Monday, April 16, 2018

China's Weibo reverses ban on 'homosexual' content after outcry; The Guardian, April 15, 2018

Lily Kuo, The Guardian; China's Weibo reverses ban on 'homosexual' content after outcry

"One of China’s largest social media sites, Sina Weibo, has reversed a ban on online content “related to homosexuality” after outcry from the country’s internet users.

On Friday, Sina Weibo said that for the next three months it would be removing comics and videos “with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality”. The internet company said the initiative was in an effort to “create a sunny and harmonious community environment” and comply with the country’s cybersecurity laws...

Many quoted China’s constitution and laws about the protection of minorities. One internet user referred to article 38 of China’s constitution which maintains that the “personal dignity” of Chinese citizens is “inviolable” and that insult directed against citizens is prohibited.

Others pointed out homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997 and in 2001 removed from the government’s list of mental disorders."

Longing for the freedom not to hide myself; The Washington Post, April 15, 2018

Ria Tabacco Mar, The Washington Post; Longing for the freedom not to hide myself

"Ria Tabacco Mar is counsel of record for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Charlie Craig, one of the men that Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery, turned away because they are gay, said something about shopping for a wedding cake that stuck with me: “That day,” he said, “I really let my guard down.”

I knew exactly what Craig meant. Not just because he’s my client but because I keep my guard up most days, too — just like nearly every LGBT person I know."

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Watch: The Best Parts of the X-Men; Parade, April 5, 2018

Parade; Watch: The Best Parts of the X-Men 

"Co-created by Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1963, the X-Men are a group of mutants born with superhuman powers ranging from telepathy, flight and superhuman strength and agility, to the ability to absorb physical characteristics of others. Young X-Men hone their skills with the guidance of Professor Charles Xavier (aka Professor X). Unfortunately, they’re persecuted for being different, even though they fight interstellar battles against evil on the regular. Still, what kid wouldn’t want to attend Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters?

Among the first X-Men were Cyclops, Beast, Ice Man, Angel, Marvel Girl and Magneto. Other legendary heroes include Storm, Wolverine and Rogue. With so many heroes—and villains—in the X-Men universe, each going through their own internal struggle, nearly everyone can find a character to relate to."

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright; Landslide, A Publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, March/April 2018

[Kip Currier: The new issue of Landslide magazine, a digital and print publication of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), has a fascinating interview of 6 female copyright experts. Ralph Oman, a former U.S. Register of Copyrights (1985-1993) and a copyright law professor at George Washington University Law School, poses intriguing copyright-related questions, of interest to copyright wonks and would-be copyright practitionersfrom the future of copyright in the digital age, to copyright cases that were decided “right” and those decided “wrong”, to “the number one legislative copyright priority in this Congress?”, and more.

Unfortunately, the full article is only available for members of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. In my view, this article could and should have been made freely accessible future  to reach a much wider audience and showcase these outstanding and inspiring role models and leaders in copyright law, representing a wide range of sectors and copyright areas. [C'mon ABA, I get that you want to have a paywall for the IP Section of ABA, but how about providing some limited access or a few articles from an issue. The article's called "Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright", so why not further that aim by making the article accessible to more people and attracting more women to IP careers?!]

The six copyright luminaries are, in alphabetical order, June Besek; Dale Cendali; Mary Rasenberger; Kate Spelman; Francine Ward; Nancy Wolff. ]


Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright
Meet the copyright stars! Get to know some of the outstanding attorneys who practice copyright law."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sources: Zinke tells employees diversity isn't important; CNN, March 26, 2018

Sara Ganim, CNN; Sources: Zinke tells employees diversity isn't important

"Several employees at the Interior Department have told CNN that Secretary Ryan Zinke repeatedly says that he won't focus on diversity, an apparent talking point that has upset many people within the agency.

Three high-ranking Interior officials from three different divisions said that Zinke has made several comments with a similar theme, saying "diversity isn't important," or "I don't care about diversity," or "I don't really think that's important anymore."

Each time, Zinke followed with something along the lines of, "what's important is having the right person for the right job," or "I care about excellence, and I'm going to get the best people, and you'll find we have the most diverse group anyone's ever had," the sources said."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Computer science faces an ethics crisis. The Cambridge Analytica scandal proves it.; Boston Globe, March 22, 2018

Yonatan Zunger, Boston Globe; 

Computer science faces an ethics crisis. The Cambridge Analytica scandal proves it.

"Software engineers continue to treat safety and ethics as specialities, rather than the foundations of all design; young engineers believe they just need to learn to code, change the world, disrupt something. Business leaders focus on getting a product out fast, confident that they will not be held to account if that product fails catastrophically. Simultaneously imagining their products as changing the world and not being important enough to require safety precautions, they behave like kids in a shop full of loaded AK-47’s...

Underpinning all of these need to be systems for deciding on what computer science ethics should be, and how they should be enforced. These will need to be built by a consensus among the stakeholders in the field, from industry, to academia, to capital, and most importantly, among the engineers and the public, who are ultimately most affected. It must be done with particular attention to diversity of representation. In computer science, more than any other field, system failures tend to affect people in different social contexts (race, gender, class, geography, disability) differently. Familiarity with the details of real life in these different contexts is required to prevent disaster...

What stands between these is attention to the core questions of engineering: to what uses might a system be put? How might it fail? And how will it behave when it does? Computer science must step up to the bar set by its sister fields, before its own bridge collapse — or worse, its own Hiroshima."

Pitt makes disciplinary moves after department implicated in sex-harassment investigation; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 22, 2018

Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Pitt makes disciplinary moves after department implicated in sex-harassment investigation

"The University of Pittsburgh has disciplined an unspecified number of people associated with its Department of Communication after an investigation found violations of university policy and federal law against gender discrimination. 
The investigation, triggered by past and recent allegations of sexual harassment and sexual relationships between staff and students, “found a consistent pattern in which women were not as valued and respected as their male colleagues,” said a statement by Kathleen M. Blee, the dean of Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences.
“This resulted in an environment in which the inappropriate acts of the few were tolerated by the silence of others,” she acknowledged.
“The investigations revealed failures of systems and failures of character,” her statement added."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Can Higher Education Make Silicon Valley More Ethical?; Chronicle of Higher Education, March 14, 2018

Nell Gluckman, Chronicle of Higher Education; Can Higher Education Make Silicon Valley More Ethical?

"Jim Malazita, an assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, hopes to infuse ethics lessons into core computer-science courses."...

"Q. You mentioned you’ve been getting some pushback.

A. I’ve had to do a lot of social work with computer-science faculty. The faculty were like, This sounds cool, but will they still be able to move on in computer science? We’re using different, messier data sets. Will they still understand the formal aspects of computing?

Q. What do you tell faculty members to convince them that this is a good use of your students’ time?

A. I use a couple of strategies that sometimes work, sometimes don’t. It’s surprisingly important to talk about my own technical expertise. I only moved into social science and humanities as a Ph.D. student. As an undergraduate, my degree was in digital media design. So you can trust me with this content.

It’s helpful to also cast it in terms of helping women and underrepresented-minority retention in computer science. These questions have an impact on all students, but especially women and underrepresented minorities who are used to having their voices marginalized. The faculty want those numbers up."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IBM settles legal dispute with diversity officer hired by Microsoft; IBM, March 5, 2018

Jan Wolfe, Reuters; IBM settles legal dispute with diversity officer hired by Microsoft

"International Business Machines Corp on Monday said it settled a trade secrets lawsuit it brought against its former chief diversity officer who left for a similar job at Microsoft Corp.

The settlement allows Lindsay-Rae McIntyre to begin working at Microsoft in July."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here’s how Canada can be a global leader in ethical AI; The Conversation, February 22, 2018

The Conversation;    Here’s how Canada can be a global leader in ethical AI

"Putting Canada in the lead

Canada has a clear choice. Either it embraces the potential of being a leader in responsible AI, or it risks legitimating a race to the bottom where ethics, equity and justice are absent.
Better guidance for researchers on how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsrelates to AI research and development is a good first step. From there, Canada can create a just, equitable and stable foundation for a research agenda that situates the new technology within longstanding social institutions.
Canada also needs a more coordinated, inclusive national effort that prioritizes otherwise marginalized voices. These consultations will be key to positioning Canada as a beacon in this field.
Without these measures, Canada could lag behind. Europe is already drafting important new approaches to data protection. New York City launched a task force this fall to become a global leader on governing automated decision making. We hope this leads to active consultation with city agencies, academics across the sciences and the humanities as well as community groups, from Data for Black Lives to Picture the Homeless, and consideration of algorithmic impact assessments.
These initiatives should provide a helpful context as Canada develops its own governance strategy and works out how to include Indigenous knowledge within that.
If Canada develops a strong national strategy approach to AI governance that works across sectors and disciplines, it can lead at the global level.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ruth Simmons on Cultivating the Next Generation of College Students; New York Times, February 28, 2018

Marguerite Joutz, New York TimesRuth Simmons on Cultivating the Next Generation of College Students

"In 2012, after a distinguished career in higher education, which included serving as the president of Smith College and Brown University — where she was the first black woman to lead an Ivy League institution — Ruth J. Simmons retired and moved back to her home state, Texas.

She didn’t think she’d ever work at a university again. But after several years, Prairie View A&M University, a historically black school with about 9,000 students, came calling...

M.J.: You’ve led several institutions that are all very different from each other, and the topic of leadership is something you’ve talked a lot about. In another interview with The Times you said that it’s much easier to lead people “if you convey the underlying principles.” Can you elaborate?

R.S.: One thing that I’ve learned is that the perceptions of what it takes to be a leader are often based on prototypical models that don’t have much truth in reality. People look at the institutions that I have led and they see dissimilarities. I see similarities. When people think in terms of leadership, they’re often thinking about the kind of specific skills needed for different types of enterprises. I think of leadership as more of a disposition — the ability to step into a situation to learn about the history of the enterprise, the opportunities that it faces, the culture that exists and the people who are served by it. To look at all of that, to listen to stakeholders and then to think about how that enterprise or institution should best be served. There is no one model of leadership if you approach it that way. What I have tried to do wherever I go is to start where the institution is rather than try to import particularly rigid constructs from other places. In that sense, I think a leader is more than anything else a facilitator. A person who is able to come in to show a community a picture of what it is, to provide some insight into what it could be — how it could be different or improved perhaps — and then enlist the help of people who are there and others who support that institution in order to move forward together.

I don’t subscribe to the model of hero leadership, which is identifying somebody who can come in and have magical powers and then wield the wand and fix things that have not been fixable before. I don’t see that. I think leadership is a community affair."

Why I'm Writing Captain America And why it scares the hell out of me; The Atlantic, February 2018

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic; Why I'm Writing Captain America

"Finally, but most importantly, I have to thank the black comic creators I admired as a youth, often without even knowing they were black—Christopher PriestDenys CowanDwayne McDuffie, specifically—without whom none of this would be possible. There has long been a complaint among black comic creators that they are restricted to black characters. I don’t know what it means to live in a world where people restrict what you write, and the reason I don’t know is largely because of the sacrifices of all those who were forced to know before me. I have not forgotten this.
Captain America #1 drops on the Fourth of July. Excelsior, family."

Conservative Groups Want ‘Harmful’ LGBT Books Segregated at Iowa Library; Daily Beast, February 24, 2018

Tatyana Bellamy-Walker, Daily Beast; Conservative Groups Want ‘Harmful’ LGBT Books Segregated at Iowa Library

"Conservative groups in Iowa are demanding a library in Orange City shelve LGBTQ materials, including books and DVDs, separately to everything else, claiming they could "harm" children.

The groups equate the reading of such books to drug use and eating Tide pods."

The Iceman Cometh Out; New York Times. February 19, 2018

Stephanie Burt, New York Times; The Iceman Cometh Out

"Superhero comics address, and empower, straight white nerdy boys. That’s been true of most comics, for most of their history. But is it the genre’s central truth? For some of us, it never was. As Ramzi Fawaz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has pointed out, superhero comics are the only popular genre in which anomalous bodies are not just tolerated but celebrated: The same thing that makes you look weird means you can save the world. Moreover, comics — because they involve stories of human (and superhuman) conflict and change; because they show hand-drawn pictures, with stylized faces; because they often appeal to us first in childhood — invite identification: We read them in search of ourselves, or our future selves.

These facts about comics explain — in part — why the X-Men became the most successful superhero franchise of the 1980s. Mutation, the source of X-powers, could stand, well or badly, for stigmatized real-world identities, as well as for the outsider status most kids, at some point, feel. The best X-books integrated real-world diversity too. Under Chris Claremont (who wrote many of them from 1975 to 1991) the core cast included a few women of color, one of them a virtual god, along with very strong hints of queer sexuality. More than almost any other gaudy bang-pow-pop cultural property, X-books offered — then and since — an imaginative space where L.G.B.T. readers could feel at home."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

'Access+Ability' exhibit showcases designs for, and by, those with disabilities; CNN, February 21, 2018

Erin Gabriel, CNN; 'Access+Ability' exhibit showcases designs for, and by, those with disabilities

"Eye-catching objects designed for, and by, people with physical and other disabilities are the focus of the current "Access+Ability" exhibition in New York.

More than 70 exhibits, including colorful prosthetic leg covers and jeweled earrings that are also hearing aids, are featured as examples of "inclusive design" at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

"There has been a surge of design with and by people with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities," according to the museum's website.

The new exhibit -- like the museum itself -- aims to reflect that trend. "This year Cooper Hewitt embarked on a very ambitious initiative about accessibility, about making our campus, our program, who we are, much more accessible and it seemed like the perfect moment to do the exhibition 'Access + Ability,' " said Cara McCarty, the museum's curatorial director."

Read Ryan Coogler’s Heartfelt Thank You to Black Panther Fans; Comic Book Resources, February 21, 2018

Geoff Miller, Comic Book Resources; Read Ryan Coogler’s Heartfelt Thank You to Black Panther Fans

"Black Panther took the world by storm on its way to a historic opening weekend, and director Ryan Coogler has now shared his heartfelt thoughts on the film’s resounding success.

“I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try,” the filmmaker wrote in a letter posted on Twitter by Marvel Studios. “Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters often moved me and my wife to tears.”"

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Why Wakanda matters; Washington Post, February 20, 2018

Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post; Why Wakanda matters

"“Identity is not dead, as the incredibly identitarian Trump administration has made quite clear,” wrote my colleague Christine Emba, hailing the film as a “black triumph.” “Because of, and in spite of, an increasingly divided racial climate, the representation of people of color in broader spaces matters.”

"We’re in a political moment where the president of the United States calls people from Haiti and Africa, he calls those countries ‘s---holes,’ ” Narcisse told The Post. “If you’re a young person hearing that … you need to see a superhero that’s smart, cunning and noble who also looks like you. Granted, it’s fiction, but superheroes have always had an aspirational aspect to them.”

In the end, “Black Panther” delivers a pointed message of inclusion, a call to build “bridges” — not “walls” — to move beyond a past of violence and injustice."

Creating Chaos Symposium on the Future of Libraries speakers share how they innovate in education; American Libraries, February 11, 2018

Terra Dankowski, American Libraries; Creating Chaos

Symposium on the Future of Libraries speakers share how they innovate in education

"[Peter] Piccolo [executive director of innovation at the Imaginarium: Denver Public Schools Innovation Lab] kicked off “Libraries Transform: Education Innovation” at the American Library Association’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Denver on Saturday by sharing his organization’s framework for creating change: design thinking and research, two concepts familiar to library professionals. The session was part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries series, and Piccolo was joined by copresenter Nina Sharma, managing director of the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE.

“As human beings, we’re not biologically wired to change,” Piccolo said. “You have to manage change intentionally.” He offered 10 key takeaways to spur innovation and inspire attendees, including creating psychological safety for employees so they’re inclined to take risks; eliminating structural barriers so people have incentive to innovate; inviting “diversity of perspective and creative chaos” instead of waiting for eureka moments; and being an ambidextrous leader who does not confuse innovation with implementation.

Piccolo also stressed that innovation means having a bias toward action—even if that means failure. “Failure has been romanticized,” he said. “There’s bad failure and good failure, and when there’s good failure you have to know how to improve.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

AI ‘gaydar’ could compromise LGBTQ people’s privacy — and safety; Washington Post, February 19, 2018

JD Schramm, Washington Post; AI ‘gaydar’ could compromise LGBTQ people’s privacy — and safety

"The advances in AI and machine learning make it increasingly difficult to hide such intimate traits as sexual orientation, political and religious affiliations, and even intelligence level. The post-privacy future Kosinski examines in his research is upon us. Never has the work of eliminating discrimination been so urgent."

Friday, February 16, 2018

Congress is worried about AI bias and diversity; Quartz, February 15, 2018

Dave Gershgorn, Quartz; Congress is worried about AI bias and diversity

"Recent research from the MIT Media Lab maintains that facial recognition is still significantly worse for people of color, however.
“This is not a small thing,” Isbell said of his experience. “It can be quite subtle, and you can go years and years and decades without even understanding you are injecting these kinds of biases, just in the questions that you’re asking, the data you’re given, and the problems you’re trying to solve.”
In his opening statement, Isbell talked about biased data in artificial intelligence systems today, including predictive policing and biased algorithms used in predicting recidivism rates.
“It does not take much imagination to see how being from a heavily policed area raises the chances of being arrested again, being convicted again, and in aggregate leads to even more policing of the same areas, creating a feedback loop,” he said. “One can imagine similar issues with determining it for a job, or credit-worthiness, or even face recognition and automated driving.”"

Thursday, February 15, 2018

IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level; Bloomberg, February 12, 2018

Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg; IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level

"While the lawsuit highlights the contention that can ensue when a senior employee bolts for a rival, it also shines a light on the increasing role that diversity measures play in corporate America. Technology and financial companies have reserved those fights in the past to employees who possessed key technical or strategic knowledge, not those entrusted to make decisions on hiring and the makeup of the workforce."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How To Make The Library More Inclusive; Sage Publishing via Library Journal, February 12, 2018

Karen Phillips,Sage Publishing via Library Journal; How To Make The Library More Inclusive

"In a new series that celebrates innovators in libraries across the U.S., I have the privilege of diving deeper into the work of a segment of the 2017 Movers & Shakers announced by Library Journal. This week, I had the opportunity to catch up with Cynthia Mari Orozco, a Librarian for Equitable Services at East Los Angeles College Library. Dedicated to making the library inviting for librarians and students of all backgrounds, Cynthia works to raise awareness of micro-aggressions in librarianship and library anxiety among students. Read her interview below to learn more about her efforts to make the library a space of refuge and community..."

In what ways can librarians help to reduce students’ library anxiety and make the library a welcoming place for the student?
Being kind, personable, and compassionate can go a long way. Before working in libraries, I spent years working in restaurants, and I think libraries can learn a lot about customer service and making patrons feel welcomed and appreciated. There are many small acts that go a long way. For example the 10/5 rule: whenever within 10 feet of a patron, make eye contact and smile; within five feet of a patron, eye contact, smile, and some sort of friendly greeting or gesture.
Librarians also need to understand their users, free from preconceived assumptions. Related to my first response, I was sheepishly telling some librarian colleagues that I didn’t know what “stacks” meant until I was in library school. I was relieved and slightly horrified to know that they had similar experiences! At the very least, you shouldn’t need to go to library school to know how to navigate a library’s physical and online spaces.
In 2014, you founded the LIS Microaggressions blog (LISM), a safe, anonymous space for users to submit descriptions of microaggressions expressed toward individuals from marginalized communities that occur within the library and information science field. Can you give us some examples of the microaggressions taking place in libraries?"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

'Trump doesn't understand history': Native Americans tell their story in DC; Guardian, February 11, 2018

David Smith, Guardian; 'Trump doesn't understand history': Native Americans tell their story in DC

"“Indians are less than 1% of the population. Yet images and names of Indians are everywhere. How is it that Indians can be so present and so absent in American life?”

This is the question posed by Americans, a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, exploring how Native Americans have been central to America’s sense of itself even as they were systematically persecuted, marginalised and erased.

The myth-busting show contains an array of nearly 300 objects and images of Indians and Indian stereotypes. They include a Tomahawk flight-test missile, a 1948 Indian Chief motorcycle, a Washington Redskins football team baby blanket, photos of presidents and celebrities wearing feather headdresses, footage from westerns and scale models of Chinook, Kiowa and Apache Longbow helicopters."

Jeremy Vine criticised after calling ‘Black Panther’ cast “overwhelmingly black”; NME, February 10, 2018

Larry Bartleet, NME; Jeremy Vine criticised after calling ‘Black Panther’ cast “overwhelmingly black”

"When stars Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) and Danai Gurira (Okoye) appeared on The One Show to discuss the film yesterday (February 9), Jeremy Vine said: “Chadwick, it is a remarkable film, it’s very different the film that you’re both in, because you go in the cinema and it is overwhelmingly a black cast.”

In response to Vine’s remark Boseman paused and smiled, responding: “Yeah, I guess that is very striking,” before joining in with an outbreak of laugher from the audience and continuing: “It’s weird because I’m used to it now, having been on this film for over a year, with this family of people… because we carried part of that cast into Infinity War. So it’s sort of a normal thing. I don’t go to work every day going: ‘Wow I’m around all these black people.'” The moment can be seen at the 16:25 mark on iPlayer.

On Twitter, Vine’s wording was labelled “strange and uncomfortable”. The man himself was called a “typical middle-aged white male” by one user, while another remarked: “no one called Avengers: Age of Ultron ‘overwhelmingly white'”, adding that the moment was “a stark example of racism being solidly entrenched”."

Watch This Jamaican Bobsledder’s Tearful Plea For Diversity At Winter Olympics; HuffPost, February 10, 2018

Ron Dicker, HuffPost; Watch This Jamaican Bobsledder’s Tearful Plea For Diversity At Winter Olympics

"Diversity is as good as gold, according to a member of the Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian told a Winter Olympics press conference in Pyeonchang, South Korea, on Saturday how important it was for children to see reflections of themselves in sport. 

It’s critical that “little girls and little boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy, curly hair and wears a natural, has brown skin, included in different things in this world,” Fenlator-Victorian said, fighting tears. “When you grow up and you don’t see that, you feel that you can’t do it. And that is not right.”"