From the Occupy Movement to 3D Printing
and Ethics, Faculty Members Blog Their Views
by Mariam Zakhary '13
Dominic Tierney, associate professor of political science, is a regular contributor to The Atlantic. In his most recent piece, "Occupy Wall Street's Image Problem," he discusses the importance and power of symbols in the American culture. "Unless OWS understands the power of symbols, the American Autumn will be followed by a winter of discontent," he says. "And the protesters can start by hanging 100 flags at Zuccotti Park. One percent of the United States might not care about these symbols—but 99 percent do."
Professor of History Timothy Burke writes about culture, politics, and academia in his blog, Easily Distracted. In a recent post, he also writes about the Occupy movement and notes: "[T]he single least interesting, least useful criticism of Occupy in circulation is that it lacks a concrete set of demands, that it needs some kind of concrete policy platform that politicians could adopt.... This misses the point in every way possible." He also says that if a goal was to provoke reaction from its chief targets, then it is already a success. "I honestly expected municipal and other authorities to just patronize and wait it out," he says. "I think there may be real anxiety inside the crony-capitalist/Washington nexus about the possible spread of mass protest or public discontent."
Special effects, videogames, film, and television are the main focus of Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies Bob Rehak's blog, Graphic Engine. "I've been interested in 3D printing since 2007, when I came across Neil Gershenfeld's book Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop" he writes in his current post. "(Gershenfeld ['81, H'06] is the director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms and perhaps the key proselytizer of what the Times has labeled the Industrial Revolution 2.0.) For me, as a theorist and fan of popular culture and fantastic media franchises in particular, the profound shakeup promised by 3D printing is less about designing new kinds of widgets or copying existing ones than about the way that fantasy-media objects and the practices around them will be reshaped.... What will happen when I can snap several photos of a friend's Green Lantern maquette or Warhammer 40K mini, stitch them together on my iPhone (you can bet there'll be an app for that), send the resulting shape file to my 3D printer, and produce my own instance?"
A Psychologist Looks at the World is the blog of Barry Schwartz, Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action. In a recent post, he tackles the "the fuzzy line between legitimate information gathering and felonious 'insider trading.'" He offers this recommendation: "So, to cut through this complexity, I want to propose a single, simple ethical rule of thumb - one question people should ask themselves before embarking on a course of action. If people asked themselves this question, and took the answer to heart, we wouldn't need ethics courses, ethics texts, and ethics panels. The question is this: 'Would you tell your children?' If the answer to that question is yes, then go ahead and do it. If not, back away."