More Power than any Supreme Court Justice, any King, or any President

Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–innocuous as they seem, their policies of what counts as free speech and what counts as banned content determine what people can see; depending on who and where they are.

An uploaded video of a democratic protest in Tibet might be viewed by any computer or phone–except the ones in Tibet or China. There are a lot of articles about Facebook and Google’s toleration of censorship and tyranny, but “The Secret Rules of The Internet” is about you and me when it comes to free speech online. It’s about the thousands who watch uploaded videos of child abuse so that we don’t have to. It’s also about the controversy over corporations who are officially stamping user content as offensive, without input from the public, the police, or elected officials.

A watershed moment came in the case of a YouTube video of a pro-democracy protester shot and killed by government forces in Iran in 2009: Continue reading

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Give your life context: CrashCourse World History

Bored? I was too, until I started the best TV series that will tide you over until Game of Thrones is back. Every episode is free to watch right now.

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“There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth.”

“The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery.

The second by commerce, which is generally cheating.

The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.”

Benjamin Franklin

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Space Poop

Play: Space Poop

Space Poop cover

Space Poop is a sci fi comedy interactive RPG text game. You play as Space Station Intern Ejest Bindle. Depending on your choices in Space Poop, you’ll encounter one of TEN different endings. Be careful what you choose, because even simple choices affect what happens for the rest of the game.

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When Robots Put You On Hold

All I wanted to do was pay my credit card bill. I did not expect a morning spent in descending rings of outrage and then metaphysical horror that robots control humanity.

This has long been difficult for me. Not the robots, the paying my credit card. Specifically, the difficulty began six months ago when I received my new US Bank credit card in the mail. Attempting to activate it, I found out they assigned me a 4 digit PIN which could only be mailed to me (“expect in 5-7 business days”) because, I don’t know, it’s 2015 and isn’t snail mail the way we all communicate, just like the Victorians did? The Victorians knew their shit. Let’s stick to that system.

So fast forward through getting my PIN via a thin, bleached tree pulp container with hand written scrawl in black ink, and a saliva stained square worth forty nine cents, and we get to the point where I need to pay my bill for the first time. Again, I figure (stupidly) that US Bank is aware that it is the 21st century. I can’t find any way of logging into their website service to check my balance. They have some ludicrous system where you look at a picture that should help you remember your password somehow. A picture they choose.  Continue reading

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BioShock’s Meta-Narrative

Check out my published chapter on BioShock!

Pointon, C. (2015) BioShock‘s Meta-Narrative, in BioShock and Philosophy: Irrational Game, Rational Book (ed L. Cuddy), John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.


DOI: BioShock’s Meta-Narrative          Print ISBN: 9781118915868

Video games and Philosophy; I was on my home turf with this publication. Working in e-Publication for two years at Marquette University’s Library, I dealt with Wiley-Blackwell more than any other publisher. They’re probably the largest publisher of scholarly works in the English speaking world. I feel a special kind of pride, consequently, that I’m in their database now as an author. Continue reading

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My Post-Cyberpunk Novel

I’m working on a novel. The problem is, novels are slow, they’re long and they’re like putting all your retirement money into Microsoft stock: it’s probably not a good idea. For simplicity and speed, I’m writing short stories. With any luck, they’ll all be lumped together in some volume down the line like a delicious literary cheeseburger (or perhaps  curry).

The first two stories, totalling about 110 pages are: “The Me@t Scr@pers” and “The Grinders. They are stand alone stories, and at the same time, they interrelate like Kentucky hillbillies. I think it’s the best of all worlds because these stories can be published separately now and also combined later, like I have planned. My especially great news is that they are both done and being reviewed by publishers.

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Goat Poo and a Newt Hibernaculum

Photo credit: Ewan Munro

Chapter 5

Day Day 4, 12:48 PM, 9/26, Friday, 0.93 miles.

     The Heathrow Express screeches toward the airport. Bushes, clouds, and construction; that’s about it. Sarah reads the the Financial Times because it’s sitting on our table in the cabin. For an economic picture of the world, it is all but financial. I’m staring at models clothed in leathery looking dresses. I don’t know what the story is, let me check. It’s on Paris Fashion Week. It’s too boring for me to comprehend, mostly because it’s upside down. The train takes 15 minutes, which is just time enough to do nothing all. Type five sentences; maybe.

     That’s been the difficulty so far: finding time to write. Wake up, eat, walk to a tube station, walk to a museum or a tower, back to a station, food on the go, and before long it’s bedtime. 8.5 miles read the pedometer by bedtime last night.

     “What is wrong with you Saaan-Dra,” says some American sounding man on the train. We’re immersed in some drama between him and her. He’s defending himself against apparent infidelity.   Continue reading

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Pies, the British Museum, Curry, and Billy Elliot: or What it is to be British

Photo credit: Ewan Munro

Chapter 4b

Day 4, 9/25, Thu, 3 PM-11 PM, forecast: acute weatherlike events 

PIES! Savory, hearty, flaky British pies are much of my diet now. They’re the British version of a burrito, in that you can eat the very container which holds in all of the meal’s meat, veg, juices, and assorted cholesterol.

Collin Pointon

(Click for hi-res)

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The Tower of London: Ostentatious becomes Mundane, Georgey Fourgey Long May He Drink

Photo credit: Ewan Munro

Chapter 4

Day 4,  Thu, 9/25, 5AM to 5PM

We were all awake between four and five AM. We willed ourselves back to sleep. Our alarms went off to awaken us for an adventure packed day. We slept through them. We planned to get out early to pack in the amazing sights of this metropolis. We just slept.

Late in the morning, a text from mom said: “Are you at the Tower?”

ed g2s

“They have so many circuses here!”

I panicked.

“My parents are already at the Tower of London!” I yelled at Sarah. We were still getting ready. I furiously texted mom back. It was a blur, but out in the hallway I ran into Dad.

“You’re still here!” I told him. My dad shrugged. Of course he was still here. That’s when I found out none of us had kept to the prearranged early schedule. Jetlag blows.

Sarah and I “tubed” to the Tower of London–Mom and Dad split off from us, to pursue more novel destinations in the city of cities. There was construction at the tube station, and we haphazardly clawed our way through crowds and orange tape to the surface. We emerged into bright sunlight and we were still half a mile from the Tower. We tried to get our bearings, looking for the entrance. Continue reading

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