Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rewire, filter bubbles, international news, and so on

I'm reading this book now, Rewire by Ethan Zuckerman.
Overall, totally dig it. He's pushing cosmopolitanism, the idea that we can be "citizens of the world", taking into account our responsibility and connectedness to each other.

He started this "Global Voices" site a few years ago, trying to offer views from bloggers worldwide. It's pretty cool, but as he notes, not enough. It's hard for me to care about what happens in Gabon. But in an age of SARS and Arab Spring, we kind of need to. At least, someone needs to.

Some useful concepts or other notes:

Hallin's spheres: the center is consensus, that's easy, we all agree. Next is the sphere of legitimate debate. Outside that is the sphere of deviance: ideas so ridiculous that no one seriously thinks them. This is the goal of revolutionaries and rabble rousers: to move ideas from the sphere of deviance into the sphere of legitimate debate. This is of course a double edged sword: it's good that, say, gay marriage and marijuana legalization made that leap; it's, you know, existentially dangerous that global warming has.

(Also, choice quote from cartoonist Ted Rall: "'no one seriously thinks' is brutarian to the point of Orwellian.") P86

How news works now: Galtung and Runge's "news values": short time frames, moral unambiguousness, unexpectedness, and reflection of preconceptions.

Apparently, of all newspapers in the US, only the NY Times, LA times, Washington Post, and WSJ still have substantial foreign bureaus?!

Goals of Global Voices: filtering, translating, contextualizing. Making good-enough translation transparent, enabling bridge figures, and engineering serendipity.

Human Libraries. Rent a person and talk for a while to learn things from their perspective. Awesome. P196

Community by arbitrary structure. Birth days of the week in Ghana. Livejournal birth month groups.

Discovery by breadth first search. Ish. "Impressionism? Might as well start with Monet. If not, Renoir. Now you have at least a sense of whether you like impressionism. Want to try Haitian food? Go to these top 3 popular Haitian places." The Dave Arnold algorithm (named after his friend). Where are the top 3 places for people who live in Greenfield? There's a lot of connection to cities here: people experience more serendipity in cities. How can we make online services more conducive to this? P228

Also, writing this on a tablet is awfully limiting. Ow. If you find any of this interesting, let's talk in person.

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