1. A new model of design

    A new model of design

    First there was designers design. Then there was user-centered design. But even that, is now behind the times. Given open development paradigms and “extreme programming” practices, there is another approach to design, which is no “design.” Instead one has frequent, incremental, releases that the user …

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  2. Abstractions: the benefits and dangers

    Why is abstraction such a powerful technique in computer science, but a potentially befuddling one in the social sciences? In computer science, abstractions permit one to:

    1. increase the scope of the construct being abstracted
    2. hide unnecessary details
    3. cleanly define object/functions and their interfaces

    Yet, in social science it:

    1. increase …
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  3. Epistomological Authority

    Epistomological Authority

    Two recent discussions have prompted me to return to question of epistemological authority. In the case of the online collaborative Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, a founding participant, lamented the inability of the community to accept and retain contributions from “experts.” Also, creationists have re-factored their doctrine into a pseudoscientific …

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  4. Spiritual Photography

    When I watch shows like Ghosthunters, I’m struck by how enamored they are of their infrared cameras and digital recorders. Firenze has an interesting article on how the medium of photography was similarly, originally, receieved.

    Paul Firenze Spirit photography: how early spiritualists tried to save religion by using science …

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  5. Children's culture and interdependent decision-making

    I wonder if there is any literature on how conventions such as “calling it,” double-dares, eany-meany-miny-moe and such have evolved? These are “games” that are used to facilitate decision-making and arbitrate disputes in childhood culture. Are such practices a training ground for adult interdependent decision-making? Do they capture or even …

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  6. Open Source Help

    One of the benefits of open source software is that I can ask questions and report bugs and receive a timely response. Last night, I sent a question to a software developer about his package; this morning, he noted that I had confused his package with another, but was able …

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  7. Theories of Determinism

    When reading various scholars attempts to engage with the difficult subject of technological determinism, I’ve collected the following analytical variables with which they contend. I’ve also attempted to integrate them into a metaphor of a man trying to move a large stone.

    Momentum
    The rock is rolling north …
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  8. Values and Interests

    In one of my classes, our discussion tends to get confused as to the meaning of an interest versus a value. My own understanding is very much influenced by the book Getting to Yes: from the point of view of negotiation one should disclose one’s interests instead of insisting …

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  9. RIAA Discourse

    I found it interesting — and amusing — that the rhetoric of the RIAA has shifted towards arguing that P2P systems are competing with legal services; this ahistoric rendering forgets that the music industrutry would’ve never offered music services without the appearence of systems like the original Napster!

    Legal music sites …

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