Archive for category: Review

HASTS Mobile Seminar, 1st ed.

HASTS Mobile Seminar, 1st ed.

HASTS’s Mobile Seminar, 1st ed. (last week) was a lot of fun — at least that’s what the participants said — and it sounds like it’s something we’d like to do again soon. Stay tuned about a possible Denver edition in November, for those of you who will be going to AAA and 4S, and, weather-allowing, another in December. How it worked: we walked from the department, across the Mass Ave bridge, along the Esplanade, and back, over about an hour and a half. We partnered up for 40 minutes at a time, with the conversation focusing on each person for […]

On Ninjas & Data Analysis: STS at the Tokyo Trick Art Museum

On Ninjas & Data Analysis: STS at the Tokyo Trick Art Museum

Three stalwart companions in silliness; Tokyo Trick Art Museum, May 2015. Many thanks to Tim Highfield & Jasmine Li. Trick Art Museums—and their upstart rival Trick Eye Museums—are spreading rapidly across East Asia. Both museum franchises specialize in a particular kind of trompe l’oeil optical illusion designed for interaction and reproduction. According to the Trick Art website, the first Trick Art Museum opened in 1992 in Tochigi prefecture in Japan. There are currently eighteen dedicated galleries and museums in Japan alone, and Trick Art and Trick Eye franchises now span Tokyo to Singapore, Bali to Mongolia. You’ll find them in kitschy […]

MyIdol, Your Avatar, Playful Surveillance, & Ubiquitous Facial Recognition

MyIdol, Your Avatar, Playful Surveillance, & Ubiquitous Facial Recognition

Ever wanted to see what you’d look like with blue hair? In a bright red suit? How about pole-dancing in a panda costume? A new, free, iPhone app called “MyIdol” has captivated the likes of Conan O’Brien, Miley Cyrus, and all of my friends. The app, by Chinese company Huanshi Ltd., generates a 3-D avatar from any facial image that you enter. Based on the instructions given (which are in Chinese, although that hasn’t stopped thousands of users) you can take a selfie, input the image, and the software will begin to match vector points on your face to produce […]

Make-Your-Own Collaborative Twitter Account

The @sweden Twitter account is fascinating: It’s the official Twitter account for the country of Sweden, and each week it’s run by a different Swedish citizen. “Every week, someone in Sweden is @Sweden: sole ruler of the world’s most democratic Twitter account.” It’s a lovely point of inspiration. But how do you actually make a collaborative Twitter account? This post lays out one way of doing so, using my experiences with the @HASTS_MIT project—inspired by @sweden—as an example. If you want to know more about the project, please check out @HASTS_MIT: A Community & Public Scholarship Twitter Experiment.   1. Decide on your goals for […]

@HASTS_MIT: A Community & Public Scholarship Twitter Experiment

@HASTS_MIT: A Community & Public Scholarship Twitter Experiment

I’m a PhD candidate, prof of Japanese culture & media, acting director of Knight Science Journalism, NSF postdoc in Anthropology, member of the History Faculty, HASTS alum, 2nd year HASTS student, a historian of science, a Mellon Postdoc in Anthro, Academic Administrator in STS, an Exchange Scholar. I study digital/social partnerships to resolve child exploitation & #trafficking; online parody as a form of social critique; laboratory-grown meat; body maps of anatomy and acupuncture in England and China; the production, practice, & circulation of evidence-based psychotherapies; the Atlantic sugar trade in the late 19th cent; history of technology, business, higher ed […]

Airline seating as symbol and metaphor of inequality

Airline seating as symbol and metaphor of inequality

Airline interiors are clearly interesting spaces to think about technology and politics. Sociologist Elizabeth Popp Berman has a nice blog-post on orgtheory where she computes Gini indexes for the interior of different aircraft, based on the space they allocate to different classes of passengers (first, business, economy). Speaking of transatlantic flights, she comments: Unsurprisingly, though, these air-beds take up even more space than a nice comfy first class seat. So if we look again at how the space is distributed, we now have 21% of the people using about 40% of the plane, 27% using another 20%, and the final […]

Animals, Health and War: Conference Notes

Animals, Health and War: Conference Notes

Lately I attended the 41st Congress of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine. The conference’s themes of “One Health” and “Animals in War,” draw to London speakers from 28 countries. The variety helped to spice up the standard Eurocentric bias these conferences often suffer from. And so, after a presentation on vaccines in Britain, one Turkish veterinarian said he would like to highlight the role of Ottoman practices of inoculation imported to England by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The peculiar combination between trained historians who are fascinated by veterinary and veterinarians who are captivated by history diversified […]

Cross-STS Launched—- Probing the Genealogies

Cross-STS Launched—- Probing the Genealogies

The new working group at HASTS, Cross-STS, had a great start last week, 9/24/2014, with over twenty people from varied disciplinary backgrounds like Anthropology, Architecture, Medicine, STS and Public Policy joining us. “STS” was dissected and reconfigured on several planes in this first meeting. Under the broad umbrella theme of “crossing” disciplinary, regional, transnational boundaries to discuss the emergent forms of STS, the meeting focused on the most recent 4S (Society of Social Studies of Science) conference held at Buenos Aires in August 2014, as well as, STS syllabi from schools across three different continents: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en […]

Engineering Taste: IBM’s Chef Watson and Technologies of Heteromation

Engineering Taste: IBM’s Chef Watson and Technologies of Heteromation

In the documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, Chef Ferran Adria can be seen painstakingly testing new flavors and recipes for the now-shuttered El Bulli restaurant. The menu theme is “water, ” and over the course of weeks, even months, single dishes are perfected with a new flavor addition, a sprinkling of green matcha powder here or an injection of mint-flavored sugar there. The recipes are always distinguished by Adria’s unique flair for new gastronomic devices and technologies. In the film we can see that Chef Adria’s process is a craft combing tacit taste and exacting discipline not uncommon among […]

Dissertation Review: Mathematical Professionalization in Mid-Century America

Dissertation Review: Mathematical Professionalization in Mid-Century America

Historical studies on scientists in the Cold War university have surged in recent years. Perhaps more significantly, research on this topic has diversified. Recently described by Steven Shapin in one instance, “it was immediately understood that it was the natural scientists and engineers who had departed the Ivory Tower en masse, leaving the humanities and most of the human sciences behind” during the Cold War. The options of federal contracts and grants implied an alternative to university support to which scientists could turn. But whereas many twentieth-century treatments were content to leave conclusions at that, more recent scholars—such as David […]