Sunday, 7 April 2013

Interesting links from w/e 05-04-13

  1. Evgeny Morozov's pointed unpacking of a seemingly Rasputin-like Tim O'Reilly (long but worth reading for some pertinent points in the second half).  Recognition from within SF that such criticism is a necessary and overdue requirement (it is after all another form of competitive pressure!).  Most interestingly, a very good piece by Catherine Bracy (of Obama's tech campaign, Code for All etc) on the disconnectedness of the Valley (and Valley-centred worldviews: "isolation has also deluded them into thinking that they are in fact making the world a better place, simply by building their products and platforms").  As McChesney has pointed out, perhaps its finally time to bring political economy back in to the analysis of "the Internet"!
  2. …continuing this realisation of political economy, an overdue HBR blog on how seemingly objective data (whether "open" or "big") is loaded with biases...
  3. …and another Harvard-sourced piece on the trope of "heroic" vs actual leadership
  4. …and finally from a fecund HBR this week, an interview w Paul Kagame that is worth reading
  5. Tech & mobiles are not an automatic solution - SMS msgs had no impact in an m-health intervention…
  6. …on which solutionist note, this is crazy - edX tries out computer-grading of essays (as one respondent observed, you can get programs to write essays, and now programs to grade essays).  Where is critical thinking in all this?  In the meantime, Rohan Silva, one of the more well-regarded folks within 10 Downing St leaves to start an ed-tech enterprise…anyone sense a bubble?
  7. A Brookings paper finds rising and permanent inequality in the US over the last 20 years - the same period when the peer-progressive, socially network driven, liberation via tech has been happening, right?  Hmm…makes this recent coverage on the missing early childhood education in the US more relevant perhaps?
  8. An amusing yet insightful piece by Andrew Mwenda on oil corruption allegations in Uganda (some interesting comps to Kenyan political economy)
  9. A rather poignant piece by a "coloured" S African writer from c 60 yrs ago about personal interactions w Nkrumah & Kenyatta then - brilliant, nuanced insights on individualism and tribalism
  10. A nice blog calling out the double standards in the open govt "movement" - only a matter of time before the words 'self-legitimising and self-perpetuating' start being applied
  11. Glamorous data-visuals can sometimes be far less insightful than a simple Excel bar graph, as this data on attitudes to domestic violence shows
  12. From the world of hard science, our kids are going to grow up in a brave new world - women's eggs powdered and kept in a sachet at home (empty into jar, add water and…), while 3D printers can use water and oil to make self-assembling living tissue that flexes like muscles and transmits signals like neurones...
  13. Is Steve Cohen effectively buying off the feds (and a Picasso & new Hampton mansion at the same time) - must remember, petty corruption and 3-1-1 is more important than this right?  C'mon Elizabeth Warren, do your stuff...
  14. This paper finding modest (and varied) contribution of aid to growth just won a prize
  15. Quote of the week comes from a female Kikuyu Mau-Mau 'field-marshal' talking about Uhuru Kenyatta: “From the womb comes a warrior, a king, a rich man, a criminal and a killer.”

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