Informatics: Cyberfootball

Having sorted my Edinburgh uni/email access last week, I’m now privy to the internal mailing lists, which are truly comedy. The full range sent goes from from ‘tips on mustache styling’, through ‘waffle iron for sale’ and on to a consulting job for someone with hypervisor programming experience. At least one in every three emails involves free food: I think it might actually be possible to live on leftover cookies/buffet lunches in the Forum until the end of time. In other news, there is now a massive Christmas tree on the ground floor, making the cafe area smell like a Norwegian forest.

A six hour train journey yesterday, topped off by an early commute today (during which I was able to watch the sunrise turn the North Sea into molten copper), meant I had plenty of film editing time. I’d taken the camera with me to Somerset to visit friends, who very nobly (aka, unsuspectingly) allowed me to film various different spaces we were in so that I have a variety of material to view on the Puffersphere as part of the R&D process for the panoramic narratives. They’re all up on my vimeo page, but my personal favourite has to be the kissing gate:

Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy very kindly allowed me to piggyback onto a school visit with the Sciennes Primary Six class this morning, so I was able to see Edinferno (the robot football team) in action. No pics, since I was uncertain how the accompanying teachers would take to the strange lady filming the small children in their charge. I’m hoping to film the robots in action next Semester as they start training for the world cup. I was impressed that the kids were already familiar with the hardware (Nao robots, made by French firm Aldebaran Robotics), but fortunately they also asked impractical questions such as ‘can you buy them on Amazon’, which made me feel less intimidated.

Despite the chilly weather I braved the outdoors to do some filming directly outside of the Forum. Ian risked frostbite and joined me for some hot soup & gossiping to help pass the time. I’ve put a rough edit together here:

This afternoon, Jon and I met with Prof. Stephen Gilmore to talk through the REF guidelines for the 100 word statements researchers can write to explain the various research outputs submitted for scrutiny. I’ll be running a lunchtime workshop in late January, inspired by the REF criteria — Originality, Significance, and Rigour. It was really useful to be talked through details of what is and isn’t looked for by the expert panels and get a clearer view of what researchers are being asked to write (before I go off and ask them to write something completely different). The idea of being asked to provide verifiable proof was particularly interesting: how can you prove that someone enjoys your work? That it is significant to an audience you’ve had no other contact with? That it might be of true significance in the future?

The rest of the day was spent writing (and filming) next to the Christmas tree, blocking out an idea for the two-hemisphere monologues Jon and I discussed a couple of weeks ago. I picked up a new, larger, blank notebook at lunchtime so that I could write the two stories in mirror: doing a sentence or so for story A, then modifying it on the other side of the double-spread for story B. Writing in tandem like that really helped pull out a lot of threads of imagery and vocabulary to weave between the different stories. I had enough time for an initial scan and edit, writing questions at the bottom of the page to address when I write a second draft.

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2 thoughts on “Informatics: Cyberfootball

  1. “write the two stories in mirror: doing a sentence or so for story A, then modifying it on the other side of the double-spread for story B” this sounds wonderful Viccy–you are working so hard!

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  2. Alison- like most things it doesn’t feel like hard work when it’s fun… Plus getting to experiment with procrastination is great. By starting two stories I can excuse myself for finishing neither.

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