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Top-down power: Hierarchies thrive on the internet
The internet was built to resist an Orwellian future. Now it's being weaponized.
JEN SCHRADIE: A key factor in the digital activism gap is that groups that are more hierarchal rather than horizontal are more likely to use the internet. And this really overturns this sense that groups and protest movements like Occupy Wall Street or other more horizontal movements are really tethered to the internet. In fact, the rise of a lot of these movements really rose in sync with the rise of digital technology. If we really go back even farther, if we look at the launch of the worldwide web over 30 years ago really coincided with the tearing down of Soviet symbols and structures, right. The Berlin Wall was coming down at the exact same time that the internet was spreading.
So we have in our psyche, right, this cultural connection to the rise of the internet as being this nonbureaucratic technology that even an early Apple commercial showed this very Orwellian group of people sitting listening to some leader. This is 1984, right. In comes a woman with a sledgehammer and she swings it around and she throws it at the screen of this leader. And Apple then says, you know, 1984 won't be like 1984 in reference to Orwell, right.
So we have this really strong belief that the internet is more horizontal and that out of those statues and walls crumbling will come the Phoenix rising of the internet that will enable everyday people to participate online. And certainly in some cases that's been the case. But what I found overall over time without just these spikes of political protests is that groups that are more hierarchal, that have systems in place and often this hierarchy goes in sync with systems really are able to over the long term engage and have high levels of online participation. Very much contrary to the image of a digital activist as a radical left anarchist protestor. It's much more likely to be an older conservative Tea Party member.
- Research shows hierarchical groups are more likely to use the internet as a platform.
- This might be counterintuitive, as the original rise of the internet coincided with events like the toppling of top-down structures.
- Despite the strong belief that the internet is horizontal, these hierarchical systems achieve high levels of online participation.
- Political engagement online takes work, too. Here's why. - Big Think ›
- Is the Internet Polarizing Politics? - Big Think ›
- Internet activism: How political movements are shaped online - Big ... ›
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.