👓 Additional thoughts on the Ted Hill paper | Timothy Gowers

Read Additional thoughts on the Ted Hill paper by Timothy Gowers (Gowers's Weblog)
First, I’d like to thank the large number of commenters on my previous post for keeping the discussion surprisingly calm and respectful given the topic discussed. In that spirit, and to try t…

The analysis here makes me think there might be some useful tidbits hiding in the 300+ comments of his prior article. I wish I had the time to dig back into it.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Our prehistoric ancestors were not doing higher mathematics, so we would need to think of some way that being on the spectrum could have caused a man at that time to become highly attractive to women.  

One needs to remember that it isn’t always the men that themselves need to propagate the genes directly (ie, they don’t mate with someone to hand their genes down to their progeny directly). Perhaps a man on the autism spectrum, while not necessarily attractive himself, has traits which improve the lives and fitness of the offspring of his sister’s children? Then it’s not his specific genes which are passed on as a result, but those of his sister’s which have a proportion of his genes since they both share their parent’s genes in common.
September 19, 2018 at 03:35PM

variability amongst males  

Does it need to be a mate-related thing? Why not an environmental one. I seem to recall that external temperature had a marked effect on the sexual selection within alligator populations such that a several degree change during gestation would swing the sex proportion one way or another. Could these effects of environment have caused a greater variability?

Further, what other factors may be at play? What about in sea horse populations where males carry the young? Does this make a difference?
September 19, 2018 at 03:41PM

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👓 The End of History? | Francis Fukuyama

Read The End of History? by Francis FukuyamaFrancis Fukuyama (The National Interest | No. 16 (Summer 1989), pp. 3-18)

IN WATCHING the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history. The past year has seen a flood of articles commemorating the end of the Cold War, and the fact that "peace" seems to be breaking out in many regions of the world. Most of these analyses lack any larger conceptual framework for distinguishing between what is essential and what is contingent or accidental in world history, and are predictably superficial. If Mr. Gorbachev were ousted from the Kremlin or a new Ayatollah proclaimed the millennium from a desolate Middle Eastern capital, these same commentators would scramble to announce the rebirth of a new era of conflict.

And yet, all of these people sense dimly that there is some larger process at work, a process that gives coherence and order to the daily headlines. The twentieth century saw the developed world descend into a paroxysm of ideological violence, as liberalism contended first with the remnants of absolutism, then bolshevism and fascism, and finally an updated Marxism that threatened to lead to the ultimate apocalypse of nuclear war. But the century that began full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy seems at its close to be returning full circle to where it started: not to an "end of ideology" or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as earlier predicted, but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

In general, while I’ve been reading Stuart Kauffmann’s At Home in the Universe, I can’t help but thinking about the cascading extinctions he describes and wonder if political extinctions of ideas like Communism or other forms of government or even economies might follow the same types of outcomes described there?   
August 29, 2018 at 09:37AM

Building on this, could we create a list of governments and empires and rank them in order of the length of their spans? There may be subtleties in changes of regimes in some eras, but generally things are probably reasonably well laid out. I wonder if the length of life of particular governments follows a power law? One would suspect it might.   
August 29, 2018 at 09:43AM

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.  

Total exhaustion?
August 29, 2018 at 08:53AM

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.  

What if, in fact, we’ve only just found a local maximum? What if in the changing landscape there are other places we could potentially get to competitively that supply greater maxima? And possibly worse, what if we need to lose value to get from here to unlock even more value there?
August 29, 2018 at 08:56AM

Hegel believed that history culminated in an absolute moment – a moment in which a final, rational form of society and state became victorious.  

and probably not a bad outcome in an earlier era that thought of things in terms of clockwork and lacked the ideas of quantum theory and its attendant uncertainties.
August 29, 2018 at 08:59AM

Believing that there was no more work for philosophers as well, since Hegel (correctly understood) had already achieved absolute knowledge, Kojève left teaching after the war and spent the remainder of his life working as a bureaucrat in the European Economic Community, until his death in 1968.  

This is depressing on so many levels.
August 29, 2018 at 09:05AM

Paul Kennedy’s hugely successful “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers”, which ascribes the decline of great powers to simple economic overextension.  

Curious how this may relate to the more recent “The End of Power” by Moisés Naím. It doesn’t escape one that the title of the book somewhat echoes the title of this particular essay.
August 29, 2018 at 09:18AM

But whether a highly productive modern industrial society chooses to spend 3 or 7 percent of its GNP on defense rather than consumption is entirely a matter of that society’s political priorities, which are in turn determined in the realm of consciousness.  

It’s not so much the percentage on produced defense goods, but how quickly could a society ramp up production of goods, services, and people to defend itself compared to the militaries of its potential aggressors.

In particular, most of the effort should go to the innovation side of war materiel. The innovation of the atomic bomb is a particularly nice example in that as a result of conceptualizing and then executing on it it allowed the US to win the war in the Pacific and hasten the end of war in Europe. Even if we otherwise had massive stockpiles of people or other weapons, our enemies could potentially have equaled them and dragged the war on interminably. It was the unknown unknown via innovation that unseated Japan and could potentially do the same to us based on innovation coming out of almost any country in the modern age.
August 29, 2018 at 09:24AM

Weber notes that according to any economic theory that posited man as a rational profit-maximizer, raising the piece-work rate should increase labor productivity. But in fact, in many traditional peasant communities, raising the piece-work rate actually had the opposite effect of lowering labor productivity: at the higher rate, a peasant accustomed to earning two and one-half marks per day found he could earn the same amount by working less, and did so because he valued leisure more than income. The choices of leisure over income, or of the militaristic life of the Spartan hoplite over the wealth of the Athenian trader, or even the ascetic life of the early capitalist entrepreneur over that of a traditional leisured aristocrat, cannot possibly be explained by the impersonal working of material forces,  

Science could learn something from this. Science is too far focused on the idealized positive outcomes that it isn’t paying attention to the negative outcomes and using that to better define its outline or overall shape. We need to define a scientific opportunity cost and apply it to the negative side of research to better understand and define what we’re searching for.

Of course, how can we define a new scientific method (or amend/extend it) to better take into account negative results–particularly in an age when so many results aren’t even reproducible?
August 29, 2018 at 09:32AM

FAILURE to understand that the roots of economic behavior lie in the realm of consciousness and culture leads to the common mistake of attributing material causes to phenomena that are essentially ideal in nature.  

August 29, 2018 at 09:44AM

“Protestant” life of wealth and risk over the “Catholic” path of poverty and security.[8]   

Is this simply a restatement of the idea that most of “the interesting things” happen at the border or edge of chaos? The Catholic ethic is firmly inside the stable arena while that of the Protestant ethic is pushing the boundaries.
August 29, 2018 at 09:47AM

Hence it did not matter to Kojève that the consciousness of the postwar generation of Europeans had not been universalized throughout the world; if ideological development had in fact ended, the homogenous state would eventually become victorious throughout the material world.  

This presupposes that homeostasis could ever be achieved.

One thinks of phrases like “The future is here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.” But everything we know about systems and evolving systems often indicates that homeostasis isn’t necessarily a good thing. In many cases, it means eventual “death” instead of evolving towards a longer term lifespan. Again, here Kauffmann’s ideas about co-evolving systems and evolving landscapes may provide some guidance. What if we’re just at a temporary local maximum, but changes in the landscape modify that fact? What then? Shouldn’t we be looking for other potential distant maxima as well?
August 29, 2018 at 09:52AM

But that state of consciousness that permits the growth of liberalism seems to stabilize in the way one would expect at the end of history if it is underwritten by the abundance of a modern free market economy.  

Writers spend an awful lot of time focused too carefully on the free market economy, but don’t acknowledge a lot of the major benefits of the non-free market parts which are undertaken and executed often by governments and regulatory environments. (Hacker & Pierson, 2016)
\August 29, 2018 at 10:02AM

Are there, in other words, any fundamental “contradictions” in human life that cannot be resolved in the context of modern liberalism, that would be resolvable by an alternative political-economic structure?  

Churchill famously said “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”

Even within this quote it is implicit that there are many others. In some sense he’s admitting that we might possibly be at a local maximum but we’ve just not explored the spaces beyond the adjacent possible.
August 29, 2018 at 10:08AM

For our purposes, it matters very little what strange thoughts occur to people in Albania or Burkina Faso, for we are interested in what one could in some sense call the common ideological heritage of mankind.  

While this seems solid on it’s face, we don’t know what the future landscape will look like. What if climate change brings about massive destruction of homo sapiens? We need to be careful about how and why we explore both the adjacent possible as well as the distant possible. One day we may need them and our current local maximum may not serve us well.
August 29, 2018 at 10:10AM

anomie  

I feel like this word captures very well the exact era of Trumpian Republicanism in which we find ourselves living.
August 29, 2018 at 10:37AM

After the war, it seemed to most people that German fascism as well as its other European and Asian variants were bound to self-destruct. There was no material reason why new fascist movements could not have sprung up again after the war in other locales, but for the fact that expansionist ultranationalism, with its promise of unending conflict leading to disastrous military defeat, had completely lost its appeal. The ruins of the Reich chancellery as well as the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed this ideology on the level of consciousness as well as materially, and all of the pro-fascist movements spawned by the German and Japanese examples like the Peronist movement in Argentina or Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army withered after the war.  

And yet somehow we see these movements anew in America and around the world. What is the difference between then and now?
August 29, 2018 at 11:46AM

This is not to say that there are not rich people and poor people in the United States, or that the gap between them has not grown in recent years. But the root causes of economic inequality do not have to do with the underlying legal and social structure of our society, which remains fundamentally egalitarian and moderately redistributionist, so much as with the cultural and social characteristics of the groups that make it up, which are in turn the historical legacy of premodern conditions.  

August 29, 2018 at 11:47AM

But those who believe that the future must inevitably be socialist tend to be very old, or very marginal to the real political discourse of their societies.  

and then there are the millennials…
August 29, 2018 at 11:51AM

Beginning with the famous third plenum of the Tenth Central Committee in 1978, the Chinese Communist party set about decollectivizing agriculture for the 800 million Chinese who still lived in the countryside. The role of the state in agriculture was reduced to that of a tax collector, while production of consumer goods was sharply increased in order to give peasants a taste of the universal homogenous state and thereby an incentive to work. The reform doubled Chinese grain output in only five years, and in the process created for Deng Xiaoping a solid political base from which he was able to extend the reform to other parts of the economy. Economic Statistics do not begin to describe the dynamism, initiative, and openness evident in China since the reform began.  

August 29, 2018 at 11:58AM

At present, no more than 20 percent of its economy has been marketized, and most importantly it continues to be ruled by a self-appointed Communist party which has given no hint of wanting to devolve power.  

If Facebook were to continue to evolve at it’s current rate and with it’s potential power as well as political influence, I could see it attempting to work the way China does in a new political regime.
August 29, 2018 at 12:04PM

IF WE ADMIT for the moment that the fascist and communist challenges to liberalism are dead, are there any other ideological competitors left? Or put another way, are there contradictions in liberal society beyond that of class that are not resolvable? Two possibilities suggest themselves, those of religion and nationalism.  

August 29, 2018 at 12:19PM

This school in effect applies a Hobbesian view of politics to international relations, and assumes that aggression and insecurity are universal characteristics of human societies rather than the product of specific historical circumstances.  

August 29, 2018 at 12:30PM

But whatever the particular ideological basis, every “developed” country believed in the acceptability of higher civilizations ruling lower ones  

August 29, 2018 at 12:37PM

Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.  

Has it started again with nationalism, racism, and Trump?
August 29, 2018 at 12:48PM

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📑 Anomie – Wikipedia | Annotations about economics

Annotated Anomie (Wikipedia)
Anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a "condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals".[1] It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, e.g., under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.

I can’t help but see this definition and think it needs to be applied to economics immediately. In particular I can think of a few quick examples of economic anomie which are artificially covering up a free market and causing issues within individual communities.

College Textbooks

Here publishers are marketing to professors who assign particular textbooks and subverting students which are the actual market and consumers of those textbooks. This causes an inflated market and has allowed textbook prices to spiral out of control.

The American Health Care Market

In this example, the health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) have been segmented away from their consumers (patients) by intermediary insurance companies which are driving the market to their own good rather than a free-er set of smaller (and importantly local) markets that would be composed of just the sellers and the buyers. As a result, the consumer of health care has no ability to put a particular price on what they’re receiving (and typically they rarely ever ask, even more so when they have insurance). This type of economic anomie is causing terrific havoc within the area.

(Aside: while the majority of health care markets is very small in size (by distance), I will submit that the advent of medical tourism does a bit to widen potential markets, but this segment of the market is tiny and very privileged in comparison.)

Others

In a non-economic setting it also seems to be highly applicable to social media silos like Facebook, Twitter, et al as they break social norms. I’ll have to circle back to write a longer essay about this with regard to the IndieWeb movement.

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📑 Anomie and Trumpism

Annotated Anomie (Wikipedia)
He [Émile Durkheim] believed that anomie is common when the surrounding society has undergone significant changes in its economic fortunes, whether for better or for worse and, more generally, when there is a significant discrepancy between the ideological theories and values commonly professed and what was actually achievable in everyday life. This was contrary to previous theories on suicide which generally maintained that suicide was precipitated by negative events in a person's life and their subsequent depression.  

Is this what America is experiencing in the midst of Donald J. Trump’s new Republican party?

I’m left wondering if there is a potential link to Jonah Goldberg having used the word “Suicide” specifically in the title of his recent book? Neither Émile Durkheim nor anomie appear within the text however. The link seems more than fitting.

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👓 My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice | Robin DeRosa

Read My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice by Robin DeRosaRobin DeRosa (actualham)
I’ve spent some time talking about open pedagogy at several universities this Spring, and in each of those presentations and workshops, I have usually mentioned The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature, an OER anthology that my students and I produced last year for an American literature survey course I taught.  When I talk about the anthology, it’s usually to make a point about open pedagogy.  I began the project with the simple desire to save my students about $85 US, which is how much they were (ostensibly) paying for the Heath Anthology of American Literature Volume A.  Most of the actual texts in the Heath were public domain texts, freely available and not under any copyright restrictions.  As the Heath produced new editions (of literature from roughly 1400-1800!), forcing students to buy new textbooks or be irritatingly out of sync with page numbers, and as students turned to rental markets that necessitated them giving their books back at the end of the semester, I began to look in earnest for an alternative.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Most of the actual texts in the Heath were public domain texts, freely available and not under any copyright restrictions.  As the Heath produced new editions (of literature from roughly 1400-1800!), forcing students to buy new textbooks or be irritatingly out of sync with page numbers, and as students turned to rental markets that necessitated them giving their books back at the end of the semester, I began to look in earnest for an alternative.  

Repackaging public domain texts and charging a steep markup too much above and beyond the cost of the paper is just highway robbery. Unless a publisher is adding some actual annotative or analytical value, they shouldn’t be charging outrageous prices for textbooks of this nature.
August 13, 2018 at 12:14PM

If OER is free, what hidden costs exist in its production? Making these textbooks is taking me a chunk of time in the off-season.  Thanks to my salaried position, I feel ok about putting in the overtime, but it’s a privilege my colleagues who teach under year-to-year part-time non-contracts can’t afford. Who should be funding OER creation? Institutions? Students? For-profit start-ups? How will you invest time in this project without obscuring the true costs of academic labor? Right now, we pass the corruptly high cost of academic publishing onto the backs of academia’s most vulnerable members: students. But as OER gains steam, we need to come up with funding models that don’t land us back in the same quagmire of exploitation that we were trying to get out of.  

This is a nearly perfect question and something to watch in the coming years.
August 13, 2018 at 12:35PM

working in public, and asking students to work in public, is fraught with dangers and challenges.  

August 13, 2018 at 12:36PM

What David told me was his energy, enthusiasm in the class was at a much higher level with the OER approach. Sure we choose the polished “professional” textbook because of its assumed high standards, quality etc, but then its a more passive relationship a teacher has with it. I make the comparison to growing and/or making your own food versus having it prepared or taking it out of a package. Having produced our own food means we know everything about it from top to bottom, and the pride in doing that has to make the whole experience much more energized.  

As I read both this post and this comment from Alan, I can’t help but think again about scholars in the 14th century who taught students. It was more typical of the time that students were “forced” to chose their own textbooks–typically there were fewer, and at the advent of the printing press they were significantly higher in price. As a result students had to spend more time and attention, as Robin indicates here, to come up with useful things.

Even in this period students often annotated their books, which often got passed on to other students and even professors which helped future generations. So really, we’re not reinventing the wheel here, we’re just doing it anew with new technology that makes doing it all the easier.

As a reference, I’ll suggest folks interested in this area read Owen Gingerich’s The Book Nobody Read which I recall as being one of the texts I’ve read that references early teaching and textbook practices during that time period.
August 13, 2018 at 12:44PM

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👓 From OER to Open Pedagogy: Next Frontier in Learning | Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Read From OER to Open Pedagogy: Next Frontier in Learning by Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University (Center for the Advancement of Teaching)
Imagine a jet plane cruising down a road. It’s possible, though a clear case of underutilization of the technology. Now take that imagery and apply it to Open Educational Resources (OER). While they are available for adoption by faculty as learning content, the full potential of OER goes underutilized. How so? At the Open Ed ’16 Conference, held November 2016, I learned how faculty are taking on that challenge and finding new ways to create and use OER.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Our work, said Campbell, is not to graduate more students, but to enable students to graduate themselves.  

August 13, 2018 at 12:01PM

Disposable assignments are the ones students hate to do, faculty hate to grade and are quickly forgotten. Think ten-page term papers.  

There’s no reason that the 10 page term paper couldn’t be repurposed for the greater good. Why not post it up on your own website and allow it to be part of the bigger part of academic research?
August 13, 2018 at 12:03PM

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👓 Cage the Mastodon | Join Mastodon

Read Cage the Mastodon (joinmastodon.org)
An overview of features for dealing with abuse and harassment

Along with some of the strategies practiced by micro.blog and their community, these are some intriguing methods for tamping down abuse within social spaces online. The are certainly worth studying and delving into deeper.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

So that’s already a huge advantage over other platforms due the basic design. And in my opinion it’s got advantages over the other extreme, too, a pure peer-to-peer design, where everyone would have to fend for themselves, without the pooled resources.  

Definitely something the IndieWeb may have to solve for.
August 13, 2018 at 07:41AM

Mastodon deliberately does not support arbitrary search. If someone wants their message to be discovered, they can use a hashtag, which can be browsed. What does arbitrary search accomplish? People and brands search for their own name to self-insert into conversations they were not invited to.

What you can do, however, is search messages you posted, received or favourited. That way you can find that one message on the tip of your tongue.  

August 13, 2018 at 07:41AM

Another feature that has been requested almost since the start, and which I keep rejecting is quoting messages.  

August 13, 2018 at 07:43AM

Each individual message can either be:

  • Fully public, appearing to your followers, the public timelines, anyone looking at your profile
  • Unlisted, appearing to your followers and anyone looking at your profile, but skipping the public timelines
  • Private, appearing only to your followers and people mentioned in it
  • And direct, appearing only to people mentioned in it

  

August 13, 2018 at 07:45AM

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📑 Cantinflas | Wikipedia

Annotated Cantiflas (Wikipedia)
Among the things that endeared him to his public was his comic use of language in his films; his characters (all of which were really variations of the main "Cantinflas" persona but cast in different social roles and circumstances) would strike up a normal conversation and then complicate it to the point where no one understood what they were talking about. The Cantinflas character was particularly adept at obfuscating the conversation when he owed somebody money, was courting an attractive young woman, or was trying to talk his way out of trouble with authorities, whom he managed to humiliate without their even being able to tell. This manner of talking became known as Cantinflear, and it became common parlance for Spanish speakers to say "¡estás cantinfleando!" (loosely translated as you're pulling a "Cantinflas!" or you're "Cantinflassing!") whenever someone became hard to understand in conversation.

Similar to doubletalk, technobabble, and other varieties of speech.

See also: https://boffosocko.com/2016/09/30/complexity-isnt-a-vice-10-word-answers-and-doubletalk-in-election-2016/

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📗 Started reading It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd

Read It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyddanah boyd (Yale University Press)
What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity. Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

Read introduction through page 20 of 296

6.8%

Ultimately I think I was bored after reading the table of contents. Not seeing any indication there that I might encounter any interesting new ground given my experience I may have to give up.

A short distance in seemed to confirm my initial bias, so I’ve ultimately decided to press on to something else which seems a bit more fruitful.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

1 identity why do teens seem strange online? 29
2 privacy why do youth share so publicly? 54
3 addiction what makes teens obsessed with social media? 77
4 danger are sexual predators lurking everywhere? 100
5 bullying is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty? 128
6 inequality can social media resolve social divisions? 153
7 literacy are today’s youth digital natives? 176
8 searching for a public of their own 199 

Just reading this table of contents reminds me that this “analysis of teens” seems a lot like the perennial contemplations of adults who think that the generations of teenagers coming behind them is different, weird, or even deviant.

A typical case in point is that of the greatest generation looking at the long-haired 60’s hippy teens who came after them. “Why do they like rock and roll? They do too many drugs. There’s no hope for the future.” “Damn kids. Get off of my lawn!”

Is the way that current teens and millennials react to social just another incarnation of this general idea?

As I began to get a feel for the passions and frustrations of teens and to speak to broader audiences, I recognized that teens’ voices rarely shaped the public discourse surrounding their networked lives.  

Again, putting this into historical context, is this sentence different for any prior period if we remove the word “networked”?

It’s been a while, but the old saw “A child should be seen and not heard” comes quickly to mind for me.

the kids are all right  

Given danah’s age, I would suspect that with a copyright date of 2014, she’s likely referencing the 2010 feature film The Kids are Alright.

However that film’s title is a cultural reference to a prior generation’s anthem in an eponymous song by The Who which appeared on the album My Generation. Interestingly the lyrics of the song of the same name on that album is one of their best known and is applicable to the ideas behind this piece as well.

given that I was in Nashville to talk with teens about how technology had changed their lives.  

I have to wonder who the sociologists were from the 60’s that interviewed teens about how the telephone changed their lives. Or perhaps the 70’s sociologist who interviewed kids about how cars changed their lives? Certainly it wasn’t George Lucas’ American Graffiti that informed everyone of the issues?

the internet?  

What if we replaced the words “the internet” in this piece with “the telephone” in the 1960-1970’s? I wonder how much of the following analysis would ring true to that time period? Are we just rehashing old ideas in new settings?

the more things had changed, the more they seemed the same.  

When they did look at their phones, they were often sharing the screen with the person sitting next to them, reading or viewing something together.  

Over history, most “teen technology” is about being able to communicate with their peers. From the handwritten letter via post, to the telephone, to the car, to the pager, and now the cell phone.

But many adults were staring into their devices intently, barely looking up  

Socially adults have created their longer term bonds and aren’t as socially attached, so while their teens are paying attention to others, they’re often doing something else: books, newspapers, and now cell phones.

few of my friends in the early 1990s were interested in computers at all.  

I would suspect for the time period they were all sending text messages via pager.

Unlike me and the other early adopters who avoided our local community by hanging out in chat-rooms and bulletin boards, most teenagers now go online to connect to the people in their community. Their online participation is not eccentric; it is entirely normal, even expected.  

There’s a broad disconnect between her personal experiences and those of the teens she’s studying. Based on my understanding, she was a teen on the fringes of her local community and eschewed the cultural norms–thus her perspective is somewhat skewed here. She sounds like she was at the bleeding edge of the internet while most of her more average peers were likely relying on old standbys like telephones, cars, and pagers. Thus not much has changed. I suspect that most teens have always been more interested in their local communities and peers. It’s danah boyd who was three standard deviations away from the norm who sought out ways to communicate with others like herself that felt marginalized. The internet made doing that far easier for her and future generations compared to those prior who had little, if any outlet to social interactions outside of the pale of their communities.

“If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.”  

In prior generations, if you couldn’t borrow dad’s car, you didn’t exist…

Cross reference the 1955 cultural touchstone film Rebel Without a Cause. While the common perception is that James Dean, portraying Jim Stark, was the rebel (as seen in the IMDB.com description of the film “A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.”), it is in fact Plato, portrayed by Sal Mineo, who is the true rebel. Plato is the one who is the disruptive and rebellious youth who is always disrupting the lives of those around him. (As an aside, should we note Plato’s namesake was also a rebel philosopher in his time?!?)

Plato’s first disruption in the film is the firing of the cannon at school. While unstated directly, due to the cultural mores of Hollywood at the time, Plato is a closeted homosexual who’s looking to befriend someone, anyone. His best shot is the new kid before the new kid manages to find his place in the pecking order. Again Jim Stark does nothing in the film but attempt to fit into the social fabric around him, his only problem is that he’s the new guy. Most telling here about their social structures is that Jim has ready access to an automobile (a literal rolling social club–notice multiple scenes in the film with cars full of teenagers) while Plato is relegated to an old scooter (a mode of transport focused on the singleton–the transport of the outcast, the rebel).

The Rebel Plato, with his scooter--and a gun, no less!
Plato as portrayed by Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Notice that as the rebel, he’s pictured in the middleground with a gun while his scooter protects him in the foreground. In the background is the automobile, the teens’ coveted source of freedom at the time.

The spaces may change, but the organizing principles aren’t different.  

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👓 Ponderance 8/6 – EDU 522 | Cooper Kean

Read Ponderance 8/6 by Cooper Kean (mrkean.com)
I am still working out the kinks of the Hypothes.is website, so i had trouble connecting my reading to my annotations, (I had made a hard copy in a lined notebook to feel like I had stepped back in time). I think there is a very big difference between free reading and reading for a purpose. In my cl...

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

I believe, and I try to emphasize to the students, that annotation is a deeply personal activity, my annotations may look different from yours because we think differently.  

We often think differently even on different readings. Sometimes upon re-reading pieces, I’ll find and annotate completely different things than I would have on the first pass. Sometimes (often with more experience and new eyes) I’ll even disagree with what I’d written on prior passes.

This process reminds me a bit of the Barbell Method of Reading
August 06, 2018 at 04:39PM

They did that to the point where  there were more asterisks on the page than stars in the sky. Despite all this, the annotations did not mean anything to the students.  

Keeping in mind that different people learn in different ways, there’s another possible way of looking at this.

Some people learn better aurally than visually. Some remember things better by writing them down. I know a few synaesthetes who likely might learn better by using various highlighting colors. Perhaps those who highlight everything are actually helping their own brains to learn by doing this?

This said, I myself still don’t understand people who are highlighting everything in their books this way. I suspect that some are just trying and imitating what they’ve seen before and just haven’t learned to read and annotate actively.

Helping students to discover how they best learn can be a great hurdle to cross, particularly at a young age. Of course, this being said, we also need to help them exercise the other modalities and pathways to help make them more well-rounded and understanding as well.
August 06, 2018 at 04:47PM

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👓 The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger | Quinn Norton | The Atlantic

Read The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger by Quinn Norton (The Atlantic)
I saw the internet create and destroy a bizarro version of myself.

I’ve been reading some pieces from my archive on context collapse and people losing jobs/opportunities as the result of online bullies digging up old social media posts which has become a bigger issue as of late. Many people have been wanting to leave social media platforms for their toxic cultures, and this seems to be a subset of that in that it has people going back and deleting old social posts for fear of implications in the present.

Quinn Norton has some relatively sage advice about the internet in this piece. Of course it’s no coincidence that The New York Times editorial board wanted to hire her.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

History doesn’t ask you if you want to be born in a time of upheaval, it just tells you when you are.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

I have a teenage daughter, and I have told her all her life that all the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM

This taught me that not everyone worthy of love is worthy of emulation. It also taught me that being given terrible ideas is not a destiny, and that intervention can change lives.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:02AM

Not everyone believes loving engagement is the best way to fight evil beliefs, but it has a good track record. Not everyone is in a position to engage safely with racists, sexists, anti-Semites, and homophobes, but for those who are, it’s a powerful tool. Engagement is not the one true answer to the societal problems destabilizing America today, but there is no one true answer. The way forward is as multifarious and diverse as America is, and a method of nonviolent confrontation and accountability, arising from my pacifism, is what I can bring to helping my society.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:03AM

I am not immune from these mistakes, for mistaking a limited snapshot of something for what it is in its entirety. I have been on the other side.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:04AM

I had been a victim of something the sociologists Alice Marwick and danah boyd call context collapse, where people create online culture meant for one in-group, but exposed to any number of out-groups without its original context by social-media platforms, where it can be recontextualized easily and accidentally.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:05AM

I had even written about context collapse myself, but that hadn’t saved me from falling into it, and then hurting other people I didn’t mean to hurt.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:06AM

It helped me learn a lesson: Be damn sure when you make angry statements.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Don’t internet angry. If you’re angry, internet later.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

Context collapse is our constant companion online.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM

I used to think that showing someone how wrong they were on the internet could fix the world. I said a lot of stupid things when I believed that.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:08AM

I am not, and will never be, a simple writer. I have sought to convict, accuse, comfort, and plead with my readers. I’m leaving the majority of my flaws online: Go for it, you can find them if you want. It’s a choice I made long ago.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:09AM

If you look long enough you can find my early terrible writing. You can find blog posts in which I am an idiot. I’ve had a lot of uninformed and passionate opinions on geopolitical issues from Ireland to Israel. You can find tweets I thought were witty, but think are stupid now. You can find opinions I still hold that you disagree with. I’m going to leave most of that stuff up. In doing so, I’m telling you that you have to look for context if you are seeking to understand me. You don’t have to try, I’m not particularly important, but I am complicated. When I die, I’m going to instruct my executors to burn nothing. Leave the crap there, because it’s part of my journey, and that journey has a value. People who came from where I did, and who were given the thoughts I was given, should know that the future can be different from the past.  

August 03, 2018 at 08:13AM

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👓 Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own | Connected Learning Alliance

Read Digital Literacy, Identity and a Domain of One’s Own by Doug BelshawDoug Belshaw (Connected Learning Alliance)
Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours. That domain name could be your gamer tag, it could be your real name, it could be a heteronym — it was up to you!

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours.  

Why have we gotten away from this? In short, I think it’s because it was easier for big companies with massive resources to do the initial heavy lifting.

If we look at history, Gutenberg created the first printing press and guarded it heavily for years. Eventually others figured out how to do it and printing presses spread like wildfire. Now, with some modest means and some time, almost anyone can publish.

With simple standards and accessible hosting people can now broadly own their own domain name and create their own websites using a variety of content management systems. In a few years, this will be even more ubiquitous. Facebook is going to be just like Gutenberg attempting to hold onto his monopoly, but failing miserably.

The best part, I think, is that the speed of digital technology means that the Facebook edifice is going to crumble faster than Gutenberg’s.

Twitter and Facebook are publicly-traded companies and beholden to shareholders looking to make a profit. Google, which owns YouTube and processes over 70% of the world’s search traffic, is likewise legally obliged to return a profit.  

legally obligated? they’re definitely supposed to try or shareholders may move their money elsewhere, but why can’t they create things for the common good as well?

A world where one’s primary identity is found through the social people-farms of existing social networks is a problematic one. Educators and parents are in the privileged position of being able to help create a better future, but we need to start modeling to future generations what that might look like.  

This is exactly what I’ve been attempting to do with my own website. Naturally I use it selfishly for my own purposes, but I’m also using it to model potential behaviours for friends, family and colleagues.

I’m sometimes tempted to change the tagline on my website to “A digital canary in the coalmine”.

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📑 Our Cultural Commonwealth

Quoted Our Cultural Commonwealth: The report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences [.pdf] by Marlo Welshons (ed.) (acls.org)
...cyberinfrastructure is something more specific thanthe network itself, but it is something more general than a tool or a resource developed for a particular proj-ect, a range of projects, or, even more broadly, for a particular discipline.  

Quote highlighted in the video from module 1 of EDU522

Looks like an interesting report. I’ll note that Jeremy Dean has annotated a bit of the report in the past, so it may be useful to circle back around and read the entire thing.

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📑 Code of Conduct

Annotated Code of Conduct for EDU522 by J. Gregory McVerryJ. Gregory McVerry (edu522.networkedlearningcollaborative.com)
Incessentaly correcting graamer  

This may be my favorite line of the entire code of conduct! I’m doing my best to resist….

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📑 Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick — A reply to heatherstains annotation

Replied to an annotation on Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick by Heather StainesHeather Staines (Hypothesis)
Social media networks provided immediate solutions to a few problems with those early blogging networks: they relieved the moderately heavy lift in getting started and they created the possibility of connections that were immediate, dense, and growing. But as those networks expanded, they both pulled authors away from their own domains — so much quicker to tweet than to blog, and with a much speedier potential response — and they privatized and scattered conversations.  
Exactly the use case that annotation is hoping to solve! Enabling the connection between different sites.

While I’m pondering on this, I can’t help but feel like your annotation here is somewhat meant as a reply to Kathleen. I’m left searching to see if you tweeted it with an @mention to notify her. Otherwise, your annotation seems like a cry into the void, which I’ve happened to come across.

I say this because I know that her website now supports sending and receiving Webmentions (she notes as much and references a recent article I wrote on the topic within her text.) If Hypothes.is supported sending Webmentions (a W3C recommendation) for highlights and other annotations on the page they occurred on, then the author of the post would get a notification and could potentially show it on the site (as an inline annotation) or in their comment section, which might also in turn encourage others to open up the annotation layer to do the same. Hypothesis could then not only be an annotation system, but also serve as an ad hoc commenting/conversation tool as well.

You may notice in her comment section that there are 60+ reactions/comments on her site. One or two are done within her native comment interface, and one directly from my website, but the majority are comments, likes, reshares, and mentions which are coming from Twitter by webmention. Imagine if many of them were coming from Hypothesis instead… (try clicking on one of the “@ twitter.com” links following one of the commenter’s avatars and names. What if some of those links looked like:

instead?

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