Thursday, March 22, 2012

This week in 'Evil people being aided and abetted by the system'...

George Zimmerman, killer of unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin.  It has taken some days for the sense of outrage to build, as it becomes more obvious that yes, this guy (Zimmerman) is a dangerous gun-wielding irritant, who against the express wishes of the police decided to track down and confront Trayvon Martin for the heinous crime of being black in public.

We all know what happened next, and that Zimmerman seemed to get away with it.  That looks less likely now, at least.  Coverage is widespread, but for my money, Ta-Nehisi Coates has the best of it, over multiple posts and days.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The US right and blog use

Interesting study out of the Berkman center at Harvard here.

Notably, we find evidence of an association between ideological affiliation and the technologies, institutions, and practices of participation across political blogs. Sites on the left adopt more participatory technical platforms; are comprised of significantly fewer sole-authored sites; include user blogs; maintain more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary content; include longer narrative and discussion posts; and (among the top half of the blogs in our sample) more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization as well as discursive production.

(Linked by Leiter)

This seems to tie in quite closely to the ongoing discussion I am in over at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.  The link is to a critical discussion of my article 'The New Political Blogosphere' in Social Epistemology 26(1), 55-70.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Implicit bias and race

The Hendricks thing happening over at newapps has been painful to read for a while now, and has just taken an interesting turn with a new focus on the possible racial component of the criticism of Hendricks.  Buried in the commentary to that thread is a link to an interesting test run through Harvard, which attempts to measure implicit bias in comparisons between two groups, European Americans and African Americans.

The test can be found here and is worth doing, it uses the standard methodology for this kind of thing.  I was surprised to find that I have a moderate bias in favour of African Americans.  Trying to determine why this is, my first thought is that, living outside of the US, my primary exposure to American people is through political coverage, and there are comparatively few African American Republicans.  As such, I am more likely to trust African Americans than European Americans, because they are less likely to be spouting Republican nonsense.  Now, this explanation is appealing, but unlikely to be complete.  Oh well.