Uncertainty in games—from Super Mario Bros. to Rock/Paper/Scissors—engages players and shapes play experiences. This BIT examines the sources of that uncertainty, from doubts about performance to a game’s elements of randomness.
The Earth’s oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world’s fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In this BIT, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth R. DeSombre offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach, describing the “capture” of regulation by industry and offering a plan for a global institution for fisheries regulation.
Imagine the astonishment felt by neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga when he found a fantastically precise interpretation of his research findings in a story written by the great Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges fifty years earlier. In this BIT, Quian Quiroga explores real-life cases that recall Borges’s fictional “Funes the Memorious,” investigating a man who couldn’t forget, and another who could not form new memories.
The intrauterine device (IUD) has been viewed both as a means for women’s reproductive autonomy and as coercive tool of state-imposed population control, as a convenient form of birth control on a par with the pill and as a threat to women’s health. This BIT examines the early development of the IUD through a feminist science lens, describing efforts to improve and measure its contraceptive efficacy.
The new generation of architects faces a cold reality of economic and ecological crises. Architects may assure each other of their own importance, but society has come to view architecture as a luxury it can do without. For Eric Cesal, this recognition becomes an occasion to rethink architecture and its value from the very core. In this BIT, Cesal considers the economics of architecture and why an architect needs to know about finance as well as about buildings.
In contrast with philosophers who use logic rather than data to argue whether mental causation or consciousness can exist given unproven first assumptions, Peter Ulric Tse proposes that we instead listen to what neurons have to say. In this BIT, Tse examines the role of physical/informational criteria in the neuronal model of mental causation and free will.
Slavoj Žižek, “the wild man of theory” famously mixes astonishing erudition and references to pop culture in his dissections of current intellectual pieties. In this BIT, he considers religion from the viewpoint of Lacanian psychoanalysis, pondering a dialectical materialist theology and comparing monotheistic and polytheistic violence.
The authors of Individual and Collective Memory Consolidation propose that that individuals and collectives form memories by analogous processes. This BIT examines the collective retrograde amnesia in mainland Chinese populations that experienced the Cultural Revolution and discusses the persistence of consolidated collective memory despite traumatic disruption.
The idea of “sustainability” has gone mainstream. What began as a grassroots movement to promote responsible development has become a bullet point in corporate ecobranding strategies. This BIT examines the conflict between ecobranding and true sustainability and considers the ambiguous influence of Prius-driving movie stars.
Online reputation systems—including Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors’ histories, and TripAdvisor ratings—serve as filters for information overload. In academia, reputation is the value that scholars have to offer, whether on the faculty job market or a journal’s editorial board, as an expert witness, or as a reference for a colleague. In this BIT, John Willinsky discusses the effect that open access is having on reputation in academia and research publishing.