Symposium 4.2



Did my second symposium last wednesday, and because we had a break on Monday we had a combined Symposium on both Small world networks and six degrees of separation. Symposium was good and rather enlightening. I was on the panel and didn’t spoke much because I was still not very familiar with the topic.


However I asked Elliot about how weak ties work in networks and then went on to look up on the purposes and focus on weak ties tied together with networks.


In a series of interview done by Mark Granovetter, he found out that most people actually got more and better job recommendations by aquaintances rather than close friends. He then brings up the term “Triadic Closure” and how that actually turned out to be one of the crucial ideas needed to unravel the question of weak and strong ties.


Without the presence of weak ties it would be hard to hold up the network just like nodes. This shows that in terms of human network and connections, somehow one way or another we are all aquainted with each other through the links of friends we are barely close to.

Just to bring in a good personal example of this situation  – Was attending a music festival back in Malaysia two years ago when a casual friend back then brought along her friend from another state. She was a total stranger, didn’t know or heard of her. During the festival we clicked and became close friends ever since.

The friend which introduced us still remained as a mere aquaintance. From my good friend at the festival, I have since managed to expand my contact even more, both weak and strong ties and build up my network.

The best thing about networking is that it is ever growing and it hardly comes to a stop, you may lose some along the way but it is a constant network building slowly but surely. All in all from my understanding, Weak ties are like the nodes in a different way, it brings about growth to the network and that’s what keeps the human network expanding.


The secret network



Networking is an amazing process, It doesn’t take too long of readings and watching a video on it to realise that networking is happening everywhere. It was while watching the video that struck something in my mind. Since networking can be found in cells, protein, animals, and on the internet can it therefore be also found in the form of our brainwaves?


It gets a little tricky over here. I’m not sure if this makes any sense but I refered back to a book called “The Secret” where the author explores a theory called the law of attraction. Just like the law of gravity, the law of attraction has a certain way of functioning.

In accordance with the Law of Attraction, you attract into your life those things, circumstances and conditions that correspond with the nature of your dominant, habitual thoughts and beliefs, both conscious and subconscious. Every area of your life, including your health, your finances and all of your relationships, are influenced by this great Universal Law that “like attracts like”.

Everything, including yourself, your thoughts and anything else you may or may not want to experience, is pure energy vibrating at different frequencies. The basic premise of the Law of Attraction is that like energy attracts like energy.


You attract to yourself that which you are in vibrational harmony with, not that which you long for or even deserve. Your dominant frequency is determined by your dominant mental attitude, which itself is determined by your habitual thoughts and beliefs. Simply put, a positive mental attitude attracts positive experiences and circumstances while a negative mental attitude attracts those conditions that we deem negative or unwanted.


So what I got from “The secret” is that frequencies made up from vibrations and dominant mental attitudes attracts one to things with similar frequency which can be anyone or anywhere, and every mili second we are all sending out vibrations.


When we think we set into motion vibrations of a very high degree, but just as real as the vibrations of light, heat, sound, electricity. And when we understand the laws governing the production and transmission of these vibrations we will be able to use them in our daily life.


And somehow behind the lines of all these vibrations, forms a massive network of thoughts and vibrations and frequencies to make everything structured and right. That one person’s actions flows well and does not make a huge mess of another person’s lives. It is this entire network of vibrations transmitted every time we think and run thoughts in our minds that connects us to something we want, and eventually something we will get because of the vibrational harmony.


So maybe or what if it isn’t any type of six degrees of separation or technology but rather our thoughts sending out vibrations to network and connect us in one way or another? I’m not sure if all this made sense to you. But for me it is definitely something that I would like to ponder over. Not everyone believes in the law of attraction and it is still a subject undergoing a lot of study and research.



My love hate relationship


So here you are standing at the crossroad junction – Which path do you take? What are the endings and outcome you are seeking for? You settle down to think, maybe a good ending would be nice.. but then a different ending would seem more interesting. Hmm should the star crossed lovers die together? Or maybe kill one of them and have the other alone and always finding hope in the stars. You then get frustrated and throws the book away to a corner.


What kind of book is that? You thought to yourself. Who would buy a stupid book with no proper structure to the story and no definite ending? It does gets frustrating when you have to think of how the story goes on your own. Isn’t that why we buy books for? Because we await and anticipate the unknown. We look and explore through the mind and imaginations of the author.


Stories are structured and made linear for a reason, probably because we are taught that or maybe it is just a human’s need for structure in our lives. You need to flow through a book from the start and it needs to make sense and tie the entire story back together in the end. Maybe i’m just conventional. But it doesn’t mean I’m not open to a different way or writing or bringing stories together.


If you’ve watch Christopher Nolan’s production titled, Inception. Let me just tell you that I was literally mindfu*ked and blown away. Pardon the language. But leaving the ending to our imagination and thoughts was pure genius. At the end of the movie we all found ourselves questioning the movie. Was everything just a dream, or did the main lead manage to finish his task and get back to reality to be with his children? I literally had to watch the movie 4 times to somehow convince myself that my own conclusion was the right one.


Changing the structure in texts is a love hate thing. We love something different, something raw and new, yet on the other hand we hate the change. Too much of it makes us uncomfortable and frustrated. There are so many theories to text and writing, and it does prose questions to possiblity of getting things done in different ways. Better ways to encourage creativity and thinking. But is the world ready for that much change? I doubt so. Theories will just be theories, it is something that is required in a educational instituition but not something that currently society will accept just yet.


So, thank you for the suggestions. But i’m going to have turn you down. It’s now time for me to sit down, have a cup of tea while I continue reading my favourite selection of conventionally structured books written and explored by my favourite authors.  😉

Why hypertext?

It is believed that in general, humans learn better associatively. That is, we are better able to figure out material if we are allowed to move at our own pace, investigating that which interests us, and stimulating more senses through multimedia.


“All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record proceed through one or the senses-the tactile when we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read. Is it not possible that some day the path may be established more directly?”


Also, I read that hypertext operates very similar to the way our brains do–in a series of networks, or associations-as opposed to a linear path. “Hypertext software provides for the human element in the management of information. Since hypertext analogizes the way our minds normally work- that is, not in a straight line but in several dimensions at once, hypertext can be considered a thought machine. Some have claimed that the hypertext idea is one of those crucial ideas in intellectual history, akin to the development of the printing press of the computer itself”


The ability for us humans to learn more, or at least learn more pleasurably through hypertext, has been demonstrated again and again through testing. In two separate studies, learning disabled, remedial and regular education students were separated into three groups: lecture, lecture/computer study guide, and computer study guide. Results indicated that while the two latter methods were as effective as lecture, posttest and retention test scores were higher for computer study guide group.


And finally, because the author is no longer in control over what path a reader will take, hypertext creates an environment for independent critical thinking. In a sense, the readers are also the “writers” of the material, by making connections themselves. And making those connections on their own, pulling together different bits of information and creating a whole new meaning, entails critical thinking.

Reading and Symposium 2.2


Through my readings and understanding, I know that Hypertext is text displayed on a computer display or other electronic device with references or hyperlinks to other text which the reader can immediately access, or where the text can be revealed progressively at multiple levels of detail.


Hypertext also allows the reader’s own freedom of association, being able to decide for themselves where they choose to click next. It allows for easy revisiting of older or previously read material, and facilitates the sharing of knowledge through associative indexing, rather than a system of alphabetical or numerical filing. It makes life a lot easier for everyone using the internet.

But where did Hypertext arrive from?

It is good to learn that the concept of the memex influenced the development of early hypertext systems (eventually leading to the creation of the internet and personal knowledge based software. However, the memex system used a form of document bookmark list, of static microfilm pages, rather than a true hypertext system where parts of pages would have internal structure beyond the common textual format.


In our reading “As We May Think,” Bush describes a memex as an electromechanical device enabling individuals to develop and read a large self-contained research library, create and follow associative trails of links and personal annotations, and recall these trails at any time to share them with other researchers. This device would closely mimic the associative processes of the human mind, but it would be gifted with permanent recollection. As Bush writes, “Thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race”.


The technology used would have been a combination of electromechanical controls, microfilm cameras and readers, all integrated into a large desk. Most of the microfilm library would have been contained within the desk, but the user could add or remove microfilm reels at will and many more intricate words and information that we were required to understand were just hard to comprehend.


All in all, these technology terms and jargons of words only tells us that in the end these technology are there to aid us in our daily lives, help us improve our future in the field of medicine, science and of course technology. I still do not really comprehend the readings that well but I do know that hyperlinks made things a lot easier for me in terms of my daily usage of the internet and also school work. I look forward to future readings and symposium sessions on hypertext to get a deeper understanding of it, with elliot discussing and breaking the readings down so i understand it a little better.


Symposium 2.1



This week I participated in the Symposium on Design Fiction. I felt that despite reading all the readings most of them eventually pointed to the fact that Design fiction allowed all of us, and not just designers to explore our creativity, think out of the box and anticipate the unanticipated. “prepare for the future” a future the does not seem realistic. What we consider the most basic part of technology like ” texting” was something that anyone would have imagined possible 30 years ago. Therefore, why are we questioning the impossible? Why not we instead allow the concept of design fiction to help us explore and create better innovations for the future?


Through design fiction and the symposium I learn that it brings about the concepts of what ifs and how it does not merely apply in design terms but can aid to change a cultural perspective or maybe even a community. We are able to use fiction as a testing ground for any sort of possibilities. It allows us to create a space with boundaries and make mistakes over and over again without any consequences and outcomes.


I felt that after all the readings and talking, there was not much to talk about because it all led up to the same conclusions and ideas on design fiction. Maybe there were more that we could explore, however the symposium ended rather quickly because I felt the concept of design fiction could only help us to see the world as what it could be instead of seeing the world as it already is.


Using the concept of design fiction for the advancement of technology is a huge deal and something we can look forward to using in the future. Design fiction, though many ideas may seem unrealistic at this present point, we are hopeful that alongside the advancement of technology, we can use design fiction and its ideas to push and challenge boundaries and one day create better forms of technology that can help better society.