Featured posts

Fake News, Wikipedia and Blockchain (Truth and Consensus)

(this article was intially writen in French) We must not lie, we are taught at a very young age, and yet we all do it all the time. Provocatively, Meyer (2011) says that you will lie to your wife in one in ten conversations. And if you’re not married, the…

Recipes for Recombining DNA. A History of Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual

This month, we’re excited to collaborate with History of Knowledge to celebrate the upcoming conference, Learning by the Book: Manuals and Handbooks in the History of Knowledge. The five-day event takes place at Princeton in June and features a “blogged conference” to complement traditional panel presentations. For the next four Thursdays, the…

Looking Back at the “1979 Moment” in the Middle East

This article is part of the TRAFO Series “The ‘1979 Moment’ in the Middle East”. By Amir Moosavi Poster of the Workshop “Reading the ‘1979 Moment’ in the Middle East” On June 15-16, 2017, in the framework of Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME)…

More on universals of case-marking from the perspective of nanosyntax: Van Baal & Don (2018)

In a recent blogpost, I promised that I’d pay more attention to the nanosyntactic approach if the authors look at more representative samples of the world’s languages, and it turns out that this is not difficult, because the fair open-access journal Glossa regularly publishes papers in this vein. A recent…

Making Senses: Artisanal Practice and Sensory Perception in an Early Modern French Manuscript

By Tillmann Taape Ms Fr. 640 was written in French by an unknown craftsperson in Toulouse, likely between 1580 and 1600. [1] It is an intriguing and eclectic source, with entries ranging from medical recipes to metalwork and pigment-making, and it forms the core of the Making and Knowing Project…

Beliefs about the Geography of Research

In recent years, « academic reorganisation » policies have emerged in various countries. In countries such as Japan, France, and Germany, these initiatives encourage the grouping together of universities, and differentiating them by assigning ‘hierarchical’ roles (global, national, local, or research or only teaching). The main focus of these policies is to…

“How to make a Mortres good to geue to those​ that be weake.”

As an English major with a passion for cooking, who has worked in restaurants for the past five years, studying this topic interested me instantaneously. I quickly joined Dr. Nicosia’s “What’s in a Recipe?” undergraduate research independent study. We transcribed … Continue reading →

An Interview with Geert Lovink

Interview with the Dutch-Australian media theorist and critic Geert Lovink to be submitted for a special issue of Internet Histories dedicated to Internet and the Web in the 90s (see the CfP), edited by Valérie Schafer and Benjamin G. Thierry (second semester of 2018). G. Lovink at CPOV-Conference in Leipzig Germany;…

Birth of a prohibitionnist regime : Saudi Arabia, 1952

par Philippe Bourmaud   Birth of a prohibitionnist régime : Saudi Arabia, 1952   Part 1 : Alcohol, Wahhabism and Society in Saudi Arabia   Introduction : Haram !   As this carnet is beginning, let us state clearly that we start with the understanding that alcohol in the Islamic world cannot be perceived…

The ethics of modelling in a world where normality no longer exists

(this article was originaly writen in French – part one and two – and published in Risques) The mechanism for covering natural disasters, in France, was created to compensate “direct uninsurable material damage caused by the abnormal intensity of a natural agent” (article L. 125-1 paragraph 3 of the Insurance…

International Drug Control vs. Preventing Harm from Substance Use in Afghanistan

In this month’s blog post, Abdul Subor Momand and Larissa J. Maier provide a perspective on current drug policy developments in Afghanistan and emphasize how these impact prevention efforts in the country. The authors will explore what it needs to … Continue reading →

Excess of precautionary principle

(this article was intially writen in French, and published in Risques) « Dans le doute, abstiens-toi » (“When in doubt, abstain yourself”) says popular wisdom. The precautionary principle (in German “Vorsorgeprinzip“) arose from the idea that it is appropriate to accept that there is doubt, or (scientific) uncertainty, in the knowledge of risks.…

Can predictive models be fair?

In Nosedive the first episode of season 3 of the television series Black Mirror, we discover the dystopia of a society governed by a “personal rating”, a score, a score ranging from 0 to 5. In this world, each person rates the others, the best rated having access to better…

Machines, procedures and the drain of responsibilities

People are trying to make us believe that artificial intelligence is a “revolution”. What if it wasn’t? Can we not simply see the logic of a process that goes back at least fifty years ago? Bureaucracy has pushed us to put in place simple procedures in all areas of everyday…

Word embeddings: the basics

This post is the first of a series on word embeddings, i.e. vector representations of words in a vector space. Word embeddings have been known to linguists for quite some time. Recently, artificial neural networks have taken word embeddings to the next level. I will explain what makes artificial-intelligence-flavored word vectors so…