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I’ve been thinking for a while now about a parallel between group behavior in the biological context and some of the research that I’ve been doing on questions of the application and ethics of contemporary weapons technologies. We often talk about behaviors as “emergent” from groups, but it’s genuinely unclear what we mean when we do.
Let me start off by apologizing for the long period of dead air here. I’ve been stunningly busy, for what will, in a few short moments, be obvious reasons. But I have a few great posts (or, at least, posts that I think are great) in the pipeline, including one I’ve been waiting to write forever now on emergent behavior and the military. Watch this space.
But the point of this post is rather different. I’ve got some big news.
Happy new year, everyone! Back at the blog writing after a lovely long break for the holidays. I’ve decided to try what is likely an ill-advised new area for some of my posts this year. Some of the best professional reading I’ve done lately hasn’t been about particular research topics, but rather people trying to offer honest, unvarnished ruminations on what work in professional philosophy is like. I’m hoping to contribute a few things in that vein myself in the new year.
I spent my Thanksgiving break working on a guest post for the awesome folks over at the Extinct blog, on how we might read Walt Disney’s classic Fantasia, particularly its evolution sequence, as a document in the history of biology.
Go check out the post over there! I’ve archived a version of it below on the lab website for posterity, but if you’re feeling like leaving a comment, please go join the bigger discussion at Extinct!
This is a sort of a version of the talk that I gave earlier today at THATCampHSS.
There’s a pretty standard story that you can tell about the birth of most digital humanities projects. (At least, in my experience. Caveats abound here, of course, but let me overgeneralize for a while.) You’re working on some area of research, and one of three things tends to happen. You might stumble upon a big corpus of data that you’d like to work with as an organic whole. You might see a talk or find a website for a tool that is asking some kind of question that you think could be really useful for your project. Or you might basically start doing a digital analysis, often long-hand and slowly, and realize partway through that there’s groups of people who are already doing this stuff.