— Joel Maxcy at Philadelphia Business Journal. Economist: Why the Comcast-TWC merger is bad for the public
10 years ago, Ethan and danah were two of the youngest people at a conference. danah told him, “I only have one secret to get through these events. I tell them what their children are doing.” Telling people what their children are doing online is incredibly valuable, either because we’re parents who care about our children, or because we care about the future of the Internet. danah has been relentless over the last decade in trying to make it clear that simple snap answers about the Internet (good, bad, dangerous, amazing) are utterly and totally inadequate. What we need to do is to take a long, careful look at the context that underlies people’s behaviours online. We’re in a moment where the easiest thing to do is to say “it’s simple.” danah has put forward a book that says “it’s complicated.”
I got Online late, 1998 or something like that. Fairly soon after getting Online I met a couple of teenagers on Yahoo Chat. One was from Vietnam and one from India. Both of them gay; I’m old enough that I think in terms of “questioning,” but these kids did little questioning about that. And their conversations with me at first freaked me right out! I think the conversations persisted because I thought I had something good to offer them. Mostly that was just an ear. The conversations lasted for a year or two , through the storms of adolescence.
I found myself saying things I thought their parents would say to them. And most of the time it was so plain to me that events which seemed to them Earth-shattering then weren’t. We talked about decisions about school and just stuff.
Both of them now lead more respectable adult lives than I do. I feel so good about the way they compose their lives.
I think kids today have better things to do than to chat with old farts Online. But there are more opportunities now for kids to engage with adults in more public Online settings. And some of what I see is really good.
Anyhow, the Online experience with these teens made me think more about young people Online. Ethan Zuckerman and danah boyd have made me think so much more clearly about the issues over the years. “It’s complicated” is an important perspective to look at the issues.. People do care about young people, and we as adults owe that and ought to own that caring.
boyd is encouraging book buyers to pre-order her book, It’s Complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Pre-orders have a big influence on which books get reviewed. And danah boyd is really an astute observer and researcher, well and I’ll just say compassionate and kind. I hope many people learn more about what she knows.
I have a blog that I haven’t written on for a long time with a ridiculous name: Bazungu Bucks. Mzungu is a term used by Bantu language speakers in the Great Lakes region of Africa to refer to people of European descent. So “Bazungu” is a problematic play on words. And really the whole idea behind the blog is problematic.
I was influenced by the ideas in two books published by Rodale Press. The first is Robert Rodale’s book Save Three Lives: A Plan for Famine Prevention published in 1990—just a month or so before Rodale died in an auto accident. The second book is Time Dollars: The New Currency That Enables Americans to Turn Their Hidden Resource Time into Personal Security and Community Renewal which was published in 1992—I think.
What I had in mind was a mashup of a time sharing currency, Bazungu Bucks, and the small local efforts advocated by Rodale’s Save Three Lives to encourage people I knew to dedicate a little time in service to people in a community in Uganda.
The idea wasn’t well-developed and nothing ever came of it. However the idea provoked interests in alternative currencies and commons-based peer production I might not otherwise have discovered. There is so much on the Web!
Several years ago I took a look around the Hi5 social network. Then I didn’t pay attention to it. Some emails came into my box with something to the effect that I had been “bought” as a pet. This seemed creepy to me and I turned off notifications. I don’t remember what prompted me recently to go back to Hi5 again, but I did recently. And the last couple of days I began toying with the Pet Game there, the very thing that had so disgusted me before.
What I’ve found fascinating about it is that it a social game involving an Internet currency. I’m none to bright, so the nuances of the game are lost. But I noticed that people are using it in ways probably not intended. Just as a general observation about the social network, many people say they are there for “networking.” There probably is constructive networking going on, but again it’s probably not all that transparent to me. It’s the dodgy stuff that alerts me there’s more going on than meets the eye.
The combination of a social network and a currency seems that it holds potential for some good. As it stands the revenue model of the site involves the users’ labor for advertising. But I wonder how the currency might be used in ways that really benefit the users of the site? I haven’t figured how, nonetheless before I was convinced that the site was bad and now I suspect the site maybe onto something very good.
I don’t always learn from my mistakes, but sometimes I do. It seems to me that the good things I gained from my old blog was discovering problems. There is much that is problematic about how Hi5 works, and I’ll spend a bit more time trying to understand.
The sun has fallen, and the temperature is dropping so quickly…to tell you all a secret, I don’t feel that sad. I was just in my own adventure story - and like every hero, I encountered a small problem.”
"Goodnight, Earth," concluded the rover. "Goodnight, humanity.""
— Yutu in an article by Becky Ferreira at Motherboard. China’s First Lunar Rover Live-Blogged Its Own Death
— Scott McLemee at Inside Higher Education. McGinn, Again
Katie Roiphe in Slate. The Philosopher and the Student
Was the saga of Colin McGinn really a clear-cut case of sexual harassment?
Alexandra Tilsley at Inside Higher ED. Publicizing (Alleged) Plagiarism
Tom Bartlett at The Chronicle of Higher Education. UC-Berkeley Exonerates Anthropologist Who Was Accused of Stealing Ideas
report of the Committee of Investigation into allegations of research misconduct (specifically plagiarism) against Terrence Deacon (PDF)
An Open Letter from US Researchers in Cryptography and Information Security
January 24, 2014
Click for signatories and full text at MassSurveillance.info
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