Nov 25, 15

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Mapping: Infrastructure and Flow

I love airline route maps. I’ve fallen asleep staring at the tangle of possible journeys so often that I sometimes confuse the capillaries I see with my eyes closed with the red paths of Northwest flights hubbed out of Detroit and Minneapolis. I love the questions the maps raise: why is there a direct flight on Air Canada from Halifax to Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta? (Lots of Nova workers in the oil sands, I suspect, but I never would have asked the question without the map.) Why...


Michael Heller and the Gridlock Economy

Professor Michael Heller of Columbia University got a nice endorsement for his book the other day. Former President Bill Clinton recommended his book, The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives, as a key to understanding the current fiscal crisis. Speaking at the Berkman Center, Heller begins by asserting “When too many people own pieces of one thing, nobody can use it.” Too much ownership in a society causes gridlock - the...


Provocative, political...and very funny

There’s a lot of work being shown at the Creative Capital workshop at Williams College that’s political and provocative, but not much that’s laugh-out-loud funny. Thank god for Golan Levin . Levin is a Pittsburgh-based artist and a professor at Carnegie Mellon. He’s interested in the phenomenon of interactivity, and currently interested investigating vision tracking as a way of producing artwork that looks back at you. There’s been great work done that’s sensitive to the position...


Activism, Art and Future Civic Media

Chris Csikszentmihalyi is an artist and provocateur as well as a programmer, inventor and professor. The projects he's most excited about within MIT's Center for Future Civic Media focus on the interface between political action, art, journalism and technology. He offers the observation that "all technology is politics," and suggests that one of the best ways to do art, as in journalism, is to follow the money. His framing talk invokes Manuel Castells, suggesting that people live within...


Mapping electoral fraud in Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe faces a pivotal presidential election on March 29, expect a great deal of conversation about whether polls were free and fair. It may be very difficult to answer that question decisively, as the Zimbabwean government has been extremely restrictive in allowing election monitors into the country. AFP reports that the US and the EU have been denied access as observers; instead, the poll will be monitored by the African Union, SADC (the Southern Africa Development Community), China,...


Information Visualization is a Medium

I arrived in San Diego for etech08 after a 25 hour trip. The morning after i was sitting in the main conference room wondering why on earth i was doing that to myself. I could have stayed quietly in Europe, avoided the jetlag and the artificial food enriched with extra-anti-oxidants and extra-vitamins. ... Until Eric Rodenbeck, founder and creative director of Stamen Design, took the floor and gave his waaaay too short talk on Information Visualization is a Medium. He highlighted a couple...


Netsquared Mashup Challenge

Netsquared is an organization devoted to connecting nonprofit organizations with Web 2.0 technologies to help them better achieve their goals. We've featured the work of Netsquared here on Worldchanging many times. We can hardly believe it ourselves but the third annual Netsquared conference (N2Y3) is almost upon us. In preparation for this year's event, Netsquared is inviting social innovators to share their ideas in The Netsquared Mashup Challenge. What do you need to participate? Just an...


The Digital Activist Class

Ethan makes some excellent and intriguing points here: There’s a strong overlap between the emerging middle class in the developing world and the world of citizen media. Bloggers in Africa are highly educated, and generally are wealthier than the average African. (It’s not cheap, in African terms, to afford the amount of internet access you need to maintain a blog.) Kenya’s got a large middle class, and it’s got one of the largest blogger populations on the continent, behind South...

Your Stuff: If It Isn't Grown, It Must Be Mined

Where does your stuff come from? Before the store, before the factory, where did it really begin? If it isn't made of wood, cloth, or other living matter, it was dug out of the ground. Number one of The Natural Step's four System Conditions is that "In the sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth's crust". So ultimately, one day our industrial economy will be made up entirely of recycled and biologically...

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