Cows, Kangaroos and Deer, Oh My

Tweet Cows at Small Cow Farm, pic from Tourism Australia. I’ve never had a lot to do with cows, except for a rangy herd that lived on my cousin’s property when I was a kid. But they were mostly to be avoided, if considered at all. I now live in a fairly quotidian suburb, quite ...

Springfield, A Hell of a Place

Tweet Springfield, Springfield,it’s a hell of a town.The schoolyard’s upand the shopping mall’s down— Bart and Milhouse (Boy-Scoutz ‘n the Hood) Springfield, as seen in The Simpsons Movie. (image copyright Fox) The town of Springfield, USA, is one of the most recognisable fictional places ever created. Alongside the cavalcade of characters, Springfield has everything it ...

Thinking About the Hashtag

Tweet It often takes time to recognise a new medium for what it is instead of the content it carries, especially when we’re thinking about the wrong medium. In the history of media studies, there has often been years of focus on the content of a medium before anyone starts to think about its broader social ...

The One Where They Go to New York

Tweet New York City has always been a shimmering mirage of television, cinema, radio and newsprint. It only ever existed in ribbons of Seinfeld, Friends, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Elf, and news coverage like that of September 11, 2001. Though this is an account of my personal mediascape, millions of others would have a similar ...

Why Undergraduate Degrees are More Like Buying a Car than a House

Tweet There is a clear pattern of thinking about the value of higher education in purely economic terms. Questions about how much graduates earn dominate mass media discussion of the industry (1, 2, 3) while university marketers talk almost endlessly about employability (4, 5, 6). Meanwhile, academics themselves squabble about higher purposes. The mismatch in ...

It’s Not You, It’s Me(dium)

Tweet What happened, Medium? You changed. I don’t think we can go on like this. Medium, Your home stream is full of urgent whispers let out into a world that doesn’t want to hear them. A million voices crying out at once. Asking, wondering, ‘what happened?’. Experimenting with it and playing around, filling the stream with ...

If words are written on a page and no one reads them, do they really matter?

Tweet We tend to put a lot of stock into numbers, even those of us who don’t like them very much. Numbers make life seem graspable, comparable, measurable and observable. Trees in the forest (‘The complexity of life’ by Flickr/tomsaint) Amongst the numbers that matter most are those preceded by currency signs, especially in this ...

Favourite Places

Tweet There is a hospital in Sydney that ranks amongst my most checked-in places on Facebook. But what makes this place so special? It’s on the other side of the city from where I live, closer in distance but further in travelling time than Australia’s capital city, Canberra. It is most definitely not my closest ...

Sporadic Publics, Sporadic Places

Tweet Light on the Louvre, by Flickr user Photophilde, is just one fragmentary and incomplete image of the place that is Paris. Every tweet, newspaper article, television program, speech, presentation, app and street sign has some sort of assumed audience. In political discourse, “The Public” reigns supreme as the target of all of these media ...

How we’ll react to life beyond Earth

Tweet In 2016, we moved beyond the Fermi paradox and the great filter theory. This is how the world reacted when we uncovered definitive proof of intelligent life beyond Earth. Some favourite aliens Day 1: A NASA employee, probably the PR intern, leaked the news well before the press conference and we variously frothed at the ...