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  1. Last 7 days
    1. As the UCLA study indicates, we vastly overestimate how much we will be entertaining, and this is especially true for houses in neighborhoods where a 30-minute drive is required of anyone who wants to visit in the first place.
    2. The ironic inefficiency of hyper-exaggerated high-end entertaining spaces belies a truth: These spaces aren’t really designed for entertaining. They’re designed for impressing others.
    3. One of the simplest reasons so many clamor for formal spaces is because they are a signifier of wealth and prestige, a sign of having “made it.”
    1. Luhmann didn’t only write a lot and developed the most complex of all theoretical bodies in the social sciences. He was known for his vast knowledge and deep thinking. He didn’t run to his Zettelkasten when you asked him something. This is because he practiced thinking through writing and processing in the context of the Zettelkasten.

      I read Zettelkasten (German for “slip box”, or “card index”) and immediately think commonplace book!

    2. The Barbell Method takes this into account by integrating your reading habit into your knowledge work with two steps: Read the book. Read swiftly but don’t skip any parts unless they make you vomit or put you to sleep. Mark all the passages that stand out and contain useful, interesting or inspiring information. Read the book a second time. But now you read the marked parts only. This time you make notes, connect them to past notes (Zettelkasten Method!) and think about what you’ve read. Make mindmaps, drawings, bullet points – everything that helps you to think more clearly.
    1. The Six Corners store, like more than 100 other Sears locations, is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate company controlled by Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert. Seritage, which is publicly traded, has a market value nearly 10 times greater than Sears Holdings.

      Interesting to see the interaction between Sears Holdings and Seritage. The value is apparently all in the real estate.

    1. Post Kinds consists of a few elements A URL parser that takes an input URL and tries to extract it into structured data Enhancements to the Post Editor to add additional structured data to the post object A Taxonomy that takes that structured data and classifies it and dictates behavior A rendering piece that takes the structured data stored in post meta and displays it using templates that can be overridden in the theme by including them in a subdirectory called kind_views

      This is a great short description from a WordPress developer perspective of what the Post Kinds Plugin does

    1. Boiled down, Medium is sim­ply mar­ket­ing in the ser­vice of more mar­ket­ing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for ad­ver­tis­ers. It is, there­fore, ut­terly superfluous.
    2. Like all non­sense, it’s in­tended to be easy to swal­low.
    1. In fact blog posts are not the kind of thing one can detail on one’s annual review form, and even a blog in the aggregate doesn’t have a place in which it’s easy to be claimed as a site of ongoing scholarly productivity.
    2. Mine have gone more like (1) having some vague annoying idea with a small i; (b) writing multiple blog posts thinking about things related to that idea; (iii) giving a talk somewhere fulminating about some other thing entirely; (4) wondering if maybe there are connections among those things; (e) holy carp, if I lay the things I’ve been noodling about over the last year and a half out in this fashion, it could be argued that I am in the middle of writing a book!

      Here's another person talking about blogs as "thought spaces" the same way that old school bloggers like Dave Winer and Om Malik amongst many others have in the past. While I'm thinking about it I believe that Colin Walker and Colin Devroe have used this sort of idea as well.

    3. The blog was not just the venue in which I started putting together the ideas that became my second book, the one that made promotion and various subsequent jobs possible, but it was also the way that I was able to demonstrate that there might be a readership for that second book, without which it’s much less likely that a press would have been interested.

      This sounds like she's used her blog as both a commonplace book as well as an author platform.

    1. To that point, I've also basically not refollowed any news accounts or "official" corporate accounts. Anything I need to know about major headlines gets surfaced through other channels, or even just other parts of Twitter, so I don't need to see social media updates from media companies whose entire economic model is predicated on causing me enough stress to click through to their sites.

      Some good general advice...

    2. It turns out, I don't mind knowing about current events, but it hurts to see lots of people I care about going through anguish or pain when bad news happens. I want to optimize for being aware, but not emotionally overwhelmed.
    1. “To be in the shoes of an Other still leaves you with your own feet.”

      Reminiscent of Jefferson's quote "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

    1. I am generous with what I have—I choose to be generous with what I have—precisely because we are no longer committed to one another as members of a shared social structure. Instead, the shift of responsibility for the public welfare toward private entities displaces our obligations to one another in favor of individual liberties and, I think, leaves us queasy about the notion of obligation altogether.

      The game theory of things tends to pull the society apart, particularly when it is easier to see who is paying what. If the richer end feels they're paying more than their fair share, this can tend to break things down.

      I suspect that Francis Fukuyama has a bit to say about this in how democratic societies built themselves up over time. Similarly one of his adherents Jonah Goldberg provides some related arguments about tribalism tending to tear democracies down when we revert back to a more primitive viewpoint instead of being able to trust the larger governmental structures of a democracy.

    1. dismissing pleasure in reading (whether as illicit, or unserious, or whathaveyou) opens space for anxiety to become one’s dominant reading affect, and particularly “anxiety about whether we’re reading the right stuff, or reading for the right reasons, or reading in the right way.”
    1. Under late capital, the non-profit has been asked to take over the space of providing for community needs or supporting community interests that had formerly been occupied by the state as the entity responsible for the public welfare.

      I know the book American Amnesia talks about the value built up by a strong government working in conjunction with a capitalist machine over the past century or so. I wonder if the later half of the book gets into how to shift things back in this manner?

    2. Calls to work on behalf of the community or to the community’s values wind up not only, as I noted in my last post, ignoring community’s supplementary role with respect to capital but also essentializing a highly complex and intersectional set of social relations.

      This reminds me of some studies in psychology about why people vote and for whom they vote. It's not always who they would vote for individually, but who would a group of people like them vote? This makes the "community" portion far more complex than it would appear.

      I should track down the original references, but I think I remember reading about them via either George Lakoff or possibly Malcolm Gladwell.

    1. Reversing the trend toward privatization will thus require not just massive public mobilization and demand of elected officials, but also a hard turn away from efficiency as a primary value, a recognition that the building of relationships and the cultivation of care is slow and difficult and of necessity inefficient. In fact, that its value lies in its inefficiency — but making the case for such inefficiency as a necessary value requires a lot of effort, and a lot of caution.

      There's a kernel here of something about the value of links (social, business, etc.) as put forward by Cesar Hidalgo in Why Information Grows. Where is the real value? How can it best be extracted? Built up? Having a more direct means of valuing these otherwise seeming intangibles will be important in the future.

    2. This displacement is of course operative in the de-funding of public universities, effectively transforming them into non-profits rather than state institutions. The effects of this program of neoliberal1 reform run deep, not least that the dominant motivator behind these privatized institutions becomes sustainability rather than service, leaving universities, like non-profits, in an endless cycle of fundraising and budget cuts.
    3. Throughout Generous Thinking, one of my interests lies in the effects of, and the need to reverse, the shift in our cultural understanding of education (and especially higher education); where in the mid-twentieth century, the value of education was largely understood to be social, it has in recent decades come to be described as providing primarily private, individual benefits. And this, inevitably, has accompanied a shift from education being treated as a public service to being treated as a private responsibility.
    1. You see this in bookstores: staff recommendations. This is the store’s window into an infinite catalog of books. And it works. The system is: here are our favorites. Then, venturing further into the store: this is what we happen to have.

      I spent some time on Wednesday chatting with the owner of a used bookstore that had a 10x10 foot "kiosk" space in a local mall next to a make up cart. He had one of the single most highly curated collections of used books in about 12 categories that I've ever seen. It was stunningly awesome.

      I would never have expected this as a business to exist, but like itinerant booksellers of the 15th century, he's just doing what they've always done apparently.

    2. Likes, upvotes, replies, friending. What if it’s all just linking? In fact, what if linking is actually more meaningful!

      This is sort of the fun, I think, in maintaining things like listen and read posts on my site. While they're a useful archive for me, in some part I hope they might speed some discovery for folks who find them or search them by category/tag as well.

      I could post somewhere, "Hey I listen to this podcast," or retweet a headline, but invariably in the morass of content out there, there isn't actually an indication that I invested my finite amount of time actually listening to or reading that thing. Perhaps I was just doing some social signaling to make myself seem more interesting or worldly? To me this is a lot of the value of these types of posts.

  2. Jul 2018
    1. My conclusion from this long line of null results is that when physics tries to rectify a perceived lack of beauty, we waste time on problems that aren’t really problems. Physicists must rethink their methods, now – before we start discussing whether the world needs a next larger particle collider or yet another dark matter search.

      $$Insert LaTeX$$

    2. History has a second lesson. Even though beauty was arguably a strong personal motivator for many physicists, the problems that led to breakthroughs were not merely aesthetic misgivings – they were mathematical contradictions. Einstein, for example, abolished absolute time because it was in contradiction with Maxwell’s electromagnetism, thereby creating special relativity. He then resolved the conflict between special relativity and Newtonian gravity, which gave him general relativity. Dirac later removed the disagreement between special relativity and quantum mechanics, which led to the development of the quantum field theories which we still use in particle physics today.
    3. I think it’s time we take a lesson from the history of science. Beauty does not have a good track record as a guide for theory-development.
    4. Nevertheless, physicists continue to select theories based on the same three criteria of beauty: simplicity, naturalness, and elegance.
    1. But Blair is not just posting about her own life; she has taken non-consenting parties along for the ride.
    2. A friend of mine asked if I’d thought through the contradiction of criticizing Blair publicly like this, when she’s another not-quite public figure too.

      Did this really happen? Or is the author inventing it to diffuse potential criticism as she's writing about the same story herself and only helping to propagate it?

      There's definitely a need to write about this issue, so kudos for that. Ella also deftly leaves out the name of the mystery woman, I'm sure on purpose. But she does include enough breadcrumbs to make the rest of the story discover-able so that one could jump from here to participate in the piling on. I do appreciate that it doesn't appear that she's given Blair any links in the process, which for a story like this is some subtle internet shade.

    3. the woman on the plane has deleted her own Instagram account after receiving violent abuse from the army Blair created.

      Feature request: the ability to make one's social media account "disappear" temporarily while a public "attack" like this is happening.

      We need a great name for this. Publicity ghosting? Fame cloaking?

    4. Even when the attention is positive, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your mind reels at the possibility of what they could find: your address, if your voting records are logged online; your cellphone number, if you accidentally included it on a form somewhere; your unflattering selfies at the beginning of your Facebook photo archive. There are hundreds of Facebook friend requests, press requests from journalists in your Instagram inbox, even people contacting your employer when they can’t reach you directly. This story you didn’t choose becomes the main story of your life. It replaces who you really are as the narrative someone else has written is tattooed onto your skin.
    5. We actively create our public selves, every day, one social media post at a time.
    6. What Blair did and continues to do as she stokes the flames of this story despite knowing this woman wants no part of it goes beyond intrusive. It is selfish, disrespectful harassment.

      Previously this was under the purview of journalists who typically had some ethics as well as editors to prevent this from happening. Now the average citizen has been given these same tools that journalists always had and they just haven't been trained in their use.

      How can we create some feedback mechanism to improve the situation? Should these same things be used against the perpetrators to show them how bad things could be?

    7. To summarize his argument, the media industry wants to broaden our definition of the public so that it will be fair game for discussion and content creation, meaning they can create more articles and videos, meaning they can sell more ads. The tech industry wants everything to be public because coding for privacy is difficult, and because our data, if public, is something they can sell. Our policy makers have failed to define what’s public in this digital age because, well, they don’t understand it and wouldn’t know where to begin. And also, because lobbyists don’t want them to.
    1. I also value reading a person’s blog over time to understand better their voice and context. So I’m asking for some advice on how to update my module on finding research. What replaces RSS feeds? What works for you that goes beyond “someone on Twitter/Facebook shared….” to something that is more focused and intentional?
    2. Because I’m old, I still have my students set up Feedly accounts and plug in the RSS feeds of their classmates and hopefully add other blogs to their feeds as well. And like blogging, I realize only a handful will continue but I want to expose them to the power of sharing their own research/learning via blogging and how to find others who do as well via Feedly.
    1. Such thinking has also been gaining some traction in the West, although so far only at the political fringes. The underlying idea is that some types of services, including social networks and online search, are essential facilities akin to roads and other kinds of infrastructure and should be regulated as utilities, which in essence means capping their profits. Alternatively, important data services, such as digital identity, could be offered by governments. Evgeny Morozov, a researcher and internet activist, goes one step further, calling for the creation of public data utilities, which would pool vital digital information and ensure equal access to it.
    2. When it comes to democracy and human rights, a Jeffersonian internet is clearly a safer choice. With Web 3.0 still in its infancy, the West at least will need to find other ways to rein in the online giants. The obvious alternative is regulation.
    3. Leading thinkers in China argue that putting government in charge of technology has one big advantage: the state can distribute the fruits of AI, which would otherwise go to the owners of algorithms.
    1. A 2016 Lancet study found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.

      Pure corruption here. Protectionism to prop up profits of approximately 630 million versus major benefits and savings of 300 billion. Even if you look at the calculus of the entire industry of 70 billion it becomes a no brainer.

    1. As John Sherman, the senator who gave his name to America’s original antitrust law in 1890, put it at a time when the robber barons ruled much of America’s economy: “If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and sale of any of the necessaries of life.”
    2. “When feedback data from large players is available to smaller competitors, then innovation…is not concentrated at the top,” he argues in “Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data”, a new book co-written with Thomas Ramge, a journalist.
    3. It is not the data that are valuable, he says, but the services powered by them. Some firms are just better at developing new offerings than others.
    4. So big piles of data can become a barrier to competitors entering the market, says Maurice Stucke of the University of Tennessee.
    1. There’s an old-fashioned word for this: corruption. In corrupt systems, a few bad actors cost everyone else billions in order to bring in millions – the savings a factory can realize from dumping pollution in the water supply are much smaller than the costs we all bear from being poisoned by effluent. But the costs are widely diffused while the gains are tightly concentrated, so the beneficiaries of corruption can always outspend their victims to stay clear.
    2. For commercial surveillance to be cost effective, it has to socialize all the risks associated with mass surveillance and privatize all the gains.
    3. Facebook isn’t a mind-control ray. It’s a tool for finding people who possess uncommon, hard-to-locate traits, whether that’s “person thinking of buying a new refrigerator,” “person with the same rare disease as you,” or “person who might participate in a genocidal pogrom,” and then pitching them on a nice side-by-side or some tiki torches, while showing them social proof of the desirability of their course of action, in the form of other people (or bots) that are doing the same thing, so they feel like they’re part of a crowd.

      Similar to the riot theory...

    1. The best forecasters make lots of precise forecasts and keep track of their performance with a metric such as a Brier score.
    2. A large literature shows that we tend to be overconfident in our judgments.
    3. This result is consistent with analysis by the data science team at Quora, a site where users ask and answer questions. That team found that women use uncertain words and phrases more often than men do, even when they are just as confident.
    4. Phil Tetlock, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, who has studied forecasting in depth, suggests that “vague verbiage gives you political safety.”
    1. Previous efforts at decentralisation also foundered because the economics proved wanting, including those of the original internet. Historically, most protocols were developed by researchers and then maintained by non-profit organisations. But when the internet went mainstream and the money poured in, things got more complex. Commercial interests made finding consensus more difficult, and engineers preferred to join fast-growing internet companies building applications. Besides, incentives to adopt new protocols were lacking.
    1. “INFORMATION RULES”—published in 1999 but still one of the best books on digital economics—Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian, two economists, popularised the term “network effects”,

      I want to get a copy of this book.

    1. The centralisation of the internet and the growing importance of data has given rise to what Frank Pasquale of the University of Maryland, in a recent paper published in American Affairs, calls a “Jeffersonian/Hamiltonian divide” among critics of big tech. One group stands in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, who favoured smaller government and less concentration in business. Its members want to rein in the tech titans through tougher antitrust policies, including break-ups. The other group follows the thinking of Alexander Hamilton, another founding father, who supported strong central institutions, both in politics and in the economy. Its adherents argue that to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and distribute them fairly, online giants should be treated as utilities.
    2. Venture capitalists now talk about “kill zones”, areas they will not invest in because one of the big players may squeeze the life out of startups or buy them up at a low price.
    3. “We reject: kings, presidents and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.”
    1. In fact, these platforms have become inseparable from their data: we use “Facebook” to refer to both the application and the data that drives that application. The result is that nearly every Web app today tries to ask you for more and more data again and again, leading to dangling data on duplicate and inconsistent profiles we can no longer manage. And of course, this comes with significant privacy concerns.
    1. Now, just let me know you’re out there. If I link to you and you link to me, that’s a pretty good start I’d say.

      👋

    2. I guess this brings us to the Indieweb where you can probably still call each other Netizens and bemoan the death of RSS. Even though it’s been around since 2013, I see a spark of hope in this ragtag group of HTMLists. (Why isn’t “ragtag” some kind of microformat for the homeless?)

      I love this!

    3. It sounds like I’m asking for the suburbs back. We built the ideal metropolis—now move back to the suburbs? What for?

      Suburbs? Let's move back to the countrysided!

    4. flair
    5. Did Google’s killing Reader kill the web? Or did Reader at least do some initial trial strangling?

      gaslighting perhaps?

    1. Micro.blog is not an alternative silo: instead, it’s what you build when you believe that the web itself is the great social network.

      So true!!!

    1. Despite the risks, however, Mariner Finance is eager to gain new customers. The company declined to say how many unsolicited checks it mails out, but because only about 1 percent of recipients cash them, the number is probably in the millions. The “loans-by-mail” program accounted for 28 percent of Mariner’s loans issued in the third quarter of 2017, according to Kroll. Mariner’s two largest competitors, by contrast, rarely use the tactic.

      Incidentally 1% is the response rate necessary to make spam email and fax financially viable. Coincidence?

  3. Jun 2018
    1. It disorients the reader, and distracts them with endless, timeless content.
    2. Sreekumar added: "Interestingly enough, the change was made after Instagram opened the doors to brands to run ads." But even once they pay for visibility, a brand under pressure to remain engaging: "Playing devil's advocate for a second here: All the money in the world cannot transform shitty content into good content."

      Artificially limiting reach of large accounts to then turn around and demand extortion money? It's the social media mafia!

    3. use algorithms to decide on what individual users most wanted to see. Depending on our friendships and actions, the system might deliver old news, biased news, or news which had already been disproven.
    4. 2016 was the year of politicians telling us what we should believe, but it was also the year of machines telling us what we should want.
    5. The only way to insure your posts gain notice is to bombard the feed and hope that some stick, which risks comprising on quality and annoying people.
    1. My heart forever broken by social-media silos, I’m not really interested in using Micro.blog as yet another “Okay, I’m over here now” social network. I get the impression that it has potential for much deeper use than that, if I can only get my head around it.

      Micro.blog can be many things to many people which can be confusing, particularly when you're a very tech savvy person and can see all the options at once. I'd recommend looking at it like a custom feed reader for a community of people you'd like to follow and interact with. Spend some time in the reader and just interact with those you're following and they'll do likewise in return.

      It's purposely missing some of the dopamine triggers other social silos have, so you may need to retrain your brain to use it appropriately, but I think it's worthwhile if you do.

    2. I really need to hash out my domain situation! IndieWeb encourages its memership to claim a single domain and use it as their personal stamp for everything they do on the internet. I, though, have two domains: my long-held personal catch-all domain of jmac.org, and fogknife.com, which I use exclusively for blogging. My use of both predates my involvement with IndieWeb.

      Don't fret too much over having multiple websites. As you continue on the answer to what you want to do with them will eventually emerge more organically than if you force it to. For some thoughts and inspiration, check out https://indieweb.org/multi-site_indieweb

    1. it’s just an XML file

      But it's still an additional side file to maintain versus something simpler like microformats' use of an h-feed.

    1. fickle audiences available on social platforms.

      Here's where feed readers without algorithms could provide more stability for news.

    2. (Remember when every news site published the piece, “What Time Is the Super Bowl?”)

      This is a great instance for Google's box that simply provides the factual answer instead of requiring a click through.

    3. (Roose, who has since deleted his tweet as part of a routine purge of tweets older than 30 days, told me it was intended simply as an observation, not a full analysis of the trends.)

      Another example of someone regularly deleting their tweets at regular intervals. I've seem a few examples of this in academia.

    1. The other two are where the open web is severely lacking: The seamless integration into one user interface of both reading and writing, making it very easy to respond to others that way, or add to the river of content.

      As I read this I can't help thinking about my friend Aaron Davis (@mrkrndvs) a member of the IndieWeb, whose domain name is appropriately https://readwriterespond.com/

    1. balloons

      I remember the false positive Leo Laporte reported in his home security system when it thought a balloon floating by was an intruder in his home.

    1. We believe that Facebook is also actively encouraging people to use tools like Buffer Publish for their business or organization, rather than personal use. They are continuing to support the use of Facebook Pages, rather than personal Profiles, for things like scheduling and analytics.

      Of course they're encouraging people to do this. Pushing them to the business side is where they're making all the money.

    1. I’m not looking for just a “hipster-web”, but a new and demonstrably better web.
    1. Having low scores posted for all coworkers to see was “very embarrassing,” said Steph Buja, who recently left her job as a server at a Chili’s in Massachusetts. But that’s not the only way customers — perhaps inadvertently — use the tablets to humiliate waitstaff. One diner at Buja’s Chili’s used Ziosk to comment, “our waitress has small boobs.”According to other servers working in Ziosk environments, this isn’t a rare occurrence.

      This is outright sexual harrassment and appears to be actively creating a hostile work environment. I could easily see a class action against large chains and/or against the app maker themselves. Aggregating the data and using it in a smart way is fine, but I suspect no one in the chain is actively thinking about what they're doing, they're just selling an idea down the line.

      The maker of the app should be doing a far better job of filtering this kind of crap out and aggregating the data in a smarter way and providing a better output since the major chains they're selling it to don't seem to be capable of processing and disseminating what they're collecting.

    2. “Customers who might discriminate against a certain class or group of workers can use the system to leave negative comments that would affect the workers,” said Cornell’s Ajunwa. She compared the restaurant system to student evaluations of professors, which determine the trajectory of their careers, and tend to be biased against women.
    3. And Ziosk could be a roundabout way for employers to discriminate against employees. Employers are legally restricted from evaluating employees based gender, age, race, or appearance, according to Karen Levy, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Science at Cornell University — but nothing is stopping Ziosk users from doing that, even though those ratings can affect a worker’s pay or employment. “If you outsource that job to a consumer, you may be able to escape that,” she said.
    4. Systems like Ziosk and Presto allow customers to channel frustrations that would otherwise end up on public platforms like Yelp — which can make or break a restaurant — into a closed system that the restaurant controls.

      I like that they're trying to own and control their own data, but it seems like they've relied on a third party company to do most of the thinking for them and they're not actually using the data they're gathering in the proper ways. This is just painfully deplorable.

    1. This is due to a natural human reaction to “Google” someone before we meet them for the first time. Before we show up to teach a class, take a class, interview for a job, go on a date…we’ve been reviewed online. Other people use the trail of breadcrumbs that we’ve left behind to make judgements about us. The question/challenge is that this trail of breadcrumbs is usually incomplete, and locked up in various silos. You may have bits of your identity in Facebook or Twitter, while you have other parts locked up in Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn. What do these incomplete pieces say about you? Furthermore, are they getting the entire picture of you when they uncover certain details? Can they look back to see what else you’re interested in? Can they see how you think all of these interests fit together…or they seeing the tail end of a feverish bout of sharing cat pics?

      I can't help but think that doing this is a form of cultural anthropology being practiced contemporaneously.

      Which is more likely: someone a 100 years from now delving into my life via my personal website that aggregated everything or scholars attempting to piece it all back together from hundreds of other sites? Even with advanced AI techniques, I think the former is far more likely.

      Of course I also think about what @Undine is posting about cats on Twitter or perhaps following #marginaliamonday and cats, and they're at least taking things to a whole new level of scholarship.


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    2. academia is built on the premise (IMHO) of getting a good idea, parlaying that into a job and tenure, and waiting for death. I’ve had a lot of colleagues and acquaintances ask why I would bother blogging. Ask why I share all of this content online. Ask why I’m not afraid that someone is going to steal my ideas.

      Though all too true, this is just a painful statement for me. The entirety of our modern world is contingent upon the creation of ideas, their improvement and evolution, and their spreading. In an academic world where attribution of ideas is paramount, why wouldn't one publish quickly and immediately on one's own site (or anywhere else they might for that matter keeping in mind that it's almost trivially easy to self-publish it on one's own website nearly instantaneously)?

      Early areas of science were held back by the need to communicate by handwriting letters as the primary means of communication. Books eventually came, but the research involved and even the printing process could take decades. Now the primary means of science communication is via large (often corporate owned) journals, but even this process may take a year or more of research and then a year or more to publish and get the idea out. Why not write the ideas up and put them out on your own website and collect more immediate collaborators? Funding is already in such a sorry state that generally, even an idea alone, will not get the ball rolling.

      I'm reminded of the gospel song "This little light of mine" whose popular lyrics include: "Hide it under a bushel? No! / I'm gonna let it shine" and "Don't let Satan blow it out, / I'm gonna let it shine"

      I'm starting to worry that academia in conjunction with large corporate publishing interests are acting the role of Satan in the song which could easily be applied to ideas as well as to my little light.


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    3. teachers hid their Facebook accounts for fear of being fired.

      The sound of this to me know reminds me of the type of suppression of thought that might have occurred in the middle ages.

      Of course open thought and discussion is important for teachers the same way it is for every other person. However there are a few potential counterexamples where open discussion of truly abhorrent ideas can run afoul of community mores.

      Case in point:


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    4. The plan is to use the site to share surveys, interviews, and researcher notes.

      Note to self: I need to keep documenting examples of these open labs, open notebooks, etc. in the open science area.


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    5. Most of this work is focused on collaboration, transparency, and working/thinking in the open.


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    6. This should be a space where you can create the identity that you want to have. You can write yourself into existence.

      I like this sentiment. Had René Descartes been born a bit later might he have said "Blogeō, ergo sum"?


      [also on boffosocko.com]

    7. Having a domain is important to me as I research, develop, and teach.

      example of a domain as thinking out loud or thought spaces blogging as thinking

      [also on boffosocko.com]

    8. PDF form

      Let me know when you're done and we'll see about helping you distribute it in .epub and .mobi formats as e-books as well.

    9. or at least they pretend

      I don't think we're pretending. I know I'm not!

    10. Senior colleagues indicate that I should not have to balance out publishing in “traditional, peer-reviewed publications” as well as open, online spaces.

      Do your colleagues who read your work, annotate it, and comment on it not count as peer-review?

      Am I wasting my time by annotating all of this? :) (I don't think so...)

    11. I feel like this culture in academia may be changing.
    12. .A

      space

    13. luck

      lucky

    14. PLN

      personal learning network

      perhaps marking it up with <abbr> tags would be useful here?

    1. For the first half of the twentieth century, the notoriety of Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes and Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History persuaded serious historians not to go there or do that.

      some interesting references to take a look at for these particular admonishments

    1. Big History

      Berlinski's definition seems more concrete and he even capitalizes it here.

      After checking some references it appears that in his Godzooks article Berlinski explicitly references several Big History texts.

    2. Come on, harvest me! I’ll just change your world some more.

      I wonder a bit here about the idea of what in a meme might have a substrate type of effect to decrease the overall energy of the process to help it take off.

    3. haruspicating

      don't see this in verb form too often...

    4. big histories

      I'm a bit curious what exactly he means by big histories here? Is it an implicit reference to the area of Big History as defined by D. Christian et al.?

    5. I enjoyed Harari’s application of meme theory to the agrarian revolution of circa 10,000 BCE: it may have seemed like a giant leap for mankind, but imagine if you are wheat. As a species, you have conquered the world. Come on and harvest me! I will just spread further.

      I wonder if he credits this idea elsewhere. I've heard this exact type of argument about corn before in the past. (Perhaps Jared Diamond or David Christian? Possibly via Richard Dawkins, though less likely.)

    1. The Digipo toolkit

      Perhaps I'm missing it, but is this not an open browser extension already? I'd love to have these pieces built as a WordPress or separate plugin. I've seen some of the pieces earlier today that look like they've been unbundled, but I'd love to have the rest...

    2. the event in Miami on Inauguration Day (site:www.sourcewatch.com OR site:www.factcheck.org OR site:hoax-slayer.com OR site:www.truthorfiction.com OR site:opensecrets.org OR site:www.politifact.com OR site:snopes.com OR site:www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/ OR site:digipo.io)

      just this piece makes this a powerful little tool!

    3. advanced query that does that: bipartisanreport.com -site:bipartisanreport.com

      a useful web search that isn't often utilized

    1. [MN Thanks, Frank! You have a knack for being ahead of the curve :-)]

      I like the way that MN does inline annotations within his comments section. I don't often see this, but it's relatively well done, and certainly manually at that.

    1. The ideas here make me think that being able to publish on one's own site (and potentially syndicate) and send/receive webmentions may be a very useful tool within open science. We should move toward a model of academic samizdat where researchers can publish their own work for themselves and others. Doing this will give them the credit (and job prospects, etc.) while still allowing movement forward.

    1. “pre-print” versions of manuscripts

      This is just another, albeit specific, form of academic samizdat. https://indieweb.org/academic_samizdat

    2. I think there is a need to develop a system to track the draft of a manuscript from the beginning to the end of the process.

      If you're drafting in WordPress you can set the number of revisions of your posts to infinite so that you can keep (archive) all of your prior drafts. see: https://codex.wordpress.org/Revisions

    1. One of the things I do a lot on Twitter, for example, is retweet stories that I find interesting in order to come back to them later.

      retweeting as a bookmarking behavior

    1. In some sense, by studying one model deeply enough, we can study them all.

      This may be where math like category theory is particularly powerful as a map between these different areas which are really the same (isomorphic).

    1. In ed tech, schools are the customers, but students are the users.

      This also reminds me of the market disconnect between students and their textbooks. Professors are the ones targeted for the "sale" or adoption when the actual purchasers are the students. This causes all kinds of problems in the way the textbook market works and tends to drive prices up--compared to a market in which the student directly chooses their textbook. (And the set up is not too dissimilar to how the healthcare industry works in which the patient (customer) is making a purchase of health care coverage and not actually the health care itself.

  4. May 2018
    1. and serve as pre-prints to work that may live later on, or always exist in their current format

      Thinking of a personal site as a pre-print server is an interesting concept and somewhat similar to the idea of a commonplace book.

    2. As an academic, I need to regularly have empirical research publications in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals. Nothing else matters. Many senior colleagues bemoan the fact that I need to play double duty…yet the system still exists.

      And why can't your own blog count as a top-tier, peer-reviewed journal?

    1. eight years after release, men are 43% more likely to be taken back under arrest than women; African-Americans are 42% more likely than whites, and high-school dropouts are three times more likely to be rearrested than college graduates.

      but are these possibly the result of external factors (like racism?)

    1. Podcast listening can be harder to crack. There are so many shows! How do you find the ones you’ll like? And once you’ve found a show, where do you start: with the most recent episode? At the beginning? Some specific gem of an episode buried deep in the back catalog?

      Perhaps start with making the RSS feeds easily discoverable?! I just spent 20 minutes doing some reasonably serious web gymnastics to extract the RSS feed for Caliphate (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/podcasts/caliphate-isis-rukmini-callimachi.html) out of the iTunes feed using a JSON request tactic. Why can't the podcast's main page have or advertise the raw RSS feed?!

    1. Imagine, for instance, that somebody has been raised and educated entirely inside an echo chamber.

      And isn't this just how the "white" "Western world" has generally been raised?!

    1. choice and competition improve schools

      How can choice and competition improve schools? From a capitalistic perspective one needs to be much more mobile or have a tremendous number of nearby schools for this to happen. Much like the lack of true competition in local hospitals, most American families don't have any real choice in schools as their local school may be the only option. To have the greatest opportunity, one must be willing to move significant distances, and this causes issues with job availability for the parents as well as other potential social issues.

      When it's the case that there is some amount of local selection, it's typically not much and then the disparity of people attending one school over another typically leads to much larger disparities in socio-economic attendance and thus leading to the worsening of the have and the have-nots.

      Even schools in large cities like the Los Angeles area hare limited in capacity and often rely on either lottery systems or hefty tuition to cut down on demand. In the latter case, again, the haves and have-nots become a bigger problem than a solution.

      I'll have to circle back around on these to add some statistics and expand the ideas...

  5. Apr 2018
    1. That’s what Paton and Larkin mean: the effect of Harris and Klebold’s example was to make it possible for people with far higher thresholds—boys who would ordinarily never think of firing a weapon at their classmates—to join in the riot.
    2. he first seven major shooting cases—Loukaitis, Ramsey, Woodham, Carneal, Johnson and Golden, Wurst, and Kinkel—were disconnected and idiosyncratic.

      Seven though? In such a short time period? These must have known about prior ones or else perhaps the theory doesn't hold as much water.

      Similarly suicide could be added as a contagion that fits into this riot model as well.

    3. If a riot evolves as it spreads, starting with the hotheaded rock thrower and ending with the upstanding citizen, then rioters are a profoundly heterogeneous group.
    4. “But group interaction was such that none could admit this without loss of status; in our terms, their threshold for stealing cars is low because daring masculine acts bring status, and reluctance to join, once others have, carries the high cost of being labeled a sissy.” You can’t just look at an individual’s norms and motives. You need to look at the group.

      This might also be the same case with fraternity shenanigans and even more deplorable actions like gang rapes. Usually there's one or more sociopaths that start the movement, and then others reluctantly join in.

    5. Most previous explanations had focussed on explaining how someone’s beliefs might be altered in the moment.

      Knowing a little of what is coming in advance here, I can't help but thinking: How can this riot theory potentially be used to influence politics and/or political campaigns? It could be particularly effective to get people "riled up" just before a particular election to create a political riot of sorts and thereby influence the outcome.

      Facebook has done several social experiments with elections in showing that their friends and family voted and thereby affecting other potential voters. When done in a way that targets people of particular political beliefs to increase turn out, one is given a means of drastically influencing elections. In some sense, this is an example of this "Riot Theory".

    1. For instance, if someone replies to a post on Twitter, the reply gets sent back here as a comment. However if I reply here to that comment, it doesn’t get sent back to Twitter.

      This is an interesting problem. It also becomes an issue of having the comment reply on the WP site be able to have the Twitter responses to that come back to the original, potentially as a comment with a URL with a fragment.

    2. There’s a lot of overlap between Micro.blog and IndieWeb (webmentions being the most significant commonality), and IndieWeb isn’t one monolithic thing.

      micro.blog is a paid hosting service that can allow one to have an IndieWeb website, while at the same time is open enough that one can have their own separate site and connect with the micro.blog community using it primarily as a reader.

      What micro.blog is to you is highly dependent on what tools you're already bringing to the table.

  6. Mar 2018
    1. Many lives have been saved by parents doing something simple. Beginning in the 1960s American military doctors and researchers in Dhaka developed a therapy for acute diarrhoea—a sweet, salty oral rehydration solution. This is now dirt cheap and widely available. At the last count, fully 84% of Bangladeshi parents with stricken children fed it to them (only a third saw a doctor). Thinly populated African countries are struggling to match that. One promising idea is to distribute the sachets along with Coca-Cola—which gets everywhere.

      amazing the reach of Coca-Cola!

    2. many Indians continue to defecate in the open. Bangladesh’s government and charities have built latrines, too, but they have worked harder to stigmatise open defecation. Often they install latrines for the poor and then prod richer folk into following their example. A new, surprising, finding is that this works better than expecting people to copy their social superiors.
    1. Paying for a subscription is a clear indication that you value and trust your subscribed publication as a source. So we’ll also highlight those sources across Google surfaces
    2. So Subscribe with Google will also allow you to link subscriptions purchased directly from publishers to your Google account—with the same benefits of easier and more persistent access.
    3. you can then use “Sign In with Google” to access the publisher’s products, but Google does the billing, keeps your payment method secure, and makes it easy for you to manage your subscriptions all in one place.  

      I immediately wonder who owns my related subscription data? Is the publisher only seeing me as a lumped Google proxy or do they get may name, email address, credit card information, and other details?

      How will publishers be able (or not) to contact me? What effect will this have on potential customer retention?

    4. Introducing Subscribe with Google

      Interesting to see this roll out as Facebook is having some serious data collection problems. This looks a bit like a means for Google to directly link users with content they're consuming online and then leveraging it much the same way that Facebook was with apps and companies like Cambridge Analytica.

    1. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what’s true (and not true) online.
    2. we’re committing $300 million toward meeting these goals.

      I'm curious what their internal projections are for ROI?

    3. People come to Google looking for information they can trust, and that information often comes from the reporting of journalists and news organizations around the world.

      Heavy hit in light of the Facebook data scandal this week on top of accusations about fake news spreading.

    4. That’s why it’s so important to us that we help you drive sustainable revenue and businesses.

      Compared to Facebook which just uses your content to drive you out of business like it did for Funny or Die. Reference: http://splitsider.com/2018/02/how-facebook-is-killing-comedy/

    5. we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.

      Really free? Or was this served against ads in search?

    6. We worked with the industry to launch the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve the mobile web

      There was some collaborative outreach, but AMP is really a Google-driven spec without significant outside input.

      See also: http://ampletter.org/

    7. We’re now in the early stages of testing a “Propensity to Subscribe” signal based on machine learning models in DoubleClick to make it easier for publishers to recognize potential subscribers, and to present them the right offer at the right time.

      Interestingly the technology here isn't that different than the Facebook Data that Cambridge Analytica was using, the difference is that they're not using it to directly impact politics, but to drive sales. Does this mean they're more "ethical"?

    8. With AMP Stories, which is now in beta, publishers can combine the speed of AMP with the rich, immersive storytelling of the open web.

      "With AMP Stories, which is now in beta, publishers can combine the speed of AMP with the rich, immersive storytelling of the open web."

      Is this sentence's structure explicitly saying that AMP is not "open web"?!

    1. You could throw the pack away and deactivate your Facebook account altogether. It will get harder the longer you wait — the more photos you post there, or apps you connect to it.

      Links create value over time, and so destroying links typically destroys the value.

    1. our existence can succinctly be described as “information that can replicate itself,” the immediate follow-up question is, “Where did this information come from?”
    2. from an information perspective, only the first step in life is difficult. The rest is just a matter of time.
    3. Through decades of work by legions of scientists, we now know that the process of Darwinian evolution tends to lead to an increase in the information coded in genes. That this must happen on average is not difficult to see. Imagine I start out with a genome encoding n bits of information. In an evolutionary process, mutations occur on the many representatives of this information in a population. The mutations can change the amount of information, or they can leave the information unchanged. If the information changes, it can increase or decrease. But very different fates befall those two different changes. The mutation that caused a decrease in information will generally lead to lower fitness, as the information stored in our genes is used to build the organism and survive. If you know less than your competitors about how to do this, you are unlikely to thrive as well as they do. If, on the other hand, you mutate towards more information—meaning better prediction—you are likely to use that information to have an edge in survival.

      There are some plants with huge amounts of DNA compared to their "peers" perhaps these would be interesting test cases for potential experimentation of this.

    1. This selection tool has nothing intrinsically to do with annotation. It’s job is to make your job easier when you are constructing a link to an audio or video segment.

      I'm reminded of a JavaScript tool written by Aaron Parecki that automatically adds a start fragment to the URL of his page when the audio on the page is paused. He's documented it here: https://indieweb.org/media_fragment

    2. (If I were Virginia Eubanks I might want to capture the pull quote myself, and display it on my book page for visitors who aren’t seeing it through the Hypothesis lens.)

      Of course, how would she know that the annotation exists? Here's another example of where adding webmentions to Hypothesis for notifications could be useful, particularly when they're more widely supported. I've outlined some of the details here in the past: http://boffosocko.com/2016/04/07/webmentions-for-improving-annotation-and-preventing-bullying-on-the-web/

  7. Feb 2018
    1. Facebook is the great de-contextualizer.
    2. the internet was a better place 3-4 years ago. It used to be fruitful, but it’s like a desert now.
    3. Recommending things for people is a personal act, and there are people who are good at it. There are critics. There are blogs. It’s not beneficial to us to turn content recommendations over to an algorithm, especially one that’s been optimized for garbage.
    4. Here’s another analogy, and I learned this in an ecology class: In the 1800s (or something), there were big lords, or kings or something, who had giant estates with these large forests. And there were these foresters who had this whole notion of how to make a perfectly designed forest, where the trees would be pristinely manicured and in these perfect rows, and they would get rid of all the gross stuff and dirt. It was just trees in a perfect, human-devised formation that you could walk through. Within a generation, these trees were emaciated and dying. Because that’s how a forest works — it needs to be chaotic. It needs bugs and leaves, it makes the whole thriving ecosystem possible. That’s what this new internet should be. It won’t survive as this human-designed, top-down thing that is optimized for programmatic ads. It feels like a desert. There’s no nutrition, there’s no opportunity to do anything cool.
    5. And then it becomes impossible to know what a good thing to make is anymore.

      This is where webmentions on sites can become valuable. People posting "read" posts or "watch" posts (or even comments) indicating that they saw something could be the indicator to the originating site that something is interesting/valuable and could be displayed by that site. (This is kind of like follower counts, but for individual pieces of content, so naturally one would need to be careful about gaming.)

    6. It’s like if The New York Times had their own subscriber base, but you had to pay the paperboy for every article you wanted to see.
    7. Facebook is essentially running a payola scam where you have to pay them if you want your own fans to see your content.
    8. And I want it to feel that way to other people so that when they go to a cool website, they are inspired: They see human beings putting love and care into something.  
    9. If someone at Facebook sees this, I want them to know, if they care at all about the idea that was the internet, they need to start thinking through what they are doing. Otherwise, then you’re just like Lennie from Of Mice and Men — a big dumb oaf crushing the little mouse of the internet over and over and not realizing it.
    10. The EU has a bunch of laws kicking in to keep this in check — one is algorithmic transparency, where these places need to tell me why they are showing me something.
    11. Facebook has created a centrally designed internet. It’s a lamer, shittier looking internet.
    12. The whole story is basically that Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.
    13. “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.”
    14. eliminated its entire editorial team following a trend of comedy websites scaling back, shutting down, or restructuring their business model away from original online content.  Hours after CEO Mike Farah delivered the news via an internal memo, Matt Klinman took to Twitter, writing, “Mark Zuckerberg just walked into Funny or Die and laid off all my friends.” It was a strong sentiment for the longtime comedy creator, who started out at UCB and The Onion before launching Pitch, the Funny or Die-incubated joke-writing app, in 2017.
    1. Amazon has patented designs for a wristband that can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction.

      The biomedical engineer in me sees this and thinks, "This sounds like it might also be a greatest sex toy invention ever. Thousands of women will be buying them for clueless boyfriends for their birthdays and the holidays. Amazon wins again!"

  8. Jan 2018
    1. we are ending the HuffPost contributor platform

      Just another site-death...

      Ben Walsh of the LA Times Data Desk has created a simple web interface at www.SaveMy.News that journalists can use to archive their stories to The Internet Archive and WebCite. One can log into the service via Twitter and later download a .csv file with a running list of all their works with links to the archived copies.

    2. Perhaps a few too many: One of the biggest challenges we all face, in an era where everyone has a platform, is figuring out whom to listen to. Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy. When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.
    3. Now, there are many places where people can share and exchange ideas.

      Notably on their own websites!

    1. Creating simple bookmarklets on your Android phone with URL Forwarder

      I’d run across this wonder of an app a couple of years back too. I’ve been using it for a while, but to post to my WordPress and WithKnown based websites. WordPress and some of it’s subsidiary plugins utilize URL parameters in such a way that URL Forwarder can be easily configured for them as well.  Details can be found at http://boffosocko.com/2017/01/10/browser-bookmarklets-and-mobile-sharing-with-post-kinds-plugin-for-wordpress/#A%20Post%20Kinds%20%E2%80%9CBookmarklet%E2%80%9D%20for%20Mobile

    1. small niche sites that only a handful of users might use can also be part of the same ecosystem.

      Perhaps this is something that David Shanske could leverage for adding IndieWeb functionality within WordPress?

    1. Over the years, Google has gone from recommending uploading a text file, to parsing RDFa with a slightly modified Microformats vocabulary, to going all-in on Microdata, to then replacing Microdata with JSON-LD and the new Schema.org vocabulary. In the mean time, the Microformats hReview vocabulary hasn't changed, and has continued to be parsed by Google since it is so widely deployed. It would seem there is some advantage to using a format that was developed externally from Goo