Thursday, July 24, 2003

Sandy's Moment in the Spotlight

The PD's Chris Seper is beginning to hit his stride in covering some emerging local things of interest on the web, which is precisely why we were so eager for him to attend the Blogfest in May, as he did. The latest evidence is his piece on Monday of this week about the potential for blogging to get complicated by employers' sensibilities. I was especially happy that much of the piece centered on one of my favorite bloggers, Weatherhead management prof Sandy Piderit (a nice picture of whom appeared in print but not online), who's now vacationing with the family and rightly taking a breather from blogging. The piece focused on the possible problems she might encounter by linking to a student's bellyaching site, I liked how she used it as a teaching tool, an invitation for dialogue, but Chris raised the possibility that her "employers" might demand that she remove the link. She calmly replied that they might ask, "but I don't think I would."

Unfortunately, Chris didn't make a key distinction, that she blogs on a third-party site. Even more importantly, he fails to mention the crucial point about academic freedom, which would make it hard to impossible for a university to force a prof to do such a thing (even though as a presumably untenured faculty member there might be some subtler pressures on her). Ironically, on the very day on which the piece appeared, Stanford Law professor Larry Lessig noted on his blog that Stanford officials have asked him to move his blog off university servers, presumably in swift reaction to his having asked Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean to serve as a guest fill-in while Lessig was on vacation the week before. But neither Stanford nor any other respectable university would think about trying to control a professor's right to publish as they saw fit. Look for another interesting piece coming soon from Chris, the subject of which I'll keep to myself for now.

Homework for Goldberg. I've got a suggestion for our wifi enthusiast colleague Steve Goldberg: check out this site that supposedly lists all the spots in various geographic locations that have hot spots for free wireless connectivity, and report back on how accurate the database is. Obviously, it doesn't yet include the newest spot, near the Caxton Building, courtesy of Ron Copfer.

Springer Roast. I don't want to waste much time on the ridiculous Senatorial candidacy of Jerry Springer (which is the best evidence yet that Ohio Democrats are completely out of energy and ideas), but I did rather enjoy this nice skewering of the Sin City goofball by Andy Borowitz in a recent New Yorker.

And finally, it was nice for a change to hear on Tuesday's All Things Considered how one of NPR's uppity intellectuals (Melissa Block) treated a Christian with some simple respect. In a brief story noting the recent passing of the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Dr. Bill Bright, her even-handed tone yielded a wonderful insight on him by a commentator from something called the Evangelical Studies Project in Washington, D.C. In explaining why Bright never became as famous as other Christian leaders who loved to dispense opinions via the media, the expert explained how Dr. Bright insisted that he and his staff stay away from politics and the media. "He wanted to change the world one person at a time." We say double amen to that...


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