Links & Content I liked 02

As most of us, I come across interesting things/links/posts/articles/research throughout the week and realised that I cannot write an individual post for all of them (yes, it took me a year of blogging to realise this ;)).
To go with the theme of my blog I will try to divide links into three main, pretty self-explanatory categories that may overlap sometimes, of course: Development, anthropology and academia.
I will also try to add a brief synopsis rather than just 'dumping' the links.
Enjoy! Share! Comment! Please...

Richard Mosse 'Pink Congo'

For centuries, the Congo has compelled and defied the Western imagination. Richard Mosse brings to this subject the use of a discontinued military surveillance technology, a type of color infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome. Originally developed for camouflage detection, this aerial reconnaissance film registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink.

Infrared film also found civilian uses among cartographers, agronomists, hydrologists, and archaeologists, to reveal subtle changes in the landscape. In the late 1960s, the medium was appropriated in the cover art of albums by rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix or the Grateful Dead, trickling into the popular imagination as the palette of psychedelic (from the Greek for "soul-manifesting") experience, eventually accumulating a kitsch aesthetic.

On his journeys in eastern Congo, Mosse photographed rebel groups of constantly switching allegiances, fighting nomadically in a jungle war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres, and systematic sexual violence. These tragic narratives urgently need telling but cannot be easily described. Like Joseph Conrad a century before him, Mosse discovered a disorienting and ineffable conflict situation, so trenchantly real that it verges on the abstract, at the limits of description. 

From his current Infra exhibition in New York.

The subtle condescension of ‘ICT for development’
What I’m hoping to get across is that we’re doing ourselves a disservice with this terminology and that it has a negative perception in the tech startup culture in Africa. Technology is about overcoming inefficiencies in the system, and products succeed because they solve real needs within communities. In Africa, as in the West, some of these solutions are for-profit and some not-for-profit. It’s important to invest in the local startups involved in trying to solve these problems and come at it from a more objective view, instead of labeling innovative technology solutions from Africa automatically as ICT4D.
We have to thinking less of ICT as something that’s about development, and more of it as a commercial venture. We need more focus on ICT4$ than ICT4D.
Plus, the post features some great photos!


#Occupy Academia
There was even solidarity for the #occupy movement at the AAA, where there was an "Occupy AAA General Assembly" as well as an “Accessible Anthropological Assembly”.
It will be interesting to look out for posting from the recent American Anthropological Association's General Assembly in this contex.


Book Country Fail
If you want to self-publish, read and learn all you can about the process. Hire smart people with references to do the heavy lifting (proofing, formatting, cover art). Then keep your rights and keep all the money.
Writer and self-publishing 'guru' Joe Konrath on Penguin Books' new self-publishing portal.

Consistent with previous research, we find that cooperation decays over time when social networks are shuffled randomly every round or are fixed across all rounds. We also find that, when networks are dynamic but are updated only infrequently, cooperation again fails. However, when subjects can update their network connections frequently, we see a qualitatively different outcome: Cooperation is maintained at a high level through network rewiring. Subjects preferentially break links with defectors and form new links with cooperators, creating an incentive to cooperate and leading to substantial changes in network structure. Our experiments confirm the predictions of a set of evolutionary game theoretic models and demonstrate the important role that dynamic social networks can play in supporting large-scale human cooperation.
Is a PhD like a reality TV contest? 
Here’s what I think is the key insight from this academic mashup I am trying to perform here. Masterchef and other make over reality shows are about learning which leads to a transformation of the self. Transforming the self takes work, dedication and time; it can also be uncomfortable and risky. We may fail to achieve our aims or end up somewhere we didn’t expect to be. But I take heart from the knowledge that, when it comes to PhD study, as on Masterchef, it’s not the best cooks who last right to the end. It’s the cooks who have the most resilience and ability to learn from their mistakes who go home with the prize.
It's an interesting post, though my initial answer to the headline would have been 'No, not really'. Reality TV is too often too scripted, staged and faked and that shouldn't be the case with your PhD! A thesis does follow a certain script as well and you are able to present data in certain ways, but there are still some ethical guidelines that prevent you from adjusting data to your story or mislead the audience/reader in certain ways. On TV, you can repeat a take as often as you like, but in fieldwork that's less of an option. Finally, many reality TV shows treat candidates in ways that really shouldn't be applied in a research situation, or, for that matter, anywhere outside the TV bubble...  
Do new information and communication technologies (ICTs) empower repressive regimes at the expense of civil society, or vice versa? For example, does access to the Internet and mobile phones alter the balance of power between repressive regimes and civil society? These questions are especially pertinent today given the role that ICTs played during this year’s uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond. Indeed, as one Egyptian activist stated, “We use Facebook to schedule our protests, Twitter to coordinate and YouTube to tell the world.” But do these new ICTs—so called “liberation technologies”—really threaten repressive rule? The purpose of this dissertation is to use mixed-methods research to answer these questions. 
Patrick Meier's dissertation based on his work with Ushahidi is now available online.


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