wikibinge

WikiBinge (Noun | /ˌwiːkiˈbinj/): Compulsive urge to read connected Wikipedia pages for a long amount of time.

 

WikiBinge is a tool for creating interesting paths between two subjects chronicled on Wikipedia. WikiBinge generates the story of how flimsily Alpha is connected to Omega and compels you to follow that rich, linear narration through unexpected discoveries and findings.

 

But what does “interesting paths” mean? Those familiar with the theory of six degree of separation won’t be surprised to discover that it’s possible to connect most Wikipedia articles following just a few links. However almost every shortest path is ridden with banality, passing through huge hyperconnected articles like “United States of America” or “World War II”.

 

WikiBinge instead tends to generate paths that require dozens of links to reach the destination. What matters is the journey, not the destination. Embracing this spirit, WikiBinge selects the smaller, less represented articles on Wikipedia during this journey. In a WikiBinge path the underdogs are the kings.

 

What WikiBinge shows during this journey mirrors the distribution of content on Wikipedia. It’s quite common for a WikiBinge path to go through unknown actors, sportsmen or remote places. This is consistent with the findings of previous studies on the distribution of topics in Wikipedia, like [Kittur, A., Suh, B., Chi, E. (2009). What’s in Wikipedia?], which places at 59% the amount of content about “Culture and the arts”, “People and self”, “Geography and places” on Wikipedia.

 

Also, editors of the English version of Wikipedia (which recently passed the 5 million article mark) tend to have an English Bias, a Western Bias, and they tend to be highly educated and computer savvy. This is all reflected in the results of WikiBinge, as you will promptly find by navigating through a streak of 15 articles about lesser known comic characters.

 

That everything is connected with everything is now common sense. But it’s how things are connected that keeps surprising me over and over, even as a longstanding fan of James Burke’s Connections.

 

WikiBinge is the product of a society with a problem of information overload. It reminds us how compulsive consumption of information is deeply ingrained in our way of thinking and how fiddling with snippets of information for its own sake is like trying to quench an infinite thirst.

 

This is perhaps why WikiBinge is, like “The Road Not Taken”, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It fools us into thinking about the beautiful results of choosing the path less traveled, but its self-deception is revealed too late, when we’re sinking in an ocean of information. And sinking in this sea is sweet to me…

 

cutup

Update June 2016

 

Cutupbot is a modernized and revamped version of Cutup written for Twitter. It’s a simple bot that creates haiku using the style of any given profile on Twitter. To interact with Cutupbot, simply send a message on Twitter @cutupbot indicating which account you wish to plagiarize. For instance “@cutupbot could you write for me a haiku of @dalailama?”, or simply “@cutupbot @dalailama” if you feel imperative.

 

Usually results will be more interesting or convincing if the account selected has at least several hundred messages. If Cutup doesn’t find a certain amount of words, it will refuse to generate a haiku.

 

Options:
You can specify to generate five messages at the time adding on your message the hashtag #gimmefive. If the account you are plagiarizing uses the English language, you may try the optional hashtag #kigo. Looking for a kigo works well only on a few accounts and your mileage may vary. Options can be combined together. “@cutupbot @dalailama #gimmefive #kigo”

 

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Cutup rearranges the words of the messages you receive and generates small composition of depthless wisdom and questionable hilarity. If you exchange a lot of SMSes with your buddies, this app is for you. The generated snippets of poetry try to follow as closely as possibly the haiku rules and will match the writing style and themes of your friends.

 

The app attempts to imitate two of the three haiku qualities: the “cutting” (kiru) and the 5-7-5 rule. The rule of kigo (seasonal reference) was implemented and later discarded in favor of a more desirable property, language independence. If your peers write to you SMSes in any latin-scripted language, you will probably be able to run Cutup. Very interesting haikus were generated in the following languages: english; portuguese; italian; spanish, french. I suspect that it wouldn’t work so well with German due to the larger average letter-count of the deutsche Sprache, but feel free to try it out for yourself.

 

In order to get the best results, use Cutup with the person you exchange the highest amount of interesting message. For this funny app I express my love and gratitude to: Paulo Patricio, Mark V. Shaney and Apophenia.

View project : http://goo.gl/gXVw5m

 

Memeoirs was my third startup and definitely the one I loved the most. It was a webapp that allowed anyone to create a physical book out of online conversations. Email, Facebook or WhatsApp. Have you ever wondered what will happen to your letters and messages after the digital holocaust? We had the solution for you.

 

Developed with some of my best buddies under the collective name of Fitmemes, Memeoirs was born after an epiphany while staring at my mailbox. Laying in front of me were thousands of letters documenting more than half of my life. Just over a year later Memeoirs went online, where it stayed for 5 amazing years during which it lived all the phases of a typical startup. What follow is the original manifesto of the project.

 

Memeoirs: your emails in a book. Seriously? Yes, no joke.

 

We take communication very seriously and we realized the evocative power of our past correspondences. Being able to experience again the emotions connected with what we wrote and what others wrote to us can be a real thrill. Sometimes it’s like staring at the novel of your life.

 

While being participants of the pervasive real-time frenzy of The Internet, we at Fitmemes are also strong supporters of All Things Physical and of the reassuring stability of printed press. “These words will forever be on this page” reminds us of the value and the mono-tasking dedication we gave in writing a snail mail to our peers.

 

Created to merge this duality, Memeoirs is as broad and versatile as email can be and it reflects the habits of the author. It has been used to collect love letters, buddies emails, academic exchanges and even meeting minutes.

 

No matter what kind of email user you are, if you are reading this it’s because you probably give to your writing the attention it deserves. By bringing letters back to paper Memeoirs gives the opportunity to convey the timelessness and profundity of your ideas in a book. Make the best of it.

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Slippery Concepts is semantic-crossword explorer. Start with a word of your choice. Clicking on a letter of that word, a new one is crossed. The relation is twofold: there’s an orthographic connection (the two words now share a letter in common) and a semantic link. The new word can be a synonym, a hyponym or a hypernym of the original one. This is the beginning of a journey that can potentially bring you from any word to any word in a given number of steps.

 

Henry Adams once said that “no one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous”. Slippery Concepts is a way to experience that first hand, building stairway-crosswords that rise up to new unpredictable meanings or slip down to the very core of language.

 

Conceived for a touch table installation, Slippery Concepts can be fun from a browser too.

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A mesostic is like an acrostic with a poetic license: the vertical word intersects lines at any point instead of just at the beginning. Mesosticator is a very simple tool to help building up verses ala John Cage. The task is made particularly easier if either the vertical word or the larger horizontal corpus is already formed.