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Gordon Hull
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By Gordon Hull Update (4/30). Essential piece by Amy Kapczynski (who is one of my sources below). Also see this Twitter thread by Dennis Crouch of PatentlyO, characterizing the issue as one of technology transfer more generally than patents specifically. Trade secrets are an important issue - like patents, they... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Foucault thinks Marxism is bossy. In Society must be Defended, he lays down the gauntlet clearly enough: totalizing theories get in the way of useful things at the local level. As he notes, one should beware of: “the inhibiting effect specific to totalitarian theories, or at least... Continue reading
Via Foucault News: “Paul Rabinow, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of anthropology and world-renowned anthropologist, died April 6 at the age of 76 in his Berkeley home. Rabinow spent about 41 years at UC Berkeley between 1978 to 2019, serving as the director of anthropology for the Contemporary Research Collaboratory and... Continue reading
I've been commenting off and on about the vagaries of Covid data - for example, in knowing what "covid cases" refers to (and here); states' early conflation of PCR and antibody tests; the vagaries of different testing technologies, or the ways that even death certificates can mislead about mortality. This... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull “Factory work exhausts the nervous system to the uttermost; at the same time, it does away with the many-sided play of the muscles, and confiscates every atom of freedom, both in bodily and in intellectual activity” (Marx, Capital I [Penguin Ed.], 548). A recent piece by Josh... Continue reading
You might have heard that minorities are hesitant about getting a Covid vaccine? Well, about that. According to polling reported by Axios, the group least likely to want a vaccine is White Republicans... to the point that "White Americans are now less likely than Black and Latino Americans to say... Continue reading
This time Margaret Mitchell, one of the other authors on the fabulous "Stochastic Parrots" paper (that's my post on it. The paper is here) on natural language processing. This was obviously coming, since they'd suspended her email account weeks ago. In case you haven't read the paper (and you really... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Not long ago, Google summarily dumped Timnit Gebru, one of its lead AI researchers and one of the few Black women working in AI. Her coauthor Emily Bender has now posted the paper (to be presented this spring) that apparently caused all the trouble. It should be... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull As of this writing, approximately 421,000 people in the United States have officially died of Covid-19. We also know that this number is fewer than the number that have actually died of Covid for a variety of reasons. For example, early in the pandemic, there was nowhere... Continue reading
Now up on SSRN. This paper uses Foucault's works on disciplinary power to develop a typology for understanding different models of Internet governance. Here is the abstract: Following Foucault’s remarks on the importance of architecture to disciplinary power, this paper offers a typology of power relations expressed in different models... Continue reading
Knee pain is common and debilitating, and it’s often caused by osteoarthritis in the knee. Treatment options range from analgesics (including opioids) to knee-replacement surgery. If you go to the doctor with arthritic knee pain, you can get an x-ray which can then be interpreted using standard rubrics like the... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I’ve written about the importance of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) before (see also here). Briefly, BIPA is the most important and powerful of the (relatively few) state laws designed to protect biometric privacy. The statute establishes a notice-and-consent regime (sigh. better than nothing, though N&C... Continue reading
To review the issue: The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine uses a modified adenovirus, as do several other vaccines in development, most notably the Russian Gamaleya Institute one. Early, puzzling results suggested that the Oxford vaccine was about 70% effective overall, but that the overall number obscured a disparity between two groups: a... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In an important recent article, Robin Kar and Margaret Radin propose a way to interpret the volumes of boilerplate that accompany pretty much any electronically-mediated consumer transaction. Rather, they propose a way to interpret the phenomenon of the deluge of such boilerplate. We all know the scenario:... Continue reading
At least not from the appearance of things. Google summarily fired Timnit Gebru, one of its lead AI Ethics researchers and one of the few Black women in a leadership position at the company. Her sin? Producing academic research critical of biases in AI: “The email and the firing were... Continue reading
UPDATE 12/6: For more on the mess in Rhode Island, see here. This week’s SCOTUS opinion overturning New York’s restrictions on religious gatherings is disappointing in many ways. Most obviously, it hamstrings the ability of governors to respond with science to Covid and is part of a conservative backlash to... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull As one knows, online privacy policies (and access to the Internet in general) are generally conditioned on a user’s acceptance of some sort of boilerplate terms of service. Lots of people (myself included) have complained about this state of affairs as attempting to get users to consent... Continue reading
Given the role of qualified immunity in absolving police officers of murdering unarmed black men (and doing all sorts of other nefarious things), it’s encouraging to see that the Supreme Court said in a per curiam opinion today that there is an outer limit to how far that doctrine can... Continue reading
If you’re like me, you spend too much time – way too much time – these days looking at polling data. I ran across some interesting remarks by Foucault on opinion yesterday, which I’ll share here as a technique of distraction. He makes them in the context of a 1976... Continue reading
Among the indefinitely many evil things the Trump administration has done that will take years and years to fix (and in this case has undoubtedly cost many lives already). Propublica has the story. Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I’m going to be teaching Harold Demsetz’s “Toward a Theory of Property Rights” (1967) tomorrow, and noticed a couple of things that I hadn’t before. I suspect they’re related, and say something about the moment the article appeared. At least, that’s what I want to propose here.... Continue reading
UPDATE: Dahlia Lithwick has some helpful context, including litigation from the 1970s involving forced sterilizations of poor Latina women in California. Lithwick also recounts some of the more familiar history about the early 20c legal history of forced sterilization (endorsed by SCOTUS in Buck v. Bell and Justice Holmes' declaration... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I want here to tie together the preceding several posts (one, two, three, four, five) and finish the case for a Deleuzian undercurrent (perhaps better to say, Deleuzian and Althusserian undercurrents) to Foucault’s 1969 “What is an Author” seminar. Recall the specific point of interest: in a... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull Early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, I dedicated a post (and a short follow-up) to the idea that our knowledge of Covid-19 is mediated by the indicators we have to represent it, and that those indicators are themselves epistemically tricky. In particular, there’s a difficulty in understanding... Continue reading
UPDATE (8/26): This should surprise exactly no one, but apparently upper levels of the Mafia Donald regime pushed for the change. This is after all the same regime that scuttled an earlier testing plan in order to score political points against blue states. The CDC now recommends against testing asymptomatic... Continue reading