Cory Doctorow's 2008 novel Little Brother traces the fight between hacker teens and an overactive surveillance state emboldened by a terrorist attack in San Francisco. The novel details in great depth the digital tools of the hackers, especially the asymmetry of contemporary cryptography. Simply put, today's encryption is based on mathematical functions that are really easy in one direction—multiplying two prime numbers to get a … Continue reading Age of Asymmetries
When the New York Times let it be known that their election-night meter—that dial displaying the real-time odds of a Democratic or Republican win—would return for Georgia's 6th congressional district runoff after its notorious November 2016 debut, you could almost hear a million stiff drinks being poured. Enabled by the live streaming of precinct-by-precinct election … Continue reading Irrationality and Human-Computer Interaction
As the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, William Adams, noted at the beginning of last night's Jefferson Lecture, Ken Burns was an extraordinarily apt choice to deliver this honorary talk in the celebratory 50th year of the Endowment. Tens of millions of Americans have viewed his landmark documentaries on the Civil War, … Continue reading Ken Burns and Mrs. Jennings
"History isn't rocket science." I distinctly remember Frank Turner, my mentor at Yale, saying that to me in 1995 over a beer on Charlotte Street in London after a day looking at documents in the Royal Society archive. "What did you see?" What I had seen was a number of documents showing a famous mathematician … Continue reading Frank Turner: A Great Mentor, Scholar, and Friend
I'm hopeful that one of the readers of this blog will fit the bill for this critical job on the Zotero team. Please think about joining us at the Center for History and New Media, a vibrant, fun place to work.
Hopefully it doesn't sound this way to our audience, but it's harder than one might imagine to put together a regular podcast. Due to our very busy schedules and some happy and sad events over the past few months, Mills, Tom, and I just weren't able to find the time this summer to record a … Continue reading Digital Campus #43 – Summer Wrap-up
I'm giving the plenary at the "Future Perfect" conference today in Waco, TX. For the audience, here are some links: You can send me comments or questions live via Twitter. Send a reply to @dancohen and it will pop up on my screen. Introduction to Digital History: The Advantages and Disadvanges of Digital Media and … Continue reading Future Perfect Plenary Links