Reference

Evolutionary Theory of Beauty

David Brooks: The Social Animal I just finished reading a book by David Brooks, “The Social Animal.” While initially hesitant, I really enjoyed reading it. The book, a fiction, bundles together a lot of interesting information on the latest (and not so latest) advances in our understanding of the workings of the human mind. So it’s easy to see why I would like it! While there are many ideas worth considering in the book, I picked a small detail mentioned in passing: the evolutionary pull towards the love of a “Hudson Valley Landscape.” The Hudson Valley Landscape has the following features: The landscape has lots of open space interspersed with tall vegetation. There’s a far horizon that defines the space: a valley, a glade, a river basin, a farm, etc. There’s a clear evidence of fresh water: a river, a stream, a pond, etc. There are a few large trees in the foreground, offering shade, fruit, safe escape, or all of the above. There’s a path from the foreground to the background. There are people and man-made structures visible somewhere. There are “safe” animals or birds visible: cows, ducks, deer, etc. Amazingly, all cultures respond positively to this genre of…

Micro Introduction to Crisis Mapping

Crisis Mapping Crisis mapping is a relatively new field—there’s not much research, no journal, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and the Department of Political Science at John Carroll University (JCU) jointly hosted the first International Conference on Crisis Mapping only in October 2009. So this is a NEW field of study and practice, but there is a thriving group of practitioners with Patrick Meier (one of the developers of Ushahidi) being one of the leading members. Since I’m working on organizing a conference proceedings for ICT & Human Rights, it seemed necessary to define a few terms in this subject area filled with TLA (three letter acronyms). There are some important terms that are being developed to help parse the field and make sense of the different aspects of the problem. Here’s a breakdown: Crisis Mapping can be divided into three main components: Crisis Map Sourcing (CMS)—this is all about data point collection Crisis Map Coding (CMC)—refers to entering the data points by hand, based on analysis of news, police reports, blogs, and so on, but the person entering the data is a professional Participatory Crisis Mapping (PCM)—refers to data points entered by the population in crisis, requires people…