Friday, November 20, 2015

Terror in the Name of God

Read this back when it came out.  Jessica Stern has gone on to do more work in the field of terrorism, violence, and its consequences.  Worth rereading in the context of the November 2015 attacks in Paris and possible endemic terror tactics around the world.

_Terror in the Name of God:  Why Religious Militants Kill_ by Jessica Stern
(HarperCollins, 2003  ISBN:  978-0060505325)

(xix)  What surprised me most was my discovery that the slogans sometimes mask not only fear and humiliation, but also  greed - greed for political power, land, or money.  Often, the slogans seem to mask wounded masculinity.

(xx)  First, terrorism is aimed at noncombatants.  This characteristic of terrorism distinguishes it from some war-fighting.  Second, terrorist use violence for dramatic purpose:  instilling fear in the target audience is often more important than the physical result.  This deliberate creation of dread is what distinguishes terrorism from simple murder of assault.

(xxiv)  This book is partly about how leaders bring themselves and their followers to the point where their empathy for victims is gone.

(15)  Terrorists often strike people who know them as two different people:  the family man and the killer...  Public shaming of members is one of the hallmarks of a cult.

(16)  Cutting off information from the outside world and destroying personal possessions or anything that reminds members of their precult lives is another common practice among cults...  [a French fascist felt he as if he was joining a religious order] that required that he "divest himself of his past" to be reborn as a person capable of what Himmler called heroic cruelty.

(26)  I tell Kerry [Noble] that I've noticed that one thing that distinguishes religious terrorists from other people is that they know with absolute certainty that they're doing good.  They seem more confident and less susceptible to self-doubt than most other people.

(50)  profile of a typical Palestinian suicide bomber before 9/11/01
Young, often a teenager.
He is mentally immature.
There is pressure on him to work.
He cant find a job.
He has no options, and there is no social safety net to help him.
He would try to work for the PA [Palestinian Authority] but he doesn't get a job because he has no connections.
He tries to get into Arafat's army, but again, he doesn't have the right connections.  He doesn't have "vitamin W."  (Vitamin W is an expression for wasta in Arabic, which refers to political, social, and personal connections.)
he has no girlfriend or fiancee.
On the days he's off, he has no money to go to the disco and pick up girls (even if it were acceptable).
No means for him to enjoy life in any way.
Life has no meaning but pain.
Marriage is not an option - it's expensive and he can't even take care of his own family.
He feels he has lost everything.
The only way out is to find refuge in God.
He goes to the local mosque... He begins going to the mosque five times a day - even for the 4 am prayers.  (An average devout Muslim will not attend the early-morning prayer.)

(52)  Soldiers are trained to risk their lives for their country;  but a suicide bomber goes into the operation assuming not that he might die, but that he will die.  The more training a soldier receives, the more skilled he is at avoiding death, whereas the opposite is true for a suicide bomber.  When such a person makes a cost-benefit analysis about the value of his life versus the value of his death, he attaches greater value to death - both for his country and for himself.

(137)  The bottom line, I now understood, is that purifying the world through holy war is addictive.
NB:  Addiction may be the dominant political force in the US today and is a defining characteristic of late stage capitalism, IMHO.  Anne Wilson Schaef's _When Society Becomes an Addict_ and _The Addictive Organization_ are good resources on this topic.

(143)  We will see terrorist groups competing for market share in the same way firms or humanitarian organizations do.  They advertise their mission and accomplishments.  They meet with high-level donors.  Just like humanitarian NGOs, they may begin to view their donors as the most important entity to please, rather than their clients, as the appearance of accomplishment becomes more important than actually achieving social or religious justice.

(173)  As military technology continues to improve and spread, enabling what political scientist Joseph Nye calls the "privatization of war," virtual networks and even lone-wolf avengers could become a major threat.

(209)  It occurs to me that he [Syed Salahuddin of the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the largest Kashmir-based militant group] seems to agree with the proposition that the rise of nongovernmental organizations (including terrorist groups) is weakening the relative power of states.

(225)  The U.S. cruise missile attacks against militant training camps in August 1998 "damaged the image of the United States," Sami-ul-Haq [of Pakistan's Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islan party] explained, and turned Osama bin Laden, an ordinary man, into a hero.  America's opposition to madrassahs is damaging the image still further, instilling "sentiments of violence" in madrassah students, he tells me.

(230)  Asked about the biggest threat to their groups' survival, a militant says that "free secular education for all" leading to an "increase in the literacy rate" is the gravest threat to the survival of the jihadi groups in Pakistan.
NB:  A broadcast/Internet/hard copy literacy campaign that blankets Pakistan as a "public service."  Perhaps adapting Paolo Freire's methods in teaching literacy in the Brazilian favelas?

(276)  The tri-border area where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet is becoming the new Libya:  The place where terrorists with widely disparate ideologies - the Marxists groups FARC and ELN, American white supremacists, Hamas, Hezbollah, and members of bin Laden's International Islamic Front - meet to swap tradecraft. Authorities worry that the more sophisticated groups could make use of the Americans as participants in their plots, possibly to bring in materials.

(279)  The most resilient group discussed in this book is the save-the-babies group Army of God, a virtual network  whose members meet only to discuss the mission, not concrete plans.

(283)  Whenever we face a terrorist threat, we should ask ourselves:  Who stands to gain?  Who is making money?  Who is receiving benefits of any kind?  Who is taking advantage of whom?

(284)  Other factors that appear to increase a country's susceptibility to terrorism include a "youth bulge," and especially, a high ratio of men to women.  Young males comprise a growing fraction of the population across the Islamic world.  Studies suggest that countries with a high ratio of males to females, and with young men comprising a large fraction of the population, are significantly more prone to violence of all kings.

(287)  But democratization is not necessarily the best way to fight Islamic extremism.  Most states that attempt to transition from autocracy to democracy get stuck in a kind of in-between state.  and electoral democracy does not necessarily imply liberal democracy, especially in the Islamic world.  Algeria's Islamist party won democratically, shortly after a drop in world oil prices.  In Pakistan, Islamist parties - some of which openly promote a "Talibanization" of Pakistan - did well in the 2002 parliamentary elections, in part because of the government's continuing failure to provide public services, but also because of anger about Islamabad's concession to the Uniterd States in the war on terrorism.

(289)  Another, equally important question often overlooked by policy makers and analysts is:  How can we fight terrorist groups without making the problem - hatred of the new world order and of America - even worse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly

_Four Wings and a Prayer:  Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly_ by Sue Halpern
NY:  Pantheon Books, 2001
ISBN 0-375-40208-x
(38)  Homero Aridjis, Mexican poet and monarch conservationist... Exaltation of Light [also associated with the Beats and friend of WS Merwin]
NAFTA chose the monarch butterfly as its symbol
(99)  "Science is a process of learning from your mistakes," he [Chip Taylor] said.  "If I get data that're dead wrong, I know I'm onto something.  Failure tells you where to go next.  Scientists forrget how many mistakes they made along the way.  They present their results in a refined way that doesn't suggest they screwed up for four years."
(108)  diapause - when referencing animal dormancy, is the delay in development in response to regularly and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions. It is considered to be a physiological state of dormancy with very specific initiating and inhibiting conditions.
(117)  He [Paul Cherubini, pesticide dealer and monarch enthusiast] was an angry white guy, the kind who always felt left out and disrespected, the kind whose anger - if anyone cared to notice - came from sadness not from spite.
(172)  "Any fool can do science," he [David Gibo] said, taking stock of his kit:  field glasses, wind gauge, thermometer, compass, logbook.  "That's why it's so powerful."
(178) numbers that made them seem like winged rain.
(208)  Alison Hawthorne Deming, The Monarchs:  A Poem Sequence (Louisiana University Press)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread - the Lessons from a New Science

_Social Physics:  How Good Ideas Spend - the Lessons from a New Science_ by Alex Pentland
NY:  The Penguin Press, 2014\ISBN 978-1-59420-565-1

(viii)  What I have learned from these experiences is that many of the traditional ideas we have about ourselves and how society works are wrong.  It is not simply the brightest who have the best ideas;  it is those who are best at harvesting ideas from others.  It is not only the most determined who drive change;  it is those who most fully engage with like-minded people.  And it is not wealth or prestige that best motivates people;  it is respect and help from peers....

(ix)  Most people think about using a framework centered on the individual and the eventual steady-state outcome, whereas I think in terms of social physics:  growth processes within networks.

We live in social networks, not in the classroom or laboratory.

(4)  Social physics is a quantitatve social science that describes reliable, mathematical connections between information and idea flow on the one hand and people's behavior on the other....

The key insights obtained with social physics all have to do with the flow of ideas between people.

(7)  We need to move beyond merely describing social phenomena to buildling a causal theory of social structure.  Progress in developing this represents steps toward what David Marr called a computational theory of behavior:  a mathematical explanation of why society reacts as it does and how these reactions may (or may not) solve human problems.

This sort of computational theory of behavior, which focuses on the human generative process, is what is required to build better social systems....

Almost uniquely among the social sciences, this new social physics framework provides quantitative results at scales ranging from small groups, to companies, to cities, and even to entire societies.  Currently, a social physics framework is in daily use in several commercial deployments, serving tens of millions of people in tasks such as financial investing, health monitoring, marketing, improving company productivity, and boosting creative output.

(8)  Who we actually are is more accurately determined by where we spend our time and which things we buy, not just by what we say or do.

The process of analyzing the patterns within these digital bread crumbs is called reality mining, and through it we can tell an enormous amount about who individuals are.

(11)  Data for Development (D4D) -

(14)  Anonymized data, visualizations, code, documentation, and papers can be found at  These data sets were obtained under U.S. federal human subjects law....

On May 1, 2013, I hosted the public unveiling of Data for Developoment, which is perhaps the world's first true big-data commons:  It describes mobility and call patterns along with economic, census, political, food, poverty, and infrastructure data for the entire African country of Ivory Coast.  These data are now available from

(15) ... two most important concepts in social physics:
Idea flow within social networks, and how it can be separated into exploration (finding new ideas/strategies) and engagement (getting everyone to coordinate their behavior).

Social learning, which is how new ideas become habits, and how learning can be accelerated and shaped by social pressure.

(16)  But rather than study how economic agents work and how economies function, social physics seeks to understand how the flow of ideas turns into behaviors and action.  Put another way, social physics is about how human behavior is driven by the exchange of ideas - how people cooperate to discover, select, and learn strategies and coordinate their actions - rather than how markets are driven by the exchange of money.

(17)  By creating social systems that look beyond aggregates such as markets, classes, and parties, and instead examining the detailed patterns of idea exchanges, I show how we can begin to build a society that is better at avoiding market crashes, ethnic and religious violence, political stalemates, widespread corruption, and dangerous concentrations of power.
NB:  Or better at creating them

..... In short, to achieve the exciting possibilities of a data-driven society, we require what I have called the New Deal on Data:  workable guarantees that the data needed for public goods are readily available while at the same time protecting the citizenry.  Maintaining protection of personal privacy and freedom is critical to the success of any society.

(26)  As Steve Jobs put it:
Creativity is just connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty, because they didn't really do it, they just saw something.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.  That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.

(29)  It seems that the key to harvesting ideas that lead to great decisions is to learn from the successes and failures of others and to make sure that the opportunities for this sort of social learning are sufficiently diverse.

(33)  What postdoctoral student Erez Shmueli, Yaniv, and I found is that a community of social learners spontaneously forms what is called a scale-free fractal network - one whose connections are systematically more diverse than merely random - and, in addition, that connections in the network change over time in this same scale-free fractal manner.

(34)  It's a lot like the chance of getting the flu during flu season, only ideas usually don't spread as far or as fast as the flu.  In fact, the only way we have reliably been able to trigger rapid cascades of idea flow is through the use of social network incentives, as we will see in the next few chapters.

(35)  What Kelly found was that star producers engage in "preparatory exploration";  that is, they develop dependable two-way streets to experts ahead of time, setting up a relationship that will later help the star producer complete critical tasks.  Moreover, the stars' networks differed from typical workers' networks in two important respoects.  First, they maintained stronger engagement with the people in their networks, so that these people responded more quickly and helpfully.  As a result, the stars rarely spent time spinning their wheels or going down blind alleys.

Second, star performers' networks were also more diverse.  Average performers saw the world only from the viewpoint of their job, and kept pushing the same points,  Stars, on the other hand, had people in their networks with a more diverse set of work roles, so they could adopt the perspectives of customers, competitors, and managers.  Because they could see the situation from a variety of viewpoints, they could develop better solutions to problems.

(39)  By reducing the rate of idea flow to allow greater diversity, we moved the social network back into its sweet spot and raised average performance.  Through managing idea flows, our tuning of the network turned average traders - often the losers in our current financial system - into winners.

(39-40)  Social learning is critical... Increasing your reach and your network's diversity makes it more likely that you can find the best strategies.

Diversity is important:  When everyone is going in the same direction, then it is a good bet that there isn't enough diversity in your information and idea sources, and you should explore further.  A big danger of social learning is groupthink.  How can you avoid groupthink and echo chambers?  You have to compare what the social learning suggests with what isolated individuals (who have only external information sources) are doing....

Contrarians are important:  When people are behaving independently of their social learning, it is likely that they have independent infomration and that they beleive in that information enough to fight the effects of social influence....

(40-41)  If you can find many such independent thinkers and discover that there is a consensus amonbg a large subset of them, then a really, really good trading strategy is to follow the contrarian consensus.

(41)  One disturbing implication of these findings is that our hyper-connected world may be moving toward a state in which there is too much idea flow,  In a world of echo chambers, fads and panics are the norm, and it is much harder to make good decisions.  This suggests that we need to pay much more attention to where our ideas are coming from, and we should actively discount common opinions and keep track of the contrarian ideas.  We can build software tools to help us do this automatically, but to do so we have to keep track of the provenance of ideas.

(45)  Our behavior can be predicted from our exposure to the example behaviors of other people.

(48)  In fact, exposure to the behavior examples that surrounded each individual dominated everything elese we examined in the study.

(49)  Therefore, people seem to pick up at least some habits from exposure to those of peers (and not just friends).  When everyone else takes that second slice of pizza, we probably will also.  The fact that exposure turned out to be more important for driving idea flow than all the other factors combined highlights the overarching importance of automatic social learning in shaping our lives.

(50)  When sifting through these hundreds of gigabytes of data, we found that the amount of exposure to people possessing similar opinions accurately predicted both the students' level of interest in the presidential race and their liberal-conservative balance....

Overheard comments and the observation of other people's behavior are effective drivers of idea flow.
NB:  How did Solidarity start?  By talking loud at the bus stop.

(54)  Mathematical models of learning in complex environments suggest that the best strategy for learning is to spend 90 percent of our efforts on exploration, i.e., finding and copying others who appear to be doing well.  The remaining 10 percent should be spent on individual experimentation and thinking things through.

(57)  Psychological studies have shown that the snap judgments of people are more altruistic and cooperative than the decisions made slowly and thoughtfully.  Examples such as the reactions of spectators at the Boston Marathon bombings, or of neighbors after the recent Oklahoma tornadoes show that this fast-thinking core of human nature plays an important role in building strong communities.

(60)  Using the terminology of economics, in most things we are collectively rational, and only in some areas are we individually rational...

Consider the word "kith," familiar to modern English speakers from the phrase "kith and kin."  Derived from old English and old German words for knowledge, kith refers to a more or less cohesive group with common beliefs and customs.  These are also the roots for "couth," which possessing a high degree of sophistication, as well as its more familiar counterpart, "uncouth."  Thus, our kith is the circle of peers (not just friends) from whom we learn the "correct" habits of action.

(63)  Similar patterns of social decision making are common in many animals and virtually all primates.  The signaling mechanisms vary from vocalization to body posture to head movements, but the structure of the decision-making process remains pretty much the same:  cycles of signaling and recruitment, until a tipping point is reached when everyone in the group accepts that a consensus has been reached.  Some evolutionary theorists think that this type of "social voting" process could be the most common type of decision making in social animals, in part because it is very good at accounting for the cost-benefit trade-offs of everyone in the group.  In addition, this type of consensus process typically avoids extreme decisions, making it more likely that the entire group will follow.....

Average performers thought teamwork meant doing their part on the team.  Star performers, however, saw things differently:  They pushed everyone on the team toward joint ownership of goal setting, group commitments, work activities, schedules, and group accomplishments.  That is, star performers promoted synchronized, uniform idea flow within the team by making everyone feel a part of it, and tried to reach a sufficient consensus so that everyone would willingly go along with new ideas.

(64)  A surprising finding is that when people are working together doing the same thing in synchrony with others - e.g., rowing together, dancing together - our bodies release endorphins, natural opiates that give a pleasant high as a reward for working together.

Similarly, business research has shown that this sort of engagement - repeated cooperative interactions among all members of the team - can improve the social welfare of the group.

(65)  What our grandmothers would have known, though, was that nearly all the social influence occurred between close friends who had a face-to-face relationship.  [Facebook election experiment with a vote message and a vote message including the faces of friends]

....There is growing evidence that the power of engagement - direct, strong, positive interactions between people - is vital to promoting trustworthy, cooperative behavior.

(66)  Further, there is strong evidence that economic incentives don't work very well anyway.  But social physics tells us that there is another way:  by providing incentives aimed at people's social networks rather than economic incentives or information packets that are aimed at changing the behavior of individual people.

(69)  In other words, the number of direct interactions is a very precise measure of the strength of the social pressure exerted between people.  Moreover, the number of interactions also predicted how well people maintained their new, healthier behavior after the experiment ended.

Similarly, the number of times people had direct interactions with each other gave a surprisingly accurate prediction of the trust they expressed in each other.  That is, the amount of direct interaction between two people predicts both the shared level of trust and the effectiveness of peer pressure....

That is, we focus on changing the connections between people rather than focusing on getting people individually to change their behavior....

Social network incentives act by generating social pressure around the problem of finding cooperative behaviors, and so people experiment with new behaviors to find ones that are better.

(71-72)  These results suggested trying an approach based on social physics.  So along with our colleagues at ETH, we next deployed a digital social network as part of the electric utilities' Web pages and gave people small rewards to encourage them to form local buddy groups.  As in the FunFit experiment, this buddy network used social network incentives rather than standard economic incentives:  When a person saved energy, then gift points were given to their buddies.

This social network incentive caused electricity consumption to drop by 17 percent, twice the best result seen in earlier energy conservation campaigns and more than four times more effective than the typical energy reduction campaign.  Just as in the FunFit experiment, behavior change was most effective when it leveraged the strength of the surrounding social ties.

(73)  What we found [after examining over 1000 companies' internal digital social networks] was surprising:  When the digital social network grows in bursts of engagement, the network ends up being far more effective than if it grows gradually. In companies in which people received a flurry of invitations to join the company's digital social network, they were much more likely join and use the network than they were in response to the same number of invitations spread out over time.
NB:  Important organizing idea

(77)  Engagement requires interaction:  If people are to work together efficiently, there needs to be what is called network constraint:  repeated interactions between all of the members of the group - not just between a leader and the members, or between the members and the entire group (as at a group meeting).  The extent to which good network constraint has been achieved can be tested by asking if the people you talk to also talk to each otehr.  If not, get them talking:  We found that the number of direct interactions was a very good measure of the social pressure to adopt cooperative behaviors.  Moreover, the number of interactions also predicted how well people maintained their new, more cooperative behaviors.

(78)  Engagement requires cooperation:  Remember the Bell Stars:  They pushed everyone on the team toward joint ownership of the group, involving everyone in goal setting, work activities, and getting credit for group accomplishments.  These star performers promoted engagement within the team by making everyone feel part of the team, and they tried to reach sufficient consensus so that everyone would willingly go along with new ideas.

Building trust:  Trust, by which I mean the expectation of future fair, cooperative exchanges, is built from the history of exchanges between people...  Social network pioneer Barry Wellman's suggestion that the number of telephone calls between two people is a good measure of their investments in the relationship - an investment often called social capital - seems exactly right.

(88)  The largest factor in predicting group intelligence was the equality of conversational turn taking;   groups where a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent than those with a more equal distribution of conversational turn talking.  The second most important factor was the social intelligence of a group's members, as measured by their ability to read each other's  social signals.  Women tend to do better at reading social signals, so groups with more women tended to do better...
NB:  Letting everyone have a voice means better outcomes

(89)  Think about it:  Individual intelligence, personality, skill, and everything else together mattered less than the pattern of idea flow....

The characteristics typical of the highest-performing groups included:  1) a large number of ideas:  many very short contributions rather than a few long ones;  2) dense interaction:  a continuous, overlapping cycling between making contributions and very short (less than one second) responsive comments (such as "good," "that's right," "what?" etc.) that serve to validate of invalidate the ideas and build consensus;  and 3)  diversity of ideas:  everyone within a group contributing ideas and reactions, with similar levels of turn taking among the participants.
NB:  short blasts again

(94)  When we analyzed the large data set we collected, we found that the most important factors for predicting productivity were the overall amount of interaction and the level of engagement (the extent to which everyone is in the loop).  Together these two factors predicted almost one third of the variations in dollar producitivity between groups.

(96)  The sociometric data that my research group and I have gathered from many different organizations show that creative output depends strongly on two processes:  idea discovery (exploration) and the integration of those ideas into new behaviors (engagement).

(101)  When we compared the creativity ratings to the interaction patterns, what Wen [Dong] and I found was that the teams that showed more variations in the shapes of their networks also rated themselves as having more creative output.  In other words, greater oscillation between patterns of exploration and engagement within these social networks correlated with creative productivity, at least as judged by the people in the networks (see the Reality Mining appendix). 

(103)  There is considerable evidence in the scientific literature showing that unconscious cognition can be more effective than conscious cognition for solving complex problems.  Our fast thinking seems to work best when our more logical, slow-thinking minds aren't interfering, such as during sleep or when we are turning an idea over in the back of our minds.  Because fast thinking uses associations rather than logic, it can make intuitive leaps more easily by finding creative analogies.  It can take the experience of a new situation, let it soak in for a while, and then by association produce an array of analogous actions.  In contrast, our attentive, slow-thinking mode provides insight into our actions, helping us detect problems and work through alternate plans of actions.

(106)  In studies of more than two dozen organizations I have found that interaction patterns within them typically account for almost _half_ of all the performance variation between high- and low-performing groups.  This makes the pattern of idea flow the single biggest performance factor that can be shaped by leadership, and yet today there isn't a single organization in the world that keep track of both face-to-face and electronic interaction patterns.

(107)  The most useful visualizations convey the levels of engagement and exploration within the organization, since these are the two main patterns that are characteristic of healthy idea flow.  In personal terms, the notion of engagement means that if the people you talk to also talk to each other, then you are in the loop and in good shape.  We have found that engagement levels predict up to half of the variation in group productivity, independent of content, personality, or other factors.  Exploration is how much the members of a group bring in new ideas from outside;  that in turn predicts both innovation and creative output.  Because innovation is the most important driver of long-term performance, it is important that managers encourage exploration for new ideas by helping employees establish diverse connectons between people.

(114)  A key social intelligence problem is to know when there's enough diversity in the ideas that have been harvested.

(115)  The first method [to solving the echo chamber problem] might be called the bookie solution... a scheme that first asks each person what they thought everyone else was going to say.  This "common knowledge" is then discounted, since it is obviously being counted more than once....

In the wise guys method, we look for individual who can accurately predict how other people will act but whose own behavior is different.  The logic is that if a person can predict other people's actions, then they already know the common knowledge,

A third solution for echo chamber problems is one that I came up with:  To estimate the amount of social influence between people, keep track of the dependencies between people's ideas and their behaviors.  For instance, people who regularly have similar opinions probably have similar sources of information, so opinions by such birds of a feather can't count as independent.

(118)  People can teach themselves to be charismatic connectors - they are made, not born.  The trick is to do what creative people do:  they pay attention to any new idea that comes along, and when something is interesting, they bounce it off other people and see what their thoughts are;  they also try to expand their social networks to include many different types of people, so they get as many different types of ideas as possible.  They use the coffee pot or water cooler to talk to the janitor, the sales guy, and the head of another department.
NB:  steps to good connections

(121-122)  [Red Balloon Challenge]  The purpose was to discover the best strategies for how the Internet and social networking can be used to solve time-critical search problems.  Examples include:  search-and-resuce operations in the aftermath of natural disasters;  hunting down outlaws on the run;  reacting to health threats that need instant attenton;  or rallying supporters to vote in a political campaign.

(125)  Rather, the point is that it's possible to get people to build an organizaton that does the work.  That is why we rewarded people both for finding balloons and for recruiting people to help search.  We rewarded people roughly equally for these two tasks, because building the network was just as important as the actual work of searching.
NB:  is there a reason why a successful political campaign organization does not often (or ever?) become a successful political support organization?

(128)  High-stress situations lead to greater engagement levels almost immediately, as people begin to talk to each other in order to figure out what to do, and then begin the task of forging new patterns of interaction that are better adapted to the situation.  Later, changes in the network of interactions act like social network incentives, as the desire to reduce stress drives the development of new patterns of interaction.

(129)  Our Red Balloon Challenge follow-up interviews suggested that people signed up their friends as a favor to the friends.  That is, recruiting a friend was like sharing a free lottery ticket.  You don't necessarily expect to win, but sharing the ticket strengthens the social ties with your friend.  By sharing, you make it more likely that they will share with you or help you out on another occasion;  you are building trust and social capital.

(130)  As the experiments in Chapter 4 (62-87) showed, strong social ties create the conditions in which peer pressure is the most effective mechanism for promoting cooperation....

Because idea flow creates culture, supports productivity, and enables creativity we should place greater value on professions that enhance idea flow:  teachers, nurses, ministers, and policemen, along with doctors and lawyers who work for charities, as public defenders, or for inner-city hospitals.  Better rewards for work that reinforces our social fabric would allow us to find a better, more sustainable blend between individual ambitions and the health of society.

(132-133)  We found that each of the different social roles that psychologists identify, i.e, protagonist, supporter, attacker, or neutral, uses different social signaling and, as a consequence, different patterns of speaking length, interruption of others, frequency of speaking, etc.

The same is true of the information content:  Someone contributing a new idea speaks differently than someone who is orienting the group to return to a previous idea or someone who is neutral.  As a result, each person's pattern of interaction can be used to identify their functional role - follower, orienteer, giver, seeker, and so on - without listening to the words.

(133)  We are all familiar with many of these social signals, but others are more difficult for us to perceive consciously.  A familiar example is mood contagion.  If one member of a group is happy and bubbly, others will tend to become more positive and excited.  Moreover, this signaling-induced effect on mood serves to lower perceptions of risk within groups and to increas bonding.

Similarly, people tend to mimic each other automatically and unconsciously.  Despite being mostly unconscious, this mimicking behavior has an important effect on its participants:  Its increases how much they empathize with and trust each other.  Not surprisingly, negotiations with lots of mimicry tend to be more successful, no matter which party starts copying the other's gestures first.

(142)  In my expereince, these behavior demographics typically provide predictions of consumer preferences, financial risks, and politcal views that are more than four times as accurate as standard geographic demographics based on zip codes.
NB:  demographic tribes

(145)  The typical city bus system gets only around one mile per gallon per person in fuel efficiency, except at rush hour, but we have to keep those huge buses on the street.

(150)  There are three types of interventions that are naturally suggested by the social physics perspective.

Social mobilization:  As used in the Red Balloon Challenge (see Chapter 7), social mobilization is critical for tasks such as searching for missing kids or escaped criminals, and for finding critical supplies after a disaster such as an earthquake or tornado....

I imagine that the primary use of this type of incentive will be to create new organizations rather than to solve short-term crises.

(151)  Tuning the social network:  A second type of intervention involves tuning the network to provide sufficient idea diversity.  In Chapter 2 I showed that people made much better decisions when they could see those of a wide range of other people, and their outcomes.  The exception to this wisdom of the crowd phenomenon was when the social network was so dense that it formed a sort of echo chamber, so that the same ideas circulated around and around.

To solve the problems of both insufficient diversity and echo chambers, we were able to tune the flows of ideas between people by providing small incentives, or nudges, to individuals.  These caused isolated people who were too interconnected to engage less and to explore outside their current contacts.
NB:  Echo chamber nudges which were....?

(152)  We can also create diversity ratings of news blogs and similar civic media, so that no one interest group can drown out everyone else....

Leveraging social engagement:  This third type of network intervention is helpful in addressing tragedy of the commons situations by using social network incentives to increase engagement around the problems within local communities.

(153)  When people saved energy gift points were given to their buddies.  The social pressure this created caused electricity consumption to drop almost 17 percent - twice the improvement seen in earlier energy conservation campaigns.

(158)  The result of this research is a simple mathematical equation that describes how people tend to have lots of social ties to people who live nearby and increasingly fewer ties with people who are farther and farther away.

(162-163)  Another interesting outcome that emerged when Coco [Krumme] analyzed people's purchasing behaviors was that their patterns of exploration have statistics that are similar to the foraging behavior of animals.  We constantly compare among familiar local alternatives to get the best value for our money, of course, but we also go on explorations to find new sources and experiences. These bursts of shopping have the same character as when animals occasionally choose to hunt in a new area, or search for new food sources.

These bursts of exploration - shopping trips, days off that are spent wandering around the city, weekend getaways - seem to be important in growing the local ecology of cities.  If we looked at cities with greater than average rates of exploration in the credit card data, we found that in subsequent years they had a higher GDP, a larger population, and a greater variety of stores and restaurants.  It makes sense that more exploration, which results in a greater number of interactions between current norms and new ideas, would be a driver of innovative behavior.

(164)  In fact, the relationship between the amount of disposable income and amount of [shopping] exploration is very predictable:  For each additional dollar of disposable income we see a small increase in both the diversity of socialization and the diversity of store visits.

(165)  Wealth allows people to invest more in exploration.  Perhaps this is because good financial status makes people feel more confident and secure in exploring new social opportunities.  Exploration appears to be driven by the human need for social contact and novelty rather than by the search for wealth.

(168)  The best size for such a city can even be calculated:  If within each peer group everyone is a friend of a friend, then the math of social physics indicates that we get maximum engageent for populations of up to roughly one hundred thousand people.  This suggests that the best solution is small-to-medium-sized towns in which everyone is within walking distance of a town center, the stores, the schools, and the clinics.

(178)  New Deal on Data - workable guarantees that the data needed for public goods are readily available while at the same time protecting the citizenry....

A key insight that motivates the creation of a New Deal on Data is that our data are worth more when shared, because they can inform improvements in systems such as public health, transportation, and government.

(179)  One way to enhance idea flow is through the creation of a public data commons, e.g., freely available maps and statistics about matters such as employment and crime rates.  Robust data sharing and anonymization technology can create a data commons that respects citizens' privacy, corporations' competitive interests, and, in addition, provides oversight of government.

(180-181)  New Deal on Data
You have the right to possess data about you.  Regardless of what entity collects the data, the data belongs to you, and you can access your data at any time.  Data collectors thus play a role akin to a bank managing the data on behalf of its customers.

You have the right to full control over the use of your data.  The terms of use must be opt-in and clearly explained in plain language.  If you are not happy with the way a company uses your data, you can remove it, ust as you would close your account wiht a bank that is not providing satisfactory service.

You have the right to dispose of or distribute your data.  You have the option to have data about you destroyed or deployed elsewhere.

(182)  ... my research group and I here at MIT, in partnership with the Institute for Data Driven Design (cofounded by John Clippinger and myself), have helped build openPDS (open Personal Data Store), a consumer version of this type of system, and we are now testiing it with a variety of industry and government partners.  Soon sharing personal data could become as safe and secure as transferring money between banks.  [SWIFT system for data]

(185)  We need social physics, so that we can move from systems based on averages and stereotypes to ones based on the analysis of individual interactions.

(187)  Trento, Italy "open data city" living lab:

(190)  Instead, the power of social physics comes from the fact that almost all of our day-to-day actions are habitual, based mostly on what we have learned from observing the behavior of others.  Because most of our actions are habitual and based on physical, obvservable experiences, i.e., stories heard, actions seen, etc., they can be described as repeated patterns....

Unlike apes or bees, however, we know that humans always have an internal, unobservable thought process, and this will occasionally emerge to defeat our best social physics models.  The consequence is that although we can ue social physics to design living spaces, transportation systems, and governments that are tuned for daily routine and typical human behavior, we will always have to leave room for unusual personal choices.  What is surprising is that the data tell us that deviations from our regular social patterns occur only a few percent of the time.  As a consequence, we have to be very careful to provide for these green shoots of individual innovation and not give in to arguments about cost and only support the most common patterns.  (Please see the Fasct, Slow and Free Will appendix for more detail on this subject.)
NB:  And how do we leave open that space for "unusual personal choices"?

(191)  Because markets and classes are averages or stereotypes, reasoning that uses these terms leads inevitably to considering all the people in the market or class to be the same.  Adam Smith's markets end up being as dehumanizing as Karl Marx's classes.
NB:  But at least they're zip code categorized and sociometric monitored.

(194-195)  As Adam Smith explained:
They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.
NB:  Note that the effect of the invisible hand is "equal portions among all its inhabitants."

(195)  As we have seen in previous chapters of this book, people cooperate with each other to establish social norms.  These norms are what we call culture.  In fact, the main source of competition in society may not be among individuals but rather among cooperating groups of peers.  
NB:  Peer group politics and social/cultural organization, voluntary association of Kropotkin

...Classes versus peer groups.  Peer groups with shared norms are different from the traditional idea of class, because they are not defined only by standard features such as income, age, or gender (e.g., traditional demographics), their skills and education (per Max Weber) or their relationship to the means of production (per Karl Marx).  Instead, group members are peers in the context of a particular situation.
NB:  Situationism and the spectacular, detournement as the individual exception

(201)  In markets, one must usually rely on having access to an accurate reputation mechanism that rates all the participants, or to an outside referee to enforce the rules.

As a consequence of greater stability and trust, the equations showed that the dynamics of exchange networks intrinsically cause them to evolve to be fair, and the surplus generated by the relationship is equally divided between the individuals involved.  And as a consequence of more fairness, more stability, and greater levels of trust, exchange networks are also more cooperative, robust, and resilient to outside shocks.  That is a good recipe for building a society that will survive....

Our results strongly suggest that the invisible hand is more due to the trust, cooperation, and robustness properties of the person-to-person network of exchanges than it is due to any magic in the workings of the market.  If we want to have a fair, stable society, we need to look to the network of exchanges between people, and not to market competion.
NB:  Mutual Aid, Kropotkin again

(203)  Social physics suggests that the first step [to design a society better suited to human nature] is to focus on the flow of ideas rather than the flow of wealth, since the flow of ideas is the source of both cultural norms and innovation....

I beleive that there are three design criteria for our emerging hypernetworked societies:  social efficiency, operational efficiency, and resilience...

Social efficiency:  In the language of economics, social efficiency refers to the optimal distribution of resources throughout society - a process that, as Adam Smith famously described, occurs through the workings of an invisible hand.

(206)  We can adapt this trust network technology for everyday, person-to-person interactions and so create an exchange network society instead of having to always resort to open-market mechanisms.  Just as the banks sign up to the SWIFT network so that they can safely interact with other banks, individuals could sign up for trust networks so that they could safely interact with other inidividuals or companies, secure in the knowledge that their personal data would be used only in the ways they agreed to.
NB:  Sounds Utopian to me.  Is SWIFT that secure?  Can we have control over our own personal data when government(s) and corporations already possess it?

(207)  The open market and strong personal control models are but two approaches to social efficiency.  Blends of these two models are also possible.  For instance, we could create a limited data commons that is free and open to the public but yields much a greater benefit when combined with personal, private data.

(208)  One step toward achieving this goal of operational efficiency is to create a public data commons that lets us see the big picture in real time.  Not every piece of data needs to be part of this god's-eye view of the world, however.  The commons generally needs only aggregate anonymous data that are relevant to the tasks at hand.

(209)  In other words, exploration for good ideas would happen in the digital realm, but engagement for consensus would primarily happen face-to-face.  By iterating between exploration and engagement among and between the different groups of buddies, we might be able to scale up the ancient decision-making processes that we see in social species ranging from bees to apes and that are still necessary to win consensus among fast- and slow-thinking humans.

(211)  All of this suggests that in order to maintain the robustness of the entire society, we need a diverse set of competing social systems, each with its own way of doing things, together with fast methods of spreading them when required.  This sort of robustness is exactly what we achieve when we tune a system for the best idea flow....

As a consequence, these organizations are now beginning to train everyone in the system in the principles of distributed leadership.  When decision making falls to those best situated to make the decision rather than those with the highest rank, the resulting organization is far more robust and resistant to disruption.  
NB:  distributed leadership, see Market Basket

(212)  On May 1, 2013, we saw the public unveiling of what is perhaps the world's first true big data commons, with ninety research organizations from around the world reporting hundreds of resuts from their analysis of data describing the mobility and call patterns of the citizens of the entire African country of Ivory Coast.
NB:  Trento, Italy, Ivory Coast, Iceland DNA.... big data aggregations 

(214)  D4D research at

(215)  Throughout this book I have argued that we need to think about society as a network of individual interactions rather than as markets or classes.

MIT Media Lab's City Science initiative

(226)  The framework that PhD and postdoctoral students Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Erez Shmueli, Samuel S. Wang, and I have developed, called openPDS, uses the World Economic Forum definition of "ownership" of data that I proposed as the New Deal on Data, i.e., the rights of possession, use, and disposal.  In addition, it follows the policies of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), the US Department of Commerce green paper, and the US International Strategy for Cyberspace.  The framework, openPDS, is also strongly aligned with the European Commission's 2013 reform of the data protection rules.  These recommendations, proposed reforms, and regulations all recognize the increasing need for personal data to be under the control of the individual, as he is the one who can best judge the balance between the associated risks and rewards.
NB:  As if the individual he, she, it, them..., can figure out what the risks, rewards, and balance just might be

(229)  Under the openPDS/dynamic privacy mechaism, a piece of code would be installed inside the user's PDS.  The installed code would use the sensitive location and accelerometer data to compute the relevant answer within the safe environment of the PDS.  That answer alone would be sent to the remote server.

Combined with data ownershp, this simple idea allows users to benefit from a personalized experience without having to share raw data, such as raw accelerometer readings or GPS coordinates.  In other words, the code is shared, not the data.

(232)  My observations about how mental health could be assessed by the honest signals of behavior that can be measured by the sensors in mobile phones and about the value of users sharing these signals with their friends inspired the inclusion of the openPDS and funf systems into DARPA's Detection and Computational Analyis of Psychological Signals program (DCAPS).

In DCAPS, smartphones provide a pervasive platform that enables continuous sensing and monitoring in natural settings while minimizing the effort burden placed on veterans.  These devices can record the user's tone of voice, frequency of interactions with other people, general levels of movement and activity, as well as other subtle and honest social signals.  In fact, a sizable proportion of the current DSM-IV symptoms that are used to diagnose various psychological health conditions focus on changes in behavior that are precisely the types of measurements that can be effectively captured by smartphone interactions (DSM-IV, soon to be updated as DSM-V, is the most widely accepted mental health diagnostic manual.

(243)  The influence model is built on an explicit abstract definition of influence:  An entity's state is affected by its network neighbors' states and changes accordingly.  Each entity in the network has a specifically defined strength of influence over every other entity and, equivalently, each relationship can be weighted according to this strength.

Our experimental results in the Friends and Family study, the Social Evolution study, and elsewhere have shown that the amount of experience to peers who have already adopted a particular behavior can provide a good estimate of the probability that an individual will adopt that behavior, at least for the behaviors where the actions and outcomes are visible.  This is why social physics works.  Without these sorts of strong social learning and social pressure effects we would instead have to model the detailed thought patterns of each individual.

(257)  For the slow mode, often a single exposure to a new idea or a new piece of information will be enough to change behavior.  An example of this simple contagion model is the spreading of a new fact (that road is under construction) or a rumor ("she did what!?").  This same model is also typical of the spread of disease through a population.  Infectious ideas, like infectous diseases, travel along social ties.  This is simulated by a cascade of state transitions within the influence model of the social network.

We know, however, that much of our behavior is due to fast-thinking habits.  Here a simple contagion model does not do a good job of capturing changes in many habitual behaviors.  For the fast mode of thinking we usually need exposure to several examples in which someone else successfully used the new behavior before are willign to try it for ourselves.  In these cases, a second, complex contagion model is a better descrition of the adoption of habitual, fast-thinking behaviors.
NB:  Fast-thinking is slow on the uptake?

(260-261)  We proposed a new model for networked societies and provided a new set of mechanisms for policy makers to address the problem of externalities.

These mechanisms are suitable for a networked society in which externalities are global but interactions are local.  Rather than the individual internalizing the externalities via Pigouvian taxation or subsidies, we localize them to one's peers in a social network, thus leveraging the power of peer pressure.  When the externalities are localized, cooperation is achieved locally, and thus global cooperation is also observed.  Therefore, the social mechanisms incentivize peers (via taxation or subsidy to them) to exert pressure (positive or negative) on an individual, thus causing a drop in negative externality (or increase in positive externality).

We show that under certain very general conditions, this approach can yield a socially efficient and better outcome at a lower budget than the one for the Pigouvian subsidies.

Our main insight is that by targeting the individual's peers, peer pressure cna amplify the desired effect of a reward on the target individual.  In contrast with the Pigouvian approach, which focuses on the individual causing the externality, our mechanism focuses on their peers in the social network.  The idea is to incentivize agent A's peers to exert (positive or negative) pressure on A.

By targeting the individual's peers, peer pressure can amplify the desried effect on the target individual.  That is, under certain conditions, the resulting reduction in negative externality can be larger, given an identical subsidy budget.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Net Smart: How to Thrive Online

_Net Smart:  How to Thrive Online_ by Howard Rheingold
Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 2012
ISBN 978-0-262-01745-9

(4)  Literacy now means skill plus social competency in using that skill collaboratively.

(16)  When today's infants grow up, they will be amazed that their parents' generation could ever get lost, not be in touch wiht everyone they know at all times, and get answers out of the air for any question.

(18)  Participatory media are social media whose value and power derives from the active participation of many people.  This value derives not just from the size of the audience but also from people's power to link to each other, to form a public as well as a market.

(19)  Another recent Pew study found that more than 50 percent of today's teenagers have created as well as consumed digital media.

(20)  Starting with the Web's invention (which its creator refused to patent and insisted on giving to the public domain), and continuing with efforts such as the South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog, some significant online social behavior suggests that in addition to financial compensation and other forms of naked self-interest, people do things together for fun, mutual enrichment, the love of a challenge, out of compassion, and because we sometimes enjoy working with others to make something beneficial to everybody.

(22)  All these superheroes of cybercollaboration knew a few simple things that the rest of us can benefit from learning about, such as how to:
Create a variety of ways to contribute and give volunteers attractive roles
Enable self-election where people choose what it is they want to work on
Give participants platforms to work on together for mutual interest
Acknowledge contributors
Make decision making transparent (if not necessarily democratic)

(24)  Today, _how you know who you know_ matters as much as who you know, and one of the most valuable traits a person could have in a twenty-first-century organization is a knack for knowing "who knows who knows what."

(29)  As [Alan] Kay famously noted, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it"… 

(38)  Oversimplification number one:  attention, memory, and executive control are the fundamental components of thinking - and the executive control process is the particular power you can tap to control your use of social media.

(39)  The part of your brain that you use to retrieve memories and keep information in your working memory is referred to as the "executive control" or "cognitive control" function.

(40)  Our senses are receiving an estimated eleven million bits of information per second, while we are conscious of only forty….

The discovery of "mirror neurons" in primates strongly implies that paying attention to others is one of the few human cognitive capabilities that may be neurally "hardwired".
NB:  Autistics and mirror neurons?

(41)  When it comes to interacting with the world of always-on info, the fundamental skill, on which other essential skills depend, is the ability to deal with distraction without filtering out opportunity.

(42)  What do you move when you shift your attention?

(45)  [Linda] Stone grew even more intensely interested when others reported that they, too, sometimes held their breath while reading or writing email - a phenomenon that she started calling "email apnea."  She told me that she came to realize that "breathing is the regulator of attention."  Stone reminded me that holding one's breath is directly connected to the "fight or flight" response…

Stone remarked that regular breathing patterns, by contrast, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, causing relaxation, the release of digestive enzymes, and a sense of satiety - signs of a "rest and digest" mode.  She pointed out that "we're putting our bodies in a state of almost constant low-level fight-or-flight.

(47)  A range of experiments has shown that the hormone dopamine does indeed appear to be associated with a reward for "seeking" behavior.

(58)  Stone reminded me that "intention is the fuel for attention."  Intention and setting goals are different, she told me, because "a goal is outside and in the future, but an intention is inside you and very present.  And when does behavior change?  It changes in the present."

(63)  [Lester] Fehmi's open focus is a good descriptor of a kind of attention that is not directing itself at a single, task, or maintaining a narrative linking multiple perceptions, thoughts, plans, goals, and memories, but that is continuously awake and alert to itself in the present.

(67)  The narrative network is what is most active when your mind drifts into plans and memories during meditation.  The direct experience network is what is most active when you keep your attention on your breath;  it is probably the one that is active when an athlete is in the zone.

(86)  When investigating a topic, I often add the words "critique" or "criticism" to my search query in order to find contrary or skeptical opinions.

(94)  Like it or not, journalism is becoming something more akin to a network than a guild.

(96)'s community votes on stories in order for its aggregate judgments to identify opinion disguised as fact, and reflect the degree of political bias detected in stories from both teh Left and Right. is an online community of reviewers (around twenty-two thousand as of this writing) who use a set of review tools devised by veteran journalists.

(103)  I also use, a service that turns all the URLS tweeted by all the people I follow (or lists of people I designate as knowledgeable about specific topics) into a daily newspaper with headlines, snippets, video, and slides….

Similarly, puts together custom "newspapers" about specified content….

Search and RSS can be combined.  Click on "advanced search" on the home page of Google News or Yahoo! News, perform a search, and then subscribe to that search, so that any time one of the tens of thousands of news publications around the world indexed by those services publishes the set of words specified in your search in the future, it will show up in your aggregator. Set up a Google alert, and have it delivered as a "feed"….

I currently use the Netvibes RSS reader because it provides three levels of organization that I can sync with my mental priorities.

(105)  [Clay] Shirky labels this emerging system that combines digital aggregation with human opinions "algorithmic authority."  He defines algorithmic authority as "the decision to regard as authoritative an unmanaged process of extracting value from diverse, untrustworthy sources, without any human standing beside the result saying 'Trust this because you trust me.'"
NB:  Track record

(112)  The Web, Wikipedia, open-source software, and even the notorious music file-sharing service Napster are all examples of this principle of "many people will cooperate if the medium makes it easy enough."

(119)  The activities that interest-driven groups engage in involve more serious learning and deeper involvement in the crafts of their subculture, generating more sophisticated and specialized roles, methods, products, and tools - what [Mimi] Ito refers to as the genre of "geeking out." [How to geek out on ecological restoration and 100% success for all humanity?] Thirty years ago, two of the people who created today's digital tools, Gates and Jobs, were exactly the kind of interest-based subculture fans Ito portrays, except their fringe subculture consisted of teenage enthusiasts who liked to geek out by building their own computers.  [NB:  maker culture]  Whether they are driven by friendship or interest, the young people across the United States who Ito's team studied, representing a broad demographic sample of the population, use media sharing and production as a form of social currency.  The communities they develop are based on creation, exchange, collaboration, and critique of media created by participants….

Fred Turner, Stanford professor as well as head of Stanford's program on science, technology, and society, claims that people like me both contribute to the commons and profit from it by being "network entrepreneurs."  By this, Turner means that we network entrepreneurs benefit in reputation and audience/public by giving our products freely to our networks, and that when we act to connect previously disparate networks, we put ourselves in a position to profit from the connection.

(126)  When you are trying to decide which one of a number of videos are of higher quality or are more useful than other similar ones, look at how much a video is shared - often a better measure of its relevance than the number of views.

(133)  Tag and search is more natural, more suited to the world, then categorize and pigeonhole.

When millions of people tag, categories emerge, and entities can easily be stored and found via multiple categories - an organizational form that has come to be known as "folksonomy."

(134)  Big corporations whose stock we don't necessarily own profit from our labor.  But is it labor?  Or is it play?  The blurring of that distinction has led some people to refer to this behavior as "playbor."
NB:  What is the economy of playbor? Shirky's love economy.

(149)  Infotention.  "Watch what I'm paying attention to" is the elementary particle of cooperation.

(151)  Punishing those who break the institution's rules is apparently essential to cultivating cooperation;  "altruistic punishment" may be the glue that holds societies together.

(152)  She [Elinor Ostrom] also observed that groups that are able to organize and govern their behavior successfully are marked by the following design principles:
1.  Group boundaries are clearly defined.
2.  Rules governing the use of collective goods are well matched to local needs and conditions.
3.  Most individuals affected by these rules can participate in modifying the rules.
4.  The right of community members to devise their own rules is respected by external authorities.
5.  A system for monitoring member's behavior exists; the community members themselves undertake this monitoring.
6.  A graduated system of sanctions is used.
7.  Community members have access to low-cost conflict resolution mechanisms.
8.  For common pool resources that are parts of larger systems:  appropriation, provision, monitoring, enforcement, conflict resolution, and governance activities are organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises.
NB:  Plus ecological design principles.

(153)  Wayne Macphail:  "You need coordination to dance, cooperation to dance with a partner, and collaboration to dance with a flash mob."

(153-154)  [Arthur] Himmelman's taxonomy:
1.  Networking is the simplest, with the least risk and commitment - such as handing out business cards, attending conferences, hanging out in a chat room, or commenting on a blog….
2.  Coordination means that all involved parties share information and agree to modify their activities for mutual benefit….
3.  Cooperation, as Himmelman defines it, is "exchanging information, modifying activities, and sharing resources for mutual benefit and to achieve a common purpose…"
4.  Collaboration is the most powerful means of collective action.  It uses networking, coordination, and cooperation as building blocks, adding to "exchanging information, modifying activities, etc.," the requirements of "enhancing the capacity of another for mutual benefit and to achieve a common purpose by sharing risks, resources, responsibilities, and rewards."

(161)  The [Climate CoLab] research team discovered that the group's collective IQs were _not_ correlated with the average IQ of the individual group members, nor with the score of the "smartest" person on the team.  The factors found to contribute to a group's collective IQ are the group's facility at taking turns in conversations, members' sensitivity to social cues, and the number of women on each team

(163)  Knowing the difference between a community and a network is as critical socially as crap detection is essential informationally.

(165)  Do those four things - know the territory, assume goodwill, jump in wherever you can add value, and reciprocate - and you'll succeed as a virtual community member.

(167)  Crowdsourced wealth is being created by amateur fashion designers as well as gold mine owners:  the one million online Threadless community members upload designs for T-shirts and vote on the best designs, and the weekly winners are manufactured and sold, sometimes bringing significant profits to the designers.

(171)  Emergency services are being crowdsourced by citizens:  CrisisWiki, an editable directory of disaster and emergency resources was inspired by HurricaneWiki and the South-East Asias Earthquake and Tsunami Blog.

(176)  Weber sketches "eight general principles that capture the essence of what people do in the open source process:  Make it interesting and make sure it happens… scratch an itch… minimize how many times you have to reinvent the wheel… solve problems through parallel work processes whenever possible… leverage the law of large numbers… document what you do… release early and release often… talk a lot."  "Make it interesting" resonates with McGonigal's design principle for epic games:  give people a "sense of awe and wonder" along with a lofty goal to work toward. 
NB:  Democracy - talking loud at the bus stop 

(179)  The four principles that the authors believe make collaborative consumption work mesh nicely with what we know about cooperation theories:  trust between strangers, belief in the commons, idling capacity (do you have a room that is not being used or an automobile that is not being driven at the moment?), and critical mass.
NB:  More democracy

(198)  Sarnoff's law is named after television pioneer David Sarnoff.  With a broadcast medium such as television or radio, the value of the network increases arithmetically_ with the number of receivers:  add more receivers, add that much more value.  Mertcalfe's law is named after Robert Metcalfe, creator of the Ethernet, a precursor to the Internet architecture, who declared that the value of a many-to-many network like an Ethernet or Internet increases even more quickly than that of a broadcast network, because adding nodes _multiplies_ the reach of each node.

(199)  [David] Reed told me that he started thinking about group=forming-networks (GFNs) when he wondered why eBay had become so successful:  "eBay won because it facilitated the formation of social groups around specific interests…."  I quoted my interview with Reed in my 2002 book, _Smart Mobs_:  "I saw the value of a GFN (group-forming network) grows even faster - much, much faster - than the networks where Metcalfe's Law holds true," Reed told me, drawing even steeper curves on napkin.  "Reed's Law," he continued, "shows that the value of the network grows proportionately not to the square of the users, but _exponentially_."

"That Sneaky Exponential:  Beyond Metcalfe's Law to the Power of Community Building" by David Reed:   There are really at least three categories of value that networks can provide:  the linear value of services aimed at individual users, the "square" value from facilitating transactions, and exponential value from facilitating group affiliations.

(201)  [David Reed]  "That is, in such networks, there is a small number of sources (publishers or makers) of content that every user selects from.  The sources compete for users based on the value of their content (published stories, published images, standardized consumer goods).  Where Metcalfe's Law dominates, transactions become central.  The stuff that is traded in transactions (be it email or voice mail, money, securities, contracted services, or whatnot) are king.  And where the GFN dominates, the central role is filled by jointly constructed value (such as specialized newsgroups, joint responses to RFPs, gossip, etc.)

Manuel Castells, _The Network Society_…
"Why Networks Matter", Castells's introduction to _Network Logic:  Who Governs in a Interconnected World?_ he lays out seven ways that technologically mediated social networks are transforming society.

First, these networks are global, and the worldwide transit time for information is nearly instantaneous, which Castells contends in the structural basis for globalization. Second, networked organizations outcompete command-and-control bureaucracies.  Third, the networking of civil and political institutions is the emergent response to the governance crisis of nation states. Fourth, networks of activists are reconstructing civil society at local and global levels.  Fifth, networked individualism, virtual communities, and smart mobs are redefining sociality.  Sixth, media space - the public space of our time - now encompasses the whole range of human social practices. Finally, "in this network society, power continues to be the fundamental structuring force of its shape and direction.  But power does not reside in institutions, not even int he state or in large corporations.  It is located in the networks that structure society."  

(204)  [Marc A] Smith, then a sociology graduate student at the university of California at Los Angeles, was able to answer my question about why people would give time, information and social support to others online, even if they didn't know the other people well.  "Social capital, knowledge capital, and communion," Smith answered - a terse explanation that has stood the test of time.

(207)  [Marc A] Smith:  "Don't fixate on the number of connections but on the quality of those connections and the diversity of your portfolio of connections.  It can be worthwhile to connect to less prominent, less highly linked individuals, if they are different from the people in your network…

Smith's "be a bridge" advice made such good sense that I asked him for more.  "Eigenvector centrality!" he replied, smiling at my baffled expression… Eigenvector centrality is an ingredient of Google's PageRank"… A link from a hub that has many inbound links itself adds to your authority.  "So - second piece of advice - get people to link to you.  LInks to you  are proxies for endorsement."

(208)  Most significant, in my opinion, is the way Wellman's [Toronto] NetLab has detailed the social consequences of a shift from a group-centric sociality to what Wellman calls networked individualism

(209)  A group is densely knit (most members knew each other) and tightly bounded (there aren't many connections to people who don't know everyone else), whereas a network is sparsely knit (most members do not know most other members) and loosely bounded (plenty of those small-world-making distant connections to people outside the core).

(211)  Because connections are to people and not to places, the technology affords shifting of work and community ties from linking people-in-places to linking people at any place….  The person, rather than the household or group, is the primary unit of connectivity.
"The Social Affordances of Networked Individualism" Barry Wellman, Anabel Quan-Haase, Jeffrey Boase, Wenhong Chen, Keith Hampton, Isabel Isla de Diaz, and Kakuko Miyata

(212)  The networked environment, proliferation of networked devices, ease of summoning our own networks with text messages and tweets, and way in which our media powers have shifted our social attention from groups to networks are a constellation of social transformations that Rainie and Wellman call "the triple revolution." The drivers of this revolution, according to Rainie and Wellman's forthcoming book, _Networked:  The New Social Operating System_, are the rise of the personal Internet, spread of powerful movie information and communication devices, and shift from groups to network as the primary focus of sociality.

(217)  "The evidence is extraordinarily clear on one subject.  The overwhelmingly direct cause of reciprocity is giving support in the first place."  Or as [Barry] Wellman put it in a lecture at the Clinton School of Public Service, "The most important criteria for getting help is helping somebody else.  If you want help in the future, help somebody now.  Pay it forward.  We have hard data on that."
NB:  Money buys happiness when you give it away:  Michael Norton at HBS

(219)  Like the diamond or graphite metaphor for network structures, social capital arises from the shape of ongoing relationships as wells the characteristics of individuals.  The two keys to that shape are networks of people who trust each other to some degree, and norms this people share that encourage both reciprocity and occasional uncompensated contribution to a commons….

[Robert] Putnam's team asserts that in civic communities, citizens are bound by horizontal relationships of reciprocity, rather than vertical relationships of authority and dependency.

(221)  Observing reciprocity is another norm that is important to the formation of social capital.  Reciprocating - paying back - can be specific (quid pro quo) or generalized (diffuse).  Diffuse reciprocity means you don't pay back only to individuals but also to the network or community.  Communities in which the norm of diffuse reciprocity is high can more efficiently restrain free riding and more easily resolve collective action problems.
NB:  More democracy

(222)  Bonding social capital refers to ties between people who share strong mutual contexts and invest relatively heavily in their relationship, such as strong-tie friendships, family, neighbors, and coworkers.  Bridging social capitals a function of weaker and more distant ties - again, between people who have more in common than not.  Linking social capital involves ties to people in dissimilar circumstances and communities, or the kind of ties that are necessary for small-world networks. Bonding capital increases feelings of solidarity, trust, and specific reciprocity.  Bridging social capital helps cliques to break out of their insular world views and bring in external information, and assist in diffusing information across multiple networks. "Bonding social capital consists of a kind of sociological superglue, whereas bridging social capital provides a sociological WD-40."

(223)  Add to "it's not what you know, it's who you know" the addendum that success also depends on "how different the people you know are from each other."

(223-224)  [Fred] Turner:  An entrepreneur may recognize different social worlds and might be a kind of peripheral member of different social worlds, but unless they have a place to bring those people together, those worlds never actually meet.  When they meet, they need to not only come together in some place.  They need to do something together.

(226)  One of the real masters of the PLN [Personal Learning Network] craft is Shelley Terrell, an educator of educators I discovered in my first search for social media classroom adepts. I ended up blogging about her for the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Web site,

(235)  Scalability:  The average blog has six readers.  Just because things might be public doesn't mean that they automatically will be read by all people across all space and all time.  What scales is variable and, often, it's what you least want that is most visible.

(239)  Mashable, a Web site that has proved to be a reliable source, claims to have an "always up-to-date guide to managing your Facebook privacy."

(248)  Use the search term "link:  http://..." (with your URL in place of the ellipses) to see every link to a specified page.
To check claims by any political faction, use….

The search engine DuckDuckGo claims to be able to help you break out of your search filter 

(258)  Douglas Engelbart, "Augmenting Human Intellect"

(265)  Richard McManus, "Detecting Bull:  How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism in  Print, Broadcast, and on the Wild Web,"
Scott Rosenberg, "In the Context of Web Context:  How to Check Out Any Web Page," Wordyard Blog, September 14, 2010,

(270)  Robin Good (Luigi Canali de Rossi), "Real-time News Curation - The Complete Guide, Part 6:  The Tools Universe," MasterNewMedia, http://www.masternewmedia,org/real-time-news-curation-the-complete-guide-part-6-the-tools-universe

(272)  Mizuko Ito, Heather A Horst, Matteo Bittanti, danan boyd, Becky Herr-stephenson, Patricia G Lange, CJ Pascoe, and Laura Robinson, _Living and Learning with New Media:  Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 2009)

Ito Mizuko, "Amateur Cultural Productiona dn Peer-to-Peer Learning,"

(274)  Robin Good, "Real-time News Curation, Newsmastering, and Newsradars:  The Complete Guide, Parts 1-6," MasterNewMedai, September 7, 2010,

(286)  Pieter Boeder, "Habermas' Heritage:  The Future of the Public Sphere in the Network Society," First Monday 10, no.9 (September 2005),

Howard Rheingold, "Howard Rheingold's Public Sphere in the Internet Age Widget," Howard Rheingold's Posterous, February 6, 2009,