Our Postmodern World: Science Is Political and Non-PhDs Are Scientists

Our Postmodern World: Science Is Political and Non-PhDs Are Scientists | American Council on Science and Health (acsh.org)

Alex Berezow in American Council on Science & Health in response to Audra Wolfe. Some pull quotes and commentary from me below. Click here for full source with annotations. What about people who don't have PhD's? Are they scientists, too? In any world in which credentials matter, the answer is no. (I describe a major … Continue reading Our Postmodern World: Science Is Political and Non-PhDs Are Scientists

How Close Are You Really?

How Close Are You Really? by Emerging Technology from the arXiv (MIT Technology Review)
A diagram of your social network reveals the strength of your individual relationships, network scientists say.

Research contextualized in the MIT Technology Review: Social scientists measure the strength of these links using a variety of indicators, such as how often a person calls another, whether that call is reciprocated, the time the two people spend speaking, and so on. But these indicators are often difficult and time-consuming to measure. ➡   The … Continue reading How Close Are You Really?

The Age of Cultured Machines

The Age of Cultured Machines (SAPIENS)
Two robots traverse the desert floor. Explosions from a decades-old conflict have left a pockmarked and unstable territory, though many more improvised bombs lie concealed in its vast reaches. Sunlight splays off the beaten edges of Optimus, the smaller robot. Its motors whir as its claw grasps an u...

From Sapiens. This imaginary scene shows the power of learning from others. Anthropologists and zoologists call this “social learning”: picking up new information by observing or interacting with others and the things others produce. Social learning is rife among humans and across the wider animal kingdom. As we discussed in our previous post, learning socially … Continue reading The Age of Cultured Machines

“I Was Devastated”: The Man Who Created the World Wide Web Has Some Regrets

“I Was Devastated”: The Man Who Created the World Wide Web Has Some Regrets (The Hive)
Tim Berners-Lee has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it.

An expose on Tim Berners Lee in Vanity Fair. The piece describes Berners-Lee invention of the World Wide Web and his recent work with Solid to re-decentralize the web. For now, the Solid technology is still new and not ready for the masses. But the vision, if it works, could radically change the existing power dynamics of … Continue reading “I Was Devastated”: The Man Who Created the World Wide Web Has Some Regrets

More States Opting To ‘Robo-Grade’ Student Essays By Computer

More States Opting To 'Robo-Grade' Student Essays By Computer

From Weekend Edition on NPR. Annotations in source available here. "Robograders" are on the rise in high stakes testing, and other aspects of our classrooms. Keep in mind this is just an algorithm looking for patterns in student writing. An algorithm isn't magic, it's code (writing) written by people. "The idea is bananas, as far … Continue reading More States Opting To ‘Robo-Grade’ Student Essays By Computer

Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags

Cory Doctorow: Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags (Locus Online)
For 20 years, privacy advocates have been sounding the alarm about commercial online surveillance.

Cory Doctorow in LocusMag. View all annotations here. Privacy advocates tried to explain that persuasion was just the tip of the iceberg. Commercial databases were juicy targets for spies and identity thieves, to say nothing of blackmail for people whose data-trails revealed socially risky sexual practices, religious beliefs, or political views. I like this framing … Continue reading Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags

Education unfits us for slavery; we need to protect the Department of Education

Education unfits us for slavery; we need to protect the DOE (The Hechinger Report)
Last week, the White House released a proposal to restructure the federal government, featuring a plan to merge the Department of Education and Department of Labor. Black students, whose ancestors’ bodies were once reduced to instruments of labor in slavery, have the most to lose from this politically-driven merger.

Andre Perry in The Hechinger Report: The notion of a governmental reboot seems fair enough. Government bureaucracies that grow over time can be anathema to innovation and efficiency. Technology has challenged the way we engage with all institutions, and the federal government could certainly improve its use of technology to better deliver services. [7/2/2018 3:56 … Continue reading Education unfits us for slavery; we need to protect the Department of Education