natematias's blog

Designing Acknowledgment on the Web

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

I have a confession to make: my persona

Reboot: Surveying Information Ecosystems in Pakistan

Fresh from a new research project with Internews on information ecosystems in media-dark conflict areas in Pakistan, Reboot has joined us to share and discuss their latest research project in Pakistan, as they start to compile and interpret their results.

Panthea Lee and Kate Krontiris of Reboot, a consultancy which focuses on the practical implications of design and technology in global governance. Their impressively broad range of projects stretches from service design and governance reform to mobile justice and civic media. They focus especially on global governance adn international development, with a particular interest in Africa, MENA, and Asia.

Tinker Maker Enquirer Expert: Doing Research in Public Online

This morning in an interview about yesterday's Guardian Datablog post on gender in UK news, the Tow Center's Anna Codrea-Rado asked me for ideas on how data journalists and academics can collaborate. I mumbled a response about the cycles of peer review, models of public engagement, and expertise at visual presentation.

Inside, I was thinking, "Dear me! She thinks I'm an academic or maybe some kind of expert. Am I an academic? What does that even mean anymore?"

The Beauty and Terror of Commenting Communities: Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Media Lab

How can writers nurture great commenting communities while still engaging with the tough questions?

Speaking at the Media Lab today is Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor and blogger at The Atlantic and author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Before The Atlantic, Coates worked for The Village Voice, the Washington City Paper, and Time. Coates a visiting researcher here at MIT this year.

"I'm a college dropout," Coates reminds us. He's a writer now, but he failed English once in high school and twice in college. Coates started writing in 1996 and left school because he was in love with writing. He didn't understand at the time that writing could be a career. Once he figured out that he could get paid, he left to focus on his writing. For the first 12 years, Coates was a product of print. His father ran a small independent press. Growing up, there were books everywhere; he never expected to become an Internet writer.

Transforming Greenpeace to Win Big in the Post-Broadcast Era

(this post was written together with Denise Cheng)

How can global activist organisations spread creative, digital campaign approaches throughout their network?

Joining us for lunch today is Michael Silberman, the global director of the Greenpeace Digital Mobilisation Lab (@MobilisationLab). Michael was also co-founder of EchoDitto and national meetup director for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Michael starts out by showing us a Greenpeace intro video. Greenpeace is a campaign organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour to conserve and protect the environment. They are spread across 40 countries and has been campaigning since 1971. That was forty years go, and the Mobilisation Lab has been charged with transforming Greenpeace to win big in the post-broadcast era.

Measuring What They Preach: Comparing Religious Sermons Across Cultures

What would we learn by comparing the texts and teachings of an entire religion across culture and language?

What They Preach

A few weeks ago, I posed the idea of global prayer metrics. I compared the function of prayer notices to journalism and reflected on the theology of quantifying prayer. Today's post is a thought experiment and dataviz on measuring religious activity across cultures.

The Politics behind Babycastles

 Babycastles curates, hosts, and install independent games made by small groups of people or individuals around New York City and around the world, creating an arcade setting for people of all ages and identities to experience games.


Speaking to us about Babycastles is Syed Salahuddin, an adjunct professor at the NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and NYU Polytechnic and instructor at the Institute of Play. He has also taught at the MoMA Teens Program and the Museum of the Moving Image. Syed joins us for the MIT Media Lab's diversity speakers series.

Mexico's Networked Social Movements: #YoSoy132

How are networks and technologies being used to organise social movements in Mexico? Andrés Monroy Hernandez organised a panel to look at this question in the case of the Mexican #YoSoy132 movement. Andrés is a social computing researcher at Microsoft Research and an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. (I have previously blogged his research on designing for remix and creative learning). The panel was hosted by Microsoft Research New England, in collaboration with the Center for Civic Media.


Data Science for Gender Equality: Monitoring Women's Voices in the News

Can high resolution data and innovative technology help us create better representation of women in the news?

I believe so. Over the next year, my thesis project is to design for gender equity with a series of articles, artistic pieces, and technologies. I'm going beyond mudslinging and hand wringing to apply technology in constructive ways that can make a difference. And I need your help.

Today in the Guardian Datablog, Lisa Evans shared some initial results from software I created to track gender in the news. This post explains my vision for the larger project, describes our research methods, and points to other resources on gender in the media.

Introducing TICKLE: The Toy Interface Construction Kit Learning Environment

What do you call a cross between Tinkertoys, K'Nex, Gears, wooden blocks and a plastic boat?

TICKLE parts

My friend Eric Rosenbaum and I are trying to find out. We're inspired by Golan Levin and Shawn Sims's Free Universal Construction Kit, which allows anyone with a 3D printer to connect previously-incompatible construction toys. We love that Golan and Shawn released his designs with a Creative Commons license, but 3D printers remain far too expensive for most poeple.