Berkman Buzz: February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015

The Berkman Buzz is a weekly collection of work and conversations from around the Berkman community.


Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives

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Youth and Media is pleased to announce the publication of "Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives," a series of short essays written by friends and colleagues that offer insightful, provoking, and out-of-the-box reflections and observations at the intersection of news, digital media, and youth.

The contributions in this publication reflect the diversity of ideas and perspectives that form the core and spirit of the Berkman community. Some of the essays are closely connected to specific research and publications conducted by the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, others reflect more generally on personal observations and/or opinions, or highlight and discuss insights and learnings from other studies or concrete projects.


Download the series

The Keys to the Internet


by Maggie Koerth-Baker

"I want to get on the Internet," I tell the librarian. She is an old lady with a face set in a permanent state of disapproval. She already doesn't like me; the result of unsavory habits like trying to check out Portnoy's Complaint after the aforementioned Newsweek named it one of the best books of the 20th century. It's probably unsurprising, then, that she views this request as another step in my burgeoning juvenile delinquency.

"You're underage. You can't use the Internet without a parent," she says.


From My First Internet, a series of stories collected by Sara M. Watson about our first encounters with the Internet

Something Is Going Right: Net Neutrality and the FCC


by Lawrence Lessig

Defenders of the status quo are now frantically filling the tubes with FUD about the FCC's decision. But as you work through this FUD, keep one basic fact clear. Relative to practically every other comparable nation, America's broadband sucks. Seriously, sucks. Even France beats us in cost and quality. And as the genius Yochai Benkler established in the monumental report by the Berkman Center commissioned by the FCC after Obama was elected, the single most important reason our broadband sucks is the sell-out regulatory strategy of the prior decade at least. Nations that imposed neutrality-like rules beat us, in cost and quality. They have more competition, faster growth, and better access. So for anyone remotely connected to reality-based policy making, it has been clear forever that America made a wrong turn in its regulatory strategy, and that we needed an about face.


From the Huffington Post | @lessig

Smells Like Cyberspace Spirit: Don't laugh at China's ham-fisted attempt to praise its Internet in song


by Josephine Wolff

...But writing theme songs for secretive government agencies isn't the exclusive domain of parodists, as we learned last week when the Cyberspace Administration of China released its earnest musical number, "Cyberspace Spirit." According to the Wall Street Journal's English translation of the Chinese lyrics, the administration's well-rehearsed chorus, costumed in tuxedoes and matching red dresses and arranged in orderly rows at the center of a brightly lit stage, trumpets the "clarity and brightness" of the Chinese Internet as a "beam of incorruptible sunlight," reminding listeners that "the Web is where glorious dreams are!" To reiterate: This is not a parody.


From | @josephinecwolff

The Lifelong Learning Study: Preliminary Trends from the Online Survey


a new report by Alison Head

In our survey of recent college graduates and their lifelong learning information practices, a small percentage of respondents reported using e-learning sites in the past year such as Stackoverflow (12%), Codecademy (10%), or Lynda (7%). Despite widespread assumptions about the growing use of interactive education platforms for learning coding and a range of other marketable skills, these findings suggest otherwise. We found far more graduates surveyed relied on mainstream sites, like YouTube videos (79%) and Pinterest (51%) to pick up new skills and 'how to' information.


From Alison Head's latest trends report for Project Information Literacy (PIL)

Data is the New "___"

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by Sara M. Watson

How we think about data-and more importantly what we do with it-will depend on the value systems that our conceptual metaphors capture and reify. Reframing metaphors for data in a more personal and embodied context will give us a better way to think of ourselves as information organisms, or "inforgs," as philosopher Luciano Floridi suggests we are becoming. Our data profiles will act on our behalf, and we must be able to interact with and grasp their agency. Embodied data metaphors put more control in our hands as individuals, capable of interpreting and intervening in our own personal data management.


From DIS Magazine | @smwat

The Equation Group's Sophisticated Hacking and Exploitation Tools

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by Bruce Schneier

This week, Kaspersky Labs published detailed information on what it calls the Equation Group - almost certainly the NSA - and its abilities to embed spyware deep inside computers, gaining pretty much total control of those computers while maintaining persistence in the face of reboots, operating system reinstalls, and commercial anti-virus products. The details are impressive, and I urge anyone interested to read the Kaspersky documents, or this very detailed article from Ars Technica.


From Lawfare | @schneierblog

Cameroon Bloggers Rally Behind #StopBokoHaram Campaign

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by Dibussi Tande

In reaction to the persistent and increasingly macabre Boko Haram attacks on Cameroon and neighboring countries, the Cameroon Bloggers Association recently launched a #StopBokoHaram campaign. According to the AfrIct blog:

The goal of the campaign is threefold: highlight the threat posed by the terrorist group in Cameroon, show support for Cameroonian troops who have so far held back the Boko Haram onslaught, and express solidarity with the people of the North region who have been hardest hit by Boko Haram.


From Global Voices | @globalvoices

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Last updated

February 25, 2015