söndag 27 maj 2012


Something quite amazing happened this past week. I was called up by young green (Mp) politician Jakop Dalunde. Apparently he works for the thinktank Fores (with a green liberal profile) and his area of responsibility is "digial freedoms and rights" ("programområdet digitala fri- och rättigheter"). Although non-political, the political parties closest to Fores' point of view would seem to be the Center (C) and the environmental (Mp) parties. This was just the non-amazing background, so quickly on now to the more amazing part:

1. Jakop had found a bachelor's thesis that was was written by two of our students two years ago (2010). I was their thesis advisor and Jakop called me to get help to get in touch with the (ex-)students.
2. Jakop had read the thesis (quite amazing in itself as the thesis competes for his attention with "everything else that has been written in the world"). Not only had he read it, but he liked it very much.
3. Jakop wanted to invite the authors/ex-students to a seminar that Fores is organizing this summer at the Almedalen week. The Almedalen week (official homepage) is a yearly event, the premier event in Sweden for politicians, lobbyists and decision makers to meet and schmooze and it is held in Gotland during the first week of July.

The thesis in question was written by Amel Wely and Dhavyd Vanderlei and it's called "Personlig integritet i social medier: En studie av ungdomars privatliv i Facebook" ("Personal integrity in social media: A study of people's privacy on Facebook" [sic]) - abstract in Swedish and English, pdf of the report.

The specific event he wanted to invite them to is described as follows in a follow-up mail from Jakop:


En sak vi kommer göra är att ha ett seminarium i Almedalen och vi tänkte snäva in oss på integritet i sociala medier. Om frågor kring hur sociala medier påverkat det offentliga samtalet, människors förhållande till privat/offentlig sfär och tillit till de företag som tjänar pengar på deltagande i sociala medier.

Vi skulle också vilja komma in på gränsdragningen på vad som enskilda användare måste ta ansvar för och vad som är upp till politiken att säkerställa.

Den formella progamtexten är som följer:

"Rättigheter uppe bland molnen – hur värnas individens integritet i sociala medier?

När hela våra digitala liv finns lagrade på en server på andra sidan världen - vad har användaren för rättigheter och kontroll över den information man delar med sig i sociala medier? Tankesmedjan FORES bjuder in till seminarium om hur en progressiv nätpolitik främjar frihet och öppenhet."


Great fun with transfer between the academy and society/politics and one of the two authors is very interested in going. I hope that 1) he gets to go to Almedalen and talk, and that 2) I get some kind of short information/report about it afterwards.

I still happen to think that a bachelor's thesis that was written that same year (2010) should have garnered an official KTH press release - but the students in question didn't want to. I was of course the advisor, or I wouldn't write or know about the thesis in question... The thesis is called "Blogg: Med metriken i fokus ("Blog measurement"). It treated politicians' use of (or lack of use of) social media and it was published very timely, just before the last election to the national parliament. Abstract in Swedish and English, pdf of the report.

fredag 25 maj 2012

"My" bachelor's theses this spring

This week has been extremely hectic; work, work and more work. It has hands-down been the toughest week during this academic year. I've worked 24/7 and haven't even been able to (allow myself to) sleep enough - and I still have a pile of urgent things to do over the week-end. The main culprits are the bachelors theses (which I wrote about when we kicked them off in the beginning of the term). I'm one of three examiners and have to read, evaluate and prepare critique and feedback for the upcoming presentations. But that would have been ok, had it not been for the fact that two other tasks ate up the major part of this past week - and I also had to spend yet more valuable time preparing for these two other tasks (instead of reading theses). Phew! I can't wait to be over with this glut of work (it finishes this coming Tuesday).

I will write a blog post later (just as I did last year) about the 10 theses that I'm reading/examining. Here and now I instead settle for presenting the 5 theses (10 students working in pairs) that I have been the advisor of during the spring.

I've been working with this groups of students during the major part of the spring and we have met as a group regularly, every second week or so. Everyone has been pretty involved in everyone else's thesis. It's the third year we do this and I think we have more or less perfected the process now and more or less everyone (teachers as well as students) are very content with this course and with our process for squeezing out theses. Seventy-something students wrote their theses (in pairs) and all but one thesis was completed before the deadline (this past Monday). Ask me about it if you are interested (by writing a comment below) and I'll tell you everything you want to know about our group advisory processes.

The five thesis I've been the advisor of have all been written in Swedish (the abstracts below are written in English) and they are:

- Bergendahl & Rehn, "Politisk filtrering på Facebook? En utvärderande studie med hjälp av personas" [Political filtering of Facebook? An evaluating study using personas]. Abstract. Thesis (pdf file).
- Fyrvald & Roth, "El i hemmet - Hur kan man visualisera den?" [Household electricity - How to make it visible?]. Abstract. Thesis (pdf file).
- Jeppson & Murselovic, "Från visualisering av elförbrukning till beteendeförändring?" [From visualization of energy consumption to behavior change?]. Abstract. Thesis (pdf file).
- Taberman & Thelenius, "Hållbar utveckling i teknikbranschen med socialt ansvar i fokus" [Sustainable development in the technology industry with focus on social responsibility]. Abstract. Thesis (pdf file).
- Gabrielsson & Lundh Heinstedt,"Ett nätverks betydelse - Hur påverkar kontakter en medieteknikers väg till drömjobbet?" [The importance of a network - What impact does contacts have for a media technologists way to their dream job?]. Abstract. Thesis (pdf file).

I think both me and the students are pretty happy about the resulting reports. The bachelor's thesis is  great practice for the students before they write an individual master's thesis that is twice as large (30 hp) two years later.

söndag 20 maj 2012

Students' attitudes to social media in higher education

I wrote on the blog about a study of ours about social media in higher education a year ago (actually 15 months ago). At that time many things were still unclear about our study. We have now collected new material (we actually did that half a year ago). Ph.D. student Pernilla is writing up an article about it - her first - and I'm helping her out. The preliminary title of the article - which will probably be changed later - is that same as the title of this blog post. This blog post is based on a discussion we had this past week when we were hashing things out, trying to find the "core", and refining the basic argument that we base the article on - what is we want to say in this specific article? It is very easy for the text to "sprawl" in several different directions, and we recurrently have to prune it down to something that is easier to handle. What fits and what doesn't fit here? What should stay, what should be developed and what should be taken away (or saved for later)?

We have been discussing what to make out of our material, i.e. what specific issues, problems or perspectives to focus on in the analysis of our material. The one point that has been with us from the start is the idea of "two separate worlds". Instead of using social media for everything and all of the time, many students feel a need to separate and perhaps even erect a barrier between their personal/leisure use of social media and using social media for learning, in school/higher education. They don't want me as a teacher to know as much about them as their friends do. This separation of uses is contrary to how many others imagine we will use social media in higher education ("just hook'em up through Facebook").

Another idea, or lens with which to look at the material concerns the relationship between social media, formal learning and hierarchies. Social media flattens hierarchies and can decentralize education (we can learn/reach resources anytime and anywhere). We usually think this is a good thing, and for the most part it might be. But perhaps there are some uses for hierarchies now as then (as well as for secrecy, c.f. Wikileaks)? Perhaps (some) hierarchies are necessary in a university setting? It is after all not possible to disregard the fact that it is part of my job as a teacher to evaluate and grade the students' performance, so in some respects, my opinions (about the topic and about students performance in learning the topic) in some sense really is more important than theirs. So, what does that say about the desirability or necessity of hierarchies in higher education?

These two ideas (two separate worlds & hierarchies) jell just fine. You have a model with on the one hand private, relatively non-hierarchical uses of social media and on the other hand relatively hierarchical school/higher education uses of social media. This is a structure, or a lens that we can use to interpret and analyze our material.

This all has just been background for the real topic of this blog post and that is what we decided to take away from the analysis of our material (below). We came to the conclusion that while interesting, it just didn't fit this article. It could instead perhaps become another article in and of itself - instead of trying to squeeze too much into the same article.

So the basic idea (label: "networking") is that many students push the idea of using social media in higher education not as a pedagogical tool - to pass a course or learn a specific topic better - but in order to network, i.e. to get to know new people and add them to an expanding network that you might have use of later, to get your first or your second job and for the benefit of your career.

The problem is that this idea is more difficult to "add" and integrate to the mix above. Rather than just two arenas; personal life and professional life (school/higher education), in order to analyze "networking" we would need to add a third arena which is the salaried work our students aim for landing after they graduate. This introduces not just a new, separate arena (professional life/work/career), but also a new tense, i.e. the future. Our students haven't finished their education and using social media for networking purposes and for the benefit of their future careers is a way to bring the future to the present. The future casts a shadow over current activities and the students try to adapt to this reality. This is all very interesting, but it introduces "complications" in our article that sort of pull it in another direction compared to our other observations (above). It introduces a third arena (work) and the future tense - messing things up. So we decided to put the idea of students' use of social media for (future-related) networking purposes aside for now (e.g. not include it, or perhaps mention but not develop it in this article). This blog post is a way to document and archive this for-now-discarded idea - should we decide to pursue it in a follow-up study and a follow-up article.

The idea of networking is interesting though. Disregarding the future and the students' work/career concerns, what could networking mean today and in the students' present context? Networking in a study-related context could mean establishing contacts and gaining friends that could help you with this course, or who have useful information about other courses that could be of interest - or that you should stay away from. Networking could also be a way to find a study partner for the next course and the next term. Networking for private purposes could for example mean finding friends, establishing contacts with Swedish students (if you are from abroad), or just getting information about an upcoming party or something else happening next weekend in Stockholm. But that's not the kind of networking our students were talking about in the material we have collected.

The impetuous to write this blog post was to document an idea for future use. I have tried to make this blog post accessible also to people other than myself and the colleagues I work together with to write this article. I hope I have succeeded. I feel though that it is not so easy to balance different agendas and readers (myself/colleagues vs other readers) against each other and pull it off! The function of using this blog to document or safeguard a (temporarily discarded) specific idea for a future article is, I believe, a new first and yet another way to use an academic blog.

onsdag 16 maj 2012

Books I've read lately

"Books I've read recently" is a recurring topic and here is the previous blog post (same topic, different books). I read books in "batches" of 4-5 books, preferably pertaining to the same or similar topics. For different reasons, I have this grab bag of books lying around that I read during the last quarter of last year but that I hadn't come around to writing about yet. After this, I'm more or less in phase and will write about books that I have indeed read "lately" (this year) instead of "some time ago" (last year).  

I've already mentioned Allen Guttman's book "From ritual to record: The nature of modern sports" (1978) before, in relation to my interest in competitive computer programming. The book is a little strange, sort of divided into two quite separate parts. The first part is the one that is of interest to me, discussing what sports are (in relationship to play, games and contest) and presenting a model with seven characteristics of the process of "sportification", i.e. of the process when an activity have gone from being a (pre-modern, pre-industrial) pastime to becoming a modern sport (with national and international organizations, stop-watches, records and so on). The second part consist of an in-depth analysis of two (very) American sports that that I hardly know anything about and that interest me even less - baseball and american football. Although I found many intriguing ideas in the book, I still don't know enough about the area to know how to treat it - assume a critical stance towards it and look for flaws to criticize, or to treat it as holy writ.

Jane McGonigal's have chosen a provocative title for her book - "Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world" (2011). The content is provocative too because her basic premise is that reality sucks and games are better:

"The real world just doesn't offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures, the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by virtual environments. Reality doesn't motivate us as effetively. Reality isn't engineered to maximize our potential. Reality wasn't designed from the bottom up to make us happy. And so, there is a growing perception in the gaming community: Reality, compared to games, is broken."

She starts out not by defending games, but rather by attacking the pointlessness, hopelessness, disconnectedness and futility of reality. Games are better at focusing our energies and helping us attain our (game-related, but not seldom "epic") goals. Game designers and the people who make the games come alive are "happiness engineers" and the best hope for a better future on this planet. We should cherish what they have learned while designing games during the last couple of decades. But then she softens up and spells out what we can learn from games in order to "reform" reality and make it more meaningful, fun, social etc. What raises her book above a rant is that she has worked practically for the better part of a decade with creating games that are to be played by people together, not seldom in public, and that "makes a difference". She has many experiences to draw from and gives many practical examples of games that actually make a difference on a personal, social and even societal level. The book is good, choke-full of interesting and provocative ideas, but I'm still slightly ambivalent about the message. I would like to have an in-depth discussion with someone else who has read the book.

The third and last book is Mikolaj Dymek's massive (450 pages long) Ph.D. thesis "Industrial Phantasmagoria: Subcultural interactive cinema meets mass-cultural media of simulation" (2010) - pdf available online. This is yet another "schizophrenic" book consisting of two quite different parts (like Guttman's book above). It might not be obvious from the title, but the thesis is about (the future of) computer games and the computer gaming industry. The first part of the thesis is what I expected Mikolaj to write about, based on his earlier interests (I know him from a Ph.D. course that I taught five years ago). So he writes about the the gaming industry; about value chains and business models, about game developers, publishers and distribution chains. The only thing I find a little strange is that his empirical material was collected quite some time ago, 2002-2006. It feels like there is gap, like he's put the thesis on hold for some years...? The second and major/dominant part of the thesis is quite different, much more theoretical, and concerns the emerging field of computer game studies; the different perspectives of so-called "ludologists" and "narratologists" and in-depth treaties about interactivity and about the nature and possibilities of computer games now and in the future. I've tried to stay away from such overly theoretical discussions before, and thus found the more concrete, empirically first part of the thesis more interesting.

To every second batch of books that I read, I add a Ph.D. thesis (i.e. around 1/10 books I read is a thesis) and to every other batch I instead add an "old" book that has sat unread in my bookshelf for a long time (usually 5 or 10 years!). The previous Ph.D. thesis I read was Maria Bäcke's "Power games" (which I wrote about on the blog in February). A typical "oldie" is Albert Hirschman's "Exit, voice, and loyalty" which I wrote about back in September last year.

lördag 12 maj 2012

Visiting media companies

I have spent the major part of this past week and a hefty part of the week before organizing visits for 250 students to some 20 different companies where our media technology alumni have welcomed them. This is part of our program-integrating course - our students do these visits come May every year, and it is an activity that is enjoyed and appreciated by most of our students. Beyond organizing the visits, I have also spent time preparing instructions for the seminar that will follow these visits as well as the practical work of coordinating 9 teachers and 36 seminar groups (and booking seminar rooms) for the upcoming seminars.

So, the visits are popular, but somebody has to do the actual work of recruiting alumni and companies and then organize and coordinate the 20 visits and 250 students - and that's my job for the moment. I've been responsible for this course for two years in a row by now (as well as several years further back in time), and I feel like taking a break after this year - it feels like it is time for someone else to take over the baton.

However, we got 20 great alumni at 20 great companies to sign up and to welcome visits of up to a dozen students each this year. The more well-know of these companies were Microsoft, Ericsson, Spotify, Skype, TV4, Expressen, Schibsted and Adlibris. Because we were late and had small margins in terms of time (have really do have to go out 1-2 weeks earlier to get companies to sign up next year), we missed signing up Swedish Television (SVT) and the game developer Paradox Interactive. They would have been popular among our students so that really was a pity. We also "lost" quite a few companies compared from last year, of which the most popular was definitely the game developer DICE.

Beyond these larger actors, there was also a healthy number of smaller, less well-known companies, of which the most popular might have been a film production company that was started by two brothers who studied media technology just a few years back and who ran their company already at that time.

Something like 3/8 of all students visited "their" companies this past week and the rest will do it the coming week. We teachers will get to know more about the visits when we meet the students one week later.

The one thing that I really regret is that I didn't have the time to accompany the students to one of these visits. I was very interested in the company and in meeting the former student in question who works there (I was his advisor when he wrote his master's thesis). The company was Adlibris - and I order 90%+ of my books from them. It would have been great to have a peek behind the scene - I hope I will get the opportunity to there next year!

onsdag 9 maj 2012

No comments!

You - yes YOU! - really are part of a very, very shy bunch of blog followers.

I currently have around 150-200 visitors and 300-400 visits per month (that does, as far as I know, not include people (like myself) who subscribe to the blog/RSS feed through Google Reader or similar software). This is blog post number 100 since I started the blog and the 30th blog post during 2012, but only three of the 2012 blog posts have garnered any comments at all by anyone at all! In fact, there are fewer comments during the past few months than there were during the autumn or last spring when the trend really "should" go in the other direction.

Being more specific, the total numbers of comments this year is seven, and three of those were answers made by me to the commenters. The remaining four comments were made by three different persons.

Where is everybody? I know that some people I know read this blog, and please do take the opportunity to also write a comment now a then! One comment per month by each person who regularly reads the blog would make it a lot more lively and bi-directional! I thought the Internet (web 2.0) was about about read/write, about commenting, about "everybody" generating content (comments) and about forming "communities" (that nebulous concept).

So, where is everybody? Or are you all super-busy continuously always all of the time?

lördag 5 maj 2012

National STS Meeting

I'm on the KTH Science, Technology and Society (STS) mailing list and that is how I found out about Daniel Svensson's seminar about the sportification of cross-country skiing which I wrote about in March. Most of what the KTH STS people at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment do is (naturally) of slightly peripheral interest to me, but now and then really interesting stuff turns up.

There is for example a seminar this coming Monday that I would like to go to, but I'm the chair of a meeting that will convene at the same time and that I naturally can't skip. The STS seminar treats industrialization, the upgrading of infrastructure in England in the mid-19th century and its effects on villages and communities ("[It] tells the story of how Britain built the first nation connected by infrastructure [...] and how technology caused strangers to stop speaking. [...] By 1848 the primitive roads were transformed into a network of highways connecting every village and island in the nation and also dividing them in unforeseen ways."). The seminar is given by the historian Jo Guldi and is backed up by her recently published book "Roads to power: Britain invents the infrastructure state". My take is that this talk/book sounds very interesting, but should preferably be contrasted with the even more interesting but yet-unwritten book "Roads to poverty and despair: Greece and the melting away of the infrastructure state". I'm primarily interested in the first story ("Roads to power") in order to understand the second, unfolding, and as-of-yet unfinished and thus-untold story.

Anyway, the topic of this blog post is not STS in general, but the national STS meeting I went to at the end of the week. I went because (parts of) the program seemed interesting, but also because the meeting was held at KTH (I would not have travelled to another city to participate in this event). In fact, I had to skip parts (half) of the conference because of other committments.

I felt like an outsider at the meeting. I'm interested in the general questions and I knew some of the people who were there, but I did feel unable to ask good, piercing questions. I was like a layman who didn't know the key references, models and vocabulary. Here are some reflections about the event:

- Anna (STS Ph.D. student with an interest for science fiction and especially cyborgs) mentioned that I was one of the few persons who now and then goes to listen to seminars at other (her) departments. That is flattering and partly - but only partly - right. Even though I can't attend the seminar above, I have been to no less than two seminars at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment this term. More specifically, perhaps my role in such a process can live up to the idea behind this picure:

That is, to loosely connect different people and groups. That is, I am in this context a "weak tie", tying different clusters together. Well, I could have been that weak tie, except that I don't really know the STS people good enough (yet). Still, there doesn't seem to be that many of people who really do cross boundaries in academia. At least it seems like most don't.

- That also made me realize that I am nowadays very problems-oriented. I have a vision of the future of society and I am, based on this, interested in any person, any book or article, any seminar and any odd piece of knowledge that can help me uncover and illuminate effects and consequences of this vision. I think this is very different from most researchers who dive into a (sub-)discipline and a relatively limited set of problems and then try to "solve" those problem with only (or mostly) theories, methods and tools from within that discipline.

- Observations like these (above) sound harsh, but became easier to observe when you pop in to a meeting with people from another discipline. Their problems sound interesting at a general level, but when people dive into their respective presentations, you're lost or quickly loose interest. You're thinking "ok, that might be interesting if you have a special interest in this thingy, but how is this relevant to something else, something outside of this specific (sub-)discipline?" You oftentimes come to the conclusion that it isn't. Or perhaps it is, but you can't see the connection.

- Some meetings might purport to, but not live up to the ideal of being about the unconditional and free exchange of ideas. Sometimes a group can have a (legitimate) interest to turn "inwards", to work at strengthening the group's identity. Robert Putnam refers to this as working on the group's "bonding capital"- as apart from the "bridging capital", building bridges to non-members and the surrounding society. This was after all an STS meeting and I'm a bit of an outsider in that context.

- The highlight of the event was for me the finishing keynote lecture by Alf Hornborg, "Technology as Time-Space appropriation". I heard him talk 8 months ago (and wrote some about it at that time). He portrayed himself as something as an outsider at this event, having stopped going to STS conferences some 20 years ago when he felt that they didn't really give him what he was after. I personally think Hornborg is great. Interesting, provocative, counter-intuitive but still convincing. What sucks is that several of his recent books (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics) cost 100 USD - and then some more.

Hornborg correctly states that technology is a religion to many people in our society (both left, right and green). He then criticizes and undresses this notion. His idea is that technology (and money) "mystifies" unequal exchange and exploitation of other, poorer people's time and land. Poor people in the global economy grow things, or take care of our e-waste (land use), and they also spend many hours (time) producing stuff that we consume (at the farm or in the factory). We unequally exchange the fruits of their labor for the value-added fruits of our labor, and we come out atop in this unequal exchange of our time against theirs and our land against theirs. Money-wise, they more or less export as much as they import. But time-wise, they spend a lot more than they get, and the same is true land-wise and resoruce-wise. They send valuable resources (gold) to us and we give them plastic beads in return. Everybody is happy, even though we really have cheated them. Ok, so we're not talking about sending them plastic beads, but instead iPhones (that they have manufactured themselves in the first place - but the profit still goes to Apple Inc. and western shareholders). iPhones unfortunately quickly loose their value and will be thrown on the trash heap in just a few years, while the raw materials (iron ore, oil, copper, gold, silver, platinum, palladium) have the potential to be made into anything. Entropy-wise, they are suckers and economy-wise too, since it's us becoming rich (based on their resources). The effect is that through the mystical magical fetish of money and technology, we get to use their time and their land to "prop up" our economies and our levels of affluence and consumption:

"The great empires of the world were built thanks to gold mines, not atop them. It's the little mercantile nations with their cohesive political systems and fierce navies that have looted the big feudal ones paved with rubies." (Source: NYT article).

Hornborg also has the audacity to ask if "labor-saving" technology really replaces slaves and the lowly paid maids of the previous century or if it just displaces them and removes them from our sight? Are the Chinese factory workers of today (manufacturing our vacuum cleaners and washing machines) really better off than the maids that serviced our middle-class households 100 years ago? To Hornborg, technology and money are two sides of the same coin and (advanced) technology "happens" (is produced and used) at those places in the world that are affluent. The poor might have a tractor (foreign aid, let's say), but they don't have the money to buy diesel for it, or the skills to fix it if there is a problem, or the money or the infrastructure to order and get spare parts delivered if something gives out. And so on. Where there is money there is (advanced, working) technology, and where there is technology, their is money.

- Finally and all in all, I sort of regret that I didn't go to the May 2-4 4th ICT and society conference in Uppsala instead. But even though Uppsala is "next door", that would have been a bigger thing to organize (being away for whole days etc). Attending the STS meeting was "low-maintenance". I could pop in and out and sit and work some (write this blog post for example). And my friend Jörgen went to Uppsala, I hope I will get the opportunity to pick his brain about the conference afterwards.

onsdag 2 maj 2012

Articles I've read lately

As I wrote a few weeks ago, we have a "30-day-club" at my department. We promise each other something having to do with a new habit and then try it out for one month. At the beginning of the following month, we meet up to see if we have lived up to our pledges and then make new promises. It is optional whether to continue or to shelf a just-tried-out habit.

My April habit was "to read an average of 10 pages of academic articles every weekday and preferably at work rather than home". I've been pretty successful except with the "at work" part of the promise. (I really should get a comfortable reading chair for my room - I've already made space for it!) Out of the 18 texts I compiled last month, I have read 17! I just transferred the last text (just 4 pages - but very dense) to the May pile - since I will promise the very same thing for May (220 new pages to read). I feel really good about having read all that stuff since we're talking about making time to read really interesting stuff that I "skimmed off" different piles with varying topics.

It also feels great to have read all those articles. I'm good with my book-reading habits, but articles have tended to be side-lined and not read (they have piled up for months and months - or even years!). In line with Klang's thoughts about "Information diets", it feels like I have tried on a whole new information diet that is good for my mind - just like a more healthy diet can be good for your body.

The only thing I notice as the month drew to an end is that it is quite some work to fulfill the second and admittedly minor part of the promise - to search for and then import all the references to the articles into Mendelay, to compile the list below, to select new texts for May and especially, to go through the articles I have just read and look for stuff (references to other texts) that I want to read. Just managing the information about what I just have read, what I will read (search on the web, download or order from our library) is a not-so-small job in itself... It's by all means quite pleasurable to follow-up and do this work, but I think it took perhaps half a day or even the better part of a working day to do it when really I had other things that should have been done...

Anyway, I have promised to get back with the references to the April articles that I have read. Many of these texts are available online. Some are purebred bona fide academic articles and others are of "mixed origin". Bone fide academic articles can easily be found through Google scholar and I have added links to most of the "mixed origin" texts below. Here are my 18 April texts with a short comment on each of them:

  • Aleklett, K., Höök, M., Jakobsson, K., Lardelli, M., Snowden, S., & Söderbergh, B. (2010). The peak of the oil age-analyzing the world oil production reference scenario in world energy outlook 2008. Energy Policy, 38(3), 1398-1414. Elsevier. */ Scrutinizing the OECD/IEA 2008 energy forecast and dissing it - the official figures just don't add up and we thus don't have enough energy to grow the global economy in a 10-20 year perspective.
  • Balls, Jonathan (2010). Transition towns: Local networking for global sustainability? Undergraduate thesis, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. */ Has been recommended by the founder of the TT movement. Was ok, found a couple of references I will follow up on. Most closely relates to this blog post
  • DiSalvo, C., Sengers, P., & Brynjarsdóttir, H. (2010a). Mapping the landscape of sustainable HCI. Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1975-1984). ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. Part of a package of articles on the subject. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • DiSalvo, C., Sengers, P., & Brynjarsdóttir, H. (2010b). Navigating the terrain of sustainable HCI. interactions, 17(4), 22-25. ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. Part of a package of articles on the subject. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Diani, M. (2000). Social movement networks virtual and real. Information, Communication & Society, 3(3), 386-401. Taylor & Francis. */ Part of me reading up on social movements (and their use of information technologies). Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2008). Diverse economies: performative practices forother worlds’. Progress in Human Geography, 32(5), 613-632. SAGE Publications. */ I heard her talk half a year ago. I wanted to know more about an extremely interesting model of hers, but although the model appears in an appendix, this was unfortunately not the paper I looked for. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Goodman, E. (2009). Three environmental discourses in human-computer interaction. Proceedings of the 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2535-2544). ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. Part of a package of articles on the subject. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Khan, A., Bartram, L., Blevis, E., DiSalvo, C., Froehlich, J., & Kurtenbach, G. (2011). CHI 2011 sustainability community invited panel: challenges ahead. PART 2-----------Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 73-76). ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. Part of a package of articles on the subject. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Leckie, Cameron (2010). Lasers or longbows? A paradox of military technology. Australian Defence Force Journal, no.182, pp.44-56. */ Extremely interesting and provocative about the future effects of peak oil on industry in general and military capacity in particular. Military capacity = complexity = vulnerability when society "downshifts" in (maintaining and financing) industrial capability/complexity. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Leckie, Cameron (2010). The abandonment of technology. Blogpost at The Oil Drum. */ A short text where Leckie goes even further. Highly recommended. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Nathan, L. P. (2008). Ecovillages, values, and interactive technology: balancing sustainability with daily life in 21st century America. CHI’08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 3723-3728). ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. I'd like to read more about Nathan's work as she has gotten down and dirty at an ecovillage, studying their information practices. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • PARADISIO reference document: A forward-looking analysis to identify new innovation paths for the future Internet (2011). European Commission research project white paper (50 pages - won my "longest April paper award"). */ Been on the mailing list and it was time to read up on what PARADISO actually was about. Clarifying to some degree. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Pierce, J., Brynjarsdottir, H., Sengers, P., & Strengers, Y. (2011). Everyday practice and sustainable HCI: understanding and learning from cultures of (un) sustainability. Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 9-12). ACM. */ HCI has taken a turn towards sustainability during the last 5 years. Part of a package of articles on the subject. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Raghavan, B., & Ma, J. (2011). Networking in the long emergency. Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Green Networking. */ Extremely interesting text about the effects of peak oil/peak economy on computing, networkning and the Internet. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Roberts, Stephen (2009 or 2010(?)). Ready for apocalypse: Survivalism and stigma in online communities. Undergraduate or  Master's thesis in anthropology. */ One of the very few texts available about survivalists. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Smith, A. (2011). The transition town network: a review of current evolutions and renaissance. Social Movement Studies, 10(01), 99-105. Taylor & Francis. */ Written by an (academic) insider, describes some tensions within the TT movement. Most closely relates to this blog post.
  • Tholander, Jakob (2011). Ecofriends - Social interaktion och visualisering av vardagens miljöeffkter. Research proposal (2 pages - won my "shortest April paper award"). */ Good to keep up with what (potential) colleagues are up to. Don't know where I got hold of the text.
  • Williams, E. (2011). Environmental effects of information and communications technologies. Nature, 479(7373), 354-358. Nature Publishing Group. */ The one yet-unread article from April. Most closely relates to this blog post.