December 22, 2008

“Net-Geners” [9:44 am]

Try to figure out how to pronounce that! From a review of Grown Up Digital: In ‘Grown Up Digital,’ the Virtues of the Millennials (pdf)

Mr. Tapscott is not uncritical of Net Geners. He reports, for example, that a whopping 77 percent of his survey sample acknowledged having downloaded music without paying for it. “Most don’t view it as stealing, or if they do, they justify it in different ways,” he writes. “They see the music industry as a big business that deserves what it gets, or they think the idea of owning music is over. Some even think they’re doing small bands a favor.”

Mr. Tapscott decries the widening educational gap between the “thriving” and “failing” segments of the Net generation. Although the percentage of young people enrolling in college rose sharply from 1970 to 2003, he says, huge numbers of American teenagers drop out before finishing high school, and the average 15-year-old ranks in the bottom third in math and the midpoint in science relative to peers in other developed countries.

Mr. Tapscott’s most severe criticism of Net Geners is that they are “undermining their future privacy” by giving away vast amounts of personal information along with potentially embarrassing photographs and videos over the Internet. “They tell us they don’t care, that it’s all about sharing,” he writes. “But here I must speak with the voice of experience. Someday that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office.”

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December 20, 2008

Tierney Raises Some Apt Issues [6:37 pm]

I like John Holdren (although I don’t really know him all that well), and I believe he’ll be a good science advisor, but I think that the issues that Tierney raises in this blog posting (Flawed Science Advice for Obama?) are ones that anyone involved in science & technology policy should always be mindful of — it’s why I assign Pielke’s papers in ESD.10.

Dr. Holdren is certainly entitled to his views, but what concerns me is his tendency to conflate the science of climate change with prescriptions to cut greenhouse emissions. Even if most climate scientists agree on the anthropogenic causes of global warming, that doesn’t imply that the best way to deal with the problem is through drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions. There are other ways to cope, and there’s no “scientific consensus” on which path looks best.

You can find quite a few of Pielke, Jr.’s papers here

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The End of a Bad Idea? [9:49 am]

Music industry drops bid to sue song swappers (pdf)

The group representing the US recording industry said yesterday it has abandoned its policy of suing people for sharing songs protected by copyright and will work with Internet service providers to cut abusers access if they ignore repeated warnings.

The move ends a controversial program that saw the Recording Industry Association of America sue about 35,000 people since 2003 for swapping songs online. Because of high legal costs for defenders, virtually all of those hit with lawsuits settled, on average for around $3,500. The association’s legal costs, in the meantime, exceeded the settlement money brought in.

The association said yesterday it stopped sending out lawsuits and warnings in August, and then agreed with several leading US Internet service providers, without naming them, to notify alleged illegal file-sharers and cut off service if they failed to stop.

Based on this report in the Wall Street Journal: Music Industry to Abandon Mass Suits (pdf)

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December 17, 2008

You’ve Been Served — Virtually [10:42 am]

Lawyers turn to Facebook to serve legal papers (pdf)

Lawyers in Australia expect the social network site Facebook to become a new way of tracking down defendants after a landmark court ruling.

The Supreme Court in Australias capital Canberra has ruled that Facebook is a sufficient way of serving legal documents to defendants who cannot be found.

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December 15, 2008

Making It Official Today [10:29 am]

Remember, it’s only this afternoon (pdf) that Barack Obama will officially be president-elect, once the Electoral College votes are cast and tabulated today in state capitals throughout the country.

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Saying “Enough?” [10:24 am]

Or something else? Brookline wary of surveillance cameras (pdf)

Even as eight other cities and towns across Greater Boston prepare to more than double, to 183, the number of security cameras monitoring their streets, Brookline is threatening to reject the cameras, as town officials confront a brewing rebellion of residents decrying the rise of a “surveillance society.”

[...] “The overarching concern is what kind of society are we creating, where general police surveillance cameras are in operation,” said Sarah Wunsch, an attorney for the ACLU. “You cannot assume that we will always be a free society, and we are putting the structures in place that would allow a very different United States of America from the one we have lived in.”

Wunsch, a Brookline resident, scoffed at the notion of the cameras’ use as a traffic management tool during an emergency.

“The people who live in town laugh at that because the town can’t prevent gridlock at rush hour,” she said. “To say these cameras are going to help traffic during an evacuation is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Using cameras for that purpose, most people think, is crazy.”

Brookline Police Chief Daniel C. O’Leary said the cameras could help manage traffic and investigate crime. “It’s a valuable tool that I don’t want to lose, and I think the value goes beyond just managing an evacuation,” he said. “There are everyday uses that a lot of people could benefit from.”

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Hmmm [10:21 am]


Google wants “fast track” for its content: WSJ
(pdf)

Google Inc has approached Internet carriers with a proposal to create a “fast lane” for its own content, countering its previously stance of equal network access for all content providers, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

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December 13, 2008

Some Local News [6:36 pm]

Interestingly, not to the Berkman Center, though: Leading scholar to join Harvard Law School (pdf)

Harvard Law School yesterday named renowned legal scholar Lawrence Lessig to its faculty, the latest in a series of big-name hires by the Cambridge graduate program.

Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University since 2000, will also serve as the faculty director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, law school officials said. He begins next summer.

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December 12, 2008

*Shock* Who Could This Be? [10:44 am]


FCC free Internet plan faces lawmaker opposition

(pdf)

A top Democratic lawmaker is expected to ask the Federal Communications Commission on Friday to delay voting on a controversial auction of radio spectrum, which includes a requirement for free Internet services, said a source following the issue in Washington.

[...] Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, who is expected to head the Senate Commerce Committee when the new Congress convenes in January, wants the FCC to refrain from taking up major items while it oversees the February 2009 transition to digital television.

Broad enough a hint for you?

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December 1, 2008

Smartphones, Networks and Stupidity [8:10 am]

A new instrument in the study of the sociology and anthropology of crime: In the Cellphone Era, a New Picture of Stupidity Emerges (pdf)

In the olden days of stolen cellphones — say, three, four years ago — the best you could do was call yourself. Dial your own number and hope that a good citizen picked up, while you imagined the phone’s possible locations. On the street? Under a barstool? Wedged in a Metro seat and bleating out weak rings as the battery . . . slowly . . . died?

Now, a whole number of applications and services have made it possible for you to Follow That Treo, follow it straight to justice.

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DVRs and Survival in the Broadcast TV Lineup [7:47 am]

For NBC’s ‘Lipstick Jungle’ the Problem Is Ratings (pdf)

During an interview this week about “Lipstick Jungle,” the teetering NBC drama in which she stars, Ms. Shields embarked on an arcane discussion of the show’s performance in the Nielsen ratings, specifically its gains in the category of “live plus 7,” when measured against “live plus same day.” Translation: Among viewers 18 to 49, the group prime-time advertisers most wish to reach, the show’s ratings increase by about 29 percent — or by 652,000 viewers, to 2.3 million, according to the most recent Nielsen figures — when the numbers include people who take as many as seven days to watch an episode on digital video recorders as opposed to those who watch it live or within hours of its broadcast.

No prime-time program gets a bigger boost in viewership from long-range DVR viewers, according to an NBC analysis of the Nielsen data. And that has been something of a lifeline for the series, which chronicles the ups and downs of three stylish, high-achieving New York friends played by Ms. Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price.

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