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Egyptian sumo wrestler bests a grand champion. Twice. While fasting for Ramadan.

My regular readers know that I’m a fan of sumo, and am especially interested in the globalization of the sport. The top three rikishi (wrestlers) in Japanese sumo are from Mongolia, and top ranks of the sport have recently featured competitors from Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Estonia and Brazil.

Summer Reading: Dan Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies, Colson Whitehead’s Zone One

Much of my summer reading centers on the idea of civics outside of the conventional bounds of the state. I’m interested in understanding reasons why individuals and groups grow frustrated with traditional state-bound politics, and what forms of civics they explore when they opt out of engagement with the state.

Life, only moderately messed up: understanding (my own) high-functioning depression

My wife is one of the bravest people I know.
Almost six years ago, Rachel got pregnant. When we found out, she was in Colorado and I was home in western Massachusetts, and in phone calls and emails we giddily planned for the future. Five days after discovering she was pregnant, she miscarried.

“New media, new civics?” and reactions in Policy & Internet

This past December, I gave a talk at the Oxford Internet Institute about possible relationships between “new media” and new approaches to participatory civics –

Town Meeting and a lesson on civic efficacy

Last night, I attended Town Meeting in Lanesborough, MA.

Lessons learned from walking at work

MIT’s commencement was Friday, and (despite the fact that most of my Masters students are continuing to work on their theses over the summer) my official summer began yesterday. Yes, I’m looking forward to catching up on reading, not driving into Boston and the general wonder of the Berkshires in the sunshine… but I’m most looking forward to working from my walking desk.

Melodica Music: stepping back in time in downtown Nairobi

I would be sad to return to the pre-internet days of music fandom. I think back to the days of paper fanzines with hazy nostalgia, but in truth, it was pretty wretched to hear about a band you might or might not like, order a 7″, wait weeks and discover that just because some dude with an exacto knife, glue stick and access to a xerox machine loved a band, it didn’t mean they were any good.

Monithon and Monitorial Citizenship in Italy

Three years into my time at MIT, I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging, something that was a near-daily habit for me during the years I was at Berkman. For me, blogging is a fairly selfish activity. If I write something helpful for you, that’s a happy accident.

Two talks, no waiting

It was a great honor to win the Zocalo Public Square book prize for Rewire… and I’ve understood the honor more deeply as I’ve gotten to know the thoughtful work the Zocalo crew puts together eve