Category Archives: Information Technology

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!


New Media–The World is Watching

How many millions have “watched” the events unfolding in Egypt over the past few days?  Not on CNN or MSNBC, but on the new media of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube?  The overall impact of the new media on the world of information and communication is probably still beyond our comprehension.  The new media are just that—New.  Those of us old enough to remember connecting tin cans together with a string can attest to the newness of much of what we call information technology.  My children under the age of 14 may not get the newness of text messages and “sharing,” since these terms have been a part of their world since they began learning the language.  But to the rest of us, the impact and significance of the new media demands significant digestion.

During the 1940s, Hitler and the Third Reich were busy implementing the “final solution;” the systematic annihilation of European Jews. The world would only learn of the actual scope of the depravity in the years following the war—powerless. During the 1970s, the tyrant Pol Pot subjected Cambodia to what would later be known as the “killing fields;” subjecting millions to starvation, torture, and murder.  The world learned of the atrocities the old-fashioned way.  Word leaked out by way of survivors, relief workers, and some journalists.  But, even as we learned about what was reportedly happening, we could not all see it as governments and relief agencies were locked out of Cambodia—powerless.

During the 1980s and 1990s, events in Europe, the Balkans, and South Africa would lead people around the world to believe and feel like we were part of a world community.  As if we could learn about events in real time and somehow participate and intervene to make a difference—powerless?

In 2009 we watched what happened in Tehran via Twitter and Facebook. We are watching what is happening in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt.  We are watching.

–Dennis Falcon

The Social Experiment: Students Try No Facebook, No Texting For One Week

Facebook and texting are like food and water for modern-day teenagers. They think in status updates, check e-mail before brushing their teeth and fall asleep while texting. But can they live without social networking for a full week? This article reveals how some high school teenagers faced the challenge of going cold turkey on “a trip back to 1995: no Facebook, no texting, no e-mail, no Instant Messaging.” (12/10/10 ABCNews, Ki Mae Heussner and Neal Karlinsky) … Read Article

1. What event inspired the “Social Experiment”? What did Nicholi Wytovicz say about “paper-and-ink book” during the experiment?

2. What is the relationship between video production teacher Trent Mitchell and the teacher from the rival high school, Shorewood?

(Video)Droid Cell Phone Explodes in Man’s Ear

On “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” CNET technology contributor Katie Linendoll explained to James Brown what the most popular type of battery in most electronic devices is and how it can become volatile. (12/4/10 CBSNewsOnline)

1. What are the signs of defective electronic device that consumers should avoid, according to Katie Linendoll?

2. What are the safety tips for consumers provided in the video?

(Video)WikiLeaks’ Julian Asange Arrested

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was denied bail in the U.K. and vows to fight an extradition request from Swedish authorities, who want to question him in a sexual assault case. (12/7/10 CBSNewsOnline, Elizabeth Palmer)

1. If Asange’s court appearance has nothing to do with his WikiLeaks’ revelations, according to the reporter, what offense has he been arrested for?

2. What makes Asange a flight risk?

(Poll)Polisci Students’ Opinion on WikiLeaks’ Release of State Department’s Documents

In a recent poll we asked MPSL students their opinion on WikiLeaks’ release of State Department documents. The result: about 24% strongly agree that the release is a danger to national security; about 44% agree; about 26% disagree; while about 6% strongly disagree that the document release by WikiLeaks is a danger to national security. In a similar nationwide poll by CBS News, 60% of Americans believe that WikiLeaks’ release of State Department documents will have a damaging impact on the nation.

Some experts believe that the recent release of State Department documents by WikiLeaks might endanger U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic activities. What do you think?

WikiLeaks to Release Diplomatic Documents

With the website WikiLeaks set to release a new trove of sensitive information, the U.S. government is already bracing for the worldwide fallout, pre-emptively warning allies in the hope of lessening the blow once classified documents go public. What are the potential impact of Wikileaks’ action on U.S. foreign policy and national security? This article reveals the pre-emptive action taken by the U.S. government and the potential consequence of WikiLeaks’ action. (11/26/10 ABC News, Jonathan Karl and Bradley Blackburn) … Read Article

1. According to the article, what is WikiLeaks’ source of access to the diplomatic documents?

2. What measure should the U.S. government take to fix this weak link in intelligence communication?