tsuomela + publisher   369

Calculated Values — William Deringer | Harvard University Press
"Modern political culture features a deep-seated faith in the power of numbers to find answers, settle disputes, and explain how the world works. Whether evaluating economic trends, measuring the success of institutions, or divining public opinion, we are told that numbers don’t lie. But numbers have not always been so revered. Calculated Values traces how numbers first gained widespread public authority in one nation, Great Britain. Into the seventeenth century, numerical reasoning bore no special weight in political life. Complex calculations were often regarded with suspicion, seen as the narrow province of navigators, bookkeepers, and astrologers, not gentlemen. This changed in the decades following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Though Britons’ new quantitative enthusiasm coincided with major advances in natural science, financial capitalism, and the power of the British state, it was no automatic consequence of those developments, William Deringer argues. Rather, it was a product of politics—ugly, antagonistic, partisan politics. From parliamentary debates to cheap pamphlets, disputes over taxes, trade, and national debt were increasingly conducted through calculations. Some of the era’s most pivotal political moments, like the 1707 Union of England and Scotland and the 1720 South Sea Bubble, turned upon calculative conflicts. As Britons learned to fight by the numbers, they came to believe, as one calculator wrote in 1727, that “facts and figures are the most stubborn evidences.” Yet the authority of numbers arose not from efforts to find objective truths that transcended politics, but from the turmoil of politics itself."
book  publisher  values  statistics  history  sts 
14 days ago by tsuomela
The Revolution That Wasn’t — Jen Schradie | Harvard University Press
"This surprising study of online political mobilization shows that money and organizational sophistication influence politics online as much as off, and casts doubt on the democratizing power of digital activism. The internet has been hailed as a leveling force that is reshaping activism. From the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, digital activism seemed cheap, fast, and open to all. Now this celebratory narrative finds itself competing with an increasingly sinister story as platforms like Facebook and Twitter—once the darlings of digital democracy—are on the defensive for their role in promoting fake news. While hashtag activism captures headlines, conservative digital activism is proving more effective on the ground. In this sharp-eyed and counterintuitive study, Jen Schradie shows how the web has become another weapon in the arsenal of the powerful. She zeroes in on workers’ rights advocacy in North Carolina and finds a case study with broad implications. North Carolina’s hard-right turn in the early 2010s should have alerted political analysts to the web’s antidemocratic potential: amid booming online organizing, one of the country’s most closely contested states elected the most conservative government in North Carolina’s history. The Revolution That Wasn’t identifies the reasons behind this previously undiagnosed digital-activism gap. Large hierarchical political organizations with professional staff can amplify their digital impact, while horizontally organized volunteer groups tend to be less effective at translating online goodwill into meaningful action. Not only does technology fail to level the playing field, it tilts it further, so that only the most sophisticated and well-funded players can compete."
book  publisher  social-media  internet  activism  resources  influence  propaganda 
14 days ago by tsuomela
Why They Can't Write | Johns Hopkins University Press Books
"There seems to be widespread agreement that—when it comes to the writing skills of college students—we are in the midst of a crisis. In Why They Can't Write, John Warner, who taught writing at the college level for two decades, argues that the problem isn't caused by a lack of rigor, or smartphones, or some generational character defect. Instead, he asserts, we're teaching writing wrong. Warner blames this on decades of educational reform rooted in standardization, assessments, and accountability. We have done no more, Warner argues, than conditioned students to perform "writing-related simulations," which pass temporary muster but do little to help students develop their writing abilities. This style of teaching has made students passive and disengaged. Worse yet, it hasn't prepared them for writing in the college classroom. Rather than making choices and thinking critically, as writers must, undergraduates simply follow the rules—such as the five-paragraph essay—designed to help them pass these high-stakes assessments. In Why They Can't Write, Warner has crafted both a diagnosis for what ails us and a blueprint for fixing a broken system. Combining current knowledge of what works in teaching and learning with the most enduring philosophies of classical education, this book challenges readers to develop the skills, attitudes, knowledge, and habits of mind of strong writers."
book  publisher  academia  education  university  writing 
21 days ago by tsuomela
The Great Mistake | Johns Hopkins University Press Books
"Higher education in America, still thought to be the world leader, is in crisis. University students are falling behind their international peers in attainment, while suffering from unprecedented student debt. For over a decade, the realm of American higher education has been wracked with self-doubt and mutual recrimination, with no clear solutions on the horizon. How did this happen? In this stunning new book, Christopher Newfield offers readers an in-depth analysis of the "great mistake" that led to the cycle of decline and dissolution, a mistake that impacts every public college and university in America. What might occur, he asserts, is no less than locked-in economic inequality and the fall of the middle class. In The Great Mistake, Newfield asks how we can fix higher education, given the damage done by private-sector models. The current accepted wisdom—that to succeed, universities should be more like businesses—is dead wrong. Newfield combines firsthand experience with expert analysis to show that private funding and private-sector methods cannot replace public funding or improve efficiency, arguing that business-minded practices have increased costs and gravely damaged the university’s value to society. It is imperative that universities move beyond the destructive policies that have led them to destabilize their finances, raise tuition, overbuild facilities, create a national student debt crisis, and lower educational quality. Laying out an interconnected cycle of mistakes, from subsidizing the private sector to "the poor get poorer" funding policies, Newfield clearly demonstrates how decisions made in government, in the corporate world, and at colleges themselves contribute to the dismantling of once-great public higher education. A powerful, hopeful critique of the unnecessary death spiral of higher education, The Great Mistake is essential reading for those who wonder why students have been paying more to get less and for everyone who cares about the role the higher education system plays in improving the lives of average Americans."
book  publisher  academia  education  university 
21 days ago by tsuomela
Generous Thinking | Johns Hopkins University Press Books
"Higher education occupies a difficult place in twenty-first-century American culture. Universities—the institutions that bear so much responsibility for the future health of our nation—are at odds with the very publics they are intended to serve. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick asserts, it is imperative that we re-center the mission of the university to rebuild that lost trust. In Generous Thinking, Fitzpatrick roots this crisis in the work of scholars. Critical thinking—the heart of what academics do—can today often negate, refuse, and reject new ideas. In an age characterized by rampant anti-intellectualism, Fitzpatrick charges the academy with thinking constructively rather than competitively, building new ideas rather than tearing old ones down. She urges us to rethink how we teach the humanities and to refocus our attention on the very human ends—the desire for community and connection—that the humanities can best serve. One key aspect of that transformation involves fostering an atmosphere of what Fitzpatrick dubs "generous thinking," a mode of engagement that emphasizes listening over speaking, community over individualism, and collaboration over competition. Fitzpatrick proposes ways that anyone who cares about the future of higher education can work to build better relationships between our colleges and universities and the public, thereby transforming the way our society functions. She encourages interested stakeholders to listen to and engage openly with one another's concerns by reading and exploring ideas together; by creating collective projects focused around common interests; and by ensuring that our institutions of higher education are structured to support and promote work toward the public good. Meditating on how and why we teach the humanities, Generous Thinking is an audacious book that privileges the ability to empathize and build rather than simply tear apart."
book  publisher  academia  education 
21 days ago by tsuomela
The End of Forgetting — Kate Eichhorn | Harvard University Press
"Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, our childhoods have been captured and preserved online, never to go away. But what happens when we can’t leave our most embarrassing moments behind? Until recently, the awkward moments of growing up could be forgotten. But today we may be on the verge of losing the ability to leave our pasts behind. In The End of Forgetting, Kate Eichhorn explores what happens when images of our younger selves persist, often remaining just a click away. For today’s teenagers, many of whom spend hours each day posting on social media platforms, efforts to move beyond moments they regret face new and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Unlike a high school yearbook or a shoebox full of old photos, the information that accumulates on social media is here to stay. What was once fleeting is now documented and tagged, always ready to surface and interrupt our future lives. Moreover, new innovations such as automated facial recognition also mean that the reappearance of our past is increasingly out of our control. Historically, growing up has been about moving on—achieving a safe distance from painful events that typically mark childhood and adolescence. But what happens when one remains tethered to the past? From the earliest days of the internet, critics have been concerned that it would endanger the innocence of childhood. The greater danger, Eichhorn warns, may ultimately be what happens when young adults find they are unable to distance themselves from their pasts. Rather than a childhood cut short by a premature loss of innocence, the real crisis of the digital age may be the specter of a childhood that can never be forgotten."
book  publisher  forgetting  memory  social-media 
24 days ago by tsuomela
Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change, Underwood
"Just as a traveler crossing a continent won’t sense the curvature of the earth, one lifetime of reading can’t grasp the largest patterns organizing literary history. This is the guiding premise behind Distant Horizons, which uses the scope of data newly available to us through digital libraries to tackle previously elusive questions about literature. Ted Underwood shows how digital archives and statistical tools, rather than reducing words to numbers (as is often feared), can deepen our understanding of issues that have always been central to humanistic inquiry. Without denying the usefulness of time-honored approaches like close reading, narratology, or genre studies, Underwood argues that we also need to read the larger arcs of literary change that have remained hidden from us by their sheer scale. Using both close and distant reading to trace the differentiation of genres, transformation of gender roles, and surprising persistence of aesthetic judgment, Underwood shows how digital methods can bring into focus the larger landscape of literary history and add to the beauty and complexity we value in literature."
book  publisher  digital-humanities  text-mining  evidence 
9 weeks ago by tsuomela
The Rights of the Defenseless: Protecting Animals and Children in Gilded Age America, Pearson
"In 1877, the American Humane Society was formed as the national organization for animal and child protection. Thirty years later, there were 354 anticruelty organizations chartered in the United States, nearly 200 of which were similarly invested in the welfare of both humans and animals. In The Rights of the Defenseless, Susan J. Pearson seeks to understand the institutional, cultural, legal, and political significance of the perceived bond between these two kinds of helpless creatures, and the attempts made to protect them. Unlike many of today’s humane organizations, those Pearson follows were delegated police powers to make arrests and bring cases of cruelty to animals and children before local magistrates. Those whom they prosecuted were subject to fines, jail time, and the removal of either animal or child from their possession. Pearson explores the limits of and motivation behind this power and argues that while these reformers claimed nothing more than sympathy with the helpless and a desire to protect their rights, they turned “cruelty” into a social problem, stretched government resources, and expanded the state through private associations. The first book to explore these dual organizations and their storied history, The Rights of the Defenseless will appeal broadly to reform-minded historians and social theorists alike."
book  publisher  history  19c  american-studies  children  animal-rights 
9 weeks ago by tsuomela
The Unpredictability of Gameplay: Mark R. Johnson: Bloomsbury Academic
"The Unpredictability of Gameplay explores the many forms of unpredictability in games and proposes a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding and categorizing non-deterministic game mechanics. Rather than viewing all game mechanics with unpredictable outcomes as a single concept, Mark R. Johnson develops a three-part typology for such mechanics, distinguishing between randomness, chance, and luck in gameplay, assessing games that range from grand strategy and MMORPGs to slot machines and card games. He also explores forms of unanticipated unpredictability, where elements of games fail to function as intended and create new forms of gameplay in the process. Covering a range of game concepts using these frameworks, The Unpredictability of Gameplay then explores three illustrative case studies: 1) procedural generation, 2) replay value and grinding, and 3) player-made practices designed to reduce the level of luck in non-deterministic games. Throughout, Johnson demonstrates the importance of looking more deeply at unpredictability in games and game design and the various ways in which unpredictability manifests while offering an invaluable tool for game scholars and game designers seeking to integrate unpredictability into their work."
book  publisher  game-studies 
10 weeks ago by tsuomela
Experiencing the Impossible | The MIT Press
"How the scientific study of magic reveals intriguing—and often unsettling—insights into the mysteries of the human mind. What do we see when we watch a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat or read a person's mind? We are captivated by an illusion; we applaud the fact that we have been fooled. Why do we enjoy experiencing what seems clearly impossible, or at least beyond our powers of explanation? In Experiencing the Impossible, Gustav Kuhn examines the psychological processes that underpin our experience of magic. Kuhn, a psychologist and a magician, reveals the intriguing—and often unsettling—insights into the human mind that the scientific study of magic provides. Magic, Kuhn explains, creates a cognitive conflict between what we believe to be true (for example, a rabbit could not be in that hat) and what we experience (a rabbit has just come out of that hat!). Drawing on the latest psychological, neurological, and philosophical research, he suggests that misdirection is at the heart of all magic tricks, and he offers a scientific theory of misdirection. He explores, among other topics, our propensity for magical thinking, the malleability of our perceptual experiences, forgetting and misremembering, free will and mind control, and how magic is applied outside entertaiment—the use of illusion in human-computer interaction, politics, warfare, and elsewhere. We may be surprised to learn how little of the world we actually perceive, how little we can trust what we see and remember, and how little we are in charge of our thoughts and actions. Exploring magic, Kuhn illuminates the complex—and almost magical—mechanisms underlying our daily activities."
book  publisher  magic  cognitive-science 
march 2019 by tsuomela
How to Disappear by Akiko Busch | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
"Vivid, surprising, and utterly timely, Akiko Busch’s HOW TO DISAPPEAR explores the idea of invisibility in nature, art, and science, in search of a more joyful and peaceful way of living in today’s increasingly surveilled and publicity-obsessed world In our increasingly networked and image-saturated lives, the notion of disappearing has never been both more enchanting and yet fanciful. Today, we are relentlessly encouraged, even conditioned, to reveal, share, and self-promote. The pressure to be public comes not just from our peers, but vast and pervasive technology companies, which want to profit from patterns in our behavior. A lifelong student and observer of the natural world, Busch sets out to explore her own uneasiness with this arrangement, and what she senses is a widespread desire for a less scrutinized way of life–for invisibility. Writing in rich painterly detail about her own life, her family, and some of the world’s most exotic and remote places–from the Cayman Islands to Iceland–she savors the pleasures of being unseen. Discovering and dramatizing a wonderful range of ways of disappearing, from virtual reality goggles that trick the wearer into believing her body has disappeared and to the way Virginia Woolf’s fictional Mrs. Dalloway feels a flickering of personhood as an older woman, Busch deliberates on subjects new and old with equal sensitivity and incisiveness."
book  publisher  invisible  art  science  experience 
february 2019 by tsuomela
Repeater Books | k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004-2016)
" this comprehensive collection brings together the very best work of acclaimed blogger, writer, publisher, political activist and lecturer Mark Fisher (aka k-punk) who died in 2017. Covering the period 2004 – 2016, it includes some of the most incendiary and influential posts from his seminal blog k-punk, as well as a selection of his brilliantly insightful film, television and music reviews, together with his extraordinary writings on politics, activism, precarity, hauntology, mental health and popular modernism for numerous websites and magazines. Also included is his final unpublished k-punk post, the unfinished introduction to his planned book on “Acid Communism”, and a number of important interviews from the last decade."
book  publisher  cultural-theory  commentary 
november 2018 by tsuomela
True Enough | The MIT Press
"The development of an epistemology that explains how science and art embody and convey understanding. Philosophy valorizes truth, holding that there can never be epistemically good reasons to accept a known falsehood, or to accept modes of justification that are not truth conducive. How can this stance account for the epistemic standing of science, which unabashedly relies on models, idealizations, and thought experiments that are known not to be true? In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that we should not assume that the inaccuracy of models and idealizations constitutes an inadequacy. To the contrary, their divergence from truth or representational accuracy fosters their epistemic functioning. When effective, models and idealizations are, Elgin contends, felicitous falsehoods that exemplify features of the phenomena they bear on. Because works of art deploy the same sorts of felicitous falsehoods, she argues, they also advance understanding. Elgin develops a holistic epistemology that focuses on the understanding of broad ranges of phenomena rather than knowledge of individual facts. Epistemic acceptability, she maintains, is a matter not of truth-conduciveness, but of what would be reflectively endorsed by the members of an idealized epistemic community—a quasi-Kantian realm of epistemic ends."
book  publisher  epistemology  philosophy  truth 
november 2018 by tsuomela
Understanding Ignorance | The MIT Press
"An exploration of what we can know about what we don't know: why ignorance is more than simply a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, “I'm not a scientist.” Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and “This is America, not Mexico or Latin America.” Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be the Information Age, but we do not seem to be well informed. In this book, philosopher Daniel DeNicola explores ignorance—its abundance, its endurance, and its consequences. DeNicola aims to understand ignorance, which seems at first paradoxical. How can the unknown become known—and still be unknown? But he argues that ignorance is more than a lack or a void, and that it has dynamic and complex interactions with knowledge. Taking a broadly philosophical approach, DeNicola examines many forms of ignorance, using the metaphors of ignorance as place, boundary, limit, and horizon. He treats willful ignorance and describes the culture in which ignorance becomes an ideological stance. He discusses the ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good. Ignorance is neither pure nor simple. It is both an accusation and a defense (“You are ignorant!” “Yes, but I didn't know!”). Its practical effects range from the inconsequential to the momentous. It is a scourge, but, DeNicola argues daringly, it may also be a refuge, a value, even an accompaniment to virtue. Hardcover Out of Print ISBN: 9780262036443 264 pp. | 6 in x 9 in August 2017 Paperback $17.95 T | £13.99 ISBN: 9780262536035 264 pp. | 6 in x 9 in September 2018 Share Share "
book  publisher  epistemology  philosophy  truth  ignorance  agnotology 
november 2018 by tsuomela
Chambers, C.: The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology: A Manifesto for Reforming the Culture of Scientific Practice (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Psychological science has made extraordinary discoveries about the human mind, but can we trust everything its practitioners are telling us? In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that a lot of research in psychology is based on weak evidence, questionable practices, and sometimes even fraud. The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology diagnoses the ills besetting the discipline today and proposes sensible, practical solutions to ensure that it remains a legitimate and reliable science in the years ahead. In this unflinchingly candid manifesto, Chris Chambers draws on his own experiences as a working scientist to reveal a dark side to psychology that few of us ever see. Using the seven deadly sins as a metaphor, he shows how practitioners are vulnerable to powerful biases that undercut the scientific method, how they routinely torture data until it produces outcomes that can be published in prestigious journals, and how studies are much less reliable than advertised. He reveals how a culture of secrecy denies the public and other researchers access to the results of psychology experiments, how fraudulent academics can operate with impunity, and how an obsession with bean counting creates perverse incentives for academics. Left unchecked, these problems threaten the very future of psychology as a science—but help is here. Outlining a core set of best practices that can be applied across the sciences, Chambers demonstrates how all these sins can be corrected by embracing open science, an emerging philosophy that seeks to make research and its outcomes as transparent as possible."
book  publisher  psychology  social-science  science  replication 
october 2018 by tsuomela
Moderan – New York Review Books
"Welcome to Moderan, world of the future. Here perpetual war is waged by furious masters fighting from Strongholds well stocked with “arsenals of fear” and everyone is enamored with hate. The devastated earth is coated by vast sheets of gray plastic, while humans vie to replace more and more of their own “soft parts” with steel. What need is there for nature when trees and flowers can be pushed up through holes in the plastic? Who requires human companionship when new-metal mistresses are waiting? But even a Stronghold master can doubt the catechism of Moderan. Wanderers, poets, and his own children pay visits, proving that another world is possible. “As if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated,” wrote Brian Aldiss of David R. Bunch’s work. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and ’70s, these mordant stories, though passionately sought by collectors, have been unavailable in a single volume for close to half a century. Like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, Bunch coined a mind-bending new vocabulary. He sought not to divert readers from the horror of modernity but to make us face it squarely."
book  publisher  sf  fiction 
september 2018 by tsuomela
Origgi, G., Holmes, S. and Arikha, N.: Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Reputation touches almost everything, guiding our behavior and choices in countless ways. But it is also shrouded in mystery. Why is it so powerful when the criteria by which people and things are defined as good or bad often appear to be arbitrary? Why do we care so much about how others see us that we may even do irrational and harmful things to try to influence their opinion? In this engaging book, Gloria Origgi draws on philosophy, social psychology, sociology, economics, literature, and history to offer an illuminating account of an important yet oddly neglected subject. Origgi examines the influence of the Internet and social media, as well as the countless ranking systems that characterize modern society and contribute to the creation of formal and informal reputations in our social relations, in business, in politics, in academia, and even in wine. She highlights the importance of reputation to the effective functioning of the economy and e-commerce. Origgi also discusses the existential significance of our obsession with reputation, concluding that an awareness of the relationship between our reputation and our actions empowers us to better understand who we are and why we do what we do. Compellingly written and filled with surprising insights, Reputation pins down an elusive subject that affects everyone."
book  publisher  reputation  information-literacy  philosophy 
september 2018 by tsuomela
Habeas Data » Melville House Books
"Habeas Data shows how the explosive growth of surveillance technology has outpaced our understanding of the ethics, mores, and laws of privacy. Award-winning tech reporter Cyrus Farivar makes the case by taking ten historic court decisions that defined our privacy rights and matching them against the capabilities of modern technology. It’s an approach that combines the charge of a legal thriller with the shock of the daily headlines. Chapters include: the 1960s prosecution of a bookie that established the “reasonable expectation of privacy” in nonpublic places beyond your home (but how does that ruling apply now, when police can chart your every move and hear your every conversation within your own home — without even having to enter it?); the 1970s case where the police monitored a lewd caller — the decision of which is now the linchpin of the NSA’s controversial metadata tracking program revealed by Edward Snowden; and a 2010 low-level burglary trial that revealed police had tracked a defendant’s past 12,898 locations before arrest — an invasion of privacy grossly out of proportion to the alleged crime, which showed how authorities are all too willing to take advantage of the ludicrous gap between the slow pace of legal reform and the rapid transformation of technology."
book  publisher  surveillance  big-data  computer  culture 
september 2018 by tsuomela
Dispossessed Lives | Marisa J. Fuentes
"In the eighteenth century, Bridgetown, Barbados, was heavily populated by both enslaved and free women. Marisa J. Fuentes creates a portrait of urban Caribbean slavery in this colonial town from the perspective of these women whose stories appear only briefly in historical records. Fuentes takes us through the streets of Bridgetown with an enslaved runaway; inside a brothel run by a freed woman of color; in the midst of a white urban household in sexual chaos; to the gallows where enslaved people were executed; and within violent scenes of enslaved women's punishments. In the process, Fuentes interrogates the archive and its historical production to expose the ongoing effects of white colonial power that constrain what can be known about these women. Combining fragmentary sources with interdisciplinary methodologies that include black feminist theory and critical studies of history and slavery, Dispossessed Lives demonstrates how the construction of the archive marked enslaved women's bodies, in life and in death. By vividly recounting enslaved life through the experiences of individual women and illuminating their conditions of confinement through the legal, sexual, and representational power wielded by slave owners, colonial authorities, and the archive, Fuentes challenges the way we write histories of vulnerable and often invisible subjects."
book  publisher  history  archives  slavery 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Collecting the World — James Delbourgo | Harvard University Press
"In 1759 the British Museum opened its doors to the general public—the first free national museum in the world. James Delbourgo’s biography of Hans Sloane recounts the story behind its creation, told through the life of a figure with an insatiable ambition to pit universal knowledge against superstition and the means to realize his dream. Born in northern Ireland in 1660, Sloane amassed a fortune as a London society physician, becoming a member of the Whig establishment and president of the Royal Society and Royal College of Physicians. His wealth and contacts enabled him to assemble an encyclopedic collection of specimens and objects—the most famous cabinet of curiosities of its time. For Sloane, however, collecting a world of objects meant collecting a world of people, including slaves. His marriage to the heir of sugar plantations in Jamaica gave Sloane access to the experiences of planters and the folkways of their human property. With few curbs on his passion for collecting, he established a network of agents to supply artifacts from China, India, North America, the Caribbean, and beyond. Wampum beads, rare manuscripts, a shoe made from human skin—nothing was off limits to Sloane’s imagination. This splendidly illustrated volume offers a new perspective on the entanglements of global scientific discovery with imperialism in the eighteenth century. The first biography of Sloane based on the full range of his writings and collections, Collecting the World tells the rich and complex story of one of the Enlightenment’s most controversial luminaries."
book  publisher  museum  history  imperialism  museology 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Data Love - The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies | Columbia University Press
"Intelligence services, government administrations, businesses, and a growing majority of the population are hooked on the idea that big data can reveal patterns and correlations in everyday life. Initiated by software engineers and carried out through algorithms, the mining of big data has sparked a silent revolution. But algorithmic analysis and data mining are not simply byproducts of media development or the logical consequences of computation. They are the radicalization of the Enlightenment's quest for knowledge and progress. Data Love argues that the "cold civil war" of big data is taking place not among citizens or between the citizen and government but within each of us. Roberto Simanowski elaborates on the changes data love has brought to the human condition while exploring the entanglements of those who—out of stinginess, convenience, ignorance, narcissism, or passion—contribute to the amassing of ever more data about their lives, leading to the statistical evaluation and individual profiling of their selves. Writing from a philosophical standpoint, Simanowski illustrates the social implications of technological development and retrieves the concepts, events, and cultural artifacts of past centuries to help decode the programming of our present."
book  publisher  data-science  data-mining  epistemology 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Matters of Care — University of Minnesota Press
"Matters of Care presents a powerful challenge to conventional notions of care, exploring its significance as an ethical and political obligation for thinking in the more than human worlds of technoscience and naturecultures. A singular contribution to an emerging interdisciplinary debate, it expands agency beyond the human to ask how our understandings of care must shift if we broaden the world. "
book  publisher  ethics-of-care  care-work  nature  culture 
july 2018 by tsuomela
Live Work Work Work Die | Corey Pein | Macmillan
"A scathing, sardonic exploration of Silicon Valley tech culture, laying bare the greed, hubris, and retrograde politics of an industry that aspires to radically transform society for its own benefit At the height of the startup boom, journalist Corey Pein set out for Silicon Valley with little more than a smartphone and his wits. His goal: to learn how such an overhyped industry could possibly sustain itself as long as it has. But to truly understand the delirious reality of the tech entrepreneurs, he knew he would have to inhabit that perspective—he would have to become an entrepreneur himself. Thus Pein begins his journey—skulking through gimmicky tech conferences, pitching his over-the-top business ideas to investors, and rooming with a succession of naive upstart programmers whose entire lives are managed by their employers—who work endlessly and obediently, never thinking to question their place in the system. In showing us this frantic world, Pein challenges the positive, feel-good self-image that the tech tycoons have crafted—as nerdy and benevolent creators of wealth and opportunity—revealing their self-justifying views and their insidious visions for the future. Vivid and incisive, Live Work Work Work Die is a troubling portrait of a self-obsessed industry bent on imposing its disturbing visions on the rest of us."
book  publisher  silicon-valley 
may 2018 by tsuomela
Muller, J.: The Tyranny of Metrics (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions. In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing—and shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging "gaming the stats" or "teaching to the test." That's because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about. Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to—rather than a replacement for—judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial. Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metrics is an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all."
book  publisher  metrics  measurement  business  organizations 
may 2018 by tsuomela
Levine, C.: Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (Paperback and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Forms offers a powerful new answer to one of the most pressing problems facing literary, critical, and cultural studies today—how to connect form to political, social, and historical context. Caroline Levine argues that forms organize not only works of art but also political life—and our attempts to know both art and politics. Inescapable and frequently troubling, forms shape every aspect of our experience. Yet, forms don't impose their order in any simple way. Multiple shapes, patterns, and arrangements, overlapping and colliding, generate complex and unpredictable social landscapes that challenge and unsettle conventional analytic models in literary and cultural studies. Borrowing the concept of "affordances" from design theory, this book investigates the specific ways that four major forms—wholes, rhythms, hierarchies, and networks—have structured culture, politics, and scholarly knowledge across periods, and it proposes exciting new ways of linking formalism to historicism and literature to politics. Levine rereads both formalist and antiformalist theorists, including Cleanth Brooks, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, Mary Poovey, and Judith Butler, and she offers engaging accounts of a wide range of objects, from medieval convents and modern theme parks to Sophocles's Antigone and the television series The Wire. The result is a radically new way of thinking about form for the next generation and essential reading for scholars and students across the humanities who must wrestle with the problem of form and context."
book  publisher  forms  formal  literary-criticism  methods  social  analysis 
may 2018 by tsuomela
The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era, Rosenfeld
"Even in this most partisan and dysfunctional of eras, we can all agree on one thing: Washington is broken. Politicians take increasingly inflexible and extreme positions, leading to gridlock, partisan warfare, and the sense that our seats of government are nothing but cesspools of hypocrisy, childishness, and waste. The shocking reality, though, is that modern polarization was a deliberate project carried out by Democratic and Republican activists. In The Polarizers, Sam Rosenfeld details why bipartisanship was seen as a problem in the postwar period and how polarization was then cast as the solution. Republicans and Democrats feared that they were becoming too similar, and that a mushy consensus imperiled their agendas and even American democracy itself. Thus began a deliberate move to match ideology with party label—with the toxic results we now endure. Rosenfeld reveals the specific politicians, intellectuals, and operatives who worked together to heighten partisan discord, showing that our system today is not (solely) a product of gradual structural shifts but of deliberate actions motivated by specific agendas. Rosenfeld reveals that the story of Washington’s transformation is both significantly institutional and driven by grassroots influences on both the left and the right. The Polarizers brilliantly challenges and overturns our conventional narrative about partisanship, but perhaps most importantly, it points us toward a new consensus: if we deliberately created today’s dysfunctional environment, we can deliberately change it."
book  publisher  political-science  polarization  partisanship  politics 
april 2018 by tsuomela
Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners | ALA Store
"Today's learners communicate, create, and share information using a range of information technologies such as social media, blogs, microblogs, wikis, mobile devices and apps, virtual worlds, and MOOCs. In Metaliteracy, respected information literacy experts Mackey and Jacobson present a comprehensive structure for information literacy theory that builds on decades of practice while recognizing the knowledge required for an expansive and interactive information environment. The concept of metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, produce, and share) prevalent in today's world. Combining theory and case studies, the authors Show why media literacy, visual literacy, digital literacy, and a host of other specific literacies are critical for informed citizens in the twenty-first century Offer a framework for engaging in today's information environments as active, selfreflective, and critical contributors to these collaborative spaces Connect metaliteracy to such topics as metadata, the Semantic Web, metacognition, open education, distance learning, and digital storytelling This cutting-edge approach to information literacy will help your students grasp an understanding of the critical thinking and reflection required to engage in technology spaces as savvy producers, collaborators, and sharers."
book  publisher  information-literacy  metacognition  literacy 
march 2018 by tsuomela
The Censor's Hand | The MIT Press
"Medical and social progress depend on research with human subjects. When that research is done in institutions getting federal money, it is regulated (often minutely) by federally required and supervised bureaucracies called “institutional review boards” (IRBs). Do—can—these IRBs do more harm than good? In The Censor’s Hand, Schneider addresses this crucial but long-unasked question. Schneider answers the question by consulting a critical but ignored experience—the law’s learning about regulation—and by amassing empirical evidence that is scattered around many literatures. He concludes that IRBs were fundamentally misconceived. Their usefulness to human subjects is doubtful, but they clearly delay, distort, and deter research that can save people’s lives, soothe their suffering, and enhance their welfare. IRBs demonstrably make decisions poorly. They cannot be expected to make decisions well, for they lack the expertise, ethical principles, legal rules, effective procedures, and accountability essential to good regulation. And IRBs are censors in the place censorship is most damaging— universities. In sum, Schneider argues that IRBs are bad regulation that inescapably do more harm than good. They were an irreparable mistake that should be abandoned so that research can be conducted properly and regulated sensibly."
book  publisher  irb  human-subjects  research  ethics 
march 2018 by tsuomela
Verso
"As ideas move from one context to another, something new is created. This continuous shifting of the line that separates the valuable from the worthless, culture from profanity, is at the centre of Boris Groys's investigation."
book  publisher  aesthetics  art  novelty  culture 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Translating Happiness | The MIT Press
"Western psychology is rooted in the philosophies and epistemologies of Western culture. But what of concepts and insights from outside this frame of reference? Certain terms not easily translatable into English—for example, nirvāṇa (from Sanskrit), or agápē (from Classical Greek), or turangawaewae (from Māori)—are rich with meaning but largely unavailable to English-speaking students and seekers of wellbeing. In this book, Tim Lomas argues that engaging with “untranslatable” terms related to well-being can enrich not only our understanding but also our experience. We can use these words, Lomas suggests, to understand and express feelings and experiences that were previously inexpressible. Lomas examines 400 words from 80 languages, arranges them thematically, and develops a theoretical framework that highlights the varied dimensions of well-being and traces the connections between them. He identifies three basic dimensions of well-being—feelings, relationships, and personal development—and then explores each in turn through untranslatable words. Ânanda, for example, usually translated as bliss, can have spiritual associations in Buddhist and Hindu contexts; kefi in Greek expresses an intense emotional state—often made more intense by alcohol. The Japanese concept of koi no yokan means a premonition or presentiment of love, capturing the elusive and vertiginous feeling of being about to fall for someone, imbued with melancholy and uncertainty; the Yiddish term mensch has been borrowed from its Judaic and religious connotations to describe an all-around good human being; and Finnish offers sisu—inner determination in the face of adversity."
book  publisher  happiness  language 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation by Liza Featherstone
"Over the course of the last century, the focus group has become an increasingly vital part of the way companies and politicians sell their products and policies. Few areas of life, from salad dressing to health care legislation to our favorite TV shows, have been left untouched by the questions put to controlled groups about what they do and don’t like. Divining Desire is the first-ever popular survey of this rich topic. In a lively, sweeping history, Liza Featherstone traces the surprising roots of the focus group in early-twentieth century European socialism, its subsequent use by the “Mad Men” of Madison Avenue, and its widespread deployment today. She also explores such famous “failures” of the method as the doomed launch of the Ford Edsel with its vagina shaped radiator grille, and the even more ill-fated attempt to introduce a new flavor of Coca Cola (which prompted street protests from devotees of the old formula). As elites have become increasingly detached from the general public, they rely ever more on focus groups, whether to win votes or to sell products. And, in a society where many feel increasingly powerless, the focus group has at least offered the illusion that ordinary people will be listened to and that their opinions count. Yet, it seems the more we are consulted, the less power we have. That paradox is particularly stark today, when everyone can post an opinion on social media—our 24 hour “focus group”—yet only plutocrats can shape policy. In telling this fascinating story, Featherstone raises profound questions about democracy, desire and the innermost workings of consumer society. "
book  publisher  focus-groups  business  marketing  public-relations  history  advertising 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Wages for Housework | AK Press
"Throughout the 1970s, the Wages for Housework movement developed an analysis of women’s reproductive labor, “housework” broadly conceived, as a primary site for mobilization. Silvia Federici was a cofounder of the movement, working within the New York Wages for Housework Committee from 1972 to 1977. Here Federici draws from her personal archive to present the movement through its original documents: notes on discussion sessions, pamphlets, flyers, essays, songs and speeches. What emerges is a portrait of a living struggle, as relevant in our age of austerity as ever, grappling with the question of what is to be done to put an end to the massive quantities of unwaged labor steadily expanding the wealth of the capitalist class while condemning millions to impoverishment and endless work? “Rosie the Riveter had been sent home until she rose up in the feminist and welfare struggles of the capitalist crisis of the 1970s. Undefeated, Rosie took her new conditions of exploitation—the home—as the basis of the fight against patriarchy, capitalism, and the state. Here are the primary sources of that struggle. Between theory and practice lies the leaflet and the pamphlet... Between good ideas on the page and actual deeds in the street lies the slogan, and here they are: ‘Capitalist work cannot liberate us, only the struggle can.’ ‘Class struggle and feminism are one and the same.’ ‘The family is a colony.’ ‘Our uterus is the wheel that keeps capital moving.’ ‘Heterosexuality is a fundamental condition of house-work.’ ‘Prostitution is socialized housework.’ Nothing bougie here whatsoever.” —Peter Linebaugh "
book  publisher  history  feminism  1970s  labor  family 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Ramp Hollow | Steven Stoll | Macmillan
"In Ramp Hollow, Steven Stoll offers a fresh, provocative account of Appalachia, and why it matters. He begins with the earliest European settlers, whose desire for vast forests to hunt in was frustrated by absentee owners—including George Washington and other founders—who laid claim to the region. Even as Daniel Boone became famous as a backwoods hunter and guide, the economy he represented was already in peril. Within just a few decades, Appalachian hunters and farmers went from pioneers to pariahs, from heroes to hillbillies, in the national imagination, and the area was locked into an enduring association with poverty and backwardness. Stoll traces these developments with empathy and precision, examining crucial episodes such as the Whiskey Rebellion, the founding of West Virginia, and the arrival of timber and coal companies that set off a devastating “scramble for Appalachia.”"
book  publisher  appalachia 
february 2018 by tsuomela
What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia - Belt Magazine
"In 2016 headlines declared Appalachia ground zero for America’s “forgotten tribe” of white working class voters. Journalists flocked to the region to extract sympathetic profiles of families devastated by poverty, abandoned by establishment politics, and eager to consume cheap campaign promises. Following the election, demystifying Appalachia and locating the roots of its dysfunction quickly became a national industry, shoring up the success of J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy and the author’s rise to fame as the media’s favorite working-class whisperer with broad appeal to liberals and conservatives alike. Personal anecdotes that demonstrated the enduring failures of American progress spoken through the mouthpiece of colorful and bereaved mountain folk became its own genre of election writing – the “Trump Country” piece – and in its creation reduced the region’s rich and complex history to a series of character studies. What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia is a frank assessment of America’s recent fascination with the people and problems of the region. The book analyzes trends in contemporary writing on Appalachia, presents a brief history of Appalachia with an eye toward unpacking Appalachian stereotypes, and provides examples of writing, art, and policy created by Appalachians as opposed to for Appalachians. The book offers a must-needed insider’s perspective on the region."
book  publisher  appalachia 
february 2018 by tsuomela
To Fight Against This Age | W. W. Norton & Company
"An international bestseller, To Fight Against This Age consists of two beautifully written, cogent, and urgent essays about the rise of fascism and the ways in which we can combat it. In “The Eternal Return of Fascism,” Rob Riemen explores the theoretical weakness of fascism, which depends on a politics of resentment, the incitement of anger and fear, xenophobia, the need for scapegoats, and its hatred of the life of the mind. He draws on history and philosophy as well as the essays and novels of Thomas Mann and Albert Camus to explain the global resurgence of fascism, often disguised by its false promises of ushering in freedom and greatness. Riemen’s own response to what he sees as the spiritual crisis of our age is articulated in “The Return of Europa,” a moving story about the meaning of European humanism with its universal values of truth, beauty, justice, and love for life—values that are the origin and basis of a democratic civilization. To Fight Against This Age is as timely as it is timeless, to be read by those who want to understand and change the world in which they live."
book  publisher  fascism  nationalism  21c 
february 2018 by tsuomela
Frank, R.H.: Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy (Hardcover, Paperback and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy. Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones—and enormous income differences—over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways. But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps."
book  publisher  meritocracy  merit  success  luck 
december 2017 by tsuomela
Childress, C.: Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Under the Cover follows the life trajectory of a single work of fiction from its initial inspiration to its reception by reviewers and readers. The subject is Jarrettsville, a historical novel by Cornelia Nixon, which was published in 2009 and based on an actual murder committed by an ancestor of Nixon's in the postbellum South. Clayton Childress takes you behind the scenes to examine how Jarrettsville was shepherded across three interdependent fields—authoring, publishing, and reading—and how it was transformed by its journey. Along the way, he covers all aspects of the life of a book, including the author's creative process, the role of the literary agent, how editors decide which books to acquire, how publishers build lists and distinguish themselves from other publishers, how they sell a book to stores and publicize it, and how authors choose their next projects. Childress looks at how books get selected for the front tables in bookstores, why reviewers and readers can draw such different meanings from the same novel, and how book groups across the country make sense of a novel and what it means to them. Drawing on original survey data, in-depth interviews, and groundbreaking ethnographic fieldwork, Under the Cover reveals how decisions are made, inequalities are reproduced, and novels are built to travel in the creation, production, and consumption of culture."
book  publisher  industry  sociology  art 
december 2017 by tsuomela
The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession, Benzecry
"Though some dismiss opera as old-fashioned, it shows no sign of disappearing from the world’s stage. So why do audiences continue to flock to it? Given its association with wealth, one might imagine that opera tickets function as a status symbol. But while a desire to hobnob with the upper crust might motivate the occasional operagoer, for hardcore fans the real answer, according to The Opera Fanatic, is passion—they do it for love. Opera lovers are an intense lot, Claudio E. Benzecry discovers in his look at the fanatics who haunt the legendary Colón Opera House in Buenos Aires, a key site for opera’s globalization. Listening to the fans and their stories, Benzecry hears of two-hundred-mile trips for performances and nightlong camp-outs for tickets, while others testify to a particular opera’s power to move them—whether to song or to tears—no matter how many times they have seen it before. Drawing on his insightful analysis of these acts of love, Benzecry proposes new ways of thinking about people’s relationship to art and shows how, far from merely enhancing aspects of everyday life, art allows us to transcend it."
book  publisher  art  sociology  opera  ethnography 
december 2017 by tsuomela
The Work of Art: Value in Creative Careers | Alison Gerber
"Artists are everywhere, from celebrities showing at MoMA to locals hoping for a spot on a café wall. They are photographed at gallery openings in New York and Los Angeles, hustle in fast-gentrifying cities, and, sometimes, make quiet lives in Midwestern monasteries. Some command armies of fabricators while others patiently teach schoolchildren how to finger-knit. All of these artists might well be shown in the same exhibition, the quality of work far more important than education or income in determining whether one counts as a "real" artist. In The Work of Art, Alison Gerber explores these art worlds to investigate who artists are (and who they're not), why they do the things they do, and whether a sense of vocational calling and the need to make a living are as incompatible as we've been led to believe. Listening to the stories of artists from across the United States, Gerber finds patterns of agreements and disagreements shared by art-makers from all walks of life. For professionals and hobbyists alike, the alliance of love and money has become central to contemporary art-making, and danger awaits those who fail to strike a balance between the two. The stories artists tell are just as much a part of artistic practice as putting brush to canvas or chisel to marble. By explaining the shared ways that artists account for their activities—the analogies they draw, the arguments they make—Gerber reveals the common bases of value artists point to when they say: what I do is worth doing. The Work of Art asks how we make sense of the things we do and shows why all this talk about value matters so much."
book  publisher  art  sociology  work 
december 2017 by tsuomela
Organizations Evolving | SAGE Publications Inc
"A keenly anticipated Second Edition of an award winning classic, Organizations Evolving presents a sophisticated evolutionary view of key organizational paradigms that will give readers a unified understanding of modern organizations. This Second Edition is up-to-date in its survey of the literature, as well as an overview of the new developments across organization studies. It contains new sections on organizational forms, community evolution and methods for studying organizations at multiple levels. The field of organization studies contains many contending paradigms that often puzzle and perplex students. This book is a stunning synthesis of the major organizational paradigms under the umbrella of organizational theory. Scholars and students will find it an excellent guide to the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches, as well as an outstanding review of the best recent empirical research on organizations. "
book  publisher  organizations 
november 2017 by tsuomela
The New Analog | The New Press
"What John Berger did to ways of seeing, well-known indy musician Damon Krukowski does to ways of listening in this lively guide to the transition from analog to digital culture Having made his name in the late 1980s as a member of the indie band Galaxie 500, Damon Krukowski has watched cultural life lurch from analog to digital. And as an artist who has weathered the transition, he has challenging, urgent questions for both creators and consumers about what we have thrown away in the process: Are our devices leaving us lost in our own headspace even as they pinpoint our location? Does the long reach of digital communication come at the sacrifice of our ability to gauge social distance? Do streaming media discourage us from listening closely? Are we hearing each other fully in this new environment? Rather than simply rejecting the digital disruption of cultural life, Krukowski uses the sound engineer’s distinction of signal and noise to reexamine what we have lost as a technological culture, looking carefully at what was valuable in the analog realm so we can hold on to it. Taking a set of experiences from the production and consumption of music that have changed since the analog era—the disorientation of headphones, flattening of the voice, silence of media, loudness of mastering, and manipulation of time—as a basis for a broader exploration of contemporary culture, Krukowski gives us a brilliant meditation and guide to keeping our heads amid the digital flux. Think of it as plugging in without tuning out."
book  publisher  digital  analog  signals  noise  technology-effects 
november 2017 by tsuomela
The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman, Philip Fernbach | PenguinRandomHouse.com
"We all think we know more than we actually do.   Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it.   The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us. SEE LESS "
book  publisher  cognition  knowledge  bias  limits 
november 2017 by tsuomela
Misinformation and Mass Audiences Edited by Brian G. Southwell, Emily A. Thorson, and Laura Sheble
"Addressing one of the most important but least-reported aspects of mass communication, this timely volume considers both the perils of misinformation and the possibilities for remedying its detrimental effects."
book  publisher  propaganda  misinformation 
november 2017 by tsuomela
Harper, K.: The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague. A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit—in ways that are surprising and profound."
book  publisher  classics  roman  empire  history  diseases  climate 
october 2017 by tsuomela
Faces of Moderation | Aurelian Craiutu
"Aristotle listed moderation as one of the moral virtues. He also defined virtue as the mean between extremes, implying that moderation plays a vital role in all forms of moral excellence. But moderation's protean character—its vague and ill-defined omnipresence in judgment and action—makes it exceedingly difficult to grasp theoretically. At the same time, moderation seems to be the foundation of many contemporary democratic political regimes, because the competition between parties cannot properly function without compromise and bargaining. The success of representative government and its institutions depends to a great extent on the virtue of moderation, yet the latter persists in being absent from both the conceptual discourse of many political philosophers and the campaign speeches of politicians fearful of losing elections if they are perceived as moderates."
book  publisher  moderation  political-science 
october 2017 by tsuomela
Hirschman, A.O.: The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph (Paperback and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"In this volume, Albert Hirschman reconstructs the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to illuminate the intricate ideological transformation that occurred, wherein the pursuit of material interests--so long condemned as the deadly sin of avarice--was assigned the role of containing the unruly and destructive passions of man. Hirschman here offers a new interpretation for the rise of capitalism, one that emphasizes the continuities between old and new, in contrast to the assumption of a sharp break that is a common feature of both Marxian and Weberian thinking. Among the insights presented here is the ironical finding that capitalism was originally supposed to accomplish exactly what was soon denounced as its worst feature: the repression of the passions in favor of the "harmless," if one-dimensional, interests of commercial life. To portray this lengthy ideological change as an endogenous process, Hirschman draws on the writings of a large number of thinkers, including Montesquieu, Sir James Steuart, and Adam Smith."
book  publisher  history  economics  capitalism  ideas 
october 2017 by tsuomela
Elements of Surprise — Vera Tobin | Harvard University Press
"Why do some surprises delight—the endings of Agatha Christie novels, films like The Sixth Sense, the flash awareness that Pip’s benefactor is not (and never was!) Miss Havisham? Writing at the intersection of cognitive science and narrative pleasure, Vera Tobin explains how our brains conspire with stories to produce those revelatory plots that define a “well-made surprise.” By tracing the prevalence of surprise endings in both literary fiction and popular literature and showing how they exploit our mental limits, Tobin upends two common beliefs. The first is cognitive science’s tendency to consider biases a form of moral weakness and failure. The second is certain critics’ presumption that surprise endings are mere shallow gimmicks. The latter is simply not true, and the former tells at best half the story. Tobin shows that building a good plot twist is a complex art that reflects a sophisticated understanding of the human mind. Reading classic, popular, and obscure literature alongside the latest research in cognitive science, Tobin argues that a good surprise works by taking advantage of our mental limits. Elements of Surprise describes how cognitive biases, mental shortcuts, and quirks of memory conspire with stories to produce wondrous illusions, and also provides a sophisticated how-to guide for writers. In Tobin’s hands, the interactions of plot and cognition reveal the interdependencies of surprise, sympathy, and sense-making. The result is a new appreciation of the pleasures of being had."
book  publisher  surprise  novelty  experience  literature  theory  psychology 
september 2017 by tsuomela
The Great Leveler — Brett Christophers | Harvard University Press
"For all the turmoil that roiled financial markets during the Great Recession and its aftermath, Wall Street forecasts once again turned bullish and corporate profitability soared to unprecedented heights. How does capitalism consistently generate profits despite its vulnerability to destabilizing events that can plunge the global economy into chaos? The Great Leveler elucidates the crucial but underappreciated role of the law in regulating capitalism’s rhythms of accumulation and growth. Brett Christophers argues that capitalism requires a delicate balance between competition and monopoly. When monopolistic forces become dominant, antitrust law steps in to discourage the growth of giant corporations and restore competitiveness. When competitive forces become dominant, intellectual property law steps in to protect corporate assets and encourage investment. These two sets of laws—antitrust and intellectual property—have a pincer effect on corporate profitability, ensuring that markets become neither monopolistic, which would lead to rent-seeking and stagnation, nor overly competitive, which would drive down profits. Christophers pursues these ideas through a close study of the historical development of American and British capitalist economies from the late nineteenth century to the present, tracing the relationship between monopoly and competition in each country and the evolution of legal mechanisms for keeping these forces in check. More than an illuminating study of the economic role of law, The Great Leveler is a bold and fresh dissection of the anatomy of modern capitalism."
book  publisher  history  economics  monopoly  capitalism 
august 2017 by tsuomela
Theory for the Working Sociologist | Columbia University Press
"Theory for the Working Sociologist makes social theory easy to understand by revealing sociology's hidden playbook. Fabio Rojas argues that sociologists use four different theoretical "moves" when they try to explain the social world: how groups defend their status, how people strategically pursue their goals, how values and institutions support each other, and how people create their social reality. Rojas uses famous sociological studies to illustrate these four types of theory and show how students and researchers may apply them to their interests. The guiding light of the book is the concept of the "social mechanism," which clearly and succinctly links causes and effects in social life. Drawing on dozens of empirical studies that define modern sociology and focusing on the nuts and bolts of social explanation, Rojas reveals how areas of study within the field of sociology that at first glance seem dissimilar are, in fact, linked by shared theoretical underpinnings. In doing so, he elucidates classical and contemporary theory, and connects both to essential sociological findings made throughout the history of the field. Aimed at undergraduate students, graduate students, journalists, and interested general readers who want a more formal way to understand social life, Theory for the Working Sociologist presents the underlying themes of sociological thought using contemporary research and plain language."
book  publisher  sociology  theory 
august 2017 by tsuomela
Mere Civility — Teresa M. Bejan | Harvard University Press
"Today, politicians and intellectuals warn that we face a crisis of civility and a veritable war of words polluting our public sphere. In liberal democracies committed to tolerating diversity as well as active, often heated disagreement, the loss of this conversational virtue appears critical. But is civility really a virtue? Or is it, as critics claim, a covert demand for conformity that silences dissent? Mere Civility sheds light on our predicament and the impasse between “civilitarians” and their opponents by examining early modern debates about religious toleration. As concerns about uncivil disagreement achieved new prominence after the Reformation, seventeenth-century figures as different as Roger Williams, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke could agree that some restraint on the war of words would be necessary. But they recognized that the prosecution of incivility was often difficult to distinguish from persecution. In their efforts to reconcile diversity with disagreement, they developed competing conceptions of civility as the social bond of tolerant societies that still resonate. Most modern appeals to civility follow either Hobbes or Locke by proposing to suppress disagreement or exclude persons and positions deemed “uncivil” for the sake of social concord. Compared with his contemporaries’ more robust ideals, Williams’s unabashedly mere civility—a minimal, occasionally contemptuous adherence to culturally contingent rules of respectful behavior—is easily overlooked. Yet Teresa Bejan argues that Williams offers a promising path forward in confronting our own crisis of civility, one that fundamentally challenges our assumptions about what a tolerant—and civil—society should look like."
book  publisher  political-science  tolerance 
july 2017 by tsuomela
Currid-Halkett, E.: The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class. (eBook and Hardcover)
"How the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite, and how their consumer habits affect us all In today’s world, the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite. Highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket, these individuals earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breast-feed their babies. They care about discreet, inconspicuous consumption—like eating free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, wearing organic cotton shirts and TOMS shoes, and listening to the Serial podcast. They use their purchasing power to hire nannies and housekeepers, to cultivate their children’s growth, and to practice yoga and Pilates. In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society “the aspirational class” and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption,” Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone. "
book  publisher  class  economics  attitude  signals 
july 2017 by tsuomela
Teaching Statistics: Resources for Undergraduate Instructors | Mathematical Association of America
"The title of the lead article in this volume, Teaching Statistics: More Data, Less Lecturing, summarizes succinctly the basic tenets of statistics educational reform of the past 10 to 15 years, tenets around which the statistics profession has formed a surprisingly strong and supportive consensus. This volume strives to be an instructors’ manual for this reform movement and will be essential reading for anyone at the undergraduate or secondary level who teaches statistics, especially for those new to the teaching of statistics. Behind this reform is the notion that statistics instruction should resemble statistical practice. Data lies at the heart of statistical practice and should thus form the center of instruction. Since most statistical practice involves issues of the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, students should learn about and experience all three of these aspects continually in their learning. Teaching Statistics: Resources for Undergraduate Instructors presents a collection of class and original articles on various aspects of statistical education along with descriptions of innovation and successful projects. The volume provides complete descriptions of projects along with companion pieces written by teachers who have used the projects and can provide practical advice to readers on how to use projects effectively. Other sections include motivation for and advice on how to use real data in teaching, how to choose a textbook at the introductory or mathematical statistics level, how to make effective use of technology, and how to better assess students by going beyond the reliance on in-class examinations."
book  publisher  statistics  teaching  pedagogy 
may 2017 by tsuomela
Inside Jokes | The MIT Press
"Some things are funny—jokes, puns, sitcoms, Charlie Chaplin, The Far Side, Malvolio with his yellow garters crossed—but why? Why does humor exist in the first place? Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks, watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, Daniel Dennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective. Humor, they propose, evolved out of a computational problem that arose when our long-ago ancestors were furnished with open-ended thinking. Mother Nature—aka natural selection—cannot just order the brain to find and fix all our time-pressured misleaps and near-misses. She has to bribe the brain with pleasure. So we find them funny. This wired-in source of pleasure has been tickled relentlessly by humorists over the centuries, and we have become addicted to the endogenous mind candy that is humor."
book  publisher  humor  psychology  cognitive-science  philosophy 
may 2017 by tsuomela
Homo Sovieticus | The MIT Press
"In October 1989, as the Cold War was ending and the Berlin Wall about to crumble, television viewers in the Soviet Union tuned in to the first of a series of unusual broadcasts. “Relax, let your thoughts wander free . . .” intoned the host, the physician and clinical psychotherapist Anatoly Mikhailovich Kashpirovsky. Moscow’s Channel One was attempting mass hypnosis over television, a therapeutic session aimed at reassuring citizens panicked over the ongoing political upheaval—and aimed at taking control of their responses to it. Incredibly enough, this last-ditch effort to rally the citizenry was the culmination of decades of official telepathic research, cybernetic simulations, and coded messages undertaken to reinforce ideological conformity. In Homo Sovieticus, the art and media scholar Wladimir Velminski explores these scientific and pseudoscientific efforts at mind control. In a fascinating series of anecdotes, Velminski describes such phenomena as the conflation of mental energy and electromagnetism; the investigation of aura fields through the “Aurathron”; a laboratory that practiced mind control methods on dogs; and attempts to calibrate the thought processes of laborers. “Scientific” diagrams from the period accompany the text. In all of the experimental methods for implanting thoughts into a brain, Velminski finds political and metaphorical contaminations. These apparently technological experiments in telepathy and telekinesis were deployed for purely political purposes."
book  publisher  soviet-union  history  sts  paranormal  psychology 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Coming Up Short - Hardcover - Jennifer M. Silva - Oxford University Press
"A powerful and compelling examination of young, working-class adults and the economic, social, and cultural forces that have upended their lives. Provides a powerful and compelling perspective on several high profile issues at the forefront of public debate: economic instability, class instability, and the changing composition of the American family."
book  publisher  sociology  class  working  work  labor 
march 2017 by tsuomela
What Algorithms Want | The MIT Press
"We depend on—we believe in—algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It’s as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations—the marriage vow, the shaman’s curse—do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking. In this book, Ed Finn considers how the algorithm—in practical terms, “a method for solving a problem”—has its roots not only in mathematical logic but also in cybernetics, philosophy, and magical thinking. Finn argues that the algorithm deploys concepts from the idealized space of computation in a messy reality, with unpredictable and sometimes fascinating results. Drawing on sources that range from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash to Diderot’s Encyclopédie, from Adam Smith to the Star Trek computer, Finn explores the gap between theoretical ideas and pragmatic instructions. He examines the development of intelligent assistants like Siri, the rise of algorithmic aesthetics at Netflix, Ian Bogost’s satiric Facebook game Cow Clicker, and the revolutionary economics of Bitcoin. He describes Google’s goal of anticipating our questions, Uber’s cartoon maps and black box accounting, and what Facebook tells us about programmable value, among other things. If we want to understand the gap between abstraction and messy reality, Finn argues, we need to build a model of “algorithmic reading” and scholarship that attends to process, spearheading a new experimental humanities."
book  publisher  algorithms  meaning  desire  technology  sts 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Messengers of the Right | Nicole Hemmer
"From Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Glenn Beck and Matt Drudge, Americans are accustomed to thinking of right-wing media as integral to contemporary conservatism. But today's well-known personalities make up the second generation of broadcasting and publishing activists. Messengers of the Right tells the story of the little-known first generation. Beginning in the late 1940s, activists working in media emerged as leaders of the American conservative movement. They not only started an array of enterprises—publishing houses, radio programs, magazines, book clubs, television shows—they also built the movement. They coordinated rallies, founded organizations, ran political campaigns, and mobilized voters. While these media activists disagreed profoundly on tactics and strategy, they shared a belief that political change stemmed not just from ideas but from spreading those ideas through openly ideological communications channels. In Messengers of the Right, Nicole Hemmer explains how conservative media became the institutional and organizational nexus of the conservative movement, transforming audiences into activists and activists into a reliable voting base. Hemmer also explores how the idea of liberal media bias emerged, why conservatives have been more successful at media activism than liberals, and how the right remade both the Republican Party and American news media. Messengers of the Right follows broadcaster Clarence Manion, book publisher Henry Regnery, and magazine publisher William Rusher as they evolved from frustrated outsiders in search of a platform into leaders of one of the most significant and successful political movements of the twentieth century."
book  publisher  right-wing  conservative  media 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Hindman, M.: The Myth of Digital Democracy (eBook and Paperback).
"Is the Internet democratizing American politics? Do political Web sites and blogs mobilize inactive citizens and make the public sphere more inclusive? The Myth of Digital Democracy reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the Internet has done little to broaden political discourse but in fact empowers a small set of elites--some new, but most familiar. Matthew Hindman argues that, though hundreds of thousands of Americans blog about politics, blogs receive only a miniscule portion of Web traffic, and most blog readership goes to a handful of mainstream, highly educated professionals. He shows how, despite the wealth of independent Web sites, online news audiences are concentrated on the top twenty outlets, and online organizing and fund-raising are dominated by a few powerful interest groups. Hindman tracks nearly three million Web pages, analyzing how their links are structured, how citizens search for political content, and how leading search engines like Google and Yahoo! funnel traffic to popular outlets. He finds that while the Internet has increased some forms of political participation and transformed the way interest groups and candidates organize, mobilize, and raise funds, elites still strongly shape how political material on the Web is presented and accessed. The Myth of Digital Democracy. debunks popular notions about political discourse in the digital age, revealing how the Internet has neither diminished the audience share of corporate media nor given greater voice to ordinary citizens."
book  publisher  internet  democracy  political-science  technology-critique 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Anderson, E.: Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It). (Hardcover)
"One in four American workers says their workplace is a "dictatorship." Yet that number probably would be even higher if we recognized most employers for what they are—private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives, on duty and off. We normally think of government as something only the state does, yet many of us are governed far more—and far more obtrusively—by the private government of the workplace. In this provocative and compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson argues that the failure to see this stems from long-standing confusions. These confusions explain why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we still talk as if free markets make workers free—and why so many employers advocate less government even while they act as dictators in their businesses. In many workplaces, employers minutely regulate workers' speech, clothing, and manners, leaving them with little privacy and few other rights. And employers often extend their authority to workers' off-duty lives. Workers can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. Yet we continue to talk as if early advocates of market society—from John Locke and Adam Smith to Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln—were right when they argued that it would free workers from oppressive authorities. That dream was shattered by the Industrial Revolution, but the myth endures. Private Government offers a better way to talk about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom."
book  publisher  labor  work  free  free-markets  freedom 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Scheidel, W.: The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. (eBook and Hardcover)
"Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future. An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon."
book  publisher  history  economics  inequality  disaster 
february 2017 by tsuomela
VersoBooks.com
"In one of the true classics of twentieth-century political economy, R. H. Tawney investigates the way religion has moulded social and economic practice. He tracks the influence of religious thought on capitalist economy and ideology since the Middle Ages, shedding light on the question of why Christianity continues to exert a unique role in the marketplace. The book offers an incisive analysis of the morals and mores of contemporary Western culture. In tough, muscular, richly varied prose, Tawney tells an absorbing and meaningful story. Today, the dividing line between the spheres of religion and the secular is shifting, and Religion and the Rise of Capitalism is more pertinent than ever."
book  publisher  capitalism  religion  economics  fiscal-policy  finance 
february 2017 by tsuomela
VersoBooks.com
"In the ruins of the 2007–2008 financial crisis, self-proclaimed progressives the world over clamoured to resurrect the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. The crisis seemed to expose the disaster of small-state, free-market liberalization and deregulation. Keynesian political economy, in contrast, could put the state back at the heart of the economy and arm it with the knowledge needed to rescue us. But what it was supposed to rescue us from was not so clear. Was it the end of capitalism or the end of the world? For Keynesianism, the answer is both. Keynesians are not and never have been out to save capitalism, but rather to save civilization from itself. It is political economy, they promise, for the world in which we actually live: a world in which prices are “sticky,” information is “asymmetrical,” and uncertainty inescapable. In this world, things will definitely not take care of themselves in the long run. Poverty is ineradicable, markets fail, and revolutions lead to tyranny. Keynesianism is thus modern liberalism’s most persuasive internal critique, meeting two centuries of crisis with a proposal for capital without capitalism and revolution without revolutionaries. If our current crises have renewed Keynesianism for so many, it is less because the present is worth saving, than because the future seems out of control. In that situation, Keynesianism is a perfect fit: a faith for the faithless."
book  publisher  finance  financial-engineering  financial-services  economics  fiscal-policy 
february 2017 by tsuomela
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