Monday, November 30, 2015

Time to Bring Cuba Online; New York Times, 11/30/15

Editorial Board, New York Times; Time to Bring Cuba Online:
"Millions of Cuban citizens could have affordable access to the Internet in a matter of months. The only thing keeping the island in the digital Dark Ages is a lack of political will. Cuban officials have long blamed the American embargo for their nation’s obsolete telecommunications systems. They no longer have that excuse.
Regulatory changes the Obama administration put in place this year provide Havana with a number of options to expand Internet coverage quickly and sharply. If the government took advantage of that, the island’s anemic economy could get a much-needed jolt, and young Cubans who are determined to emigrate, a powerful reason to reconsider."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why Facebook Is Monitoring Your Private Videos; Huffington Post, 11/18/15

Huffington Post; Why Facebook Is Monitoring Your Private Videos:
"Parker Higgins, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explains how Facebook's hunt for copyrighted material is playing out in users' private posts.

Clarion play cancellation generates national discussion on diversity, casting decisions; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/18/15

Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Clarion play cancellation generates national discussion on diversity, casting decisions:
"Just over a week before the performance was to open tonight, playwright Lloyd Suh demanded that Clarion recast the parts in his play or halt the production. The university opted for the latter.
In the days since the Post-Gazette first reported the cancellation, an emotion-charged debate has ricocheted through social media. At the core of the dispute: should theater productions be 'color blind' in casting, an increasingly common practice over the last few decades? Or is that approach sometimes an excuse for inequity because, as Mr. Suh put it, "The practice of using white actors to portray non-white characters has deep roots in ugly racist traditions?" And just how should theater departments in out-of-the-way places such as Clarion, a small state-owned university whose enrollment is overwhelmingly white, be expected to make choices on picking plays, balancing diversity and challenging a homogenous community against adhering to the intent of the playwright?"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author?; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/18/15

Editorial Board, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author?Matter of rights: Was Otto Frank really Anne Frank’s co-author? :
"Otto Frank, her father, was the only family member who survived the Holocaust. It was his efforts that led to the publication of her diary. Until his death in 1980, he was acknowledged as the book’s “editor,” but gave full credit for the text to his daughter.
This is an important point given the new controversy surrounding the book’s copyright. Seventy years after her death, the European copyright is set to expire, but the Swiss foundation that holds the rights wants to prevent it from moving into public domain. The foundation is filing an extension of the copyright based on new information — the claim that Otto Frank is the book’s co-author.
This is contrary to descriptions made about the book since its publication. If the diary had been co-written by her father, then it cannot be properly called a girl’s reflections.
Extending the foundation’s control, until 2050, over “The Diary of Anne Frank” by now claiming Otto Frank is the co-writer is a cynical attempt to control a major revenue stream.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” belongs to the world. Treating it like a mere commodity detracts from its moral authority. Worse than that, making Anne Frank a mere collaborator in her own story is an insult to her memory and what she endured."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

20 People Found Refuge In A Famous Paris Bookstore During Attacks; Huffington Post, 11/14/15

Ron Dicker, Huffington Post; 20 People Found Refuge In A Famous Paris Bookstore During Attacks:
"A famous Parisian bookstore turned into a makeshift shelter Friday, housing 20 customers who waited out the attacks, according to Twitter users.
Patrons at Shakespeare and Company, the Left Bank literary institution opened in 1951 by American George Whitman, watched from darkened windows as police raced by. They called friends and relatives, and checked on the news, Harriet Alida Lye told The Guardian...
Author Jamie Ford, who recently visited the store, was one of many to tweet about Shakespeare and Company. He told The Huffington Post: "There's a communal spirit about that place, so the idea that they would take in strangers (in need or otherwise) wasn't a huge surprise, but was definitely a much needed reminder of how beautiful humanity can be on a terrible night.""

Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible Role in Paris Attacks; New York Times, 11/16/15

David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, New York Times; Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible Role in Paris Attacks:
"“I think this is going to open an entire new debate about security versus privacy,” said Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the C.I.A., whose book this year, “The Great War of Our Time,” traced the efforts, and failures, in tracking terror plots.
“We have, in a sense, had a public debate” on encryption, he said over the weekend on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “That debate was defined by Edward Snowden,” the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed much about the agency’s efforts to break encryption. Now, he said, a new argument will be “defined by what happened in Paris.”"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ in Copyright Move; New York Times, 11/13/15

Doreen Carvajal, New York Time; Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ in Copyright Move:
"Copyright protections vary from country to country. The classic novella “The Little Prince” fell into the public domain this year in much of the world but remains under copyright in France because of an exception that grants a 30-year extension to authors who died during military service in World War I and II.
Some critics of the foundation have already tested its resolve by posting bootleg copies of the diary online.
Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer in communications and researcher at the University of Nantes, received a warning letter this month from a French publisher of the diary after he started circulating a copy online in protest. He removed it, but he and a French politician, Isabelle Attard, said they were waiting to see what happens in January before pressing forward with a plan to encourage publication of the original manuscript more widely online.
“The best protection of the work is to bring it in the public domain, because its audience will grow even more,” said Ms. Attard, who noted that her own Jewish relatives were hidden or deported during the German occupation in France. “What is happening now is a bluff and pure intimidation.”
The foundation insists that by issuing an early warning of its intent to extend the copyright, it is acting ethically to prevent publishers from pursuing a course that might be unproductive and costly.
But if the foundation succeeds, publishers may wind up waiting even longer than the 70 years allowed after Otto Frank’s death."

We Are All Parisians, Again; Huffington Post, 11/13/15

Howard Fineman, Huffington Post; We Are All Parisians, Again:
"Once again, we are all Parisians.
Once again, the ideals of freedom and peace are under attack on the very streets that helped give birth to the idea that you can’t have one without the other in modern life.
Once again, President Barack Obama went to a podium in Washington to declare American solidarity with France -- and to vow that an attack on French society was an attack on the very ideas of decency, modernity and sanity.
And once again, the world -- or that part of it that doesn’t love murder and hate peace -- must rise up and say, simply: Stop."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech; New York Times, 11/11/15

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times; Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech:
"More broadly, academia — especially the social sciences — undermines itself by a tilt to the left. We should cherish all kinds of diversity, including the presence of conservatives to infuriate us liberals and make us uncomfortable. Education is about stretching muscles, and that’s painful in the gym and in the lecture hall...
My favorite philosopher, the late Sir Isaiah Berlin, argued that there was a deep human yearning to find the One Great Truth. In fact, he said, that’s a dead end: Our fate is to struggle with a “plurality of values,” with competing truths, with trying to reconcile what may well be irreconcilable.
That’s unsatisfying. It’s complicated. It’s also life."

Ban Before Reading; New York Times, 11/6/15

David K. Shipler, New York Times; Ban Before Reading:
"The American Library Association gets 300 to 500 reports of book challenges annually and estimates the actual volume at five times that number. If you picture citizens in towns across America parsing every line, however, you’ll be disappointed to learn that many passionate parents are not passionate about reading the books in question.
So it is with would-be censors everywhere. At Theater J, a Jewish theater in Washington, D.C., several conservative activists campaigned last year against an Israeli play they never went to see. And who thinks the Ayatollah Khomeini read past the title of “The Satanic Verses” before issuing his fatwa against Salman Rushdie?"

Grades for all 50 states on corruption; USA Today, 11/9/15

Yue Qiu, Chris Zubak-Skees and Erik Lincoln, USA Today; Grades for all 50 states on corruption:
"How does each state rank for transparency and accountability? The State Integrity Investigation used extensive research to grade the states based on the laws and systems they have in place to deter corruption. Use the interactive to see how states scored overall and explore how they performed in each of the 13 categories."

Understanding the Free Speech Issues at Missouri and Yale; HuffingtonPost.com, 11/11/15

Geoffrey R. Stone, HuffingtonPost.com; Understanding the Free Speech Issues at Missouri and Yale:
"How should we think about the free speech issues in the recent controversies at the University of Missouri and Yale? In my view, universities have a deep obligation to protect and preserve the freedom of expression. That is, most fundamentally, at the very core of what makes a university a university...
In my view, a university should not itself take positions on substantive issues. A university should not declare, for example, that abortion is moral, that undocumented immigrants have a right to remain in the United States, that the United States should abandon Israel, or that a flat tax is the best policy. It is for the faculty and students of the institution to debate those issues for themselves, and the university as an institution should not intrude in those debates by purporting to decide on the "correct" point of view.
On the other hand, a university can promote certain values both to educate its students and to foster an intellectual environment that is most conducive to the achievement of the institution's larger educational goals. To that end, a university can appropriately encourage a climate of civility and mutual respect. It can do this in a variety of ways, as long as it stops short of censorship. More specifically, a university can legitimately educate students about the harms caused by the use of offensive, insulting, degrading, and hurtful language and behavior and encourage them to express their views, however offensive or hurtful they might be, in ways that are not unnecessarily disrespectful or uncivil."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Ethics Behind Driverless Cars; NPR, 11/7/15

Scott Simon, NPR; The Ethics Behind Driverless Cars:
"Despite the optimism behind driverless cars, at times they will have to decide whether it is better to harm the driver or pedestrians. NPR's Scott Simon talks with philosophy professor Patrick Lin."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers; New York Times, 11/3/15

Natasha Singer, New York Times; The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers:
"Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study. And those disparities may influence more than how teenagers socialize, entertain themselves and apply for college or jobs.
At a time when school districts across the United States are introducing digital learning tools for the classroom and many teachers give online homework assignments, new research suggests that the digital divide among teenagers may be taking a disproportionate toll on their homework as well.
Only one-fourth of teenagers in households with less than $35,000 in annual income said they had their own laptops compared with 62 percent in households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more, according to the report, to be published on Tuesday by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit children’s advocacy and media ratings group based in San Francisco."

The Facebook Intifada; New York Times, 11/3/15

Micah Lakin Avni, New York Times; The Facebook Intifada:
"The companies who’ve turned social media platforms into very big business argue, and rightly so, that monitoring each post is nearly impossible, that permitting users the freedom of expression is essential, that there are already steps in place to combat hate speech. All that is true. But something new is happening today, and what Facebook, Twitter and the others must realize is that the question of incitement on social media isn’t just a logistical or financial question but, first and foremost, a moral one.
This wave of terrorism is different from anything we’ve seen, involving not terrorists recruited by shadowy organizations but ordinary young men and women inspired by hateful and bloody messages they see online to take matters and blades into their own hands. Just as many of us now argue that we should hold gun manufacturers responsible for the devastation brought about by their products, we should demand the same of social media platforms, now being used as sources of inspiration and instruction for murderers.
One immediate solution is to remove blatant incitement without waiting for formal complaints — it’s one thing to express a political opinion, even one that supports violent measures, and another to publish a how-to chart designed to train and recruit future terrorists."