Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

What to Make of Tao Lin?

The self-consciousness is a bit excruciating. At least for Emily Gould.

Gould interviews the Author of the Moment for her latest webisode of Cooking the Books, a short vodcast that incorporates book promotion, live cooking, and literary chit chat. Lin, perhaps the hippest of hipster authors right now with his teenage cybernauts with the screen names Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning in the novel Richard Yates, comes across in this interview as either completely affected or seriously introverted. Near the end of the interview, Gould says, “I do feel like we’ve tortured you.”

In his non-plussed way, Lin replies: “I had a good time.”

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Filed under: innovation, literature, technology, , , , ,

You Think Your Country’s Good?

Over at Information is Beautiful, an interactive visualization that shows each nation’s worth. The chart, titled “International Number Ones,” lists one thing that every country excels at. Whoulda thunk the most male smokers could be found in Mongolia? That Belize had the most mammal species? Or that the Philippines outranked its western counterparts in text messaging? Or that Israel was expert at diamond polishing?

I could go on (and the chart does so). What’s also interesting is the Excel spreadsheet revealing artist David McCandless’ sources: Unicef, the Museum of Fine Arts, the CIA factbook, among others. Kind of like a behind-the-scenes video of the making of.

What a meta-tastic (I just made up that word) society we’ve become.

Filed under: art, innovation, world, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Dizzying Virtual World of Chatroulette

Here’s one way Chatroulette has been described: “It’s like speed-dating the entire Internet.”

If you’ve got a camera and a microphone, then you too can participate in ChatRoulette–a kind of chat room with audio and video connecting, on average, 20,000 users around the world.

I only read about it today; when I gave it a test-whirl, I was both fascinated and repelled. It’s even got the attention of the family-values commentators at Good Morning America.

What exactly is it? It’s a bit of an amalgam of everything: Talking in a completely virtual environment in real time. Savoring the ability to boot your chat partner off with the click of a button (or have that person boot you). ChatRoulette is definitely a dizzying experience. I ended up chatting with a bloke in the U.K. until I was unceremoniously booted; then I, in turn, kicked off someone who was boring me.

If we lamented the short attention span of kids before, ChatRoulette is going to push Luddites over the edge.

Filed under: innovation, technology, , , , ,

Wanted: Public School Teachers. Salary: $125,000

There’s a new charter school going up in Manhattan in September 2009 with a revolutionary plan: pay teachers what they’re worth.

The big picture, of course, is to help at-risk children succeed with the best teachers. Attracting those teachers, however, to work as hard as they’ll need to is the challenge. So the head of The Equity Project Charter School in Washington Heights plans to open with only a principal and no vice principal to cut administration costs. He’ll offer new teachers a $25,000 starting bonus. Sounds more like a corporate model rather than a public school one.

I like it, though: Why not treat schools like businesses, in administration at least if not in the curriculum? When I worked as the business manager of a non-profit arts organization in Manhattan, our director always operated more as a CEO than an artist (not that his choreography was anything to sneeze at). I’m all for bringing an understanding of economics to the non-profit realm.

Now, if only someone could bring the same salary initiative to adjunct college faculty.

Filed under: education, innovation, , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
August 2019
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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