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Cognitive Science C103 History of Information

Preparation for Final

History of Journalism
 News include: seriality, periodicity, currency, independence, source, and completeness
 After printing’s emergence, printing materials began to emerge and by 17th century, we see the early forms of the
modern newspaper
 Periodicals were distributed in a network of hawkers, agents, coffeehouses, taverns, and postal service
 Freedom of the Press
o England – Stamp Act of 1712 was met with great resistance by people of the press; act abolished in 1860
o France – censorship remained until the French Revolution
 Colonial papers contained little politics. It wasn’t until tension rises with Britain that more politics became
enmeshed in pamphlets. The press took sides (like fans liking a sports team, favoring the home team)
o Post-Revolutionary War, the press was not the same and criticisms of the govt was a more serious matter
 Sedition Act of 1798 (felony to criticize the govt)
 Keeps the govt in check; if censored govt info, then ppl would be more suspicious of govt doings
 “Freedom” is a relative term
o Free to write what you want but what about an objective point of view?
o Who keeps the press in check? Other presses? The public?
 Penny press
o News was sold for 6¢
o Began adding more content to charge more (e.g. comics to address illiterate audience)
o Innovations
 Steam press – quicker, faster to turn around stories
 Newsboy – sold papers
 Telegraph
 The “Story” vs The “Facts”
o News as entertainment or news as information?
 Aesthetic? Functional?
o Increased commercialization, industrialization, commoditization
 Yellow journalism
o Pulitzer
 New York World; had innovative advertising policies, headlines and exposés
o Hearst
 New York Journal American; had crime reports and pseudoscience; ran sensationalistic stories
 Objectivity
o Hardly used until the 1920s; since, it was a new era of professionalism. There is a growing reverence for
scientific inquiry, efficiency, and Progressive reform
o 1930s: interpret as well as inform the public; we somehow have the need to interpret as well as
authenticate the news. Interpretations were subjective to author’s writing.
o 1960s: we give “full respectability” to the press, just in time for Vietnam and Watergate
o But as mainstream institutions fragment, there is difficulty in authenticating sources
 We have no need for physical newspapers right now but what are the consequences of an
increasingly splintered, filtered, remixed news delivery system

Michael Schudson’s Where News Came From: The History Of Journalism

 The media has been taking on greater weights in recent years, mainly because of the rapid and radical transformation
of the delivery of news.
 Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere
o Newspaper became the public sphere’s preeminent institution
o Inquired why a bourgeois order and not any other gave rise to a domain of reasoned public discourse about
politics outside the control of church or crown
 Bourgeois public sphere encompassed a social space that encouraged private persons to discuss
public issues without any surveillance
 Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Spread of nationalism
o Print created “imagined communities” in the minds of people as objects to be affiliated with
o Common readership was like a ceremony, in which readers read the newspaper in a daily morning routine
that substituted their morning prayers. Knowing that there are thousands of people doing the same thing
gives the act of reading newspapers a kind of ceremonial performance that “enacts nationhood and national
 Discussed differences between a community (Anderson) and a public (Habermas)
o Community implies a common emotional identity; indicates a feeling of fellowship on the basis of
o Public implies only a common set of norms for public conversation and suggests civil interaction around a
common political subject
 Emergence of news in U.S.
o Printers were businessmen first, not journalists, in colonial times
o None of the early papers reached out to collect news; they printed what came to them
o By the 1920s, journalists followed a pattern that produced a self-conscious professionalism and ethic of
 Journalism in Europe
o The desire of journalists to distinguish themselves from public-relations practitioners was absent
o European journalism did not display the political influence that American journalists did, and so they did
not develop this objective ideology

Politics and Propaganda

 Claude Shannon’s Information Theory
o “Information relates not so much to what you do say, as to what you could say … a measure of one's
freedom of choice when one selects a message” -Weaver
 Composition of a message had much to do with the meaning and frequency of the message than the
characters themselves
 You can measure how certain you would get a certain type of message and then throw out the
repetitive info if necessary
 In English, u always follows q, so the u can be omitted in a message
o Whenever data is transmitted, stored, or retrieved, there are a number of variables such
as bandwidth, noise, data transfer rate, storage capacity, number of channels, propagation delay, signal-to-
noise ratio, accuracy (or error rate), intelligibility, and reliability.
o The more unlikely the information in a message, the more valuable the information is (self-information)
 Ex: picture of hot air balloon against countryside background; hot air balloon is the novelty in the
picture and therefore provided more information than anything else in the photo
 Cryptography and Secrecy Systems
o There are some cases you try to conceal info, and some cases you want to transmit it within certain parties
 Signal and Noise
o Shannon’s Theory: No amount of clever engineering can overcome the laws of physics… (??)
o Any message is subject to human interaction; clouding of signal; noise
 Noise – any outside influence that can alter the message (in an unintended way) so your perception
of the message is altered from the initial meaning
 Info source > transmitter > receiver> destination
 Message > signal > noise source > received signal > message
o The quality of the boxes matter
 Sources of intelligence: Human, signals (communications, electronics, combination), Networks (“spirit web”, divine
manipulation of threads)
o Interpretive guidelines
 Same as news?
 Content (observation, deduction, inference, speculation, opinion, rumor gossip)
 What does Darnton say about the role of gossip?
o Spreads info fast, but susceptible to mutations, and one can plant gossip, leading to

Randall Marlin’s History of Propaganda

 Charles Masterman directed the organization that worked at Wellington House for the British govt
o Was already involved in propaganda before WWI outbreak
o Aimed to produce propaganda to counteract German propaganda
 Three types: written word (pamphlets, articles, cables and wireless), picture (cinema, photos, drawings), people
(most effect by getting hold of the right man, showing him the facts and having him go home and conduct his own
initiative among his own people)
 Rapid information was key – used radio and telegraph to counteract enemy propaganda directed at neutral countries
 Film – ministry invented new “species” of film called “film-tag” where some short bit of propaganda was tagged to
news for the home audience
 Atrocity – key element in British propaganda was to harp on the theme of German barbarity
o Bryce Report (Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages) carried high level of credibility
among the general public
 Accused German soldiers of decapitating babies, cutting women’s breasts, publicly raping women,
etc., but we now suspect how much of these events actually occurred. Was the Report deliberately
trying setting out to authenticate what they knew were falsehoods?
 Corpse Factory Story – Germans were boiling their own dead soldiers to extract from their bodies
lubricating oil, fats, soap, glue, glycerine for explosives, etc.
 Germans were taking dead horses to a rendering plant so that the fats could be used, but
the story was changed to dead German soldiers…
 7 requirements for propaganda success from A.J. Mackenzie’s Propaganda Boom
o Repetition
o Color to grab the imagination
o Contain a kernel of truth
o Built around a slogan
o Directed towards a specific objective
o Motive of propaganda should be concealed
o Timing is key to propaganda success
 Nazi propaganda has provided the world with mass manipulation and multi-layered propaganda in a scale never
before seen
 Appealing to the masses: winning people over for the organization, destroy existing conditions to achieve
acceptance of the new doctrine
 Use of symbolism: swastika, flags waving in the wind, fire in hearth to convey the message of burning away the old
and bringing in the new
 Goebbels was in chard of Nazi propaganda; exploited new media of communication
o By 1933, Nazi had taken control of nearly all aspects of media; censorship was nearly complete
o Real aim of Nazi propaganda was to demoralize the enemy, to destroy the cohesion, discipline and
collective morale of hostile social groups; to sow seeds of doubt, undermining confidence in authority

Sun Tzu’s The Use of Spies

 Propaganda involves information manipulation by mass dissemination, while spying covers the flip side information
manipulation by precisely targeted absorption. Espionage, as a kind of propaganda, work at interweaving the truth
with fiction in order to achieve aims in accordance with the objectives of the spy, which is also the aim of
 Roles in the “divine web”: native agents, inside agents, double agents, living agents, expendable agents.
o Suggests that information is something to be manipulated and used, evening amongst those working the
same side
o Power is based on the person in charge of this web; his control of information and management to ensure
that while each spy may know something, none is aware of the complete picture; that could lead to uprising
or revolt.

John Hann’s Cloak and Dagger in Apalachicole Province

 concentrates on the conflict between British and Spanish in Florida. The Spanish in Florida at the time had deep
concerns about the expanding influence of British settlers to the North and utilized agents from various tribes in
Northern Florida to gather intelligence and assist in the Spanish attempts to stem the tide of British commericial
intrusion. The British countered with their own employment of natives for secret operations. But the increasingly
violent, desperate tactics of the Spaniards eventually drove many of the tribes into the arms of the British.

Michael Warner’s The Divine Skein

 “divine manipulation of the threads”, “spiritual methodology”, “secret service”, “divine organization”, “ spirit web” –
These terms essentially describe a web of spies working for the ruler who provide the ruler/general with superior
information on his adversary. (web metaphor)
 The use of spies is just as important as having an army – to have foreknowledge about the enemy is a great advantage
and increases the possibility of winning the battle. To not use spies is a neglect on the general’s part and a false
economic move because it puts your soldiers to bear the costs of war and to prolong defeat

 What would Berger say about Eisenstein’s notion of standardization and the idiosyncratic?
o The infinitely reproducible nature of an image (standardization) removes it from its original context and
renders it unique (idiosyncratic)
o The meaning is no longer derived from the object itself
o Idiosyncrasy (rising sense of self)
 Berger relates how ads affect yourself
 Link to McLuhan – new ways of expression changes the way you think/perceive things
 “Advertising is a subliminal pill designed to massage the unconscious” - McLuhan
 Ads show this unattainable lifestyle; standardizing the norm everyone tries to reach to
 Standardizing images – can perceive something different in various contexts (diversifies)
o Reproducibility – infinitely reproducible nature of an image removes it from its orig context and renders it
unique (idiosyncratic)
 Sense ratios – aural (radio), tactile (books), visual (print), subliminal (ads)?
o The Mechanical + The Subliminal
 Tachistoscope – Vicary’s experiment with priming TV viewers with Coca Cola logo
 Sound, light, message manipulation
 Iconography
o Advertising icons can create/reinforce how we perceive ourselves as a society
o Symptomatic approach benefits from this; advertisements are reflections of a society
o Also creates/reinforces negative stereotypes within society
 Spokespersons – good and bad effects
 Political advertising – at what point does this political image turn into propaganda? Only when we don’t like it?

John Berger’s Ways of Seeing

 Saying that our natural sense is in visual, more than the oral
 Images were first made to conjure up the appearances of something that was absent
 When viewing the landscape painting made in 1905, you tend to place yourself in history – a different mindset than
from viewing that same landscape in the present.
 In and of itself, the painting/image that is viewed is of something of the past. Therefore when some painting is being
viewed, there is this inherent disconnect of the viewer and that image as opposed to the experience of viewing
something in the immediate.
 Perspective changed with the advent of the camera and photography. The camera “captured and isolated
momentary appearances” and showed that the notion of time passing was inseparable from visual experience. What
one saw depended on his time and place; this shattered the convention of perspective: “No longer was it possible to
imagine everything converging on the human eye as on the vanishing point of infinity” (18).
 John Berger's central insight - that "the way we see things is structured by what we know or what we believe" is an
insight into how Berger views and acknowledges the fact that what we interpret an image, text or an event
according to our (existing) knowledge and beliefs
 Reproduction – every painting is now viewed in many different contexts/surroundings
o In a sense, also diversifying the message, too, because people all have their own take on what the art’s
message conveys. Different contexts would give people different ideas
 Classic works of art have become more than just images in the minds of consumers—they have become a ‘visual
language’ that the consumer is well versed in and an advertiser can summon at will (Berger 140). Publicity is in
essence, nostalgic. It tries to sell the past to the future. All its references to quality are bound to be retrospective
and traditional
o Serene mothers, luxurious materials, embraces of lovers
 Appeal to concepts universal to humanity
 The power art once held is destroyed by the modern means of reproduction. Authority of art is removed (authority
it once had to tell you what kind of message it was trying to get across to its viewers). Images are now ephemeral,
ubiquitous, insubstantial, available, and valueless. They have entered mainstream in which they have no more power
 Berger sums up the ultimate aim of advertising: “The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally
dissatisfied with his present way of life….It suggests that if he buys what it is offering, his life will become better”
o Passive worker becomes active consumer; “Working to spend more”

 Mythical ether: “a perfectly continuous, subtle, incomprehensible substance pervading all space and penetrating
between the molecules of all ordinary matter, which are embedded in it and connected with one another by its
means” (Czitrom 64)
 The ether was first thought of as something mythical and of no practical use because we cannot see this ether. Some
say that it is just an experiment to show that there is this mysterious electromagnetic waves in the air, but there is
no actual application for it (this was back in 1887)
o Like growing a new sense; feeling close to someone who’s not actually there (McLuhan’s idea of senses
 By 1906, the first radio broadcast was aired in MA and heard as far away as VA
 Initial uses
o Military (esp Navy) – used for national security and warfare
o Commercial organizations – global communication and spread of commercial views
o Hobbyists and amateurs – global communication in the promotion of utopian ideals
o Educational institutions
 A radio network began to emerge and soon, the govt was involved in regulating (Sec. of Commerce Hoover initiates
conference to update obsolete regulatory framework)
 Listening to early broadcasts required some technical knowledge and constant tweaking; “active rather than passive
entertainment” (Czitrom 73); called DX’ing (trying to receive the most distant broadcasts as possible)
 Private sphere – Public in the privacy of the home
o There is direct access into private homes on a mass scale; brought ppl closer together to listen to one
uniform message; messages can target everyone in the family and was a big medium for advertising
 Paying for broadcasts
o AT&T begins toll sys in 1922. By 1926, the Radio Act opens radio for advertising and govt regulation took
place, dividing the spectrum betw ship, coastal, amateur, and govt frequencies
o Charged the advertisers for time on their programs rather than charging the listeners
o Radio advertising did not become truly significant until the 1930s
 Broadcast uses: Entertainment, political, journalism, religious/educational
 Radio vs Print
o Radio as the new political tool
o Also a conflation of news and entertainment (by 1939, 70% Americans relied on radio for news)
 “March of Time” combines news and drama
 Rise of TV news
o Since 1963, news have been broadcasted nightly, starting with 30mins and extending to 60mins on CBS
 Broadcasting the Vietnam War and Watergate

Daniel Czitrom’s Ethereal Hearth: American Radio from Wireless to Broadcasting

 Radio was the new dimension to modern communication – bringing the outside world into the indiv home
o Coordinated by the military and the science-based industry because of the complexity involved in pushing
technology to become wireless
 Evolving this new electric sense through the knowledge of electromagnetic waves
o Sensitivity to the ether we are surrounded by; we can’t smell it or touch it, but we have been manipulating
it and making it useful in our lives
o Everyone would have this new “electro-magnetic ear” to listen to the “electro-magnetic voice”
o New technology again altered how a message can be delivered and how it could be heard
 Reginald Fessenden, a Pittsburgh engineer, conducted experiments in wireless to aid in weather forecasting and had
military uses in mind when discussing the urgency to improve the tuning
 Perfection of wireless telephony became largely a function of research and devo by large corporations and the fed
govt; private enterprises and govt were joint forces on this project
o AT&T also sought in; bought all patent rights to De Forest’s audion and related inventions
 Cheap crystals allowed easy-to-make detectors of radio waves, contributing to the amateur boom around 1907
 Symbiotic relation between radio interests and printed press; radio interests used the press to publicize the new
medium by extensive advertising and scores of publishers began radio stations to publicize their papers
 Utopian view – “to conceive thousands of boys, young men, and grown-ups throughout the U.S. using the same
medium to talk with one another…”
o “Broadcasting has turned the nation into a town meeting. But there is no chairman and no parliamentary law.
This will bring about anarchy in the ether”
o “The ether has become a great mirror in which the social, political, and cultural anomalies of our ‘business
man’s civilization’ are grotesquely magnified”
 With its extensive web of telephone long lines, AT&T hooked up with WEAF with a number of other stations
around the country to create the first network broadcasting
 High point of radio news came at the point of the Munich crisis, where listeners heard the live voices of Hitler,
Chamberlain, and other principals, while commentators in NY offered instant analysis
 Conflation of news and entertainment (March of Time, War of the Worlds); news was told with radio actors
impersonating famous ppl

Narrowcast: Telegraph and Telephone

 There is this new strive to communicate instantly
 Claude Chappe, in 1794, sent the first (optical) “telegram” using a woodblock object to create signals that could be
seen over a long distance
o Some weaknesses: Signals had to be decoded; natural weather obstacles (foggy, snowy days), no privacy of
 Samuel Morse’s Morse Code (electrical telegraph) patented in 1840
 “Victorian Internet” described the telecommunication technologies in the 19th century
o Explosive growth of telegraph; spiderweb network over U.S.
o Operation of telegraph had “qualities like a chat room”; used by the rich
 Annihilation of Space and Time
o Railroads (w/time zones), commodities markets military, press
o Submarine telegraph boom (stretching from London to Paris)
 Trauma, Tension, Confusion
o Common “organicist” metaphor w/telegraph as nervous sys and the railroad as musculature
o Misconceptions about the new technologies
 “hollow wires, speaking tubes, tight rope”??
o Used different sense ratios
 There was the concept of reuse (overlay of existing technologies)
o Taken from the Palimpsest (doc where scribes wrote over existing lines of old words)
o Railway uses/augments existing trade routes
o Telegraph built along RR’s
o Present example: DSL originally used on existing phone lines
 Utopianism vision
o Uniting people with a “single voice”
o Had to educate the public on this new concept – overcoming misinformation and confusion (“would the
phone speak your language?)
 Explicit advertising – disseminate the idea of the phone’s usages; door-to-door marketing
o Bell initially marketed the device to businessmen, who relied on the telegraph already
 Bell held a monopoly from 1880-1893
 Post-WWI
o Dirty tricks proliferated due to competition
 Cut wires, spying on competitors, bribing city officials
 AT&T subsidized certain companies to not offer service to certain customers, only to AT&T
o 1913 Kingsbury Commitment – regulated AT&T and prevented it from buying out more independent
companies; Bell was not to buy more independent companies without govt approval; allowed non-Bell
companies to connect to Bell lines
 Telephone, a natural monopoly
o The more customers a phone company has, the more the customers benefit; network effects
 Emergence of social norms
o Bell attempts to instruct the public as to what is polite and acceptable in social talk
 Tried to suppress saying “hello” on the phone because this was not normal in normal interaction,
but attempts failed because you had to say “hello” to be sure someone was on the other side of the
o 1920s – shift from practicality to sociality in marketing; shift from business luxury to common utility
 Consolidation – WWI – WWII
o Depression – Bell lost growth and customers; it tried to keep some lines active in hopes that customers
would continue to keep their service and pay
o Govt took over telephone companies and ushered in new fees that remains to today
o Phone companies had the support of the govt
o Public image changes: “Bell octopus” to “Ma Bell”
 AT&T breaks up by 1984 to become Baby Bells
 Telephone as literacy
o Should everyone have telephones? Do we need one to function in society? (What if you have to call 911?)

Claude Fischer’s The Telephone in America

 American “style”
o Compared electricity and telephone
 Involved creating networks
 Their importance relied on a large number of customers
 Both were intended to be delivered by local monopolies
 Shaped by political context; had govt involvement sooner or later
 Soft determinism
o Telephone and cars came after the linear process of technological advancements; telegraph and bicycle
before telephone and vehicles
o The technology reflected the socioeconomic forces on its development

Photography: Technologies of the Image

Technology of the Photograph
 Camera Lucida “light passage, light chamber”
o 1807 Patented by Wollaston
 Used as a guide for drawing; Painter’s assisting device
o Hockney-Falco thesis
 Many old masters we think of have this technical “skill” they use for their paintings
o Still used in neuroscience, paleontology
o Images superimposed on paper (similar to tracing)
 Camera Obscura “dark passage, dark chamber”
o Pinhole camera, how we think of cameras today
o Was used for a variety of purposes
 Artistic and sociological tool
 Get things you wouldn’t normally about society
 Sense that you are outside society
o Images superimposed on “table”
 But how to capture light?
o Mo-ti: First mention of pinhole camera concept
o Aristotle: questions sun’s ability to make circular light when shining through square hole (300 BC)
 Niepce
o Objects appear with astonishing sharpness and exactitude
o Used pewter plates; required 8 hrs exposure
o Get direct positive
 Used sodium thiosulfate; called the fixing technique
 Did not last
 Talbot improved on Herschel’s technique (which used negatives); subsequent photo processes rely upon Herschel’s
 Allowed Talbot to print any number of positives from a single negative
Daguerre and the Daguerreotype
 How did he improve the process?
o Sharper image output
 How is he rewarded for his innovation?
o French govt buys the rights to it
o Lifetime pension by govt
o Fame
 Improves process with copper plates thinly coated w/silver; uses mercury vapor to develop
 Very transient; had to mounted in sealed cases or frames in glass covers
Talbot and the Talbotype
 Negative/positive technique
o What was the significance?
 With one neg, we can get many positives
 Business – mass production
 Talbot’s patent experience?
o He initially patented it, but did not really profit from it
o He held onto the patent so much that he was not looked on with much respect
o Ultimately relinquishes it except for portraiture
 1840s: portrait galleries are ubiquitous, fortunes to be made
 1850s: Blanquart-Evrard improves exposure/development times in calotype
o Prints have withstood the test of time
 What drives the adoption of the Daguerrotype in America?
o Talbotype was still in patent protection in Britain, but not in the U.S
 No licensing fees!
o Daguerreotype produced finer images
o Parallels to the “American style” of radio, telephone
Tintype and the Advent of Mass Images
 New techniques to drive prices down and production up
 Collodion process supplants calotype and daguerreotype
 Ferrotype or tintype modifies process, using thin metal plates as medium
o Portable and cheap
Tintype vs Art
 While the tintype represented a step forward both in technical innovation and in the commodification of the image,
how did this contrast with the behavior of those interested in developing photography as an art form?
o Practical application to building architecture
 See details more finely than by looking at the actual building with your head cocked up
o No need to master with actual technique and deal with light source
o They looked back at paintings…
 “reproduction” of scenes on camera previously captured with painting
 Painterly effects
 Classical allusions
 But also “concerned with the accurate representation of fact”
 1879: dry plate invented
o Short exposure time makes handheld camera possible
 1889: flexible roll film (Eastman)
o Makes mass commercialization of box camera feasible
o Start seeing onset of amateur photographers
War Photography
 From the Crimean War (1853-56) to the American Civil (1861-65) to the Russo Japanese War (1904-1905), we
see a complete shift in the media used to represent war
 Illustrators lose their jobs to photographers
 Some celebrity photographers emerge
 1906 SF earthquake
o Printed material
 Hysterical headlines of horror
 Rumors
 Epitaphs and Paeans to the dead SF City
o Juxtaposed against other overly optimistic headlines of hope
 Rosy, glorified accounts of heroism
 Triumphalist “prereports” of the City’s impending rebirth
 The photograph of the amateur (“the Public”?) becomes authoritative medium for information about the event, both
in terms of volume and authenticity
Seeing is Believing
 “…there have to be images for something to become ‘real’”; the photographic truth
 Manipulation of pictures
o Used to remove or add people favored or not in the press
 The portrait had importance
 What does it mean to character a photograph as an illusion?
o Perfected illusions
Barthes: Camera Lucida
 The portrait-photograph as “a closed field of forces”
 Photography’s beginning: to advertise social and financial status
o Photography was something the wealthy had
 Against this, Barthes concludes that photography is characterized by singularity, risk, affect
Two Senses of Photography
 The photo as a general illusion of reality – a technology that produces a certain kind of reality-effect through
imparting a sense of coherence, order, etc (organized through rationality)
 Stadium: our general interest in a photo char by clarity, an average feeling towards an image
 Punctum: the spectator is drawn to a particular aspect of the photo accessed as a “partial obj”. A detail that “attracts
or distresses me” overwriting the field of general interest…
Newhall and Fradkin
 The emergence of war photography
 The photo as mass record
 Photo as a source of (mis)information

Beaumont Newhall’s History of Photography

 Implicit faith in the photographic record; pictures don’t lie
 Prints from paper; portraits for the million; the faithful witness

Philip Fradkin’s The Culture of Disaster

 Blah blah

Advent of the Computer

 What is a computer?
o Originally, someone who computes (sits down to do math)
o Depends at least partly on the era we’re talking about; up until WWII, computers refer to humans
o Uses: tracking, tabulating, calculating, controlling, predicting
 Babbage’s Engines
o Difference Machine: Mechanical calculator for limited calculations, specialized – tabulates polynomials,
programmable, influenced by the loom
o Analytical Machine: general purpose machine; programmable, storage, looping, branching (if-cond
o Had no support from the British govt; machines were so abstract that people weren’t able to conceptualize
its uses
 Ada Lovelace played an important role in writing up Babbage’s analytical machine and allowing others to understand
it even years after Babbage’s death
 International Business Machines (IBM)
o Herman Hollerith invented mechanical tabulator that used punchcards to tabulate census info
 Wartime computing
o Decoded encrypted messages that used to be used by Navajo code talkers
o Ballistics “firing tables”
 Networking – Internet Design goals
o Fundamental: efficient share utilization of existing interconnected networks
o From ARPAnet (military developed it, and decentralized it so that information is dispersed to more than
one location) to Internet
 Collective Goods/Actions
o Information’s non-rivalrous nature helps collective goods emerge without the problem of free-riding
 Open-source models; Wikipedia
 Web 2.0 Utopianism
o So much information out there, it is easy to lose track of it and have others come upon your work just by
searching for it.
o Web 2.0 enabled anyone with a computer to be become an author, film director or musician. It suggests
that everyone--even the most poorly educated and inarticulate amongst us--can and should use digital media
to express and realize themselves.
o This Web 2.0 dream is Socrates's nightmare: technology that arms every citizen with the means to be an
opinionated artist or writer.

Martin Campbell-Kelly’s Babbage’s Dream Comes True

 Babbage never built a full-scale Diff Eng because in 1833, he abandoned it for a new invention, the Analytical
o Diff Eng was fundamentally limited because all it could do was produce mathematical tables
o Anal Eng was to be capable of any mathematical computation; it used a concept that separated arithmetic
computation from the storage of numbers
 Used a model similar to that of the Jacquard loom, which used specially punched cards to weave
infinite varieties of patterns
 British govt was not interested in the Diff Eng especially after Babbage mentioned that there may be a better one
that he is also developing.
 Georg and Edward Scheutz (Swedish) later completed a difference engine, but it lacked mechanical perfection and
these one-of-a-kind machines didn’t return a profit and an industry never developed, going back to human
 Why did Babbage fail?
o British govt’s primary interest was to reduce the cost of table making, and it was immaterial whether the
work was done by a calculating engine or by a team of human computers
o Babbage was pioneering in the 1820s and 1830s a digital approach to computing some fifty years before
mechanical technologies had advanced sufficiently to make this relatively straightforward
o He was moving towards the digital age when everyone else was moving to the analog era
 Analogs – instead of computing with numbers, one built physical models of the system to be investigated
 Lord Kelvin – invented the tide predictor machine, was superintendent of transatlantic telegraph cable, contributed
to radio telegraphy and wave mechanics
 Vannevar Bush – invented profile tracer, which was used to plot ground contours; invented the product integraph
and then the differential analyzer, which was capable of addressing a whole class of engineering and science
problems. This was the most important computing machine invented between the world wars
 Lewis Fry Richardson – pioneered numerical meteorology (application of numerical techniques to weather
forecasting); he had vision of a global weather-forecast factory; idea never carried out since he resigned his post
 Leslie John Comrie – worked with the nautical almanac; revolutionized computing methods at the Nautical
Almanac Office. Instead of using freelance computers, with their high degree of scientific training, he decided to
systematize the work and make use of ordinary clerical labor and standard calculating machines. (His human
calculators were young women.)
o He thought that computing was primarily a question of organization
o Major achievement – bring punch-card machines into the world of numerical computing
o He later set up his own business, the Scientific Computing Services Limited
 Harvard Mark I
o Constructed by IBM for Harvard Univ
o Reveals how, as early as the 1930s, IBM was becoming aware of the convergence of calculating and office
machine technologies
o Howard Hathaway Aiken
 Was working on his dissertation at MIT but needed a more powerful, digital computer but none
 Was approached by Harvard technician, who heard of his calculating machine proposal, and showed
him a fragment of Babbage’s calculating engine
 IBM took him in as the project’s consultant and in January 1943, the 5-ton calculator was finished
o Significance of Mark I was not its speed but the fact that it was the first fully automatic machine to be
 It was incapable of making condition branch
o At IBM ceremony to dedicate the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, Aiken took all the credit in
his speech. He didn’t acknowledge the IBM team that had underwritten the entire project. His arrogance
dropped his reputation so much that he never recovered.

L.F. Menabrea’s Sketch of the Analytical Engine

 The ideal usage of the analytical machine is to free up time and intellectual labor of human computers so that these
individuals would be able to put their time into other uses
o The Analytical Engine has rigid accuracy, fast timing in calculating processes, and saves economic
 This machine is apparatus capable of aiding human weaknesses in computing (lessens errors, no need for preliminary
mathematical knowledge)

Tim Berners-Lee’s Weaving the Web

 BL wrote up a program that kept track of information in a way that linked pages to each other, like connected index
cards. He called it Enquire
 “The philosophy was: What matters is in the connections. It isn’t the letters, it’s the way they’re strung together
into words. It isn’t the words, its’ the way they’re strung together into phrases…”
 Hypertext would be most powerful if it could conceivably point to absolutely anything. Every node would have an
address by which it could be referenced. They would all exist together in the same space – the information space
 First proposal was never reviewed, and BL didn’t have a place to ask around for questions, comments, critiques
 Second proposal, given a new format and date, also got shelved
 Had colleague Robert Cailliau jump aboard and they started working together, with Robert helping set up student
helpers, money, machines, and office space
 Project seemed to work, but only on a NeXT platform
o Wanted to create universality

 Study: Slides, class notes, readings
 Review McLuhan and Heilbroner AGAIN
 Schudson, marlin, fischer, czitrom, berger, Fradkin (culture of disasters), note major historical figures, have a sense
of who was important in the development of these innovations, sense of associations of different forms of
o Issues of reception by people (radio, telephone, photography)
o Long answer – comparison
 Utopianism
o Imagined communities – utopian picture of what nationalism is; newsprint
 Fradkin – notions of mass modernized photography, what sort of power that exerts on authenticity of image,
notion of spectacle
 Need to know Michael Warner, Shannon’s information theory, understand key figures in Newhall’s photograph

 The Culture of Disaster

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