Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mickey Mouse's dark side; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/27/11

Greg Victor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Mickey Mouse's dark side:

"Charles Kenney in Foreign Policy says that "behind its facade of global goodwill, Disney is playing the evil stepmother to the developing world's entrepreneurial Cinderellas."...

This prevents others from adapting works of art and, writes Mr. Kenney, "If these extreme copyright and patent claims were effectively enforced, ... developing countries would owe Western companies $20 billion a year in royalties -- a transfer of wealth so dramatic that even the Vatican recently raised concerns about the 'excessive zeal' of today's intellectual-property bullies.""

Police expect arrests soon in 'Beaver Hoez' Facebook investigation; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/25/11

Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Police expect arrests soon in 'Beaver Hoez' Facebook investigation:

"With the search warrants, Trooper Roth said investigators eventually will trace who created the page and who posted the crude responses on it.

"Everything on the Internet is trackable," he said. "It will be tracked by who did what. They will know."

And when they do, he said, someone will probably end up charged, most likely with harassment by communication, a misdemeanor."

Facebook page draws police scrutiny for cyberbullying; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/24/11

Moriah Balingit, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Facebook page draws police scrutiny for cyberbullying:

"Sometime in the past few days, Pennsylvania State Police said a Facebook user created an online forum on the social networking site titled "Beaver County Hoez...

It's unclear what charges may be filed, though troopers characterized the incident as cyber bullying/harassment."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet; Free Webinar via Educause

Free Webinar via Educause: March 2, 2011 1:00 p.m. ET; The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet:

"In this talk, Daniel J. Solove discusses how gossip and rumor on the Internet are affecting the lives of school students in some profound and troubling ways.

Teeming with chat rooms, online discussion groups, and blogs, the Internet offers previously unimagined opportunities for personal expression and communication. But there’s a dark side to the story. A trail of information fragments about us is forever preserved on the Internet, instantly available in a Google search. A permanent chronicle of our private lives—often of dubious reliability and sometimes totally false—will follow us wherever we go, accessible to friends, strangers, dates, employers, neighbors, relatives, and anyone else who cares to look.

People—especially teenagers and college students—are increasingly spilling their most personal secrets as well as intimate details about their families and friends, in blogs and on social networking sites. In a world where anyone can publish any thought to a worldwide audience, how should we balance privacy and free speech? How should the law protect people when harmful gossip and rumors are spread about them on the Internet?

Daniel Solove is the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School and the founder of TeachPrivacy, a company that helps schools develop a comprehensive privacy program."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hollywood Property Values; New York Times, 2/20/11

Randy Cohen, The Ethicist, New York Times; Hollywood Property Values:

"The added twist is that while Disney, like its industry cohort, seeks an eternal hammerlock on its productions, many of them originate in our common literary heritage — “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “The Little Mermaid.” Such an overreaching concept of intellectual property obstructs the exchange of ideas, the referencing and reworking of earlier works that stimulate invention. For Hollywood to thwart this by appropriating our common cultural legacy is as ethically dubious as plagiarism — innovation, perhaps, but not actual progress. Like 3-D."

Stars and Sewers; New York Times, 2/20/11

Maureen Dowd, New York Times; Stars and Sewers:

"Online anonymity has created what the computer scientist Jaron Lanier calls a “culture of sadism.”...

Evgeny Morozov, author of “The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom,” told me Twitter creates a false intimacy and can “bring out the worst in people."...

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” says technology amplifies everything, good instincts and base. While technology is amoral, he said, our brains may be rewired in disturbing ways.

“Researchers say that we need to be quiet and attentive if we want to tap into our deeper emotions,” he said. “If we’re constantly interrupted and distracted, we kind of short-circuit our empathy. If you dampen empathy and you encourage the immediate expression of whatever is in your mind, you get a lot of nastiness that wouldn’t have occurred before.”"

[Podcast] The Personal Impact of the Web; NPR's On the Media, 2/18/11

[Podcast] NPR's On the Media; The Personal Impact of the Web:

"This week On the Media brings you a version of our first ever live show - a look at the internet and how it's changing us. First up, what is the net doing to as individuals? Does it make us better and more connected to each other? Or does it degrade our real life social connections and leave us at the mercy of long distance bullies? Bob and Brooke hash it out, with help from psychologist Sherry Turkle, writer Conor Friedersdorf, and net researcher Lee Rainie."

Friday, February 18, 2011

The human race needs elephant mothers, not tiger mothers; Guardian, 2/13/11

Peter Singer, Guardian; The human race needs elephant mothers, not tiger mothers:

"We should aim for our children to be good people, and to live ethical lives that manifest concern for others as well as for themselves. This approach to childrearing is not unrelated to happiness: there is abundant evidence that those who are generous and kind are more content with their lives than those who are not. But it is also an important goal in its own right.

Tigers lead solitary lives, except for mothers with their cubs. We, by contrast, are social animals. So are elephants, and elephant mothers do not focus only on the wellbeing of their own offspring. Together, they protect and take care of all the young in their herd, running a kind of daycare centre."

Digital Age Is Slow to Arrive in Rural America; New York Times, 2/18/11

Kim Severson, New York Times; Digital Age Is Slow to Arrive in Rural America:

"As the world embraces its digital age — two billion people now use the Internet regularly — the line delineating two Americas has become more broadly drawn. There are those who have reliable, fast access to the Internet, and those, like about half of the 27,867 people here in Clarke County, who do not."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt's revolt met with wide support, censorship; Associated Press, 2/12/11

Associated Press; Egypt's revolt met with wide support, censorship:

"From London to Gaza City to Seoul, the world was savoring the spectacular fall of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, with demonstrators rallying in the thousands Saturday in cities across the world. But other authoritarian regimes weren't celebrating — and some were trying to censor the news.

In China, where the ruling Communist Party ruthlessly stamps out dissent, terse media reports downplayed the large-scale pro-democracy protests in Egypt that forced Mubarak from power and instead emphasized the country's disorder and lawlessness.

In oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, where coup leader Teodoro Obiang has been in power since 1979, state-controlled media was ordered to stop reporting about Egypt altogether, according to African news site

Nearly everywhere else, newspapers congratulated Egypt's revolution, with many headlines carrying the word: "Finally.""

The Order of Things: What college rankings really tell us; New Yorker, 2/14/11

Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker; The Order of Things: What college rankings really tell us:

"There are schools that provide a good legal education at a decent price, and, by choosing not to include tuition as a variable, U.S. News has effectively penalized those schools for trying to provide value for the tuition dollar. The U.S. News ranking turns out to be full of these kinds of implicit ideological choices. It gives twice as much weight to selectivity as it does to efficacy. It favors the Yale model over the Penn State model, which means that the Yales of the world will always succeed at the U.S. News rankings because the U.S. News system is designed to reward Yale-ness. At a time when American higher education is facing a crisis of accessibility and affordability, we have adopted a de-facto standard of college quality that is uninterested in both of those factors."

Free love's antidote: On the Pitt campus, it should have been free speech; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/12/11

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Free love's antidote: On the Pitt campus, it should have been free speech:

"University of Pittsburgh student Joseph Petrich wanted to advocate for chastity now, only to be told by university officialdom that he and his group had to leave."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ethics Watchdog Targets Congressional Sleepovers; AP via NPR, 2/10/11

AP via NPR; Ethics Watchdog Targets Congressional Sleepovers:

"A Washington ethics watchdog says it's time for Congress to crack down on lawmakers who sleep in their offices rather than pay for a place to live.

Reacting to a surge in congressmen bunking down in their work spaces, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the politicians are getting an unfair tax break and violating their own rules by making personal use of public resources."

[Podcast] Professors Differ On Ethics Of Using WikiLeaks Cables; NPR's Morning Edition, 2/7/11

[Podcast] Jessica Deahl, NPR's Morning Edition; Professors Differ On Ethics Of Using WikiLeaks Cables:

"The WikiLeaks cable dump is almost universally considered a scholar's treasure trove. But, there is a debate within the academic community over the ethics of using the classified dispatches in the classroom."

The Ethics of Free Cellphone Calls; New York Times, 2/10/11

David Pogue, New York Times; The Ethics of Free Cellphone Calls:

"Now, you know my feelings about cellphone companies. I think they’re prone to egregious greed and gouging. They charge both the sender and the recipient of each text message. They don’t lower our monthly bills once our subsidized phone is paid off (except T-Mobile).

Nevertheless, this way of fighting back is cheating...

Your HONEST customer,


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Counting by Race Can Throw Off Some Numbers; New York Times, 2/10/11

Susan Saulny, New York Times; Counting by Race Can Throw Off Some Numbers:

"The chameleon-like quality of Ms. L√≥pez-Mullins’s racial and ethnic identification might seem trivial except that statistics on ethnicity and race are used for many important purposes. These include assessing disparities in health, education, employment and housing, enforcing civil rights protections, and deciding who might qualify for special consideration as members of underrepresented minority groups."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Teachers’ Colleges Upset By Plan to Grade Them; New York Times, 2/9/11

Trip Gabriel, New York Times; Teachers’ Colleges Upset By Plan to Grade Them:

"...U.S. News & World Report is planning to give A through F grades to more than 1,000 teachers’ colleges, and many of the schools are unhappy, marching to the principal’s office to complain the system is unfair.

Numerous education school deans have protested that the ratings program’s methodology is flawed since the program was announced last month. In a letter last week, officials from 35 leading education colleges and graduate schools — including Columbia, Harvard, Michigan State and Vanderbilt — denounced an “implied coercion” if they do not cooperate with the ratings."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wary of Egypt Unrest, China Censors Web; New York Times, 2/1/11

Edward Wong and David Barboza, New York Times; Wary of Egypt Unrest, China Censors Web:

" and — two of the nation’s biggest online portals — blocked keyword searches of the word “Egypt,” though the mass protests were being discussed on some Internet chat rooms on Monday. Searching for “Egypt” has also been blocked on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Censoring the Internet is not the only approach. The Chinese government has also tried to get out ahead of the discussion, framing the Egyptian protests in a few editorials and articles in state-controlled news publications as a chaotic affair that embodies the pitfalls of trying to plant democracy in countries that are not quite ready for it — a line China’s leaders have long held."