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