It’s a Big World, After All.
The Web has sprung the lid on a Pandora’s Box of new human connections - mirroring and magnifying the best, the worst, and the ugliest aspects of our nature.
Jason Gots is a New York-based writer, editor, and podcast producer. For Big Think, he writes (and sometimes illustrates) the blog "Overthinking Everything with Jason Gots" and is the creator and host of the "Think Again" podcast. In previous lives, Jason worked at Random House Children's Books, taught reading and writing to middle schoolers and community college students, co-founded a theatre company (Rorschach, in Washington, D.C.), and wrote roughly two dozen picture books for kids learning English in Seoul, South Korea. He is also the proud father of an incredibly talkative and crafty little kid.
This idea was suggested by Big Think Delphi Fellow Danah Boyd
Kranzberg's First Law of Technology:
Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.
What's the Big Idea?
Ethan Zuckerman, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, thinks we can do better. “We look at the internet. We think we’re getting this wide view of the globe. And we forget that most of the time we’re checking Boston Red Sox scores.” In a world facing global problems that need global solutions, Zuckerman calls our “imaginary cosmopolitanism” a problem we have to solve.
Getting people to cross those bridges is another matter. Zuckerman argues that we need to rewire ourselves, too, by promoting xenophilia as a cultural value. He cites the example of NFL linebacker Dhani Jones, whose Travel Channel show Dhani Tackles the Globe takes his fans deep into the heart of cultures far from the NFL.
This is bottom-up rewiring. It's slow and incremental. And success is hard to define or guarantee. But unlike top-down governmental regulation, it creates structures that reflect the collective thought and will of entire communities. As a tool, the internet is uniquely suited to building these kinds of movements, but they rely on leaders who can articulate a vision that excites people to action. Should such leaders arise in sufficient numbers, with powerful enough ideas, We the People might haul a smarter internet out of its primordial ooze.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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