

Apple threatens to remove Parler social networking service from App Store

Apple Inc has threatened to remove the Parler social networking service from its App Store unless the company changes its content moderation policies, Parler Chief Executive John Matze told Reuters on Friday. Parler is a social network where many supporters of President Donald Trump have migrated after being banned from services such as Twitter Inc. In a letter from Apple’s App Store review team to Parler seen by Reuters, Apple…

Robot wars: 100 years on, it’s time to reboot Karel Čapek’s RUR

I was honored to play Alquist in Artistic Prosperity’s virtual production of RUR over the summer. I’m glad to see Čapek’s play is getting some attention in the Guardian. Not many plays introduce a new word to the language. One that did was Karel Čapek’s RUR: Rossum’s Universal Robots that had its premiere in Prague 100 years ago this month. Every time we use the word “robot” to denote a…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In December 2000, I was blogging about typeface snobbery, freedom in video game spaces, the first email message, and T.S. Eliot’s anti-semitism

In December 2000, I was blogging about Typeface snobbery (The Onion) Videogames as gendered play spaces (Henry Jenkins) Who wouldn’t want to trade in the confinement of your room for the immersion promised by today’s video games? …. Perhaps, my son finds in his video games what I found in the woods behind the school, on my bike whizzing down the hills of the suburban back streets, or settled into…

Oh, No. YouTube is Deleting Videos.

Oh no.  First YouTube institutes a “COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy” and starts deleting videos that tout fake cures or discourage people from following the medical advice of the WHO; then, YouTube takes a stand against any video that “misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.” What’s next? Will they go after videos that include the phrase  “Merry Christmas?” Or…

The Myth of North America, in One Painting

Fascinating art history — a thoughtful close reading of a painting. Great example of multimodal journalism. The clouds are heavy and black. A grim day for fighting. In the air is the smell of damp, and mortar fire. It’s a little after 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, 1759. The battle is almost over. In the distance, the wounded French soldiers are retreating. And a young general in a red coat…

NASA finally makes contact with Voyager 2 after longest radio silence in 30 years

I was thrilled as a middle-schooler to stay up late watching PBS coverage of science types poring over printouts of the images arriving from Voyager 1 and 2’s visits to Jupiter and Saturn in 79-81, and visits to Uranus and Neptune in the late 80s. The Star Wars and Star Trek movie franchises were in high gear, Carl Sagan became a household name, and everywhere NASA was hyping how the…

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) Artistic Prosperity 2020
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R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) Full Play (via Zoom)

All 3 acts and the epilogue to R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) are now available on YouTube. I’ve loved this quirky play for almost 30 years. I’m thrilled that I got the chance to play Alquist, a humble builder who witnesses the Robot rebellion and its surprising aftermath. (I also designed the set backdrops in Blender 3D.) A story about a robot uprising is cliche now, but this Czech play coined…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In October, 2000, I was blogging about bobbed hair, Woolf, a CFP for interactive fiction scholarship, the hyphen in e-mail, and a book with glow-in-the-dark pages

In October 2000, I was blogging about The F. Scott Fitzgerald Short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (background; full text) A biography of Virginia Woolf The precarious status of English as a global language A call for papers for a special issue of Text Technology devoted to interactive fiction (I have a copy on my shelf now) Wired News picks “e-mail” over “email.” (AP Style is currently email.) A book with…

Cameras and Masks: Sustaining Emotional Connections with Your Students in an Age of COVID19

There are some sound pedagogical reasons for turning cameras on. Thus, I suggest sharing those reasons with the students before giving them the choice of what to do about their cameras. Explain why you are making your request. For example, being able to see students’ faces gives instructors a quick and easy way to discern whether students are finding the material engaging, at least in smaller classes. One instructor told me that “I asked students to turn their cameras on to say hi to their classmates at the beginning and end of class, and those were the best moments of the class.”

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, story that says Pence has tested positive for coronavirus

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, a breaking news story including the sentence “Pence announced late Wednesday that he is among those who have tested positive in the ongoing White House coronavirus outbreak.” 1. Google search for “tom tapp coronavirus pence” shows a hit for a Deadline story with a headline prefaced “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES.” 2. Clicking the URL takes you to…

Twitter, Fix Your Cropping Algorithm

When given the chance to crop four different arrangements of photos of two different men, each time the Twitter algorithm chose to center on the white man and crop the black man out of the picture. Source: pic.twitter.com/QNZ8xCsEKj — sina rawayama (@sina_rawayama) September 20, 2020 Update, 22 Sep: See also pic.twitter.com/CY8FhFPEJh — TVictorLopes (@TLopesVictorM) September 21, 2020