cshalizi + books:noted   2047

Capitalism, Alone — Branko Milanovic | Harvard University Press
"We are all capitalists now. For the first time in human history, the globe is dominated by one economic system. In Capitalism, Alone, leading economist Branko Milanovic explains the reasons for this decisive historical shift since the days of feudalism and, later, communism. Surveying the varieties of capitalism, he asks: What are the prospects for a fairer world now that capitalism is the only game in town? His conclusions are sobering, but not fatalistic. Capitalism gets much wrong, but also much right—and it is not going anywhere. Our task is to improve it.
"Milanovic argues that capitalism has triumphed because it works. It delivers prosperity and gratifies human desires for autonomy. But it comes with a moral price, pushing us to treat material success as the ultimate goal. And it offers no guarantee of stability. In the West, liberal capitalism creaks under the strains of inequality and capitalist excess. That model now fights for hearts and minds with political capitalism, exemplified by China, which many claim is more efficient, but which is more vulnerable to corruption and, when growth is slow, social unrest. As for the economic problems of the Global South, Milanovic offers a creative, if controversial, plan for large-scale migration. Looking to the future, he dismisses prophets who proclaim some single outcome to be inevitable, whether worldwide prosperity or robot-driven mass unemployment. Capitalism is a risky system. But it is a human system. Our choices, and how clearly we see them, will determine how it serves us."
to:NB  books:noted  milanovic.branko  economics  political_economy 
5 days ago by cshalizi
The Great Reversal — Thomas Philippon | Harvard University Press
"In this much-anticipated book, a leading economist argues that many key problems of the American economy are due not to the flaws of capitalism or the inevitabilities of globalization but to the concentration of corporate power. By lobbying against competition, the biggest firms drive profits higher while depressing wages and limiting opportunities for investment, innovation, and growth.
"Why are cell-phone plans so much more expensive in the United States than in Europe? It seems a simple question. But the search for an answer took Thomas Philippon on an unexpected journey through some of the most complex and hotly debated issues in modern economics. Ultimately he reached his surprising conclusion: American markets, once a model for the world, are giving up on healthy competition. Sector after economic sector is more concentrated than it was twenty years ago, dominated by fewer and bigger players who lobby politicians aggressively to protect and expand their profit margins. Across the country, this drives up prices while driving down investment, productivity, growth, and wages, resulting in more inequality. Meanwhile, Europe—long dismissed for competitive sclerosis and weak antitrust—is beating America at its own game.
"Philippon, one of the world’s leading economists, did not expect these conclusions in the age of Silicon Valley start-ups and millennial millionaires. But the data from his cutting-edge research proved undeniable. In this compelling tale of economic detective work, we follow him as he works out the basic facts and consequences of industry concentration in the U.S. and Europe, shows how lobbying and campaign contributions have defanged antitrust regulators, and considers what all this means for free trade, technology, and innovation. For the sake of ordinary Americans, he concludes, government needs to return to what it once did best: keeping the playing field level for competition. It’s time to make American markets great—and free—again."
to:NB  books:noted  economics  political_economy  economic_policy  market_failures_in_everything  class_struggles_in_america 
5 days ago by cshalizi
Louder and Faster by Deborah Wong - Paperback - University of California Press
"A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more at www.luminosoa.org.
"Louder and Faster is a cultural study of the phenomenon of Asian American taiko, the thundering, athletic drumming tradition that originated in Japan. Immersed in the taiko scene for twenty years, Deborah Wong has witnessed cultural and demographic changes and the exponential growth and expansion of taiko particularly in Southern California. Through her participatory ethnographic work, she reveals a complicated story embedded in memories of Japanese American internment and legacies of imperialism, Asian American identity and politics, a desire to be seen and heard, and the intersection of culture and global capitalism. Exploring the materialities of the drums, costumes, and bodies that make sound, analyzing the relationship of these to capitalist multiculturalism, and investigating the gender politics of taiko, Louder and Faster considers both the promises and pitfalls of music and performance as an antiracist practice. The result is a vivid glimpse of an Asian American presence that is both loud and fragile."

--- Presumably Wong looks at participation by Asian-but-not-Japanese Americans...
to:NB  books:noted  music  ethnography  identity_group_formation  california 
6 days ago by cshalizi
Beyond the Meme: Development and Structure in Cultural Evolution on JSTOR
Apparently not in our JSTOR subscription, so suggest the codex to the library?
to:NB  books:noted  cultural_evolution  via:aelkus 
8 days ago by cshalizi
Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Mason
"Political polarization in America is at an all-time high, and the conflict has moved beyond disagreements about matters of policy. For the first time in more than twenty years, research has shown that members of both parties hold strongly unfavorable views of their opponents. This is polarization rooted in social identity, and it is growing. The campaign and election of Donald Trump laid bare this fact of the American electorate, its successful rhetoric of “us versus them” tapping into a powerful current of anger and resentment.
"With Uncivil Agreement, Lilliana Mason looks at the growing social gulf across racial, religious, and cultural lines, which have recently come to divide neatly between the two major political parties. She argues that group identifications have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves and our opponents. Even when Democrats and Republicans can agree on policy outcomes, they tend to view one other with distrust and to work for party victory over all else. Although the polarizing effects of social divisions have simplified our electoral choices and increased political engagement, they have not been a force that is, on balance, helpful for American democracy. Bringing together theory from political science and social psychology, Uncivil Agreement clearly describes this increasingly “social” type of polarization in American politics and will add much to our understanding of contemporary politics."
in_NB  books:noted  us_politics  identity_group_formation 
10 days ago by cshalizi
The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in Seventies America, Belgrad
"When we want advice from others, we often casually speak of “getting some feedback.” But how many of us give a thought to what this phrase means? The idea of feedback actually dates to World War II, when the term was developed to describe the dynamics of self-regulating systems, which correct their actions by feeding their effects back into themselves. By the early 1970s, feedback had become the governing trope for a counterculture that was reoriented and reinvigorated by ecological thinking.
"The Culture of Feedback digs deep into a dazzling variety of left-of-center experiences and attitudes from this misunderstood period, bringing us a new look at the wild side of the 1970s. Belgrad shows us how ideas from systems theory were taken up by the counterculture and the environmental movement, eventually influencing a wide range of beliefs and behaviors, particularly related to the question of what is and is not intelligence. He tells the story of a generation of Americans who were struck by a newfound interest in—and respect for—plants, animals, indigenous populations, and the very sounds around them, threading his tapestry with cogent insights on environmentalism, feminism, systems theory, and psychedelics. The Culture of Feedback repaints the familiar image of the ’70s as a time of Me Generation malaise to reveal an era of revolutionary and hopeful social currents, driven by desires to radically improve—and feed back into—the systems that had come before."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  american_history  1970s  environmentalism  cybernetics 
13 days ago by cshalizi
The Ethical Algorithm - Michael Kearns; Aaron Roth - Oxford University Press
"Over the course of a generation, algorithms have gone from mathematical abstractions to powerful mediators of daily life. Algorithms have made our lives more efficient, more entertaining, and, sometimes, better informed. At the same time, complex algorithms are increasingly violating the basic rights of individual citizens. Allegedly anonymized datasets routinely leak our most sensitive personal information; statistical models for everything from mortgages to college admissions reflect racial and gender bias. Meanwhile, users manipulate algorithms to "game" search engines, spam filters, online reviewing services, and navigation apps.
"Understanding and improving the science behind the algorithms that run our lives is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing issues of this century. Traditional fixes, such as laws, regulations and watchdog groups, have proven woefully inadequate. Reporting from the cutting edge of scientific research, The Ethical Algorithm offers a new approach: a set of principled solutions based on the emerging and exciting science of socially aware algorithm design. Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth explain how we can better embed human principles into machine code - without halting the advance of data-driven scientific exploration. Weaving together innovative research with stories of citizens, scientists, and activists on the front lines, The Ethical Algorithm offers a compelling vision for a future, one in which we can better protect humans from the unintended impacts of algorithms while continuing to inspire wondrous advances in technology."
to:NB  books:noted  via:arsyed  data_mining  algorithmic_fairness  kearns.michael  to_teach:data-mining 
14 days ago by cshalizi
Destination Anthropocene by Amelia Moore - Paperback - University of California Press
"Destination Anthropocene documents the emergence of new travel imaginaries forged at the intersection of the natural sciences and the tourism industry in a Caribbean archipelago. Known to travelers as a paradise of sun, sand, and sea, The Bahamas is rebranding itself in response to the rising threat of global environmental change, including climate change. In her imaginative new book, Amelia Moore explores an experimental form of tourism developed in the name of sustainability, one that is slowly changing the way both tourists and Bahamians come to know themselves and relate to island worlds. "
to:NB  books:noted  tourism  climate_change  bahamas 
21 days ago by cshalizi
Public Capitalism: The Political Authority of Corporate Executives on JSTOR
"In modern capitalist societies, the executives of large, profit-seeking corporations have the power to shape the collective life of the communities, local and global, in which they operate. Corporate executives issue directives to employees, who are normally prepared to comply with them, and impose penalties such as termination on those who fail to comply. The decisions made by corporate executives also affect people outside the corporation: investors, customers, suppliers, the general public. What can justify authority with such a broad reach? Political philosopher Christopher McMahon argues that the social authority of corporate executives is best understood as a form of political authority. Although corporations are privately owned, they must be managed in a way that promotes the public good. Public Capitalism begins with this claim and explores its implications for issues including corporate property rights, the moral status of corporations, the permissibility of layoffs and plant closings, and the legislative role played by corporate executives. Corporate executives acquire the status of public officials of a certain kind, who can be asked to work toward social goods in addition to prosperity. Public Capitalism sketches a new framework for discussion of the moral and political issues faced by corporate executives."
in_NB  downloaded  books:noted  corporations  political_philosophy  management  capitalism  democracy 
23 days ago by cshalizi
A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty | The National Academies Press
"The strengths and abilities children develop from infancy through adolescence are crucial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive growth, which in turn help them to achieve success in school and to become responsible, economically self-sufficient, and healthy adults. Capable, responsible, and healthy adults are clearly the foundation of a well-functioning and prosperous society, yet America's future is not as secure as it could be because millions of American children live in families with incomes below the poverty line. A wealth of evidence suggests that a lack of adequate economic resources for families with children compromises these children’s ability to grow and achieve adult success, hurting them and the broader society.
"A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty reviews the research on linkages between child poverty and child well-being, and analyzes the poverty-reducing effects of major assistance programs directed at children and families. This report also provides policy and program recommendations for reducing the number of children living in poverty in the United States by half within 10 years."

--- Presumably they explain why the solution is not "give their parents money".
to:NB  books:noted  inequality  public_policy  welfare_state  class_struggles_in_america 
28 days ago by cshalizi
Fundamentals of Physics I: Mechanics, Relativity and Thermodynamics | Yale University Press
"A beloved introductory physics textbook, now including exercises and an answer key, explains the concepts essential for thorough scientific understanding
"In this concise book, R. Shankar, a well-known physicist and contagiously enthusiastic educator, explains the essential concepts of Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, waves, fluids, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics. Now in an expanded edition—complete with problem sets and answers for course use or self-study—this work provides an ideal introduction for college-level students of physics, chemistry, and engineering; for AP Physics students; and for general readers interested in advances in the sciences. The book begins at the simplest level, develops the basics, and reinforces fundamentals, ensuring a solid foundation in the principles and methods of physics."

--- "Contagiously enthusiastic" is no exaggeration; I still remember a talk he gave when I was a graduate student at UW-Madison, though that was 20+ years ago now.
to:NB  books:noted  physics 
28 days ago by cshalizi
Safe Enough Spaces | Yale University Press
"From the president of Wesleyan University, a compassionate and provocative manifesto on the crises confronting higher education
"In this bracing book, Michael S. Roth stakes out a pragmatist path through the thicket of issues facing colleges today to carry out the mission of higher education. With great empathy, candor, subtlety, and insight, Roth offers a sane approach to the noisy debates surrounding affirmative action, political correctness, and free speech, urging us to envision college as a space in which students are empowered to engage with criticism and with a variety of ideas.
"Countering the increasing cynical dismissal—from both liberals and conservatives—of the traditional core values of higher education, this book champions the merits of different diversities, including intellectual diversity, with a timely call for universities to embrace boldness, rigor, and practical idealism."
to:NB  academia  us_culture_wars  books:noted 
28 days ago by cshalizi
The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters for the Rich | Cristobal Young
"In this age of globalization, many countries and U.S. states are worried about the tax flight of the rich. As income inequality grows and U.S. states consider raising taxes on their wealthiest residents, there is a palpable concern that these high rollers will board their private jets and fly away, taking their wealth with them. Many assume that the importance of location to a person's success is at an all-time low. Cristobal Young, however, makes the surprising argument that location is very important to the world's richest people. Frequently, he says, place has a great deal to do with how they make their millions.
"In The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight, Young examines a trove of data on millionaires and billionaires—confidential tax returns, Forbes lists, and census records—and distills down surprising insights. While economic elites have the resources and capacity to flee high-tax places, their actual migration is surprisingly limited. For the rich, ongoing economic potential is tied to the place where they become successful—often where they are powerful insiders—and that success ultimately diminishes both the incentive and desire to migrate.
"This important book debunks a powerful idea that has driven fiscal policy for years, and in doing so it clears the way for a new era. Millionaire taxes, Young argues, could give states the funds to pay for infrastructure, education, and other social programs to attract a group of people who are much more mobile—the younger generation."
to:NB  books:noted  inequality  economics  taxes  class_struggles_in_america 
29 days ago by cshalizi
Challenges in Machine Generation of Analytic Products from Multi-Source Data: Proceedings of a Workshop | The National Academies Press
"The Intelligence Community Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop on August 9-10, 2017 to examine challenges in machine generation of analytic products from multi-source data. Workshop speakers and participants discussed research challenges related to machine-based methods for generating analytic products and for automating the evaluation of these products, with special attention to learning from small data, using multi-source data, adversarial learning, and understanding the human-machine relationship. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop."
to:NB  books:noted  intelligence_(spying)  machine_learning 
29 days ago by cshalizi
The Kingdom of Women: Life, Love and Death in China's Hidden Mountains: Choo WaiHong: I.B. Tauris
"In a mist-shrouded valley on China's invisible border with Tibet is a place known as the 'Kingdom of Women', where a small tribe called the Mosuo lives in a cluster of villages that have changed little in centuries. This is one of the last matrilineal societies on earth, where power lies in the hands of women. All decisions and rights related to money, property, land and the children born to them rest with the Mosuo women, who live completely independently of husbands, fathers and brothers, with the grandmother as the head of each family. A unique practice is also enshrined in Mosuo tradition - that of 'walking marriage', where women choose their own lovers from men within the tribe but are beholden to none. Choo Waihong, a corporate lawyer who yearned for escape, ended up living with the Mosuo for seven years - the only non-Mosuo to have ever done so. She tells the remarkable story of her time in the remote mountains of China and gives a vibrant, compelling glimpse into a way of life that teeters on the knife-edge of extinction"
to:NB  books:noted  anthropology  tibet  central_asia  extraordinary_if_true  travelers'_tales 
29 days ago by cshalizi
The Social Fact | The MIT Press
"While the public believes that journalism remains crucial for democracy, there is a general sense that the news media are performing this role poorly. In The Social Fact, John Wihbey makes the case that journalism can better serve democracy by focusing on ways of fostering social connection. Wihbey explores how the structure of news, information, and knowledge and their flow through society are changing, and he considers ways in which news media can demonstrate the highest possible societal value in the context of these changes.
"Wihbey examines network science as well as the interplay between information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the structure of knowledge in society. He discusses the underlying patterns that characterize our increasingly networked world of information—with its viral phenomena and whiplash-inducing trends, its extremes and surprises. How can the traditional media world be reconciled with the world of social, peer-to-peer platforms, crowdsourcing, and user-generated content? Wihbey outlines a synthesis for news producers and advocates innovation in approach, form, and purpose. The Social Fact provides a valuable framework for doing audience-engaged media work of many kinds in our networked, hybrid media environment. It will be of interest to all those concerned about the future of news and public affairs."
to:NB  books:noted  journalism  networked_life  re:actually-dr-internet-is-the-name-of-the-monsters-creator 
29 days ago by cshalizi
A New American Creed: The Eclipse of Citizenship and Rise of Populism | David H. Kamens
"A new American creed has reconstructed the social contract. Generations from 1890 to 1940 took for granted that citizenship entailed voting, volunteering, religiosity, and civic consciousness. Conspicuously, the WWII generation introduced collectivist notions of civic obligations—but such obligations have since become regarded as options. In this book, David H. Kamens takes this basic shift as his starting point for exploring numerous trends in American political culture from the 1930s to the present day. Drawing on and synthesizing an enormous array of primary and secondary materials, Kamens examines the critical role of macro social changes, such as the growth and expansion of government and education, often in response to the emergence of globalization. From these tectonic shifts erupted numerous ripple effects, such as the decline of traditional citizen values, the rise of individualism, loss of trust in institutions, anti-elitism, and dramatic political polarization. In this context, antagonism to government as an enemy of personal freedom grew, creating a space for populist movements to blossom, unrestrained by traditional political parties. Beyond painting a comprehensive picture of our current political landscape, Kamens offers an invaluable archive documenting the steps that got us here."
to:NB  books:noted  us_politics  decline_of_american_character 
29 days ago by cshalizi
Atonement and Forgiveness by Roy L. Brooks - Paperback - University of California Press
"Roy L. Brooks reframes one of the most important, controversial, and misunderstood issues of our time in this far-reaching reassessment of the growing debate on black reparation. Atonement and Forgiveness shifts the focus of the issue from the backward-looking question of compensation for victims to a more forward-looking racial reconciliation. Offering a comprehensive discussion of the history of the black redress movement, this book puts forward a powerful new plan for repairing the damaged relationship between the federal government and black Americans in the aftermath of 240 years of slavery and another 100 years of government-sanctioned racial segregation.
"Key to Brooks's vision is the government's clear signal that it understands the magnitude of the atrocity it committed against an innocent people, that it takes full responsibility, and that it publicly requests forgiveness—in other words, that it apologizes. The government must make that apology believable, Brooks explains, by a tangible act that turns the rhetoric of apology into a meaningful, material reality, that is, by reparation. Apology and reparation together constitute atonement. Atonement, in turn, imposes a reciprocal civic obligation on black Americans to forgive, which allows black Americans to start relinquishing racial resentment and to begin trusting the government's commitment to racial equality.
"Brooks's bold proposal situates the argument for reparations within a larger, international framework—namely, a post-Holocaust vision of government responsibility for genocide, slavery, apartheid, and similar acts of injustice. Atonement and Forgiveness makes a passionate, convincing case that only with this spirit of heightened morality, identity, egalitarianism, and restorative justice can genuine racial reconciliation take place in America."
to:NB  books:noted  political_philosophy  the_american_dilemma 
29 days ago by cshalizi
Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research by Garret Christensen, Jeremy Freese, Edward Miguel - Paperback - University of California Press
"Recently, social science has had numerous episodes of influential research that was found invalid when placed under rigorous scrutiny. The growing sense that many published results are potentially erroneous has made those conducting social science research more determined to ensure the underlying research is sound.  Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research is the first book to summarize and synthesize new approaches to combat false positives and non-reproducible findings in social science research, document the underlying problems in research practices, and teach a new generation of students and scholars how to overcome them. Understanding that social science research has real consequences for individuals when used by professionals in public policy, health, law enforcement, and other fields, the book crystallizes new insights, practices, and methods that help ensure greater research transparency, openness, and reproducibility. Readers are guided through well-known problems and are encouraged to work through new solutions and practices to improve the openness of their research. Created with both experienced and novice researchers in mind, Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research serves as an indispensable resource for the production of high quality social science research."
to:NB  books:noted  social_science_methodology  reproducible_research  freese.jeremy  books:owned 
29 days ago by cshalizi
Empiricism and Language Learnability - Nick Chater; Alexander Clark; John A. Goldsmith; Amy Perfors - Oxford University Press
"This interdisciplinary new work explores one of the central theoretical problems in linguistics: learnability. The authors, from different backgrounds---linguistics, philosophy, computer science, psychology and cognitive science-explore the idea that language acquisition proceeds through general purpose learning mechanisms, an approach that is broadly empiricist both methodologically and psychologically.
"For many years, the empiricist approach has been taken to be unfeasible on practical and theoretical grounds. In the book, the authors present a variety of precisely specified mathematical and computational results that show that empiricist approaches can form a viable solution to the problem of language acquisition. It assumes limited technical background and explains the fundamental principles of probability, grammatical description and learning theory in an accessible and non-technical way. Different chapters address the problem of language acquisition using different assumptions: looking at the methodology of linguistic analysis using simplicity based criteria, using computational experiments on real corpora, using theoretical analysis using probabilistic learning theory, and looking at the computational problems involved in learning richly structured grammars.
"Written by four researchers in the full range of relevant fields: linguistics (John Goldsmith), psychology (Nick Chater), computer science (Alex Clark), and cognitive science (Amy Perfors), the book sheds light on the central problems of learnability and language, and traces their implications for key questions of theoretical linguistics and the study of language acquisition."
in_NB  linguistics  learning_theory  books:noted  via:rvenkat 
5 weeks ago by cshalizi
Pacifying the Homeland by Brendan McQuade - Paperback - University of California Press
"The United States has poured over a billion dollars into a network of interagency intelligence centers called “fusion centers.” These centers were ostensibly set up to prevent terrorism, but politicians, the press, and policy advocates have criticized them for failing on this account. So why do these security systems persist? Pacifying the Homeland travels inside the secret world of intelligence fusion, looks beyond the apparent failure of fusion centers, and reveals a broader shift away from mass incarceration and toward a more surveillance- and police-intensive system of social regulation. 
"Provided with unprecedented access to domestic intelligence centers, Brendan McQuade uncovers how the institutionalization of intelligence fusion enables decarceration without fully addressing the underlying social problems at the root of mass incarceration. The result is a startling analysis that contributes to the debates on surveillance, mass incarceration, and policing and challenges readers to see surveillance, policing, mass incarceration, and the security state in an entirely new light."
to:NB  books:noted  national_surveillance_state  surveillance  intelligence_(spying)  creeping_authoritarianism 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Collecting Experiments: Making Big Data Biology, Strasser
"Databases have revolutionized nearly every aspect of our lives. Information of all sorts is being collected on a massive scale, from Google to Facebook and well beyond. But as the amount of information in databases explodes, we are forced to reassess our ideas about what knowledge is, how it is produced, to whom it belongs, and who can be credited for producing it.
"Every scientist working today draws on databases to produce scientific knowledge. Databases have become more common than microscopes, voltmeters, and test tubes, and the increasing amount of data has led to major changes in research practices and profound reflections on the proper professional roles of data producers, collectors, curators, and analysts.
"Collecting Experiments traces the development and use of data collections, especially in the experimental life sciences, from the early twentieth century to the present. It shows that the current revolution is best understood as the coming together of two older ways of knowing—collecting and experimenting, the museum and the laboratory. Ultimately, Bruno J. Strasser argues that by serving as knowledge repositories, as well as indispensable tools for producing new knowledge, these databases function as digital museums for the twenty-first century."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_science  history_of_statistics 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Good Enough for Government Work: The Public Reputation Crisis in America (And What We Can Do to Fix It), Lerman
"American government is in the midst of a reputation crisis. An overwhelming majority of citizens—Republicans and Democrats alike—hold negative perceptions of the government and believe it is wasteful, inefficient, and doing a generally poor job managing public programs and providing public services. When social problems arise, Americans are therefore skeptical that the government has the ability to respond effectively. It’s a serious problem, argues Amy E. Lerman, and it will not be a simple one to fix.
"With Good Enough for Government Work, Lerman uses surveys, experiments, and public opinion data to argue persuasively that the reputation of government is itself an impediment to government’s ability to achieve the common good. In addition to improving its efficiency and effectiveness, government therefore has an equally critical task: countering the belief that the public sector is mired in incompetence. Lerman takes readers through the main challenges. Negative perceptions are highly resistant to change, she shows, because we tend to perceive the world in a way that confirms our negative stereotypes of government—even in the face of new information. Those who hold particularly negative perceptions also begin to “opt out” in favor of private alternatives, such as sending their children to private schools, living in gated communities, and refusing to participate in public health insurance programs. When sufficient numbers of people opt out of public services, the result can be a decline in the objective quality of public provision. In this way, citizens’ beliefs about government can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with consequences for all. Lerman concludes with practical solutions for how the government might improve its reputation and roll back current efforts to eliminate or privatize even some of the most critical public services."
to:NB  books:noted  us_politics  our_decrepit_institutions  whats_gone_wrong_with_america 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, Koopman
"We are now acutely aware, as if all of the sudden, that data matters enormously to how we live. How did information come to be so integral to what we can do? How did we become people who effortlessly present our lives in social media profiles and who are meticulously recorded in state surveillance dossiers and online marketing databases? What is the story behind data coming to matter so much to who we are?
"In How We Became Our Data, Colin Koopman excavates early moments of our rapidly accelerating data-tracking technologies and their consequences for how we think of and express our selfhood today. Koopman explores the emergence of mass-scale record keeping systems like birth certificates and social security numbers, as well as new data techniques for categorizing personality traits, measuring intelligence, and even racializing subjects. This all culminates in what Koopman calls the “informational person” and the “informational power” we are now subject to. The recent explosion of digital technologies that are turning us into a series of algorithmic data points is shown to have a deeper and more turbulent past than we commonly think. Blending philosophy, history, political theory, and media theory in conversation with thinkers like Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, and Friedrich Kittler, Koopman presents an illuminating perspective on how we have come to think of our personhood—and how we can resist its erosion."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_statistics  history_of_ideas  history_of_technology  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Poisonous Skies: Acid Rain and the Globalization of Pollution, Rothschild
"The climate change reckoning looms. As scientists try to discern what the Earth’s changing weather patterns mean for our future, Rachel Rothschild seeks to understand the current scientific and political debates surrounding the environment through the history of another global environmental threat: acid rain.
"The identification of acid rain in the 1960s changed scientific and popular understanding of fossil fuel pollution’s potential to cause regional—and even global—environmental harms. It showed scientists that the problem of fossil fuel pollution was one that crossed borders—it could travel across vast stretches of the earth’s atmosphere to impact ecosystems around the world. This unprecedented transnational reach prompted governments, for the first time, to confront the need to cooperate on pollution policies, transforming environmental science and diplomacy. Studies of acid rain and other pollutants brought about a reimagining of how to investigate the natural world as a complete entity, and the responses of policy makers, scientists, and the public set the stage for how societies have approached other prominent environmental dangers on a global scale, most notably climate change.
"Grounded in archival research spanning eight countries and five languages, as well as interviews with leading scientists from both government and industry, Poisonous Skies is the first book to examine the history of acid rain in an international context. By delving deep into our environmental past, Rothschild hopes to inform its future, showing us how much is at stake for the natural world as well as what we risk—and have already risked—by not acting."
to:NB  history_of_science  pollution  environmental_management  books:noted 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
The Missing Course — David Gooblar | Harvard University Press
"College is changing, but the way we train academics is not. Most professors are still trained to be researchers first and teachers a distant second, even as scholars are increasingly expected to excel in the classroom.
"There has been a revolution in teaching and learning over the past generation, and we now have a whole new understanding of how the brain works and how students learn. But most academics have neither the time nor the resources to catch up to the latest research or train themselves to be excellent teachers. The Missing Course offers scholars at all levels a field guide to the state of the art in teaching and learning and is packed with invaluable insights to help students learn in any discipline.
"Wary of the folk wisdom of the faculty lounge, David Gooblar builds his lessons on the newest findings and years of experience. From active-learning strategies to course design to getting students talking, The Missing Course walks you through the fundamentals of the student-centered classroom, one in which the measure of success is not how well you lecture but how much students learn. Along the way, readers will find ideas and tips they can use in their classrooms right away."
to:NB  books:noted  pedagogy  academia 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Cultural Encounters in Near Eastern History, Larsen, Hertel
"Globalization and cheaper travel have led to a rapid increase in cross-cultural encounters worldwide—which makes understanding problems of conflict, prejudice, interaction, and adaptation ever more important.
"Fortunately, we have a powerful historical example to draw on: the closely knit, yet very different cultures that inhabited and interacted in the Near East. Contributors look at the interactions of nomads, traders, religious groups, armies, and more to help answer questions about cultural encounters through both theoretical and empirical lenses. They present cases drawn from a range of fields within the overall history of the Near East, including Mesopotamian history, the rise of Islam, and the effects of Hellenism."
to:NB  books:noted  cultural_exchange  ancient_history  islamic_civilization 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Membranes to Molecular Machines: Active Matter and the Remaking of Life, Grote
"Today's science tells us that our bodies are filled with molecular machinery that orchestrates all sorts of life processes. When we think, microscopic "channels" open and close in our brain cell membranes; when we run, tiny "motors" spin in our muscle cell membranes; and when we see, light operates "molecular switches" in our eyes and nerves. A molecular-mechanical vision of life has become commonplace in both the halls of philosophy and the offices of drug companies, where researchers are developing “proton pump inhibitors” or medicines similar to Prozac.
"Membranes to Molecular Machines explores just how late twentieth-century science came to think of our cells and bodies this way. This story is told through the lens of membrane research, an unwritten history at the crossroads of molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and the neurosciences, that directly feeds into today's synthetic biology as well as nano- and biotechnology. Mathias Grote shows how these sciences not only have made us think differently about life, they have, by reworking what membranes and proteins represent in laboratories, allowed us to manipulate life as "active matter" in new ways. Covering the science of biological membranes in the United States and Europe from the mid-1960s to the 1990s, this book connects that history to contemporary work with optogenetics, a method for stimulating individual neurons using light, and will enlighten and provoke anyone interested in the intersection of chemical research and the life sciences—from practitioner to historian to philosopher."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_science  molecular_biology  biophysics 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Jane Addams’s Evolutionary Theorizing: Constructing “Democracy and Social Ethics”, Fischer
"In Jane Addams’s Evolutionary Theorizing, Marilyn Fischer advances the bold and original claim that Addams’s reasoning in her first book, Democracy and Social Ethics, is thoroughly evolutionary. While Democracy and Social Ethics, a foundational text of classical American pragmatism, is praised for advancing a sensitive and sophisticated method of ethical deliberation, Fischer is the first to explore its intellectual roots.
"Examining essays Addams wrote in the 1890s and showing how they were revised for Democracy and Social Ethics, Fischer draws from philosophy, history, literature, rhetoric, and more to uncover the array of social evolutionary thought Addams engaged with in her texts—from British socialist writings on the evolution of democracy to British and German anthropological accounts of the evolution of morality. By excavating Addams’s evolutionary reasoning and rhetorical strategies, Fischer reveals the depth, subtlety, and richness of Addams’s thought."
to:NB  books:noted  lives_of_the_activists  pragmatism  moral_philosophy  history_of_ideas  addams.jane 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
The Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of the Policymaking Agenda Transformed American Politics, Jones, Theriault, Whyman
"Beginning in the late 1950s and continuing through the 1970s, the United States experienced a vast expansion in national policy making. During this period, the federal government extended its scope into policy arenas previously left to civil society or state and local governments.
"With The Great Broadening, Bryan D. Jones, Sean M. Theriault, and Michelle Whyman examine in detail the causes, internal dynamics, and consequences of this extended burst of activity. They argue that the broadening of government responsibilities into new policy areas such as health care, civil rights, and gender issues and the increasing depth of existing government programs explain many of the changes in America politics since the 1970s. Increasing government attention to particular issues was motivated by activist groups. In turn, the beneficiaries of the government policies that resulted became supporters of the government’s activity, leading to the broad acceptance of its role. This broadening and deepening of government, however, produced a reaction as groups critical of its activities organized to resist and roll back its growth."
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  us_politics  sociology  public_policy  class_struggles_in_america 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan’s 3/11 Disasters, Aldrich
"Despite the devastation caused by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 60-foot tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, some 96% of those living and working in the most disaster-stricken region of Tōhoku made it through. Smaller earthquakes and tsunamis have killed far more people in nearby China and India. What accounts for the exceptionally high survival rate? And why is it that some towns and cities in the Tōhoku region have built back more quickly than others?
"Black Wave illuminates two critical factors that had a direct influence on why survival rates varied so much across the Tōhoku region following the 3/11 disasters and why the rebuilding process has also not moved in lockstep across the region. Individuals and communities with stronger networks and better governance, Daniel P. Aldrich shows, had higher survival rates and accelerated recoveries. Less-connected communities with fewer such ties faced harder recovery processes and lower survival rates. Beyond the individual and neighborhood levels of survival and recovery, the rebuilding process has varied greatly, as some towns and cities have sought to work independently on rebuilding plans, ignoring recommendations from the national government and moving quickly to institute their own visions, while others have followed the guidelines offered by Tokyo-based bureaucrats for economic development and rebuilding."
to:NB  books:noted  social_networks  japan  disasters  sociology 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Vices of the Mind - Quassim Cassam - Oxford University Press
"Epistemic vices are character traits, attitudes or thinking styles that prevent us from gaining, keeping or sharing knowledge. In this book, Quassim Cassam gives an account of the nature and importance of these vices, which include closed-mindedness, intellectual arrogance, wishful thinking, and prejudice. In providing the first extensive coverage of vice epistemology, an exciting new area of philosophical research, Vices of the Mind uses real examples drawn primarily from the world of politics to develop a compelling theory of epistemic vice. Cassam defends the view that as well as getting in the way of knowledge these vices are blameworthy or reprehensible. Key events such as the 2003 Iraq War and the 2016 Brexit vote, and notable figures including Donald Trump are analysed in detail to illustrate what epistemic vice looks like in the modern world. The traits covered in this landmark work include a hitherto unrecognised epistemic vice called 'epistemic insouciance'. Cassam examines both the extent to which we are responsible for our failings and the factors that make it difficult to know our own vices. If we are able to overcome self-ignorance and recognise our epistemic vices then is there is anything we can do about them? Vices of the Mind picks up on this concern in its conclusion by detailing possible self-improvement strategies and closing with a discussion of what makes some epistemic vices resistant to change."
to:NB  books:noted  philosophy  moral_psychology  moral_philosophy  epistemology 
6 weeks ago by cshalizi
Psychiatry and Its Discontents by Andrew Scull - Hardcover - University of California Press
"Written by one of the world’s most distinguished historians of psychiatry, Psychiatry and Its Discontents provides a wide-ranging and critical perspective on the profession that dominates the treatment of mental illness. Andrew Scull traces the rise of the field, the midcentury hegemony of psychoanalytic methods, and the paradigm’s decline with the ascendance of biological and pharmaceutical approaches to mental illness. The book’s historical sweep is broad, ranging from the age of the asylum to the rise of psychopharmacology and the dubious triumphs of “community care.” The essays in Psychiatry and Its Discontents provide a vivid and compelling portrait of the recurring crises of legitimacy experienced by “mad-doctors,” as psychiatrists were once called, and illustrates the impact of psychiatry’s ideas and interventions on the lives of those afflicted with mental illness."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_medicine  history_of_ideas  psychiatry  psychology 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale, Coen
"Today, predicting the impact of human activities on the earth’s climate hinges on tracking interactions among phenomena of radically different dimensions, from the molecular to the planetary. Climate in Motion shows that this multiscalar, multicausal framework emerged well before computers and satellites. Extending the history of modern climate science back into the nineteenth century, Deborah R. Coen uncovers its roots in the politics of empire-building in central and eastern Europe. She argues that essential elements of the modern understanding of climate arose as a means of thinking across scales in a state—the multinational Habsburg Monarchy, a patchwork of medieval kingdoms and modern laws—where such thinking was a political imperative. Led by Julius Hann in Vienna, Habsburg scientists were the first to investigate precisely how local winds and storms might be related to the general circulation of the earth’s atmosphere as a whole. Linking Habsburg climatology to the political and artistic experiments of late imperial Austria, Coen grounds the seemingly esoteric science of the atmosphere in the everyday experiences of an earlier era of globalization. Climate in Motion presents the history of modern climate science as a history of “scaling”—that is, the embodied work of moving between different frameworks for measuring the world. In this way, it offers a critical historical perspective on the concepts of scale that structure thinking about the climate crisis today and the range of possibilities for responding to it. "
to:NB  books:noted  climatology  history_of_science  habsburg_empire 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Fruit from the Sands by Robert N. Spengler III - Hardcover - University of California Press
"The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed cuisines all over the globe."
to:NB  books:noted  cultural_exchange  agriculture  food  central_asia 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital | Sophie Seita
"What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically "failed" movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde's publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about the intersections of aesthetic form and politics and about what we consider to be literature and art."
to:NB  books:noted  poetry  history_of_art  social_life_of_the_mind  social_movements  modernism 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Invisible Companions: Encounters with Imaginary Friends, Gods, Ancestors, and Angels | J. Bradley Wigger
"From the US to Nepal, author J. Bradley Wigger travels five countries on three continents to hear children describe their invisible friends—one-hundred-year-old robins and blue dogs, dinosaurs and teapots, pretend families and shape-shifting aliens—companions springing from the deep well of childhood imagination. Drawing on these interviews, as well as a new wave of developmental research, he finds a fluid and flexible quality to the imaginative mind that is central to learning, co-operation, and paradoxically, to real-world rationality. Yet Wigger steps beyond psychological territory to explore the religious significance of the kind of mind that develops relationships with invisible beings. Alongside Cinderella the blue dog, Quack-Quack the duck, and Dino the dinosaur are angels, ancestors, spirits, and gods. What he uncovers is a profound capacity in the religious imagination to see through the surface of reality to more than meets the eye. Punctuated throughout by children's colorful drawings of their see-through interlocutors, the book is highly engaging and alternately endearing, moving, and humorous. Not just for parents or for those who work with children, Invisible Companions will appeal to anyone interested in our mind's creative and spiritual possibilities."
to:NB  books:noted  imagination  cognitive_development  psychology  religion 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Close Reading with Computers: Textual Scholarship, Computational Formalism, and David Mitchell's <i>Cloud Atlas</i> | Martin Paul Eve
"Most contemporary digital studies are interested in distant-reading paradigms for large-scale literary history. This book asks what happens when such telescopic techniques function as a microscope instead. The first monograph to bring a range of computational methods to bear on a single novel in a sustained fashion, it focuses on the award-winning and genre-bending Cloud Atlas (2004). Published in two very different versions worldwide without anyone taking much notice, David Mitchell's novel is ideal fodder for a textual-genetic publishing history, reflections on micro-tectonic shifts in language by authors who move between genres, and explorations of how we imagine people wrote in bygone eras. Though Close Reading with Computers focuses on but one novel, it has a crucial exemplary function: author Martin Paul Eve demonstrates a set of methods and provides open-source software tools that others can use in their own literary-critical practices. In this way, the project serves as a bridge between users of digital methods and those engaged in more traditional literary-critical endeavors."
to:NB  books:noted  text_mining  literary_criticism  natural_language_processing 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Syndicate Women by Chris M. Smith - Paperback - University of California Press
"In Syndicate Women, sociologist Chris M. Smith uncovers a unique historical puzzle: women composed a substantial part of Chicago organized crime in the early 1900s, but during Prohibition (1920–1933), when criminal opportunities increased and crime was most profitable, women were largely excluded. During the Prohibition era, the markets for organized crime became less territorial and less specialized, and criminal organizations were restructured to require relationships with crime bosses. These processes began with, and reproduced, gender inequality. The book places organized crime within a gender-based theoretical framework while assessing patterns of relationships that have implications for non-criminal and more general societal issues around gender. As a work of criminology that draws on both historical methods and contemporary social network analysis, Syndicate Women centers the women who have been erased from analyses of gender and crime and breathes new life into our understanding of the gender gap."
to:NB  books:noted  crime  american_history  social_networks  sexism  to_teach:baby-nets  gender_gaps_of_questionable_injustice  chicago 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Evolutionary Genetics - Hardcover - Glenn-Peter Saetre; Mark Ravinet - Oxford University Press
"With recent technological advances, vast quantities of genetic and genomic data are being generated at an ever-increasing pace. The explosion in access to data has transformed the field of evolutionary genetics. A thorough understanding of evolutionary principles is essential for making sense of this, but new skill sets are also needed to handle and analyze big data. This contemporary textbook covers all the major components of modern evolutionary genetics, carefully explaining fundamental processes such as mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, and speciation. It also draws on a rich literature of exciting and inspiring examples to demonstrate the diversity of evolutionary research, including an emphasis on how evolution and selection has shaped our own species.
"Practical experience is essential for developing an understanding of how to use genetic and genomic data to analyze and interpret results in meaningful ways. In addition to the main text, a series of online tutorials using the R language serves as an introduction to programming, statistics, and analysis. Indeed the R environment stands out as an ideal all-purpose source platform to handle and analyze such data. The book and its online materials take full advantage of the authors' own experience in working in a post-genomic revolution world, and introduces readers to the plethora of molecular and analytical methods that have only recently become available.
"Evolutionary Genetics is an advanced but accessible textbook aimed principally at students of various levels (from undergraduate to postgraduate) but also for researchers looking for an updated introduction to modern evolutionary biology and genetics. "
to:NB  genetics  evolutionary_biology  statistics  R  books:noted 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
The Archaeology of Afghanistan - F.R. Allchin; Warwick Ball; Norman Hammond - Oxford University Press
"Afghanistan is at the cultural crossroads of Asia, where the great civilisations of Mesopotamia and Iran, South Asia and Central Asia overlapped and sometimes conflicted. Its landscape embraces environments from the high mountains of the Hindu Kush to the Oxus basin and the great deserts of Sistan; trade routes from China to the Mediterranean, and from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea cross the country. It has seen the development of early agriculture, the spread of Bronze Age civilisation of Central Asia, the conquests of the Persians and of Alexander of Macedon, the spread of Buddhism and then Islam, and the empires of the Kushans, Ghaznavids, Ghurids and Timurids centred there, with ramifications across southern Asia. All of which has resulted in some of the most important, diverse and spectacular historical remains in Asia.
"First published in 1978, this was the first book in English to provide a complete survey of the immensely rich archaeological remains of Afghanistan. The contributors, all acknowledged scholars in their field, have worked in the country, on projects ranging from prehistoric surveys to the study of Islamic architecture. It has now been thoroughly revised and brought up to date to incorporate the latest discoveries and research."
to:NB  books:noted  archaeology  afghanistan  coveted 
8 weeks ago by cshalizi
Measuring India - M.R. Saluja - Oxford University Press
"Reliable and up-to-date statistics are crucial for planning the economic advancement of a nation. This book presents a comprehensive assessment of statistics relating to the present structure of India's economy providing a sound factual basis for formulating development programmes. It discusses the various concepts, definitions, and procedures involved in collecting, compiling, and publishing these data, understanding their reliability as well as limitations to arrive at meaningful conclusions.
"Covering statistics on agricultural, industrial, labour, financial, as well as key socio-economic indicators of education, health, environment, this book also compares statistical systems followed in India with those followed internationally. It further elaborates on the comparability of different datasets over time and across organizations pointing out gaps in the available statistics."
to:NB  books:noted  india  statistics  official_statistics 
12 weeks ago by cshalizi
Nonlinear Time Series Analysis with R - Hardcover - Ray Huffaker; Marco Bittelli; Rodolfo Rosa - Oxford University Press
"Nonlinear Time Series Analysis with R provides a practical guide to emerging empirical techniques allowing practitioners to diagnose whether highly fluctuating and random appearing data are most likely driven by random or deterministic dynamic forces. It joins the chorus of voices recommending 'getting to know your data' as an essential preliminary evidentiary step in modelling. Time series are often highly fluctuating with a random appearance. Observed volatility is commonly attributed to exogenous random shocks to stable real-world systems. However, breakthroughs in nonlinear dynamics raise another possibility: highly complex dynamics can emerge endogenously from astoundingly parsimonious deterministic nonlinear models. Nonlinear Time Series Analysis (NLTS) is a collection of empirical tools designed to aid practitioners detect whether stochastic or deterministic dynamics most likely drive observed complexity. Practitioners become 'data detectives' accumulating hard empirical evidence supporting their modelling approach.
"This book is targeted to professionals and graduate students in engineering and the biophysical and social sciences. Its major objectives are to help non-mathematicians--with limited knowledge of nonlinear dynamics--to become operational in NLTS; and in this way to pave the way for NLTS to be adopted in the conventional empirical toolbox and core coursework of the targeted disciplines. Consistent with modern trends in university instruction, the book makes readers active learners with hands-on computer experiments in R code directing them through NLTS methods and helping them understand the underlying logic. The computer code is explained in detail so that readers can adjust it for use in their own work. The book also provides readers with an explicit framework--condensed from sound empirical practices recommended in the literature--that details a step-by-step procedure for applying NLTS in real-world data diagnostics"
to:NB  books:noted  dynamical_systems  time_series  statistics  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
12 weeks ago by cshalizi
Life by Algorithms: How Roboprocesses Are Remaking Our World, Besteman, Gusterson
"Computerized processes are everywhere in our society. They are the automated phone messaging systems that businesses use to screen calls; the link between student standardized test scores and public schools’ access to resources; the algorithms that regulate patient diagnoses and reimbursements to doctors. The storage, sorting, and analysis of massive amounts of information have enabled the automation of decision-making at an unprecedented level. Meanwhile, computers have offered a model of cognition that increasingly shapes our approach to the world. The proliferation of “roboprocesses” is the result, as editors Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson observe in this rich and wide-ranging volume, which features contributions from a distinguished cast of scholars in anthropology, communications, international studies, and political science.
"Although automatic processes are designed to be engines of rational systems, the stories in Life by Algorithms reveal how they can in fact produce absurd, inflexible, or even dangerous outcomes. Joining the call for “algorithmic transparency,” the contributors bring exceptional sensitivity to everyday sociality into their critique to better understand how the perils of modern technology affect finance, medicine, education, housing, the workplace, food production, public space, and emotions—not as separate problems but as linked manifestations of a deeper defect in the fundamental ordering of our society."
to:NB  books:noted  bureaucracy  data_mining  to_teach:data-mining 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Revisiting Discovery and Justification | SpringerLink
"The distinction between the contexts of discovery and justification has had a turbulent career in philosophy of science. At times celebrated as the hallmark of philosophical approaches to science, at times condemned as ambiguous, distorting, and misleading, the distinction dominated philosophical debates from the early decades of the twentieth century to the 1980s. Until today, it informs our conception of the content, domain, and goals of philosophy of science. It is due to this fact that new trends in philosophy of experimentation and history and sociology of science have been marginalized by traditional scholarship in philosophy. To acknowledge properly this important recent work we need to re-open the debate about the nature, development, and significance of the context distinction, about its merits and flaws. The contributions to this volume provide close readings and detailed analyses of the original textual sources for the context distinction. They revise those accounts of ‘forerunners’ of the distinction that have been written through the lens of Logical Empiricism. They map, clarify, and analyse the derivations and mutations of the context distinctions as we encounter them in current history and philosophy of science. The re-evaluation of the distinction helps us deal with the philosophical challenges that the New Experimentalism and historically, socio-politically and economically oriented science studies have placed before us. This volume thus clears the ground for the productive and fruitful integration of these new developments into philosophy of science."
to:NB  books:noted  philosophy_of_science  history_of_science  history_of_ideas  sociology_of_science 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Yılmaz, H.: Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought (Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook) | Princeton University Press
"The medieval theory of the caliphate, epitomized by the Abbasids (750–1258), was the construct of jurists who conceived it as a contractual leadership of the Muslim community in succession to the Prophet Muhammed’s political authority. In this book, Hüseyin Yılmaz traces how a new conception of the caliphate emerged under the Ottomans, who redefined the caliph as at once a ruler, a spiritual guide, and a lawmaker corresponding to the prophet’s three natures.
"Challenging conventional narratives that portray the Ottoman caliphate as a fading relic of medieval Islamic law, Yılmaz offers a novel interpretation of authority, sovereignty, and imperial ideology by examining how Ottoman political discourse led to the mystification of Muslim political ideals and redefined the caliphate. He illuminates how Ottoman Sufis reimagined the caliphate as a manifestation and extension of cosmic divine governance. The Ottoman Empire arose in Western Anatolia and the Balkans, where charismatic Sufi leaders were perceived to be God’s deputies on earth. Yılmaz traces how Ottoman rulers, in alliance with an increasingly powerful Sufi establishment, continuously refashioned and legitimated their rule through mystical imageries of authority, and how the caliphate itself reemerged as a moral paradigm that shaped early modern Muslim empires.
"A masterful work of scholarship, Caliphate Redefined is the first comprehensive study of premodern Ottoman political thought to offer an extensive analysis of a wealth of previously unstudied texts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish."
to:NB  books:noted  islamic_civilization  ottoman_empire  sufism  political_philosophy  history_of_ideas 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Introduction to Hidden Semi-Markov Models by John van der Hoek
"Markov chains and hidden Markov chains have applications in many areas of engineering and genomics. This book provides a basic introduction to the subject by first developing the theory of Markov processes in an elementary discrete time, finite state framework suitable for senior undergraduates and graduates. The authors then introduce semi-Markov chains and hidden semi-Markov chains, before developing related estimation and filtering results. Genomics applications are modelled by discrete observations of these hidden semi-Markov chains. This book contains new results and previously unpublished material not available elsewhere. The approach is rigorous and focused on applications."
to:NB  books:noted  markov_models  state-space_models  statistics  time_series  genomics 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Matheron's Theory of Regionalised Variables - Georges Matheron - Oxford University Press
"n the summer of 1970, Georges Matheron, the father of geostatistics, presented a series of lectures at the Centre de Morphologie Mathmatique in France. These lectures would go on to become Matheron's Theory of Regionalized Variables, a seminal work that would inspire hundreds of papers and become the bedrock of numerous theses and books on the topic; however, despite their importance, the notes were never formally published.
"In this volume, Matheron's influential work is presented as a published book for the first time. Originally translated into English by Charles Huijbregts, and carefully curated here, this book stays faithful to Matheron's original notes. The text has been ordered with a common structure, and equations and figures have been redrawn and numbered sequentially for ease of reference.
"While not containing any mathematical technicalities or case studies, the reader is invited to wonder about the physical meaning of the notions Matheron deals with. When Matheron wrote them, he considered the theory of linear geostatistics complete and the book his final one on the subject; however, this end for Matheron has been the starting point for most geostatisticians."
to:NB  books:noted  spatial_statistics  history_of_statistics  statistics  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Only Imagine - Hardcover - Kathleen Stock - Oxford University Press
"The theory of fictional content Kathleen Stock argues for is known as 'extreme intentionalism'; the idea that the fictional content of a particular work is equivalent to exactly what the author of the work intended the reader to imagine. Historically, this sort of view has been highly unpopular. Literary theorists and philosophers alike have poured scorn upon it. The first half of this book attempts to argue that it should in fact be taken very seriously as an adequate account of fictional truth: better, in fact, than many of its more popular rivals. The second half explores various explanatory benefits of extreme intentionalism for other issues in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. Namely, can fiction give us reliable knowledge? Why do we 'resist' imagining certain fictions? What, in fact, is a fiction? And, how should the imagination be characterised?"

--- So what's the fictional content of the Odyssey then?
to:NB  books:noted  narrative  philosophy  literary_criticism 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Assembling the Dinosaur — Lukas Rieppel | Harvard University Press
"A lively account of how dinosaurs became a symbol of American power and prosperity and gripped the popular imagination during the Gilded Age, when their fossil remains were collected and displayed in museums financed by North America’s wealthiest business tycoons.
"Although dinosaur fossils were first found in England, a series of dramatic discoveries during the late 1800s turned North America into a world center for vertebrate paleontology. At the same time, the United States emerged as the world’s largest industrial economy, and creatures like Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Triceratops became emblems of American capitalism. Large, fierce, and spectacular, American dinosaurs dominated the popular imagination, making front-page headlines and appearing in feature films.
"Assembling the Dinosaur follows dinosaur fossils from the field to the museum and into the commercial culture of North America’s Gilded Age. Business tycoons like Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan made common cause with vertebrate paleontologists to capitalize on the widespread appeal of dinosaurs, using them to project American exceptionalism back into prehistory. Learning from the show-stopping techniques of P. T. Barnum, museums exhibited dinosaurs to attract, entertain, and educate the public. By assembling the skeletons of dinosaurs into eye-catching displays, wealthy industrialists sought to cement their own reputations as generous benefactors of science, showing that modern capitalism could produce public goods in addition to profits. Behind the scenes, museums adopted corporate management practices to control the movement of dinosaur bones, restricting their circulation to influence their meaning and value in popular culture."
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  carnegie.andrew  dinosaurs 
june 2019 by cshalizi
Analytics, Policy, and Governance | Yale University Press
"The first available textbook on the rapidly growing and increasingly important field of government analytics
"This first textbook on the increasingly important field of government analytics provides invaluable knowledge and training for students of government in the synthesis, interpretation, and communication of “big data,” which is now an integral part of governance and policy making. Integrating all the major components of this rapidly growing field, this invaluable text explores the intricate relationship of data analytics to governance while providing innovative strategies for the retrieval and management of information."
to:NB  data_mining  statistics  causal_inference  us_politics  social_science_methodology  books:noted 
may 2019 by cshalizi
The Untold Story of the Talking Book — Matthew Rubery | Harvard University Press
"Histories of the book often move straight from the codex to the digital screen. Left out of that familiar account are nearly 150 years of audio recordings. Recounting the fascinating history of audio-recorded literature, Matthew Rubery traces the path of innovation from Edison’s recitation of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for his tinfoil phonograph in 1877, to the first novel-length talking books made for blinded World War I veterans, to today’s billion-dollar audiobook industry.
"The Untold Story of the Talking Book focuses on the social impact of audiobooks, not just the technological history, in telling a story of surprising and impassioned conflicts: from controversies over which books the Library of Congress selected to become talking books—yes to Kipling, no to Flaubert—to debates about what defines a reader. Delving into the vexed relationship between spoken and printed texts, Rubery argues that storytelling can be just as engaging with the ears as with the eyes, and that audiobooks deserve to be taken seriously. They are not mere derivatives of printed books but their own form of entertainment.
"We have come a long way from the era of sound recorded on wax cylinders, when people imagined one day hearing entire novels on mini-phonographs tucked inside their hats. Rubery tells the untold story of this incredible evolution and, in doing so, breaks from convention by treating audiobooks as a distinctively modern art form that has profoundly influenced the way we read."

--- The bit about "their own format" strikes me as wishful thinking. (That is, they _could_ be, but overwhelmingly they _are_ just derivative, and that's fine.)
to:NB  books:noted  books_about_books  literary_history 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Plugged In | Yale University Press
"Now, as never before, young people are surrounded by media—thanks to the sophistication and portability of the technology that puts it literally in the palms of their hands. Drawing on data and empirical research that cross many fields and continents, authors Valkenburg and Piotrowski examine the role of media in the lives of children from birth through adolescence, addressing the complex issues of how media affect the young and what adults can do to encourage responsible use in an age of selfies, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
"This important study looks at both the sunny and the dark side of media use by today’s youth, including why and how their preferences change throughout childhood, whether digital gaming is harmful or helpful, the effects of placing tablets and smartphones in the hands of toddlers, the susceptibility of young people to online advertising, the legitimacy of parental concerns about media multitasking, and more."
to:NB  books:noted  networked_life  social_media  re:actually-dr-internet-is-the-name-of-the-monsters-creator 
may 2019 by cshalizi
No Miracles: The Failure of Soviet Decision-Making in the Afghan War | Michael R. Fenzel
"The Soviet experience in Afghanistan provides a compelling perspective on the far-reaching hazards of military intervention. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev decided that a withdrawal from Afghanistan should occur as soon as possible. The Soviet Union's senior leadership had become aware that their strategy was unraveling, their operational and tactical methods were not working, and the sacrifices they were demanding from the Soviet people and military were unlikely to produce the forecasted results. Despite this state of affairs, operations in Afghanistan persisted and four more years passed before the Soviets finally withdrew their military forces.
"In No Miracles, Michael Fenzel explains why and how that happened, as viewed from the center of the Soviet state. From that perspective, three sources of failure stand out: poor civil-military relations, repeated and rapid turnover of Soviet leadership, and the perception that Soviet global prestige and influence were inexorably tied to the success of the Afghan mission. Fenzel enumerates the series of misperceptions and misjudgments that led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, tracing the hazards of their military intervention and occupation. Ultimately, he offers a cautionary tale to nation states and policymakers considering military intervention and the use of force."
to:NB  books:noted  20th_century_history  ussr  afghanistan  war  soviet-afghan_war  decision-making 
may 2019 by cshalizi
(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love | Yale University Press
"Profound transformations in our digital society have brought many enterprising women to social media platforms—from blogs to YouTube to Instagram—in hopes of channeling their talents into fulfilling careers. In this eye-opening book, Brooke Erin Duffy draws much-needed attention to the gap between the handful who find lucrative careers and the rest, whose “passion projects” amount to free work for corporate brands.
"Drawing on interviews and fieldwork, Duffy offers fascinating insights into the work and lives of fashion bloggers, beauty vloggers, and designers. She connects the activities of these women to larger shifts in unpaid and gendered labor, offering a lens through which to understand, anticipate, and critique broader transformations in the creative economy. At a moment when social media offer the rousing assurance that anyone can “make it”—and stand out among freelancers, temps, and gig workers—Duffy asks us all to consider the stakes of not getting paid to do what you love."
to:NB  books:noted  ethnography  networked_life  class_struggles_in_america  economics  social_life_of_the_mind  re:actually-dr-internet-is-the-name-of-the-monsters-creator 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Flood, F.: Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter (Paperback) | Princeton University Press
"Objects of Translation offers a nuanced approach to the entanglements of medieval elites in the regions that today comprise Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north India. The book--which ranges in time from the early eighth to the early thirteenth centuries--challenges existing narratives that cast the period as one of enduring hostility between monolithic "Hindu" and "Muslim" cultures. These narratives of conflict have generally depended upon premodern texts for their understanding of the past. By contrast, this book considers the role of material culture and highlights how objects such as coins, dress, monuments, paintings, and sculptures mediated diverse modes of encounter during a critical but neglected period in South Asian history.
"The book explores modes of circulation--among them looting, gifting, and trade--through which artisans and artifacts traveled, remapping cultural boundaries usually imagined as stable and static. It analyzes the relationship between mobility and practices of cultural translation, and the role of both in the emergence of complex transcultural identities. Among the subjects discussed are the rendering of Arabic sacred texts in Sanskrit on Indian coins, the adoption of Turko-Persian dress by Buddhist rulers, the work of Indian stone masons in Afghanistan, and the incorporation of carvings from Hindu and Jain temples in early Indian mosques. Objects of Translation draws upon contemporary theories of cosmopolitanism and globalization to argue for radically new approaches to the cultural geography of premodern South Asia and the Islamic world."
to:NB  books:noted  medieval_eurasian_history  islamic_civilization  hinduism  india  cultural_exchange 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Revolution: Structure and Meaning in World History, Arjomand
"A revolution is a discontinuity: one political order replaces another, typically through whatever violent means are available. Modern theories of revolutions tend neatly to bracket the French Revolution of 1789 with the fall of the Soviet Union two hundred years later, but contemporary global uprisings—with their truly multivalent causes and consequences—can overwhelm our ability to make sense of them.
"In this authoritative new book, Saïd Amir Arjomand reaches back to antiquity to propose a unified theory of revolution. Revolution illuminates the stories of premodern rebellions from the ancient world, as well as medieval European revolts and more recent events, up to the Arab Spring of 2011. Arjomand categorizes revolutions in two groups: ones that expand the existing body politic and power structure, and ones that aim to erode—but paradoxically augment—their authority. The revolutions of the past, he tells us, can shed light on the causes of those of the present and future: as long as centralized states remain powerful, there will be room for greater, and perhaps forceful, integration of the politically disenfranchised."
to:NB  revolution  comparative_history  books:noted 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Democracy and Dysfunction, Levinson, Balkin
"It is no longer controversial that the American political system has become deeply dysfunctional. Today, only slightly more than a quarter of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction, while sixty-three percent believe we are on a downward slope. The top twenty words used to describe the past year include “chaotic,” “turbulent,” and “disastrous.” Donald Trump’s improbable rise to power and his 2016 Electoral College victory placed America’s political dysfunction in an especially troubling light, but given the extreme polarization of contemporary politics, the outlook would have been grim even if Hillary Clinton had won. The greatest upset in American presidential history is only a symptom of deeper problems of political culture and constitutional design.
"Democracy and Dysfunction brings together two of the leading constitutional law scholars of our time, Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin, in an urgently needed conversation that seeks to uncover the underlying causes of our current crisis and their meaning for American democracy. In a series of letters exchanged over a period of two years, Levinson and Balkin travel—along with the rest of the country—through the convulsions of the 2016 election and Trump’s first year in office. They disagree about the scope of the crisis and the remedy required. Levinson believes that our Constitution is fundamentally defective and argues for a new constitutional convention, while Balkin, who believes we are suffering from constitutional rot, argues that there are less radical solutions. As it becomes dangerously clear that Americans—and the world—will be living with the consequences of this pivotal period for many years to come, it is imperative that we understand how we got here—and how we might forestall the next demagogue who will seek to beguile the American public."
to:NB  us_politics  our_decrepit_institutions  balkin.jack  books:noted 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Functional Gaussian Approximation for Dependent Structures - Florence Merlevede; Magda Peligrad; Sergey Utev - Oxford University Press
"Functional Gaussian Approximation for Dependent Structures develops and analyses mathematical models for phenomena that evolve in time and influence each another. It provides a better understanding of the structure and asymptotic behaviour of stochastic processes.
"Two approaches are taken. Firstly, the authors present tools for dealing with the dependent structures used to obtain normal approximations. Secondly, they apply normal approximations to various examples. The main tools consist of inequalities for dependent sequences of random variables, leading to limit theorems, including the functional central limit theorem and functional moderate deviation principle. The results point out large classes of dependent random variables which satisfy invariance principles, making possible the statistical study of data coming from stochastic processes both with short and long memory.
"The dependence structures considered throughout the book include the traditional mixing structures, martingale-like structures, and weakly negatively dependent structures, which link the notion of mixing to the notions of association and negative dependence. Several applications are carefully selected to exhibit the importance of the theoretical results. They include random walks in random scenery and determinantal processes. In addition, due to their importance in analysing new data in economics, linear processes with dependent innovations will also be considered and analysed."
to:NB  central_limit_theorem  stochastic_processes  convergence_of_stochastic_processes  mixing  ergodic_theory  re:almost_none  books:noted 
may 2019 by cshalizi
Caravan of Martyrs by David B. Edwards - Paperback - University of California Press
"What compels a person to strap a vest loaded with explosives onto his body and blow himself up in a crowded street? Scholars have answered this question by focusing on the pathology of the “terrorist mind” or the “brainwashing” practices of terrorist organizations. In Caravan of Martyrs, David Edwards argues that we need to understand the rise of suicide bombing in relation to the "Before the war in Afghanistan began, the sacrificial killing of a sheep demonstrated a tribe’s desire for peace. After the Soviet invasion of 1979, as thousands of people were killed, sacrifice took on new meanings. The dead were venerated as martyrs, but this informal conferral of status on the casualties of war soon became the foundation for a cult of martyrs exploited by political leaders for their own advantage. This first repurposing of the machinery of sacrifice set in motion a process of mutation that would lead nineteen Arabs who had received their training in Afghanistan to hijack airplanes on September 11 and that would in time transform what began as a cult of martyrs created by a small group of Afghan jihadis into the transnational scattering of suicide bombers that haunts our world today.
"Drawing on years of research in the region, Edwards traces the transformation of sacrifice using a wide range of sources, including the early poetry of jihad, illustrated martyr magazines, school primers and legal handbooks, martyr hagiographies, videos produced by suicide bombers, the manual of ritual instructions used by the 9/11 hijackers, and Facebook posts through which contemporary “Talifans” promote the virtues of self-destruction."
to:NB  books:noted  terrorism  afghanistan  anthropology  sacrifice  history_of_ideas  history_of_morals 
may 2019 by cshalizi
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