Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crowd Sourcing a Bibliography: Social Media and Protest

First of all, this is a very interesting concept. Social media increasingly plays a very important role, as we have seen in the recent events in the Arab Spring and lately in case of India with Anna Hazare protest. An important issue with such "crowdsourcing" of course, is that, the "crowd" and the first author or the instigator, or the initiator should specify and build on a set of search terms. I can immediately think of similar endeavours in my own discipline in health research and epidemiology. What do you think?
Crowd Sourcing a Bibliography: Social Media and Protest
Published on The Monkey Cage | shared via feedly

I want to try something new here at The Monkey Cage, and if it works I’d be happy to do it again in the future. Basically, I want to see if we can crowd source a bibliography on a particular topic. The topic I’m interested in is social media and protest (see here and here for past Monkey Cage posts on the topic). More specifically, I want to know what scholarly works are out there that assess – either theoretically or emprically – the impact of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) on protest: when it occurs, whether it contained/suppressed, if the protest is “successful”, etc. My assumption is that I’m not the only one interested in looking into this topic, so it is worth a post here. Also, Sam Greene of the New Economic School in Moscow, Russia has been generous enough to start us off with a list (after the jump below) of works that are either directly or tangentially on the topic. So we’re not starting from scratch.

But more generally, I’m kind of interested in whether this could be a new use for a blog like The Monkey Cage. I’m on some specialized list-serves where occasionally someone passes along a request for literature on a particular topic, and it always seems to me a very efficient way to quickly get access to a lot of information about a particular literature. And yes, I know that Google Scholar also makes this a fairly simple process, but I think that crowd sourcing like this could be both more efficient and produce better results than using key words in Google Scholar. I also wonder whether the fact that the Monkey Cage is read by both academics and non-academics could generate interesting suggestions for each audience that they might not consider.

So I’m going to give this a try and we’ll see what happens. Sam’s initial list is after the break. You’ll notice that a lot of this comes out of the communication studies literature, so I’m especially interested in pieces more rooted in political science that we may be missing:

Aday, S. et al. 2010. “Blogs and Bullets. New Media in Contentious Politics”. Washington: United States Institute of Peace.

Aron, L. 2011. “Nyetizdat: How the Internet is Building Civil Society in Russia”. Washington: American Enterprise Institute.

Campbell, S.W. and N. Kwak. 2010. “Mobile Communications and Civic Life: Linking Patterns of Use to Civic and Political Engagement” in Journal of Communication, 60: 536-555.

Coleman, R. et al. 2008. “Public life and the internet: if you build a better website, will citizens become engaged?” in New Media & Society, 10(2): 179-201.

Diamond, L. 2010. “Liberation Technology” in Journal of Democracy, 21(3): 69-83.

Etling, B. et al. 2010. “Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere: Mapping RuNet Politics and Mobilization”. Cambridge: Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University.

Gordon, E. and E. Manosevitch. 2010. “Augmented deliberation: Merging physical and virtual interaction to engage communities in urban planning” in New Media & Society, 13(1): 75-95.

Hooghe, M. et al. 2010. “The Potential of Internet Mobilization” in Political Communication, 27(4): 406-431.
Jiang, M. 2010. “Chinese Internet Events”. Working paper

Kenix, L.J. 2009. “Blogs as Alternative” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14: 790-822.

Mejias, U.A. 2010. “The limits of networks as models for organizing the social” in New Media & Society, 12(4): 603-617.

Lagerkvist, J. 2005. “The Rise of Online Public Opinion in the People’s Republic of China” in China: An International Journal, 3(1): 119-130.

Lonkila, M. and B. Gladarev. 2008. “Social networks and cellphone use in Russia: local consequences of global communication technology” in New Media & Society, 10(2): 273-293.

MacKinnon, R. 2011. “China’s Networked Authoritarianism” in Journal of Democracy, 22(2): 32-46.

Meraz, S. 2007. “Is There an Elite Hold? Traditional Media to Social Media Agenda Setting Influence in Blog Networks” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14: 682-707.

Qiang, X. 2011. “The Battle for the Chinese Internet” in Journal of Democracy, 22(2): 47-61.

Rojas, H. and E. Puig-i-Abril. 2009. “Mobilizers Mobilized: Information, Expression, Mobilization and Participation in the Digital Age” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14: 902-927.

Srinavasan, R. and A. Fish. 2009. “Internet Authorship: Social and Political Implications Within Kyrgyzstan” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14: 559-580.

Stein, L. 2009. “Social movement web use in theory and practice: a content analysis of US movement websites” in New Media & Society, 11(5): 749-771.

Tatarchevskiy, T. 2011. “The ‘popular’ culture of Internet activism” in New Media & Society, 13(2): 297-313.

Toepfl, F. 2011. “Managing public outrage: Power, scandal, and new media in contemporary Russia” in New Media & Society, forthcoming.

Yang, G. 2009. “China Since Tiananmen: Online Activisim” in Journal of Democracy, 20(3): 33-36.

Zhou, X. 2009. “The political blogosphere in China: A content analysis of the blogs regarding the dismissal of Shanghai leader Chen Liangyu” in New Media & Society, 11(6): 1003-1022.

Did you know that there are drinks Police in Christchurch?


We went to this quite popular Chinese Restaurant in Christchurch
yesterday. The menu card looked recenly rewritten, the food was good.
I found their notice about their drinks policy quite funny! Sharing
with you all. Several people brought their own wine though, but we did
not see any cop or anyone who looked like a cop.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It seems maintaining a dietary portfolio really helps in cutting down on LDL levels, here's an evidence.


Context Combining foods with recognized cholesterol-lowering properties (dietary portfolio) has proven highly effective in lowering serum cholesterol under metabolically controlled conditions.

Objective To assess the effect of a dietary portfolio administered at 2 levels of intensity on percentage change in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) among participants following self-selected diets.

Design, Setting, and Participants A parallel-design study of 351 participants with hyperlipidemia from 4 participating academic centers across Canada (Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver) randomized between June 25, 2007, and February 19, 2009, to 1 of 3 treatments lasting 6 months.

Intervention Participants received dietary advice for 6 months on either a low− saturated fat therapeutic diet (control) or a dietary portfolio, for which counseling was delivered at different frequencies, that emphasized dietary incorporation of plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibers, and nuts. Routine dietary portfolio involved 2 clinic visits over 6 months and intensive dietary portfolio involved 7 clinic visits over 6 months.

Main Outcome Measures Percentage change in serum LDL-C.

Results In the modified intention-to-treat analysis of 345 participants, the overall attrition rate was not significantly different between treatments (18% for intensive dietary portfolio, 23% for routine dietary portfolio, and 26% for control; Fisher exact test, P = .33). The LDL-C reductions from an overall mean of 171 mg/dL (95% confidence interval [CI], 168-174 mg/dL) were −13.8% (95% CI, −17.2% to −10.3%; P < .001) or −26 mg/dL (95% CI, −31 to −21 mg/dL; P < .001) for the intensive dietary portfolio; −13.1% (95% CI, −16.7% to −9.5%; P < .001) or –24 mg/dL (95% CI, −30 to −19 mg/dL; P < .001) for the routine dietary portfolio; and −3.0% (95% CI, −6.1% to 0.1%; P = .06) or −8 mg/dL (95% CI, −13 to −3 mg/dL; P = .002) for the control diet. Percentage LDL-C reductions for each dietary portfolio were significantly more than the control diet (P < .001, respectively). The 2 dietary portfolio interventions did not differ significantly (P = .66). Among participants randomized to one of the dietary portfolio interventions, percentage reduction in LDL-C on the dietary portfolio was associated with dietary adherence (r = −0.34, n = 157, P < .001).

Conclusion Use of a dietary portfolio compared with the low−saturated fat dietary advice resulted in greater LDL-C lowering during 6 months of follow-up.

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00438425

Very interesting study particularly in a time when there is an emphasis on the personal quantification and self introspection. A rival hypothesis could be that, a food diary that can be made social on the top of the routine low cholesterol food intake can be even better, but one that needs to be tested. What is the impact of joint diary and diet modification. Before we get into the critique of the full text, this is an interesting study to spend some time on.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clinical search in social context


Blitter the search engine is a highly focused search engine for clinically relevant topics. I ran a few searches mostly using broad topic headings. The search results were interesting combinations of viewpoints, summaries, expert opinions, facts, blog posts and such. This is a good resource, and will definitely sit in my collection of search engines along with Google Scholar and pubmed, supplementing sources of information. I think a gold mine if you are conducting systematic review or quickly read through a topic of interest. Great resource.