"henry farrell"

Open seminar on Mieville's Iron Council

My pal Henry Farrell, a poli-sci prof, is conducting an "open seminar" on sf/fantasy writer China Mieville's brilliant novel Iron Council. Mieville is a second-generation Marxist, and his works are extremely politicized; Farrell's seminar is bound to be very interesting. The whole thing is licensed under a CC license for you to distribute, teach, remix and play with.

China’s most recent novel, Iron Council was published in August. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post describes it as “a work of both passionate conviction and the highest artistry.” A few months ago, the Mieville Fraktion within CT decided that it might be fun to put together a mini-seminar around Iron Council, and to ask China to respond. He very decently said yes; you see the result before you. We’ve invited two non-CT regulars to participate in the mini-seminar. Matt Cheney blogs on literature and science fiction at The Mumpsimus; he also writes for Locus magazine and SFSite. Miriam Elizabeth Burstein blogs at The Little Professor, and teaches Victorian literature at SUNY Brockport. Miriam very kindly agreed to join the project in its later stages, revising a long comment/review that she had already written (and that China had independently cited to).


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Political bloggers don't follow the power-law distribution

Henry Farrell, a poli sci prof, has just finished a new paper on blogging popularity. He sez, "The finding that is perhaps of most interest to bloggers is that there doesn't seem to be a power law distribution of links to political bloggers - instead, it's a lognormal distribution. Our interpretation of this is that the forces leading to pervasive inequality and 'rich getting richer' phenomena are weaker than Shirky and others suggest - lognormal distributions are associated with network growth models that provide more room for link-poor sites to grow richer."

237K PDF Link

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Journos: a blogging survey for an academic paper

Henry Farrell, an astute blogger and cyber-politics prof from at the University of Toronto, is co-writing a paper on politics and blogging, and he's looking for answers to a simple survey from journalists, columnists, commentators, producers, or editors for newspapers, magazines, or television stations.

1) How many blogs do you read a day?

2) Please name the three blogs you read most frequently. [What if you read less than three? Then just name the ones you do read.]

3) Why do you read the blogs you read? In other words, what makes those blogs worth checking out on a regular basis?

4) Have you ever read something on a blog that affected your decision-making on what to air/publish? If the answer is yes, can you give an example?

5) How much influence do you think blogs have on political discourse? A lot, a little, or none at all?

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Blog entries from the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in NYC

Henry Farrell, cyber-rights prof from the University of Toronto, is attending the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in NYC this week, and he's taking fantastic and copious notes on his blog.

George Radwanski, Federal Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The US and Canada are very close in many ways, but are also very different. This is not to say that Canada is better, but it is different. One difference is in privacy laws

Radwanski is the Privacy Commissioner for Canada - he has responsibilities for both public and private sector. Is a voice for privacy on policy issues. There is no equivalent in the US. Radwanski is talking on behalf of Canada - he isn't able to tell any other country what to do

But in the wake of September 11, privacy has become an international issue. People were outraged by the attacks, and there was a need for security, and to address the psychological side, the crippling fear that people had. And this last is the goal of terrorism, what terrorism wants.

Usually, this is fairly specific, but by all accounts the goals of the current terrorist movement are much broader and diffuse. They want to attack the West; our freedoms and values are precisely the target. When people see what terrorists are capable of, it's easy to lose perspective, and to think that privacy has become a luxury

But this only rewards terrorism, it doesn't diminish it, it doesn't safeguard our lives. We could evacuate high rise towers, close subways and so on, but no reasonable person would advocate this.

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