aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sperm donor liable for child support???
A Nassau County man who said he donated sperm to a female co-worker as a friendly gesture—and then sent presents and cards to the child over the years—is legally considered the father and may have to pay child support for the college-bound teenager, according to a judge’s ruling. [...]
Nassau County Family Court Judge Ellen Greenberg ruled on Nov. 16 that despite the mother’s willingness to have the child’s DNA tested, the man was barred from seeking a paternity test to determine if he is truly the father because the results could have a “traumatic effect” upon the child, who is now 18 years old and lives in Oregon with the mother. The next step is a meeting with a support magistrate to determine the amount of child support payments—if any—the man would have to pay until the teen turns 21, Kelly said. [...]
Even without genetic evidence, the man’s interactions with the child over the years had a patriarchal nature, said Jeffrey Herbst, an attorney who represents the mother in the lawsuit through a federal agreement called the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
“It’s still a parental relationship,” Herbst said.
In Catholic grade-school I got an A in “penmanship.” I wonder if students today would even know what the word means!
A decade ago I got the gift of a personality test from a popular handwriting analyst in Manhattan. He asked for my signature, took one look and, appalled, declared, “you’re trying to obliterate yourself!!!”
Golly, I thought it showed I had an artistic creative flair with the right-leaning swoop meaning I had a futurist bent and the left-leaning “J” and “W” implying that futurist bent was one informed by the past.
He took my hundred dollar gift certificate and sent me on my way. Dissatisfied.
Still, I note that I can barely write with a pen any longer. It’s chicken-scratch that I can hardly read myself. So I just don’t do it.
I never considered myself a writer. I went to engineering school and hated writing. I think my dislike of writing came from my severe inability to write as a kid. I can’t hold a pen or pencil very well, I hold it way too tightly, my handwriting is terrible, hard to read, messy, and often illegible. Typewriters made life easier for me, but the big breakthrough came when I started writing on a computer. For years it was just memos, email, business stuff.
But blogging has changed all of that. Now I write every day. I feel incomplete until I write something. Often it’s hardly worth hitting the “save” button. Sometimes it’s good. Once in a while it’s great. But it’s a routine and one I cherish.
I was 30 before I made my way to an undergraduate education. My performance in grade-school nosedived with the puberty and the realization that I was gay.
When I contemplated going back to school I was petrified that I would not be able to write papers. The first course I took was in writing and rhetoric. I got an A+.
Now as a blogger I have neither the influence nor the audience that Fred does. But I, too, cherish the routine:
Hardly anyone writes letters anymore. The rare book dealer told me that emails between writers and famous people are rarely well written or as interesting as the letters he sells. I was thinking that it’s a shame that letter writing is done as an art form. But then I realized that it’s evolution at work. We lose something, letters, and gain something, blogging.
I hope blogging will inspire people to compose their thoughts as eloquently as letters have done over the years. It sure has inspired me.
For me blogging is both a practice and a process. It’s not motivated money or a wish for fame (though influence has its attractions). Instead it’s motivated by the wish to be engaged in the community of ideas and interests that exists only on the web. It is a mash-up of my mind’s thoughts, interests and ideas.
And, just like it does Fred, it inspires me.
Faculty, friending and Facebook
I’m not faculty so my relationship to students is slightly different; but only slightly. From The Chronicle:
The old guy in the corner at a college party can come off as creepy. The same goes for a faculty member on Facebook, the online hangout first populated by students.
“Facebook was created as a place for students, not for professors,” says Steve Moskowitz, a sophomore at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Students should be able to express themselves freely there, he says, without worrying what some professor will think.
One way to do that is by joining groups. Their names, often clever, mark identities like bumper stickers. Mr. Moskowitz formed the group “Gee, I don’t think I want my professors on Facebook anymore.” Its icon is a lecturer crossed out with a big red X.
But like it or not, professors are logging on. The number of Facebook users is doubling every six months, and adults, including professors, are the fastest-growing group among them. Some want to track down students who no longer respond to e-mail. Many are curious to see for themselves the addictive gabfest. As they sign on, they are negotiating the famously fraught teacher-student relationship in new ways.
This has been my practice:
Most faculty members on Facebook keep their profiles professional - nothing racier than would be posted, say, on an office door. The consensus on friending seems to be: Accept students’ requests but don’t initiate any.
That’s one of the guidelines for “Faculty Ethics on Facebook,” a group started by Mark A. Clague, an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “Since there’s an uneven power dynamic, giving the power to the students to control the relationship” is good policy, he says.
For all its pitfalls, Facebook can prompt meaningful exchanges. Some professors look up students who e-mail them with questions or are scheduled to come to office hours. What the professors learn, they say, makes them better advisers. Comments that students have posted - concern over a bad class presentation, for example - can provoke a thoughtful conversation. One professor knew to go easy on a student when he saw his status change from “in a relationship” to “single.”
MPAA’s infriging monitoring software challenged
The MPAA’s “University Toolkit” (a piece of monitoring software that universities are being asked to install on their networks to spy on students’ communications) has been taken down, due to copyright violations. The Toolkit is based on the GPL-licensed Xubuntu operating system (a flavor of Linux). The GPL requires anyone who makes a program based on GPL’ed code has to release the source code for their program and license it under the GPL. The MPAA refused multiple requests to provide the sources for their spyware, so an Ubuntu developer sent a DMCA notice to the MPAA’s ISP and demanded that the material be taken down as infringing. Link (Thanks, Victor!)