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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fake Apple stores open in China

Click on this link to read a story (Washington Post/MSNBC, 7-21-11) about how completely fake Apple stores have been opening in China (one is pictured here). This goes beyond counterfeit products!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Woman Attacks Gauguin in National Gallery

Gauguin's Two Tahitian Women came under attack during a Rite of Spring-style riot Friday in Washington's National Gallery. As it happens, this was a one-woman riot, but it did not lack for conviction. Shreiking "This is evil!" a woman lunged at the painting, pummelling it with her fists. Luckily a clear plastic cover protected the picture from the onslaught. The woman was "tackled" by a social worker from the Bronx amid screams and shouts, according to an onlooker. A spokeswoman from the museum said the 1899 work appeared to be unharmed, though a closer inspection will be conducted today, according to the Washington Post. The painting, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, depicts two native women carrying fruit and flowers with their breasts bared.

Read original story in Washington Post | Monday, April 4, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Is streaming a felony?

Click on this link to read a blogger's provocative comments about new attempts to enforce intellectual property rights online. You'll note the ambivalence and irony of the blogger's viewpoint. Given the recent move to YouTube as the place of choice to post copyrighted songs for downloading, are attempts to enforce these rules futile?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is that Charlie Sheen, an intern, or an advertiser?

Twitter's rapid growth has occurred largely due to celebrities.  But celebrities don't tweet for free.  Increasingly they are seeking to "monetize" their tweet streams by including implicit advertisement in their twitter messages.  They are also, as Charlie Sheen appears to be doing, hired firms to help manage their social media presence, including interns who often do the writing.  In Charlie's case, his ad for an intern specified that the intern must have "tiger blood." Click on this link to read a Washington Post story about the increasing commercialization of celebrity tweets.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Beverly Hills Child Psychiatrist Busted for Lewd Facebook Photos

Beverly Hills Child Psychiatrist Busted for Lewd Facebook Photos

A Beverly Hills child psychiatrist has been thrown off a child custody case in Los Angeles after it was discovered that he had posted lewd photos of himself on Facebook. Dr. Joseph Kenan, president of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, advises courts in hundreds of custody cases for tens of thousand of dollars. Until recently, he also maintained a Facebook page where he allegedly posted photos "promoting illegal drug use, unprotected sex and male prostitution," reports the Los Angeles Times. Among the less savory images: pictures of Kenan exposing his buttocks in public and ads for parties promoting gay porn and escort site A parent and client of Kenan's discovered the photos on Facebook after Kenan demanded $42,500 for his services."This man should not be allowed to determine whether any father or mother is a good parent," said another parent who convinced the court to remove Kenan from her child-custody case. Kenan has been challenged in an additional two cases according to court documents reviewed by the Times. In response, Kenan argued that he is a purveyor of edifying satire: a modern-day Hogarth, if you will. "Ms. Singer misunderstands the bawdy humor I occasionally present to my friends, as evidenced by some of those pictures. … My comments are entirely in jest. In fact, my comments serve to educate the community's problems through satire."
Read original story in The Los Angeles Times | Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mexico protests video game set in Ciudad

Click on this link to read a Washington Post article (2-21-11) about the Mexican government's protest over the video game, "Call of Juarez: The Cartel." The game is set in a border town that has been beset by drug gang violence. Are such locations "fair game" as sets for violent video-games, or have the makers of the game erred in setting it in a real life location? Do they lack compassion for the already-suffering residents of the town?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scientists Study Sidewalk Rage

Do you secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head? You're not alone according to Facebook, which hosts a dawdling-pedestrian-haters group with 15,000 members. Now, science is confirming what experience has long shown: Slow walkers can prompt unparalleled, out-of-control anger. Researchers are calling it pedestrian aggressiveness syndrome, or "sidewalk rage" for short, reports the Wall Street Journal. At its worst, sidewalk rage can lead to a psychiatric condition called "intermittent explosive disorder," aka punching people in the back of the head. Researchers have come to recognize the signs of a ragey walker – muttering, bumping into people, invading personal space, and giving people the evil eye. The next step is to figure out what makes people so apoplectic, and "what that experience is like," said a scientist at Colorado State University who studies anger and road rage. Researchers believe that anger arises when walkers perceive others to be breaking the rules of the sidewalk: If you're slow, stay on the right; don't block the escalator; move to the side to take a picture. When the rules of civility are broken, beware the rager's wrath.Scientists recommend imagining the person blocking your path is lost or confused, rather than intent on ruining your day.

Read original story in The Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 (from Slate, 2-15=11)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Groupon Super Bowl commercial causes controversy

Some hated it just because it was stupid, but others were morally indignant about the Groupon Super Bowl
 commercial's use of Tibet as an excuse to sell its service.  Click on this link to read an article that describes the controversy.  Here's a link to a post that includes one version of the ad.  And here's a link to a Conan spoof of the ad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Above in the spider diagrams shows some examples of how social and personal competence plays into your life.
I gathered this information from

Are you socially competent ?

This is a servay I have found that is quite interested to take. It is only 20 questions, so it only takes a few moments of your time if you are interested to know if you are socially competent or not.

Click on the "Accept" button before you get started. And then you don't need to register to take it.. so just click "No thanks"

L.A. Seeks To Force Condoms on Porn Industry

Boogie nights are about to get rubbery. Last week, the Los Angeles City Council moved to force porn actors to use condoms, reports the New York Times. City legislators voted to draft the trailblazing ordinance after a health clinic that served the multibillion-dollar industry closed in December. "We can't keep our heads in the sand any longer," said a city councilman. "These people should be using condoms. Period." Until now, the San Fernando Valley's thriving smut factory has been allowed to operate without government safety standards. The nonprofit clinic that tested performers for HIV helped stave off regulation, and porn impresarios said the self-regulation system was working. But the L.A. Department of Public Health reports that sexually transmitted disease runs rampant in the adult entertainment community. AIDS activists say it's time for the government to regulate the industry. "Testing just acts as a fig leaf for producers, who suggest that it is a reasonable substitute for condoms, which it is not," said the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Still, the city worries it doesn't have the money to enforce condom use, and producers, who say only unprotected sex sells, are dead set against it. "I tried many years ago to get everybody to go to condoms," said a talent agent for sex-film performers. "Quite a few companies did, but sales fell severely. The switch would be very difficult."
Read original story in The New York Times | Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 [from Slate, 2/10/11]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I-Tunes apps for kids result in huge bills

Click on this link to read a Washington Post article (2-8-11) about how parents are receiving huge bills from Apple as a result of apps downloaded for their kids.  The apps apparently include the opportunity to add features for which the account is charged.  In one case, a child racked up $1400 in charges.  The article explores the question of whether this is an exploitative form of marketing.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Law struggles to remove guns from the hands of the mentally ill

Click on this link to read a Sarasota Herald Tribune article (2-6-11) about the often failed attempts of law authorities to take guns from those judged mentally incompetent or dangerous.  The recent Arizona shootings are  cited as an example of a case where an individual should not have had a gun.  Is this different than instances of paternalism where individuals are protected from themselves?  Does society have a responsibility to keep its eye on those who are mentally unstable?  If so, how can it fulfill this responsibility while allowing people to act freely (and even strangely)?  Would artists and designers have any reason to fear a state that cracks down on the mentally unstable?  Or is this a stereotyped and inaccurate depiction of the arts?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Facebook's "sponsored stories" creates controversy

Facebook's "sponsored stories" creates controversy

Social networking's fascination with following the actions of participants is increasingly being mined for its marketing possibilities. Click on this link to read a Washington Post (1-27-11) story about a new marketing practice of Facebook that takes users expressions of likes and check-ins at restaurants and attaches them to products for advertising purposes.  There are apparently some questions about how clearly the practice is being described; this affects the level of consent achieved for participation.  If I choose to share my life with my online friends, am I also choosing to share with them my buying preferences?  Perhaps!

Old Spice campaign is going global

Click on this link to read a Sarasota Herald-Tribune article about the "spicy" Old Spice ad campaign that plays with racial and gender stereotypes. These ads have already gained a viral life of their own on the Internet.  Is it just Mustafa's "muscular torso" that attracts viewers, or the sense that lines of division are being crossed by the add in an interesting way?  Here's a link to one of the recent ads.  The ad campaign has featured a complex social networking strategy that includes offering the opportunity to be the first to post the new ad on one's Facebook site.  What is the nature of the interaction between fans, Mustafa, and the company that has evolved through this ad campaign?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blogger to chronicle homicide victims in Washington, DC

Click on this link to read a Washington Post story about a blogger who has taken it as her mission to follow the fate of every homicide victim in our nation's capital.  Putting in 10 hour days every day of the week (for free), she is determined that the story of the victim be told.  Do you believe such self-appointed reporting raises any privacy issues?  Or is her rescuing of these cases from anonymity doing a service to the victims?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Author of Fake Holocaust Memoir Won't Collect $22.5 Million

From Slate (11-25-10):

A Massachussets appeals court has ruled that a publisher does not have to pay the author of a fake Holocaust memoir for her best-selling book about surviving the Second World War with the help of wolves. Misha Defonseca, who is neither Jewish nor was raised by wolves, skyrocketed to international fame in 1997 upon the publication of "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,'' her alleged autobiography. After eleven years of legal battles between Defonseca, her co-author and publisher, the story was exposed as a fake in the Belgian media in 2008. "There are times when I find it difficult to differentiate between reality and my inner world,'' said Defonseca, who attended school in Belgium and whose father reportedly corroborated with Nazis. "The story in the book is mine. It is not the actual reality; it was my reality, my way of surviving.'' Thanks to the "egregious" nature of Defonseca's behavior, a jury ruled that publisher Jane Daniel does not have to pay Defonseca $22.5 million previously awarded for failing to publicize the book. 
Read original story in Boston Globe | Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Web "content moderators" pay the price of their work

Click on this link to read a Sarasota Herald Tribune (7-18-10) article about the individuals who must look at thousands of pictures a day to weed out violent and pornographic images from social networking sites.  The article describes the psychological and physical toll on these "content moderators" as they spend day after day viewing child porn, etc. Do you agree with the proposal in the article that the government should help to pay for the therapy for those providing this apparently "necessary" service?