For this round I put up a bunch of wildly different prompts (I can never remember what I wanted when it's time to prompt!) they're visible under "Kushiel's Legacy (Jacqueline Carey) here.
Review of Freakonomics is delayed because I need to read this paper first: "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime". It's accessible here. Levitt's idea about the landmark Roe v. Wade decision affecting the drop in crime rates in America during the 1990's is one of his biggest, most important statistical analyses. They have been thrown into doubt by two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (C. L. Foote and C. F. Goetz), but I haven't read the paper yet. Reserving judgement.
From dreamwidth_meta is this post on "Why Google+ is still not working for humans", a fascinating look into social media and how we interact with it. He writes about how Google+ is just not designed for people to be comfortable with, and expands outwards into social media in general.
There is a high entropy factor in social networks. New groups are forming all the time, and old groups die out. Creating a group or adding people to a group is driven by a positive emotion. I care about my new friend, or my new Guys Night Out group, so it feels appropriate to spend the energy it takes to create the group or add the person to my friend list. But then later – when the person is not my friend, or the Guys Night Out plan has run its course – I no longer care about it. And because I don’t care, I don’t want to spend any energy on it - not even the energy to remove it. In fact, spending the energy to delete the group might inadvertently make the other group members think I cared about it, and make them feel bad for letting the group die, etc.
This is why social networking sites tend to decay over time. Because I never remove people, my Friendster or MySpace or Facebook account has a smaller and smaller percentage of meaningful relationships in it, and as a result it becomes less relevant over time. This is also why a new social network always feels somehow better than the last one. It has smarter people, more relevant conversations, etc. It is all because your social network in the new space has not had time to decay.
He touches on a lot of different subjects; I think it's well worth a read, even though the post was made several years ago when Google+ launched. The point he raised about like vs +1 makes me wonder about LJ's "friends" and DW's "subscribe/give access". This was a deliberate decision to remove the emotional connotations, but honestly, social media networks are called social for a reason. What's the phrase? Skin in the game. You don't make friend without putting some skin in the game. DW's method is more like a feed of someone's blog; I just absorb their stuff invisibly.