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Berkman Buzz: October 4, 2012

October 04, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Diana Kimball shares her experiences taking CS50 online

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This year—my sixth on campus, and my last—I decided it was finally time to take CS50, Harvard’s introductory computer science course. CS50 lectures happen twice a week in Sanders Theatre, a ridiculously majestic setting. Yet for all intents and purposes (and completely by choice), I’m taking the course online.

I’ve tried taking courses online before—I’ve even tried taking computer science courses specifically. But they’ve never quite worked for me. I’ve learned all kinds of things in my time by plundering Wikipedia and following links with abandon, but I’d all but given up on the traditional course format transposed online. CS50 is changing my mind. It’s extraordinary.

From Diana Kimball's blog post, "Unbundling the Classroom Experience"
About Diana Kimball | @dianakimball

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Announcing #DPLA Appfest: a day-long hackathon to build apps using the DPLA platform. November 8-9 in Chattanooga, TN http://dp.la/get-involved/events/appfest/
Digital Public Library of America (@digpublib)

Kendra Albert dreams of a new kind of news product

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I would love the option of shortening my normal news routine, or even having an automated service that selected from the most shared from the articles I would usually read. My primary format these days is text. Sure, I listen to a few podcasts, but those tend to be post hoc analysis heavy, not for breaking news. But there are days when I need to clean my room, and would gladly watch a selection of short news clips while I do that, or days when I’m stuck at a bus stop and would be happy to listen to an hour of in-depth world news.

Ideally, I could have a news curator/aggregator would allow me to say “I have 15 minutes to listen to audio, and I want just the most important stories of the day,” or “I have an hour to read and I want in-depth coverage of the geopolitical situation in Libya.” I haven’t really seen a news product of any type that fully deals with this problem.

From Kendra Albert's blog post, "Consuming News"
About Kendra Albert | @kendraserra

Jeffrey Schnapp reflects on the relationship between the digital humanities and time travel

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In my mind, “redesign” has never meant calling into question the fundamental roles performed by such institutions of memory. Rather it has always implied expanding their compass and impact, enhancing their ability to tell and to support a multiplicity of knowledge forms and communities, reinforcing their public and civic roles.

The collections and repositories that these institutions house live or die as a function of the communities that animate them, whether now or in the future. And there is no inherent reason why such animation should be provided only by bona fide researchers and scholars, rather than by students of all ages, citizen scholars, collectors, or merely curious internauts.

From Jeffrey Schnapp's blog post, "(Historically Informed) Time Travel"
About Jeffrey Schnapp | @jaytiesse

metaLAB explores nature, networks, and sound

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On Thursday night, a small audience gathered in Boylston Hall to take in an unusual call-and-response performance: legendary musician and field recordist Bernie Krause joined poet and ecocritic Jonathan Skinner in a kind of motet of verse and natural sounds. The event was produced by the Woodberry Poetry Room and its adventuresome curator, poet Christina Davis, whose curatorship has framed a rich exploration of poetry’s sonic entanglements.

Seated at a small table with a vase of lilies and a pair of MacBook Pros, Skinner and Krause alternated readings from ecologically-themed poetry with treasures from a vast collection of environmental soundscapes. Alternating a dozen or so lines of verse with one or two minutes’ audio, Skinner sought to frame the upwelling sounds of nature: the forest’s night chorus, the pounding of waves, the clamor of a band of gorillas crashing through undergrowth.

From Matthew Battles' blog post for metaLAB, "The place of sound: listening to nature and networks"
About metaLAB | @metalabharvard

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Gang members brag on social media, NYPD use the posts to track down criminals http://bit.ly/VxyTdm
John Deighton (@HBSmktg)

RB207: Hacking Censorship (Drone Humanitarianism I)

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The Internet exists and persists on the border between helpful and harmful, between freedom and totalitarianism, access to knowledge and censorship. But as long as technology is adaptable activists will be learning and creating workarounds to spread information and promote change.

Enter the Circumvention Tools Hackfest, a four-day bonanza of coders and freedom lovers gathered together to build and improve applications to help activists in repressive regimes get around censorship and surveillance. Correspondent Becky Kazansky attended the Hackfest to find out what kind of tools these “hackers” cooked up. As part of our new series — Drone Humanitarianism: Harnessing Technology to Remotely Solve and Prevent Crisis — she filed this report.

From Radio Berkman, RB207: Hacking Censorship (Drone Humanitarianism I)
About MediaBerkman | @radioberkman

Venezuela: Twitter Handbook Focuses on Citizen Election Coverage

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Training platform Reporte Ya has released a handbook focusing on the use of Twitter for citizen reporting during the upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela on October 7, 2012.

The handbook focuses on key questions like, “Why will we use Twitter?”, “How do I upload photos/videos to Twitter?”, “How do I monitor information during the election?”, “How do we avoid rumors?”, and more.

It also instructs citizen reporters in case of communication failure, listing three possible scenarios: a collapse of mobile networks, a collapse of the Twitter platform, and a blocking of Internet access.

From Andrey Silvia Viñas' blog post for Global Voices, "Venezuela: Twitter Handbook Focuses on Citizen Election Coverage"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated October 04, 2012