Durham, higher education, and me

I’ll be in Durham this weekend; I’m not sure how much time I have free, but drop me a note if you’d like to grab a meal or beverage of choice.

The formal reason I’ll be in Durham is to give a guest appearance at CompSci 82, Technical and Social Foundations of the Internet. I have been involved in academia previously (TAing a couple times, lecturing at the Sloan School of Business at MIT, and moderating a panel at Harvard Law School) but I’m pretty sure this is the first time anyone has been quizzed on the content of my blog. I am terrified at what this indicates for the future of our civilization. :)

Before anyone asks, I don’t know whether guests are welcome to sit in, and I also don’t actually know the time and location of the class. But if I figure those out, I’ll post here.

(Informally, I have tickets to blue/white and the football game and extensive eating plans. But really, the class appearance was scheduled first.)


Finished. Good. Both the book and the mad scene at The Regulator (I’d guess at least 800 people were in line at midnight) makes one a bit wistful for childhood. Was glad I got to share the evening with my sister, and glad that today was an utterly glorious day to sit on one of the quad benches and read for six more or less uninterrupted hours.

duke prof defending wikipedia

Stumbled on this essay defending the use of Wikipedia in academia today, and was pleased and excited to see that it was written by a Duke prof, Cathy Davidson (blog). I knew Duke was doing the right thing in starting a center for interdisciplinary studies, and I’m excited to see that Prof. Davidson (current head of that project) is also interested in the future of educational technology. Great to see that the alma mater is hiring and recognizing people who are forward-thinking.

you can’t always keep what you want…

I’m not sure why exactly it went away, but my first IRC home has passed on. Like Swanno, I’ve found that law school and IRC are pretty much mutually exclusive, so it isn’t exactly a big direct loss out of my life, but I have generally very strong and very positive memories of that channel. It’s like finding out your old neighborhood bar, or maybe your college dorm, have suddenly ceased to exist- maybe you didn’t go there so much anymore, but if you spent a lot of time there, you have memories- even if in this case they were all contained within the xchat window.

Some particular memories that jump out were the discussion of my 3,600 mile-long penis (this when Krissa left for Africa- chatting with the friends in #dhg really helped me keep what little of my sanity there was that year) and getting told ‘hey, an airplane just crashed into the world trade center- get to a TV’ on the morning of 9/11, getting to the TV just in time to see #2, then frantically talking throughout that long, long day, until my laptop died. Lots of others, I’m sure… remembering the chuckle on Dan’s mom’s face at his wedding when she said that she understood I was Dan’s friend basically because of time spent together online. She was trying very hard to grok it :)

Anyway… just a reminder that online communities are very much like real ones- you can make very, very real friends there, and just like other communities, sometimes their time passes. On to whatever comes next, virtually or otherwise.