Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Sacrificing Privacy for an Illusion of Safety May 24, 2006

One has to wonder loudly about the gullibility of American people. Unfortunately, I have too often been a part of it as I pursued the "American Nightmare" by driving to a workplace where I didn't want to be, working for people that I would not call my friends (even if it meant having a full meal after starving for a month) … all so I could have my car, my TV, my remote and my little piece of the American dream.

In the meantime, as I realized in the nick of time, I was selling my soul and my intellect to Corporate America and the Government. And while I was sleepwalking, my best friend Tim (whom I have known since 1968) was looking for every soap box and podium that he could find to decry NAFTA and the US PATRIOT Act. Tim has one of the greatest minds I have ever encountered with the possible exception of Lewis Black and a few great instructors at Drexel. (more…)

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Intellectual Property and Information Control May 14, 2006

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to you and yours!  🙂

I vaguely remember an after-dinner speech at some association hootenanny back in the mid-1990's about the world entering a new age: the Age of Information. I watched the corporate world (or at least my small pigeon hole in it) make a massive surge to garner, control and plan to sell information. This was, of course, fueled by the massive leaps occurring in technology.

In my education and information science courses, I have read a great deal about the corporate movement to control information through the use of databases and other holdings. Much of it is kept secret, for internal use only (customer databases and consumer demographics are examples); in schools, teachers and administrators tend to do the same because we only rely on the results of standardized tests for external comparisons. However, the greater concerns come when one acknowledges the merger patterns in publishing and other industries: knowledge, data, information and other intellectual properties are being taken hostage in these mergers. (more…)