The history of the American primary; the first town to vote; and New Hampshire reporters do some self-reflection.
The sloppy roll-out of Iowa results prompted disinformation and confusion over the mechanics of the caucus system. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the nomination process to explain how we got here. Plus, local reporters in New Hampshire examine the power struggle at the heart of the upcoming contest.
César Hidalgo has a radical suggestion for fixing our broken political system: automate it! In this provocative talk, he outlines a bold idea to bypass politicians by empowering citizens to create personalized AI representatives that participate directly in democratic decisions. Explore a new way to make collective decisions and expand your understanding of democracy.
“It’s not a communication problem, it’s a cognitive bandwidth problem.”—César Hidalgo
He’s definitely right about the second part, but it’s also a communication problem because most of political speech is nuanced toward the side of untruths and covering up facts and potential outcomes to represent the outcome the speaker wants. There’s also far too much of our leaders saying “Do as I say (and attempt to legislate) and not as I do.” Examples include things like legislators working to actively take away things like abortion or condemn those who are LGBTQ when they actively do those things for themselves or their families or live out those lifestyles in secret.
“One of the reasons why we use Democracy so little may be because Democracy has a very bad user interface and if we improve the user interface of democracy we might be able to use it more.”—César Hidalgo
This is an interesting idea, but definitely has many pitfalls with respect to how we know AI systems currently work. We’d definitely need to start small with simpler problems and build our way up to the more complex. However, even then, I’m not so sure that the complexity issues could ultimately be overcome. On it’s face it sounds like he’s relying too much on the old “clockwork” viewpoint of phyiscs, though I know that obviously isn’t (or couldn’t be) his personal viewpoint. There’s a lot more pathways for this to become a weapon of math destruction currently than the utopian tool he’s envisioning.
Today, Facebook is encouraging its legions of users to declare civic enthusiasm to their friends, with a prominent "I'm A Voter" botton at the top of the newsfeed. Large-scale, experimental research shows that simply clicking the button, and sharing your voting intention, could do more to increase …
Voting legislation continues to be a subject of state legislators’ attention. So far in 2018, lawmakers have introduced bills to restrict voting in eight states. But all of them, as well as 14 other states, are considering laws that would expand access to the polls.
Five votes. That’s the number of votes that finally put Denise Menchaca over the top to win a seat on the San Gabriel City Council in 2016. But those five votes came at the end of a long and torturous road. By Cher...
A Mississippi man was fired from his job at a hospital for wearing the wrong shirt to the polls.
From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.
The voting machines and their software—not voters—are to blame for votes switching from Beto O'Rourke to Ted Cruz (and vice versa), an expert told Motherboard.
Veteran hackers have tried for years to get the world to notice flaws in voting machines. Now that they’ve got it, they have to wrestle with scaring people away from voting.
As I noted in my last post, I recently read Miranda Joseph’s Against the Romance of Community as a means of thinking a bit more deeply about the ways that Generous Thinking deploys the notion of community.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
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.
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?
An increasingly ritualized form of violence is attracting unexpected perpetrators.
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
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”.
“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.
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.
Granovetter’s model suggests that riots are sometimes more than spontaneous outbursts. If they evolve, it means they have depth and length and a history. Granovetter thought that the threshold hypothesis could be used to describe everything from elections to strikes, and even matters as prosaic as how people decide it’s time to leave a party.
The 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.
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.
He disapproved of Adam Lanza, because he shot kindergartners at Sandy Hook instead of people his own age: “That’s just pathetic. Have some dignity, damn it.”
This model of a dialectic suggests that the narrative can be shaped, both by the individual reader and each actor. Can it also be shaped by the media? If these mass-murderers are portrayed as pathetic or deranged would that dissuade others from joining their ranks?
—gandalf511 on Oct 13, 2015
gandalf511, I like the idea you’ve elaborated here, and it may work to at least some extent. One other hand, some of these kids are already iconoclasts who are marginalized and may not put much value or faith in a mainstream media representation. The tougher needle to thread is how to strike a middle ground that speaks to potential assailants?
WASHINGTON -- The directors of Russia's three main intelligence and espionage agencies all traveled to the U.S. capital in recent days, in what observers said was a highly unusual occurrence coming at a time of heightened U.S.-Russian tensions. Russia's ambassador to the United States had earlier confirmed that Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), was in Washington in recent days to meet with U.S. officials about terrorism and other matters.
I spent a lot of time trying centralising my online activities, including adding bookmarks and imports from social networks. Lately my site looked bloated and unmaintainable. I started questioning what data is my data, what data should or could I own - it was time to rethink some ideas.
Somewhat like him, I’m bookmarking things I’d like to read privately on the back end of my site, and then only selectively posting them as read posts when I’ve done that. Archiving them to the Internet Archive has been useful for cutting down on the data I’m keeping, but saving them does allow me to browse through my commonplace book frequently when I need to find something and couldn’t find it otherwise.
Some of this reminds me of the way I use the “star” functionality on Twitter (I still think of it as a star and not a heart). I don’t typically use it to mean anything in particular on Twitter itself. Instead I’m using that functionality in conjunction with an IFTTT recipe to bookmark things I’d like to read later. So in a larger sense, I’m using Twitter as a headline feed reader and marking all the things I’d like to come back and read at a later time.
Once in a blue moon, during a chat with others on Twitter, I may use the heart as an indicator to the other party that I’ve seen/read their post, particularly when I don’t intend to reply to the last in a chain of conversation. This type of ephemera or digital exhaust generally isn’t something I find useful for keeping in the long term, so like Peter I typically don’t keep/archive them on my site.
For those who haven’t read them yet, Sebastiaan Andewe has a recent article covering similar ground: Thinking about bookmarks and likes on the IndieWeb.
I find these discussions useful for thinking through what I’m doing on my own site and refining how I use it as well.