Currently browsing posts filed under "All Things EphBlog"
A man of no conscience.
I awake on Tuesday to find a sociopath has endangered every living organism on our planet.
AP Photo/ Charlie Riedel
Now, go to goggle and search “man of no conscience” and “sociopath.”
For prior proof search “EPA and energy,” “at-risk populations” and “CO2 and rising seas and “carbonic acid.” And Trump.
For the most powerful man on earth has made sadism and masochism his very own trademarks.
And only a man of zero conscience and empathy could do that where seven billion humans and trillions of other living things are concerned.
But, perhaps the rising seas will reach only the 20th floor of Trump Tower.
Here are two recent song-videos on this turn of events:
And a thought from the Appalachian Mountains:
Mother Nature’s brilliant plan
Sequestered all black rocks;
Then mankind’s selfish mind
Unlock’ t Pandora’ s box
CLIMATE CHANGE is not a joke or a hoax. In 1972 I wrote a story on “weather” for Exxon’s house organ, The Lamp.
During my research I found a company plan to pave the Guajira Peninsula in Colombia with asphalt, blacktop and hydrocarbon discards to create rain for local farmers and, incidentally, enable in – depth study of global warming/climate change.
This story never ran and as far as I could tell, the project fizzled.
But reviving XL and Dakota Pipelines, dismantling Obama’s energy initiatives and Exxon’s $22 billion Gulf Coast investment in 11 new oil refineries brings back Dr. James Hansen’s recent and most dire warning: If Canada’s tar sands flow to Texas, “Game Over” for climate change …
Nota Bene from Dick Swart ’56 My classmate Peter Britton is a committed environmentalist. He expresses his concerns musically in themed albums like …
… this and others are available online https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/peterbritton
and his book …
I am planning out my next few 5-10 part series. What topics do readers want me to cover? (Previous rants in this series include the discussions of the Equality of Opportunity Project, the news release on early admissions for the class of 2019 and veterans admissions). The topics I am willing to write about include:
1) Latest Form 990.
2) Latest financial statements.
3) Latest Common Data Set.
4) Excellent work done by the Merrill Committee.
5) The 2012 Fifth Year Interim Report (pdf) on accreditation.
6) Adam Falk’s latest letters.
7) The long term health of the Williams endowment, using NACUBO data. (Thanks to Dartblog for the pointer.)
8. Ways to improve NESCAC athletics.
9. The Proposal for Divestment (pdf), the main intellectual statement by those students/faculty/alumni seeking divestment from fossil fuel companies.
10. The College’s response (pdf) to the Proposal for Divestment.
11. The new trustees webpage and the documents linked therefrom.
12. Record articles from the fall semester. Lots of good stuff that we never got around to discussing.
13. The plan (pdf) for the replacement for the Exploring Diversity Initiative to be discussed at this week’s faculty meeting.
14. Latest 100 page report (pdf) from the Curricular Planning Committee.
15. Ethan Zuckerman’s ’93 lunch with an (anonymous!?) Eph Trump supporter.
16. An update on athletic admission, starting with this amazing series from The Bowdoin Orient.
What do you want to read? Other suggestions welcome! I will probably start with 13 since it is so timely . . .
An anonymous comment in the thread of presidential searches provides occasion for me to give my view on EphBlog’s past, present and future. Come join me in navel study . . . Dickensesque it will not be.
Here are portions of the comment, with my thoughts interspersed.
Alright, permit me to offer another perspective that may clarify Todd’s frustration.
Essentially, DDF has admitted that he’s interested in a particular market anomaly — the relative overcompensation of a specialized type of employee in an extremely complex market. That’s fine, and if this were PresidentialCompensationblog.com, or HigherEducationFinanceblog.com, his perseveration might be suitable or even admirable. But that’s not the case — this is supposed to be a blog about all things Williams, and currently there seems to be a bit of digression.
I have heard this same complaint many times before. Some didn’t like it when EphBlog was too much NigaleianBlog.com or BarnardVistaBlog.com
or MGRHSFunding.Blog or EphBlogBlog.com or DDFsRandomThoughtsBlog.com or whatever. Soon I will be getting complaints about EphBlog being too much CGCLBlog.com.
Now, like any writer, I appreciate feedback. I am curious to know what other people think. I hope that people enjoy EphBlog, both all the postings/comments taken together and my own contributions. But, it should be clear by now that I often become very interested in a small aspect of “all things Eph” and pursue that aspect in mind-numbing detail. Few can compete with me in the category of dead-horse-beating. When I tilt at these windmills, and I plan on tilting for years to come, I try to segregate my posts, clearly stating the topic and leaving much of the commentary below the jump so that only readers truly interested need be bothered. If you don’t want to read any more of my posts about presidential compensation, well, I have a solution: Don’t read them.
Yet the commentator misses the point when he opines about what EphBlog is “supposed to be”. It is not for him alone to define what EphBlog is “supposed to be” — nor is it for me or Eph ’20 or Dick Swart ’56 or Professor Steve Miler or any other author/commentator/reader. EphBlog is a collective effort. It is “supposed to be” whatever we make of it.
Now, of course, we do have an official EphBlog motto — “all things Eph” — which provides a three word summary about how many of us think about EphBlog. The motto should be interpreted as broadly as possible. We are interested in anything and everything related to any Eph. Of course, there is a sense in which this is impossibly broad. Since Ephs are everywhere and involved in everything, it would be hard to come up with a topic that was not Eph-related somehow. But we do try to always have a “hook” — some connection, however tenuous, to something that another Eph has written or done.
The best way to understand what “all things Eph” means in the context of EphBlog is to look at the body of posts over the last year or so. The range of topics that we have covered is representative, I think, of what “all things Eph” means to us as a collective. I predict that 2017 will see a similar collection of posts and comments. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
What is EphBlog “supposed to be”? As the founder of EphBlog, allow me to state authoritatively the answer: EphBlog is supposed to be whatever the community of Eph authors, commentators and readers wants it to be. If you want it to be something else, then join us and contribute. To the extent that you’d like to remain anonymous, we are happy to have anonymous authors, include me. EphBlog is supposed to be whatever you make of it.
Granted, I’m not being completely fair, because DDF has located his interest in the more general question of ‘What were the qualities of the presidential search a few years back, and what can we learn from it?’ Honestly, I don’t find this question especially compelling, and my guess is that many ephblog readers wouldn’t either.
I don’t care. Really.
Now that may seem harsh, and I do value people’s comments and we all have something to add to the conversation and I am a sensitive guy and blah, blah, blah. But . . .
I am not writing for you. I am writing for me. Even more, I am writing for my father, class of ’58. Now the topic of Ephs and their fathers is not one that I want to dwell on today, but I spent about as much time on EphBlog in the summer of 2003 as I do now, even though we had very few readers then. Yet I knew that my dad was one. As long as he reads, I will write. Feel free to join us on the trip.
I would argue that the real problem is that more germaine issues are being ignored. I can name a couple really quickly — the issue of race relations on campus and the paucity of minority faculty; the degree of involvement of Williams students in activist causes and the local community; and, as one studly dude recently posted on the WSO forums, the federal cuts to Pell grants and what Williams’ reaction might be.
As a good economist, DDF might say, if you don’t like what I’m doing, go found EphraimBlog.com and do it your way.
Calling me an economist is like asking me if I was in the Navy: they are fighting words. ;-)
More importantly, this is not what I say. I agree with you that all those topics are interesting. I think that someone should write about them, either at EphBlog or elsewhere. If anyone did write about them, I would be eager to read what she has to say and to comment on it.
But if you think that “more germaine issues are being ignored,” I am afraid that you are missing the point. EphBlog, as a collective effort, doesn’t ignore anything. We don’t have a morning editorial meeting at which agendas are discussed, assignments given and plans made. If you think that that Eph student activism is interesting, then write about it. Whatever you write, I will post. Just don’t tell me what to write about.
That’s fine — but I would argue that as someone who has founded ephblog as a specifically *public* forum, you have a bit of a responsibility to at least attempt to reflect the interests of the larger Eph community, and not pursue your own vanity projects. This isn’t Kaneblog, it’s Ephblog. Kaneblog would be fine, but don’t use Ephblog as a facade for it.
I have zero, zip, zilch “responsibility to at least attempt to reflect the interests of the larger Eph community.” Even thinking about the issue in this way is mostly unhelpful.
- Does the “larger Eph community” include the thousands and thousands of Ephs who do not read EphBlog and have no interest in doing so? Morty Schapiro, to cite just one example, does not read blogs (and more power to him). Why should EphBlog attempt to reflect Morty’s interests?
- To the extent that the “larger Eph community” means the current (and potential future) readers of EphBlog, I would argue that we are doing a pretty good job of interest-representation. How else would you explain our increased readership? Someone’s “interests” are being represented quite well, thank you very much.
- Perhaps you really mean to claim that I should “attempt to reflect” your interests. I am afraid that we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that one.
I don’t mean to be too hard on this anonymous commentator. He (or someone at his IP address) has said many interesting and sensible things in the past. We probably agree about much more than the tenor of my rant might suggest.
But the days before Christmas are a time for summing up and looking forward. The above is my view on what EphBlog has been. Everyone else can decide for themselves what EphBlog will be in 2017. My own hope is that it will be less blog and more discussion, less of my writing and more of everyone else’s. Time will tell all.
— Williams College (@WilliamsCollege) October 23, 2016
Those who remember know me as PTC. I commented here for years talking about townie life and critiquing the college whenever I could. We had a lot of spirited arguments on this blog. Thanks to David for allowing this open forum.
Ephblog kept me home. I was overseas a lot when I posted.
My real name is Cleave Carter. My dad, Harvey, was class of ’60, my mother in law director of security, Jean Thorndike.
Is she the only college administrator that David Kane likes?
I got out of the Navy in 2012, after operating in over 27 nations and serving in three wars in the US Navy SEAL Teams. I am a retired Master Chief SEAL. When I got home, I went back to undergrad at MCLA (summa cum laude/ 4.0). Then, I got a Master’s in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College. I won the award for best thesis there.
Yes, I can write. Yes, I am bright. Yes, I have a ton of experience. Yes, I am a townie. Yes, I am a legacy. Yes, I am a veteran.
More school is next.
I live about 20 yards from campus. I grew up here, but no Williams for me. Such is life in the big city.
Williamstown is an odd place to come back to after so many years in war. You can never really come home when you are not welcome…
Williams College should, and now does, matriculate veterans. David is wrong in his sentiments about this matter. Absolutely wrong. The men and women I served with are the most capable people I have ever met in my life.
You have given one a chance now… and he is crushing it. The proof is in the pudding.
Here are some topics that I could spend a week writing about. Which ones would readers be interested in, if any?
1) The 2016 annual report from the Investment Office should appear next month. To be honest, I will probably spend a week on this regardless because Whitney Wilson requested it last year.
2) Review in more detail the November 2011 racist graffiti in Prospect, which was almost certainly a hoax.
3) Review the board of trustees. This is a topic that we have covered extensively in the past, but less so recently, especially with regard to the major changes in membership that have occurred over the last few years.
4) Deconstructing the College’s statement on climate change.
5) Thomas Klingenstein ’76 argues (pdf) that the trustees at Williams, and other elite schools, are failing to perform their duties. Is he right?
6) IPEDS is the premier source for data about Williams and other elite colleges. Should we spend a week exploring how to use it and looking at what is there?
7) Deconstructing Adam Falk’s statement about John Derbyshire.
8) Review an updated version of this plan (from 2005!) to improve Williams housing, now that the nightmare of neighborhood housing has ended.
9) Events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston and elsewhere have led Professor Neil Roberts to think about a potential new class on dismantling white supremacy. You can read some his tweets here. Worth a week of discussion?
10) Other topics?
Greetings! As a frequent scribbler in the comments, it’s a joy to climb the dais and finally contribute to Ephblog as an author. To introduce myself as well as one can anonymously: I’m an incoming member of the class of 2020, an alumnus of Windows on Williams and someone who’s been rabid about the college (and this blog!) long before I was even admitted.
I’ve already arranged the broad strokes of a few posts on WOW, but, as even Ephblog is woefully without much information on the program — a search for “Windows on Williams” on this site yields, as its first result, a literal window — I’d like to make sure that I’m not missing anything that could be of interest. Anyone with specific questions or general curiosities is welcome to pose them in comments.
Best to all those reading. More to come soon.
EphBlog welcomes new authors. Right now, sadly, many of our best writers (Professor Darel Paul, sigh, simplicio, Mr. Calabash, Professor Sam Crane, S ’18, A Williams Parent, Will Slack ’11, Dick Swart ’56, Whitney Wilson ’90, ephalum, dcat and many others) only appear in the comments. That is a shame! Your voice merits placement on the main page. Our readers (most of whom don’t read our comment threads) want to hear from you, not just from me, Edward W. Morley ’60 and Professor Steve Miller.
You can even join completely anonymously! Just e-mail me (daviddudleyfield at gmail) from a anonymous e-mail account. I don’t need to know your real name. I will send you the necessary login and password.
The public conversation among students, faculty, staff and alumni will only be as good as we make it. If you want a better conversation, then step up and lead it. Williams, alas, refuses to do so, refuses to create an on-line space at which we might talk with each other. So, as with the founding of the Society of Alumni almost 200 years ago, we will do it ourselves.
Greetings. I’m the faculty president of the Williams’ chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. As there has been a lot of discussion about speakers invited to campus by Uncomfortable Learning, I wanted to briefly post why PBK has decided to co-sponsor their next speakers.
PBK is dedicated to the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. We do not necessarily support the views and opinions of the speakers, but we strongly support the calls made by President Falk, William McGuire III ’17 and others on the importance and value of having civil discussions. There is a great opportunity in such debate, and we encourage all interested members of the community to come to these and other events and be heard. Many of the positions held by students and faculty on our campus today would not have found receptive audiences in the earlier days of Williams; ideas should be refuted by facts, not silenced.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for
me. — Martin Niemoller
Steven Miller (email@example.com), Associate Professor of Mathematics
Just weeks after EphBlog discussed the activities of the “Uncomfortable Learning” organization at Williams College, the group is in the headlines — and not in a good way. Suzanne Venker has an opinion piece posted online titled: “Williams College dropped me from its ‘Uncomfortable Learning’ speaker series. Why?” In it, she writes:
For the past two months, I’ve been preparing a speech for my upcoming visit to Williams College in Massachusetts. I was invited to speak at the university on behalf of its ‘Uncomfortable Learning’ Speaker Series…
[M]y talk was cancelled several days prior to the event. “Thank you for agreeing to speak,” read the email, “but we’re not going to be able to host this event.”
Though my contact didn’t give a reason, the day before he’d sent me this email: “Dear Ms. Venker, A quick heads up…We’ve been advertising the event, and it’s already stirring a lot of angry reactions among students on campus. We just wanted to make you aware of the current state of students before your presentation…”
When I pressed further as to why the event was being cancelled (though of course I knew why), he conceded that Williams College “has never experienced this kind of resistance” to a campus speaker.
Venker is the author of “The Flipside of Feminism” and “How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace With Marriage,” and is an iconoclast critic of modern feminism. According to her article, she planned to share her critique of feminism, framing it around the idea of uncomfortable subjects, as appropriate for the series:
My goal for you all, my purpose in being here today, is to inspire you to think for yourselves. Do not be swayed by groupthink no matter what your friends, your family or the culture believe. Do not be afraid to ask yourself questions that may make you uncomfortable. And do not be afraid of the answers…
Imagine the possibilities if students at Williams College and elsewhere were exposed to a completely different worldview. Something positive. Something uplifting. Something, dare I say it, empowering?
We can hope that there’s another side to the story of the cancellation of Venker’s scheduled speech, but at a time when the toxic atmosphere for intellectual disagreement on college campuses has drawn widespread attention — with even President Obama weighing in to encourage universities to host more ideological diversity — this disinvitation is not reflecting well on Williams.
A correspondent, who used to read EphBlog back in the day, mentioned the era when “EphBlog was still an ongoing concern.” Was? EphBlog is thriving today! I will let my co-authors brag about their own work while I highlight my:
Whoops! I still have three updates to do for this one. Back to work . . .
EphBlog is looking to bring on more bloggers. Are you a member of the Williams community (student, staff, faculty, parent, local resident, alumni, et cetera)? Do you have something to say about “All Things Eph?” If so, join us.
At our peak several years ago, we have 10+ regular authors, scores of commentators, and a thousand or so readers a day. Alas, our sabbatical cost us much of that community, but we are in the process of building it back. Here are some examples of successful bloggers from the past:
1) Tiny Dancer, who wrote a diary of her year as a JA in 2009 — 2010. Perhaps a JA for the class of 2019 would like to do the same?
2) Wrestling Fan, a parent of an Eph wrestler who covered the team for several years. If you are a parent who wants to cover some aspect of student activity (whether it be a team, a dance company, an a capella group, or anything else), you are welcome at EphBlog.
3) Derek Catsam ’93 used EphBlog as a host for his Red Sox diary. Example post here, and do read the comments! Note that, because EphBlog is good Karma, Derek started this diary in the spring of 2004. And look what happened that fall! Derek then turned those posts into a charming book.
And on, and on. Of course, in a better world, the College itself would provide a forum for these posts, would create a place where Ephs of all ages could write and reflect, discuss and debate. Until that day, however, EphBlog is all we have.
Join us and make it better! (daviddudleyfield at gmail).
Enjoy the Holidays and please visit us during Winter Study!
Re posting of places to swim and more! Summer in Williamstown is the best. While it may be dead in here… it is not dead at the star stacked local bars and hang outs.
The good news: thanks to the departure of a few problematic voices, a (hopefully permanent) end to ridiculous infighting and name-calling among regulars, and a (likely temporary, but still) cessation of some of the more inflammatory / accusatory / speculative posts, Ephblog has ceased to be an embarrassment to Williams. The bad news: before that happened, virtually every consistent contributor got scared away (and of course, David K. continues his indefinite partial hiatus, which dramatically reduces both the content, and the conflict, on the blog). The result: very few posts scheduled for the rest of July and August. Granted, there isn’t a lot of Williams news during that time period in all events, but now is a great time for some of our long-lost contributors to give it another shot and schedule a few posts for the summertime … there certainly won’t be much competition for any posts, and maybe, just maybe, Ephblog can build some good-will!
This goes out to the Ephs who had to deal with the nasty climate of corruption and murder that gripped the townie culture in Boston during the 80s.
A member of the crew about my age (early 20s at the time) named Butchie Doe tried to pick a fight with me in a Somerville bar during the summer of 1987, but I rejected his taunts to step outside as his friends dragged him away at the bartenders request. I am glad I did not take the bait, because there is a solid chance I would have been murdered.
Boston was a great city to go to school and work in in the 80s, but this nasty bit of corruption that inflicted itself on the local population is a terrible stain on many local officials as well as on the FBI’s reputation. I hope that anyone involved is discovered and put away forever.
I never did head back to that bar again for another round of beers. Corrupt elements of the polity and law enforcement in the city enabled thugs to rule entire neighborhoods- and those places were to be avoided. I hope that has changed in the last 30 years.
Updated video here.
If the FBI had done it’s job my dad would still be alive.
Archive of comments on Speak Up. (Whoops! Having some technical difficulties making this happen.)
Cross-posted at my blog. I don’t usually post here, but some things deserve an in-depth rebuttal. Admin should feel free to keep/remove my “more” tag. Before I get down to business, though, I am very curious about what specific causes, biological or otherwise, that cause fewer females to nominate themselves than males for class officer roles.
Let’s compare the WSO post and David’s post. The WSO post states that seeing one candidate for speaker made her curious, and so she found that there have been no class speakers since 2003. She also found that only 3 out of 24 speakers are female, and that only 1 of the elected speaking roles is female. This causes her to be uneasy. So we have a series of facts, and a single statement of one emotion.
David’s response is that “uneasiness” is a flat-out wrong thing to feel, and that a smarter, more educated person would immediately understand that biological differences between men and women are the cause of the gap. Why? Because “men and women are biologically different.”
What David misses entirely is that the WSO poster never said the differences weren’t biological; indeed, she didn’t say anything about biology, or even anything opinion-related whatsoever. David takes this as a permission slip to imply that she is “deeply uneducated,” and as a bonus, “probably” blames Williams College for this deficiency. David further takes this as an opportunity to reference Larry Summers.
The problem, of course, is that even if there are still biological differences between women and men that affect the selection process for speaking roles, it’s still perfectly appropriate to feel uneasy about the gap. Thus David’s entire post is falsely premised on an imagined deficiency in the WSO poster – assuming ignorance where ignorance may or may not have existed.
Yes, Dave Kane’s baby is looking at two landmarks: Reaching 2 million site visits and 5 million page views!
Now, Amazon or the NYT or Hot Babes of New Brunswick, NJ may do those stats every day, but considering the small gene pool we have to start with, not bad!
So here’s the deal: Send in your prediction of the days when these landmarks will occur. If your day is right, you will be eligible for the same fantastic prizes that have been awarded to winners of the EphBlog Oscars.
Lets start with 5 million page views
Send in your prediction of the day on which 5 million page views will occur! In the all-too-likely event of ties, the earliest entries will be considered smarter.
PRIZES … PRIZES … PRIZES GALORE (that’s French for a couple) … PRIZES
( Members of the EphBlog Family of viewers with the technical knowledge and keys to the back room are not eligible: You Know Who You Are!)
Archive of Comments from Speak Up. We are having some technical difficulties. Apologies for any lost comments.
Congratulations to Joe Shoer ’06 on successfully defending his dissertation. I like this:
The funniest thing about this to me is that I know that the research I’ve been working on isn’t done. There are more investigations to pursue, more refinements to write into the code, more variations to try in simulation, and more experimental verification to perform. Research never stops. But at some point, we grad students have to decide, with our advisers, when we have made a sufficient contribution and should wrap up our work into a complete dissertation. Still, it doesn’t quite feel like I’m “done,” because I know that the research has much further to go!
When this post on Biggest Loser was run on Williams’ Tee Wilson and his audition tape for the popular reality series, it produced an unexpected response!
That recorder of the minutia of college performance ‘hwc’ had been dealing with his not-so-minutia frame for the past year or so.
The second comment under the post was from him.”I’m willing to bet that I am the biggest Eph loser for the last 12 months”, he wrote. And went on …
On February 11, 2010 I weighed 250 pounds. Those were the size 44 jeans I was wearing one year ago. I saved them, as a souvenir of my journey. That was the day I started to eat less and move more. The first official “workout” I logged after dabbling for 10 days was February 22, 2010. I’ve stuck to a consistent 1750 to 2000 calorie a day diet and exercised five to six days a week, except for one week last summer when I had the flu and took four days off. There were some weeks I worked out 7 days, but I’ve learned that I have to force myself to take a rest day.
I’ve lost 74 pounds, I’m doing workouts that I simply can’t believe would ever be possible (TRX pushups, rear-foot elevated split squats, burpees, etc.) and I’m in between 34 inch and 36 inch jeans.
I’m not really losing much weight these days, but the heavier weight-lifting in my current workout program is shifting some stuff around building some muscle and moving some stuff around. An update. The scale this morning says that I’ve lost the five pounds I’ve been trying to lose since Christmas. That makes the fifteenth time I’ve lost “just five pounds”, bringing the grand total to 75 pounds since I started.
Well, small wonder hwc has that big smile on his face! Look at that chart! Congratulations!
Here are the ‘comments from Read more
When I took the job of Managing Editor, I knew I would be working for some results-oriented ownership. When ‘comments’ hits the cellar around where the Washington Senators used to end up in the old days, and bat days aren’t working because Devastin’ Dave isn’t in the lineup enough, its a tough situation. Yeah, I’ve tried all the old tricks: having Jeff work on his spitter, asking Whitney to play more to right, and cajoling Eric to cheat more at third with a runner on. But its’ not working.
So I have to go out into the unsigned free agent arena and come up with three new starters. I’m trying them out today. Let’s see what you Read more
I was going to title this post “Why My Critics are Clueless, As Usual,” but I am aiming for higher standards in 2011. Recall our lengthy dispute about the Academic Rating system at Williams. Sam, Derek and Rory demonstrated, to varying degrees, a sad inability to understand both Williams’ own policies and the broader ethos of academia. Only go below if you want the details.
First, we disputed my use of Peter Nurnberg’s senior thesis. I claimed that my usage was appropriate. My critics claimed that it was against Williams policies. (Some of them were also confused on related topics.) As most readers with a clue would have known — concepts like fair use are not that complex — I was correct. See the update at the bottom of the post.
This post has been slightly edited after conversations with Sylvia Brown, Williams Archivist. As a result, the comment thread below will not make much sense. Sorry! In its current form, the post is consistent with Williams policies with regard to the use of senior theses.
Now, it would be one thing if my conversations will Sylvia had forced me to make changes in the original post, but not a single fact from Nurnberg’s thesis has been removed. Every detail — about the exact scores needed for the different academic ratings, about the precise (and formerly secret) procedures used by the admissions office — is still in the current version, officially approved by the relevant authority at Williams. (I did clean up some aspects of the post to remove some confusions, as evidenced in the comment thread, about some side issues.)
So, anyone who asserted that my use of Nurnberg’s thesis was against Williams policy is wrong. Just ask Sylvia Brown!
Second, was my usage consistent with the broader ethos/standards of academia? This is, of course, different from my adherence to Williams’ policies. Perhaps Williams is an outlier. The claim, by various critics, that my actions were outside the bounds of normal academic standards was even more annoying (to me) than disputes about Williams policies. After all, there was a (very small) chance that I was wrong about Williams, but I know approximately as much about current academic norms as most readers.
But you don’t need to believe just me! Let’s consult some other academics.
I don’t know anything about Williams policy but I have little sympathy for someone trying to restrict the discussion of a thesis on a blog! A thesis is public material and it would seem best for all concerned for any research to be accessible and discussed. I mean, sure, it wouldn’t be right to scan and post entire chapters without permission, but it doesn’t sound like you’re planning on doing that. The bit about “you may not copy or distribute any content without the permission . . .”–that just sounds ridiculous.
Also, I’m not sure how relevant it is whether the blog is commercial or academic. There’s some sort of continuous range, right? On one extreme is this blog right here. It’s non-commercial (we’ve in fact turned down requests to advertise) and it’s academic–actually hosted on a Columbia University computer. But what if we were not academic (if, for example, I worked at a company and hosted it on a server at home) or commercial (as with the many blogs that run a few ads). Or what if it were commercial and non-academic? For example, what if Slate magazine or the New York Times wanted to report some content from this undergraduate thesis? They wouldn’t need permission, right? At least, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to go to the library, read the thesis, and report what they find. (I’m not speaking of legalities here, just what seems reasonable to me.)
Perhaps undergraduate theses ought not to be quoted, since the author may not want their immature thoughts to be widely known. But in this case, such quotes are explicitly allowed in academic publications. Is it really less embarrassing for your silly undergrad thoughts to be quoted in Science or Nature rather than in a blog post?
Either a thesis is out there, forming a part of the intellectual atmosphere, or it isn’t. There is no half-way status.
Read the whole discussion for details. The point here is not that all academics agree with me. They don’t! The point is that some academics agree with me and some disagree with me.
The most subtle argument against my use was raised, perhaps unsurprisingly, by Will Slack ’11. He argues that I lack the “moral standing to re-publish” information from Peter’s thesis. Before I grapple with this position, perhaps Will (and others) can flesh it out a bit. For example, does everyone lack this moral standing, or just me? Consider a Williams student writing a Record article about admissions policy at Williams. Does she have the “moral standing” to read Peter’s thesis and use some of the facts in her article? Does it matter if her article is a news story or an op-ed? What if, instead of writing this article for the Record, she wrote it on WSO, or even on EphBlog?
Unless Will (or others) can come up with some plausible grounds for distinguishing among these cases, I would recommend a different rule: Unless library policies specifically prohibit it, anyone writing anywhere may (accurately!) report the contents of anything in the Williams library.
Do readers disagree?
There is now a sizable (and growing) group of humorous posts tagged under “humor.” Since the tag is fairly new, I’ve gone back and retroactively applied it to some of the past posts that qualify. I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few, so if you’ve posted something funny, please apply the tag! Even in the tag’s current nascent state, you can spend hours procrastinating watching Ephs on the Daily Show and Colbert, “Julianna McKannis” Onion videos, and writing from humorous (or in the case of yours truly, attempting-to-be-humorous) Ephs. Of course, Ephblog is far from a comprehensive source — for example, we’ve missed quite a few Daily Show appearances by Eph Michael Beschloss.
As a special bonus, here is one from the humor archive never before posted on Ephblog, a Daily Show panel discussion featuring Eph Edward Larson ’74 who, incredibly, still believes in some crazy thing called “evolution.” [And by the way, Jon Stewart has a point about the scrotum.]:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Evolution, Schmevolution – Panel: Edward J. Larson, William A. Dembski, Ellie Crystal|
A quick but heartfelt “thank you” to Derek for all of the time and effort he put in as President. Under his watch, and with the excellent addition of Dick Swart as managing editor, I believe the content on EphBlog has never been better. As a member of the EphBlog community, I certainly appreciate the results of his efforts.
I’ll re-iterate my view of what EphBlog should be, a web site where the Eph community can discuss issues of mutual interest which relate to Williams College and Williamstown. While there are certainly many serious disagreements on many of the issues, we should be able to disagree without malice or rancor. Please keep this in mind as you blog here.
Going forward, I hope we can engage more regularly with those readers and potential readers who are currently on campus (current students, faculty, administration, and staff). The posts from Prof. Oakley were terrific, and I hope we can have more of that kind of contribution.
Please feel free to contact me via the blog or e-mail (whitney22201 (at) yahoo.com) if you have questions or concerns or – most importantly – suggestions about EphBlog. We can’t promise to implement everything, but we will listen and do what we can to make EphBlog an even better place.
I am pleased to announce that Whitney Wilson (’90) will be serving as the new president of the board of Ephblog. You all know Whitney as a voice of reason and sanity in our spirited cacophony and I want to thank him publicly for taking on the responsibility.
The composition of the board will otherwise remain the same, as our recruiting efforts went for naught, though several folks indicated a possible interest in joining us down the road (which we will welcome with open arms).
I have been honored to serve in this capacity and hope that in the last six months or so we have continued to provide the best forum for “All Things Eph” and the best blog of its kind on the web. Whatever divides us — and self evidently a lot seems to divide us — we are at least all united in our love of Williams.
We still believe in a board that can, in the simplest words:
Check out Tim Layden ’78’s column on the zone blitz, which is sure to be heavily featured in this evening’s game, as well as his prior column on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. Layden’s football book is available on Amazon. I am sorry, by the way, that I missed her co-host explaining to Mika B. the meaning of some Steelers’ pre-game tradition of “making it rain.”
Feel free to utilize this post as an open thread for Super Bowl predictions, reactions, commentary, ranking of commercials (this one will be tough to top, so good), half time show critiques, or general refuge from overconsumption of beer, nachos, and announcer hypberbole. And Go Pack!
From the announcement:
“The theme for the day is ‘Our stories, our community, our responsibilities.’ The program, organized by a steering committee of students, staff, and faculty, will feature dialogue rather than just lecture, with discussions exploring a spectrum of topics from ideological diversity to nontraditional students.”
Claiming Williams has a very interestingly worded Mission Statement:
Claiming Williams invites the community to acknowledge and understand the uncomfortable reality that not all students, staff, and faculty can equally “claim” Williams. By challenging the effects of the College’s history of inequality that are based on privileges of class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion, we will provoke individual, institutional, and cultural change.”
Writers of Mission Statements, may find the statement self-fulfilling because Read more
The Ephblog Board is looking for new members. When we re-configured in the fall we agreed that the new board would serve until February 1, at which point we would put out a call for interested Ephbloggers to join us as some of us cycle off.
Please contact me at derekcatsam *at* hotmail dot com if you are interested in serving. Ask not what Ephblog can do for you, ask what you can do to grasp power and the money and fame that will inevitably follow.
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