Play has begun to do real work

Speaking of class, the quote below, on virtual transactions, reminds me that there are no new stories, just repeated failures to learn.
Real-money trading harms the game, they argue, because the overheated productivity of gold farms and other profit-seeking operations makes it harder for beginning players to get ahead. Either way, the sense of a certain economic injustice at work breeds resentment. [emphasis mine]

And, doesn't that sound like a why for affirmative action? Inequality overtime breeds contempt and bad karma!

Real-money trading, or R.M.T., is the practice of "selling virtual [gaming] goods for real money", and there's a whole cottage industry serving those who can afford to pay to play.

The writer is Julian Dibbell who is forever mentally cross-linked to his 1993 "A Rape in Cyberspace" which I still have on its original newsprint, from The Village Voice. In this new tale he brings us "The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer" -- the outsourced minions who do the gamers' dirty work giving them the goods required to elevate their virtual existence.


One social scientist thinks that Facebook | Myspace mirror class divisions in US society

So the question of the new generation isn't Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?. Instead it's why are the well-off on Facebook and the subalterns* on Myspace. See a working draft of the paper:

boyd, danah. 2007. "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace ." Apophenia Blog Essay. June 24. http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html

*"N.B., My use of subaltern is not kosher; see term's coverage in "Glossary of Key Terms in the Work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak". Regardless of the proper usage, the reason for its use here relates to the Indian critic Gayatri Spivak who borrowed "...this term from Antonio Gramsci to describe dominated, subordinated and marginalized groups especially those who are doubly oppressed, such as colonised women." [from www.adamranson.freeserve.co.uk/critical%20concepts.htm]


Theremin cover of Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy"

There are about 5 people in the world who know this but I've got a major jones* for the Theremin, the only instrument played without being touched. (I also happen to love this song!)

The Theremin was invented in 1920 by a Russian physicist named Lev Sergeiyvich Termin (whose name was later changed to Leon Theremin); he also invented the first electronic listening device, or "bug", for the USSR.
The performer in the video is Randy George, of Aether and Ether Experiment:

This gem courtesy of a Yahoo widget RSS feed from Boing Boing leading me to the re-discovered coolness of Laughing Squid Related:

*"The slang term 'jones,' meaning an addiction to drugs, is said to have originated among addicts who lived in [NYC's] Great Jones Alley, off Great Jones Street, between Broadway and Lafayette Street." [from "Jargon, slang, and niche vocabularies"]"


What exactly is Abt?

C. has worked for one company for more than ten years. And, that company is Abt Associates, Inc. Often, the people I expect to have heard of it haven't (e.g., a school principal) and those I'm not expecting to have (random soccer parent). When queried about her job, I usually say something about it being a think tank/consulting firm then make some joke about Halliburton largely because both companies pulled staff out of the Middle East around the same time. (A more apt big comparison -- based on consulting sectors -- would be Booz Allen, McKinsey & Company or Westat; or, a small comparison would be the similarly Cambridge, MA-based Goodman Research Group, Inc.) Well, here's the marketing blurb, I found in recent news about the company changing its ISP:
Abt Associates, a private, employee-owned company, applies scientific research and technical assistance expertise to a wide range of social, economic and technological policy issues; international development; clinical trials and registries; and complex business problems. Founded in 1965, Abt Associates provides services to U.S. federal, state and local governments; foreign governments; international organizations; foundations; and business and industry. Its staff of over 1,000 is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Bethesda, Maryland; Durham, North Carolina, Chicago, Illinois; and in Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.