Note For Anyone Writing About Me

For anyone who wants to write about me
I am an Autistic person. I am not a person with autism. Don't call me one. FYI, also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore anyways.
My name is Alyssa, I'm a triple major in mathematics, mechanical engineering, and Chinese. I'm currently studying abroad in Tianjin. I have an About. I'm Autistic. I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#AutismSpeaks10 Aren't #AutismChampions.

I've been fairly active on Twitter the last few days with the Autistic and allied takeover of the #AutismSpeaks10 hashtag, and now the new tag, #AutismChampions (the s at the end is important, because without it you wind up in a different tag.)

I've also been super-busy offline, and I've been working on some cool advocacy, activism, and art stuff that's not ready yet, so I've not had enough time for that and blogging typically. In lieu of a more typical blog post, here's embeddings of all my original tweets to those two tags. :)

I seriously recommend looking at both tags, though, and maybe retweeting some stuff or adding your own! Warning, though: Some of the stuff Autism Speaks has done is really triggering, and we are talking about it.

(The Chinese tweet is a translation of this.)

(This is Chinese for the TNJU (Tianjin Normal University) tweet.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Democratizing Innovation notes

I actually read Democratizing Innovation a while ago, having reviewed it back in 2013. But I realized that I hadn't put my notes up yet (just a review) so here they are. You can get the book for free as a pdf at the authors website.

“I first ask them how satisfied they are with their backpack. Initially, most say, “It's OK.” But after some discussion, a few complaints will slowly begin to surface (slowly, I think, because we all take some dissatisfaction with our products as the unremarkable norm.)”
But there are still a bunch of students who decide to make some sort of change to their backpack to make it at least a little better.

“adding more beta testers... increases the probability that someone's toolkit will be matched to the problem in such a way that the bug is shallow to that person.” (Raymond qtd in von Hippel.)
That is, adding more people who look at a problem increases the chances that the solution will be simple to someone

The assets of some user will then generally be found to be a just-right fit to many innovation development problems.”

parallel between user-innovator and scholar-activist?

In the early days of computing, it was common to freely share software and modifications to it. Almost as soon as the first firm restricted access to source code, counters including the General Public License started appearing. Some people started calling these “copyleft.”

hacker culture as an anarchist thing?

Conventional economic language talks about producers and consumers, supply and demand, but Weber notes that “the open source process scrambles these categories” (qtd in von Hippel) as users become part of the production process. He also suggests this integration could occur in other areas.
In open source, users are able to make complicated products themselves, like Firefox and Linux. (A user is kind of like a consumer, but it's a word that still works when the user is also the one making the thing.)

Experts in many fields form interest groups and informally help each other, freely revealing information in ways similar to that of open source processes. (von Hippel.)

Amabile, T. M. 1996. Creativity in Context. Westview.
Antelmon, Kristin. 2004. “Do Open Access Articles Have a Greater Research Impact?” College and Research Libraries 65, no 5: 372-382
Christensen, C. M. 1997. The Innovator's Dilemma. Harvard Business School Press.
Morris, A. D. and C. McClurg, eds. 1992. Frontiers in Social Movement Theory. Yale University Press.
Harhoff, D., J. Henkel, and E. von Hippel. 2003. Profiting from Voluntary Information Spillovers: How Users Benefit by Freely Revealing Their Innovations.” Research Policy. 35, no 10:1753-1769.
Mishina, K. 1989. Essays on Technological Evolution. PhD Thesis, Harvard University.
Von Hippel, E. 1976. The Dominant Role of Users in the Scientific Instrument Innovation Process. Research Policy 5, no 3: 212-39

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fiction and Representation (For Me)

After many, many years of being asked to visualize things and never being able to do it, and not forming pictures of characters or places in my head as I read, and never being able to accurately guess what a place actually looks like based on floor plans, I have reached the conclusion that I don't have a minds eye. (I reached the conclusion a while ago, so this isn't new, but it's relevant to the slightly unusual way I interact with representation in fiction.)

In fact, not only do I not come up with a mental image of a character as I read, but I also don't really remember the details of how a character is described as looking. (For similar reasons, I don't pay much attention to those details while I'm writing, which I'm working on because I know representation matters to people in all the ways they can interact with the information, and if I don't provide descriptions that show otherwise, people are going to assume all my characters are cisgender heterosexual able white people.)

One example I like to use for this is Hermione. The book descriptions of Hermione could be describing me, and I didn't realize this. After I saw the first movie, with Emma Watson as Hermione, while they were still trying to give her actual frizzy hair, I picked up on the bit where Hermione is a character who looks like me, but that didn't make Emma's Hermione take over the non-existent slot for my mental picture of Hermione. It didn't make me take over the non-existent slot either, because that slot doesn't exist. (Also, the book version of Hermione and I are fairly similar, personality-wise, which is the way that I can understand and interact with.)

For me, the non-existence of mental images for characters means that I personally don't much care what a character looks like. I care about it for the people who'll notice and care because they have minds eyes like that, and I care about it some (still not much) in movies because the pictures are given to me, but as far as making me feel represented goes, it really doesn't matter what the character looks like. I need characters who act like me, whether or not they look anything like me.

Give me characters who are awkward even when it isn't cute. Give me characters who avoid shopping because it's loud and bright. Give me characters whose interests don't line up with the idea of "geek" or "jock" or "creative type" or any of those, but have a mix from all. Give me characters who are good, really good, at some of the things they like but have to work hard to even manage "not terrible" for some of the others. Give me characters who act like me, with personalities like mine.

The physical descriptions matter for the people who can translate those to images, but that's not me and it will probably never be me. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Class" Discussion.

Over my winter break, I worked on a syllabus for a disability studies class aimed at engineering students, meant for the special section that the Society For Disability Studies is putting into one of their upcoming issues. (At least, I think that's how the section is working.)

I was talking to a professor in the school of education at my university (I have contacts in my university now! Yay!) We got to talking about books and reading, because her specialty is with English and I'm a bookworm. Somehow or other, the fact that she really liked the short story Harrison Bergeron came up. At this point, I mentioned that in one of the weeks of that syllabus I made, there are only two "readings." One is Harrison Bergeron, a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. The other is Fixed, a documentary about the science and fiction of human enhancement.

I wound up lending her my DVD of Fixed because she said it sounded interesting, and I left her with the question of why she thinks I'd put those two readings together. Now I'm opening it up here: anyone familiar with both pieces have any ideas on how they could work together in a class discussion? It doesn't need to be the same reasons/ways I have (note that I haven't said what those are anyways.) I'm curious, because I suspect that there's way more possibilities than the ones I've got.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Scholarship in the Digital Age Notes

And yet another "Alyssa reads a thing, here's sier notes." Yes, these are books I've been reading as I work on various chapters and papers and proposals as an academic person. 
Citation for the book, as per usual.
Borgman, Christine L. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007.
And here's my notes!

In the first chapter, Borgman notes that much of the content of the Internet is unverified/unverifiable stuff like blogs and list serv discussions. As more and more academics blog, I question both the unversified nature and the unverifiable nature of these forms of media- blog posts with references exist- I know because I write these.
“Students acquire an insatiable appetite for digital publications, and then find on graduatiion that they can barely sample them without institutional affiliations” (3.) This is a huge, huge problem for independent scholars, especially poor independent scholars. And guess who's more likely to be an independent scholar rather than have affiliations? Exactly the same people who face barriers to participation in academia.
Nevertheless, making content that was created for one audience useful for another is a complex problem. Each field has its own vocabulary, data structures, and research practices. People ask questions in different ways, starting with familiar terminology. (10.)
Basically the quote I just copied in above. This is a big argument in favor of the disciplinary versioning with discipline-nonspecific version approach, though it also raises a question: what is the current intended audience, and should that be the indended audience? In conversations about disability, disabled people need to be part of the main intended audience, not an add on.
“Journal articles are more valuable if one can jump directly from the article to those it cites and to later articles that cite the source article” (10.) Oh hey, the Chinese journal system I used to download a ton of papers when I was in Tianjin can do that. It was useful, except for the part where a lot of papers didn't actually cite anyone...
Wissenschaften is apparently a German word that covers sciences, social sciences, and humanities. That is really cool. Also, cyberwissenschaften for the cyber kind. That's cool, but it's German and that means most USAians won't really know or use it. Sads. Cyberscience: Research in the Age of the Internet by Nentwich apparently talks about this some. Woo linguistics but sads because English.
I think I need to find William Gibson's novel, Neuromancer.
“Notions of scholarship, information, and infrastructure are deeply embedded in technology, policy, and social arrangements” (33.)
“Underlying the technical and policy developments are theories and philosophies about what is socially acceptable and appropriate” (33.)
“Scholars in the twenty-first century continue to use those channels [in person, by phone, and by mail,] while also communicating via e-mail, blogs, and chat” (47.) Ok so blogs are unverfied and unverifiable, but also are a way scholars talk to each other? That makes SO MUCH SENSE. Oh wait, no, it really doesn't.
Oh hey, problems with peer review. Ibby talked about those some in the cognitive accessibity and why we should share piece on the feminist wire, too. Lets see what Borgman's got to say.
“Double-blind reviewing is difficult to maintain, especially in online environments, as authors can be identified by searching for similar work on the topic of the paper.” (61.)
Cronin, B.- interesting author. The Citation Process: The Role and Significance of Citations in Scientific Communication (1984), The Hand of Science: Academic Writing and Its Rewards, (2005.)
Peer review is a social process, with all the problems that can come from social processes.
Open posting and review of papers where anyone may comment brings up the question of who is a peer. The system used to be pretty well closed, with authors and reviewers being the same set of people. (I'm totally in favor of questioning who is a peer, the current system is super elitist. Not sure what Borgman thinks of blowing it open like this, I think she's trying to sound unbiased here?)
“Reviewing can be a conservative process that is more likely to reinforce the norms of a field than to identify significant breakthroughs. Articles that are ultimately highly cited often have difficulty getting published.” (62.) She cites McCook 2006, Meadows 1998, Nature 2006, Shatz 2004, and Weller 2000, 2001 for this. So many citations, here's the full ones below now.
McCook, A. (2006). Is Peer Review Broken? Scientist 20 (2): 26.
Meadows, A. J. (2001). Communicating Research. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Nature Peer Review Trial and Debate. (2006). Nature. <>
Shatz, D. (2004). Peer Review: A Critical Inquiry. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Weller, A. C. (2000). Editorial peer review for electronic journals: Current issues and emerging models. Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology 51 (14): 1328-1333.
Weller, A. C. (2001). Peer Review: Its Strengths and Weaknesses. Medford, NJ: Information Today.
“New technologies did not result in shifting the balance among stakeholders as radically or as rapidly as some had hoped, largely because social practices are much more enduring than are technologies (65.)
“In a print world, most relationships are bibliographic references to other documents or to data sources. In a digital world, these references can be automated links that will take the reader directly to the source document or even the cited passage within that document.” (70.)
“With active links, readers can follow a trail directly to sources and data, and may be more likely to verify claims” (70.)
Information technologies now enable anyone to be a publisher, in the generic sense that anything “made public” is published. Nevertheless, the supposedly low barriers to entry in computer-based publishing ignore the complex relationships between stakeholders. “Self-publishing” is an oxymoron in the scholarly world. Authors need peer-reviewers; publishers need authors, editors, and reviewers; and libraries need content to collect, organize, make accessible, and preserve. (76.)
Because academic publishing doesn't do the whole self-publishing thing, depending on others reviews before permitting publication, the lowering of technical barriers to publishing is insufficient on its own to make stakeholder voices be heard in academic conversations. The lowered technical barriers to entry mean that a social change of listening to stakeholders and inviting them into conversations are easier to do from a logistics standpoint. That's it.
Changes in online review led to asking “who is a peet?” “When considering the legitimization of digital documents online, the question becomes, “legitimate to whom?” (84.)
“Students, practitioners, scholars with minimal access to the published literature, and the general public usually are happy to read and cite any free version of a document they can find online” (84.)
Posting documents online was considered prior publication as far as journals were concerned for a while. As more and more authors took advantage of the interent to post working copies of papers on repositories and personal websites, the policy changed, and such posting and circulation became an informal communication which no longer prevented journal publication. [Like Melanie Yergeau's blog post that got expanded into an article on Disability Studies Quarterly!]
The ways that people actually read (or decide whether or not to read) scholarly publications aren't perfectly suited to print, with skimming of titles, abstracts, and conclusions more common than reading the entire article linearly. Similar jumping around sections is common for books as well. Electronic publications could take advantage of their increased flexibility, including the lack of requirement for linearity, and design for these actual habits. However, this doesn't usually happen. Online texts typically attempt to be just as linear as print texts.
Scholarly information never will be completely translatable between disciplines any more than languages ever will be perfectly translatable. Some ideas within fields cannot be fully expressed in the language of another field, just as some ideas in French or Chinese cannot be fully expressed in English. We can improve the transmission and translation of ideas through tools and practices, however. (230.)
I think that also ties in with the paradigm stuff that Nick Walker talks about in his essay where he describes the neurodiversity paradigm. Ideas from different paradigms don't really translate well to others, usually. Sometimes a piece of data can be picked up from one and re-interpreted in another, but it's a lot of work.
The lack of perfect translatability between academic fields is both a strength and a weakness of information infrastructure. It is a strength in that fields can express themselves in the full richness of their own languages. It is a weakness in that rich internal structures can create rigid boundaries between fields. Interdisciplinary work depends on the ability to span those boundaries. (231-232.)
Forfeiting the richness of local language is too high a price to pay for interoperability. (232.)
These two bits line up big time with the whole translation thing. Translators are important, both across disciplines and between activists and academics, and all kinds of cultural differences within and outside academia.

And now I go through the references section for stuff I'd read if time were infinite. I probably won't read most of it, though, because time isn't infinite.
Artandi, S. (1973). Information concepts and their utility. Journal for the American Society for Information Science 24 (4): 242-245.
Bailey, C. (2005). Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with e-Prints and Open Access Journals. Washington, D.C: Association of Research Libraries. <> (URL is from 2006, might not still be working.)
Barnett, G. A., Fink, E.L., and Debus, M. B. (1989). A mathematical model of citation age. Communication Research 16 (4): 510-531.
Crane, D. (1972). Invisible Colleges: Diffusion of Knowledge in Scientific Communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Journal of Documentation- the article cited is way out of date now but the journal sounds cool.
Day, R. E. (2001). The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Dillon, A. (1994). Designing Usable Electronic Text. London: Taylor and Francis.
Duguid, P. (2005). “The art of knowing”: Social and tacit dimensions of knowledge and the limits of community of practice. Information Society 21 (2): 109-118.
Gieryn, T. F. (1999). Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hemlin, S. and Rasmussen, S. B. (2006). The shift in academic quality control. Science, Technology, and Human Values 31 (2): 173-198.
Hughes, T. P. Human-Built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kling, R. (2004). The Internet and Unrefereed Scholarly Publishing. In Annual Review of Information Scheice and Technology, ed. B. Cronin, 38: 591-631. Medford, NJ: Information Today.
Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistimic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Camrbridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Latour, B. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans. C. Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Latour, B., and Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Tenopir, C., and King, D. W. (2002). Reading behaviour and electronic journals. Learned Publishing 15: 259-265.

Tenopir, C., and King, D. W. (2004). Communication Patterns of Engineers. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.