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Should the Digital Divide Be Closed? June 23, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in education, InformationIssues.
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Interesting bit from the Freakonomics blog on the New York Times website, pointing to a new study that is showing a statistically significant DECREASE in math and reading test scores among students with home computer and internet access.

Meanwhile, students with limited access to computers and internet did not experience this statistical decrease. Does this mean that we should not be working to close the digital divide? That we should not be trying to make computers and internet accessible to every child?

Another point found in the study was that students who had computers and internet at home, but were limited in usage due to “more effective parental monitoring” did not experience the same negative effect on test scores. Perhaps the children in these households put the technology and internet access to more productive uses?

This study is seems to indicate that computers, internet and technology are not only not a magic pill to increase test scores, but without the proper guidance, may be a distraction and hindrance to students’ academic performance.

Does this mean that we should not close the “digital divide”? What do you think?

What’s the difference between a pig and a unicorn? June 22, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Legality.
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Back on April Fool’s Day, ThinkGeek advertised “Canned Unicorn Meat” was available.  See the ad here.

Recently, lawyers for the National Pork Board (NPB) sent ThinkGeek a Cease and Desist letter alleging that ThinkGeek is infringing on NPB’s trademarks when they say, “Unicorn, the new white meat”.

No worries though, ThinkGeek is clearly in parody-land, so their use of the phrase is considered Fair Use.  But thanks to ThinkGeek for providing us with the news, and even better, their hilarious handling of the letter and response!

ThinkGeek :: Blurgh! The ThinkGeek Blog – Officially our best-ever cease and desist.

I’ve been wondering why they do this too June 21, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Just for Fun.
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Subtext: “News networks giving a greater voice to viewers because the social web is so popular are like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg and fleeing customers, figures ice is the future and starts making snow cones.”
xkcd: Public Opinion.

Clash Over Copyrights June 14, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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This article in USA Today: (Neil Gaiman, Todd McFarlane clash over copyrights – USATODAY.com.) covers a copyright dispute between comic book artists who may or may not have “co-created” characters that one of the artists has continued to use.

Copyrights are a tough area of the law, even when situations seem pretty clear, but in comics cases – things are always murky. Interesting piece, and interesting topic.

By the way, I finished Gaiman’s American Gods this weekend, so look for a review later today!  We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, but we’re coming back, and look for guest posts!  If you’re interested in writing something, or have a topic you’d like to see us share, let us know!