Traditional Values and Political Trust in ChinaJournal of Asian and African Studies – Yida Zhai, 2016

Chinese traditional culture is viewed to sustain political trust in the authoritarian regime. Given that Chinese cultural traditions are complex and multi-dimensional, it is ineffective to deal with this notion by a single index. This study divides Chinese traditional values into a non-political dimension (traditional family and social values) and a political dimension (traditional political values). Then, I empirically test how different dimensions of Chinese … Continue reading Traditional Values and Political Trust in ChinaJournal of Asian and African Studies – Yida Zhai, 2016

Blackbox of surveilling French Internet

« Boîtes noires ». Le terme avait suscité un torrent de critiques au moment des discussions autour de la loi sur le renseignement, début 2015. Ces algorithmes, qui permettent de traiter de grandes quantités de données dans le but de détecter des « signaux faibles » pour lutter contre la « menace terroriste », sont aujourd’hui en cours de déploiement. C’est le président de la Commission nationale de contrôle des … Continue reading Blackbox of surveilling French Internet

Doing Research in the Business World

Doing Research in the Business World is a research textbook, covering a diverse range of methodologies and methods, from surveys to action research approaches. This impressive philosophical and methodological span — all the more noteworthy when one remembers it is single-authored — makes it a concrete block of a book, weighing in at over 800 pages. This makes the organisation of content an important consideration … Continue reading Doing Research in the Business World

BotOrNot: A System to Evaluate Social Bots

While most online social media accounts are controlled by humans, these platforms also host automated agents called social bots or sybil accounts. Recent literature reported on cases of social bots imitating humans to manipulate discussions, alter the popularity of users, pollute content and spread misinformation, and even perform terrorist propaganda and recruitment actions. Here we present BotOrNot, a publicly-available service that leverages more than one … Continue reading BotOrNot: A System to Evaluate Social Bots

Accountability of AI Under the Law

The ubiquity of systems using artificial intelligence or “AI” has brought increasing attention to how those systems should be regulated. The choice of how to regulate AI systems will require care. AI systems have the potential to synthesize large amounts of data, allowing for greater levels of personalization and precision than ever before—applications range from clinical decision support to autonomous driving and predictive policing. That … Continue reading Accountability of AI Under the Law

Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy

Governments around the world have dramatically increased their efforts to manipulate information on social media over the past year. The Chinese and Russian regimes pioneered the use of surreptitious methods to distort online discussions and suppress dissent more than a decade ago, but the practice has since gone global. Such state-led interventions present a major threat to the notion of the internet as a liberating … Continue reading Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy

Iphoneography as an emergent art world

The iPhone has come to be one of the most popular and widely used cameras because of its ubiquity and the ease with which images can be uploaded directly to sites like Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. The introduction of photography “apps,” like Hipstamatic or Instagram, adds layers of aesthetic capabilities not previously available within the camera. These capabilities have attracted artists seeking technologies for new … Continue reading Iphoneography as an emergent art world

D3 and canvas in three steps

Let’s say you’re building a data visualization using D3 and SVG. You may hit a ceiling when you try to display several thousand elements at the same time. Your browser may start to puff under the weight of all those DOM elements. Well here comes HTML5 Canvas to the rescue! It’s much faster, so it can solve your browser’s puffing problems. But you may quickly … Continue reading D3 and canvas in three steps

The horse race of ideas at the finish line

For decades, news coverage of U.S. presidential elections has been focused on the so-called “horse race” — polls, predicted outcomes, fundraising — rather than on the policy issues that ultimately matter most. The Electome, a project of the Laboratory for Social Machines at the MIT Media Lab, was created with the aim of changing this. About a year ago, with generous support from the Knight Foundation and Twitter, we … Continue reading The horse race of ideas at the finish line

Twitter officially expands its character count to 280

Twitter’s expansion to 280 characters is rolling out publicly today to all users in supported languages, including English. The company had first announced the controversial plan to move beyond its traditional 140 characters back in September, noting at the time how a longer character count allowed users to express more of their thoughts without running out of room to tweet. via Twitter officially expands its character … Continue reading Twitter officially expands its character count to 280

Chibi Chip Starter Kit

Get started with coding now! The Chibi Chip Starter Kit is a fun, friendly and new way to engage with coding. This starter kit reinvents the book through paper electronics: craft functional circuits directly into the pages of the included storybook, Love to Code Volume 1, while learning how to bring images to life through code. With LTC, everyone can fall in love with coding! via Chibi … Continue reading Chibi Chip Starter Kit

Is the Lone Scientist an American Dream? Perceived Communal Opportunities in STEM Offer a Pathway to Closing U.S

The United States lags behind many Asian countries in engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). An unexplored factor in these country-level differences may be U.S.–Asia gaps in perceptions of the goal opportunities provided by STEM. Across four studies, U.S. students perceived fewer communal opportunities (working with/helping/relationships with others) in STEM than Asian students; this differential perception contributed to U.S.–Asia gaps in STEM interest. … Continue reading Is the Lone Scientist an American Dream? Perceived Communal Opportunities in STEM Offer a Pathway to Closing U.S

Spatial‐Data Sharing: Applying Social‐Network Analysis to study individual and collective behaviour

Spatial‐Data Sharing (SDS) is a crucial aspect of spatial‐data infrastructures. This paper introduces Social‐Network Analysis to research on SDS. By mapping out relationships among social actors using Social‐Network Analysis, the collective properties of SDS in organizations can be investigated. Previous theoretical approaches have focused exclusively on individual behaviour. This paper attempts to expand this focus and applies Social‐Network Analysis in a study of SDS in … Continue reading Spatial‐Data Sharing: Applying Social‐Network Analysis to study individual and collective behaviour

The Zombie Diseases of Climate Change

Lately, as summers have lengthened and winters have warmed, this seasonal transformation has lost its symmetry. What biologists call the permafrost’s “active layer”—the part of the dirt where microbes and other forms of life can live—now reaches farther underground, and further north, than it has for tens of thousands of years. The newly active permafrost is packed with old stuff: dead plants, dead animals, mosses … Continue reading The Zombie Diseases of Climate Change

Lunar – a cryptocurrency hedge fund?

The financial world is currently facing what will be the biggest disruption since the creation of money itself. Institutional investors and venture capitalists will soon lose their monopoly on a market worth trillions. Hedge funds, especially, have been historically inaccessible to the average investor, with many requiring a minimum buy-in upwards of $1 Million. We aim to change that. We want to use cryptocurrency to … Continue reading Lunar – a cryptocurrency hedge fund?

What Will Happen to Our Jobs Tomorrow

How will disruptive new technologies — such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics — transform my organization? Do I need to change the way I work in order to remain relevant in a digital age? Will I be replaced by a machine? . . . Am I going to lose my job? via “What Will Happen to Our Jobs Tomorrow”? – Hacker Noon Continue reading What Will Happen to Our Jobs Tomorrow

What you can’t say about the 19th National Communist Party Congress on WeChat

From October 18 to October 24 2017, the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 19th National Communist Party Congress (NCPC19), which marked the halfway point of President Xi Jinping’s 10-year term, and served as a bellwether of his power over the party. The National Communist Party Congress (NCPC) is the most important political event for the CPC, and information around it is carefully managed. … Continue reading What you can’t say about the 19th National Communist Party Congress on WeChat

Profit and gift in the digital economy

Over three billion times a day, someone types a search term into Google and within a few seconds receives a list of search results on their screen (Internet Live Stats, 2014). This service, delivered entirely free to the user, has become a cornerstone of the work and knowledge practices of a substantial portion of humanity.[1] But the Google Search business model – like many others in … Continue reading Profit and gift in the digital economy

Aid, China, and Growth: Evidence from a New Global Development Finance Dataset

This paper introduces a new dataset of official financing — including foreign aid and other forms of concessional and non-concessional state financing — from China to 138 countries between 2000 and 2014. We use these data to investigate whether and to what extent Chinese aid affects economic growth in recipient countries. To account for the endogeneity of aid, we employ an instrumental-variables strategy that relies … Continue reading Aid, China, and Growth: Evidence from a New Global Development Finance Dataset

Why People Get Religious about Bitcoin

The Bitcoin phenomenon isn’t about a bunch of people who all believe the cryptocurrency is a good investment. That’s part of it. But for many, the belief in Bitcoin’s power to transform society runs much deeper: it’s almost an article of faith. Where does this fervor come from? To understand, it’s important to keep in mind that “the blockchain” is not really a thing. via … Continue reading Why People Get Religious about Bitcoin

Introduction to Spark with Python

After lots of ground-breaking work led by the UC Berkeley AMP Lab, Spark was developed to utilize distributed, in-memory data structures to improve data processing speeds over Hadoop for most workloads. In this post, we’re going to cover the architecture of Spark and basic transformations and actions using a real dataset. If you want to write and run your own Spark code, check out the … Continue reading Introduction to Spark with Python

Collective intelligence for promoting changes in behavior

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today. Despite of high investments in technology, battling climate change is futile without the participation of the public, and changing their perception and habits. Collective intelligence tools can play an important role in translating this “distant” concept that is climate change into practical hints for everyday life. In this paper, we report a case study … Continue reading Collective intelligence for promoting changes in behavior

The shortest-lived Catalan Republic?

Barcelona, October 27, 2017. Parliament proclaims Catalonia’s independence. They end their session with a round of the Catalonian national anthem, joined by the thousands of people gathered outside. This anthem, “The Reapers,” recalls the first of several armed struggles to preserve Catalan law. After Madrid’s swift reaction last Friday to dissolve the Catalan Parliament and prosecute its presiding officer along with the region’s president and … Continue reading The shortest-lived Catalan Republic?

How Collaboration in Tech is Changing and Why Developers Should Care

The business world is currently experiencing a revolutionary transformation. Propelled by changing demographics, the explosion of novel mobile devices and cloud-based applications, and the increasing availability of inexpensive Internet access, technology-driven businesses are seeking to capitalize on the evolving nature of today’s work. At the forefront of this evolution is the ongoing transformation of the meanings, functions, and capabilities of collaboration in both tech and … Continue reading How Collaboration in Tech is Changing and Why Developers Should Care

Web began dying

Before the year 2014, there were many people using Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Today, there are still many people using services from those three tech giants (respectively, GOOG, FB, AMZN). Not much has changed, and quite literally the user interface and features on those sites has remained mostly untouched. However, the underlying dynamics of power on the Web have drastically changed, and those three companies … Continue reading Web began dying

Critical data studies

Critical Data Studies (CDS) explore the unique cultural, ethical, and critical challenges posed by Big Data. Rather than treat Big Data as only scientifically empirical and therefore largely neutral phenomena, CDS advocates the view that Big Data should be seen as always-already constituted within wider data assemblages. Assemblages is a concept that helps capture the multitude of ways that already-composed data structures inflect and interact … Continue reading Critical data studies

March for science

Not quite promptly at six o’clock on Saturday morning, two dozen scientists whose fields of study can’t be summarized in a sentence boarded a bus at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, New Jersey, and headed south, bound for the March for Science, in Washington, D.C. “I hope it doesn’t rain,” Ed Witten, the first and only theoretical physicist ever to win the Fields Medal, the Academy … Continue reading March for science

Storytelling data

One statement that I make often and emphasize repeatedly in my work is that when it comes to explanatory analysis, we should never simply show data; rather, we should make data a pivotal point in an overarching narrative or story. Today, I’ll take you through an example that illustrates this transition from showing data to using data to answer a question in a way that … Continue reading Storytelling data

Git Workflow

A Git Workflow is a recipe or recommendation for how to use Git to accomplish work in a consistent and productive manner. Git workflows encourage users to leverage Git effectively and consistently. Git offers a lot of flexibility in how users manage changes. Given Git’s focus on flexibility, there is no standardized process on how to interact with Git. When working with a team on … Continue reading Git Workflow

‘Speak’ by Louisa Hall

A less artful title for “Speak,” Louisa Hall’s sidereal novel on artificial (and thus human) intelligence, might be “What We Talk About When We Talk About Computers.” This starfish of a book, five voices waving gracefully around a core of philosophical questions, wants to explore the nature of memory; the borders of personhood; how words can illumine and obscure and hoodwink and rescue. via ‘Speak,’ … Continue reading ‘Speak’ by Louisa Hall

Civic crowdfunding is privatisation masquerading as democracy

Crowdfunding is increasingly being put forward by local authorities as a way of enabling democratic participation and a means of funding initiatives. According to guidelines from the Local Government Information Unit and Spacehive, Manchester, Liverpool and Plymouth councils, Dorset county council, and 16 London boroughs have all used it as a means of raising revenue. via Civic crowdfunding is privatisation masquerading as democracy | Cities … Continue reading Civic crowdfunding is privatisation masquerading as democracy

Life expectancy

The interactive chart below shows that life expectancy has increased substantially around the world in the last couple of centuries. As a matter of fact, the data tells us that in the long run life expectancy has increased in all countries around the world. Life expectancy is one of the key measures of a population’s health, and an indicator used widely by policymakers and researchers … Continue reading Life expectancy

Truth about Blockchain

Contracts, transactions, and the records of them are among the defining structures in our economic, legal, and political systems. They protect assets and set organizational boundaries. They establish and verify identities and chronicle events. They govern interactions among nations, organizations, communities, and individuals. They guide managerial and social action. And yet these critical tools and the bureaucracies formed to manage them have not kept up … Continue reading Truth about Blockchain

Economics of the Blockchain

We rely on economic theory to discuss how blockchain technology will shape the rate and direction of innovation. We identify two key costs affected by the technology: 1) the cost of verification; and 2) the cost of networking. The first cost relates to the ability to cheaply verify the attributes of a transaction. The second one to the ability to bootstrap and operate a marketplace … Continue reading Economics of the Blockchain

Internet censorship in Egypt

Internet filtering in Egypt illustrates how censorship can be a slippery slope. After an extended period of open access to the Internet in Egypt lasting several years following the January 2011 revolution, the government dramatically increased its censorship of political content between December 2015 and September 2017. What started with the filtering of one regional news website in 2015 has led to the filtering of … Continue reading Internet censorship in Egypt

The Stuff of Bits | The MIT Press

Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale physical infrastructures of server farms, fiber optic cables, power plants, and microwave links. But another domain of material constraints also shapes digital living: the digital representations sketched on whiteboards, encoded into software, stored in databases, loaded into computer memory, and transmitted on networks. These digital representations … Continue reading The Stuff of Bits | The MIT Press

Network Structure of Social Coding in GitHub

Social coding enables a different experience of software development as the activities and interests of one developer are easily advertised to other developers. Developers can thus track the activities relevant to various projects in one umbrella site. Such a major change in collaborative software development makes an investigation of networkings on social coding sites valuable. Furthermore, project hosting platforms promoting this development paradigm have been … Continue reading Network Structure of Social Coding in GitHub

Technology Firms Shape Political Communication

This article offers the first analysis of the role that technology companies, specifically Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Google, play in shaping the political communication of electoral campaigns in the United States. We offer an empirical analysis of the work technology firms do around electoral politics through interviews with staffers at these firms and digital and social media directors of 2016 U.S. presidential primary and general election … Continue reading Technology Firms Shape Political Communication

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election | Berkman Klein Center

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda: when reporting on Hillary Clinton, coverage primarily focused on the various scandals related to the Clinton Foundation and emails. When focused on Trump, major substantive issues, primarily … Continue reading Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election | Berkman Klein Center

Information politics of the post-truth era

  Digital media played a prominent role in the recent US presidential election, with social media platforms channelling previously fringe universes of political culture, rooted in populism and post-truth politics, right into the mainstream of US political discourse. Meanwhile, traditional mechanisms, from polling to mainstream media, failed to adequately capture public sentiment around political events. Are new instruments needed to understand the socio-technical fabric of … Continue reading Information politics of the post-truth era

Vector Representations of Words

Vector Representations of Words In this tutorial we look at the word2vec model by Mikolov et al. This model is used for learning vector representations of words, called “word embeddings”. Highlights This tutorial is meant to highlight the interesting, substantive parts of building a word2vec model in TensorFlow. We start by giving the motivation for why we would want to represent words as vectors. We … Continue reading Vector Representations of Words

Active Sight: Vija Celmins and Jackson Pollock from Pictorialism to Perception – Image Journal

ON MAY 16 of this year, Night Sky #2 by Vija Celmins, on view at the 2008 Carnegie International at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, was vandalized by one of the museum’s own security guards, who used a key to cut a gouge down the painting’s middle, damaging it beyond repair. While this act was universally condemned in art-world news sources, the disclosure that the … Continue reading Active Sight: Vija Celmins and Jackson Pollock from Pictorialism to Perception – Image Journal

Camera Restricta — Philipp Schmitt

Algorithms are already looking through the viewfinder alongside with you: they adjust settings, scan faces and take a photo when you smile. What if your grin wasn’t the only thing they cared about? Camera Restricta is a speculative design of a new kind of camera. It locates itself via GPS and searches online for photos that have been geotagged nearby. If the camera decides that … Continue reading Camera Restricta — Philipp Schmitt

Mox Nox: The Cartoons of Joan Cornella | Graphics.com

From the publisher: “Spanish cartoonist Joan Cornellà’s viciously funny Mox Nox comic strips have struck such a nerve on social media that his Facebook page has garnered over one million fan followers. A quick glance indicates why. Each single page strip is a wordless, full-color, hand-painted marvel of the comic strip form. Today is Chinese single day – 双十一 via Mox Nox: The Cartoons of … Continue reading Mox Nox: The Cartoons of Joan Cornella | Graphics.com

No direct flight: new maps show the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees to Europe

Politicians across Europe have talked about the arrival of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016 as if it were an unprecedented “event”, a single coherent flow of people “heading for Europe”. There is a focus on the beginning and end of peoples’ journeys – at the expense of almost everything in between. Our new research with 500 refugees and migrants in Italy, Greece, Turkey … Continue reading No direct flight: new maps show the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees to Europe

How Trump Pushed the Election Map to the Right – The New York Times

Donald J. Trump made good on his strategy of stoking the enthusiasm of white voters, as rural and small-town America endorsed him emphatically, helping to defeat Hillary Clinton and her urban supporters. via How Trump Pushed the Election Map to the Right – The New York Times Continue reading How Trump Pushed the Election Map to the Right – The New York Times