Berkman Buzz: May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015

The Berkman Buzz is a weekly collection of work, conversations, and news from around the Berkman community.
A note about the Buzz:
In the coming weeks we'll be migrating the Berkman Buzz to MailChimp, a platform used across Harvard University that will allow us more editorial flexibility and improved list management. This change will help us create an even better newsletter experience for our community, one that includes multimedia, a mobile interface, and makes it easier to subscribe and unsubscribe. Please see last week's Buzz for the full message.

Chilling Effects starts receiving takedown notices from Reddit


We at Chilling Effects are thrilled to share Reddit's announcement that the site has begun sharing takedown notices with us! Following on the heels of the release of its first transparency report earlier this year, this move reflects a transition by Reddit toward targeted removals of content in a manner that makes clear when that content was removed in response to a third-party request.


From the Chilling Effects blog post, "Reddit Now Sharing Notices with Chilling Effects".
About Chilling Effects | @chillingeffects

Josephine Wolff explores the launch of a new cybersecurity yeshiva


There are 613 commandments in the Torah, but they don't offer very detailed guidance on how to deal with the Internet. In recent years, Orthodox Jews have struggled with navigating the changing world of modern technology, and especially the Web. In 2012, more than 50,000 Orthodox men gathered at Citi Field Stadium to discuss the challenges the Internet poses to living in strict accordance with the laws of the Torah. But the times may be a-changin': Last week IDT Corp., whose employees are between 25 and 40 percent Orthodox, announced plans to start a cybersecurity yeshiva, a program set to open this fall for 40 students to study computer science alongside the traditional yeshiva studies of the Torah and other Jewish texts.

From her Slate piece "What Cybersecurity and Studying the Torah Have in Common".
About Josephine | @josephinecwolff

Benjamin Peters offers an anti-manifesto for internet reformation


Almost half a millennium ago, on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences critiquing a broad and powerful institution that had, in his view, distorted then contemporary social life. Like Luther, we - a few digital media scholars and technology critics (see acknowledgements below) - too have invested our lives in something we want at times to believe in, cannot always bring ourselves to do so, and therefore seek to critique and reform: the internet. (The separation between indulgence and internet is not great.) What follows then are a few provisional intellectual gambits offered in the spirit of an anti-manifesto, an epistemologically modest statement of what we do not know, what we think we do know, and what we seek to critique about the uneasy power and efficacy of the internet, a critical tradition dating back to technorealism, among many others before.

From his piece, "9.5 Theses toward Internet Reformation: An Anti-Manifesto"
About Benjamin | @bjpeters

Zeynep Tufekci describes growing up in Turkey and encountering the Internet


The military dictatorship kept a tight noose around the flow of information; there was a single, lousy television channel, which came on late in the evening and broadcast mostly American soaps and dramas. I didn't watch much. Instead, I alternated between pursuing a regular Turkish childhood-I played in the streets till it was dark and lounged around eating salted sunflower seeds with my friends, piling up formidable hills of discarded shells-and reading. I developed a strong taste for encyclopedias in particular. I had every encyclopedia published in Turkish, and read them like they were novels, turning to the first page and speeding through to the very end. I knew about the Seven Wonders of the World and why a person floated more easily in the Dead Sea. I knew about appendicitis surgery and about blimps. Often, I'd pick a volume depending on my mood. On a rainy day, I'd usually pull the "P"s, one of my favorites, and page through: Pakistan. Parabolas. Pompeii.

It was thus that I ran out of things to read.

From her New Yorker piece, "Dial-up on the Bosphorus"
About Zeynep | @zeynep

David Weinberger explains NPR's latest digital strategy move


The announcement by National Public Radio that it's opening access to an application programming interface, or API, seemed like it should be of interest only to a relative handful of tech developers.* In fact, it is a significant and smart next step in NPR's strategy to become the Pandora of news.

In 2014, NPR introduced a streaming player, NPR One; podcasts and NPR One are NPR's fastest-growing digital properties. Demian Perry, NPR's director of mobile, now says, "We have tested and refined the experience to the point that it is ready to scale to multiple platforms," in addition to its current roster of major hitters: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc. But NPR is a lean organization-how can it create versions of the player for the hundreds of new versions of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and who-knows-what's-next else without setting its pledge drive to stun?

Answer: You open up an API to let other developers to do it for you.

From his Slate piece, "NPR Initiates Phase Two of Plan to Become the Pandora of News"
About David | @dweinberger

Sarah Genner illuminates why blue light is bad for your sleep


Answering emails and checking social media before - or instead of - going to sleep certainly has the potential to keep you awake longer than necessary. But it turns out there is a biochemical reason why staying off screens at night helps improve sleep. This article tells you why, and, believe it or not, there is a connection to frog skin.

Surprisingly, even sleep scientists do not really know what sleep does. But they do know what happens if you don't get enough sleep. Lack of sleep affects our memory, immune function, and metabolism. It tends to have negative effects on our mood, motivation, judgment, and perception. How and when we sleep is controlled by hormones that are released in a 24-hour cycle. The timing of these hormones is set by outside cues, especially darkness or light.

From her piece on FOLD, "Why Screens Can Ruin Your Sleep"
About Sarah | @sgenner

In Japan, a Social Network Dedicated Entirely to Weather News


If you are an otaku (obsessive fan, or nerd) for all things weather, Japan has the social network for you.

WEATHERNEWS broadcasts (big surprise!) weather news 24/7 on SoLive24 specialty news channel.

Thanks to digital broadcasting technology and IP-enabled cable boxes, viewers can interact with the hosts in real time. Viewers ask questions, make comments and also share weather updates (and photos of weather) from all over Japan.

From Global Voices | @globalvoices

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May 18, 2015