CISPA Update: Senate v. House

CISPA and Internet Privacy

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed in the US House of Representatives by a vote of 288 – 127. As a refresher in government 101, the bill would have had to pass the Senate and get President Obama’s signature before it could become a law. To update, in a nutshell the case is closed.… [Read more]

Deadline for commenting on genetically engineered ‘Frankenfish’: April 26

Frankenfish and GMOs

Many scientific advancements benefit society; there’s no doubt about that. Some issues, however, fall into that fuzzy area of ‘is it progress or will it do harm even if the intentions are good?’ One of those issues is modification of the food supply at its very core: on the genetic level.

Very soon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may approve commercial sales of the first genetically engineered (GE) food animal; GE salmon may soon be sold at a grocery store near you.… [Read more]

The House voted to invade your privacy.

CiSPA

Congress has been busy…not passing gun control legislation, mind you, but busy all the same. While national attention was focused elsewhere during this week, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed in the US House of Representatives by a vote of 288 – 127. The bill must pass the Senate, and overcome President Obama’s threat to veto on the Act on civil liberties grounds, before it becomes law.… [Read more]

Virtual Citizenship

smartphone

So Facebook has come out with a phone…or at least Facebook Home that can be downloaded on select Android phones. Or you can buy the HTC First for AT&T.

Or you can just not get the phone like the rest of us.

This past week I got into a conversation about the phone and Home on Facebook (the irony is not lost on me).… [Read more]

SOPA: It’s baaaack!…and it’s teaming up with your Internet Service Provider

SOPA

Remember SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act about copyrighted material that, if passed, would have allowed the government and various corporations to censor the internet? And do you remember SOPA’s more stringent cousin, ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which is an agreement to create global intellectual property (IP) enforcement standards that reach far beyond current international laws but would have had the effect of killing innovation and shutting down entire websites?… [Read more]

Yahoo! Examples of Irony and Hypocrisy!

Yahoo! Marissa Mayer, CEO-0-0-309-309

Dear Marissa Mayer,

Ok, I don’t know anything about business. I have never worked from home other than making a little bit of money here and there with my writing, so to be honest, I have found myself agreeing with both sides that write about your managerial decisions you have decided to enforce at Yahoo!.

But really, this letter isn’t about your decisions to tell your employees what they can and can’t do.… [Read more]

Kids and Screens – Part 2

School kids on cell phones between classes

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about allowing my three-and-a-half-year old have access to many different screens and how we monitor it.[Read more]

Somebody IS Watching Me…and You, Too.

Spying: Somebody's Watching You

I’m just an average man with an average life I work from 9 to 5, hey, hell I pay the price All I want is to be left alone in my average home But why do I always feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone and

I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me And I have no privacy Oh, oh, oh, I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me Tell me is it just a dream

I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me And I have no privacy Oh, oh, oh, I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me Tell me is it just a dream*

Those lyrics came to mind when the story of the Raytheon Corporation’s latest development was revealed.… [Read more]

Glass Ceilings and Ivy Walls

Glass ceilings and ivy halls - the professor

Before we get started, I’d like you to picture university science professors in your head. Now, what did you see? Maybe they’re messy and disheveled, with unkempt hair and an untucked, wrinkled shirt. Perhaps they are more meticulous in appearance and have on a crisp, starched button-down with a pocket protector. Maybe they’re carrying the tools of their trade: a graphing calculator, a protractor, a clipboard full of data and equations.… [Read more]

Dummy’s Guide to Understanding Stem Cell Transplants

Stem Cell Transplants

Stem cell research has appeared on the front pages once again. This week, the US Supreme Court announced that they have rejected an appeal that had been filed to block the government’s funding of stem cell research so that the research can proceed. The court refused to hear an appeal from scientists who have been challenging the federal funding for stem cell research — which is used with the hope that the cells will enable scientists to find cures for spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease — on the grounds that it was violating a law that prohibits taxpayer financing for work that harms embryos.… [Read more]

The Future of Education

technology and education

In the future it is possible we will no longer be educated by human beings. As technology progresses, computers will surpass our capabilities of instruction and logical analysis, thereby offering a sentience possibly beyond our control; science estimates within 100 years this will occur.  This means that computers, not humans, could be those in the best position to teach.… [Read more]

From the Mouths of Babes: Free Speech and Technology in Schools

Poor, poor, pitiful me

Mark Twain, sage of the 19th century Mississippi that inspired his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, once suggested that when he was a teenager, his own father was so irredeemably stupid that the old man’s mere presence was unbearable ….and how amazing it was that the dumb bastard relic had got a lot smarter by the time Twain passed his 21st birthday.… [Read more]

Space Mining: The New Frontier

Space Mining: The Final Frontier

If you follow politics, or at least the President, then you will no doubt recall during a statement about the NASA budget some words from Mr. Obama regarding an intangible concept known as ‘Asteroid Mining‘. Since not much else was said during this release other than this mining practice will be the focus of future space development rather than NASA‘s approach to explore space, it’s easy to throw such a concept aside; the concept is for those space nerds and science fiction geeks but it’s viewed as having little to no actual impact on the life of individuals.… [Read more]

Privacy: Not Everyone Is Watching, But Some Are

eye

There’s a lot of fear-mongering going on in the world right now. So, I am going to preface this article by telling you not to worry. Don’t get upset. Don’t panic. Maybe, just maaaaaaybe, be a little concerned. Why? Because, earlier this year, Christian Paetsch robbed a Wells Fargo bank in Aurora, Colorado.

This is not a public service announcement about banking safety.… [Read more]

NASA’s Role In Space: Private vs. Public Space Exploration

58294main_The.Brain.in.Space-page-23-shuttle-boosters

NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, costs taxpayers about half a penny annually. Allow reiteration of this statement to resonate: NASA costs you less than a penny every year in taxes. Evidence supports that Americans could easily be persuaded to dig deep and pay that extra half penny a year to aid in keeping such a visionary program operational.… [Read more]

Social Media and Education

social media

I have been “on the internet” (if you count e-mail) since before most of my students were born.

(Side note: Holy Moses. How can that be true?? I am so youthful! Ahem.)

In college (late 90′s/early 00′s), I had my first website — a sample teaching site I created using DreamWeaver that I thought was amazing (it was not, and I never used it again).… [Read more]

YouTube Ban Shows Lack of True Democracy in Pakistan

Youtube ban

Pakistan’s government was trying to prove its commitment to Islamic ideals and sacredness of Islamic faith when it ordered a ban on YouTube in September following the release of the video Innocence of Muslims, which proved blasphemous to Islamic beliefs. The little religious storm in the political cup was soon over and today, hardly anyone seems to be bothered by the memory of that film.… [Read more]

No Production Tax Credit Extension Will Kill Off 37k Jobs, Slow American Innovation

PTC Expiration Results

It’s laid out pretty clear in study after study that if the PTC Extension (Production Tax Credit) isn’t passed in Congress, jobs will be in jeopardy. These aren’t imaginary jobs that someone has made up on paper but are jobs that have been built, one by one throughout the country. The United States is facing the oncoming train that wind energy could be damaged by the severe loss of jobs and support with the PTC.… [Read more]

Chesa-’Piqued’ Energy: A Fracking Nightmare Waiting to Happen

natural_gas_pump_well_jo_01

Though not personally invested in this stock, Chesapeake Energy has always been intriguing to me nonetheless. The more one reads about this company, the more interesting this company becomes. Headed by Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy is a publicly traded company based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and its financial interests lie mostly in the midwestern United States.… [Read more]

Here’s the Burning Question: What Does Coal Mean to You?

I would have asked for overtime pay to be here, too, guys.

Coal has become THE hot button for Republicans to push in order to take some pot-shots at President Obama. It’s been pushed at campaign rallies, during attack ads, and was brought front and center during the first presidential debate last Wednesday. Romney has made it very obvious—he likes coal. But why focus on this in particular?… [Read more]