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Biweekly links for 09/07/2009

by Michael Nielsen on September 7, 2009
  • …My heart’s in Accra » Xiao Qiang and Evgeny Morozov with dueling views of digital activism
    • “Evgeny Morozov offers… a healthy dose of skepticism about the possibility of digital activists changing the world via Facebook and Twitter. He begins with the story of Anders Colding-Jørgensen, a Danish psychologist who created a Facebook activism group to protest the dismantling of Stork Fountain in Copenhagen. Of course, the government wasn’t actually planning on dismantling the fountain, a national symbol. But his Facebook group implied that the fountain was under threat, and from his initial 100 invitations to the group, there were 27,500 members of a Facebook group demanding the fountain be saved within three days. At the peak, two people were joining per minute – Jorgensen decided to end the experiment shortly afterwards. (Amusingly enough, there are still more than 26,000 members, even though the fiction as been well exposed.)”
  • Cool Tools: The United States Constitution
    • “The US Constitution is one of our most remarkable inventions of all time. A lot of people in other countries think so too. It is a robust self-correcting legal OS. But it was written in an arcane code long ago. To make any sense from it you need some help.

      This lively graphic novel adaptation of the Constitution is by far the best aid I’ve found to deciphering its code. It is the comic book version, but rather than dumbing it down, it smartens it up. The graphic novel goes through the Constitution article by article, and explains what each bit means, why it is there, and how it came to be. Like the Bible, the Constitution doesn’t say what you thought it did. I was surprised what was not there as well as what was. I learned tons from this annotation, despite studying it in high school. It renewed my respect for it, and in a way, also makes clear its limitation. I feel I can be a slightly better citizen. Best of all, this book does all that with pictures, which makes it a page-turner.”

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One Comment
  1. Thank you for that fine link to United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation … what a fine way to communicate a set of quite-subtle ideas … if only there were a similar graphic-book account of America’s health-care plans! :)

    By the way, an similarly outstanding graphic book is Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art … which (IMHO) is inspiring reading for every student in every creative discipline.

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