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  • 🔖 Yang et al., "Are You Really Muted?: A Privacy Analysis of Mute Buttons in Video Conferencing Apps"

    Using network traffic that we intercept en route to the telemetry server, we implement a proof-of-concept background activity classifier and demonstrate the feasibility of inferring the ongoing background activity during a meeting — cooking, cleaning, typing, etc. We achieved 81.9% macro accuracy on identifying six common background activities using intercepted outgoing telemetry packets when a user is muted.

  • 🔖 Gomes and Barros, "The Bias in Ontologies: An Analysis of the FOAF Ontology"

    For the analysis, the theoretical framework of Discursive Semiotics is used, which studies the formation of meaning as a phenomenon from a model called Generative Trajectory of Meaning (GTM). From this perspective, we can understand bias as a product of semiotic processes – figurativization, thematization, and discursivization (Greimas and Courtés 2013) – involving the KOS developer social-cultural contexts (Gomes and Barros 2019a, 2019b). From this theoretical understanding, all the elements that constitute the FOAF ontology – classes and properties – are analyzed, as well as its documentation available online. We concluded that bias is an inherent feature of a KOS and that Knowledge Organization could focus on conducting studies on technologies that enable information retrieval, taking into account this aspect of its tools.

  • 🔖 Kyra Yee, Uthaipon Tantipongpipat, Shubhanshu Mishra, "Image Cropping on Twitter: Fairness Metrics, their Limitations, and the Importance of Representation, Design, and Agency"

    The full paper related to Rumman Chowdhury’s blog post, “Sharing learnings about our image cropping algorithm”.

    Twitter uses machine learning to crop images, where crops are centered around the part predicted to be the most salient. In fall 2020, Twitter users raised concerns that the automated image cropping system on Twitter favored light-skinned over dark-skinned individuals, as well as concerns that the system favored cropping woman’s bodies instead of their heads. In order to address these concerns, we conduct an extensive analysis using formalized group fairness metrics. We find systematic disparities in cropping and identify contributing factors, including the fact that the cropping based on the single most salient point can amplify the disparities. However, we demonstrate that formalized fairness metrics and quantitative analysis on their own are insufficient for capturing the risk of representational harm in automatic cropping. We suggest the removal of saliency-based cropping in favor of a solution that better preserves user agency. For developing a new solution that sufficiently address concerns related to representational harm, our critique motivates a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods that include human-centered design.

    The analysis code is also available.

  • 🔖 Rodrigo Ochigame, "Informatics of the Oppressed"

    [F]rom the very beginnings of informatics—the science of information—as an institutionalized field in the 1960s, anti-capitalists have tried to imagine less oppressive, perhaps even liberatory, ways of indexing and searching information. Two Latin American social movements in particular—Cuban socialism and liberation theology—inspired experiments with different approaches to informatics from the 1960s to the 1980s. Taken together, these two historical moments can help us imagine new ways to organize information that threaten the capitalist status quo—above all, by facilitating the wide circulation of the ideas of the oppressed.

  • 🔖 WR: Mysteries of the Organism—Beyond the Liberation of Desire

    On the occasion of the birthday of Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev, who passed away last year, we explore what his classic 1971 film WR: Mysteries of the Organism has to offer today’s struggles against nationalism, fascism, and dogmatism.

  • 🔖 Kelly Pendergrast, "Disassembly Required"

    Instead, what would it look like relate to today’s machines as the 19th century weavers did, and make decisions about technology in the present? To look past the false promise of the future, and straight at what the robot embodies now, who it serves, and how it works for or against us.

  • 🔖 Julia Viebach, "Transitional archives: towards a conceptualisation of archives in transitional justice", *International Journal of Human Rights*, 2020

    This paper seeks to trouble and complicate core assumptions about transitional justice and archives and to critically examine the relationship between them. Records about conflict and dictatorship are like records in general never only a reflection of realities, but they constitute these realities. Following Harris’ plea to find ‘exigencies’ to the transitional justice paradigm it suggests the term transitional archives to highlight the multi-layered afterlife of human rights records. It thereby emphasises the open-ended nature, ‘the in-becoming’, of transitional archives. It argues that by including critical archival studies in our thinking of transitional justice and a violent past, we can push beyond the dominant discourse of healing, closure and reconciliation, and open up space to investigate not only how the past but also transitional justice itself is produced at the intersection of power, memory, narrative and violence.

  • 🔖 Eugenia Zuroski, "Holding Patterns: On Academic Knowledge and Labor"

    We know academic institutions have great desire and need for what we have to offer. We feel it in being incessantly called upon to give of ourselves. We want to contribute our expertise in ways that feel just, supported, acknowledged, duly compensated. Right now, we feel like it is taken from us, that we are a resource being mined. You frequently tell us you welcome our voice, but we do not feel silenced; we feel wrung out. Your current methods of working with us are unsustainable.

  • 🔖 Mycelial Design Patterns

    Live cheap. Fungi disassemble what they have available to them and build with the resulting molecules. This is what voice of the mushroom said to Terence McKenna: ‘when you’re a mushroom, you live cheap!’. We must strive to allow for running nodes with the lowest possible resource inputs.

  • 🔖 Stuart Buck, "Replacing Spectrum Auctions with a Spectrum Commons", 2002 STAN. TECH. L. REV. 2

    As Congressman Edward Markey said in a debate on the fairness doctrine, “It does not seem to me to be an outrageous idea that broadcasters – who are granted, at no cost, the exclusive use of a scarce public resource, the electromagnetic spectrum – be required to inform the public in a responsible manner.” Indeed, to the extent that broadcasters or other users are given a government-protected monopoly over a particular range of spectrum, it does seem fair that they have to pay for the privilege. This rationale would disappear, however, insofar as an area of the spectrum is governed as a commons. Just as the users of the atmosphere (that is, everyone who breathes) do not need to pay the government for the privilege, neither should those spectrum users who participate in commons governance.

  • 🔖 Cade Diehm, This is Fine: Optimism & Emergency in the P2P Network

    The moment demands not another protocol, not another manifesto, not another social network, but a savvy understanding of the political dynamics of protocols and the nakedness of today’s networks. By embracing a reverse Shock Doctrine as a Service, developing clear, historically-grounded narratives, and building sensitivity to the user’s abilities and safety, these new decentralisation reformists can succeed where others have failed. Their solution cannot mimic an existing platform, and they must resist the temptation to trust their personal ephemera to the cloud. The phone books, calendars, notepads, photo albums and secrets that communities upload are exactly the debased thrills that extrajudicial perverts hunger after. These communities, their communications, their social graphs and their movements are ripe for exploitation. The only future is one where this is reality is embraced and fought against with every possible effort.

  • 🔖 Permacomputing

    Any community that uses a technology should develop a deep relationship to it. Instead of being framed for specific applications, the technology would be allowed to freely connect and grow roots to all kinds of areas of human and non-human life. Nothing is “just a tool” or “just a toy”, nobody is “just a user”.

    There would be local understanding of each aspect of the technology. Not merely the practical use, maintenance and production but the cultural, artistic, ecological, philosophical and historical aspects as well. Each local community would make the technology locally relevant.

    Each technology would have one or more “scenes” where the related skills and traditions are maintained and developed. Focal practices are practiced, cultural artifacts are created, enthusiasm is roused and channeled, inventions are made. The “scenes” would not replace formal institutions or utilitarian practices but would rather provide an undergrowth to support them.

    🔄 repost from

  • 🔖 Jessie Frazelle, "Power to the People", CACM 63(8), August 2020

    On power efficiencies in the data center at rack-level architectures.

  • 🔖 Kirsten Thorpe, "Transformative praxis: building spaces for indigenous self determination in libraries and archives"

    This article explores questions regarding the development and support of Indigenous priorities and self-determination in Australian libraries and archives. It calls for greater use of Indigenous research methodologies within library and archival science in order to seek ways to decolonize and simultaneously indiginze libraries and archives. As a written reflection, the article shares the perspectives of the author, who has worked in the sector for the past two decades as an Indigenous Australian archivist. The article argues that more difficult dialogue needs to to take place around contested views of history, and around the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in library and archival praxis. It suggests that transformation can only start to be imagined when we acknowledge the ongoing effects of colonization on the lives of Indigenous peoples, and examine the ways that the colonial process continues to marginalize Indigenous people. The author explores questions of Indigenous cultural safety, opportunities for increasing Indigenous voice and representation and the implementation of Indigenous Protocols to enable truth-telling and activism around Indigenous community priorities.

  • 🔖 Anne Helmond, "A historiography of the hyperlink: Periodizing the web through the changing role of the hyperlink"

    In this chapter I provide a historiography of one of the core elements of the web, the hypertext link. I do so with the specific purpose of tracing the various roles of this central web object as a way to understand social, technical and commercial transformations of the web. That is, the hyperlink is positioned as a way to historicize larger web developments and as an alternative way to periodize the web. In addition, I focus on the effects of platformization on the hyperlink and move beyond the web into the mobile ecosystem to discuss the implications of deep linking in mobile apps. The deep link as a new link type points to the diminishing role of the hyperlink in the app space as a universal interconnector.

  • 🔖 Liam Bannon, Jeffrey Bardzell, and Susann Bødker: "Reimagining participatory design", Interactions 26(1)

    Another opportunity is for PD to engage the more overtly political approaches to design that have emerged in HCI in recent years: Feminist HCI, postcolonial computing, and participatory action research all come to mind. Each of these foregrounds social conflict as a condition of computing, and each features sophisticated theories of power, participation, and intervention. Yet none of them have as yet been developed specifically as design methodologies.

    In the special issue, Shaowen Bardzell proposes that political approaches to HCI and PD can support each other: Political theory can strengthen PD’s commitments to engaging social conflict, while PD offers mature design methods, often lacking in feminist and postcolonial theory. In this way, political approaches to systems development would gain tactics of intervention that are both accepted in industry and also well suited to sociotechnical infrastructures and processes of development, while PD would be enriched by new developments in critical and political theory, helping it adapt to new situations.

  • 🔖 Lukas Koster and Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, "FAIR Principles for Library, Archive and Museum Collections: A proposal for standards for reusable collections"

    We deem it necessary for collections to be FAIR. When collections do not meet the FAIR criteria, these collections will be harder to use by teachers, researchers and enterprises. Collections that will not be FAIR will run the risk of being out of the picture, as will in the long term their institution. The objective of this article is to provide a compact, and practical list of guidelines for achieving reusability of LAM collections that can be fairly easily applied by LAM institutions according to their own roadmaps and resources


    While it is true that cards “speak” through the symbols or signs that they carry, we can also look to what cards can “do” or what can be “done with” cards, and we can see that a card is not entirely meaningless outside of a semiotic context. Cards, most basically, can be flipped. They can also be used, as Ian Hacking (1988) has shown, as agents of randomization, and simple playing cards were not only employed in the history of the search for telepathy, but cards as an “organizational system” (Hayles 2005, Chun 2005) played an important role in the history of computing, making possible serial functions and memory.

  • 🔖 How Do Institutional Philosophies Manifest in Online Collections?

    Undertaken while the museum is closed for a transformational expansion, SFMOMA Lab is conducting a series of explorations into key questions of contemporary museumhood. As part of research focused on digital storytelling, we’re investigating how museums (and their GLAM peers) communicate internally, interinstitutionally, and, in particular, with their many audiences. We’re also interested in how an institution’s professed mission, brand identity, and culture — its philosophy — help shape the various communications, engagements, and experiences it provides for its audiences. Here we address that question by examining the ways such institutional philosophies manifest in online collection presentations at three peer museums. To help inform our internal thinking on this topic, we interviewed experts from those institutions as well as key members of the SFMOMA team. What follows is a survey of our findings and some speculation on SFMOMA’s future direction in this arena.

  • 🔖 Olieman et al., "Finding Talk About the Past in the Discourse of Non-Historians"

    Via Ryan Shaw’s presentation at nlp4arc 2018.

    A heightened interest in the presence of the past has given rise to the new field of memory studies, but there is a lack of search and research tools to support studying how and why the past is evoked in diachronic discourses. Searching for temporal references is not straightforward. It entails bridging the gap between conceptually-based information needs on one side, and term-based inverted indexes on the other. Our approach enables the search for references to (intersubjective) historical periods in diachronic corpora. It consists of a semantically-enhanced search engine that is able to find references to many entities at a time, which is combined with a novel interface that invites its user to actively sculpt the search result set. Until now we have been concerned mostly with user-friendly retrieval and selection of sources, but our tool can also contribute to existing efforts to create reusable linked data from and for research in the humanities.

  • 🔖 Benjamin Kuipers: Why don't I take military funding?

    My stand is a testimony, saying “I will not devote my life’s work toward making warfare more effective.” I am also trying to show, by example, that one can be a successful and productive computer scientist, even while taking this stand.

  • 🔖 Stephanie Ricker Schulte, “United States Digital Service: How “Obama’s Startup” Harnesses Disruption and Productive Failure to Reboot Government”

    This article tracks the culture of start-ups as it entered government through the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), a new agency and self-described White House “start-up” designed to rewrite the government’s digital presence. This critical discourse analysis traces the cultural history of the start-up, showing how and why it became an American ideal and icon of American power. This explains how and why the start-up became a cultural infrastructure for the federal government and how it became a commonsense solution to both technological and civic problems and a model for “venture government.” This article concludes that ventures like USDS allowed the government to harness industry popularity, expertise, and credibility to tap venture capitalist modes of production and to capitalize on cultural associations with disruption and failure in the hopes of fortifying public trust in government. However, it also provided technology industry unprecedented influence in federal institutions for both better and worse.

  • 🔖 Joulin et al.: "Bag of Tricks for Efficient Text Classification"

    This paper explores a simple and efficient baseline for text classification. Our experiments show that our fast text classifier fastText is often on par with deep learning classifiers in terms of accuracy, and many orders of magnitude faster for training and evaluation. We can train fastText on more than one billion words in less than ten minutes using a standard multicore CPU, and classify half a million sentences among 312K classes in less than a minute.