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Category Archives: Recommended Books

Some will refuse a coronavirus vaccine. Can anything change their minds?

Washington Post – “Once again, people around the world are waiting eagerly for a vaccine. As with polio, rabies and other infections in the past, teams of scientists are racing to develop one. If they succeed, Americans will line up to be immunized, part of a global campaign to protect the world’s population from the novel coronavirus. But if history is any guide, some will hesitate, frightened by claims that the new, potentially lifesaving vaccines are part of a government effort to control our bodies, that they are harmful or that some untested, alternative treatment is preferable. Vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements, a testament to our species’ intelligence, science and altruism. Smallpox, once a constant threat in most regions of the globe, killed about 30 percent of its victims each year in England and France before a vaccine was introduced there during the first half of the 19th century. By 1850, smallpox deaths in France, estimated at 50,000 to 80,000 annually before the advent of the vaccine, had declined to a tenth of their previous level…Opposition to vaccines persists today, periodically gaining traction in the United States and other countries. Berman, an assistant professor of basic science at an osteopathic medical school, explores the history of anti-vaccine movements and how best to counter them. Such movements, he finds, share beliefs and features: wariness of government control, distrust of the medical establishment and its products, false claims about vaccines (often made by people with economic interests), and unfounded fears of harm, spread by misinformation and social media. Those most vulnerable to such claims are often parents trying to decide what is best for their children’s health. Rather than learning from reliable sources why childhood vaccines are necessary to protect both individuals and the population as a whole from infections, they may receive unreliable information from others in their community who oppose vaccination…”

New Book – How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

Medium OneZero – Editor’s Note: “Surveillance capitalism is everywhere. But it’s not the result of some wrong turn or a rogue abuse of corporate power — it’s the system working as intended. This is the subject of Cory Doctorow’s new book, which we’re thrilled to publish in whole here on OneZero. This is how to… Continue Reading

Book review: Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code

Joseph Savirimuthu, “Book review: Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code”, (2019) 16:1 SCRIPTed 95 https://script-ed.org/?p=3748 DOI: 10.2966/scrip.160119.95. Download PDF “Blockchains, distributed ledger technologies, bitcoins and peer-to-peer networks have reignited old debates and arguments about the implications of decentralisation for social, economic and political ordering. Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code sets… Continue Reading

The War For Kindness

Building Empathy In A Fractured World – “This book reviews the science of human kindness and empathy, drawing largely from psychological research.  In recent years, high-profile findings in this field (and others) have proven to be less robust than we once thought.  Psychologists have responded by making sure we are as transparent as possible about… Continue Reading

Commentary – Making Impeachment Matter

The Republic: “A national poll in September, one of the first taken after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry regarding the president’s dealings with Ukraine, turned up a plurality of respondents already backing Trump’s impeachment. The spread of opinion was as follows: 42 percent of Americans… Continue Reading

The World on Two Wheels

Overlooked No More: Annie Londonderry, Who Traveled the World by Bicycle – She cycled away from her Boston home and into stardom, leaving a husband and three small children for a journey that came to symbolize women’s independence. Intrigued by what little he knew of his great-grandfather’s sister, Peter Zheutlin, a journalist, decided to write… Continue Reading

How Legal Professionals Must Lead in the Age of Machines

Law Technology Today – “…Today, legal professionals, of course, spend much of their day interacting with computers. A desktop or laptop computer is the hearth of our workspace, where we do simple tasks like email, as well as complex tasks like using sophisticated systems to analyze data collections. We use our mobile phones, tablets, and ever-present… Continue Reading

The Internet’s Invisible Cleanup Crew

Jacobin – Review of Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media, by Sarah T. Roberts (Yale University Press, 2019). “Commercial content moderation, or CCM, describes one of the dirtier jobs on the corporate internet: reviewing and removing violent, racist, and disturbing content posted to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube… Continue Reading

The Underworld of Online Content Moderation

The New Yorker interview – The Underworld of Online Content Moderation:  “More than a hundred thousand people work as online content moderators, viewing and evaluating the most violent, disturbing, and exploitative content on social media. In a new book, “Behind the Screen,” Sarah T. Roberts, a professor of information studies at U.C.L.A., describes how this work… Continue Reading

Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050

New York Magazine – Intelligencer: “Jared Diamond’s new book, Upheaval, addresses itself to a world very obviously in crisis, and tries to lift some lessons for what do about it from the distant past. In that way, it’s not so different from all the other books that have made the UCLA geographer a sort of… Continue Reading

Are Robots Competing for Your Job?

The New Yorker – Are Robots Competing for Your Job? Probably, but don’t count yourself out. [For decades the internet heralded the demise of librarians – now it is AI perhaps – but we will still think – not!] “..The old robots were blue-collar workers, burly and clunky, the machines that rusted the Rust Belt.… Continue Reading