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Berkman Buzz: November 2, 2012

November 02, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Zeynep Tufekci takes on political polling, statistical models, and election predictions

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Pollsters can’t project but statistical models can and do—and they do some predictions very well. We rely on statistical models for many decisions every single day –-including, crucially, weather, medicine, and pretty much any complex system in which there is an element of uncertainty to the outcome– and dismissing them is not only incorrect, it is politically harmful for two reasons in the case of electoral politics.

From Zeynep Tufekci's blog post, "David Brooks is mistaken, Joe Scarborough is wrong, and Nate Silver type statistical models are good for democracy"
About Zeynep Tufekci | @techsoc

New election guide from Islawmix featured in HuffPo

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What does sharia say about the issues that are relevant? What about voters who are interested in whether Islamic law could actually be relevant to the most pressing issues in this year's presidential election? For the most part, there has been little in the way of authoritative, accessible information. Now, a newly published guide from islawmix offers one expert's opinion on what Islamic law could have to say about the economy, healthcare, reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and more.

From the Huffington Post, "How Would the Prophet Muhammad Vote? You Might Be Surprised"
About Islawmix | @islawmix

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Listen to @berkmancenter friend & associate @reyjunco, commenting on NPR about misinformation on Twitter http://tinyurl.com/cg8ahnn #infoquality
Urs Gasser (@ugasser)

metaLAB pushes the ebook publishing paradigm

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Asked to contribute to the recent Digital Book Summit at Olin College, metaLAB struggled to come up with something novel to offer. Held on a brisk fall day at Olin’s Needham campus, hosted by Olin library director Dianna Magnoni, the summit convened librarians, technologists, and publishers to reflect on publishing ventures that offer ebook technologies to academic audiences. Presentations from representatives of O’Reilly and Credo Reference regaled the audience with broad, ambitious narratives of state-of-the-art products and services.

What was left for metaLAB to do? We don’t have a product to demo; our technological work is intimate and propositional; we tend to favor projects that have a higher likelihood of failure than commercial ventures can sustain. Yanni Loukissas and I, the metaLAB participants in the summit, felt at loose ends: we’re hacks and makers, critics and humanists; our favorite class was Physics for Poets. What could we offer such a forum?

From Matthew Battles' blog post for metaLAB, "Beyond ebooks: playful interventions in publishing paradigms "
About metaLAB | @metalabharvard

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GV bloggers were disappointed with the Guardian's list of African politicos on Twitter, so they're crowdsourcing one: https://t.co/CIzKyg7U
Ethan Zuckerman (@ethanz)

The CMLP announces a new guide to documenting the 2012 election

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We expect that a number of individuals, including many journalists, plan to report from the polling place on November 6th. Photography and video can be critically important to document the election process and to preserve a record of any procedural improprieties and interference with voter rights. At the same time, however, voting is a very private matter, and attempts to record at the polling place are subject to strict regulation to safeguard voter privacy, protect against voter intimidation, and to ensure the proper functioning of the voting process.

In order to protect voters from interference and intimidation, state governments have enacted a complex array of election laws that regulate what activities are permitted at polling places on Election Day. These laws can affect your ability to shoot video or take photographs at a polling place, even if your purpose is just to document your own voting experience.

From the Citizen Media Law Project's "Documenting the Vote 2012"
About the Citizen Media Law Project | @citmedialaw

Former Brazilian Model Turned Beggar Stirs Debate on Racism

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Tall, blue-eyed and wrapped in a blanket while roaming the streets of Curitiba in the south of Brazil, Rafael Nunes, a former Brazilian model (now known as the photogenic beggar of Curitiba) has gained international attention after his picture and story went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

Rafael, aged 30, ended up on the streets because of crack cocaine addiction and his story was only revealed after Indy Zanardo, a tourist, was approached by Rafael and asked if his picture could be taken

From Melissa Rossi's blog post for Global Voices, "Former Brazilian Model Turned Beggar Stirs Debate on Racism"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated November 02, 2012