Blogging Residencies

In 2013, ribbonfarm introduced blogging residencies: extended guest blogging stints, devoted to specific themes. Resident bloggers explore a broad theme over the course of 4-6 posts  through the year. Here’s the 2013 residents page.

For 2014, we have Sam, Jordan, Kartik and Keith signed up to tackle a variety of themes either inspired by, or directly related to, computing and digital culture.

NOTE! Resident bloggers contribute to this site in their personal capacity. Their views do not reflect the views of their employers.

Data Gardens by Sam Bhagwat of Moore’s Hand. Voltaire’s metaphor of “tending your gardens” reflects a fairly universal human desire to reduce the world’s complexity into a set of familiar, manipulable objects and metaphors (gardens).We all know frameworks and people who reductively map the world into data sets and generating/processing systems — inhabitants of what we’ll call “data gardens.” Posts will start with soil inspection; then examine the impact of data garden cultivation on other gardens; and finally explore the roots of sustainable “gardening” in the modern world.

Posts to date:

  1. Algorithmic Governance and the Ghost in the Machine
  2. Authors and Directors
Marginally Acceptable by Jordan Peacock (Google+). Jordan will be reflecting on the ways the promises of hyped new technologies fail to materialize, the reasons (and rationalizations) why firms and individuals stick with poor solutions, and the social ramifications of these decisions. Stepping away from the technology titans, he will be focusing on more quotidian concerns: invoicing systems, email to fax appliances, business forms processing, COBOL payroll applications and SCADA control systems; the workaday systems that we love to hate, but which lubricate our modern lives and persist despite all reason.

 Posts to date:

  1. The Poor Usability Tell
  2. Love your Parasites
Consensual Hells by Kartik Agaram. Kartik will be exploring how our institutions (organizations, bureaucracies, markets, governments) reflect blind spots in human nature, with debilitating consequences. What would institutions look like in a hypothetical alien race without these blind spots? Might they conceivably work on Earth? This work will build on last year’s series by Mike Travers, in particular.

Posts to date:

  1. From Cognitive Biases to Institutional Decay
  2. The Legibility Tradeoff
Totalizing Views by Keith Adams. Sub-disciplines of computer science secretly think that their view of computing is correct, and other views are really degenerate, half-formed, ad hoc approximations to their correct view. E.g., information retrieval thinks all computing is really search, machine learning thinks all computing is really traversing an error surface, systems people think that computing is fundamentally about physical machines that do stuff in the world, etc. In this series, Keith will explore different totalizing views of computing.

Posts to date:

  1. Watch this page!

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