What We Are Reading Today: An Internet for the People by Jessa Lingel

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Updated 07 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: An Internet for the People by Jessa Lingel

Begun by Craig Newmark as an email to some friends about cool events happening around San Francisco, craigslist is now the leading classifieds service on the planet. 

It is also a throwback to the early internet. The website has barely seen an upgrade since it launched in 1996. There are no banner ads. The company doesn’t profit off your data. 

An Internet for the People explores how people use craigslist to buy and sell, find work, and find love — and reveals why craigslist is becoming a lonely outpost in an increasingly corporatized web, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Drawing on interviews with craigslist insiders and ordinary users, Jessa Lingel looks at the site’s history and values, showing how it has mostly stayed the same while the web around it has become more commercial and far less open.  She examines craigslist’s legal history, describing the company’s courtroom battles over issues of freedom of expression and data privacy, and explains the importance of locality in the social relationships fostered by the site. 


What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Updated 23 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Author: Jason Lyall

How do armies fight and what makes them victorious on the modern battlefield? In Divided Armies, Jason Lyall challenges long-standing answers to this classic question by linking the fate of armies to their levels of inequality.
Introducing the concept of military inequality, Lyall demonstrates how a state’s prewar choices about the citizenship status of ethnic groups within its population determine subsequent battlefield performance.
Treating certain ethnic groups as second-class citizens, either by subjecting them to state-sanctioned discrimination or, worse, violence, undermines interethnic trust, fuels grievances, and leads victimized soldiers to subvert military authorities once war begins.
The higher an army’s inequality, Lyall finds, the greater its rates of desertion, side-switching, casualties, and use of coercion to force soldiers to fight, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
In a sweeping historical investigation, Lyall draws on Project Mars, a new dataset of 250 conventional wars fought since 1800, to test this argument.