A local TV reporter...
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 95 13:01:13 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: A local TV reporter...
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
[Names deleted to protect all, guilty and innocent alike. ;-}]
A local TV reporter came to [our site] today to do a story on our work
with computers. Ordinarily, I'd say that was a good thing; Samuel Goldwyn
once said that "There is no bad publicity." However, it wasn't so good
as one might like, because of what she wanted to talk about. There are
several interesting topics one could do, but she wasn't interested.
Even if the process of education isn't interesting, and even if she
isn't interested in how we're using [our rather large amount of grant
money] there are other interesting topics she might have asked about.
She might have asked about the research being done here on expert systems,
but she didn't. Or maybe about reliability issues, and the safety of
computer-controlled equipment, in light of the Pentium error. She might
have asked about allowing games on machines paid for with tax money, and
the issues involved in such decisions. What about people breaking into
computer systems? Nope, she didn't ask about that.
There are some ways that new technology doesn't fit into established legal
categories. Anonymous posting allows people to send Playboy centerfolds
to alt.binaries.pictures.erotica -- violating copyrights without being
caught. Students, possibly under 18, have access to material which might
be considered obscene; there are some interesting questions there.
She might have just wanted an overview of the equipment we have and how
it is used and how it works. But no, that's not what she wanted either.
So, what *did* she want? The nice reporter and her cameraman were here
in our computer room trying to find out about Internet resources with
information on OJ Simpson. Now, so far as I know, nobody on campus was
interested in OJ at all. But when she was on TV, she made it appear as if
everybody was glued to all the OJ newsgroups. Her closing line was "OJ
news is in the fast lane on the Information Superhighway", or some such
rot. To her credit, the woman appeared a bit disgusted about the story
herself, but she isn't the boss.
Sigh. Nothing anybody can do about it, of course, but it feels good to rant.
© 1995 Peter Langston