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A BIT of Korea’s Online Gaming Empire

In South Korea, online gaming is a cultural phenomenon. Games are broadcast on television, professional gamers are celebrities, and youth culture is often identified with online gaming. This BIT examines the working conditions of professional gamers in the high-pressure world of the Korean online gaming industry.

A BIT of Architect?

From an essential text for the aspiring architect, this BIT offers realistic, unvarnished advice. A practicing architect and planner, professor of architecture, and architecture columnist offers reasons for becoming an architect (including “creative and intellectual fulfillment,” “love of drawing—without a computer,” and “immortality”) as well as reasons for not becoming an architect (including “lack of work,” “competition,” and “ego vulnerability”).

A BIT of Raising the Stakes

Competitive video and computer game play is nothing new; what is new in the world of digital gaming is the emergence of professional computer game play. This BIT explores how a form of play becomes a sport, with professional players, agents, referees, leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, and spectators.

A BIT of The Language of New Media

This BIT offers an excerpt from a book that has shaped the study of new media. In The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich offered the field’s first systematic and rigorous theory. Here, Manovich considers the computer as illusion generator, addressing such questions as the “reality effect” of new media images and the comparative illusionism of new media, photography, film, and video.

A BIT of The Global Biopolitics of the IUD

The intrauterine device (IUD) has been viewed both as a means for women’s reproductive autonomy and as coercive tool of state-imposed population control, as a convenient form of birth control on a par with the pill and as a threat to women’s health. This BIT examines the early development of the IUD through a feminist science lens, describing efforts to improve and measure its contraceptive efficacy.

A BIT of The Memory Process

The humanities can add valuable insights to the study of memory. This BIT draws on recent neuroscientific research to explore one of the great masterpieces of fifteenth-century Flemish painting, Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross. It connects memory to the direct and indirect bodily responses to a work of art.

A BIT of Selfless Insight

During the past three decades, neurology researcher James Austin (author of Zen and the Brain) has been at the cutting edge of both Zen and neuroscience, constantly discovering new examples of how these two large fields each illuminate the other. In this BIT, Austin discusses how meditation trains our attention, reprogramming it toward subtle forms of awareness that are more openly mindful. He reveals many subtleties in our networks of attention.

A BIT of The Illusion of Conscious Will

Do we consciously cause our actions, or do they happen to us? Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, and lawyers have long debated the existence of free will versus determinism. This BIT, excerpted from an influential book by the late Daniel Wegner, offers an innovative view of one aspect of free will. Wegner argues that when people project action to imaginary agents, they create virtual agents, apparent sources of their own volition.

A BIT of Matter and Consciousness, third edition

This selection from a recently updated edition of a classic work by Paul Churchland considers such questions as the nature of mental states and processes, in what medium they take place, how they are related to the physical world, whether consciousness survives the disintegration of the physical body, and if a purely physical system such as a computer could enjoy real conscious experience.

A BIT of Saving Global Fisheries

The Earth’s oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world’s fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In this BIT, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth R. DeSombre offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach, describing the “capture” of regulation by industry and offering a plan for a global institution for fisheries regulation.

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