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Trump Presidency: Election, Transition, and Administration

Upcoming Events

Mimi Sheller (October 23, 2018)

As part of its speaker series on current information and technology issues which affect society at large, LITS will host Mimi Sheller, Professor of Sociology at Drexel University. Dr. Sheller studies the social, political, and environmental impacts of aluminum mining and technology waste. She is one of the founders of Mobilities Research, a multidisciplinary field of study that addresses some of the most pressing social, cultural, environmental and political transformations of our time by investigating the complex interrelated movements and stoppages of many different things including people, capital, information and policies. Quoting Dr. Sheller: "Technology never operates on its own, but is always about how people use it, how we put things together and make them work."  Please join us for a conversation about the intersections of technology and sustainability.  Co-sponsored by LITS and the Miller Worley Center for the Environment.

Alberto Cairo (April 3, 2019)

The English word “trumpery” means worthless nonsense, something that is showy and deceitful at the same time. Trumpery can occur in text, verbally, or visually. This non-partisan talk focuses on the visual, examining misleading charts, graphs, and data maps designed by individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum.  Alberto Cairo uses these examples to equip you with a solid understanding of “graphicacy,” the term he uses to refer to visual literacy. He believes a literate, numerate, and graphicate citizenry is the best antidote for a world where trumpery runs rampant. (Learn more about Alberto Cairo @

Nic Dias -- Hoaxes, Memes & Bots

Nic Dias headshotHoaxes, Memes & Bots: Learning How to Navigate Our Polluted Information Streams (December 5, 2017)
In 2016 the world woke up to the severity of the polluted information environment. This lecture explained why we need to consider the whole spectrum of the misinformation ecosystem, what we learned from monitoring disinformation in the French, UK, and German elections, and why we have to stop using the term “fake news.”  Most importantly, it included practical tips so you can make sure you don't get fooled by the hoaxes, misattributed, and manipulated content that surfaces online. Nic Dias is a senior research fellow at First Draft News, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting truth and trust on the internet.  He has a background in computational journalism and social science. Nic's recent research interests include the use of bots to boost hyperpartisan perspectives, misinformation and disinformation on social media. In this avenue, he has studied the use of social bots to amplify misinformation in the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany -- particularly during elections. Other curiosities of his include the psychological principles dictating the correction of false beliefs.  Watch the video.  See Nic's list of verification links.

Manoush Zomorodi -- Breaking the Black Box

Breaking the Black BoxBreaking the Black Box (January 31, 2017)
Algorithms are everywhere, sifting through information to determine the curated news we read, the prices we pay for goods and services, and even which people are most compatible for us to date. But often we don’t know how, exactly, machines are making these decisions. WNYC's Manoush Zomorodi joins forces with ProPublica to talk about their recent investigation, "Breaking the Black Box", and launch Note to Self's own latest project: "The Privacy Paradox", a five-part podcast and audience engagement series designed to take the mystery out of digital privacy. Hear about how to protect your personal data, the hidden biases in algorithms, and ways we can peek inside black boxes and hold actual people accountable. With ProPublica senior reporter Julia Angwin, entrepreneur and writer Anil Dash and Microsoft researcher Solon Barocas. On January 31, 2017 LITS held a Watch Party of this WNYC livestream at The Green Space in New York.  Watch the video.

Noah Kelley -- DIY Cybersecurity

Noah Kelley HeadshotDIY Cybersecurity: Solidarity Through Technology (December 8, 2016)
Noah Kelley is creator of the DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity and is the founder of HACK*BLOSSOM, an activist organization fighting for the safety and autonomy of marginalized users in digital spaces. In this talk, Noah explores how personal relationships to technology can cultivate a culture that values safety and autonomy in digital spaces, especially in respect to threats of political oppression and personal harassment, as well as how technology can inform both institutional and personal activism. He discusses the current legal and cultural issues surrounding privacy, how cybersecurity plays a role in the addressing those issues, and how cybersecurity can be a launching point for creating enduring and resilient communities over the next few years. There are two versions of this video available. The first provides closed captioning, the second does not. A text transcript of the presentation is also available for download.  Watch the video.

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