Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twitter: A Tool for Organizing Political Upheaval?

Here in the U.S., Twitter, Facebook and other social networking applications are mainly used by young people for fun. But in Moldova, a small former Soviet republic, young people are using it to organize protests against the Communist government. Here's the link:

Questions to ponder:

Should we be alarmed or excited about the potential of online social networking to generate political expression and change in Moldova and other places around the world? Explain why you think so.

How could online social networking be used in the USA -- to generate positive political change by youth for youth? Describe a SPECIFIC example in which an issue or cause or movement or candidate might benefit from grassroots organizing driven by online social networking.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Right to Watch Porn vs. School Funding

While we were all on spring break, students at the University of Maryland were fighting some Maryland state legislators over their right to show a XXX porn film as a student activity. Read the article on the link below to find out what happened:

Then ponder and respond to some or all of the questions below:

Do students at a public university (i.e., funded by taxpayers) have the Constitutional right to free expression in choosing to show a porn film as a student activity? Why or why not?

Do you think it's appropriate for state legislators to threaten to withhold funding for the university if the porn film is shown against their wishes, or is this an abuse of their power?

What if state legislators object to a book or a professor's lecture or a student organization on campus and threaten to withhold state funding to the university? Could censoring the porn film lead to further restrictions on free expression?

If you were a student leader at the University of Maryland, what would you have done in this instance: shown the film or canceled the movie event?

Who Says "Men in Black" is Fiction?

Another article that begs the question, "Just because we CAN do it technologically, does it mean we SHOULD?" Read the article at the link below that describes how scientists may be able to erase certain painful memories in humans:

What are the pros of this breakthrough technology?

What are the cons?

Assuming it works as well on humans as well as it does on animals, on balance, do you think it should be legal to use this treatment on humans? Why or why not?