What we read this week (22 Jun)

The reads this week revolve around changing web culture (memes, the Slow Web and auto-generated e-books), and the morality and usefulness of collecting data on people (open city data and database marketing).

Quotes of the week

To be human is to tinker, to envision a better condition, and decide to work toward it by shaping the world around us.

Frank Chimero

Articles of the week

  • New York Times: You for Sale: Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome
    A chilling read about the company that has more data about people than any other company or institution out there. This article comes at a time when a similar German company called Schufa had to cancel its foray into finding out how to add Facebook data into its database after a huge public outcry. As Sam Seaborn said on West Wing: “The next two decades are going to be about privacy.”
  • Jack Cheng: The Slow Web
    Jack Cheng applies the principles of the slow food movement to the web and describes an approach that values timely over real-time, moderation over excess and knowledge over information.
  • Smithsonian: What Defines a Meme?
    Great excerpt from James Gleick’s The Information about the definition and the history of the meme. Essential reading for anyone involved in communications and the spread of ideas.
  • The Pop-Up City: Data-Driven Urban Citizenship
    This article lists many examples of projects that demonstrate developments, benefits and potential problems in the usage of urban data.
  • TRAUMAWIEN: Ghostwriters
    Artist coders set up bots that gathered YouTube comments and compiled them into mindless but fascinating e-books, which were then sold through Amazon. Amazon has since deleted the books, which raises further questions about what can and can’t be considered legitimate in online publishing. Excerpts from the books, including the brilliant Alot was been hard by Janetlw Bauie, can be read here.