I have yet to post too explicitly about other people’s ideas here, but I have come across two stories that have brought me to the point of sharing.

First, a friend posted on “the book”:

I have made an iSummer Hours at UC Berkeley: "Research Institution"nfographic based on my complaint about summer library hours v. gym hours at Berkeley and my most recent status:

These are the MAXIMUM number of hours that you can be in either the gym, or the libraries with the best possible summer hours: 1) at the gym working out / 2) graduate (only) access to the law library / 3) graduate and/or undergraduate access to Moffitt.

Her post garnered 11 “likes” (including mine) and 43 comments (albeit many of her own, responding to others’ posts).

The elegance of her table goes a long way to highlight not that there is some causation between gym hours and library hours, but rather, that by comparison the value we are placing on our campus libraries as “third spaces” over the summer is incredibly low–especially for a “Research Institutition.” There are many possibilities for why hours are distributed this way, as well as possible implications.

I think the graphic at the very least helps remind us that the apparatuses of institutions need not be only one way, they can be configured and re-configured to reflect values and priorities. No, this doesn’t mean I want to close the gym and open the libraries, and neither does my friend.

My second story for this one blog post is still a bit of a mystery. I have yet to locate the original post since I got this story from word-of-mouth, but I think I will find it soon enough. Heck, sharing it here might even help figure it out.

So this blogger writes about how he does something really clever whenever he signs up for a new service–a website like a forum, or something like Reddit (be careful with the latter). He shares his email address, his preferences, all the necessary personal information, except… his first name. Seems kind of useless right? The first name is probably the easiest to guess if given enough of some other personal info, like last name and email for instance. But the rub (or the hack) is that instead of his first name, he uses the name of the service he has signed up for. So when exploitative-company.com sells his email address or otherwise violates his privacy, he gets a message that says, “Hi Exploitative-company.com Smith! We thought you would like this PENIS ENHANCING MEDICA…” You get the picture.

I thought this was such a neat and elegant hack. It really is the best experiment to see what is happening with your contact information. The best part is that it even feels like it’s barely the tip of the iceberg, and it is so important to understand how deep issues of online privacy go!

That’s all for now, I will try to update with the actual original post.