ImmigrationTrackr - "This project was developed in two hackathons (Code for America and Lesbians Who Tech) to create an open-source tool to help visa and immigration paperwork. The hope is that other people will build on this and make a viable tool for public use. Right now it's mostly developed on Rails." [via mefi projects]
What Russians really think - "Many in the west see Russia as aggressive and brainwashed. But its citizens have a different view." Meanwhile,[1,2] in Moscow and Lviv...
"Things Left Unspoken: Erasure in Online Discussion of Domestic Violence" - Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, mentions of violent actions, physical abuse, sexual assault. By Catherine [Kiran/Rin] Oliver at Model View Culture. [more inside]
Creating just online social spaces - Aria Stewart, Geek Feminism
"The last two months have seen two Slack chats start to support marginalized groups in the technology field, LGBTQ* Technology and Women in Technology, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about how to run the spaces effectively, not just being a place for those who it says on the tin, but to support, encourage and not be terrible to people who are marginalized in other ways than the one the particular group is trying to represent. "This is a sort of how-to guide for creating a social Slack that is inclusive and just, and a lot of of this will apply to other styles and mediums for interaction."[more inside]
On Monday, the Supreme Court (with a recovering Ruth Bader Ginsburg) will hear argument in Elonis v. United States, a case where a man was convicted for posts and messages on Facebook that prosecutors treated as threats of actual violence. (trigger warning: descriptions of violence) [more inside]
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Your face can visibly answer this question, a Carnegie Mellon University professor argues.
Jennifer Williams shares the story of how she became a Twitter star amongst ISIS sympathizers.
The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
"In reconsidering the metrosexual, we must first distinguish between the metrosexual’s imagined and actual properties. Like hipsterism, metrosexuality is an insult more readily slung than substantiated. According to canon, David Beckham is the ur-metro. Although Beckham initially goes unmentioned in the word’s first printing (in 1994), the word’s progenitor, Mark Simpson, introduced American readers to metrosexuality through the British football star in 2002, when he called Beckham a "screaming, shrieking, flaming, freaking metrosexual…famous for wearing sarongs and pink nail polish and panties…and posing naked and oiled up on the cover of Esquire." " - Johannah King-Slutzky for The Awl on the 'Metrosexual' situation a decade later
March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.[more inside]
Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.
About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
A friendship that lasts 24 hours unless you opt to extend. An app where you can find interesting people who will disappear in 24 hours unless you'd like to keep the connection going.
Several recent articles draw attention to the power of demonisation, outrage and weaponised language within contemporary activist culture - and question whether this focus is doing more harm than good. Jack Halberstam, director of the Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California: When groups that share common cause, utopian dreams and a joined mission find fault with each other instead of tearing down the banks and the bankers, the politicians and the parliaments, the university presidents and the CEOs? Instead of realizing, as Moten and Hearny put it in The Undercommons, that “we owe each other everything,” we enact punishments on one another and stalk away from projects that should unite us, and huddle in small groups feeling erotically bonded through our self-righteousness. [more inside]
- Welfare economics: an introduction
- The perils of Potential Pareto
- Inequality, production, and technology
- Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
- Normative is performative, not positive
Korean grandmothers sell Bacchus drinks (energy drinks) and sex on the side. Once part of Korea's economic engine, older Korean women are turning to prostitution to pay for their living costs. The Bacchus women also work the hiking trails where they offer coffee and sex.
Smidgeo.com is a business built on growth, digital, social, disruption, & a proprietary form of smart marketing known as Smidgeo Smarketing. The bottom line? Smidgeo GETS results. Smidgeo's business model may seem complex, but there is an animated diagram so that even the worst can understand. [more inside]
Chris Gethard: Overcome Your Programming And Be A Better Man
20 Day Stranger For me, the socially awkward type, this is so exciting and frightening all at the same time!
VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
Thank Goodness We Don't Have To Do That Anymore: a selection of US social customs and rituals that have mercifully passed on. Spinster Etiquette! Paying Calls! Hand Kissing! Bathing Machines! Wedding Gift Displays!
Thomas Baekdal writes on How In-app Purchases Have Destroyed The [Game] Industry:
We have reached a point in which mobile games couldn't even be said to be a game anymore. Playing a game means that you have fun. It doesn't mean that you sit around and wait for the game to annoy you for so long that you decide to pay credits to speed it up. And for an old geezer like me who remember the glory days of gaming back in the 1990s, it's just unbearable to watch.Drew Crawford answers:
See, in the in-app purchase model actually predates phones. It predates video game consoles. It goes all the way back to the arcade, where millions of consumers were happy to pay a whole quarter ... to pay for just a few minutes.
The UK has opened its first social supermarket as a means of combatting food poverty.* [more inside]
Waterstones announces their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favourite books. Per the FAQ: Q. Isn’t this just what they did in Harry Potter? A: Yes, this is exactly what they did in Harry Potter. You’re asking that as if this is a bad thing
These days, selfies are how we make ourselves real, to ourselves and to the outside world. So, it’s no wonder that some of us turn to our iPhones in these moments of loss. It’s a way of saying, “I still exist.”
Daniel Radcliffe’s Next Trick Is to Make Harry Potter Disappear (slnyt profile, via) [more inside]
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
"It's about coming together as a local community and sharing the fruits of your labour, your creation." In what has been described as a peer-to-peer community marketplace, people are connecting online with local cooks, who provide them with a meal for less than they would be likely to pay anywhere else. In Athens, the price is usually between three and four euros (£2.50 to £3.40). [more inside]
"Just setting up my twttr". This Was First archives the first posts on some of the world's biggest websites. (Metafilter is sadly absent from the archive.)
The Department of Homeland Security released its list of monitored keywords on social networking sites.
The Locust Economy
I was picking the brain of a restauranteur for insight into things like Groupon. He confirmed what we all understand in the abstract: that these deals are terrible for the businesses that offer them; that they draw in nomadic deal hunters from a vast surrounding region who are unlikely to ever return; that most deal-hunters carefully ensure that they spend just the deal amount or slightly more; that a badly designed offer can bankrupt a small business. He added one little factoid I did not know: offering a Groupon deal is by now so strongly associated with a desperate, dying restaurant that professional food critics tend to write off any restaurant that offers one without even trying it.[more inside]
Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
The two aspects of empathy, cognitive and affective, as described succinctly and clearly by neuroscientist Simon Baron Cohen. Ever wondered how chronically abusive people seem to have X-ray vision knowing just what cruel thing to say to hurt most? It's because they have greater cognitive empathy and less - or very little - affective empathy. Psychologist, Daniel Goleman adds another aspect of empathy into the picture, compassionate empathy.
Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
"agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."In response, Wired has posted How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account. Previously.
"Which is another way of saying that Facebook is George Costanza's worst nightmare: It enforces, second by second, the collision of worlds."
Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes.) - "The finding, which is similar to one determined last year, is nice as a headline: It's both unexpected (friends! stressing you out! ha!) and ironic (the currency of the social web, taking value rather than adding it!). What's interesting, though, is the why of the matter: the idea that, the report theorizes, the wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members... Unsurprisingly, per the study's survey of more than 300 Facebook users, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'" [more inside]
The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing. Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”. No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
There's been little discussion about the problem of poverty in the current Presidential election, the conventions pretty much ignored it. "The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C." Both candidates responded.
"Once universally praised for founder Brad Fitzpatrick’s open-source platform and commitment to a free userbase—he once vowed that LiveJournal would always have basic (non-paying or ad-supported) accounts—LiveJournal is known these days mostly for being popular in Russia (the Russian name for blogging is “LJ.”) and Singapore, and for housing gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t."
This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology, but it was finally cemented into the theoretical mainstream in 1972 when Pierre Bourdieu published his Outline of a Theory of Practice. Bourdieu makes the case that we come to internalize the expectations of our particular social group by analogy with categories, orders and relations of things. Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world. ~ Designing Culture by Colin McSwiggen
Start Your Own Currency - "In the Catalonia region of Spain, a restaurant and a community garden are part of an experiment in alternative cash--they are accepting a home-grown currency called the Eco as well as the Euro." [viz. gated article (Google link), cf. The Wörgl Experiment]
Got the homepage blues? Rebel Mouse is here to save the day. Former Huffington Post CTO, Paul Berry, has launched what looks like a digital newspaper of your on-line social life. While the website only allows for Facebook and Twitter integration at launch, Instagram and Tumblr will be integrated. Personalized aggregation of your content presented in way that makes it easy for others to subconsciously consume multi-dimensional social networking.
Comedian/podcaster Ari Shaffir interviews comedian Ralphie May on the realities of being morbidly obese, including very frank, often touching, sometimes hilarious discussions of health issues (including his near-death experience), social acceptance, fashion, personal demons, sex, comedy, and cannabis use.
"Fat" pt 1 (direct mp3) "Fat" pt 2 (direct mp3) (NSFW audio)
"Fat" pt 1 (direct mp3) "Fat" pt 2 (direct mp3) (NSFW audio)
Peter Turchin is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science. By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020. [more inside]
I'm lonely. Is that so odd? "All these methods of communication and yet nobody's communicating with me."