Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

The News as a Social Process for Improving Society

Francis SteenFrancis Steen, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Library Communication Studies Archive, spoke at the Media Lab for an event organised by the ICE (Imagination, Computation, and Expression) Lab today. Denise and I liveblogged it, so let us know where the errors are and we'll fix them. 

Francis Steen begins by posing the question: why do we have news?

It's not a question of accuracy, he argues; we should look at the news as a way of thinking. Think of the news as a state space that includes what is possible and what is valuable. That is, the news take events that occur in the world and place them in terms of what is valuable and what is possible.


Hello everyone.

My name is Chris Peterson.

This is my blog. There are many like it. But this one is mine.

I'm a new research assistant here at the Center for Civic Media, as well as a graduate student in the Comparative Media Studies program here at MIT.



Though I've only recently arrived to the shiny box of awesome which is the Media Lab, I've spent a lot of time at MIT. For the last three years I directed web communications for MIT Admissions. In addition to wrangling all of our web stuff, I also read undergraduate applications for MIT, with a special focus on subaltern, first-generation, and maker students, as well as overseeing all applicants from Central Asia and the former Soviet Union. I was a MITES counselor and freshman advisor as well. It was an amazing job.

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.

Smart Customization vs. Mass Production

Liveblog of Ryan C.C. Chin's PhD thesis defense at MIT Media Lab

Ryan came to MIT in 1997, and got a Master's in Architecture, and then at the Media Lab, before entering into the Lab's Ph.D program. He took leave for 18 months to work on the CityCar project.

Ryan's thesis examines smart customization, and the scientific differences between mass customization and traditional mass production. Is one better than the other? Is one more sustainable?

The CityCar is customizable on a number of levels: its base design, its adaptability to its environment (city), and its individual parts' modularity.

Ryan hasn't only worked on cars; he's also studied customization of dress shirts. He chose shirts because of their low cost, frequency of use, and relatively easy traceability (see SourceMap).

How to Game the System? Voting-Rules Tweaks for Better Representation

What geeked-out little changes to our voting system would you make to result in huge benefits to representative government?

On Becky's recommendation, I've been reading Elinor Ostrom's Governing the Commons. The extraordinarily fun part of the book is how quickly it gets you out of the "government is either the solution or the problem" debate. Now, Ostrom tightly circumscribes her research, limiting it to common-pool resources (fisheries, grazing land, and the like), excluding common goods (which is what I focus on below, in terms of voting), and suggesting the self-governing, self-regulating structures she studies can't be broadened to the largest organizational national governments.

But that doesn't mean I'm not tempted to do it anyway.


Subscribe to Front page feed