aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, July 29, 2007
So I’m not likely to be blogging today…
The Times Magazine today
The NYTimes Sunday Magazine is a trove of interesting articles today. On vacation, I’ve had no time to read them. When I’m home I’ll catch up....
Mary Bucholtz, a linguist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been working on the question for the last 12 years. She has gone to high schools and colleges, mainly in California, and asked students from different crowds to think about the idea of nerdiness and who among their peers should be considered a nerd; students have also “reported” themselves. Nerdiness, she has concluded, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, “hyperwhite.”
If God is dead, does that mean we cannot survive our own deaths? Recent best-selling books against religion agree that immortality is a myth we ought to outgrow. But there are a few thinkers with unimpeachable scientific credentials who have been waving their arms and shouting: not so fast. Even without God, they say, we have reason to hope for - or possibly fear - an afterlife.
Last but far fro least, the Magazine cover story, The Real Transformers:
I was introduced to my first sociable robot on a sunny afternoon in June. The robot, developed by graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was named Mertz. It had camera sensors behind its eyes, which were programmed to detect faces; when it found mine, the robot was supposed to gaze at me directly to initiate a kind of conversation. But Mertz was on the fritz that day, and one of its designers, a dark-haired young woman named Lijin Aryananda, was trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Mertz was getting fidgety, Aryananda was getting frustrated and I was starting to feel as if I were peeking behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz.
85% say no tojail for Genarlow. McDade tape details.
According to an AJC poll:
An overwhelming majority of metro Atlantans polled by the Journal-Constitution believe Genarlow Wilson does not belong in prison.
A telephone poll of 622 adults living in metro Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday found 85 percent of those who knew of Wilson’s imprisonment for having oral sex with a girl two years his junior - at the time he was 17 and she was 15 - think he should not have to serve his entire 10-year sentence.
Meanwhile, Editor and Publisher has AP details on the tape:
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Georgia—Those who obtained a sexually explicit video used as evidence in a criminal trial are warned that the video constitutes child pornography and should be surrendered or destroyed, according to a U.S. Attorney’s office.
The video, released by Douglas County district attorney J. David McDade to journalists and state legislators, is the center of a felony child molestation case involving Genarlow Wilson, 17 at the time, and a 15-year old girl at a 2003 New Year’s Eve party of teenagers. The video shows unforced oral sex between Wilson and the girl. [...]
The Associated Press is in possession of one of the videos. According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, David Tomlin, associate general counsel for the AP, said that although he found it unlikely that the AP would be prosecuted for possessing a copy of the videotape, it nevertheless destroyed its copy, since Tomlin said it had no further use for the video.
McDade released approximately 35 copies of the sexually explicit video to journalists and seven state legislators. Nahmias likens the video to contraband similar to seized illegal drugs and weapons and says it shouldn’t be distributed outside of the justice system. McDade’s position is that it’s part of the court record which is subject to state open records law. He claims he was responding to public records requests when he released the 35 copies.
Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization
Here she summarizes a panel from Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization: Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths [pdf transcript]:
The numbers are based on a sample of law enforcement cases which Finkelhor et al. performed research upon:
- most victims of “online predators” are teenagers, not young children
- only 5% of cases involved violence
- only 3% involved abduction
- deception does not seem to be a major factor
- 5% of offenders concealed the fact they were adults from their victimes
- 80% of offenders were quite explicit about their sexual intentions
- these crimes are “criminal seductions”, sexual relationships between teenagers and older adults
- 73% of cases include multiple sexual encounters
- in half the cases, victims are described as being in love with the offender or feeling close friendship
- in a quarter of the cases, victims had actually ran away from home to be with the person they met online
- only 7% of arrests for statutory rape in 2000 were internet-initiated
I find these figures very sobering. Basically, our kids are more at risk offline than online. No reason to panic! About this last figure, listen to Dr. Michele Ybarra, president of Internet
Solutions for Kids:
One victimization is one too many. We watch the television, however, and it makes it seem as if the internet is so unsafe that it’s impossible for young people to engage on the internet without being victimized. Yet based upon data compiled by Dr. Finkelhor’s group, of all the arrests made in 2000 for statutory rape, it appears that seven percent were internet initiated. So that means that the overwhelming majority are still initiated offline.
When I see that 73% have multiple sexual encounters and half of the victims think they’re in love with the offender it strikes me that first among the kinds of help our kids need is parents to talk to them about sex!
Instead of doing that, we look to law enforcement to solve the problem for us. It seems to me that it’s not them, it’s us.