Friday Five: Freedom (Fireworks not included)

On July 4th, it is hard not to think about freedom (and fireworks). As much as Americans love freedom, it can be a hard concept to define. Sometimes one persons freedom depends on the oppression or exploitation of others. Or, a service that seems built on the freedom of expression is actually tailoring that expression for future profitability. What if you could trade freedom for safety, would that be a worthwhile trade? This week’s links tackle these questions and more:

  • Capitalism prides itself on its free markets; claiming that any resulting inequality is inevitable. But it is possible to have free markets without such a  wide wealth gap @NYTimes
  • News is out that Facebook researchers manipulated users’ news feeds as part of a massive psychological experiment. While Facebook makes clear that the feeds are curated, many are still left feeling violated. Serving as a reminder of why ethics, oversight, and transparency are so important in research @SocialMediaCollective
  • Freedom of expression protects sexualized content, such as pornography and exotic dancing, even if our cultural sensibilities consider it taboo. Unfortunately, those working in the industry feel the stigma more than the consumer. In part, perhaps, because they actively perpetuate the hierarchy themselves @Jezebel
  • The wild is a dangerous place but sometimes a cage, no matter how lovely, is worse. Many zoo animals exhibit signs of crippling psychological disorders such as severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive behavior. Is that just the price of life not in the wild? @NYTMagazine
  • Bolivia has announced that it is extending the freedom to work to 10-year-old children, under certain conditions. This comes as the practice of hiring child tabacco workers is under scrutiny here at home– it is summed up best @DailyShow
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