Meeting, News and Agendas

April 22, 2005
March 21, 2005
March 14, 2005
February 21, 2005
December 13, 2004
December 2, 2004
October 27, 2004
October 7, 2004
September 22, 2004

April 2004
March 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003

April 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002

May 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001


Edward Castronova an Associate Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington will be visiting us. An economist by training, he has been studying virtual economies and online games. His new project involves designing a massively multiplayer online game in collaboration with other social scientists and political theorists, to serve as an experimental venue both for observing the group behaviors of players and testing the social theories of the designers.


Topic: Personal Information and Attitudes Towards Surveillance
Visitor: Gary Marx, Professor Emeritus, MIT

Gary Marx, a sociologist and public intellectual who is well-known for his work on surveillance, technology and social movements visited campus for three days, sponsored by the Webgroup; the Science, Technology and Values Program; and the Department of Sociology. Gary spoke with us about different types of personal information, privacy issues, and attitudes towards release and use of personal information. Gary also gave a public talk "Windows into the Soul: Surveillance & Society in an Age of High Technology" based on his forthcoming book. He also visited undergraduate classes, meet with graduate students, and visited with faculty.


Gary Marx's web site:
Poster for Notre Dame talk:

MARCH 14, 2005

Topic: Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity
Discussants: Tricia Bellia & Julian Dibble

Tricia and Julian led a lively discussion of Lessig's controversial book on challenges posed to intellectual property and copyrights posed by the Internet and especially peer-to-peer file sharing.

FEBRUARY 21, 2005

Topic: InsideND: Under the Hood of Notre Dame's New Web
Guest: Larry LaTarte, Portal Manager, Office of Information Technology

Larry discussed with us Notre Dame's new portal including its history, design, uses, and future extensions.


insideND portal

DECEMBER 13, 2004

Topic: Why Should I Care About Network Enterprise Software?
Visitor: Dr. Stanley Wasserman, Rudy Professor of Sociology, Psychology and Statistics at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Stanley Wasserman, a well-known statistician who has done extensive modeling of networks, gave both a public talk and met with the Webgroup about his current work with a private company that is designing desktop software that companies can provide to their employees which can help them decide how to contact people based on extensive network data that the system collects. These events were co-sponsored by the Department of Physics and the Department of Sociology


Information on Dr. Wasserman and his research:

Information on Dr. Wasserman's work on network enterprise software:

DECEMENT 2, 2004

Topic: Van B. Weigle's book Deep Learning in the Digital Age
Discussant: David Hachen

While most books on the Internet and learning at colleges and universities focuses on distance learning, Weigle's book is unique in that it looks at how the Internet and Web-based software can be used to enhance classroom based instruction and learning. Weigle's book allowed us to explore how we use the Internet in our classes and to imagine new ways we could incorporate technology into the classroom that would activate learning.


Publisher's web site:

OCTOBER 27, 2004

Topic: Information Security at Notre Dame
Visitor: Gary Dobbins, Director of Security, Office of Information Technology

Gary discussed with us how Notre Dame has enhanced the systems it uses to protect and secure digital information, and the challenges Notre Dame faces in this area in the future.

OCTOBER 7, 2004

Topic: The 9/11 Commission and Civil Liberties
Visitor: Former Congressman Timothy Roemer

Former Congressman from Indiana Timothy Roemer who had just finished participating in the 9/11 Commission met with us to discuss how the 9/11 commission did its work and the challenges it faced. We also discuss how commissioners say the balance between protecting citizens from terrorist attacks and preserving important civil liberties and rights. This event was co-sponsored by the Science, Technology and Values program which also sponsored a public talk by Roemer.


Information on the 9/11 Commission and its Report.
Information on Timothy Roemer and his Center for National Policy at

SEPTEMBER 22, 2004

Topic: Information Technology Needs of the Academic Community at Notre Dame
Visitor: Tom Monaghan, Director of Planning and Programming, Office of Information Technology

Tom discussed with us the recently completed assessment of information technology needs within the academic community at Notre Dame. Tom discussed how the study used focus groups, surveys, and bench marking with peers to identify the priority IT needs of faculty and students in support of teaching and learning at Notre Dame.


Notre Dame IT Academic Needs Assessment Report


Topic: Digital Economics by Richard McKenzie
Discussants: Barry Keating & David Hachen

At this session we discussed Richard McKenzie's book about how digital products are affecting the economy and business.


Publishers web site:


Topic: The EClass Project at Georgia Tech
Presenter: Professor Gregory Abowd, College of Computing, Georgia Tech

Gregory Abowd is a ND alumni whose research interests lie in the intersection between Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction. He was involved with the EClass project at Georgia Tech.



Topic: Virtual Worlds, Virtual Economies and Virtual Governments
Presenter: Julian Dibbell

Julian Dibbell, a writer whose work appears in Wired, discussed virtual world online games like Ultima Online and his recent involvement in making real money through the sale of virtual property.

"Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier" A famous paper by economist Edward Castronova on the surprisingly "real" economics of virtual game worlds (in which he calculates, among other things, that the GDP of the online game EverQuest is about $143 million):

"The Unreal Estate Boom"
An article by Julian Dibbell that was published in Wired, describing how the market for imaginary houses works.

"Serfing the Web"
Another article by Julian, much shorter, about a very curious court case generated by the virtual economy:

"Terra Nova"
A collaborative web log curated by Castronova, legal scholars Dan Hunter and Greg Lastowka, and Julian Dibbell, in which people from various disciplines and backgrounds take virtual worlds far too seriously for anybody's good:

"Play Money"
Julian's web log, a diary of his ongoing attempt to get rich selling virtual


Topic: Metaphors and Analogies in Internet Law and Policy

Tricia Bellia who is a co-author of a new casebook on Cyberlaw discussed with us issues concerning how the metaphors about the Internet that judges and policy makers use inform their decisions and the ways in which we think the Internet should or should not be regulated.


Topic: Innovative Uses of Internet Technology in Higher Education

Kevin Barry, Chuck Crowell, and Joy Van-Hamilton presented information on novel uses of Internet and Web technology at other universities and colleges.

Web page with links to sites with information on these projects and related information.


Topic: The SMS of Emerging Politics and Arts: A report from Media Lab Europe, Dublin.

Kathy Biddick, Director of the new Center for Creative Computing at Notre Dame, talked about a creative project using Short Messaging Service technologies that Kathy was involved with at Media Lab Europe in Dublin where she was a visiting Fulbright Scholar in 2002-03.

Media Lab Europe
SMS Technology: Smart Mobs Site; Centrifugal Forces on CityPoems
Papers on the project


Topic: Manuel Castell's book Internet Galaxy

David Hachen led a discussion of Castell's analysis of the various cultures of the Internet.


Topic: Discussion with Barry Steinhardt about the Patriot Act and privacy issues.

Barry Steinhardt, Director of the Technology & Liberty Program and former Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was recently named as inaugural Director of the ACLU's Program on Technology and Liberty. He was a co-founder of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), the world's first international coalition of Non- Governmental Organizations concerned with the rights of Internet users to privacy and free expression. Steinhardt has spoken and written widely on privacy and information
technology issues, has written on privacy issues and free expression issues in a variety of periodicals, and is a frequent guest on news and talk programs.

ACLU information on Barry Steinhardt
ACLU report on privacy and technology: Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society


Topic: Small Pieces Loosely Joined by David Weinberger

David Weinberger, a technology commentator for NPR, interesting book led us to reflect on the variety of dimensions of the new worlds being created by the web.


Topic: Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs

Greg Madey led an interesting discussion of chapters 7 & 8 of Rheingold's book.


Topic: Facial Recognition Software

A discussion led by Pat Flyn about facial recognition and related technologies

Your face is not a bar code: arguments against automatic face recognition in public places (Philip Agre)

Super Bowl surveillance: facing up to biometrics (John Woodward, RAND)


Topic: Programming the Post-Human

A discussion of Ellen Ullman's Harper Magazine article "Programming the Post-Human" and Bill Joy's Wired article "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us."


Topic: Chapter "Next" on Intermediaries on the Net


Topic: Social Implications of the Internet

We discussed an article by this title that appeared in the August 2001 issue of the Annual Review of Sociology



Topic: Music over the Internet after Napster.

An open discussion of materials people in the group had found on this topic and wanted to discuss with others.
New York Times - Kevin Kelly Article
NPR: After Napster


Topic: Scott Charney, a specialist in cybercrime and soon-to-be director of securities at Microsoft joined us for lunch. Charney was a a guest on campus of the Reilly Center for Science and Technology. He gave a public lecture entitled "Cybercrime: Challenges and Controversies."

ABSTRACT: "As we move into the information age, we find ourselves becoming increasingly dependent on computers, networks, and the information they contain. Yet each week we hear of new attacks on the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, from economic espionage to distributed denial of service attacks. While such attacks may pose a serious threat to our public safety, national security, economic prosperity and privacy, preventing and responding to such attacks raises other complicated social and public policy issues. Scott Charney will detail the history and current state of cybercrime, and talk about the challenges governments, industry and the public face as they attempt to prevent and respond to computer abuse."

More information about Scott's visit is available via Public Relations and Information


Topic: Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's book Linked: The New Science of Networks.

The group discussed how to use the concepts described in the book and our new understanding of networks to start a buzz and learn about the marketing and spreading of ideas via email.



Topic: Jeremy Rifkin's book The Age of Access

The group discussed how the Web and the Internet, together with other social changes, may be affecting culture and the economy.


Topic: Sherry Turkle's book Life on the Screen

Susan Ohmer led an interesting discussion of this influential book.


Background on Sherry Turkle:

Interviews with and other information on Sherry Turkle:


Topic: Parasitic Computing

Emerging from earlier discussions within the Web Group, two members, Professors Jay Brockman and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi discussed the reactions to their effort to use Internet protocols that are part of the communication infrastructure to transform the Internet into a distributed computer in which servers unwittingly perform computation on behalf of a remote node. Their paper on this subject appeared in Nature and a story about on NPR's All Things Considered. More information on this project and reactions to it can be found at the Parasitic Computing Web Site.

The group also discussed another distributed computing effort, SETI@Home.
About SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence):


Topic: Surveillance, Tracking and the Internet

At our first meeting of the year we discussed Internet and Web based technologies designed to track individuals and behaviors.

Jupiter Research