I’m less frustrated by people’s blindness to the problem than I am to their blindness to the solutions – by how easy it is to develop local currencies, to use alternative websites, to do simple investments in their communities rather than in far-flung mining companies. People don’t realise how much power they have. And that’s partly because the real world has been dwarfed by this digital simulacra which seems much more important than our reality but it’s not – it needs to be in service of our reality. (Source)
Many of the biggest problems we face in this moment as a society result from decisions being made by the hidden creators of our digital world — the designers, developers, and editors that create and curate the media we consume.
These decisions are not made with malice. They are made behind analytics dashboards, split-testing panels, and walls of code that have turned you into a predictable asset — a user that can be mined for attention.
They do this by focusing on one over-simplified metric, one that supports advertising as its primary source of revenue. This metric is called engagement, and emphasizing it — above all else — has subtly and steadily changed the way we look at the news, our politics, and each other. (Source)
Fear itself these days is America’s top-selling consumer product, available 24-7 as mobile app with color-coded pop-ups in all shades of the paranoid rainbow. Ready to hand at the touch of a screen, the turn of a phrase, the nudge of a tweet. (Source)
Breakthroughs come from awareness, not from willpower or “grit”, or any other forceful qualities we never have enough of. They come from understanding our behavior, not from policing it.Awareness makes stagnation impossibleWhen we don’t allow striving to undermine our tracking, the improvement comes from wisdom—a real-time understanding of the connectedness between our behaviors and the types ease and difficulty we keep experiencing in our lives. Doing the healthy or wholesome thing is always going to be a fight if it only comes from a dull, nagging sense that you “should” do it. (Source)
Most of the devices in our life, from our cars to our homes, are “entropic,” which is to say they get worse over time. Every day they become more outmoded. But phones and drones are “negentropic” devices. Because they are connected, they get better, because the value comes from the software, not hardware. Although my device was made in December of last year, it just got a new software update today. It all of a sudden got new features, and it got better performance, and it’s going to continue to get better and better for years, until we’ve reached the limits of its hardware. All connected devices are potentially negentropic devices, which is a very big deal—a reversal of the arrow of consumer experience. (Source)
Facing a future of technologic wonders: Artificial Intelligence
Don’t be demoralized; we’ve faced waves of anti-science mania before. Today, let’s assume we decide to resume being a boldly confident, ever-ambitious, scientific and technological civilization, in which children believe they can be better than their parents… but parents make that goal hard to achieve, in the best way, because we’re improving too! (Source)
My recent collaboration with Mike Caulfield on the Digital Polarization Initiative has led to the creation of just such a toolkit. It supports DigiPo in the ways described and shown here. A version of the toolkit, demoed here, will support a team of investigative journalists. Now I need to show how the toolkit enables educators, scientists, investigative reporters, students — anyone who researches and writes articles or reports or papers backed by web-based evidence — to innovate in similar ways.
Starting now. A technology that allows for limitless reproduction of knowledge resources, instantaneous global sharing and cooperation, and all the powerful benefits of digital manipulation, recombination, and computation must be a “bag of gold”36 for scholarship and for learning. It is well within the power of educators to play a decisive role in the battle for the future of the web. Doing so will require the courage to buck prevailing trends. It will require an at-times inconvenient commitment to the fundamental principles of openness, ownership, and participation. It will require hard work, creativity, and a spirit of fun.
It will require reclaiming innovation. Our choice. (Source)
● Working towards my goal to create general AI; it will be a tool that will leverage discovery in every domain
● Using game development to bootstrap GoodAI
● The General AI Challenge is a way to crowdsource and diversify our search for human-level AI
By way of explaining why the discipline of philosophy is more demanding than that of physics, Arthur Schopenhauer put it thusly:
So the problem is not so much to see what nobody has yet seen, as to think what nobody has yet thought concerning that which everybody sees. (Source)
This idea in various forms has been used to convey the essence of scientific research, creative process and discovery in many walks of life.
An online K-12 school that supports home-schooling in many countries around the world (including Portugal!), whose accreditation makes graduates eligible for application to many universities around the world -including most of those one might consider worth attending in USA!
From AboutUs section of their website:
We believe that learning begins with curiosity. From kindergarten through 12th grade, every Clonlara student learns through an individualized, meaningful, and relevant process called Full Circle Learning. This research-supported method encourages students to formulate questions and discover answers about subjects that capture their attention, leading them to deeper understandings that they are able to share, challenge, and extend. (Source)
> Our new Google Sheets integration allows you to build maps using the data within an online spreadsheet. This is great for crowdsourcing maps, especially when you need to get lots of people up and running quickly and you’d rather not train everyone how to edit data within Kumu. (Source)
Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. (definition, per Wikipedia)
> > Initiatives must meet five criteria in order to be considered collective impact:
- > Common Agenda: All participating organizations (government agencies, non-profits, community members, etc.) have a shared vision for social change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed upon actions.
- > Shared Measurement System: Agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported with a short list of key indicators across all participating organizations.
- > Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Engagement of a diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinating a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
- > Continuous Communication: Frequent communications over a long period of time among key players within and across organizations, to build trust and inform ongoing learning and adaptation of strategy.
- > Backbone Organization: Ongoing support provided by an independent staff dedicated to the initiative. The backbone staff tends to play six roles to move the initiative forward: Guide Vision and Strategy; Support Aligned Activity; Establish Shared Measurement Practices; Build Public Will; Advance Policy; and Mobilize Funding. (Source)
This is part 2 of our series on building intentional networks. Make sure you’ve read part 1 before diving into this article!
Last week we shared six tips on developing intentional networks:
Align around shared purpose and values
Know the stage of your network
Act intentionally to strengthen your network
Hold each other accountable to working like a network
Wait to add structure until you need it
Don’t underestimate the challenge
This week we dive into the final three. (Source)
there’s a distinct difference between a network as a structure of relationships and a network as a tool for driving change. The latter is what we’ll focus on today (and how visualization can help you along that journey). (Source)
Mike Caulfield has been working on…
Checking Internet-Based Claims
… He lays out a good 4 step process in this article -and adds:
Jon Udell is working on a Chrome extension that encodes some of the process we’re discovering works most consistently; you can see that work here. As I said, we’re still trying to get this down to something that almost becomes muscle memory — we don’t believe you’ll be able to fully investigate a site off of a recipe, but to borrow a term from Jon, I think we can make some “strategies for internet citizens” partially encode as habits.
Interesting, because Jon is a seasoned veteran in this space, and his work since leaving Microsoft has become quite interesting to me. Must check this one out!
(cribbed from http://whatever.wikity.cc/how-wikity-works/ , which appears to be offline).
Much of software development is _open_, meaning that anybody is allowed to take code that someone else has written and modify it for their own purposes. This is similar to the idea of open content in education: open textbooks, open educational resources, open pedagogy. When someone performs a modification of this type we celebrate it as a success, and call it a “fork” (based not on the utensil, but on the idea of a fork in the road).
Open education is different from software development, however, in that the most commonly used tools in software make it trivial to fork and revise content content from others. In open education we have generally focused on the _rights_ that individuals have to remix content, while not providing or using publishing tools that make it easy to fork content in ways that make sense to non-programming communities.
Wikity attempts to apply the tools and logic of forking to WordPress, the world’s most popular web content platform. Content published in Wikity is easily forked to new sites while maintaining an attribution trail and keeping track of past versions. So sign up for an account. Then:
- Write up a list of the best indie albums of the 1990s. Watch as someone forks that content and turns it into their best of list. Watch as readers now can browse a connected set of divergent lists.
- Write an explainer of how the refugee application process works. Watch as others fork your material and improve it with additional references, or pull it into their own site.
- Post an interesting video you found, along with a summary. Watch as others fork it into their course spaces.
Most mainstream web platforms now are information streams. With alternative formats like wikis, you can cultivate online information as a garden, a growing hypertext library, says Mike Caulfield, one of the makers of Wikity.
The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another. Things in the Garden don’t collapse to a single set of relations or canonical sequence[…] Every walk through the garden creates new paths, new meanings, and when we add things to the garden we add them in a way that allows many future, unpredicted relationships.[…]
In the stream metaphor you don’t experience the Stream by walking around it and looking at it, or following it to its end. You jump in and let it flow past. You feel the force of it hit you as things float by.[…]In other words, the Stream replaces topology with serialization. Rather than imagine a timeless world of connection and multiple paths, the Stream presents us with a single, time ordered path with our experience (and only our experience) at the center.
Using the methods described here, you should be able to read a 300-page book in six to eight hours. Of course, the more time you spend, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll understand the book. But your time is limited.Here are some strategies to help you do this effectively. Most of these can be applied not only to books, but also to any other kind of non-fiction reading, from articles to websites. Table 1, on the next page, summarizes the techniques, and the following pages explain them in more detail.(Source)
Intrinsic motivation, as it’s known in psychology, is doing something because that activity is inherently rewarding. Extrinsic motivation is doing something for outside rewards — praise from parents, money or recognition, for instance. Goal pursuit directed by intrinsic motivation is not only more powerful, but exponentially more fulfilling. (Source)
the core idea of Wikity was simple: what if we bent the world of social media a bit away from the frothy outrage factory of Twitter and Facebook towards something more iterative, exploratory, and constructive? I took as my model Ward Cunningham’s excellent work on wiki and combined it with some insights on how to make social bookmarking a more creative, generative endeavor. The shortest explanation of Wikity I can provide is this: Wikity is social bookmarks, wikified. (Source)
At the moment, I see Wikity as a new style of mindtool. One that might be useful for me personally, but may also be really useful for much more than just my personal use. It’s a Wiki type tool that runs on top of WordPress and is informed by the ideas of Federated Wiki. It’s the most recent instantiation of thinking from Mike Caufield. (Source)
As an author, I’m not sure if you are reading this article online or in print. But if you are reading it online, I can tell you what is about to happen to you.
If I’m lucky, maybe you’ll like the article. Perhaps I’ll make a point that you think you agree with, then another. And if you’re like most internet users, addicted to Facebook or Twitter, it’s around the third “mmm-hmmm” that you will begin to struggle with the overwhelming question: should I tweet a link to this out? Should I share this on Facebook? You will read the article, but only half read it, with one half of your brain evaluating the Facebook-ability of this post and the other attending to its words.
This is by design, of course. As many have noted, the design of the technologies we use for the web bear more in common with slot machines than books, primed to keep us clicking, watching, and pull-to-refreshing, ever desirous to find the next new thing that everyone will be rating up.
It’s not just distraction during reading of course. Consider that fifty-nine percent of links shared on social media have never been clicked, the vast majority of users sharing articles online that they have never actually read. Algorithms that decide what we see and what we don’t produce “filter bubbles” that trap us in cocoons of homogenous opinion. Facebook’s algorithms for selecting trending stories routinely surface fake news stories, encouraging users to spread them further.
Just yesterday, I found a good friend of mine sharing a story from an anti-semitic conspiracy site. My friend is, of course, neither anti-semitic nor a conspiracist. But over the course of a long Democratic primary, he had signed up for certain Facebook pages associated with his candidate. Since content inducing anger is the most viral content, as pages and clickbait websites competed for votes over a too-long primary season the economics of clicks and shares pushed most pages further and further into enraging conspiracy charges, until my formerly liberal friend was now sharing anti-Clinton material from a pro-Putin site whose other articles were outlining the vast conspiracy of the Rothschild family in collaboration with the Illuminati.
Welcome to the internet, circa 2017.
I can’t be the only person seeing this. If you’re engaged online, you have seen this as well: formerly mild-mannered people engaging in mob behavior on Twitter, previously quiet and thoughtful people spreading conspiracy theory, originally tolerant people moving into ever smaller cocoons of thought. At the time I am writing this, we have just come through the first social media election. The results were not pretty.
Can Higher Education Save the Web?
For as long as I have been in educational tech, pundits have asked whether the web can save higher education. There’s been many waves of this, from the early techno-utopianism of the 1990s to the recent fascination with Massively Open Online Courses. In this formulation, education is calcified, creaky, rusted. The web, on the other hand, is vibrant and agile, fueled by innovation and creative destruction. The idea has been that if we could tap into the web’s vitality and innovation we could “fix” education. We could make education work somehow, revitalize it. Optimize it. Disrupt it.
But what if we have it backwards? What if it’s the web that needs saving? And what if it’s higher education that is best suited to save it?
This is not as bizarre as it sounds. Vannevar Bush, whom most consider the great-grandfather of hypertext, drew his inspiration from academic culture, with it’s dense interweaving of cross-references and annotations. Ted Nelson, the person who first applied that vision to the digital computer, saw hypermedia as way to model networks of agreement and disagreement in a way conversation could not. And the earliest users of both the internet and the web were academics, who built a culture of sharing and cooperation, founded on the best traditions of a community of scholars.
As development of web technology moved from universities and research centers to Silicon Valley in the mid 1990s, progress and innovation accelerated. But as the financial model of the web began to form around the twin pillars of advertising and monetization of personal data, things went awry. The social layer of the web provided by Web 2.0 products was a welcome addition to our shared networks, but the set of economic incentives underlying those products set the stage for the web we have today, with its pull-to-refresh addictions, clickbait conspiracy sites, and mob-like behavior.
Towards a Reflective Networked Future
In other words, academic culture inspired much of the web’s early design. And as the today’s web careens Hindenberg-like to the earth below, maybe, just maybe, it’s possible our institutions could return to save the web from its current trajectory, by envisioning technologies and practice for a more thoughtful, reflective, and inclusive online experience.
So, what would saving the web look like? How could we do it?
First, we must put digital literacy at the core of the curriculum. We spend countless hours teaching our students to navigate the world of research and published books. And yet we graduate them into a world where the vast majority of the information they consume professionally and personally will come through the internet. The literate culture of books and published articles is one of the great achievements of our culture, necessary to life-long learning, and must remain central to the education of our students. But it must be placed side-by-side with education on how to best use and critique the information environments they find themselves in on a daily basis.
Second, we need to provide the general population access to better quality information and just-in-time education. Initiatives around open access and blended learning.
We can follow the examples of many open pedagogy projects, and engage our students by having them bring digital services online and use the internet to increase local community participation rather than suppress it. While the process of formal peer review is generally accessible only at the level of doctoral candidates, there is nothing to prevent a student at virtually any level of academia from engaging a community of actual peers, in the truest sense of the word, given current state of freely available technology.
The current set of tools we are presented with on the web are insufficient for (and perhaps antithetical to) a digital life of the mind. As scholars, researchers, and teachers that should concern us.
Our traditional options have been to push our students away from the web as an information source or to teach them to live with its structural inadequacies. I’d propose there is a third way: make higher education an innovation center for exploring new modes of thinking with and through the web.
What do I mean here? We can look at new technologies, like distributed web annotation (a project gaining some steam in educational circles). We can adopt infrastructure projects, such as BYU’s recent move to allow students access to all their information through APIs. We can build new ways of contributing to communities of inquiry, as I have discussed elsewhere in my work on Choral Explanations.
We can, as institutions, design and develop new software that tries out heretofore unexamined opportunities for new modes of collaboration and communication (see, for example, the work of Bret Victor). We can attempt to model better networked practice as educators.
> > Whatever Mr Trump comes up with next, with or without him in the White House, post-truth politics will be with us for some time to come (Source)
This reminds me of what Dr. David Brin has been calling for some time the Republican-led “War on Science”.
Moreover, it reminds me of what my comrade-in-arms Rafter Sass-Ferguson dubbed “Simple Solutions Populism” in his Doctoral Thesis warning: unless you are deeply into AgroEcology and/or Permaculture, could make for heavy reading.
This sort of populist dynamic could be related to any number of these well-known cognitive biases, and it is NOT limited to the RH side of the bipolar political spectrum (indeed, in context of the global Permaculture movement, you would probably find it more strongly corelated with left-leaning political beliefs, unless i miss my guess).
This is clearly fertile ground for mountains of social research, but it appears to me like a natural consequence of internet publishing accessibility, in much the same way as sloppy graphic design was a natural result of affordable PCs and LaserPrinters (remember all those newsletters in the late 80’s/ early 90’s that looked a cross between ransom-note and kids-b’dayParty invitation? a natural phase that must straddle the defrocking of design priesthood, and the now popular appreciation of graphic design professionalism).
Considering this question posed by Mike Caulfield:
But if we’re wondering why education is so resistant to technological change maybe it’s time to look at how our use of cheap labor enables that resistance? (Source)
-i am reminded of my recent experience of a MOOC offered by Coursera, and what struck me as a breakthrough that made the whole thing fly in terms of both student experience AND institutional economics.
The key? As Coursera CEO Daphne Koller explains in her 2012 TED Talk -relevant info at mark 11’13” in the transcript- it is Peer Grading.
I for one had my doubts about this, until experiencing it myself as a student in their course on learning how to code 2D arcade games (from primitive Pong to classic Asteroids -my personal fave 🙂 in Python. Course design was great, collateral material (videos, online GUI builder, etc) all top-notch… But probably the most educational aspect of the experience for me was reviewing evaluations of my projects submitted by student peers, and reviewing the 5 peer projects i had to grade each time i submitted one of my own, before i could harvest any peer feedback.
So, although it was probably the cost of one-to-one tutorial feedback (on stuff that is not machine-gradable) that held back the state of the art for so long, this way of leveraging student labor-power for free was pretty ingenious (“evil genius,” one might even say, considering that it was almost a form of blackmail! :-).
Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics? Yes, it’s complicated, but educator Sal Khan shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace. (Source)
Did you know that the first MOOC-like massive, open, online course was offered by HASTAC in 2006-2007? (Source)
Taking this eye-opening presentation by Mike Caulfield as a jumping-off point, I am exploring the potential of this wikity application (and the Federated Wiki idea on which it is based) to enable forms of Computer-Supported Collaborative Education that the world has yet to see.
This reawakens in me the motivation that prompted my enrollment in Open University’s MA-ODE program in “Open and Distance Education” all those years ago (around Y2K, IIRC), before the technology was quite ready. The real bottleneck back then was LoFi internet connectivity, which pretty much precluded the possibility of real-time interaction between participants even via text (tho some of us did some extracurricular chat), let alone video.
Moreover, this reconnects me to original vision of the web as a two-way, read-write medium for elevating the collective intelligence of humanity — that being i believe the motivational thread connecting seminal works of H.G. Wells, Vannevar Bush, Tim Berners-Lee, Ward Cunningham, Jimmy Wales, Sal Khan et al… Exciting stuff!
It’s been many moons since i did any serious work of data analytics, and my tool of choice back then was SPSS… But as i am having to reacquaint myself with both the science and the technology -see Measures of Engagement to understand why- i figure this is as good a time as any to pick up the tool that everyone else in the field is using these days, which is R (RStudio on Mac, in my case)… And this book looks like the perfect on-ramp for me!
Conventional wisdom in some circles says that you cannot manage what you do not measure -so if we aim as educators to achieve learner engagement with our material, then how do we measure that?
I don’t have an answer yet, am just beginning to research the question, but this article by David Jones seems a good jumping-off point. ExternalLink
Most people find that using Wikity to bookmark is a good place to start. The following video shows how you can bookmark with Wikity.
Note that in the video the bookmark says ‘Bkmrk’ but in recent versions says ‘Wik-it’. The editor has also been upgraded
Most people find that using Wikity to bookmark is a good place to start. The following video shows how you can bookmark with Wikity.
Note that in the video the bookmark says ‘Bkmrk’ but in recent versions says ‘Wik-it’. The editor has also been upgraded
Original content licensed CC-BY-SA. Articles may contain material under different licenses, check the links, history, and other attribution.
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These settings are used by Wikity to determine privacy and publishing schedule.
Please note that putting “Open” to “No” is an experimental feature, providing “good enough” privacy but not great privacy.
RSS DELAY: 5 days
Samuel Hulick identifies Slack as a platform that is neither asynchronous or synchronous. It’s asynchronish. He argues the results of this are not pretty:
At first I thought this sounded delightful — it would be the best of both worlds! I was always free to drop someone a line, and if they were feeling chatty, a full-fledged conversation could simply spring up, with no need to switch platforms.
After getting to know you better, though, I’ve found that your “asynchronish” side is less impressive than I first thought. It leads to everyone having half-conversations all day long, with people frequently rotating through one slow-drip discussion after another, never needing to officially check out because “hey! it’s asynchronous!”
In an asynchronish environment, you’re always checked in, and discussions never end.
But you can check out when you need to, right? Hulick argues that this is not possible, because decisions that impact you can be made at anytime:
This is awesome for speeding up the tempo of company directives, but it also places a ton of pressure on everyone involved to maintain even MORE Slack omnipresence; if any discussion might lead to a decision being made, that provides a whole lot of incentive to be available for as many discussions as possible.
As such, Slack gives power to the people who can afford to stay on Slack and takes power away from those can’t.
Hulick suggests some changes that could mitigate the issue (autoresponders, Do Not Disturb statuses, etc), but there may be a flaw in the very heart of the asynchronish model.
Amber Case argues that technology should interrupt us only when there is action needed. See Tea Kettle Tech
These issues fall into an area of psychology called human factors. Here is a textbook treatment of Human Factors Psychology and Workplace Design.
A thought to get down here: Twitter is in many ways a community, the way a BBS is a community. But the loosely coupled nature of the community means that Twitter has no way to protect itself from the effects of scale. If there is a summary for the Tragedy of Twitter, this is it.
Facebook is different than Twitter, both because it is less of a community in itself: it is more a home for different communities, There’s not really a Facebook identity the way there is a Twitter or Tumblr identity.
For a story of a facebook group implosion, see Death of the Longest Shortest Time Mamas
Here are some suggestions on Reducing Abuse on Twitter, which involve giving the community some tools, albeit on an individual basis.
Researchers have found that Anger Spreads Fastest through Twitter-like networks.
The Federal Three Strikes law was underused by federal prosecutors in the first years after its enactment. This led to the 1995 Three Strikes Memo, encouraging prosecutors to make better use of the law in their existing cases.
This provision should play a key role in every district’s anti-violent crime strategy. To help us make the most effective use possible of this potential tool, please ensure that state and local prosecutors are aware of the federal “Three Strikes” provision and your willingness to coordinate prosecutive decisions in cases that are “Three Strikes”-eligible. You should have in place a referral mechanism, perhaps through your violent crime working group, to ensure that appropriate “Three Strikes” cases are presented to you for potential prosecution.
In determining whether to bring prosecutions under this statute, you should be guided by the Principles of Federal Prosecution. Trial of an eligible defendant under “Three Strikes will often provide a more effective punishment than a prosecution under,other federal statutes. For the state prosecutor, “Three Strikes” provides a vehicle to take the most dangerous offenders out of the community and keep them out. This is particularly important in states where prison overcrowding results in early release even for violent criminals. (Source)
Robert Caro discusses his shock at understanding how seemingly neutral infrastructure decisions were being used to enforce segregation. Here he discusses Robert Moses, a mayor who built racism into the city’s architecture. The example: he built 180 or so bridges too low for buses to pass under, effectively keeping black users of public transport out of broad swaths of the city.
I remember his aide, Sid Shapiro, who I spent a lot of time getting to talk to me, he finally talked to me. And he had this quote that I’ve never forgotten. He said Moses didn’t want poor people, particularly poor people of color, to use Jones Beach, so they had legislation passed forbidding the use of buses on parkways.
Then he had this quote, and I can still he him saying it to me. “Legislation can always be changed. It’s very hard to tear down a bridge once it’s up.” So he built 180 or 170 bridges too low for buses.
We used Jones Beach a lot, because I used to work the night shift for the first couple of years, so I’d sleep til 12 and then we’d go down and spend a lot of afternoons at the beach. It never occurred to me that there weren’t any black people at the beach.
So Ina and I went to the main parking lot, that huge 10,000-car lot. We stood there with steno pads, and we had three columns: Whites, Blacks, Others. And I still remember that first column—there were a few Others, and almost no Blacks. The Whites would be go on to the next page. I said, God, this is what Robert Moses did. This is how you can shape a metropolis for generations.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg also discussed Sexist Architecture.
> New figures show that the number of suicides in Russia has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years. Such low levels were last seen at the end of Nikita Khrushchev’s rule and in Leonid Brezhnev’s first years in power