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Berkman Buzz: December 6, 2013

December 06, 2013

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Alison Head publishes new study on how first year college students conduct research

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We were struck by the disparity between the Google-centric search skills that many first-term freshmen brought with them from high school and the competencies they needed to meet the far higher research expectations in college. Moreover, we found freshmen we studied had gaping holes in their understanding of how libraries—and the vast array of digital resources academic libraries provided—could best meet their needs, especially when it came to sifting out the trusted information they wanted.

From Alison Head and Project Information Literacy's research study, "Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College"
About Alison | @alisonjhead | About Project Information Literacy

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Another friend's birthday today. Another reason to celebrate the really great ccFree "Happy Birthday" alternative: http://bit.ly/GNU-HBday
Lawrence Lessig (@lessig)

Camille François explores the meaning of "cyberspace"

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Cyber is everywhere: in political speeches, in newspapers, at dinner conversations. There’s cyberwar and cybersex and cybercafés (they still exist, I promise), and there’s the U.S. Cyber Command. Once in a while, there is a new surge of articles arguing that the word “cyber” is vague, dated and that we just should get rid of it in favor of more precise terminology.

That is wishful thinking: we might lack clear definitions of the cyber prefix, but for whatever reason cyber seems here to stay, which is why we should take a moment to explore what meanings and ideologies we have been infusing in this word to better inform our debates about technology.

From Camille's post for Scientific American, "What Is War in the Digital Realm? A Reality Check on the Meaning of 'Cyberspace'"
About Camille | @camillefrancois

Axel Arnbak reflects on the NSA's recently revealed SIGINT strategy

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Over the weekend, two new NSA documents revealed a confident NSA SIGINT strategy for the coming years and a vast increase of NSA-malware infected networks across the globe. The excellent reporting overlooked one crucial development: constitutional compliance will increasingly be outsourced to algorithms. Meaningful oversight of intelligence practises must address this, or face collateral constitutional damage.

From Axel Arnbak's post for Freedom to Tinker, "NSA Strategy 2012-16: Outsourcing Compliance to Algorithms, and What to Do About It"
About Axel | @axelarnbak

Nathan Matias explains why you should apply for a Berkman fellowship

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Berkman has been an astonishingly encouraging and positive community who have listened to me, respected me, and supported me even as a random attendee at the public events. It's a community of energetic curiosity, passionate action, and mutual support. Those are the qualities that motivated me to apply to be a Berkman fellow.

From Nathan Matias' blog post, "Why You Should Apply to Be a Berkman Fellow"
About Nathan | @natematias

Molly Sauter ponders curiosity and "being bad at things"

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Recently my friend Nathan sent out a letter, asking a bunch of different people how they stay curious amidst the swarm of obligations and distractions that are life in general (and graduate school in particular). This question stuck with me, as it’s something I’ve been struggling with since moving from Cambridge to Montreal, and from my masters program at MIT to my doctoral program at McGill.

For me, the question of curiosity comes down to: how do you reject the temptation to just do the thing you’re good at all the time, because you’re good at it and (theoretically) because you like it?

From Molly Sauter's blog post, "Curiosity, Being Yourself and Being Bad at Things"
About Molly | @oddletters

17 Pieces of Wisdom from Nelson Mandela that Everyone Needs to Read

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Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa and a Noble Peace Prize laureate, died on December 5, 2013 aged 95. Mandela spent 27 years in jail for his struggle against South Africa's system of racial segregation known as apartheid. Freed from prison in 1990, he became president four years later, and left office after serving only one term, a rare gesture in African politics. He continues to speak to the world through Twitter users who have reacted to the news of his death by sharing his memorable quotes.

From Ndesanjo Macha's post for Global Voices, "17 Pieces of Wisdom from Nelson Mandela that Everyone Needs to Read"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated December 06, 2013