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Fieldnote as Political Weapon: James Comey’s Ethnographic Turn? — Cultural Anthropology
For ISF 189. Use James Comey's memo and ask students to reconstruct his underlying fieldnotes. How does Comey maintain his objectivity? How does he just report and not interpret?
teaching 
5 hours ago
EdX To Retire Foundational 6.002x Platform — Class Central
MIT retires the first instance of MITx citing security concerns and moves its students to alumni
moocs 
2 days ago
A Bitcoin Believer’s Crisis of Faith - The New York Times
When Mr. Hearn began pushing for changes to the core Bitcoin software to allow for larger blocks of transaction data, he faced immediate resistance. Gregory Maxwell, a largely self-taught programmer who had worked on Wikipedia and the Mozilla web browser, both open-source projects, said that larger blocks of transaction data would be harder for ordinary computers to process. The result, Mr. Maxwell warned, would be to hand control over the network to big companies that could afford powerful computers.

For Mr. Maxwell, slower transactions seemed to be a secondary issue to protecting Bitcoin from centralized sources of authority.

“It’s far from clear to me that the world will get a second shot at this in the next several decades if Bitcoin lapses into the same-old, same-old,” he wrote to other developers.

Mr. Hearn retorted that the technical issue wasn’t such a big deal; ordinary computers could mostly process the larger blocks of transaction data. More important, he argued, was that Bitcoin needed to succeed first as a cheaper, faster payment network, like PayPal or Visa. If Bitcoin wanted to ever compete with mainstream payment systems, which could process tens of thousands of transactions a second, it would have to do away with Bitcoin’s existing limit of fewer than seven transactions a second.
research 
3 days ago
Hobsbawm’s Long Century
In a How to Change the World essay on Gramsci, Hobsbawm drew a distinction between socialist governments — the twentieth-century “really existing socialism” — and socialist societies. The difference, he argues, lies in politics.

Much like the center-left coalition parties like the Blairite Labour Party or Hollande’s Socialist Party or the Clintons’ Democratic Party, the twentieth-century communist parties of really existing socialism carefully regulated the participation of their popular bases, forever formulating more policy within ever-smaller inner cadres.

The elevation of policy, Hobsbawm argued, channeling Gramsci, is the “neglect of politics.” This neglect of politics carried antidemocratic and counterrevolutionary consequences.

Hobsbawm asked, “how can we expect to transform human life, to create a socialist society (as distinct from a socially owned and managed economy), when the mass of the people are excluded from the political process, and may even be allowed to drift into depoliticization and apathy about public matters?”
politics  research 
6 days ago
They're on Obamacare, they voted for Trump, and they're already disappointed
Write about this. This can be tied to bartels new book on failure of democracy. The problem here is that soc psych notions of identity are very flawed and not robust enough.
Polarization 
15 days ago
granovetter book forum, part 1: review
There are three books that economic sociologists have been expecting for decades and all three of them are finally here. First, Padgett and Powell published The Emergence of Organizations and Markets in 2012. This book brought Padgett’s network perspective on the creation of roles and positions in markets to the broader sociological audience. Second, at about the same time, Fligstein and McAdam published a Theory of Fields , which was their attempt to synthesize scholarly writing on conflict in organizations and states. Finally, we have the third book, the long awaited Society and Economy , by Mark Granovetter. This book summarizes Granovetter’s celebrated career and introduces the reader to the field of economic sociology.
Research 
28 days ago
We Rate Dogs' Matt Nelson Turned Joke Twitter Account Into Successful Business
for 100j -- about the life of a college student who struck gold with a twitter account where he comes up with cute captions for cute dog pictures. A portrait of the internet entrepreneur as a young man.
teaching 
4 weeks ago
Big pharma's newest marketing tactic: infiltrating soap operas like General Hospital
Can I compare this to the MOOC on beriatric surgery? Use this to teach in 100g.
moocs  teaching 
5 weeks ago
James Comey’s memo has shaken a presidency. Here’s why memos have always mattered. - The Washington Post
Joanne Yates' work in the light of Comey's memos about Trump. For 100G and maybe also for 100j.
teaching 
5 weeks ago
Facebook admits its 10th measurement mistake since September
100j: might be useful to understand advertising infrastructure
facebook  teaching 
5 weeks ago
How Google Took Over the Classroom - The New York Times
Essentially first they captured the emails and apps market; then they brought in the Chromebook and now they have a Teacher Suite to do a lot of things like taking attendance. etc. a lesson in market capture.
google  moocs 
5 weeks ago
The U.S. census is in trouble. This is why it’s crucial to what the nation knows about itself.
Use in 189 for census. Give them small assignments about what they can get from the census.
Teaching 
5 weeks ago
Is the Slide Into Tribal Politics Inevitable? - The New York Times
Nyhan on what strategies the Republican and Democratic parties will pursue in the wake of Donald Trump's election...
polarization 
5 weeks ago
Why couldn’t the Civil War have been worked out? Some smart people take the question seriously. - Vox
Great summary of historical research on the American Civil War.

President Trump deserves much of the ridicule he got, but it is not self-evident that the United States had to fall into war in the 1860s. Today, however, when historians wonder why a compromise wasn't reached, they aren’t blaming extremists in the North and South. They are, rather, casting an unflinching eye on the intersection of racism and capitalism across all of the United States in the 19th century. They’re challenging the certitude of a generation of historians who preceded them. And they’re asking questions that don’t flatter the self-image of either the North or the South.
research  teaching 
6 weeks ago
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