Searching for "election"

Blockchain next election

Blockchain Disciples Have a New Goal: Running Our Next Election

Amid vote-hacking fears, election officials are jumping on the crypto bandwagon — but cybersecurity experts are sounding an alarm

At democracy’s heart lies a set of paradoxes: a delicate interplay of identity and anonymity, secrecy and transparency. To be sure you are eligible to vote and that you do so only once, the authorities need to know who you are. But when it comes time for you to mark a ballot, the government must guarantee your privacy and anonymity. After the fact, it also needs to provide some means for a third party to audit the election, while also preventing you from obtaining definitive proof of your choice, which could lead to vote selling or coercion.
Building a system that accomplishes all this at once — and does so securely — is challenging enough in the physical world. It’s even harder online, as the recent revelation that Russian intelligence operatives compromised voting systems in multiple states makes clear.
In the decade since the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto published an infamous white paper outlining the idea behind bitcoin, a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” based on a mathematical “consensus mechanism,” more than 1,500 new cryptocurrencies have come into being.
definition: Nathan Heller in the New Yorker, in which he compares the blockchain to a scarf knit with a single ball of yarn. “It’s impossible to remove part of the fabric, or to substitute a swatch, without leaving some trace,” Heller wrote. Typically, blockchains are created by a set of stakeholders working to achieve consensus at every step, so it might be even more apt to picture a knitting collective creating that single scarf together, moving forward only when a majority agrees that a given knot is acceptable.
Unlike bitcoin, a public blockchain powered by thousands of miners around the world, most voting systems, including Votem’s, employ what’s known as a “permissioned ledger,” in which a handful of approved groups (political parties, election observers, government entities) would be allowed to validate the transactions.
there’s the issue of targeted denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, in which a hacker directs so much traffic at a server that it’s overwhelmed and ceases to function.
Although a distributed ledger itself would likely withstand such an attack, the rest of the system — from voters’ personal devices to the many servers a vote would pass through on its way to the blockchain — would remain vulnerable.
there’s the so-called penetration attack, like the University of Michigan incursion, in which an adversary gains control of a server and deliberately alters the outcome of an election.
While it’s true that information recorded on a blockchain cannot be changed, a determined hacker might well find another way to disrupt the process. Bitcoin itself has never been hacked, for instance, but numerous bitcoin “wallets” have been, resulting in billions of dollars in losses. In early June 2018, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange was penetrated, causing the value of bitcoin to tumble and resulting in a loss of $42 billion in market value. So although recording the vote tally on a blockchain introduces a new obstacle to penetration attacks, it still leaves holes elsewhere in the system — like putting a new lock on your front door but leaving your basement windows open.
A blockchain is only as valuable as the data stored on it. And whereas traditional paper ballots preserve an indelible record of the actual intent of each voter, digital votes “don’t produce an original hard-copy record of any kind,”
In the end, democracy always depends on a certain leap of faith, and faith can never be reduced to a mathematical formula. The Economist Intelligence Unit regularly ranks the world’s most democratic counties. In 2017, the United States came in 21st place, after Uruguay and Malta. Meanwhile, it’s now widely believed that John F. Kennedy owed his 1960 win to election tampering in Chicago. The Supreme Court decision granting the presidency to George W. Bush rather than calling a do-over — despite Al Gore’s popular-vote win — still seems iffy. Significant doubts remain about the 2016 presidential race.
While little doubt remains that Russia favored Trump in the 2016 election, the Kremlin’s primary target appears to have been our trust in the system itself. So if the blockchain’s trendy allure can bolster trust in American democracy, maybe that’s a net positive for our national security. If someone manages to hack the system, hopefully they’ll do so quietly. Apologies to George Orwell, but sometimes ignorance really is strength.

more on blockchain in this IMS blog

social media election fake news

Election Strife, Protest And Noise: In 2017, Russia Cranked Up The Volume

The Russian Facebook scandal damages liberals as much as the right

The Republicans might have been tarnished by the St Petersburg troll factory, but Democratic fantasies about social media were rubbished in the process
The ads in question were memes, manufactured and posted to a number of bluntly named, pseudo-American Facebook accounts in 2016 by workers at a troll farm in St Petersburg, Russia. There were thousands of these ads, it seems, plus parallel efforts on Instagram and Twitter. Between them, they reached over 100 million people.
The memes were big news for a while because they showed what Russian interference in the 2016 election actually looked like, in vivid color. Eventually the story faded, though, in part because it was superseded by other stories, but also, I think, because the Russian ad story was deeply distasteful to both sides of our atrophied political debate.
The ads were clumsily written. They were rife with spelling errors and poor grammar. Their grasp of American history was awful. And over them all hovered a paranoid fear that the powerful were scheming to flip the world upside-down in the most outlandish ways: to turn our country over to the undocumented … to punish the hardworking … to crack down on patriots and Christians … to enact Sharia law right here at home.
The social media platforms aren’t neutral arbiters, selflessly serving the needs of society. As is all too obvious now, they are monopolies that manipulate us in a hundred different ways, selecting our news, steering us towards what we need to buy. The corporate entities behind them wield enormous power in Washington, too, filling Democratic campaign coffers and keeping the revolving door turning for trusted servants. Those who don’t comply get disciplined.

Russia calls for answers after Chechen leader’s Instagram is blocked

Internet watchdog demands explanation after Ramzan Kadyrov claimed Facebook also suspended him without explanation

Kadyrov has accused the US government of pressuring the social networks to disable his accounts, which he said were blocked on Saturday without explanation. The US imposed travel and financial sanctions on Kadyrov last week over numerous allegations of human rights abuses.

The former rebel fighter, who is now loyal to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is a fan of social media, particularly Instagram, which he has used in recent years to make barely veiled death threats against Kremlin critics.

Leonid Levin, the head of the Russian parliament’s information technologies and communications committee, suggested the move by Facebook and Instagram was an attack on freedom of speech.

Dzhambulat Umarov, the Chechen press and information minister, described the blocking of Kadyrov’s accounts as a “vile” cyber-attack by the US.

Neither Instagram nor Facebook had commented at the time of publication.

In 2015, Kadyrov urged Chechen men not to let their wives use the WhatsApp messaging service after an online outcry over the forced marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen to a 47-year-old police chief. “Do not write such things. Men, take your women out of WhatsApp,” he said.

more on fake news in this IMS blog

education issues around election and charter schools

Peter Greene: What This Election Means for Schools

Trump’s education proposal is short but simple:

More school choice (a.k.a. “open the corporate charter floodgates”).

Merit pay for teachers (a.k.a. “we’ll pay them just what we think they’re worth and they’ll like it”).

End tenure (a.k.a. “You’re fired whenever the mood hits me”).

If Hillary is elected, we can expect more of the Obama style of reform. He deduces this from the advisors who are close to her, mostly from the Center for American Progress.

Bottom line: Trump will run over the schools like a steamroller, flattening them along with their teachers. He endorses vouchers, charters, online charters, anything goes.

Clinton is likely to be akin to Obama/Duncan in advancing charter schools and testing.

REIGN OF ERROR By Diane Ravitch
Ravitch writes that the “the transfer of public funds to private management and the creation of thousands of deregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable schools have opened the public coffers to profiteering, fraud, and exploitation by large and small entrepreneurs.”
The public school system, Ravitch argues, is under attack from corporate interests and Wall Street crusaders seeking to make a buck off the American taxpayer. The reformers, Ravitch writes, are an insurgency in America’s schools, “a deliberate effort to replace public education with a privately managed, free-market system of schooling.”

Accountant Reconsiders Plea in Online Charter School Founder’s Tax Fraud

By Richard Chang 09/19/16

election guide

Election Guide: 5 Education Takeaways From the Presidential Candidates

Nice outline of the presidential candidates views on K12

The major party hopefuls still in the race as of last week boasted widely varied records and stances on K-12. (Download as a PDF.)

Related: How Meaty Are the Presidential Candidates’ Online K-12 Positions?


laptop selection

Looking for a new laptop?

Excellent interactive chart available from Global Network Discovery

Here is a wonderful interactive chart from Global Network Discovery that you can use to compare the affordances of different laptops. The chart compares a wide variety of laptops on criteria that include things such as : memory, storage capacity, screen size, and weight. You can also use the search functionality accompanied with the chart to refine your search by CPU, brand or model. Hovering your cursor over any laptop icon  will display a small box with details pertaining to that product. These details include, besides the specs and features of that laptop, an updated version of its price.
Keep this interactive chart handy  to use next time you want to buy a laptop. If you are looking for the best laptops for teachers, you can check this list instead. You can also use the “more” option in the chart to search for other comparison charts on smartphones, flash drives and SSD drives.

philosophy technology

McMullan, T. (2018, April 26). How Technology Got Under Our Skin – Featured Stories. Retrieved April 2, 2019, from Medium website:


Like the circle-bound symmetry of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the meat and bones of the human race are the same in 2018 as they were in 1490. And yet, we are different.

Michael Patrick Lynch, writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut.
“The digital revolution is more like the revolution brought on by the written word. Just as the written word allowed us to time-travel — to record our thoughts for others, including ourselves, to read in the future — so the internet has allowed for a kind of tele-transportation , breaking down barriers of space and physical limitation and connecting us across the globe in ways we now take for granted, as we do the written word.”

In the book Self-Tracking, authors Gina Neff, a sociology professor at Oxford University, and Dawn Nafus, a research scientist at Intel, describe this phenomenon as a shuffling between physical signs and observed recordings: “The data becomes a ‘prosthetic of feeling,’Advocates of this “prosthetic of feeling” argue that self-tracking can train people to recognize their own body signals, tuning the senses to allow for a greater grasp of biological rhythms.but what if the body-as-data is exploited by the state, or by an insurance company that can predict when you’ll get diabetes, or a data analytics firm that can use it to help sway elections? The Chinese government is going so far as to plan a social credit score for its citizens by 2020, giving each of the country’s 1.3 billion residents a reputation number based on economic and social status. What is particularly subtle about all this is that, like a scientific épistémè, our way of thinking is perhaps unconsciously guided by the configurations of knowledge these new technologies allow. We don’t question it.

Hannah Knox. Computational machines are “shaping what we expect it means to be a human”, Knox wrote for the Corsham Institute’s Observatory for a Connected Society.

Facebook goads us to remember past moments on a daily basis, the stacked boxes of tape in Beckett’s play replaced with stacks of servers in remote data centers in northern Sweden.“There is reasonable evidence that [the internet] has reduced our internal memory ability,” says Phil Reed, a professor of psychology at Swansea University.

Moderate tech use correlated with positive mental health, according to a paper published in Psychological Science by Andrew Przybylski of Oxford and Netta Weinstein at Cardiff University, who surveyed 120,000 British 15-year-olds.Again, the crucial question is one of control. If our way of thinking is changed by our intimacy with these technologies, then is this process being directed by individuals, or the ledgers of private companies, or governments keen on surveilling their citizens? If we conceive of these systems as extensions of our own brains, what happens if they collapse?

Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) are coming in leaps and bounds, with companies like Neuralink and CTRL-Labs in the United States exploring both surgical and noninvasive processes that allow computers to be controlled directly by signals from the brain. It’s a field that involves fundamentally changing the relationship between our minds, bodies, and machines.Kevin Warwick, emeritus professor at Coventry University and a pioneer in implant technology

more on philosophy in this IMS blog

Library Technology Conference 2019


Intro to XR in Libraries from Plamen Miltenoff

keynote: equitable access to information

keynote spaker
the type of data: wikipedia. the dangers of learning from wikipedia. how individuals can organize mitigate some of these dangers. wikidata, algorithms.
IBM Watson is using wikipedia by algorythms making sense, AI system
youtube videos debunked of conspiracy theories by using wikipedia.

semantic relatedness, Word2Vec
how does algorithms work: large body of unstructured text. picks specific words

lots of AI learns about the world from wikipedia. the neutral point of view policy. WIkipedia asks editors present as proportionally as possible. Wikipedia biases: 1. gender bias (only 20-30 % are women).

conceptnet. debias along different demographic dimensions.

citations analysis gives also an idea about biases. localness of sources cited in spatial articles. structural biases.

geolocation on Twitter by County. predicting the people living in urban areas. FB wants to push more local news.

danger (biases) #3. wikipedia search results vs wkipedia knowledge panel.

collective action against tech: Reddit, boycott for FB and Instagram.

Mechanical Turk  algorithmic / human intersection

data labor: what the primary resources this companies have. posts, images, reviews etc.

boycott, data strike (data not being available for algorithms in the future). GDPR in EU – all historical data is like the CA Consumer Privacy Act. One can do data strike without data boycott. general vs homogeneous (group with shared identity) boycott.

the wikipedia SPAM policy is obstructing new editors and that hit communities such as women.


Twitter and Other Social Media: Supporting New Types of Research Materials

Nancy Herther Cody Hennesy

twitter librarieshow to access at different levels. methods and methodological concerns. ethical concerns, legal concerns,

tweetdeck for advanced Twitter searches. quoting, likes is relevant, but not enough, sometimes screenshot

engagement option

social listening platforms: crimson hexagon, parsely, sysomos – not yet academic platforms, tools to setup queries and visualization, but difficult to algorythm, the data samples etc. open sources tools (Urbana, Social Media microscope: SMILE (social media intelligence and learning environment) to collect data from twitter, reddit and within the platform they can query Twitter. create trend analysis, sentiment analysis, Voxgov (subscription service: analyzing political social media)

graduate level and faculty research: accessing SM large scale data web scraping & APIs Twitter APIs. Jason script, Python etc. Gnip Firehose API ($) ; Web SCraper Chrome plugin (easy tool, Pyhon and R created); Twint (Twitter scraper)

Facepager (open source) if not Python or R coder. structure and download the data sets.

TAGS archiving google sheets, uses twitter API. anything older 7 days not avaialble, so harvest every week.

social feed manager (GWUniversity) – Justin Litman with Stanford. Install on server but allows much more.

legal concerns: copyright (public info, but not beyond copyrighted). fair use argument is strong, but cannot publish the data. can analyize under fair use. contracts supercede copyright (terms of service/use) licensed data through library.

methods: sampling concerns tufekci, 2014 questions for sm. SM data is a good set for SM, but other fields? not according to her. hashtag studies: self selection bias. twitter as a model organism: over-represnted data in academic studies.

methodological concerns: scope of access – lack of historical data. mechanics of platform and contenxt: retweets are not necessarily endorsements.

ethical concerns. public info – IRB no informed consent. the right to be forgotten. anonymized data is often still traceable.

table discussion: digital humanities, journalism interested, but too narrow. tools are still difficult to find an operate. context of the visuals. how to spread around variety of majors and classes. controversial events more likely to be deleted.

takedowns, lies and corrosion: what is a librarian to do: trolls, takedown,

++++++++++++++vr in library

Crague Cook, Jay Ray

the pilot process. 2017. 3D printing, approaching and assessing success or failure.

development kit circulation. familiarity with the Oculus Rift resulted in lesser reservation. Downturn also.

An experience station. clean up free apps.

question: spherical video, video 360.

safety issues: policies? instructional perspective: curating,WI people: user testing. touch controllers more intuitive then xbox controller. Retail Oculus Rift

app Scatchfab. 3modelviewer. obj or sdl file. Medium, Tiltbrush.

College of Liberal Arts at the U has their VR, 3D print set up.
Penn State (Paul, librarian, kiniseology, anatomy programs), Information Science and Technology. immersive experiences lab for video 360.

CALIPHA part of it is xrlibraries. libraries equal education. content provider LifeLiqe STEM library of AR and VR objects.


Access for All:

accessibilityLeah Root

bloat code (e.g. cleaning up MS Word code)

ILLiad Doctype and Language declaration helps people with disabilities.



A Seat at the Table: Embedding the Library in Curriculum Development

embedded librarianembed library resources.

libraians, IT staff, IDs. help faculty with course design, primarily online, master courses. Concordia is GROWING, mostly because of online students.

solve issues (putting down fires, such as “gradebook” on BB). Librarians : research and resources experts. Librarians helping with LMS. Broadening definition of Library as support hub.

Literature on Digital Humanities

Burdick, A. (2012). Digital humanities . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

digital humanities is born f the encounter between traditional humanities and computational methods.

p. 5. From Humanism to Humanities
While the foundations of of humanistic inquiry and the liberal arts can be traced back in the west to the medieval trivium and quadrivium, the modern and human sciences are rooted in the Renaissance shift from a medieval, church dominated, theocratic world view to be human centered one period the gradual transformation of early humanism into the disciplines that make up the humanities today Was profoundly shaped by the editorial practices involved in the recovery of the corpus of works from classical antiquity

P. 6. The shift from humanism to the institution only sanctioned disciplinary practices and protocols that we associate with the humanities today is best described as a gradual process of subdivision and specialization.
P. 7. Text-based disciplines in studies (classics, literature, philosophy, the history of ideas) make up, from the very start, the core of both the humanities and the great books curricular instituted in the 1920s and 1930s.
P. 10. Transmedia modes of argumentation
In the 21st-century, we communicate in media significantly more varied, extensible, and multiplicative then linear text. From scalable databases to information visualizations, from video lectures to multi-user virtual platforms serious content and rigorous argumentation take shape across multiple platforms in media. The best digital humanities pedagogy and research projects train students both in “reading “and “writing “this emergent rhetoric and in understanding how the reshape and three model humanistic knowledge. This means developing critically informed literacy expensive enough to include graphic design visual narrative time based media, and the development of interfaces (Rather then the rote acceptance of them as off-the-shelf products).
P. 11. The visual becomes ever more fundamental to the digital humanities, in ways that compliment, enhance, and sometimes are in pension with the textual.
There is no either/or, no simple interchangeability between language and the visual, no strict sub ordination of the one to the other. Words are themselves visual but other kinds of visual constructs do different things. The question is how to use each to its best effect into device meaningful interpret wing links, to use Theodor Nelson’s ludic neologism.
P. 11. The suite of expressive forms now encompasses the use of sound, motion graphics, animation, screen capture, video, audio, and the appropriation and into remix sink of code it underlines game engines. This expanded range of communicative tools requires those who are engaged in digital humanities world to familiarize themselves with issues, discussions, and debates in design fields, especially communication and interaction design. Like their print predecessors, form at the convention center screen environments can become naturalized all too quickly, with the results that the thinking that informed they were designed goes unperceived.

p. 13.

For digital humanists, design is a creative practice harnessing cultural, social, economic, and technological constraints in order to bring systems and objects into the world. Design in dialogue with research is simply a picnic, but when used to pose in frame questions about knowledge, design becomes an intellectual method. Digital humanities is a production based in Denver in which theoretical issues get tested in the design of implementations and implementations or loci after your radical reflection and elaboration.
Did you thaw humanists have much to learn from communication and media design about how to juxtapose and integrate words and images create hire he is of reading, Forge pathways of understanding, deployed grades in templates to best effect, and develop navigational schemata that guide in produce meaningful interactions.
P. 15.  The field of digital digital humanities me see the emergence of polymaths who can “ do it all” : Who can research, write, shoot, edit, code, model, design, network, and dialogue with users. But there is also ample room for specialization and, particularly, for collaboration.
P. 16. Computational activities in digital humanities.
The foundational layer, computation, relies on principles that are, on the surface, at odds with humanistic methods.
P. 17. The second level involves processing in a way that conform to computational capacities, and this were explored in the first generation of digital scholarship and stylometrics, concordance development, and indexing.
P. 17.
Duration, analysis, editing, modeling.
Duration, analysis, editing, and modeling comprise fundamental activities at the core of digital humanities. Involving archives, collections, repositories, and other aggregations of materials, duration is the selection and organization of materials in an interpretive framework, argument, or exhibit.
P. 18. Analysis refers to the processing of text or data: statistical and quantitative methods of analysis have brought close readings of texts (stylometrics and genre analysis, correlation, comparisons of versions for alter attribution or usage patterns ) into dialogue with distant reading (The crunching cuff large quantities of information across the corpus of textual data or its metadata).
Edit think has been revived with the advent of digital media and the web and to continue to be an integral activity in textual as well as time based formats.
P. 18. Model link highlights the notion of content models- shapes of argument expressed in information structures in their design he digital project is always an expression of assumptions about knowledge: usually domain specific knowledge given an explicit form by the model in which it is designed.
P. 19.  Each of these areas of activity- cure ration, analysis, editing, and modeling is supported by the basic building blocks of digital activity. But they also depend upon networks and infrastructure that are cultural and institutional as well as technical. Servers, software, and systems administration are key elements of any project design.
P. 30. Digital media are not more “evolved” have them print media nor are books obsolete; but the multiplicity of media in the very processes of mediation entry mediation in the formation of cultural knowledge and humanistic inquiry required close attention. Tug link between distant and clothes, macro and micro, and surface in depth becomes the norm. Here, we focus on the importance of visualization to the digital humanities before moving on to other, though often related, genre and methods such as Locative investigation, thick mapping, animated archives, database documentaries, platform studies, and emerging practices like cultural analytics, data mining and humanities gaming.
P. 35. Fluid texture out what he refers to the mutability of texts in the variants and versions Whether these are produced through Authorial changes, anything, transcription, translation, or print production

Cultural Analytics, aggregation, and data mining.
The field of cultural Analytics has emerged over the past few years, utilizing tools of high-end computational analysis and data visualization today sect large-scale coach data sets. Cultural Analytic does Not analyze cultural artifacts, but operates on the level of digital models of this materials in aggregate. Again, the point is not to pit “close” hermeneutic reading against “distant” data mapping, but rather to appreciate the synergistic possibilities and tensions that exist between a hyper localized, deep analysis and a microcosmic view

p. 42.

Data mining is a term that covers a host of picnics for analyzing digital material by “parameterizing” some feature of information and extract in it. This means that any element of a file or collection of files that can be given explicit specifications,  or parameters, can be extracted from those files for analysis.
Understanding the rehtoric of graphics is another essential skill, therefore, in working at a skill where individual objects are lost in the mass of processed information and data. To date, much humanities data mining has merely involved counting. Much more sophisticated statistical methods and use of probability will be needed for humanists to absorb the lessons of the social sciences into their methods
P. 42. Visualization and data design
Currently, visualization in the humanities uses techniques drawn largely from the social sciences, Business applications, and the natural sciences, all of which require self-conscious criticality in their adoption. Such visual displays including graphs and charts, may present themselves is subjective or even unmediated views of reality, rather then is rhetorical constructs.

Warwick, C., Terras, M., & Nyhan, J. (2012). Digital humanities in practice . London: Facet Publishing in association with UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.


Selecting Tech Solutions for Your Classroom

Selecting the Right Tech Solutions for Your Classroom

Course Description:

Integrating technology into your teaching practice can be intimidating. Where do you start? What tools do you choose? What are the questions you need to ask?

In Selecting the Right Tech Solutions for Your Classroom, you’ll get the guidance you need to thrive with edtech, whether you’re just dipping your toe in or rethinking a districtwide approach. Throughout the course, you’ll engage in online content, develop materials specific to your context and receive feedback from experts. The course culminates with a capstone project that can be used to communicate with stakeholders about your selected technology, your rationale for choosing it and how you’ll implement it.

This is a 15-hour, instructor-led course.

Winter session: February 5 – March 29, 2019

politics and social media

‘Bye Bye Twitter Und Facebook’: German Green Party Chief Quits Social Media

Twitter lost 9 million users worldwide in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest company earnings report.

Facebook grew during the same period in every market except Europe, where it lost a million monthly active users. But it has faced a backlash since a whistle-blower revealed in March 2018 that some 87 million people had their data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. It was the beginning of a months-long scandal that revealed the network was slow to respond when Russian operatives used it to spread misinformation to influence U.S. elections.

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