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Four new words
SSar's Beast
morbane
I've been in Perth this last week for a conference: Digital Humanities Australasia 2014. It's been great. I co-presented two talks, and gave a third talk on behalf of a colleague who has now moved to Leipzig. In case you're wondering, going to conferences is not at all a usual thing for me. I hope to write posts about it later (philosophy and robots! the visual archive! interdisciplinary lessons!) but for now, I will just record the four new words I have learned this week.

Altamirage
Not in the Oxford English Dictionary. It appears to come from a 1979 book, Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty, by James H. Austin, where he defines it thus: "the facility for encountering unexpected good luck as the result of highly individualized action. Altamirage goes well beyond the boundaries of serendipity in its emphasis on the role of the personal action in chance."

Or perhaps one could say, chance favours the prepared mind.


Skeuomorph
According to the OED:
1. An ornament or ornamental design on an artefact resulting from the nature of the material used or the method of working it.
2. An object or feature copying the design of a similar artefact in another material.

The discussion this week seemed to rely on the second definition.


Pataphysics
According to the OED:
A notional branch of knowledge dealing with that which eludes scientific or metaphysical understanding (originally elaborated by the French writer and dramatist of the absurd, Alfred Jarry); the philosophy of the absurd. Also: (in extended use) pseudoscientific or pseudo-metaphysical nonsense.

Well! Sustinare ridiculum.


Noesis
According to the OED:
1. Mental capacity or activity.
2. An intellectual view of the moral and physical world.
3. Philos. In phenomenology: a process or an act of perceiving or thinking, as opposed to an object of perception or thought; (also) the subjective aspect of an intentional experience, as opposed to the noema (see noema n. 2).

(because I don't think I quite get that, I'll also quote noema n. 2:
2. Philos. In phenomenology: an object of perception or thought, as opposed to a process or aspect of perceiving or thinking.)

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Skeumorphism is such a cool design trick. I love how computer and tech have used it as metaphors :D

It seems like an interesting way to make the new item familiar to the old user, to tell-rather-than-show that this item/program/process meets similar functional goals to the old or should fit into the same niche in the user's life.

It also seems like a paradox. Saying "x is the same as y" in a way that shows deep awareness of the difference between form and function, while relying on the links between those two categories in the mind of the target audience.

-I struggled a little in wording the above, so if it's abstruse, my bad.

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