Category Archives: Code

Growth EP and the bonus track!


Contextual Essay:


Growth (Deluxe) is a musical project that mostly explores spiritual aspects of love, peace and happiness, while briefly, in a bonus song, touching on our material and philosophical relationship with technology. I want to invite the listener to grow as an individual, and inspire them to progress with meaning and be happy. By impacting one person, in consequence a ripple effect could occur for 10, 15 or 20 years. Imagine the inspiration of one human to change themselves, inspiring someone else!


The project is F.I.S.T, (fast, inexpensive, simple and tiny). It was put together by using free recording software and a relatively cheap Blue Yeti microphone. I recorded the Whole project at home so there was no paid for studio time. I did all the editing and mastering on each track. To post my songs, I used Sound cloud, a free platform for artists.



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The Future for Women in STEM & Arduino’s Practical Influence

The present and the future are inevitably becoming rapidly technological. The possibilities are quite literally endless, with autonomous cars, clean meats and virtual reality technologies becoming more and more of a reality than ever before. As a result of this, the workforce has changed dramatically since the early 1900s, — manual labour is becoming less […]

via The Future for Women in STEM & Arduino’s Practical Influence — A Blog in the Life of Melissa

The politics and ideologies of data visualisation: A sociological perspective

Cybercultural Research Project: Second Progress Report

Since my first progress account I have renamed my topic, The politics and ideologies of data visualisation: A sociological perspective. The following is an updated outline that will guide the production of a research report or digital artefact.

Introductory Remarks

I will employ data visualisation to mean ‘the visual representation of statistical and other types of numeric and non‑numeric data through the use of static or interactive pictures and graphics.’  For now, I will define cyberculture simply and according to Mirriam Webster. I will also distinguish data from information in order to lay groundwork for the introduction of emergent critical perspectives associated with the politics and ideologies of data visualisation (abbrev. dataviz). For example, the ideological work that data visualisations do introduces dataviz conventions as functioning to produce a sense of ‘objectivity, transparency and facticity.’  In reality, graphics may be value-laden, ambiguous and fictitious (See also: Seeing Data 2016).  The introductory paragraphs will also note broad relevance of the topic, defining the concepts of information saturation (or overload), ‘data explosion’ and data science.

A sociologist in training, I will overview abstracts and biographies of a recent sociological conference to underscore the progress of Sociology in recent years, as these have been significant guides in my research. I will cite Healy and Moody’s view of Sociology as lagging in the use of visual tools.  This research will note the historical association of social work with the development and implementation of national policy circa the welfare state in 1946 to present. The Australian Commonwealth has exercised control over the direction of national social policy since the founding of the Commonwealth Research Bureau in 1944 (Morning Bulletin 1947). The privatization of social services will be raised as a related issue of concern in neoliberal contexts like Australia.

The four arguments introduced in my first progress report will be summarized for my audience and continue to guide topic development.

Research Body

Accordingly, I will exemplify how both past inventions and futuristic thinking have shaped the development of data visualisation technologies and practices. Examples of what science fiction has technologically foreseen will be provided in reference to a presentation by Jeffrey Heer titled A Brief History of Data Visualization.  This source will be coupled with a Milestones Tour to provide an overview of current DV trends and research areas. Augmented reality (AR) will be exemplified, envisioned in 1968 and famously employed in AR animation by Hans Rosling in recent years.

Of what was been culturally foreseen and is of relevance to the topic, I will cite Huff in his ‘prophetic’ reference to GH Wells in How to Lie with Statistics‘Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.’ I will also quote Aldous Huxley’s utopiandystopian Brave New Word (1932), in which ‘liberties and individuality’ have been lost ‘in the name of universal stability’ (Shmoop 2016).  This will be an allusion to the implication of social work with national population and fiscal policy targeting ‘illegitimate‘ children during 20th century Australia.

In the second section of the report’s body I will exemplify how governments and bureaucracies have significant authority in the relationship between the user and the computer, aiming questions of cyberculture at the legitimacy of related structures of command.  The following related research into dataviz forms an amended outline of sources extending on my first progress report and is a work in progress:

A glossary of terms will accompany an introduction to an Australian case study detailed in my first progress report. Entries will underscore the prodigious influence of digitally enabled communication, networked computation and media technologies in proliferating issues of related concern, including population trends and curvessocial entropy (see also: Galtung in 1967), exponential growth and singularity.

This case study will critique a dominant discourse and related DV by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, positing national social policy in contemporary cyberspace arenas.  An alternative DV will provide a statistical estimate of an historically marginalised group. Statistical relativity will be discussed and feature David McCandless’ take on the topic.  This work will be emancipatory and state author biases.


The conclusion will summarise identified limits and affordances of our technology infused realities, including: data inadequacies, the need for increased scepticism of data and new hypotheses.

Learning to Code with the Help of Arduino

Growing up as a kid I never put much thought into how the technology I used each day functioned. I never questioned how I managed to play The Sims on my Compaq Desktop PC, or how said Compaq Desktop PC connected to the internet. I didn’t really care how my Neopets Pocket Game system was […]

via Learning to Code with the Help of Arduino — A Blog in the Life of Melissa

Politics and Ideologies of Data Visualisation


The following progress report on my research into the politics and ideologies of data visualisation, begins with a brief overview of my academic, scholarly and industry-relevant research and includes concise summaries of arguments to be shared in related DICG335 projects.

I am a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate student, majoring in sociology and minoring in design.  Questions of politics and ideology, broad public policy positions and related agendas overlap and concern the agendas of social policy analysts.

My undergraduate training brings the academically relevant study of neoliberalism, population geography and statistics to bear on the progress of my current project.  Relevantly, since 2011 I have conducted independent research into the politics and ideology of data visualisation in examining the social issue known as forced adoption.  I have also undertaken independent historical research into 20th century Australian state welfare policies and practices. This background knowledge informs my current research and provides the interim results of an ongoing case study.  Significantly, I have also sourced the collaborative subject blog, Cybercultures, where  Dr. Christopher Moore recently introduced me to Accelerationism, theories of systems decay, entropy and more.

Resources that have guided the development of my topic thus far are hyperlinked in the following draft outline of my research report. Each of four headings below open with a related concise summary of related arguments to be shared in Assessments 2 & 3.  These summaries have been informed by DIGC335 course material suggests and are paraphrased as block quotes below. The following research has relevance not only to the industries of social work and child welfare but education and software development.

Data visualisation, history and cyberculture

I will argue that data visualisation technology looks to the past as much as it does to the future in thinking about cyberculture and the types of technological, corporate, political, social, and legal changes that have been represented in popular culture.

Politics and ideologies of data visualisation 

I will argue that governments and bureaucracies have significant authority in the relationship between the user and the computer, aiming questions of cyberculture at the legitimacy of related structures of command and control.

Case study: Towards a statistical and contextual analysis of forced adoption (unpublished and ongoing)

This emancipatory research was undertaken to examine the statistical grounds for viewing ‘forced adoption’ as a ‘product of the times‘ (see mores of society, predicated by legislation prohibiting their taboos).

It will be employed in the current research to exemplify how the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to the limits and affordances of our technology infused realities.

  • Significant findings:
    • Illegitimate children are a known targeted group (para 2:14, p.34, Senate Report).
    • Statistical analysis reveals trends at odds with what social scientists regarded as indicative of social mores in 1976 (see Kraus).
    • Forced adoptions peaked between 1953-4, contrary to hegemonic discourse.
    • Historical practices and policies consistently correlated with exponential trends in annual proportions of adoptions to ex-nuptial births.
    • Evidence of a  crisis between 1965-72 and an exponential increase in welfare payments to unmarried women aged 17 and over 1971-72.
    • Underpinning ideologies, such as  euthenics and eugenics (White Australia Policy), suggested systematisation or automation of social and political policies of illegitimate child removal.
    • National and state exponential decline in adoptions circa 1971-2 may be due to social entropy.

Imaginaries and Futures

Scholarly research will be employed to argue that the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to a broad range of issues and concerns which have arisen as a result of the proliferation of digitally-enabled communication, networked computation and media technologies and practices.

Header image:

Infinite Unknown, 2017, retrieved March 16, <;