Responding to attacks

In a very thoughtful and interesting post L’Hote writes about the Japanese response to their terrorist group/cult Aum Shinrikyo. The calm determination not to close down society and the results it caused to understand terrorism and threat assessment, look to Aum

Just as important was what the Japanese government and people did not do. They didn’t panic. They didn’t make sweeping changes to their way of life. They didn’t implement a vast system of domestic surveillance. They didn’t suspend basic civil rights. They didn’t begin to capture, torture, and kill without due process. They didn’t, in other words, allow themselves to be terrorized. Instead, they addressed the threat. They investigated and arrested the cult’s leadership. They tried them in civilian courts and earned convictions through due process. They buried their dead. They mourned. And they moved on. In every sense, it was a rational, adult, mature response to a terrible terrorist act, one that remained largely in keeping with liberal democratic ideals.

This reminded me very much of the Norwegian response to the Norwegian Breivik killed 76 people and bombed parliament buildings in central Oslo. He was politically motivated and left a, so called, manifesto “arguing” his misguided case.

The Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg reacted immediately by calling for more democracy and more openness. It was a very moving and heartfelt response from a man who knew very many of the victims personally. He would go on to reinforce this position later (Huffington Post):

Five days after an attacker incensed by Norway’s culture of tolerance horrified the world, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday issued a quiet call of defiance to his countrymen: Make Norway even more open and accepting.

“The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation,” Stoltenberg insisted at a news conference.

Of course each situation is different but it is interesting to note that the “Keep Calm and Carry On” approach seems to be the quickest way of returning to a state of normality and healing that ensures that the attackers have failed in impacting the society they attack. L’Hote ends his post, which talks about the American response but applies equally to other countries, with the words

We have examples of adult responses to terrorism. Instead, we betray ourselves, in every sense a terrorized, terrified people.

Don’t see this as a spoiler – go read the text.

Sun, Sand and GikII VIII

It’s GikII time.

When robots, drones, autonomous agents, Facebook stalking, teleportation, 3D printing, MMORPGS, science fiction, computer games and superhero justice are discussed within the realms of the law and LOL cats, you know the time for the annual GikII workshop has arrived! Yes it’s time for GikII VIII – and a time to immerse ourselves in debates about cutting-edge technology, popular culture and the law.

This year GikII will be “in sunny, golden-sandy Southern city of Bournemouth with its sparkling sea and almost California-like-but-not-quite atmosphere. It will be held on 16-17 September 2013″

All the info you need is over here.

Leaving comfort zone for Philadelphia

Comfort is a dangerous thing. By becoming comfortable we stop moving, we remain in our comfort zones. These can be mental, physical, geographical, emotional…

The desire to remain within a comfort zone is obvious. It’s nicely illustrated in an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny attempts to teach Sheldon to act (Series 4 Episode 14 – The Thespian Catalyst)

Penny: Okay, that’s fine, but let’s try and get you out of your comfort zone.

Sheldon: Why would we want to do that? It’s called the comfort zone for a reason.

Resting is tempting but movement is more important. Michelle wrote some very sound advice in HOWTO: Be a cool old person which includes things like learn a new language every decade & Move. I really should be learning a new language but this time I shall start with moving.

So with this in mind I am exiting Europe, heading West and relocating to Philadelphia!

Making attribution work

One of the problems with using as many Creative Commons licensed images as I do is creating and maintaining a system so that I am able to attribute the right picture to the right creator in the right way.

This is why I’m excited about the project Commons Machinery that promises to make my life much easier.

Commons Machinery is building infrastructure in support of the Commons. Our aim is to make the use of digital works as easy as possible by developing new technology built on open standards for licensing, attribution and provenance.

So support Commons Machinery and make attribution (and life) easier.

Science Roulette

Most of the time my work is interesting, even fascinating, but sometimes I even get to do cool stuff. One such job is to be part of the organizers of the Gothenburg Science Festival where I get to bring together interesting people for one of Europe’s popular science events.

The organizational work is almost done. The program is in the proofs and will be sent to the publishers and I am now working on last minute corrections and amendments. Most fun today? To find additional participants for the science roulette.

What is the Science Roulette?

On Friday 26 April between 5pm-6pm at the Liseberg amusement park the Ferris Wheel will be filled with scientists. One researcher per car will present his/her research to the other passengers of the car. The researcher has 15 minutes to explain his/her research. The process is repeated four times.

Your research here:

Lisebergshjulet på Liseberg, Göteborg Sweden by Solvarm (Creative Commons BY)

Seriously whacky! Get to present your research while the car goes around and up to a height of 60m. Isn’t this a cool way to spend a Friday? If you would like to participate then email me klang@ituniv.se but its the last day so email me today!

 

I am Docent Klang

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted about good news but wanted to wait until it was official.

It’s still not formally official but it is established enough to spread. My application to the next level of academia has been accepted. I have been deemed qualified to be titled Docent.

The docent is the second highest grade in the Swedish academic system (the next is Professor) its not a job description but a rank (like the PhD), a mark of expertise. Wikipedia writes:

A docent qualification is required of all head doctoral student supervisors. For conferment of the title, there is a requirement that the researcher has a good overview of his research area and has demonstrated both the ability to formulate research problems and to independently carry through research programs. It is a requirement that the researcher should be able to lead research projects. The researcher must have substantial scientific research experience and be well published in scientific journals.

The application is a very rigorous description of the applicants merits and experience in both research and teaching. In addition to which the applicant needs to show an impact inside and outside of academia.

The position still has to be confirmed at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science but the expert has notified the department so this is just a formality.

Translating the title is somewhat confusing but in the states I would be a tenured Associate Professor and in the UK I would be a Reader. But you must admit, Docent sounds much cooler. The only thing missing is a black belt or a cane with a silver handle.

Real Fame at Last: my acceptance speech

As an academic we measure stuff and compare all the time. I’m not talking about research but rather the comparisons between each other. Who has the longest publication list, given the most keynotes, sat on the most advisory boards…

Today is a major moment as I have received the highest form of praise an Internet researcher can obtain. It is an object of desire that I have been dreaming of, but not daring to hope for.

So I would like to thank the academy, my advisers, supervisors and all my collaborators: without you guys none of this would have been possible.

Today a cease and desist letter finally graced my inbox.

We are requesting that you remove the link back to our site.

Admittedly it’s the weakest form of c&d letter and is not accompanied by evil threats but it contains the most vital statement necessary to enable induction into the halls of Internet fame. Once again: Thank You.

IR13: notes from a conference

This is part conference report and part therapy. For the inadequacy of the former I give you my apologies, for the erratic gushing of the latter I offer none.

I cannot really blog the explosion of experience that is the Internet Research conference. It’s a gathering of the creative intelligentsia of my tribe. You cannot swing a cat without hitting someone attempting to debunk, reinterpret, explore, tease out, affect or simply study an amazing little feature that is technology and life. Some of these are pointed out by the newbies in a hushed tone using the honorific “the”, as in isn’t that The so-and-so. But this quickly changes and the fans are seamlessly made into friends and friends form this tribe and shape this conference.

Code is the invisible omission of the gathering. It’s always there but seldom mentioned, and sometimes, I fear, a bit misunderstood. But Susanna Paasonen captured the true nature of worlds created by codes: In a world of code, gaps and omissions can become knots of anxiety. Pure poetry.

It’s not a code conference. Mary L Gray put it well, she no longer wants to do toaster studies. When we become so immersed in technology then technology itself should not be the focus. Studying another toaster will not achieve much. It’s a people conference with a core of intelligent strong women. Usually I don’t care about the gender of a panel but when a conference begins with a panel of female power researchers – you notice.

The scholarship is first class – expect nothing less! But what sets IR apart is the passion of the delivery. Passion was set by the first speakers and absolutely lifted to a next level when Terri Senft gave her talk. Picture it: we were in a darkened theatre, she spoke without slides, capturing the audience by segments until she had us all. You could have heard a pin drop! Or to be more clear: we were mesmerized and stopped twittering bon mots and pithy phrases. Thank you Terri you made my conference with that passion and by demanding we shift attention from meaning to mattering.

The idea of IR is to capture the elusive meaning of technology this also was set forth in the beginning when in reply to a question about listening to users experiences with technologies replied: Sometimes a boring-ass story about a phone isn’t really about a phone.

From this the all too brief days become an intense mix of ideas, conversations, papers, discussion, disagreements, arguments and support. And it has a twitter channel that equals to a presidential debate (well, in tweets per capita). You may have guessed by now its about the conversation. Anybody can create a conference where we present papers – creating a forum for discussion is differnet. In many conferences the words “I disagree” are usually hidden underneath another phrase but here if you have the ideas you push them: titles, publication lists and other academic merits be damned – here they talk.

This is where a true conference blog becomes pointless. This crowd has history reflected in memes and traditions – some more obscure than others. There is Senft’s hair, Zizi’s hats and, of course, the sing star (or Kylie’s passion). Where there is culture there is counterculture (what else could the short lived Kruse Klang hair appreciation society be?)

Highlights for me were – and of course I will miss many:

Tim Hutchings mix of religion and technology “of course there is an app for that” and understanding surviellance through scripture. Hey Zuck! God was the original source of radical transparency! Lorie Kendall’s look at personal archiving and geneologi basically turned serveral concepts upside down – the family is not about togetherness but a legitimacy for the individual. Joseph Regal’s infocide: the fascinating study of people in open content movements who decide to leave their online life sometimes removing all traces sometimes removing just themselves.

Activism turned out to be a major theme. Most of these academics are, or present like, activists but the tracks that contain activism and activism studies also shows that internet is a crucial infrastructure for social movements. We knew this but the studies show how, who, why and concerns about the future.

The best new term I learned came from an audience comment: asphal: the Indonesian term for a thing that isn’t authentic but works anyway. Imagine this as a part of a piracy, plagiarism or trademark discourse?

The social events are social. Meeting new people and old friends. Looking for real ale in Manchester with the Culture & Communications people from Drexell was a highlight.

This rambling will stop here. This is my second time at IR and I highly recommend it to all who are interested in Internet Research.