Berkman Buzz: February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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David Weinberger dives into serendipity and "interestingness" on Facebook


Facebook has opted for relevancy. This makes sense for them from an economic standpoint: You will be a happy Facebooker if you are shown stuff you didn’t know about that conforms to your existing interests and values. In their blog post explaining the change, Facebook takes as their paradigmatic example showing you a post of a photo captioned “James Harden and Dwight Harden throw down some sick dunks during practice” because you “follow or like Dwight Howard.” Highly relevant. And if Facebook started showing its users posts as noisy as what you get on the Reddit homepage or from a Flickr stream sorted by interestingness, its users would likely revolt.

So, I understand how this new move makes for happier users and thus makes Facebook richer and safer.


From David Weinberger's blog post, "Facebook provides more this-like-that instead of this-oh-that! (Or relevancy, interestingingness, and serendipity)"
About David | @dweinberger

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The curious case of a photo series from 70 years ago of a cat on a toilet (and one on the grass):
Dan Cohen (@dancohen)

Digital Problem-Solving Initiative hosts mid-year workshop


On Feb. 13, the DPSI community gathered together for the DPSI pilot’s Mid-Year Workshop, co-hosted by the Berkman Center and the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard. Special guests from outside the program, including Willow Brugh, Malavika Jayaram, Rey Junco, Laura Neuhaus, Leah Plunkett, Gosia Stergios, Hugo Van Vuuren, and Sara Watson, joined us to take stock of the first semester’s work, discuss open questions each team is grappling with, and look ahead to outputs and final activities in the remaining months of the pilot.

From DPSI, "DPSI Mid-Year Workshop"
About DPSI | Vizthink DPSI logo courtesy of Willow Brugh

Willow Brugh weighs fixing current systems against building new ones

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We have a responsibility to the people who already exist on the planet in whatever actions we take to make a better world. Is the suffering caused by the current set-up greater or lesser than the process of shifting to a less damaging system?

One of the reasons I sit in this balance is because of my work with Geeks Without Bounds on humanitarian and disaster response work. I see how amazing groups of people can be if you just get out of their way. Social media in response is not about a curated format for intake for FEMA or OEM or even Red Cross. It’s about a group of people (in this case, in an affected area) that already know how to talk to each other, and who know what they need, finding a new audience of people who want to help them. It’s about mutual aid. But FEMA and OEM and Red Cross have a place in this system, as experts and as providers of specific and prolific resources. And that sort of interaction needs people like me, at least right now, who can talk to both sides about how to get what they need and how to avoid being trampled on.

From Willow Brugh's blog post, "The Architects of Houses"
About Willow | @willowbl00

Project Information Literacy interviews Cathy Davidson on the future of learning

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The biggest takeaway for the future of learning is most of our apparatus of higher education—the ways we test, the ways we grade, the way we give credit, the way we divide knowledge into disciplines, and the ways we accrue expertise—were developed between about 1865 and 1925. They have evolved since then but, structurally and epistemologically, these are industrial age forms of standardizing what, in previous eras of history, defied standardization.

From Project Information Literacy, "Cathy Davidson: How Disruption and Distraction Are Remaking Learning"
About Project Information Literacy | About Alison Head | @alisonjhead

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Google's Project Ara wants to make $50 customisable smartphones by 2015 via @smhJeffrey Schnapp (@jaytiesse)

GV Face: Beyond Gangnam Style – Censorship and Korean Pop Music

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It has been called South Korea's “greatest export.” PSY's K-pop song Gangnam style is the most watched video on YouTube.

But behind the glamorous facades and big paychecks, it's not all fun and romance until South Korea's censors have done their work.

Our managing editor Solana Larsen talks to our Korean language editor Yoo Eun Lee on the growing popularity of K-pop worldwide.

From Solana Larsen's post for Global Voices, "GV Face: Beyond Gangnam Style – Censorship and Korean Pop Music"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

February 28, 2014