About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘Political Things’ Category

Monday’s reads

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Mark C. Taylor in the NY Times argues that we should abolish the university as we know it by restructuring the curriculum, abolishing permanent departments, increasing collaboration among institutions, transforming the traditional dissertation, expanding the range of professional options for graduate students, imposing mandatory retirement and abolishing tenure.

Scott Walter amplifies the Taylor article and argues that it’s time to change the current reward system.

Elyssa Kroski’s comprehensive overview of libraries and mobile technologies.

Elaine Jarvik’s review of David Wiley’s comment that universities will be irrelevant by 2020.

Nick Anthis’s summary of Obama’s address to the National Academy of Sciences pledging a major new commitment to science.

Written by Al Stevens

April 27th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Apologize to Rush

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has posted the Republican’s “Secret Apology Machine“, an online form that makes it easy to apologize to Rush.

It’s funny as it is, but the apologies are a little boring — the Republicans seem to be suffering from a serious lack of creativity these days.  I’d like to see the DCCC run a contest to help the the opposition party out. They could let site visitors select a republican politician, predict the slight and then construct an appropriately grovelling apology. Republicans’ problems are crying out for community-created help. Let’s start here.

A few of my favorite posts on the apologies so far: Top Republican’s Groveling Apology to Rush Limbaugh Is a Media Disaster on Alternet, Steele to Rush: I’m sorry on Politico, What happens when you don’t apologize to Rush? an open question on Yahoo Answers.

Written by Al Stevens

March 4th, 2009 at 10:26 am

Stimulus Cash Proposed for High-Tech Classrooms

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The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) have recommended that Congress target classroom technology modernization in economic recovery legislation. They are proposing that Congress should disseminate these new classroom technology grant funds through the existing Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program in order to ensure that the funds quickly reach the neediest schools and are used for their intended purposes.

Press Release on the CoSN Website: Education and Business Leaders Call on Congress to Meet President-Elect Obama’s Call to Target Classroom Technology Modernization in Economic Recovery Legislation (pdf format)

Focused Investment on Technology-Rich Classrooms Will Create Jobs an

Written by Al Stevens

January 15th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Rural Broadband Initiative

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The Digital Policy Institute (DPI) is an independent think tank within the Ball State University (BSU) academic community is proposing the Obama administration fund a Rural Broadband Initiative infrastructure project to extend broadband telecommunications to 5.9 million access lines, creating more than 200,000 new jobs, while targeting rural communities that do not currently enjoy advanced telecommunications access.

White paper: The Rural Broadband Initiative: Deploying Next-Generation Broadband Service to Rural America (pdf)

Written by Al Stevens

January 14th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Internet Safety Technical Task Force Report Released

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The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University today released the final report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a group of 29 leading Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology companies that joined together for a year-long investigation of tools and technologies to create a safer environment on the Internet for youth.

The Task Force was created in February 2008 in accordance with the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety announced in January 2008 by the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking and MySpace. The report was delivered to the 52 Attorneys General in December, 2008.

The reports conclusions form the executive summary are:

– Sexual predation on minors by adults, both online and offline, remains a concern. Sexual predation in all its forms, including when it involves statutory rape, is an abhorrent crime. Much of the research based on law-enforcement cases involving Internet-related child exploitation predated the rise of social networks. This research found that cases typically involved post-pubescent youth who were aware that they were meeting an adult male for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. The Task Force notes that more research specifically needs to be done concerning the activities of sex offenders in social network sites and other online environments, and encourages law enforcement to work with researchers to make more data available for this purpose. Youth report sexual solicitation of minors by minors more frequently, but these incidents, too, are understudied, underreported to law enforcement, and not part of most conversations about online safety.

– Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face, both online and offline.

– The Internet increases the availability of harmful, problematic and illegal content, but does not always increase minors’ exposure. Unwanted exposure to pornography does occur online, but those most likely to be exposed are those seeking it out, such as older male minors. Most research focuses on adult pornography and violent content, but there are also concerns about other content, including child pornography and the violent, pornographic, and other problematic content that youth themselves generate.

– The risk profile for the use of different genres of social media depends on the type of risk, common uses by minors, and the psychosocial makeup of minors who use them. Social network sites are not the most common space for solicitation and unwanted exposure to problematic content, but are frequently used in peer-to-peer harassment, most likely because they are broadly adopted by minors and are used primarily to reinforce pre-existing social relations.

-Minors are not equally at risk online. Those who are most at risk often engage in risky behaviors and have difficulties in other parts of their lives. The psychosocial makeup of and  family dynamics surrounding particular minors are better predictors of risk than the use of specific media or technologies.

– Although much is known about these issues, many areas still require further research. For example, too little is known about the interplay among risks and the role that minors themselves play in contributing to unsafe environments.

Report download site: Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies

New York Times article reporting some of the Attorneys General reactions: Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown

Written by Al Stevens

January 14th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Technology Disparities in Wichita Falls Schools

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The stampede of technology is kicking up so much dust in Wichita Falls schools that a new inequity is quickly emerging. The fortunate schools that have and use their technology well, and those who can’t afford much and are quickly falling behind.

Article: High tech, no tech

Written by Al Stevens

January 14th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Julius Genachowski to head the FCC

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama intends to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, to head the Federal Communications Commission. Genachowski’s Internet experience comes from executive positions he held for eight years at IAC/InterActiveCorp  which included  Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Ticketmaster, HSN, LendingTree, Match.com, Citysearch, ServiceMagic, Evite, Interval International and Ask.com. He has also served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia, Website Pros, and The Motley Fool.

WSJ Story: Obama to Tap Tech Adviser as FCC Chief

Wikipedia entry: Julius Genachowski

Bio from January 2008 on the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus Web Site: Julius Genachowski

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

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