Tagged: information

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Choice or disparation? Theorizing the social in social media systems

[This is an excerpt from a longer essay, forthcoming in the Westminster Papers on Communication and Culture special issue, “The Internet and the Material Turn” — Volume 10, Issue 1, April 2015.] For millions of people around the world, social media systems now represent a central, material-semiotic mode of relation. Choosing to befriend someone and not someone […]

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Data Havens of Iceland

Alix Johnson, a PhD student in cultural anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, will be going to Iceland to study the practices and discourses of data centers. She studies information infrastructures in capitalist economies and postcolonial politics, and researches these questions in Iceland where they take strange and fascinating forms. Adam Fish: What makes Iceland important […]

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The Boston Marathon Bombings, 4Chan’s Think Tank, and a Modest Proposal for an Emergency Crowdsourced Investigation Platform

We are still in the immediate wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, but it is already clear that the investigation into these attacks is taking a very different shape than the investigation into the 9/11 attacks. One of the big reasons, naturally, is the explosion of smartphone use in recent years, providing a wealth of […]

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East Coast Code

There’s lots to like about Lawrence Lessig’s book, Code 2.0—particularly, I find, the distinction he draws between “East Coast Code” (i.e., the law) and “West Coast Code” (i.e., computer hardware and software). He sees both as modes of bringing order to complex systems, albeit through different means. Lessig is also interested in the ways in […]

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Announcement: From Punched Cards to ‘Big Data': A Social History of Database Populism (Kevin Driscoll)

Kevin Driscoll published a paper exploring some of the key events in the history of databases in society. Here’s the abstract: Since the diffusion of the punched card tabulator following the 1890 U.S. Census, mass-scale information processing has been alternately a site of opportunity, ambivalence and fear in the American imagination. While large bureaucracies have […]

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