Prelim tomorrow. My notes are compiled--including subject and author index--and my laptop is ready. Me? I'm beat. My last task, which I would like to complete but probably will not, is some last-minute outlining of potential subject areas. However, I'm treading that fine line between getting a little bit more prepared versus being too tired and too sick of it all to do well tomorrow. So, it looks like I'm just about ready or not.

On the subject of social movements and collective behavior, I noticed today that Howard Rheingold's book "Smart Mobs" is supported by a Movable Type weblog. The site also includes an annotated bibliography of all the sources in the book -- which is a nice touch. As I've spent the last several weeks/months reading about things like collective behavior and social movements, Rheingold's approach to the affects of communication technology on emerging social organizations in general, and rebellious, challenging groups in particular, appears worth checking out. The book's summary reads:

The technologies that are beginning to make smart mobs possible are mobile communication devices and pervasive computing - inexpensive microprocessors embedded in everyday objects and environments. Already, governments have fallen, youth subcultures have blossomed from Asia to Scandinavia, new industries have been born and older industries have launched furious counterattacks.

Street demonstrators in the 1999 anti-WTO protests used dynamically updated websites, cell-phones, and "swarming" tactics in the "battle of Seattle." A million Filipinos toppled President Estrada through public demonstrations organized through salvos of text messages.

The movements/collective behavior literature has a lot to say about these subjects -- though not with the eye toward the way personal communications devices are enabling them.

I also came across Front Wheel Drive today. It's a highly interesting site full of interviews and book reviews about media culture, internet politics, and the sorts of things that old-school cyberpunk types and present-day info-theorists are up to now: interviews with Bruce Sterling, the aforementioned Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, and too many others to list note. It looks to be a site worth exploring in more detail, and not just for the interview with Futurama's David X. Cohen.

Because my urge to explore the web grows proportionately with my proximity to a major deadline, I also found Alex Golub's weblog this morning. Golub is a grad student in anthropology at the University of Chicago, and he has a lot of nice observations. I particularly like his Recently Overheard notes from the kind of party that seems to be endemic to graduate school:

Me: Let me get this straight. You're from Chicago and you don't like Kafka? [he nods] And I'm not from Chicago and I like Kafka.

She: Where are you from?

Me: California.


Me: Go Kings!

Me: A lamb!

And, one more note. I occassionally like to check up on the Salt Lake Tribune to see what's happening back in the state where I was born and raised.* Today I see that there has been a resolution in a conflict over a strip of downtown Salt Lake City that the city sold to the LDS church while retaining a 24-hour easement providing public access to the area. The church turned the area into a public plaza, but sought to restrict certain objectionable behaviors: Like bicycle riding, smoking, picketing, or leafleting. The appeals court today struck down a lower court ruling upholding those restrictions in the face of an ACLU lawsuit. The 10th Circuit Court wrote that, "The city may not take action that runs afoul of our first and primary amendment." According to the Trib article, a California Southern Babtist minister is driving all night with a stack of flyers to hand out in the plaza.

* The answer to your question is "no."