Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November CommQuote

What's the polar opposite of a heavy meal drowned in rich turkey gravy?  How about something from Bjork, just for balance. ( It's not an either-or, mind you, you don't have to choose.)  The Atlantic.com website recently posted a video of Bjork "explaining television."  Highlights include her taking off the back of a TV set and likening the little world in there to a city.

"Look at this. This looks like a city. Like a little model of a city. The houses, which are here, and streets. This is maybe an elevator to go up there. And here are all the wires. These wires, they really take care of all the electrons when they come through there. They take care that they are powerful enough to get all the way through to here."

She goes on to explain the narcotizing effects of television from a much needed hard science perspective.

"This beautiful television has put me, like I said before, in all sorts of situations. I remember being very scared because an Icelandic poet told me that not like in cinemas, where the thing that throws the picture from it just sends light on the screen, but this is different. This is millions and millions of little screens that send light, some sort of electric light, I'm not really sure. But because there are so many of them, and in fact you are watching very many things when you are watching TV. Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture. And then because you're so busy doing that, you don't watch very carefully what the program you are watching is really about. So you become hypnotized. So all that's on TV, it just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging it's right or not"

But I've spoiled the audiovisual Icelandic pixie aspect which you can take in here. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Diana Mutz's HEARING THE OTHER SIDE: An Assessment

Critical Review (Volume 25, Issue 2) features a Symposium on Diana Mutz's 2006 Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative Versus Participatory Democracy. 

Five scholars consider the theoretical claims of this work: The Accidental Theorist: Diana Mutz's Normative and Empirical Insights (Ben Berger); The Many Faces of Good Citizenship (Simone Chambers); On Minimal Deliberation, Partisan Activism, and Teaching People How to Disagree (Helene Landemore); Hearing the Opposition (Robert Shapiro); Digital Deliberation (Chris Wisniewski). Dr. Mutz rounds out the proceedings with a response: Reflections on Hearing the Other Side, in Theory and in Practice. 

Hearing the Other Side is available in the Library at Van Pelt and Annenberg, and the journal is available through Penn Libraries e-resources. 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Open Data Barometer: 2013 Global Report

The Open Data Barometer: 2013 Global Report marks the first large-scale research collaboration between the Open Data Institute and the World Wide Web Foundation "to uncover the true prevalence and impact of open data initiatives around the world. It analyses global trends, and also ranks countries and regions via an in-depth methodology that considers: readiness to secure the benefits of open data; actual levels of implementation; and the impact of such initiatives."

This collaboration promises to represent the first of what is to become "a regular study, checking against the baseline captured in the 2013 study" of Open Government Data (OGD) policy and practice around the world.  78 countries were surveyed in the 2013 report.

The 44-page Report in includes country and regional rankings and analysis in the following data arenas: land ownership, census data, government budgets, government spending, company registers, legislation, health, education, crime, environment, and election results.  It also includes a 2-page Executive Summary, detailed methodology, and bibliography.

Open Data Barometer data is published under an open license. All are welcome to "build upon, remix and reinterpret" this data.

If you want to play around with this data visually check out the interactive tool that displays the data by country.

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