- Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web
What we can learn about human nature from the informative, manipulative, confusing, and amusing messages at the bottom of the web.
Online comment can be informative or misleading, entertaining or maddening. Haters and manipulators often seem to monopolize the conversation. Some comments are off-topic, or even topic-less. In this book, Joseph Reagle urges us to read the comments. Conversations "on the bottom half of the Internet," he argues, can tell us much about human nature and social behavior.
Reagle visits communities of Amazon reviewers, fan fiction authors, online learners, scammers, freethinkers, and mean kids. He shows how comment can inform us (through reviews), improve us (through feedback), manipulate us (through fakery), alienate us (through hate), shape us (through social comparison), and perplex us. He finds pre-Internet historical antecedents of online comment in Michelin stars, professional criticism, and the wisdom of crowds. He discusses the techniques of online fakery (distinguishing makers, fakers, and takers), describes the emotional work of receiving and giving feedback, and examines the culture of trolls and haters, bullying, and misogyny. He considers the way comment--a nonstop stream of social quantification and ranking--affects our self-esteem and well-being. And he examines how comment is puzzling--short and asynchronous, these messages can be slap-dash, confusing, amusing, revealing, and weird, shedding context in their passage through the Internet, prompting readers to comment in turn, "WTF?!?"
- The Design of Everyday Things 2e
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or attempt to navigate an unfamiliar television set or stove. When The Design of Everyday Things was published in 1988, cognitive scientist Don Norman provocatively proposed that the fault lies not in ourselves, but in design that ignores the needs and psychology of people. Fully revised to keep the timeless principles of psychology up to date with ever-changing new technologies, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful appeal for good design, and a reminder of how-and why-some products satisfy while others only disappoint.
- The Future of Europe - Reform or Decline
A provocative argument that unless Europe takes serious action soon, its economic and political decline is unavoidable, and a clear statement of the steps Europe must take before it's too late.
Unless Europe takes action soon, its further economic and political decline is almost inevitable, economists Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi write in this provocative book. Without comprehensive reform, continental Western Europe's overprotected, overregulated economies will continue to slow--and its political influence will become negligible. This doesn't mean that Italy, Germany, France, and other now-prosperous countries will become poor; their standard of living will remain comfortable. But they will become largely irrelevant on the world scene. In The Future of Europe, Alesina and Giavazzi (themselves Europeans) outline the steps that Europe must take to prevent its economic and political eclipse.
Europe, the authors say, has much to learn from the market liberalism of America. Europeans work less and vacation more than Americans; they value job stability and security above all. Americans, Alesina and Giavazzi argue, work harder and longer and are more willing to endure the ups and downs of a market economy. Europeans prize their welfare states; Americans abhor government spending. America is a melting pot; European countries--witness the November 2005 unrest in France--have trouble absorbing their immigrant populations. If Europe is to arrest its decline, Alesina and Giavazzi warn, it needs to adopt something closer to the American free-market model for dealing with these issues.
Alesina and Giavazzi's prescriptions for how Europe should handle worker productivity, labor market regulation, globalization, support for higher education and technology research, fiscal policy, and its multiethnic societies are sure to stir controversy, as will their eye-opening view of the European Union and the euro. But their wake-up call will ring loud and clear for anyone concerned about the future of Europe and the global economy.
- Bargaining: Monopoly Power versus Union Power
This book tackles the difficult subject of wage determination in the labor markets of highly unionized and concentrated industries where the standard models of competition, monopoly, and monopolistic competition do not apply. It attempts to bridge the gap between untested, abstract bargaining models and empirical studies that relate wages to "bargaining variables" without the benefit of formal theory. To do this, the study derives a wage equation from a bargaining model and then tests this equation on data for manufacturing industries in the United States, drawing conclusions that have important implications for income distribution and for the analysis of union-nonunion wage differentials.
The study presents a survey of bargaining theories, selects one that is most applicable--Nash's theory of bargaining--and from it constructs a model of the firm under bilateral monopoly (the situation in which one employer faces one union and both are price setters rather than price takers). Assumptions are made concerning the product demand curve, production function, capital supply, supply of union members, and the utility functions of the employer and the union. These assumptions plus two hypotheses from Nash's theory determine the wage rate, employment, capital stock, output, price and profits under bilateral monopoly. The comparative statics of this model are examined.
The bargaining wage equation derived from the Nash bilateral monopoly model is then tested on data for several manufacturing industries. Variable construction is discussed, and results of estimation and tests are reported. For example, this wage equation can be interpreted as a Phillips curve to which "bargaining variables" have been added. When estimates of the wage equation were compared to estimates of a simple Phillips curve without these bargaining variables, the equation explained the quarterly movement of average hourly earnings in the test industries better than the simple Phillips curve, i.e., bargaining variables that were carefully derived from a formal theory of bargaining significantly reduced unexplained variance.
Finally, the book provides a much-needed theoretical basis for examining the influence of product market forces on wages and for analyzing union-nonunion relative wages.
- A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming
The science behind global warming, and its history: how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere, to measure it, to trace its past, and to model its future.