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Bloggers Beware

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podcasts: [1] and [2]

“Off the record” is an immediately recognizable phrase. We imagine that a protective veil descends upon the words that follow it – a barrier that shields the speaker from forces that can awaken to quiet him or slur his words. For that phrase to carry weight, those who invoke it need to believe that it has meaning – that the veil exists. This is crucial when speakers run significant personal risk to give information that's important to us all. Preventing this option both silences them and deafens the community.

Because they play an indispensable role in our check and balance system, journalists are the logical, and possibly only, outlet for witnesses to injustice or misconduct whose lifestyles would be imperiled by an open revelation of their knowledge. By wielding the pen that airs these charges, journalists are also in harm's way when tackling sensitive or unseemly issues. The freedom of the press provides a beginning, but a majority of states have reinforced its sentiment by instituting shield laws that help protect both the identity of confidential sources and the journalists in the performance of their duties. Yet the federal government, from whose influence both sources and journalists require perhaps the most protection, has enacted no such law. Currently, a proposed federal shield law sits ripe for congressional review. But the bill has major problems, including restrictions on who is considered a journalist worthy of protection. And for this reason, we say to a group rising in prominence, influence, and purpose: Bloggers Beware.

Read our Project Description and our Final Reflective Essay

David Ardia, Juanita Leon, and Cara Viglucci Lopez


Car and Pedestrian Project aka Individual v. Machine

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Pedestrians on streets can be frustrating for drivers! Conversely, drivers can frustrate pedestrians! Have you encountered problems as a driver or as a pedestrian? What about as a biker? My name is Alison, and as a Cambridge, MA resident, I've noticed a troublesome issue on the roads - generally, pedestrians, drivers, and bikers are distinct groups who show little respect--and often flagrant disrespect--for each other. My final CyberOne project developed from my observations and experiences as a driver, walker, and biker. Check out my podcast

Upon Further Reflection: Actually, the title, “Individual v. Machine,” implies so much more than a simple project. I discuss the pedestrian-car-bike debate in its splendor. However, that is not the end…rather, that is the beginning. My ultimate, long term goal is encourage people to take a personal journey as they engage in this wiki experience—to re-evaluate themselves, to take a hard look at their identities and their place in our tech-savvy world. So, check out my parallel wiki site, Individual_v._Machine...From_a_CyberOne_Perspective. Get the facts on the basic issue on the Car and Pedestrian page. Then, link to the Individual v. Machine page for deeper contemplation, critical analysis, and self-reflection. But only continue if you're prepared to challenge the status quo, and evaluate yourself, your ability to empathize, and if you're willing to think outside the box...

Alison Healey

The Islamic Democracy Project

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In Iraq and Afghanistan in these years after September 11, 2001, we have seen the change of regimes, and with that, new questions about governance. Now both Muslim nations, with ample motivation by Western forces, are beginning to develop plans for Islamic democracy. Opportunity lies amidst the chaos. The Islamic Democracy Project seeks to open up laboratories of democracy using the tools of the online web, with eventual application to the “real world.” I believe that interpretation of Islamic legal and ethical principles is facilitated by recognizing the voices of all people. The scholars have long been predominantly assumed to be the exclusive authorities on Islamic interpretation. I certainly believe scholars have great expertise. But much is missing where lay voices are not heard. For example, the scholars may be too insulated or rigid in perspective to recognize completely the effects of their “rulings” on people. Additionally, precluding lay Muslims from having their voices heard may prevent them from fully expressing their God-given spirit in ways that might contribute to their worship of God. This project is an experiment—I believe an exciting one at that. I have set forth my hypotheses, and now I invite both scholars and non-scholars, people from all walks of life, to participate and test my vision. It is a vision of contribution, not dictation and blind following. Perhaps even more so, it is a vision of mutual understanding. The process of dialogue may be even more important than the substance.

Tawfiq Ali


Law and the Constitution in the Superhuman Age

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My project is an Open Courseware site for a virtual college course, set within the “parallel universe” of Marvel comic books. The course is called “Law and the Constitution in the Superhuman Age,” and it’s being offered at the Marvel Universe’s premier institution of higher learning, Marvard University, perhaps for real on Berkman Island in Second Life.

I’m using the idea of comic books to make a multi-layered argument. At its core, the project discusses fictional events taking place within a comic-book reality. Specifically, it draws from the comic book “Civil War,” in which Congress passes a law forcing super-powered individuals to register with the government or face imprisonment.

One layer of meaning up, the project makes an argument about arguments: namely, that the comic medium is uniquely suited to making them. “Civil War” and other comics raise real social issues, but they do so in a non-partisan, lighthearted context, and with a sense of fun. Someone who would refuse to consider alternative viewpoints about the Patriot Act might be willing to relax his defenses for a discussion of the Superhuman Registration Act.

At its most rarified, the project challenges its audience to consider the nature of reality itself: what does “real” mean, anyway? The question has become more relevant than ever with the rise of online “virtual worlds.” In a society that grows increasingly reliant on the virtual as a means of communication, imbuing fictional worlds with emotional resonance may soon be a critical skill.

Jonathan Krop

The Sports Aficionado

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The Sports Aficionado is a generator and aggregator of amateur-written sports commentary, harnessing the enthusiasm of intense, knowledgeable fans to compete with professionally-created sites in terms of quality and readership.

The raw material for this site already exists: every day, countless fans develop arguments in blogs, emails, message-boards, conversations, or in their heads. These expressions are often disconnected data points, circulating privately among friends, or being posted onto team- or sport-specific message-boards. My site invites fans to distill these expressions into a digestible form, the written column. I then edit and post them, creating a freely-accessible commentary space. To enhance content, I also link to selected articles from fellow user-generated sites and relevant online videos.

This site draws not only on fans’ desire to join a wider conversation, but also on dissatisfaction with mainstream online commentary options, which do not express the full range of opinions that exist, and which sometimes charge subscription fees. This site invites fans to participate in creating an alternative. The logo represents the site’s model. The eye at the top is in direct contact with the green, which symbolizes an athletic field: the fan/writer’s own view of sports is the raw material. The gray represents the Internet and the eye below represents the reader, symbolizing the method by which fans learn of others’ views. The use of identical symbols for the writer and reader underscores that, for this site, there need be no difference between them.

Aaron Sokoloff

Spank No More

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Were you spanked as a child? Are you against it or for it?

Parents are often deeply divided on the issue of spanking. Times, though, are changing and more and more people are beginning to shun the practice.

Nations are passing laws against spanking as health professionals and other interested advocates continue to develop a rapidly growing body of research highlighting all the different dangers of spanking. The dangers are numerous and even stunning, but often unknown to many.

This site – Spank No More – was created as a small step towards filling in this information gap.

This site is a space for people to explore the four main points in this discussion. Come listen to podcasts of interviews, watch powerful video clips, and read compelling studies on the practice. Spanking is an issue that affects us all!

Peter Cho


Open Courseware

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WHY THE HARVARD EXTENSION SCHOOL SHOULD IMPLEMENT OPENCOURSEWARE

OpenCourseWare is changing the nature of higher education on the web. Instead of universities with large web presences jealously guarding all of their intellectual property behind firewalls and passwords and proprietary software, some universities (like MIT, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, and others in countries from China to Colombia) are opening wide their doors and sharing putting materials online. Instead of keeping their lights under their respective bushels, they’re sharing them with the world!

Harvard University been doing something similar on a smaller scale, for a long time, through the Harvard Extension School. The Extension School offers courses and degrees to members of the Cambridge community through traditional courses and to people the world over through its distance education classes. Setting up and OpenCourseWare program is the next step in continuing that tradition.

By making course materials available online through OpenCourseWare, the Extension School can reach (and teach) many more people, can spread Harvard’s name even further, can involve more people in the great scholarship and research already being done at Harvard, and can encourage other institutions to do the same thing.

Plus, since the Extension School already has distance education classes, with materials already prepared to be disseminated online, it would be easy to set up. Some courses are even already doing it on their own. Then, gradually, other courses could follow suit, making Harvard a destination for education online as well as in the real world.

Check out the blog for more information.

Richard Heppner

Save Your Sound

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Welcome to the SaveYourSound project! SaveYourSound serves as a clearinghouse for information about Cape Wind, a proposal to install 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. More specifically, SaveYourSound seeks to help individuals opposed to the Cape Wind understand the arguments used by supporters of the project. The SaveYourSound website aggregates information about Cape Wind, outlines arguments both for and against the project, and provides updated news about the project to keep interested parties abreast of recent developments. For an overview of the project, check out the site and listen to my podcast.

Joel Schellhammer

The Project on Soldier Testimony and Human Rights

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The Project on Soldier Testimony and Human Rights (www.soldiertestimony.org) was created in 2004 as part of a Ford Foundation-supported project to explore links between testimony by state agents and human rights. The site highlights the unique role that "perpetrator-side" testimony can play in what we know about, and how we respond to human rights abuses. www.soldiertestimony.org currently aspires to be "a home for information, analysis, and reflection on the relationship between information provided by state agents and human rights."

The Ford money has run out, and the project will die UNLESS it is given a second life and a second home. This website hopes to do accomplish both.

First, it proposes a way to redesign the project, and it encourages soldiers to take ownership over that redesign. The new www.soldiertestimony.org will take a more international focus, with coverage of more of the world's conflicts, and featuring testimony in multiple languages. In the short-run, this will mean an increased focus on Iraq, as that conflict is the center of so much attention at the present moment.

Second, this website seeks to convince Harvard Law School to become a home for the new project.

Andrew Woods


Doctor Bradley and the Dungeon of Funding

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Most grant applications are boring, but Doctor Bradley knows another way. Delving into the Dungeon of Funding and beyond, this flame-haired hero will face unknown terrors in his quest to fund neural augmentation research that could enable people to rewrite their own minds the way they can create and modify other forms of information technology. Featuring special guest star Keanu Reeves. (Made with The Movies machinima software)

Christopher Walsh

The FileSharing Solution

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More Americans break the law by illegally downloading music than by committing any other crime. Over the past decade, it has become clear that peer-to-peer servers are here to stay – accordingly, the chief concern of our legal and political systems must be to find a workable compromise that balances the copyright protection of the recording industry with the ongoing file-sharing of their constituents. My project [www.thefilesharingsolution.com] is dedicated to that end. In facilitating a compromise, several issues emerge. Will any proposed solution provide for the continued financial prosperity (and subsequently, the approval) of the recording industry? Can the consumers’ desires be considered in a meaningful way? Can the problem be solved without government intervention, and if not, will government involvement lead to prohibitive administrative costs? Do we even want the government involved? If left unchecked, how will the music industry evolve over the next decade? How do we want it to involve? Any attempt to broker a compromise between the music label and the music fan must address these questions and more. Accordingly, the primary goal of The File Sharing Solution is to provide a space for conversation between concerned individuals from all sides of the problem, and in so doing, to bring competing viewpoints to a mutual understanding of the other’s perspective to where meaningful change becomes possible. While the site advocates one specific proposal, it does so loosely – at this point, having the conversation takes priority over political lobbying.

aaron brooks

the Censorship Report

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The Censorship Report, hopes to track the and discuss actions taken by various nations in restricting the flow of information on the internet. There are numerous organizations, some international and others concentrating on a single nation, that track such action. However, most of these start assuming that censorship is inherently bad. This may not necessarily be so; perhaps a government has legitimate objectives and concerns and could implement the least restrictive system possible

The site has two parts, a multi-user blog and a monthly podcast series. The blog, the more frequently updated of the two, can support multiple users who can develop their own lines of argument, much like the Volokh Conspiracy. Since the blog deals with a fairly controversial topic, this setup will allow for more and deeper debate. Any and everyone can have the ability to argue for or against types of filtering

The podcast will act as a summation of the month’s events and raise any resulting questions. Major events in this area happen relatively rarely, such that a month could be summed up in a single podcast. The site is also open to many varieties of multimedia argument - whatever users create and submit. Hopefully the community will produce a lot of this kind of content, as it opens up the ideas of the site to a broader audience.

Sai Rao

FIAT LUX Cal or Stanford

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The decision between undergraduate colleges is a tough, nerve-wracking process that faces so many high-school students every year. When these students are considering their higher education opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, the debate for top students usually comes down to Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley. As a Cal graduate, my deep-down belief is that Cal is the superior educational institution, and I decided to use this project to convince others of that viewpoint.

Fiat Lux, meaning “Let There Be Light” in Latin, is not only the motto for the University of California, but also an appropriate symbol for this project, as my ultimate aim was to shed light on the many misconceptions held by the general public, especially high school students, about the relative merits of the two schools. This logo, in many ways, is an appropriate symbol for the entire class, as we strive to put ourselves in the dark recesses of our opponents’ minds, and enlighten them about our own beliefs. In order to create my argument empathically, I consulted, discussed, and argued with a recent Stanford alumnus to find out why, in his opinion, a high school student should choose Stanford. I hope that, by looking at my website, people will be able to look past all the numbers and rankings that usually put Stanford ahead of Cal and instead partake in a deeper analysis about all that Cal has to offer, to both its students and to the world.

Pilan Chenhansa


Liquor Blue Law in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is the only state in the United States that makes it illegal for supermarkets and other big stores to be open on Thanksgiving. The Massachusetts law in question has been on the books for over 300 years, but the debate over its continued usefulness has intensified during the past two Thanksgivings. In both 2005 and 2006, multiple Massachusetts stores wanted to open on Thanksgiving. Only a few did, in large part because of the prohibition. Attorney General Thomas Reilly threatened criminal prosecution for any store that violates the law. Police shut down an Asian supermarket that did open in 2005. Stores continue to stay closed on Thanksgiving against their will due to the law still being in force. Given the increasing public outcry against the law, the time seems ripe to openly and fairly discuss the continued viability of the colonial-era prohibition. Does Massachusetts know something the other 49 states don’t? Or has this Puritan legislation outlived its usefulness? Does this “blue law” help protect the American tradition of Thanksgiving? Or does the law actually undermine American tradition by infringing on individual freedoms and by showing contempt for minority cultures? Through three movies contained in this website, I make the case for the Massachusetts Legislature repealing this blue law and allowing stores to choose for themselves whether to be open on Thanksgiving.

Nick Rose


The Sports Curse on Philadelphia

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Philadelphia sports fans are very passionate, and our experience in my lifetime has been uniquely difficult. The city has gone 23 years without winning a professional sports championship, a remarkable streak considering that Philadelphia is one of the largest markets in the country with ample financing for players, coaches, and stadiums.

The most painful aspect of being a Philly sports fan has been the terrible heartbreaks which have occurred time after time. Our teams are always just good enough to get fans’ hopes up, but never fail to disappoint us in the end.

My project examines the fans, the teams’ histories, the recent failures and the hopes for the future. Each team is profiled in detail with particular attention given to the most devastating defeats. The fans’ behavior in general is assessed, with the conclusion that the fans have become so hostile towards players and coaches that they are indeed a major part of the problem.

A modest proposal is made for fans to break out of this cycle of negativity and be supportive of our teams in the hope of breaking the curse.

Above all this blog should be entertaining. Mixed in are various videos and links to web sites that chronicle Philadelphia’s athletic teams’ shortcomings. Also included, of course, are my own personal experiences growing up as a fan.

Links to my blog will be posted in fan forums on Philly.com (which links the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and other major papers) for the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies. In addition, I will send the link to every friend and family member of mine and encourage each of them to distribute the link widely.

My hope is that this blog will “catch fire” as a place for fans to commiserate, strategize, and most of all, laugh.

Enjoy!

michael hourigan


Towing Cars to Clean Cambridge Streets

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My project examines the practice of towing cars parked in violation of street cleaning regulations in Cambridge.

My target demographic is people who own cars or periodically drive in Cambridge. This group probably doesn’t have to be convinced to take an interest in the subject, but I’ll pitch it to them anyway, by way of anecdote.

I became interested in this subject when my boyfriend’s car was towed last year. It actually wasn’t his car, it belonged to a friend, so we were horrified when we saw that the tow truck had made a distinctive claw shaped hole in the front bumper of the car, with whatever they had used to connect it to the truck.

The towing company advised us to go to the police, who kept a record of damage to the car before the towing. We went, and discovered that the officer who had authorized the tow had recorded this helpful note: “covered in dents and scratches”. That might be true of my car, but it was not true of the previously pristine car they had towed. The woman in the traffic department told us this officer always put the same thing, and there had been complaints before. We returned to the tow yard, where the employees denied that the dent had been present before we drove the car off the lot. When we protested, they threatened us with baseball bats. It just felt wrong, the whole process. So I decided to look into it.

Mary Weld


Liberty and Choice in a Modern World

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- Alcohol abuse, drug use, intellectual property laws, prostitution, and even the development of a market for babies. These are all issues discussed and debated on the Liberty and Choice Wiki. The goal of the Liberty and Choice Wiki is to explore the interaction between liberty, choice, and externalities in the modern world; making an empathic argument that choice is necessary to a modern conception of liberty, even with its perceived dangers. Through the use of both audio and video podcasts, users have engaged in and discussed a wide-variety of interesting issues.

The Liberty and Choice Wiki is an incredibly interactive forum that features podcasts from a number of different angles, and includes a conversation with Harvard Law School Professor Charles Fried. I hope that all of you take the time to add in your two cents on many of these difficult issues that confront us in rhetorical space. I also hope that perhaps the podcasts and discussion will make you think about the issues in a new and interesting way, perhaps even finding the element of choice central to our conception of liberty.

John Lobato


Liberate IP

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I feel this way because I think that people have the ability to decide that liberty and free speech protect one's right to say/write/photograph/etc almost anything, even that which was created by another. The equilibrium that is contemplated by the US constitution, that protection should be granted for the length of time required to incentivize the creation, is unstable and unable to withstand political forces that relentlessly pull in one direction or the other. This caused a downward spiral in which the copyright term got longer as the content owners became more powerful and vice versa. Fifteen years ago, this war was all but lost.

Enter the internet. Websites like Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg have given me faith that intellectual property can thrive even when it isn’t “protected”. The rampant and bizarrely altruistic piracy that goes on has informed me that I cannot stand alone in this belief. This project is my plea for assistance.

I make the argument that Sweden should lead the way and test a new regime, where liberty, not IP, is protected.

This issue is debated further at http://liberty.wikispaces.com with the other prominent issue being liberty and personal choice. There are essays, podcasts, and videos on many topics, and I truly hope you will come to partake and contribute, as my philosophy on IP isn’t only based on liberty, but upon my belief that people can do great things when they come together.

Manoj Ramachandran

Poker IS a game of SKILL

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During my time at Harvard Law I have been an active poker player, setting up a weekly Harvard Law School game, going to Foxwoods and Vegas regularly, as well as playing online. I also regularly follow and sometimes post on the message board www.twoplustwo.com and am a member of the Poker Player’s Alliance, a grass roots organization designed to encourage poker in the United States.

I have often made a substantial amount of my livelihood playing poker, and friends of mine in the online community including my college roommate are playing professionally. My roommate has played successfully for years now as a full time job and has earned around 150k this year since January, for those of you who doubt it is possible to win over the long term.

So clearly poker is an important part of my life, which is not to say that is a reason in favor of existence. I do believe however that poker is a complex adversarial game of skill which encourages various modes of thinking that are useful in the real world, particularly f or me as a future litigator. I also believe that off the table skills like bankroll management and the ability to handle statistical variance are key to success in poker and in life. In my podcasts I will explore these ideas and other reasons against regulation.

Logan Schiff

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Panhandling

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I believe that panhandling is economically inefficient, and should be banned or at least discouraged. I recognize that this is a contentious issue that goes much deeper than just people asking for spare change. In order to facilitate a dialogue about this idea, I have created a page on the class wiki with links to websites and to video clips of interviews that I conducted with a few panhandlers in Harvard Square. My hope is that people will view the video clips I’ve created and that will spark a healthy debate about the pros and cons of allowing and encouraging the practice of begging.

Andrew Knopp


Self-Financed Candidates In Politics

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Ever hear people talking about wealthy candidates for political office “buying their seat”? Think again. This project advocates for the position that so-called self-financed candidates are not bad for democracy; they may in fact be the best option available in the current regime of campaign finance.

Anne Hubert


Pro Bono

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At the beginning of their third year of law school, Jordan and Art—two close friends—got into an argument over the Pro Bono requirement that threatened to tear their friendship apart. Jordan felt oppressed by the school’s requirement, and resented being asked to fill it on top of all his other obligations. Art felt Jordan’s resentment was representative of a callous law school culture.

The podcast that follows represent their attempt to move towards greater empathy for each other. What emerged was not a victory by either side in the sense of winning a convert. Rather, the two students strengthened their friendship and came to truly understand each other’s perspective.

Jordan Bleicher and Art Samuels


The Times They Are A Changing: Why the University of Alabama Was Right to Terminate Mike Shula as Head Football Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide

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My project argues that Mike Shula should be removed as head football coach at the University of Alabama. I begin with a brief overview of the history of Alabama football and follow with a description of the events leading to Shula’s hiring as head coach. Next, I tell the story of his subsequent fall from grace in the eyes of many Alabama fans. I then proceed to give reasons why Shula might deserve to retain his position at the University, eventually rejecting these arguments for the following reasons. Shula has presided over a program that has not shown the potential to move to the next level in college athletics. His teams have shown a lack of discipline both on and off the field that has reflected badly on the University and its storied traditions. Furthermore, Shula has shown himself unwilling to make changes in his staff, changes that might lead to improvements in many of the areas of the team that are now lacking. A week after beginning this project, Shula was fired as head football coach. Following a firestorm of controversy and condemnation by the national media, however, I decided to continue the project in the hopes of providing an affirmative defense for the University’s decision.

Brett Talley

Brett's take on the change in college timing rules.

Laptops in the Classroom

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The disheartening "wall of laptops" has become matter of course in law school classrooms across the country. Although technology can clearly benefit students, it also creates a physical and psychological barrier between students and their professors and peers. Faculty and students have been debating the merits of allowing laptops and internet access in classrooms for the past few years, but HLS has yet to hold a vote on whether or not to ban these technologies in the classroom. Rather than continuing to look at the issue from these polarized extremes, and rather than simply resigning themselves to the status quo, I believe teachers should reconsider their attitudes and approaches to the rhetorical space of today's "wired" classrooms. To that end, I am attempting to rally support for a faculty/student panel on the issue, the main goal of which will be to empower teachers to take charge of their classrooms and develop a considered approach to the use and/or elimination of technology in their classrooms on a course-by-course, day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. Anyone interested in tracking my progress on this effort and/or sharing ideas, questions, concerns, or support can visit Laptops in the Classroom. Anyone interested in getting more directly involved in planning and organizing this event should feel free to contact me directly at bjmacdonald@law.

Brianna MacDonald


Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings

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Do you consider yourself a fan of films? If you are, here’s another question. Have you ever gotten into a debate with someone about your favorite movie, or any movie at all? Well, if you answered yes to the first question, the answer to this question is likely in the affirmative as well, and that is the point of this project. My website is for lovers of film, and not just lovers of film, but geeks….geeks who love Star Wars (the original trilogy) and the Lord of the Rings. Anyone that fits that description and much of the general public can see the obvious potential for debate when comparing these two pieces of work. They both have wildly imaginative backgrounds and stories, and to say the least, extremely loyal fan bases. We’ve all seen the people dressed up as Jedi and Hobbits lining up for the premiere at the cinema. Now it’s time to try to answer the obvious question, which movies are better? This website is about answering that question in a reasoned, empathic that shows no disrespect simply because both trilogies are amazing. So for anyone interested, take a look, and feel free to form your own opinion. I hope you enjoy the site!

Brieanne Elpert



A Conversation With Tyrone Biggums: Steroids in Sports (also on MySpace)

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Mainstream media outlets have gone overboard with their incessant persecution of professional athletes who have used, or have been suspected of using steroids to outperform the competition in their respective sports. Instead of spending all their time worrying about a minority of steroid users, the media and the public should put more focus on the positive aspects of our cherished pastimes and allow league administrators to police the problem.

For my CyberOne project, I wanted to do more than simply explain why I think that the media is obsessed with the issue of steroids in sports. Fortunately, the idea struck me to use a recognizable sketch comedy character from Dave Chappelle’s Chappelle Show to portray a parody of the issue. In the video, Tyrone Biggums, a heavy cocaine user, is making a presentation about drug awareness to several professional athlete “students.” It is no coincidence that two students are prominent athletes that have been accused of using performance enhancing substances. The third athlete, Ben Rothlisberger, has never been linked to steroids, but I wanted to show how quickly someone can be ostracized for allegedly using those “anabolic devils.” The whole point of the piece is to show how ridiculous and pointless the accusatory process can be, especially when it is done by a raging crackhead! Knowing the comedy is a great way to get subtle points across; I think the project does just that. Although, I am not sure how funny it is. You tell me!

Colin Wiley


Internet Gambling and Empathy

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In October of 2006, President Bush signed a law which held financial institutions responsible for making deposits into internet gambling websites. In essence, the law was an attempt to stop Americans from gambling over the internet by cutting off the dollars. The elephant in the room is the choice between “prohibition” and “regulation.” My CyberOne final project is a series of Podcasts designed to argue for regulation.

My arguments will not appeal to everyone, but they do not have to accomplish that much. I first discuss my target audience: the people that feel that internet gambling poses a special threat beyond gambling in a real casino. One need not look far to discover legalized gambling away from the internet in almost every state. Once I find my audience, I try to find their strongest argument and also discover what types of arguments would sway them. i.e. what is it that they are concerned about? Well it turns out that they are concerned about the same types of things that I am concerned about: gambling addiction and especially its effects on children. But come on over to the Webpage and check out the Podcasts so that you can see for yourself.

Darren Klein


Speech-Education

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Annually, the number one fear of the majority of Americans is the fear of speaking in public. No other event inspires as much fear, including dying, skydiving, or even – gasp! - snakes. Yet, at the same time, perhaps no skill is more important in our society than the ability to speak and communicate effectively. For example, employers often make their initial decision on a job applicant by listening how effectively a person communicates in an interview.

It is in this context that Speech-Education.com was launched to help promote rhetorical skills and lessen the fear of public speaking. In essence, the Speech-Education project is designed to promote speech and rhetorical skills in America’s high schools. Rather than suggest an overhaul of the existing curriculum, this project intends a more modest – and, at the same time, more flexible and realistic – approach whereby teachers incorporate rhetorical skills into existing math, science, and English classes.

For example, Speech-Education.com suggests that math teachers not just lecture about geometry. Instead, teachers should teach basic concepts and let students study at home and present more advanced geometric concepts in class the next day. In this end, students will benefit from their rhetorical practice, and teachers will benefit from being able to use innovative curriculums that (surprisingly) will require less teacher preparation.

The website www.speech-education.com offers an introductory video about why speech skills matter, offers sample curriculums to teachers and parents, provides students with resources to other websites, and hosts a variety of podcasts that users can download.

Jason Mehta


Sydney McGee Employment Dispute Project

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Should an elementary school teacher be fired for exposing her students to nude artworks on a school field trip? This, in essence, is what has happened to Sydney McGee, an art teacher at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in Frisco, Texas. In response to parent complaints over a field trip taken by Ms. McGee’s fifth grade classes to the Dallas Museum of Art, during which some children saw nude artworks, the school board and school district suspended Ms. McGee for the 2006-07 academic year. The superintendent of the Frisco Independent School District has announced that the district will not renew Ms. McGee’s contract at the end of the year, and that her replacement has already been interviewed. These decisions have put an end to Ms. McGee’s 27-year teaching career, and have left the community bitterly divided.

This project is a script for a South Park episode exploring the issue of Ms. McGee’s firing from a variety of viewpoints in the community. Ideally, given sufficient expertise, and insulation from copyright infringement suits, it could be animated and made available on YouTube. The script is on wiki; my object in offering it in an interactive format is to enlist the participation of readers in writing, editing, and shaping this script. Along with the script is a section with a more detailed account of the background facts of Ms. McGee’s case, along with some guidelines for participation in the project.

Joshua Nevas


The Grape Escape

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The Grape Escape is a Scratch game that parodies the famous movie The Great Escape. First you need to harvest enough grapes to make a run for it and then you get to take part in your exciting race to freedom!

In addition to being entertaining, I hope that this game will also raise awareness about the issue of consumer choice in the direct importation of wine. Visit the website to first play the game, but browser around to learn more about this important issue as well.

Kevin Parker


The File Sharing Solution

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More Americans break the law by illegally downloading music than by committing any other crime. Over the past decade, it has become clear that peer-to-peer servers are here to stay – accordingly, the chief concern of our legal and political systems must be to find a workable compromise that balances the copyright protection of the recording industry with the ongoing file-sharing of their constituents. My project [www.thefilesharingsolution.com] is dedicated to that end.

In facilitating a compromise, several issues emerge. Will any proposed solution provide for the continued financial prosperity (and subsequently, the approval) of the recording industry? Can the consumers’ desires be considered in a meaningful way? Can the problem be solved without government intervention, and if not, will government involvement lead to prohibitive administrative costs? Do we even want the government involved? If left unchecked, how will the music industry evolve over the next decade? How do we want it to involve? Any attempt to broker a compromise between the music label and the music fan must address these questions and more.

Accordingly, the primary goal of The File Sharing Solution is to provide a space for conversation between concerned individuals from all sides of the problem, and in so doing, to bring competing viewpoints to a mutual understanding of the other’s perspective to where meaningful change becomes possible. While the site advocates one specific proposal, it does so loosely – at this point, having the conversation takes priority over political lobbying.

Aaron Brooks


Arguments Against Digital Rights Management Schemes

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Typical arguments against Digital Rights Management (“DRM”) schemes and other restrictive measures taken to protect content revolve around fair use rights and obscure claims that “information wants to be free.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, content producers have found these arguments unconvincing.

Content producers, however, are acting against their own interests by forcibly imposing restrictive controls on electronic media. The current marginal (and unproven) benefits of controls, mainly assumed to be reduced pirating of content, are easily outweighed by the benefits of forgoing controls. Increased goodwill from and reduction in hassle for consumers along with the potential for greater exposure, all benefits of a reduction in content protections, will allow content producers to realize greater profits. We believe that this is the only argument that content producers, especially corporations with profit as their primary motivator, will listen to.

To that end, this site’s primary purpose will be to highlight the efforts of those content producers who see the benefits of not using restrictive content protections, particularly the success stories.

Andrew Brown


Laptop Ban Project

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Laptop use in the classroom has become a controversial issue. Many professors feel that laptops get in the way of learning because students are distracted by games, news articles, blogs, e-mail, etc. For this reason, some professors want to ban laptops so that students pay attention in class and learn without distractions. Many students, however, feel that they should have the choice of whether or not to use a laptop. They feel they should be able to use the tools they are accustomed to when taking notes, and are adult enough to police themselves. My project is a video that tries to speak to professors who want to ban laptops and show them that there are benefits to laptops. This video speaks from the perspective of the laptop and tries to show that banning laptops may not be necessary. It tries to tell professors what they don’t see on and behind the screens. Hopefully it will get people to think, professors and students. If the professors still feel that laptops use should not be unrestricted, it tries to provide other options. If nothing else, maybe it will inspire professors to open dialogue with their students and together they can find a common ground for each course.

Ankur Garg


Open Access 101

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Open Access 101 is a combination blog/informational site whose goal is to promote awareness of open access issues at Harvard and other universities. The blog will hold updates on future open access events at Harvard leading up to the 2007 Internet and Society Conference, and the rest of the site has important information for faculty and students thinking about the issue. There is some media on the site aimed at persuading faculty and students to take action towards a Harvard-wide scholarly materials repository and an overall stronger stance for openness in the university.

Christina Xu


Punctuation Shouldn't Be Moved Into Quotation Marks!

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Do you remember that rule in grammar that says periods and commas following a quote go within the quotation marks? The one that says:

“I am not a crook”, said Nixon.

should instead be:

“I am not a crook,” said Nixon.

I have hated this rule ever since elementary school, as it made no sense to me. The explanations I got from my teachers were never very satisfying – “that’s just the way it is”, or “it looks better”. Being a wee lad at the time, I just went along with things. But when I got to college, I decided to take a stand. I lost some points here and there for my defiance, but it was worth it. I felt a twinge of pleasure every time I saw my acts of rebellion circled in red.

I want to inspire others to do the same – rebel whenever they get the opportunity. To do this, I’ve created a Facebook group that I hope will get people thinking and get some of them to join the cause. It can be found at:

http://harvard.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2223172103

or through a search for:

Punctuation shouldn't be moved into quotation marks!

As one member puts it:

omg... where has this group been all of my life

By the way, in case you were wondering, the real reason for this rule is that on old printing presses, the period and comma pieces were more prone to breaking if they followed a quotation mark, than if they preceded one.

Darby Wong


Localive

My project – which I am calling “Localive” – aims to create a framework for university students to document and report on the human rights, environmental, and political climates of places that they visit and study. The intention of the project is to create a permanent record of the international projects that many university students engage in and a resource that may be tapped for information and can serve to stimulate further action, study, or debate. The site comprises a wiki and user-rated message boards, although only the wiki technology has been implemented thus far. Another CyberOne class member contributed the suggestion to limit edit access to the project only to university students during my presentation, and I have adopted it because I believe it will build trust and accountability into the system, and prevent abuse. I have created some sample pages – for the country of Peru and for the Camisea Project itself. The Camisea Project page utilizes some empathic techniques in its content. The site, including the (mostly) functional wiki, can be accessed at http://www.localive.org. I have not yet had sufficient time to create functional versions of the message board pages.

Josh Goodman


Erase Poverty

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I once saw a homeless man enter a drugstore to purchase cat food because it was the only nutritional food he could afford. In a world with so much wealth, why does poverty continue?

The answer is that the efforts of politicians and advocates to help those who suffer from destitution are not enough. While giving aid to the poor (both locally and globally) helps, it does not solve the problem. Attempts to reform international organizations like the World Trade Center (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have not fundamentally changed the economic system.

We are living in a time of great opportunity. People are increasingly aware that their actions have consequences. Now is the time for a new movement: one that encourages businesses and individuals to engage in trade in ways that help everyone.

To be a part of this new movement, to contribute ideas about how to fight poverty, or to learn more, please visit Erase Poverty.

Kamaria Kruckenberg


Childfree Issues

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In a society that is becoming more sensitive to stereotypes and prejudices based on past discrimination, a group of people with no such history are nonetheless being overlooked. Parenting is so ingrained in American culture that many do not even perceive it as a choice, and certainly do not consider the disparate effect of many of our policies on the childless.

Although rising rates of circumstantial and deliberate childlessness has increased the portion of non-parents in our society, there is still no centralized organization to advocate for their interests. Social stigma that discourages individuals from admitting their status contributes to the childless community’s lack of visibility.

This project establishes a blog as a clearing-house for advocacy issues and a website to begin the campaign for one issue: workplace benefits. By incorporating prominent leaders of the childfree and childless communities, this blog attempts to create a central platform for launching many such projects.

The workplace benefits campaign is centered on the idea that benefits packages of unequal value are a result of the lack of visibility. We advocate for a ‘cafeteria-style’ benefits plan which would allow each employee to select whichever benefits would be most useful, and ensures that each worker receives an equally valued total compensation package.

Although such plans benefit many different people, the advocacy here focuses on the inequality between those with and without children, since the project itself is aimed not just at achieving that end, but at motivating and organizing the childless behind an initial goal.

Laura Ciaccio


Revive Musical Theatre

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The progress of musical theater is at a crossroads. 9/11 delivered a blow to the New York City theater community, and producers have since struggled to bring audiences back to the theaters of Broadway. Producers of musical theater are concerned as to whether this art form will thrive in the 21st century, and rightfully so. Revivals seem to have taken over Broadway in historical proportions. Producers often seek to produce revivals, or previously produced musicals, as they are seen as the safest bet. The strategy is that audiences will definitely come to the theater if they are familiar with the material. Thus, it is understandable that producers are reluctant to take on the risk of launching original works, as there is a lower probability that they will catch on. And without packed houses, the future of musical theater remains uncertain. Many musical theater experts propose a different strategy, and believe that producers should look for preexisting works in other mediums, such as books and poems and adapt them into musicals. Audiences will be familiar with the material, yet there will be a new work created, thus breathing life and new creative fire into the medium. In short, revivals do not revive musical theater – it is only new works that can keep it alive.

Mark Maher and Giselle Woo


Safe Sex Education

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The worst thing a parent can imagine is something bad happening to their child. You take your child to the doctor to get vaccinations when he is still a baby. That way, if he ever comes into contact with a deadly disease, he will be protected. As he grows, you teach him how to care for himself so that he will grow to live a safe and healthy life.

My goal is to address parents against safe sex education, and help them understand that it is a health issue. In order to protect their children, parents have to foster a world in which fewer STDs exist. Supporting safe sex education doesn’t mean that parents can’t instill the religious values of abstinence. It just means that other children will be able to get accurate information, especially those who may not have parents willing to educate their children.

My project is important because our county is increasingly divided between the religious right and everyone else. President Bush won partly because of his promises to religious groups to support their issues. After his election, he only funded sex education programs that taught abstinence, but not safety. After lobbying by several groups, including health lobbyists, Bush reneged on his campaign promises and stopped this funding bias. Even though now safe sex is supported in most public schools, the religious right feels betrayed, and often removes their children from these programs.

My basic message is that parents know their children are not invincible. In order to protect them, parents must allow children to learn how to protect themselves, as well as others (which is something that Superman, coincidentally, also had to do).

Visit website.
Listen to audio.
Watch video.

Jessica Clark

Gay Blood Rights

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further web plan
Ken Garrett
also Designer Babies

Reconstitute Jamaica

Diane Lucas Alexandria Lee