Category Archives: information doesn’t want to be free

Bitcoin: The Cryptopolitics of Cryptocurrencies

I’m happy to have a piece up at the Harvard University Press blog, entitled “Bitcoin: The Cryptopolitics of Cryptocurrencies.” It was written as a bit of an introductory piece for readers who don’t know much about Bitcoin and may have heard the news from Mt. Gox this week, so it will probably be old news […]

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Paper: ‘Commercial Trolling: Social Media and the Corporate Deformation of Democracy’

commercial troller

I wrote this essay for a collection that originally said it could handle pieces of this length, but in the end decided not to. It’s a bit long for traditional journals or edited collections, and it’s about some fairly immediate stuff that’s also connected to other work I’ve been writing lately, so I decided simply […]

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Bitcoinsanity 1: The (Ir)relevance of Finance, or, It’s (Not) Different This Time

silver and gold prices since 1344

One of the many fascinating paradoxes about Bitcoin is that when knowledgeable economists, financial professionals and journalists write about it, because they almost always dispute its transformative power and revolutionary status, their analyses are almost uniformly greeted with shockingly abusive insults. In part this is a demonstration of the anti-democratic anti-expertise tendencies of our digital […]

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Bitcoin Will Eat Itself: More Contradictions of (Digital) Libertarianism

bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC), the much in-the-news and up-for-government-discussion cryptocurrency favored by Deep Web drug markets, libertarians, anarchists and would-be assassins everywhere, has been on a tear recently, and as of yesterday has hit an all-time high (albeit briefly) of more than USD $900 mark. It’s not hard to find—in fact it’s difficult to avoid—cyberlibertarians of all […]

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On Allington on Open Access

open access

Daniel Allington has written the best thing I’ve yet read anywhere on open access, called “On Open Access, and Why It’s Not the Answer.” Anyone interested in the question should read it now. It is much more deep and detailed than most of the pro-OA writing out there, and gets at some of the deep […]

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Definitions that Matter (Of ‘Digital Humanities’)

closeness over time

In a recent post, “‘Digital Humanities’: Two Definitions,” I tried to point out an ongoing conflict in the deployment of the term “Digital Humanities.” While my goal was in part to show the practical range in definitions of DH, that was not really my main purpose. A lot of the time, definitions aren’t all that […]

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Techno-Utopianism: 3 Dissents

prologue and promise

While we are eagerly awaiting the shot-across-the-bow that is Evgeny Morozov‘s forthcoming To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism (Public Affairs, 2013), a few recent pieces of writing have come across the wires that open up some of the same space on which a few of us have been working (personally, I […]

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Article: ‘High-Frequency Trading: Networks of Wealth and the Concentration of Power’

Full paper (author’s pre-press version): High-Frequency Trading: Networks of Wealth and the Concentration of Power. Forthcoming in Social Semiotics. Abstract The development of High-Frequency Trading (HFT)–automated trading of stocks, as well as bonds, options, and other investment instruments–provides a signal example of the political effects of computerization on a discrete social sphere. Despite the widespread […]

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Centralization and the ‘Democratization’ of Higher Education

amazon central

In my previous post, “Computerization, Centralization, and Concentration,” I discussed how the fact that decentralization and distribution are genuine hallmarks of the networked computerization revolution can easily blind us to the fact that centralization and concentration, especially of economic power, are also its hallmarks, in many cases even more strongly than are the former. One […]

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Hack/2

So in yesterday’s news we learned not only of much more hacking by and awareness of hacking on the part of News Corp (I doubt we’ve even scratched the surface–what I want to know is how widely dispersed these techniques are and where knowledge about them comes from, because they all impinge on national security […]

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