Archive for the 'radioberkman' Category

RB204: The Art and Science of Working Together

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If you’ve ever experienced the problem of a dead cell phone battery and only incompatible chargers within reach, you’ve experienced one of the minor frustrations of a non-interoperable system. This frustration — not to mention the environmental waste of having dozens of different charger types for the same class of device — has led some countries to institute regulations for cell phone manufacturers to use a single common standard.

Such a structure is an example of an Interoperable System. And interoperable systems can range anywhere from relatively minor markets like mobile phone chargers, to massive infrastructures like smart energy grids or air traffic systems.

Friends of the show John Palfrey and Urs Gasser are the authors of the newly released Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems. They spoke with David Weinberger about how Interoperability works, and how interoperable systems can lead to greater innovation, greater efficiency, and better functioning societies.

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RB203: From Digital Uprising to Digital Society

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Lots of digital ink has been spilled about how and whether digital technology played a critical role in bringing about the Arab Spring. But it’s been 18 months since the spark of revolution was first lit in Tunisia, way back in December of 2010.

How has digital technology played a role in laying the foundation for a stable Tunisia? Today’s guests were tasked with finding an answer to that question. And it turns out to be a very complex and interesting one, leading them to explore Tunisia’s communications infrastructure, Tunisia’s digital economy, and an increasingly technology-enabled civil society.

Zack Brisson and Kate Krontiris of Reboot are the authors of the recently completed TUNISIA: FROM REVOLUTIONS TO INSTITUTIONS.

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RB202: Memeology

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ROFLCon III

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Two weeks ago, the Berkman Center co-sponsored the third –  and, we learned, final! –  ROFLCon. For the n00bz, ROFLCon is a conference named after the acronym for “rolling on the floor, laughing” and devoted to celebrating internet culture. Friend of the Show Tim Hwang co-founded the event in 2008 when he and Christina Xu invited Tron Guy to Cambridge.

Both ROFLCon and internet culture have evolved since then, so we sent producer Frances Harlow on location to ask attendees, “What are memes, and do they really matter?”

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RB 201: The 42 Streams (Rethinking Music X)

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T mobile, Karoke, 30th April 2009 - Trafalgar Square

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In today’s episode we wrap up our coverage of last week’s Rethink Music conference with a conversation between guest host Chris Bavitz and Kristin Thomson.

In addition to her work as community organizer, social policy researcher, entrepreneur and musician, Kristin is a consultant at the Future of Music Coalition, which recently unveiled the findings from its massive Artist Revenue Streams project designed to answer the question, “How are today’s musicians earning money?”

After interviewing more than eighty composers and performers, conducting a dozen financial case studies, and distributing an online survey to more than 5,000 musicians, the Future of Music Coalition has identified no less than 42 distinct revenue streams ranging from karaoke licensing to merchandise sales.

Friend of the show, Assistant Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and lecturer at Harvard Law School Chris asked Kristin about her research and its implications for contemporary musicians.

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RB 200: The Library Of The Future

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Library Bookshelf

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The technological advancements of the past twenty years have rendered the future of the library as a physical space, at least, as uncertain as it has ever been.

The information that libraries were once built to house in the form of books and manuscripts can now be accessed in the purely digital realm, as evidenced by initiatives like the Digital Public Library of America, which convenes for the second time this Friday in San Francisco.

But libraries still have profound cultural significance, indicating that even if they are no longer necessary for storing books they will continue to exist in some altered form.

Radio Berkman host David Weinberger postulated in his book Too Big To Know that the book itself is no longer an appropriate knowledge container – it has been supplanted by the sprawling knowledge networks of the internet. The book’s subtitle is “Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room.”

Inspired by the work of Harvard Graduate School of Design students in Biblioteca 2: Library Test Kitchen – who spent the semester inventing and building library innovations ranging from nap carrels to curated collections displayed on book trucks to digital welcome mats – we turned the microphone around and had library expert Matthew Battles ask David, “When the smartest person in the room is the room, how do we design the room?”

Matthew Battles is the Managing Editor and Curatorial Practice Fellow at the Harvard metaLAB. He wrote Library: an Unquiet History and a biography of Harvard’s Widener Library.

David Weinberger is the author of Too Big To Know and a senior researcher at the Berkman Center. He is also the co-director of the Harvard Law School Library Lab.

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RB 199: Be Great. Go Viral. (Rethinking Music IX)

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RB199

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Dave Herlihy currently teaches music industry classes at Northeastern University and operates his own practice specializing in entertainment law, intellectual property, copyright, trademark, licensing, and new media.

But twenty-five years ago he was the lead singer of O Positive, a Boston-area band poised on the brink of a major label record deal.

Friend of the show, Assistant Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and lecturer at Harvard Law School Chris Bavitz interviewed Dave about his band’s trajectory from being the “best band in the basement” to appearing on the Billboard charts (and what came after).

Dave also offers his insight into the role of record labels in the YouTube era, and how he would resolve media licensing issues if he were an enlightened despot, and how to get famous.

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RB 198: The Community Supported Musician (Rethinking Music VIII)

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Is there room in the music industry for middle-class musicians?

Friend of the show Nancy Baym brought together three career performer/songwriters who all stumbled on the same analogy for how musicians can “make it” in the digital age: that of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). Kristin Hersh, Zoe Keating, and Erin McKeown discuss what models have worked for them, and the unorthodox ways they’ve learned to make a living as artists.

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RB 197: University 2.0

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University 2

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This week’s guest, Juan Carlos de Martin, readily admits that he is only the latest in a long line of thinkers to portend the end of the university as we know it. He almost gleefully cites Thomas Edison as one of his most notable predecessors. But Juan Carlos may be the first to be right.

When Juan Carlos began his research tracing the history of the university – an institution that has barely changed since the founding of the University of Bologna nearly a millennium ago – he was optimistic about the democratizing effects of digital technology. However, Juan Carlos now says he has identified several persuasive arguments against the University that together could topple the ivory tower.

David Weinberger interviewed Juan Carlos – a Berkman Fellow and co-founder of the NEXA Center for Internet and Society in Torino, Italy – about what Juan Carlos has called the “perfect storm” on the University’s horizon.

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RB 196: The Rally Cry of SOPA

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We all know by now that SOPA/PIPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act, and the Protect IP Act, respectively — died a sudden death in Congress in January. When online giants like Wikipedia and Tumblr went dark on January 18th of this year to protest the measures Congressional switchboards were overwhelmed with calls to just drop it.

But how did a set of measures like SOPA/PIPA, otherwise unheard of and generally projected to pass into law quietly, get suddenly thrust into the limelight?

Field producer Melissa Galvez brings us these excerpts from a panel at the Shorenstein Center on the Press and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where internet and/or politics experts Susan Crawford, Micah Sifry, Nicco Mele, and Elaine Kamarck discuss how the grassroots campaign to bring down SOPA/PIPA was built, and what it says about organizing on the internet.

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RB 195: Can 100 Million Viewers Save a Child?

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The #Kony2012 video, and accompanying campaign and meme, has done a lot to raise awareness.

Of WHAT exactly, it’s hard to tell.

The intended target for attention — the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony — is certainly a big one.

But the video was flawed. In favor of simplicity it glossed over crucial facts and advocated passionately for questionable solutions, in the end bringing more critical attention back to Invisible Children, the charismatic American youth group behind the campaign.

Most of all the explosion of Kony 2012 has raised awareness about sensitivities around the politics of intervention in Africa, and the utility of digital activism and fundraising for awareness campaigns in the United States.

Today we hear from four guests:

After the jump: our up-to-date list of the most thoughtful posts on Kony, Uganda, Central Africa, Invisible Children, and digital activism.

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