#twecon 2011

Call for Papers: 2nd Episto Tweet Conference – July, 2011

The author of the blog “EPISTO!,” Matthew Dentith (HORansome), is inviting paper titles and abstracts for the 2nd Episto Tweet Conference, to be held on July the 11th, 2011.

The brief for this tweet-based conference is open and thus we are accepting papers on any topic.

Paper submissions have now closed. To submit a paper for inclusion at #twecon please tweet your paper’s title and short abstract (you may want to use a tweet for each) with the tag #twecon any time between now and the 1st of July.

Details about the previous #twecon, including copies of the papers given at the conference, can be found here.


  1. Papers may be no longer than 6 tweets in length (with one of those tweets being the title/byline).
  2. Each tweet must be numbered.
  3. Tweets may link to images, short video clips (less than thirty seconds in length), but cannot link to written material unless it is a link to a quote, further readings, et cetera.

You cannot use a link in a tweet to get around the 140 character limit.

  1. Each tweet must have the following tag: #twecon

The Conference

The conference will start on Monday, the 11th of July. Could presenters and attendees please ensure they are:

a) keeping an eye on the #twecon hashtag or

b) following @HORansome (who will retweet the papers as they come in).

After the opening address has been given the presenters may start giving their papers. Last year there was no formal timetable and people used what might be called a “modicum of common sense” to ensure that papers were given throughout the day rather than lumped together in the morning.

Once all the listed papers have been given I will then close #twecon with a closing speech, at which point presenters and attendees are expected to go to their local for a post-conference drink. You are not required to wear name tags during the conference, but if you want to wear a badge emblazoned “I just presented at #twecon; ask me about my paper!” during your travels through the day I will not stop you.

All papers will be archived on this page.

Opening Address

1. Opening Address 2.0 (I was tempted to recycle the one from last year). #twecon

2. Hello and welcome to this, the second #twecon. If you’re wondering what’s going on, read this t.co/2koT3z9

3. We have a great selection of papers this year (& other cliches); I’ll be retweeting them but make sure you follow the #twecon tag all day

4. Question time takes place all day. Please remember to include the #twecon tag both when posting and answering questions.

5. This is the first #twecon for this year; there will another towards the end. I’m keen to hear your suggestions as to what you think can be done differently.

6. Well, that’s enough from me; let the giving of papers commence? Who wants to go first? #twecon

Unofficial Seventh Tweet: Satorial elegance will be part of the closing address… #twecon

The Papers

HORansomeThe problem with official theories

1. The Problem with official theories as rivals to conspiracy theories #twecon

2. Many explanations are the results of bad inferences; they might cite limited, selective evidence & even be entirely fabricated. #twecon

3 Conspiracy theories are often taken to be examples of such bad explanations but official theories can suffer from the same defects #twecon

4 The problem is “officialness;” we sometimes confuse political for epistemic authorities. The former is not necessarily the latter. #twecon

5 If by official we mean a qualified authority then conspiracy theories can be warranted & some official theories will be suspicious #twecon

6 Officialness, by itself, is no reason to prefer explanations. We need to know who the endorser is. “They” might be out to get us. #twecon

DCBCauchiPerspective painting proves nothing exists

1 First step in constructing perspective is identifying height and distance of viewer. Objects’ position is relative not absolute. #twecon

2 As Kant says, this shows that space is an a priori property of viewer’s mind not property of objects. Viewer constructs space. #twecon

3 Process is reciprocal. Perceiving world as coherent unity gives viewer coherent unity. However, this is an illusion. #twecon

4 Perception of world as coherent unity is fiction produced by mind, as is coherent self. Neither world nor self exists. #twecon

5 By replicating mechanics of fictional construction of world and self, perspective painting proves nothing exists. #twecon

stacefamilyMoving beyond love and luck: building right relationships and respecting lived experience in New Zealand autism policy

In 1997 a mother killed her autistic daughter but in spite of much policy attention since, ASD remains a ‘wicked’ problem. Why?

1 Moving beyond love and luck: building right relationships and respecting lived experience in New Zealand autism policy #twecon

2 In 1997 a mother killed her autistic daughter but in spite of much policy attention ASD remains a ‘wicked’ problem in 2011. Why? #twecon

3 1997 death revealed policy gaps and a decade of work led to the NZ ASD Guideline. Implementation started but problems remain. #twecon

4 Need luck to get services and loving family to advocate. No coordination, education access problematic, adult services non-existent#twecon

5 Agencies have different eligibility criteria, everywhere fragmentation/gaps. Solutions elusive/temporary indicating ‘wickedness’ #twecon

6 Haiku summary: Policy people – listen to, respect, include – autistic wisdom #twecon

stutterdudeStuttering Fun Facts: things you might not have known about stuttering

1. Stuttering is not caused by low self-esteem. #twecon

2. Stuttering is not caused by bad upbringing. #twecon

3. It is said that 1% of the world’s population stutters. #twecon

4. When talking to someone who stutters, don’t finish their sentences. Give them the time they need to say what they need to say. #twecon

5. Stuttering is not an indication of lack of intelligence. In fact, stutterers tend to have a higher IQ. #twecon

6. There is no cure for stuttering. #twecon

Josh AddisonA meta-comedic defence of touchy topics

1. A meta-comedic defence of touchy topics #twecon

2. It is fairly uncommon for written/spoken humour to rely solely on the concept of “inherent hilarity”. #twecon

3. This is especially true where a joke is based on a subject that is controversial or taboo (rape, murder, abortion, etc). #twecon

4. The humour often (not always) comes from the juxtaposition of the horrible topic against an inappropriate attitude or scenario. #twecon

5. Such a joke is not funny because the topic is funny; it’s funny because it ISN’T. Structure, not subject, produces the humour. #twecon

6. To reply to a joke about [horrible topic X] with “[horrible topic X] isn’t funny” often misses the point (again, not always). #twecon

Paul ScoonesScripting Subtitles: the pros and cons of writing production notes for classic series Doctor Who DVDs

1. Scripting Subtitles: the pros and cons of writing production notes for classic series Doctor Who DVDs #twecon

2. Production notes annotate what is seen and heard on screen and provide background about the story’s creation. t.co/jVym9oS #twecon

3. The brief is to analyse extant primary sources, principally scripts, BBC production files still held at the BBC Written Archives. #twecon

4. It is an indiscriminate collection – not all of it is useful. A file can be filled with the director’s vehicle requisition forms! #twecon

5. Most difficult is explaining long deleted scenes, as the on-screen time in which to cover such material is usually very tight. #twecon

6. The most rewarding aspect is the opportunity to point out something that is not widely known. t.co/ArDKG6R Thank you. #twecon

Mike DickisonA new reconstruction for the giant Haast’s Eagle, Harpagornis moorei

1. The largest known eagle, H. moorei (now Aquila moorei), 15 kg with 3 m wingspan, killed and ate adult moa 15 times its size. #twecon

2. An unusual skull: extremely long bill (for an eagle), small bony flaps protecting nostrils. #twecon

3. The skull strongly resembles those of Old World vultures, adaptations for sticking their entire heads into an animal carcass. #twecon

4. Bare or sparsely-feathered heads/necks in vultures minimise mess. Best to reconstruct the giant eagle similarly. No fancy crest. #twecon

5. Ornithologists get miffed, as they’ve defended H. moorei’s rep as a predator, not a scavenger. Yes, but it ate huge messy prey. #twecon

6. Since people are moa-sized & bipedal, that bare head was the last thing some first Polynesians saw. H. moorei didn’t last long. #twecon

George Darroch“Invisible Genocide” – claims of secret genocide(s) in Indonesian Papua

1 “Invisible Genocide” — claims of secret genocide(s) in Indonesian Papua #twecon

2 twitpic.com/5oa9qq “instructions to civilise the people” (1984) Terror easily interpreted, without reference to specific acts #twecon

3. 2 academics have a) hospital records, b) household surveys. a) proves & b) disproves ‘genocidal’ violence. Neither will publish #twecon

4 Papua: empty space filled with extreme referents. HIV & sickness, poverty, hunger. Activists describe these as “secret” genocide #twecon

5 Term has been adopted by Papuans, & floats back & forth divorced from exterior uses, but with reference to very specific contexts #twecon

6 To destroy or replace these meanings will require changing social contexts that generate them. Possible & ongoing, but difficult #twecon

Cheryl BernsteinA photographer is a person who attempts to place within the image information that is not predicted by the camera

1 “A photographer is a person who attempts to place within the image information that is not predicted by the camera.” Vilém Flusser #twecon

2 Neil Pardington’s photographs recall the cold & clinical aesthetic of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). is.gd/sVTHUZ #twecon

3 But his images of uneasy off-limits places (operating theatres, dayrooms & museum vaults) point up the subjectivity of the viewer. #twecon

4 Pardington’s ’empty’ images are stages set for unseen stories already told or about to unfold. They are populated by the viewer. #twecon

5 Earlier works focus on the talismanic quality of objects; their ability to generate narrative outside the borders of the image. #twecon

6 What can never be predicted by the programme of the camera is the viewer’s experience of the photograph. #twecon Thank you.

HORansome – Summarising a 85,000 word PhD thesis, entitled “In defense of conspiracy theories,” in 5 tweets

1 A summary of my PhD “In defense of conspiracy theories” in which I argue the common suspicion conspiracy theories are bunk is bunk #twecon

2 It is bunk because similar arguments apply to other theories which might cite illicit appeals, selected evidence or disinformation #twecon

3 I do not argue that, sui generis, conspiracy theories are good. Rather: is it a good inference and is it a plausible explanation? #twecon

4 Inferring that a conspiracy exists is difficult; you need to show there exists a secret group who are acting towards a vague end #twecon

5 Plausibility problems include questions as to how likely both relatively and independent the conspiracy is the *actual explanation #twecon

6Many conspiracy theories are not problematic & are thus warranted. The best argument we have is agnosticism not outright scepticism #twecon

Megan ClaytonA third, a third, a third: some thoughts on union activism in a New Zealand provincial university

1. A third, a third, a third: some thoughts on union activism in a New Zealand provincial university #twecon

2. In 2009 I was elected branch president for my university in the newly-formed Tertiary Education Union. #twecon

3. A rep’s role can provide an insight into how universities run that is difficult to get from the desk, lecture theatre or lab. #twecon

4. The concerns of members academic and general exist in continual dialectic with managers and each other. #twecon

5. The industrial matter at hand is informed by broad principles of engagement &, in the background, the law. #twecon

6. The institution’s autonomy is shaped not only by aspirations of managers & academic scholarship but also the hand of the State. #twecon

Robyn GallagherSeen Your Video: The Early Years of NZ On Air-funded Music Videos

1. “Seen Your Video: The Early Years of NZ On Air-funded Music Videos”. 1989 – state broastcasting monopoly ends. #twecon

2. 1991 – newly formed NZ On Air gives the first of its $5000 music video production grants. Artists expected to match funding. #twecon

3. Many low-budget videos used new technology – green-screen superimposition = dancing in front of a fantastical background. #twecon

4. Early ’90s vids also saw either a bold sense of place (eg Otara Markets, K Road) or set in a nonspecific urban anywhere. #twecon

5. How far can $5000 stretch? The Tall Dwarfs used one grant to make videos for the four songs on one EP. $1250 per song. #twecon

6. OMC’s video for How Bizarre cost a mere $7000 to make and looks cheap and cheesy, but had a killer song behind it so did well. #twecon

Pauline DawsonA Farewell Symphony: Memory loss and the loss of memories

1. A Farewell Symphony: Memory loss and the loss of memories #twecon

2. I had always considered failing memory to be like a jumbled archive, intact but inaccessible; mirroring the neurological tangles #twecon

3. Memory triggers like photos & people increasingly fail to prompt a response. Physical & built memories remain as memory is lost #twecon

4. However there is a suggestion that Alzheimer’s or dementia is more an emptying of the mind tinyurl.com/3g77spo #twecon

5. Each memory and associated faculties are snuffed out and leave the stage youtube.com/watch?v=K0ligH… #twecon

6 Was Luis Buñuel right when he wrote “Life without memory is no life at all…Without it, we are nothing.” Or are we more than that #twecon

Heather GayeCulture Shocker: anecdotal-but-hard-learned tips for kiwi travelers on surviving the move to London.

1 Culture Shocker: anecdotal-but-hard-learned tips for kiwi travelers on surviving the move to London. #twecon

2 Open a bank account before arriving. A friend wailed “what will I do with this £2000 in my purse?” at a teller: that also worked. #twecon

3 Earn £. I spent much time in net cafes weeping into my diminishing bank balance. Temp, or do pub work while finding a real job. #twecon

4 Leave, anywhere, monthly. Winter’s the 5th circle, but not-London’s lovely at that time of year. Brighton was my sanity quickfix. #twecon

5 Adventure trumps job. I never said “I wish I’d skipped [festival] to work”. I got more done in a day than the locals in 4 anyway. #twecon

6 Culture shock is real but temporary. 3 months in I hated life & humanity & was ready to pack. The feeling disappeared in a week. #twecon

James Butler – Socialised media, privatised message: the shifting focus of the editorial voice

1. Socialised media, privatised message: the shifting focus of the editorial voice #twecon

2. Multiple writers producing a distinct editorial voice is a practice with a long history, The Economist* a striking example¹. #twecon

3. *@TheEconomist reduces this voice to yelling headlines; tweets from news² and blog sites³ with distinct authors do this too. #twecon

4. In “native” social media, the choice of handles can turn this on its head. To whom is sickness ascribed when we read: #twecon

5. RT @publicaddress: Okay, this Sudafed’s not working. Should I try meth? | Is it a “community of blogs”?? Authors? Commentors? #twecon

6. Here, the voice is personal, the byline collective. (1: http://t.co/4mQ60y9 2: @NYTimes 3: @BoingBoing 4: http://t.co/3w3xzQe) #twecon

Andrew LongTMI: Twitter as emergent autobiographical manifestation engine

1. TMI: Twitter as emergent autobiographical manifestation engine #twecon

2. Artist Frida Kahlo recounted harrowing events in her life with self-portraits filled with disturbing medical imagery. #twecon

3. Writer Charles Bukowski wrote of his “ten year drunk” by chronicling his life through protagonist Henry Chinaski. #twecon

4. Musician Jay Reatard (@jayreatard) documented events, intentions & opinions during the last 13 months of his life, on Twitter. #twecon

5. He had a preoccupation with body functions such as eating & defecating. He was bored a lot despite travelling extensively. #twecon

6. @jayretard’s last tweet was posted on January 12th, 2010. He died of cocaine toxicity on January 13th, 2010 in his sleep. #twecon

Train the TeacherIt’s about the learning: The role of teachers in the information age

1. It’s about the learning: The role of teachers in the information age #twecon

2. For millennia society has responded to information scarcity by grouping students together in a centralized location. #twecon

3. We now live in an age of information abundance. The role of the teacher as masters of knowledge in their classroom is obsolete. #twecon

4. In fact as #twecon demonstrates the idea that learning must take place within a physical space (schools) is called into question.

5. Teachers have responded by shifting focus from teaching to learning and from knowledge consumption to knowledge creation. #twecon

6. Yet our education system is built on the idea that the unlearned learn from the learned. What is knowledge and who defines it? #twecon

<a href=””http://twitter.com/parkesweb”>Steve Parks – ¿Nadie piensa en los niños? Un caso para la enseñanza de lengua extranjera obligatoria.

Or: “Won’t somebody think of the children? A case for mandatory foreign language teaching.”

1 No agarrarse su lengua: A case for teaching second languages to children at an early age #twecon

2 Debatably, younger children more naturally learn language. Children who learn second languages more easily learn further languages #twecon

3 Language learning can seem intimidating to an adult, especially if we are too comfortable with the quasi-world language of English #twecon

4 We should teach children a second language as soon as possible or we are missing an opportunity. Some say it should not be forced #twecon

5 That’s a weak objection: at early ages most subjects are compulsory; we don’t say “only take PE if you want” #twecon

6 Te reo and/or a foreign language should be taught to children early. Then they will have the genuine choice to continue or not #twecon

Aimee WhitcroftRobots and tentacles: the singularity as kraken

1. Robots and tentacles: the Singularity as Kraken #twecon

  1. Latter fires heat the deep, the future rises and swarms, its waveforms opening to engulf us. Tentacles… #twecon
  • … of possibility, the curves of an unceasing end and unremitting remaking, a multitude of attachments… #twecon
  • nodes, hooks, hyperlinks, lines. The merging of man and machine, of mind and manufacture… #twecon

  • … an end to our world, our understanding, our structures. A beginning. #twecon

  • The Kraken beckons, Singularity awaits. #twecon

  • References and readings: bit.ly/nk5sHL bit.ly/rrt2Au gizmo.do/geMWBF bit.ly/p93p4O bit.ly/ofAMMH #twecon

    James Macbeth DannUntitled surprise

    1 I miss the comfort in being sad: finding Nirvana in post-earthquake Christchurch #twecon

    2 I was two years shy of high school when Kurt Cobain killed himself; like many teenagers, it was my soundtrack to adolescent angst #twecon

    3 much of my experience of his music was influence by a borrowed vision of Christchurch in 1991, when “Nevermind” came out. #twecon

    4 flannel shirts, rising unemployment, bleak prospects; Christchurch 2011 is very similar to 1991. #eqnz makes me think “grunge” #twecon

    5 listening again to “Bleach”, “In Utero”, “Nevermind”, appropriated teenage emotion has validity- anger & disillusion at authority #twecon

    6 in 1991, Seattle was the grunge capital of the world. In 2011, its sister city Christchurch is – so where is our Nirvana? #twecon

    Closing Speech

    1. Closing address (this year with pictures) #twecon yfrog.com/kinmykmj

    1. Thanks, one and all, for presenting, retweeting, reading, questioning and generally being awesome. A con is worthless without you #twecon
  • The first #twecon was a grand experiment. 2nd time around was slightly bigger and possibly more practiced; writing these papers is hard.
  • I’m still keen to hear your suggestions as to what we can do to improve the #twecon experience; this isn’t an idea I claim ownership of.

  • In that vein, I want to encourage you to start running your own #twecon events. yfrog.com/kicebquj

  • One final image. Cher for the time being. See you at the end of the year. #twecon yfrog.com/kkyvvduj

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