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Science, Technology, and Society

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Critical Making and Social Media
Edited by Matt Ratto and Megan Boler

Today, DIY—do-it-yourself—describes more than self-taught carpentry. Social media enables DIY citizens to organize and protest in new ways (as in Egypt’s “Twitter revolution” of 2011) and to repurpose corporate content (or create new user-generated content) in order to offer political counternarratives. This book examines the usefulness and limits of DIY citizenship, exploring the diverse forms of political participation and “critical making” that have emerged in recent years. The authors and artists in this collection describe DIY citizens whose activities range from activist fan blogging and video production to knitting and the creation of community gardens.

Contributors examine DIY activism, describing new modes of civic engagement that include Harry Potter fan activism and the activities of the Yes Men. They consider DIY making in learning, culture, hacking, and the arts, including do-it-yourself media production and collaborative documentary making. They discuss DIY and design and how citizens can unlock the black box of technological infrastructures to engage and innovate open and participatory critical making. And they explore DIY and media, describing activists’ efforts to remake and reimagine media and the public sphere. As these chapters make clear, DIY is characterized by its emphasis on “doing” and making rather than passive consumption. DIY citizens assume active roles as interventionists, makers, hackers, modders, and tinkerers, in pursuit of new forms of engaged and participatory democracy.

Mike Ananny, Chris Atton, Alexandra Bal, Megan Boler, Catherine Burwell, Red Chidgey, Andrew Clement, Negin Dahya, Suzanne de Castell, Carl DiSalvo, Kevin Driscoll, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Joseph Ferenbok, Stephanie Fisher, Miki Foster, Stephen Gilbert, Henry Jenkins, Jennifer Jenson, Yasmin B. Kafai, Ann Light, Steve Mann, Joel McKim, Brenda McPhail, Owen McSwiney, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Graham Meikle, Emily Rose Michaud, Kate Milberry, Michael Murphy, Jason Nolan, Kate Orton-Johnson, Kylie A. Peppler, David J. Phillips, Karen Pollock, Matt Ratto, Ian Reilly, Rosa Reitsamer, Mandy Rose, Daniela K. Rosner, Yukari Seko, Karen Louise Smith, Lana Swartz, Alex Tichine, Jennette Weber, Elke Zobl

Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics

The Nature of Difference documents how distinctions between people have been generated in and by the life sciences. Through a wide-ranging selection of primary documents and insightful commentaries by the editors, it charts the shifting boundaries of science and race through more than two centuries of American history. The documents, primarily writings by authoritative, eminent scientists intended for their professional peers, show how various sciences of race have changed their object of study over time: from racial groups to types to populations to genomes and beyond. The book's thematic and synthetic approach reveals the profoundly diverse array of practices—countless acts of observation, quantification, and experimentation—that enabled the consequential categorizations we inherit.

The documents—most reproduced in their entirety—range from definitions of race in dictionaries published between 1886 and 2005 to an exchange of letters between Benjamin Baneker and Thomas Jefferson; from Samuel Cartwright's 1851 "Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race" to a 1950 UNESCO declaration that race is a social myth; from a 1928 paper detailing the importance of the glands in shaping human nature to a 2005 report of the discovery of a genetic basis for skin color. Such documents, given context by the editors' introductions to each thematic chapter, provide scholars, journalists, and general readers with the rich historical background necessary for understanding contemporary developments in racial science.

Building our Sociotechnical Future

Technological change does not happen in a vacuum; decisions about which technologies to develop, fund, market, and use engage ideas about values as well as calculations of costs and benefits. This anthology focuses on the interconnections of technology, society, and values. It offers writings by authorities as varied as Freeman Dyson, Laurence Lessig, Bruno Latour, and Judy Wajcman that will introduce readers to recent thinking about technology and provide them with conceptual tools, a theoretical framework, and knowledge to help understand how technology shapes society and how society shapes technology. It offers readers a new perspective on such current issues as globalization, the balance between security and privacy, environmental justice, and poverty in the developing world. The careful ordering of the selections and the editors’ introductions give Technology and Society a coherence and flow that is unusual in anthologies. The book is suitable for use in undergraduate courses in STS and other disciplines. The selections begin with predictions of the future that range from forecasts of technological utopia to cautionary tales. These are followed by writings that explore the complexity of sociotechnical systems, presenting a picture of how technology and society work in step, shaping and being shaped by one another. Finally, the book goes back to considerations of the future, discussing twenty-first-century challenges that include nanotechnology, the role of citizens in technological decisions, and the technologies of human enhancement.

Women in Computing

The information technology revolution is transforming almost every aspect of society, but girls and women are largely out of the loop. Although women surf the Web in equal numbers to men and make a majority of online purchases, few are involved in the design and creation of new technology. It is mostly men whose perspectives and priorities inform the development of computing innovations and who reap the lion's share of the financial rewards. As only a small fraction of high school and college computer science students are female, the field is likely to remain a "male clubhouse," absent major changes.In Unlocking the Clubhouse, social scientist Jane Margolis and computer scientist and educator Allan Fisher examine the many influences contributing to the gender gap in computing. The book is based on interviews with more than 100 computer science students of both sexes from Carnegie Mellon University, a major center of computer science research, over a period of four years, as well as classroom observations and conversations with hundreds of college and high school faculty. The interviews capture the dynamic details of the female computing experience, from the family computer kept in a brother's bedroom to women's feelings of alienation in college computing classes. The authors investigate the familial, educational, and institutional origins of the computing gender gap. They also describe educational reforms that have made a dramatic difference at Carnegie Mellon -- where the percentage of women entering the School of Computer Science rose from 7% in 1995 to 42% in 2000 -- and at high schools around the country.

This guide covers the basics of scientific and engineering communication, including defining an audience, working with collaborators, searching the literature, organizing and drafting documents, developing graphics, and documenting sources. The documents covered include memos, letters, proposals, progress reports, other types of reports, journal articles, oral presentations, instructions, and CVs and resumes. Throughout, the authors provide realistic examples from actual documents and situations. The materials, drawn from the authors’ experience teaching scientific and technical communication, bridge the gap between the university novice and the seasoned professional. In the five years since the first edition was published, communication practices have been transformed by computer technology. Today, most correspondence is transmitted electronically, proposals are submitted online, reports are distributed to clients through intranets, journal articles are written for electronic transmission, and conference presentations are posted on the Web. Every chapter of the book reflects these changes. The second edition also includes a compact Handbook of Style and Usage that provides guidelines for sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, and usage and presents many examples of strategies for improved style.

This textbook takes an innovative approach to the teaching of classical mechanics, emphasizing the development of general but practical intellectual tools to support the analysis of nonlinear Hamiltonian systems. The development is organized around a progressively more sophisticated analysis of particular natural systems and weaves examples throughout the presentation. Explorations of phenomena such as transitions to chaos, nonlinear resonances, and resonance overlap to help the student to develop appropriate analytic tools for understanding. Computational algorithms communicate methods used in the analysis of dynamical phenomena. Expressing the methods of mechanics in a computer language forces them to be unambiguous and computationally effective. Once formalized as a procedure, a mathematical idea also becomes a tool that can be used directly to compute results.The student actively explores the motion of systems through computer simulation and experiment. This active exploration is extended to the mathematics. The requirement that the computer be able to interpret any expression provides strict and immediate feedback as to whether an expression is correctly formulated. The interaction with the computer uncovers and corrects many deficiencies in understanding.

Since the late 1960s the Internet has grown from a single experimental network serving a dozen sites in the United States to a network of networks linking millions of computers worldwide. In Inventing the Internet, Janet Abbate recounts the key players and technologies that allowed the Internet to develop; but her main focus is always on the social and cultural factors that influenced the Internets design and use. The story she unfolds is an often twisting tale of collaboration and conflict among a remarkable variety of players, including government and military agencies, computer scientists in academia and industry, graduate students, telecommunications companies, standards organizations, and network users. The story starts with the early networking breakthroughs formulated in Cold War think tanks and realized in the Defense Department's creation of the ARPANET. It ends with the emergence of the Internet and its rapid and seemingly chaotic growth. Abbate looks at how academic and military influences and attitudes shaped both networks; how the usual lines between producer and user of a technology were crossed with interesting and unique results; and how later users invented their own very successful applications, such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web. She concludes that such applications continue the trend of decentralized, user-driven development that has characterized the Internet's entire history and that the key to the Internet's success has been a commitment to flexibility and diversity, both in technical design and in organizational culture.

Effects of the Origin and Evolution of Life on Planet Earth

In this book fifteen distinguished scientists discuss the effects of life—past and present—on planet Earth. Unlike other earth science and biology books, Environmental Evolution describes the impact of life on the Earth's rocky surfaces presenting an integrated view of how our planet evolved. Modeled on the Environmental Evolution course developed by Lynn Margulis and colleagues, it provides a unique synthesis of atmospheric, biological, and geological hypotheses that explain the present condition of the biosphere. The book develops scientific concepts essential to the reconstruction of the intertwined history of Earth's air, rocks, water, and life.

After an introduction by James E. Lovelock on Gaia theory, the material proceeds in roughly chronological order from the origin of life in the early Archean Eon to the emergence of new environmental diseases in today's industrialized world. The second edition has been thoroughly revised, with more comprehensive chapters, additional illustrations, and new references.

Elso S. Barghoorn, Robert Buchsbaum, David Deamer, Stjepko Golubic, Jonathan King, Antonio Lazcano, James E. Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Clifford Matthews, Michael McElroy, Mark McMenamin, Raymond Siever, Paul Strother, Tony Swain, Neil Todd.

The Evidence against the New Creationism

In Tower of Babel, philosopher Robert Pennock compares the views of the new creationists with those of the old and reveals the insubstantiality of their arguments. One of Pennock's major innovations is to turn from biological evolution to the less-charged subject of linguistic evolution, which has strong theoretical parallels with biological evolution both in content and in the sort of evidence scientists use to draw conclusions about origins.

Several chapters deal with the work of Phillip Johnson, a highly influential leader of the new creationists. Pennock explains how science uses naturalism and discusses the relationship between factual and moral issues in the creationism-evolution controversy. The book also includes a discussion of Darwin's own shift from creationist to evolutionist and an extended argument for keeping private religious beliefs separate from public scientific knowledge.

Classic Readings with a Contemporary Commentary
Edited by Nick Huggett

Learning through original texts can be a powerful heuristic tool. This book collects a dozen classic readings that are generally accepted as the most significant contributions to the philosophy of space. The readings have been selected both on the basis of their relevance to recent debates on the nature of space and on the extent to which they carry premonitions of contemporary physics. In his detailed commentaries, Nick Huggett weaves together the readings and links them to our modern understanding of the subject. Together the readings indicate the general historical development of the concept of space, and in his commentaries Huggett explains their logical relations. He also uses our contemporary understanding of space to help clarify the key ideas of the texts. One goal is to prepare the reader (both scientist and nonscientist) to learn and understand relativity theory, the basis of our current understanding of space. The readings are by Zeno, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Clarke, Berkeley, Kant, Mach, Poincaré, and Einstein.

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