Monday, December 21, 2009

Hilton Head

Left Wednesday Dec. 17th, didn't get out of town until 4pm, hour late than planned. The Dish Network guy with the plumbers butt had some extra work to do. I wanted the tv fixed prio to returning so we would have a tv when we got back for Christmas.

We got hung up in traffic outside of notion, which delayed the first leg of ourgeip to Macon.

Haven't been through the ATL in quite sometime. Apart from the pressure o 8 lanes, traffic was not too bad on a Thursday night. Came through around 11pm.

But, the sky line for mw was breathtaking. It was stunning. The tops of the buildings were well lit in the nighttime sky.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gaming: Fake achievement

Below is an interesting self analysis of sorts regarding the psychology of achievement in videogaming.

This is also interesting as an illustration of Mead's work on the social significance of play and games.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Food inspires

so Chik Fil A is offering a free meal deal for a year, or something...people are camping out for this??


Friday, October 23, 2009

False Advertising

Since when did vehicles "Improve the Environment"? Do they repair the ozone, clean up the rivers, reduce pollution?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

...another ethnic faux paux?

This pic was snapped by a family member in Jeffersonville, IN. Take a look at the wording at the top of the sign on the left. He told me he did a double take when he saw the sign.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Google Wave Review 4

Collaborative Tool?

I currently use Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, Blackboard, and a blog (and other things, believe it or not), and while Wave at this point is very interesting, I could not in this form use it productively with my Sociology students.

At current there is just not added value as a collaborative tool beyond what the aforementioned tools provide for me. It is sooooo freeform, which is good to a point. Beyond that the information seems to get lost, individual Waves themselves fall apart. There are no logical endpoints. Humans just are not ready to alter interaction and communication effectively in this way.

I see Wave could be a lot like Twitter: a core product is made best by add ons, extensions, and third party apps.

I believe Wave could be used for creative thinking, on the fly input. It is so difficult to massage/guide/facilitate the flow of input, information, and the formation of knowledge utilizing Wave.

Perhaps implementing a tag/keyword function within blips would help. There are so many things that can be suggested that likely will be addressed via extensions, etc...

What is meant by using Google Wave as a collaborative tool? Collaboration needs to be defined. Does it mean two or more people getting in a Wave and having free flowing, interaction that is essentially melded? Does collaboration mean two or more people interacting that leads to the formation of ideas and subsequent knowledge? How does the information and ideas become categorized? How is knowledge connected to other knowledge?

The categorization of ideas and formation of knowledge here is incredibly disruptive in the format of the Wave. Google Wave is difficult to grasp because it is not how humans interact in a face-to-face or virutal environment. At current, and I know it is ever changing, for me it is very disorganized; so much that it is not very useful for building knowledge and learning.

Google Wave Review 5

Making Information via Waves Useful

First off, if you are not using Wave or are not familiar with how it works, this post might be difficult to understand.

Something I have been wrestling with for several days is making the use and product of Waves useful (see Google Wave Review 4). The labeling and/or tagging what are called blips is important to prevent duplication; and more importantly, to allow the categorization of information and knowledge.

Here is why this is important. There are several Waves centered around the same topic and discussion; sometime with duplicate users. For the sake of conversation, ok. But there needs to be an manner in which like information can also be shared across Waves.

I know tagging within a blip is a lot to consider, so perhaps the ability of the Wave creator to categorize groups of blips, comments, etc...? Then a "bank of tags" or something of the like could be housed. Think Users over time can then consolidate information via tags, house them privately etc...

And think about this: haven't seen this idea yet. How about integrating the "Add This" or "Share" function in blips, Waves? That way an entire conversation could be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc...?

I believe the Groups: Final Solution Wave was getting at this notion of categorization of information, but the focus in that Wave became in the form of groups.

However, information, discussion, ideas, etc... also have to be grouped in order to have functionality as that knowledge relates to other knowledge, and how it's useful for people.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Google Wave 3


A popular theme, as expected, on Google Wave that I've noticed amongst a group of educators is the functionality of Wave.

Beyond the fact that it has bugs (slow, locking up), much discussion in the educator section (some found here) is how could Wave be used in the organizational setting.

Amongst the ideas: wikis, customer service, advising, and discussion boards.

A standard that is bubbling up is the number of people suitable to make a Wave useful. I participated in one Wave that had over 400 people, and it stopped just short of chaos. Early on participation in the Wave was robust, but after a very short time hundreds of messages can appear in the Wave, and it simply becomes impossible to keep up with. Hence, that Wave came to a grinding halt.

Talking about functionality at this stage of Wave is perhaps a bit moot as we begin to see bots, gadgets, and extensions being built for Wave. Just as the Twitter core was developed, Twitter did not gain a wider spread use until extensions, apps, and third party services tapped into its API (think Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop, Twitpic, etc...).

At current it appears many of the "Wave extras" are being built for the internal Wave.

As with Twitter, I'm curious to see how third party services extending the functionality outside of the Wave into websites and peripheral internet use will grow the idea of Google Wave: communication and collaboration.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Google Wave Review 2

Why Collaboration is a sticking point

It will be very interesting to see what informal and formal situations will guide the use of Google Wave.

Given the heightened nature of interaction, how often, and how deep will participants Wave?

There's no question that social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter have filled a gap of connection for nearly every cohort, at least in US society.

But what about the depth of interaction, the willingness to "work together" on not only relationships, but informal and formal projects? At a basic level, will users get together via Google Wave to plan a night on the town, a short field trip, or share images, video, and other artifacts regarding an event or experience?

For organizations that thrive on collaboration of ideas and projects, an adoption of the Google Wave "system" into their existing communication structure would be ideal. This potential that I garnered from watching the initial Google Wave video struck me as profound.

That indeed might be what is needed for users to experience the possibilities as it relates to meaningful communication with strangers and significant others alike. I just don't know that people have a willingness or desire for the type of communication that Google Wave can afford. Yet.

Will casual use over time by participants result in enough of a critical mass that Google Wave could have the type of benefit regarding human communication and collaboration that would come near its potential? Likely only on a community (both real and virtual) by community basis at first.

Google Wave Review 1

Well, I was fortunate enough to get a Google Wave invite last night, and I spent about 4 hours playing around with it.

Here are some initial thoughts. After "waving" with three people, what struck me the most was the sense of melding of communication. When in a "wave", you can see what the other person(s) is typing in real time, you can be typing at the same time, and you can enter into another one's comments as they are typing to address something that perhaps you find in the middle of their sentence.

That is an extremely interesting notion, one that will take a while for folks to become comfortable with. After waving for a bit, and because of this, I at least got a sense of fulfillment. I waved with three people that I had never met before, and the openness and willingness to share was something very "cool", maybe extraordinary.

I use the word extraordinary intentionally, because I believe a significant issue with using Google Wave will be the willingness of others to engage and collaborate with others. Thus overcoming this barrier could point the way to collaboration on an unprecedented level. That to me is very exciting.

One does have control over the tempo of each Wave. However, the norms around "how to Wave" are completing up in the air at current. I believe that establishing common norms around "netiquette" was a useful framework to better assist everyone in knowing proper and improper manners and actions of interaction for forums, discussion boards, and now found in text messaging. Some of that will obviously be carried over into Google Wave, but nothing more at current exists regarding Google Wave.

Why is this important? Because users are "playing" with Google Wave trying to determine what it is, and more importantly, what is it for. The most significant potential use, as I see for Google Wave, is collaboration. This then is why I see collaboration as a major issue. With Google Wave, people have the chance to collaborate at a pace and without barriers in ways that I have never seen or participated.

So at current, for me at the very very early stages of using Google Wave, is that it is a very open medium for communication and collaboration. I sense that many with Google Wave accounts really like it, but just do not know how, under what circumstances, and the what to expect when one engages with others in a Wave.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Strangers, Presentation of Self, Private and Public Spaces

This week in Intro to Soc we have been discussing Georg Simmel's "The Stranger".

We've also been discussing the tenets of Erving Goffman's Dramaturgical Analysis.

I was pleasantly surprised....wait, THRILLED when Ricky Lax sent me an article from the Las Vegas Weekly about a little "experiment" he conducted at the Town Square.

Too funny!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Five Year Old Learns the Alphabet

Discussion in our Introduction to Sociology class today centered around symbols and the social construction of language.

What you see below is the effort of a five year old kindergardener concentrating diligently on constructing her letters. Not too far to follow is linking these symbols to construct words. Understanding their meaning will begin to occur over the next few months as well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cumberland Presbyterian Church: really..really?

In my hometown, religious sayings and "inspirational quotes" are quite the norm.

But this? Does this overstep the boundaries of acceptable denominational messages?


Saturday, July 18, 2009

College achievement

Data piece: 50% of those entering college for a degree don't make it.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some success with ocal greening efforts

In the article below, local officials highlight successful efforts at
cost savings and reduction in the use of energy.

City government signed on to a "Cool Cities" initiative, already
meeting the Kyoto Protocol standards.

While recycling efforts continue to be stonewalled and minimal, it is
encouraging to see these efforts and progress.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Smartphones, Social Media, and Sociological Research

Social media is obviously changing the landscape of the production of information in our world.

What has not been discussed much in the sociology is the role that information technology, particularly mobile technology, can and will play in sociological research.

I have experimented with the use of smart phones in my personal and professional life substantially over the past six months. I started out with the LG Vu and then upgraded to the iPhone 3G. What I will discuss below can largely be applied to current smart phones on the market (obviously combined with the appropriate data plan) that allow the following:

* the function to take photos
* the ability to text message (SMS)
* the ability to record audio and/or video

The sharing of such information/or research depends on the user's capacity to upload that information to be shared with others. A smart phone along with a the proper data plan can unleash the sociological imagination in anyone's world.

I particularly have used images and texts across a number of platforms, and have integrated nearly all of these platforms to be accessible at any one point. For example, I currently actively use The Sociology Blog, Twitter, Facebook,, and YouTube. At the same time, I have each of these linked to the other through a Netvibes website.

The real beauty of using the smart phone for exploratory sociological research and the cross platform of sharing information is the role the smart phone can play in the daily living of the researcher, student, or simply out of freelance interest.

There have been several examples where I have been able to bring a current, real time experience to bear via the social networking/media sites mentioned above. These in turn have been brought into the classroom and have given students a very real connection of applying the sociological imagination in real life, providing an example of using mobile technology for research, sharing that information across many channels and amongst many potential audiences, and reflecting with others (in and outside the classroom) regarding individual/group behavior and it's particular role in the social setting.

How The Average U.S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck

How The Average U.S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck

Talk about timely! This better highlights the exercise we did in class regarding a basic needs budget.

Social Networking and Connection

Came across this article today, and was quite intrigued by the suggestion of division of social networking tool use based on social class and possibly race.

Does Social Networking Breed Social Division? - Gadgetwise Blog -

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Wal-Mart Virus

This video was brought to my attention by a current soc student.

These are always interesting, but keep in mind we always have to question the reliability and validity of the information.

How would we verify the accuracy of the video?

Thanks WL!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009 pretty.

Remember when this lake at Yellow Creek park had e-boli/coli or something?

--Via mobile bloggin'

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sociology of collective behavior: Iran crisis

The following link provides an excellent early assesment into the
sociology of group formations

Iran Election Crisis: A Social Media Timeline"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Champagne Glass Distribution of Wealth

...found from the Graphic Sociology Blog at

Another good visual of global distribution of income

Champagne Glass Distribution from Conley (2008) You May Ask Yourself

Conley, D. (2008) You may ask yourself: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. p.392.

Monday, May 25, 2009

To reprieve or not to reprieve? To Reprieve!!!

Greetings bloggees, students, friends, and fellow humans.

Been taking a much need break, and am feeling so much better for it.

Got several items on the agenda in the coming weeks. Looking to try some new things with two summer classes which begin Jume 10th.

Also been staying in tune with national and international news and trends.

Stay tuned for more posts, likely to pick up in a couple of weeks.

--Via mobile bloggin'

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This Blog tag/word cloud

This is a word cloud created from all the words appearing in this blog. This was created at Wordle. Very cool.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Obesity and the Fastness of Food

Obesity and the Fastness of Food - Economix Blog -

An interesting graph of time spent eating per day vs. the national obesity rate.

What factors might explain the vast discrepancy in time and obesity rate between the U.S. and say, France?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Centraal Station Antwerpen gaat uit zijn dak!

This video was sent to me by student John Dixon. This highlights items similar to contagion theory and collective behavior.

A similar phenomenon to this video here is called "flash mobs". Read a bit from wikipedia here.

A highly popular flash mob can be seen here, and here.

Interesting stuff!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear?

An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country. - By Chris Wilson - Slate Magazine

This is an awesome interactive map.  There is so much information to be discerned regarding job gain/loss over time, by county across the United States.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"China's birth limits create dangerous gender gap"

China's birth limits create dangerous gender gap

The news report above was sent to me by soc student, S. Tanner. 

After reading the article, what else is assumed about violent crime as it relates to men and women? 

Lastly, 5 extra credit points to the first student that can go to the Population Reference Bureau website, and post as a comment to this post the following information:

*  the top five most populated countries in the world
*  the number living in each of those countries

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Tweet or Not to Tweet Presentation

Keep in mind I have been sick with the flu the past three weeks. So cut me some slack! The video watched in this presentation can be found here: Michael Wesch's Information R/evolution

Social Media is About Sociology not Technology

In light of the changes in society we've recently discussed in the Intro classes, this blog post from Brian Solis provides a clear understanding about the significance of Twitter, Facebook, etc...relationships between people.

Question:  Do you think social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogs, and others will become important parts of our lives?  What function do they serve?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Just a photo I saw, that made me think...

This pic appeared on the front page of one of the primary sections of today's local paper.

First of all, social service agencies and volunteers do what they can to provide skills training and education development to the inmate population.

But, this picture brings several questions to mind. The first I will pose: Is this an effort to train inmates to be circus clowns? This image strikes me in many ways.

What other questions does it bring up?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Did You Know Resources

I received a question today about whether the information in the Did You Know video were facts.

Here are some interesting links to the authors of the presentation. They are reputable folks, and yes I take the data to be accurate.

Karl Fisch

Scott McLeod

Public Knows Basic Facts About Financial Crisis

(Click image to enlarge)

Just saw this from the Pew Research Center; research regarding public awareness of the current financial crisis.

These numbers surprise you? They do me, seems like many folks in the U.S. are following along.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

This is who I got to hear speak today. Dr. Morris sent me a link to his work last year.

Got any creative ideas as to how to get students engaged using Web 2.0?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Did You Know

While watching, or when you've finished, what comes to mind? What does this make you consider, to think about, to wonder?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NCAA Tourney and Crowds

Currently doing some annual reading about Collective Behavior and Crowds. I'm heading to Indianapolis on Friday for three days, lucky enough to catch the Louisville Cardinals play on Friday. And of course if they win, they will play on Sunday.

I'll be posting some pics from the Road to the Big Dance. In the meantime, check out some preliminary reading on Collective Behavior. Pay particular attention to "Theories of Crowd Behavior".

I'll be posting pics as well, and will offer questions through the weekend that you can answer for extra credit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Soc Peeps: the Lesbian(s) and the Water Fountain

krogerchick on Twitter sent this to me today:

krogerchick@profgesser i saw someone refuse to drink from a water fountain after a lesbian drank from it. absolute chaos! made me think about soc

krogerchick@profgesser a man saw two girls all but makin out in front of the store & he went to get a drink later, but saw 1 girl get a drink 1st.

krogerchick@profgesser he says "i be damned if i is gonna drink outta the same fountain as some homo bitch!" she freaked. crazy.

So, in terms of getting a drink from the same water fountain, what do you think the man was worried about? Why?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Synergy of the Arts..."

I'm currently reading through the Placemaking Initiative report regarding downtown development in Owensboro.

I'm currently President of the Board of Directors at Theatre Workshop of Owensboro, and we were hoping to acquire the Goldie's Opryhouse facility with the assistance of local government.

I have found interesting references in the Placemaking Initiative report about "synergy of the arts", and "historical preservation."

So the question is this: Is requesting $250,000 for the purchasing price for Goldie's too much in the face of a $79 million incentive plan to reinvent downtown Owensboro?

Should a public entity with a proven track record, and as the oldest arts organization in Owensboro, be shown preference to acquire the facility to "synergize the arts"? Or, should local government rely solely on the private sector?

The Turtleman

Would certainly be remiss if I didn't include a link to the Turtleman video that we watched early in the semester.

Posting this for entertainment purposes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Daviess County Sheriff's Office "Methbuster"

I saw this picture today. This is the car I've spoken about in class. It is no longer in use as a marketing tool.

I believe it was originally donated.
Some questions we have explored in class were regarding the purpose and effectiveness of this vehicle. Does using it as a marketing tool do anything to curve, prevent, or have other impact on meth production and/or use?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Multimedia message

Pic of a painting made at the Nov. 2007 event. Just ended, will edit all posts into one later.
Suggested reading, The Next Form of Democracy
Now discussing deliberative democracy..integrating citizen voices into decision making
Emphasizing systemic solutions for systemic problems.
.highlighting Obama's Memorandum on Open Government: Transparency, Collaboration, and Participation speaking to "Changing the Way Gov. Relates to People".

Multimedia message

..audience member questions
First question is regarding the role of technology in polling and gathering large amounts of data and making sense of it.
Taking questions and comments from the audience.
First question is regarding the role of technology in polling and gathe

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

Placing significance on public space. What are the public venues for citizen engagement in decision making?
She started out citing the Jeffersonian ideal of by the people, of the people, for the people.
Dr. Lukensmeyer is now speaking. She has great words to say about O'boro's effort.

Multimedia message

Listening to Shelly Nichols, Exec. Dir. of We the People Owensboro. She's currently providing an overview of work conducted over the past two years. More info regarding their work can be found at their website. Will provide that link later, but can be found with a Google search.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Carolyn Lukensmeyer speaking at OCTC

In November 2007, Owensboro held an unprecedented event, the We the People Town Hall meeting, facilitated by the non-profit group AmericaSpeaks.

The founder of AmericaSpeaks, Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, will be speaking at Blandford Hall in the Humanities Building at the community college on Thursday, 3/12.

In addition, an update will be provided regarding the local We the People activities.

The event begins at 7pm, and I do believe that all attendees will find the information meaningful as it relates to Sociology and community politics.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CNN - Tents on wheels give homeless people roof and pride

Sent from's mobile device from

Tents on wheels give homeless people roof and pride

Brenda Gardenhire shows off her new home with pride. It looks like an oversized shopping cart covered with a khaki canvas. But to her, it's "wonderful" -- a stepping stone to get her off the streets and get her life back in order.

"It's like your own home, your own apartment, your own room," she said, showing off the 7-foot-long living space on wheels. "No one else can come in here but me."

Gardenhire is talking about her makeshift home called an EDAR, which stands for Everyone Deserves A Roof. The units are being distributed to homeless people in the Los Angeles area by the Everyone Deserves A Roof nonprofit organization.

It's the brainchild of "Revenge of the Nerds" movie producer Peter Samuelson, who has spent much of his life working with charities to help impoverished children.

He got the idea to help the homeless in recent years as he rode his bicycle from Los Angeles to the beach at Santa Monica.

On those bike rides, he began seeing more and more homeless people. But he didn't just whiz by. He stopped to talk with them -- 62 people in all. One by one, he listened to their needs and what they wanted most: a roof over their heads. And the idea for the EDAR was born.

"If you had to define the value of a civilization, it's not how many SUVs you've got," Samuelson said. "To me, I think it's how well do we take care of our children, our homeless people, our mentally ill, those less fortunate."

He partnered with the Pasadena Art Center College of Design for a design contest and the current contraption was created. Each unit costs about $500 to make.

The four-wheeled home has an expandable base that stays off the ground and is covered by a canvas, giving it the feel of a tent. It extends 86 inches and is 32 inches wide, thin enough to fit through standard doorways. Each unit has a mattress and sleeping bag to provide comfort. It's also flame-retardant and sturdy enough to keep its occupants dry during heavy rains. A braking mechanism prevents the unit from rolling away at night. They also come with a chain and padlock to prevent it from being stolen.

Samuelson said he initially wanted to build more permanent shelters for all of the homeless people in the Los Angeles area. "But when you do the math, you're looking at $3 billion to get 60,000 people off the damp concrete, and that's just in L.A."

He said the EDAR isn't a perfect solution, but it's a good, economical stopgap. "This is $500 to get a man or a woman or a child off the damp concrete," he said. "I don't think it's the best. ... But for now, I think a little bit of privacy -- not being rained on, not sleeping on the ground, not getting pneumonia from the damp -- has a little bit of value."

Jose Font, 50, agrees. He got an EDAR late last year. He said he's been homeless off and on since 1979. He slept on a tarp with a blanket and worked on computer repairs before he became one of about 60 people to get an EDAR.

"Everybody calls it the hobo condo. Everybody envies me because I sleep on a mattress inside," he said. "It makes me feel like I've got something to come to. It feels more like a home than just a tarp and concrete."

He added, "It's light as a feather when I push it. I can put it anywhere."

Font keeps it locked to a telephone on public property when he's away.

James Ramirez, a social worker with the Venice Community Housing Corporation, said he has been able to use the EDAR as incentive to get people's lives back on track.

"What we're doing is using the EDAR as a carrot for them to come in to see us," Ramirez said. "They want the EDAR because they want to keep dry when it's raining and they want a place to stay at night that's comfortable. So we're using this to connect with them."

"For us, it's working really well," he said. "This is their home. This is what they're proud of at this moment. ... It means a step in the right direction to get back into society."

The EDAR organization says it's starting with baby steps. In addition to the 60 units already given out, another 110 units have been ordered. The units are distributed to shelters, churches and other organizations that help the homeless. Those groups then distribute the units. The EDAR group tries to stay in phone contact with its users every week or two. How you can help

EDAR currently has about 30 people on a waiting list, plus another 10 shelters in the Los Angeles area. The organization is also looking at land provided by a local authority where they could let women and families stay on a site that also has functioning bathrooms.

EDAR has fielded dozens more calls from across the country and around the world about the units. Samuelson said they're "studying what works best" and looking at an array of options.

"People talk about the homeless as if it's some homogeneous group of drunken, unemployed, too-lazy-to-get-a-job men. They're totally wrong. They need to come meet people," he said. "What's the point in having a society if it's devoid of helping people less fortunate?"

He added, "As we raise money, we will get people off the concrete."

For Brenda Gardenhire, that means the world.

"It's a step up to you. It's like you're making progress," she said. "Now, I have me a little place to stay. I'm moving up."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Multimedia message

Has anyone noticed that the new Kroger parking lot was punk'd by innovative stripers, promoting a uni-directional parking design?

"Drugs Erase Your Mind"

a waste of school funds or a lesson for life?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Interesting discussion between Chuck D and Michael Steele (Republican Party Chairman)

This is an interesting discussion about the black experience, identity, and the future political implications.

Report on foodstamps

Saw this on CNN, a report about foodstamps and meeting basic food needs.

Multimedia message

Does this restaurant sign violate cultural norms? Is it odd to see political expressions mixed with pizza?