Author: MN

Why Wikipedia's Millionth Russian Page Is Worth Celebrating

Why Wikipedia's Millionth Russian Page Is Worth Celebrating

In the early hours of 11 May, a volunteer somewhere wrote the millionth substantive page on the Russian-language edition of Wikipedia. Crossing the 1,000,000-page mark is mainly a symbolic one, an aesthetically and cognitively pleasing number for us ten-fingered mammals, but it seems as good a time as any to take stock of the importance…

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Photos from Hayward Gallery Light Show

Photos from Hayward Gallery Light Show

Last week we caught the end of a very popular exhibition of light-based art installations in Southbank, London.  One was specifically designed to induce night vision, so the scout in me was happy on that basis alone.  It was also nice to see a gallery with a very playful atmosphere. The photos don’t do the…

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The Viral Ideals of Free Software

The Viral Ideals of Free Software

The free and open source software (F/OSS) movement has influenced wider understanding of intellectual property rights by propagating three core sets of norms and practices: 1. The privileging of authorship over ownership, and the embrace of collective authorship. 2. The transformation of property law from an absolute imposition into a set of hackable rules which…

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What do people actually buy with Bitcoins?

What do people actually buy with Bitcoins?

PSA for Bitcoin users: please take a few minutes to fill out the 2014 community survey This question was included in my survey of 1,000 Bitcoin users (most of whom responded before the recent price surge), and remains one of the areas poorly examined in media coverage.  I don’t buy into the drugs and pizza myth, of…

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Bitcoin, Hype, and the Future of Digital Currencies

Bitcoin, Hype, and the Future of Digital Currencies

The first version of a new Internet technology is rarely the one that wins mass adoption.  Early versions of the browser, search engine, email provider, and social network were exciting, but ultimately overtaken by later rivals.  Behind all the hype and speculation about Bitcoin over the last month, now gradually dying down, there is a…

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Overview of Bitcoin Community Survey Feb-Mar 2013

Overview of Bitcoin Community Survey Feb-Mar 2013

I created this survey on 12 February 2013 using Google Docs.  I posted the link on Bitcointalk.org, Reddit, Twitter, and Google+.  From there, the survey was reposted on various Bitcoin related sites.  I posted preliminary findings to my blog after 102 responses and 533 responses.  In both cases, the results sparked more interest and helped…

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Cutting Room Floor

Cutting Room Floor

The biohacking video I’ve been making for film class is finished. Some observations for anyone making a film… 1 — I fully understood the importance of filming cutaways, and filmed lots of them. However, there was a disparity between the kind of footage I filmed (background details, close-ups of equipment) and the footage I actually…

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Structure and Agency in Bourdieu's Distinction

Structure and Agency in Bourdieu's Distinction

In this essay I argue that Bourdieu’s thesis in Distinction* generally favours the role of structure over agency in determining taste.  However, within that framework opportunities for agency do exist.  Such agency is particularly available to those rich in cultural capital, enabled by their distance from necessity.  Outside the dominant classes opportunities for agency still…

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Technology in the Home

Technology in the Home

This is an extract from a mini-ethnography I did of an East London household of three young people, focusing on their use of technology. One of the recurring practices observed in the household was the retention of gadgets with overlapping functionality, sometimes to the point of redundancy.  Older, disused, and broken hardware is held in storage…

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The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1 updated)

The Demographics of Bitcoin (Part 1 updated)

These findings are based on the first 1,000 valid responses to an online survey posted in February 2013, as part of my study of the Bitcoin community.  For more on this survey see the overview page.