🔖 The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási

Bookmarked The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási (Little, Brown and Company)

In the bestselling tradition of Malcom Gladwell, James Gleick, and Nate Silver, prominent professor László Barabási gives us a trailblazing book that promises to transform the very foundations of how our success-obsessed society approaches their professional careers, life pursuits and long-term goals.

Too often, accomplishment does not equal success. We did the work but didn't get the promotion; we played hard but weren't recognized; we had the idea but didn't get the credit. We convince ourselves that talent combined with a strong work ethic is the key to getting ahead, but also realize that combination often fails to yield results, without any deeper understanding as to why. Recognizing this striking disconnect, the author, along with a team of renowned researchers and some of the most advanced data-crunching systems on the planet, dedicated themselves to one goal: uncovering that ever-elusive link between performance and success.

Now, based on years of academic research, The Formula finally unveils the groundbreaking discoveries of their pioneering study, not only highlighting the scientific and mathematic principles that underpin success, but also revolutionizing our understanding of:
Why performance is necessary but not adequate
Why "Experts" are often wrong
How to assemble a creative team primed for success
How to most effectively engage our networks
And much more.

Caught an interesting reference to this in an episode of Human Current, but I’ve also recently finished his prior book Linked. I’ll likely read it, but I’ll probably wish I had read the relevant papers instead.

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Acquired Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Acquired Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep TufekciZeynep Tufekci (goodreads.com)

A firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges

Book cover of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest

To understand a thwarted Turkish coup, an anti–Wall Street encampment, and a packed Tahrir Square, we must first comprehend the power and the weaknesses of using new technologies to mobilize large numbers of people. An incisive observer, writer, and participant in today’s social movements, Zeynep Tufekci explains in this accessible and compelling book the nuanced trajectories of modern protests—how they form, how they operate differently from past protests, and why they have difficulty persisting in their long-term quests for change.

Tufekci speaks from direct experience, combining on-the-ground interviews with insightful analysis. She describes how the internet helped the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the necessity of remote Twitter users to organize medical supplies during Arab Spring, the refusal to use bullhorns in the Occupy Movement that started in New York, and the empowering effect of tear gas in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. These details from life inside social movements complete a moving investigation of authority, technology, and culture—and offer essential insights into the future of governance.

Inspired to purchase via Bryan Alexander‘s book club.

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🔖 This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture by Whitney Phillips | The MIT Press

Bookmarked This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture by Whitney Phillips (The MIT Press)

Why the troll problem is actually a culture problem: how online trolling fits comfortably within today's media landscape.

Internet trolls live to upset as many people as possible, using all the technical and psychological tools at their disposal. They gleefully whip the media into a frenzy over a fake teen drug crisis; they post offensive messages on Facebook memorial pages, traumatizing grief-stricken friends and family; they use unabashedly racist language and images. They take pleasure in ruining a complete stranger's day and find amusement in their victim's anguish. In short, trolling is the obstacle to a kinder, gentler Internet. To quote a famous Internet meme, trolling is why we can't have nice things online. Or at least that's what we have been led to believe. In this provocative book, Whitney Phillips argues that trolling, widely condemned as obscene and deviant, actually fits comfortably within the contemporary media landscape. Trolling may be obscene, but, Phillips argues, it isn't all that deviant. Trolls' actions are born of and fueled by culturally sanctioned impulses—which are just as damaging as the trolls' most disruptive behaviors.

Phillips describes, for example, the relationship between trolling and sensationalist corporate media—pointing out that for trolls, exploitation is a leisure activity; for media, it's a business strategy. She shows how trolls, “the grimacing poster children for a socially networked world,” align with social media. And she documents how trolls, in addition to parroting media tropes, also offer a grotesque pantomime of dominant cultural tropes, including gendered notions of dominance and success and an ideology of entitlement. We don't just have a trolling problem, Phillips argues; we have a culture problem. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things isn't only about trolls; it's about a culture in which trolls thrive.

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🔖 The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online by Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner

Bookmarked The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online by Whitney Phillips, Ryan M. Milner (Polity)

This book explores the weird and mean and in-between that characterize everyday expression online, from absurdist photoshops to antagonistic Twitter hashtags to deceptive identity play.

Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner focus especially on the ambivalence of this expression: the fact that it is too unwieldy, too variable across cases, to be essentialized as old or new, vernacular or institutional, generative or destructive. Online expression is, instead, all of the above. This ambivalence, the authors argue, hinges on available digital tools. That said, there is nothing unexpected or surprising about even the strangest online behavior. Ours is a brave new world, and there is nothing new under the sun – a point necessary to understanding not just that online spaces are rife with oddity, mischief, and antagonism, but why these behaviors matter.

The Ambivalent Internet is essential reading for students and scholars of digital media and related fields across the humanities, as well as anyone interested in mediated culture and expression.

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🔖 Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Bookmarked Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (Nation Books)

Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America--more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them--and in the process, gives us reason to hope.

hat tip to the podcasts Face the Racist Nation and Seeing White

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🔖 On random graphs by Paul Erdős and Alfréd Rényi (1959)

Bookmarked On Random Graphs. I by Paul Erdős and Alfréd Rényi (Publicationes Mathematicae. 6: 290–297.)

Original source of Erdős–Rényi model.

In the mathematical field of graph theory, the Erdős–Rényi model is either of two closely related models for generating random graphs. They are named after mathematicians Paul Erdős and Alfréd Rényi, who first introduced one of the models in 1959,[1][2] while Edgar Gilbert introduced the other model contemporaneously and independently of Erdős and Rényi.[3] In the model of Erdős and Rényi, all graphs on a fixed vertex set with a fixed number of edges are equally likely; in the model introduced by Gilbert, each edge has a fixed probability of being present or absent, independently of the other edges. These models can be used in the probabilistic method to prove the existence of graphs satisfying various properties, or to provide a rigorous definition of what it means for a property to hold for almost all graphs.

hat tip: Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

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🔖 Collective Dynamics of Small-World Networks by Duncan J. Watts & Steven H. Strogatz

Bookmarked Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks by Duncan J. Watts & Steven H. Strogatz (Nature | VOL 393)
Networks of coupled dynamical systems have been used to model biological oscillators1–4, Josephson junction arrays5,6, excitable media7, neural networks8–10, spatial games11, genetic control networks12 and many other self-organizing systems. Ordinarily, the connection topology is assumed to be either completely regular or completely random. But many biological, technological and social networks lie somewhere between these two extremes. Here we explore simple models of networks that can be tuned through this middle ground: regular networks ‘rewired’ to introduce increasing amounts of disorder. We find that these systems can be highly clustered, like regular lattices, yet have small characteristic path lengths, like random graphs. We call them ‘small-world’ networks, by analogy with the small-world phenomenon13,14 (popularly known as six degrees of separation15). The neural network of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the power grid of the western United States, and the collaboration graph of film actors are shown to be small-world networks. Models of dynamical systems with small-world coupling display enhanced signal-propagation speed, computational power, and synchronizability. In particular, infectious diseases spread more easily in small-world networks than in regular lattices.

hat tip: Linked: The New Science Of Networks by Albert-László Barabási

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🔖 Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama

Bookmarked Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama (Free Press)
In his bestselling The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that the end of the Cold War would also mean the beginning of a struggle for position in the rapidly emerging order of 21st-century capitalism. In Trust, a penetrating assessment of the emerging global economic order "after History," he explains the social principles of economic life and tells us what we need to know to win the coming struggle for world dominance. Challenging orthodoxies of both the left and right, Fukuyama examines a wide range of national cultures in order to divine the underlying principles that foster social and economic prosperity. Insisting that we cannot divorce economic life from cultural life, he contends that in an era when social capital may be as important as physical capital, only those societies with a high degree of social trust will be able to create the flexible, large-scale business organizations that are needed to compete in the new global economy. A brilliant study of the interconnectedness of economic life with cultural life, Trust is also an essential antidote to the increasing drift of American culture into extreme forms of individualism, which, if unchecked, will have dire consequences for the nation's economic health.

h/t Disconnected, fragmented, or united? a trans-disciplinary review of network science by César A. Hidalgo (Applied Network Science | SpringerLink)

Given the large number of “Trust” and “Truth” related books being released this year, most in reference to Donald J. Trump’s administration, this might be an interesting read which takes him out of the equation and potentially better underlines the bigger problem we’re seeing in a growing anti-scientific leaning America?

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🔖 Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan

Bookmarked Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan (The MIT Press; Reprint edition)
Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT's Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.

I’m sure this has been on my “list” at one time or another, but giving it a bump.

hat tip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lelmXaSibrc& from EDU522 course.

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🔖 Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Domurat Dreger

Bookmarked Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Domurat Dreger (Penguin)
book cover of Galileo's Middle Finger by Alice Domurat Dreger

An impassioned defense of intellectual freedom and a clarion call to intellectual responsibility, Galileo’s Middle Finger is one American’s eye-opening story of life in the trenches of scientific controversy. For two decades, historian Alice Dreger has led a life of extraordinary engagement, combining activist service to victims of unethical medical research with defense of scientists whose work has outraged identity politics activists. With spirit and wit, Dreger offers in Galileo’s Middle Finger an unforgettable vision of the importance of rigorous truth seeking in today’s America, where both the free press and free scholarly inquiry struggle under dire economic and political threats.

This illuminating chronicle begins with Dreger’s own research into the treatment of people born intersex (once called hermaphrodites). Realization of the shocking surgical and ethical abuses conducted in the name of “normalizing” intersex children’s gender identities moved Dreger to become an internationally recognized patient rights’ activist. But even as the intersex rights movement succeeded, Dreger began to realize how some fellow progressive activists were employing lies and personal attacks to silence scientists whose data revealed uncomfortable truths about humans. In researching one such case, Dreger suddenly became the target of just these kinds of attacks.

Troubled, she decided to try to understand more—to travel the country to ferret out the truth behind various controversies, to obtain a global view of the nature and costs of these battles. Galileo’s Middle Finger describes Dreger’s long and harrowing journeys between the two camps for which she felt equal empathy: social justice activists determined to win and researchers determined to put hard truths before comfort. Ultimately what emerges is a lesson about the intertwining of justice and of truth—and a lesson of the importance of responsible scholars and journalists to our fragile democracy.

hat tip: Last Week at Wellesley

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🔖 Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

Bookmarked Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky (Penguin Press)

From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do?

Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.

And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs--whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened.

Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person's adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual's group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old.

The result is one of the most dazzling tours d'horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

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🔖 [1806.00871] A Framework for Aggregating Private and Public Web Archives | arXiv

Bookmarked [1806.00871] A Framework for Aggregating Private and Public Web Archives by Mat Kelly, Michael L. Nelson, Michele C. Weigle (arxiv.org)
Personal and private Web archives are proliferating due to the increase in the tools to create them and the realization that Internet Archive and other public Web archives are unable to capture personalized (e.g., Facebook) and private (e.g., banking) Web pages. We introduce a framework to mitigate issues of aggregation in private, personal, and public Web archives without compromising potential sensitive information contained in private captures. We amend Memento syntax and semantics to allow TimeMap enrichment to account for additional attributes to be expressed inclusive of the requirements for dereferencing private Web archive captures. We provide a method to involve the user further in the negotiation of archival captures in dimensions beyond time. We introduce a model for archival querying precedence and short-circuiting, as needed when aggregating private and personal Web archive captures with those from public Web archives through Memento. Negotiation of this sort is novel to Web archiving and allows for the more seamless aggregation of various types of Web archives to convey a more accurate picture of the past Web.
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