Drop-in Office Hours: 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday

Advising appointments email: Sierra Vallin (svallin@stanford.edu)

STS Wire 3/13/2017

In this Issue
  • New Spring Courses
  • Energy Seminar: Samer AlAshgar, Energy Transitions of Countries: The case of Saudi Arabia and Vision 2030
  • Managing California's grasslands under climate change
  • A Better Way to Build a Humanities Data Set
  • #Republic: Divided Democracy in an Age of Social Media
*New Spring Courses*
History 5A: The History of Information: From Moveable Type to Machine Learning
Spring 2017 | T/Th 9:00AM-10:20AM | 200-002 | Professor Thomas Mullaney
Information has a history. This proposition is a startling one for us in the present day, who are predisposed to think of “information” as a timeless, elemental material — a kind of natural resource or fossil fuel — to be located, dug up, and pressed into the service of building capital and knowledge economies. To the extent that information can be said to possess a “history,” our current Silicon Valley-inflected culture tells us that any such history is strictly a technological one: a story of ever-more-powerful excavatory and distribution technologies, whereby human societies can now extract greater quantities of information than ever before. Beyond that question, however,“information” is something fundamentally constant. Right? Wrong. 
As soon as we begin to examine the question of “information” over more extended historical timeframes, and in different regions, our commonsensical assurances begin to break down. We realize that “information” is a concept every bit as historical as ‘knowledge’, ‘science’, ‘race’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘gender’, ‘the nation-state’ and other once-taken-for-granted formulations. As we examine “information crises” in early modern Japan and Europe, we find that our present-day “information age” is hardly the first in which human societies have agonized aloud over the problem of information deluge, and developed sophisticated systems of categorization, storage, retrieval, and transmission in response to it; and ultimately, by the time we reach the more familiar, present-day setting of bits, bytes, and Claude Shannon’s mathematical model of information, we are prepared to see that our present-day condition is but a chapter in the history of information, not the entire story.
      Over the next ten weeks we will examine this history from multiple perspectives as well as in diverse historical, technological, linguistic, and cultural settings. The class moves in reverse chronological order, beginning with the (seemingly) familiar and close-at-hand, and venturing into the distant and (seemingly) strange. Along the way, the line separating these two will blur. As we examine the transformation of technology, society, knowledge, value, materiality, medium, embodiment, and authority, our hard work will be repaid with a new appreciation and critical understanding of the world around us and the worlds that came before. Read more on ExploreCourses.
STS 186: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A Triple Helix of University Industry Government Interactions
Spring 2017 | Friday 11:30AM-2:20PM | 200-219 | Professor Henry Etzkowitz
Where you go to university is a predictor of post graduate location and first job. Understanding its roots can help to start your career Silicon Valley. What makes Silicon Valley tick? What is its “Achilles heel”? Why it's success is at risk? How to avert potential decline?  How may even greater  job creation and economic and social advance be achieved? STS 186 explores the  underlying sources of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of venture capital, accelerators, angel networks, hybrid intermediaries (startx, OTL, Spark) built on university-industry- government interactions though readings, gaming and site visits.  How the d-school emerged from a synthesis of art and mechanical engineering in symbiosis with spin-off firms. How Stanford became a world class university through its government-industry partnerships. What is the  "secret sauce" of high tech startup and regional innovation cluster success? Read more on ExploreCourses.

Energy Seminar: Samer AlAshgar, Energy Transitions of Countries: The case of Saudi Arabia and Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia is undergoing significant change, and has commenced its most substantial diversification and reform program in its history. The Kingdom has long been dependent on oil revenue for economic development and growth and though the belief is that oil and gas will be part of the world’s energy needs for decades to come there is an understanding that these resources are not sufficient to support a growing population where half are below the age of 25.  Recognizing this, the government has announced ambitious public goals, rolling out the 'National Transformation Program' with a 'Vision for 2030' to create a more open, diversified economy. Within this the Kingdom has called for significant energy reforms, restructuring its domestic energy market while providing support mechanisms for industry for this transition and direct support to low income households. Vision 2030, its National Transformation Program and the Energy Reforms is expected to have significant impact on the long term health and competitiveness of the Saudi economy. Read more.
Monday, March 13, 2017 | 4:30PM-5:20PM | NVIDIA Auditorium
A Better Way to Build a Humanities Data Set

Digital libraries and research institutions are building a rich web of linked culture heritage data that is already changing the kinds of questions we can ask of the past. And yet accessing that data remains a significant challenge even for scholars with an understanding of the technology. Humanities+Design, a research lab at CESTA, is creating FI:BRA to help scholars build complex, multidimensional data sets intuitively. We describe it as a personal data modeling tool. While we all depend upon machine scale computing to help us wade through the sea of research data and discover what is relevant, we also need human scale tools that support critical inquiry into the data themselves. This talk is both an introduction to FI:BRA and an invitation to participate in its design. Read more.

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 | 12:00PM-1:30PM | 160-433A

Managing California's grasslands under climate change
Climate variability can reshuffle species’ competitive hierarchies, causing shifts in “winners” and “losers” over time. Temporal variability can maintain biodiversity, but an increase in extreme events can also create threshold patterns of species loss and provide opportunities for new species to invade. In this talk I focus on the California drought, pairing field experiments and population models to understand plant community responses to the drought and develop management strategies for future change. Read more.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 | 4:00PM-5:00PM | Turing Auditorium
#Republic: Divided Democracy in an Age of Social Media

As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. In #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media, Cass Sunstein examines the ways that the internet fuels political fragmentation and even extremism. He shows how the internet and social media create "cybercascades," assist "polarization entrepreneurs," and exploit confirmation bias. #Republic proposes ways to make the internet friendly to democratic deliberation, and to increase interactions with new ideas and people.

Larry Kramer of the Hewlett Foundation, Nathaniel Persily of Stanford Law School, and Shanto Iyengar of Stanford University will join a conversation with Cass Sunstein about the perils and promise of digital technology on democracy. Read more.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 | 4:30PM-6:00PM | Betchel Conference Center
Design for Audio Technology Contest
The Autodesk® Design for Audio Technology challenge helps to amplify your skills in support of your future career and an opportunity to share your designs with cutting-edge audio technology professionals.

Use Autodesk® Fusion 360™ to design Headphones, or Speakers, or Earbuds and you could win cash prizes, recognition, and virtual mentoring time with industry leaders.Compete against top design and engineering students with your design entries, which will be judged by a panel of audio technology professionals from Bose, Sennheiser, Sonos, Turtle Beach, and Real Industry.

Simply create 3D models of your design concept for any of three product categories (you may submit designs of one, two or all three product categories): Headphones, Speakers, Earbuds. Consider aesthetics, comfort, mobility, performance, and personalization. Each student can submit one design in any of the three product types for a maximum of 3 entries. Simply follow the guidelines. Learn more about participation and the Official Rules.
Summer 2017 Public Policy Intern
Root & Rebound is a nonprofit whose mission is to increase access to justice and opportunity for people in reentry from prison and jail, and to educate and empower those who support them, fundamentally advancing and strengthening the reentry infrastructure across the state of California. As attorneys and advocates, we are driven by the fundamental belief that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to have a safe and healthy life and to this end, we offer tangible solutions, information, and tools to support peoples’ pathways to stability in different areas of life: employment, education, housing, family reunification, financial security, and more. Read more.
Community Service Work-Study (CSWS)
The Community Service Work-Study (CSWS) Program provides academic year and summer employment opportunities for currently enrolled students who receive financial aid at Stanford. It allows them to combine the financial need to work with the personal goal of helping the community.
Eligible students have the freedom to design a service experience in collaboration with a partnering organization. Placements during the academic year are on campus or in the local community. Summer placements can be at qualified organizations anywhere in the United States. Read more.
BEAM Job Postings
Product Design Intern - SciRobot
Laboratory Assistant - Stanford School of Medicine

Graphic Designer - Black Sails Technology

Externship in Wildlife and Conservation Medicne - Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

Login to your Handshake account to view the job postings. More jobs can be found at Handshake.
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