Philomath

13 February 2011

Philomath was Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Day” on 8 February 2011. A philomath is a “lover of learning.”

The following pictures were taken at Arizona State University located in Tempe, Arizona.

Pondering…

student –> 21st Century Educational System –> philomathian

Note: Somebody who is a philomath is not necessarily a polymath. A polymath is somebody who is “guru” is numerous disciplines.

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The Future of CPSR

13 February 2011

I knew it was only a matter of time before I received the following email message.

From douglas@publicsphereproject.org Sat Feb 5 09:08:15 2011
To: cpsr-members@lists.cpsr.org
Subject: The Future of CPSR

This issue seems like an appropriate follow-up to the recent sad news about the death of Gary Chapman, CPSR’s first executive director.

This note is primarily addressed to people who have been involved with Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, although, in keeping with CPSR’s “big tent” approach, we are certainly interested in hearing from anybody who is interested in the future of CPSR and the further exploration of issues that CPSR members have focused on.

As many of you may have heard or suspected, there is a high probability that Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility will cease to exist in the near future. […]

The CPSR.org website gives the appearance that CPSR started dying during the spring of 2008 (e.g. the last “Recent News” was on 18 February 2008). The last “annual appeal” and “end of year campaign” were 2006 and 2007, respectively.

It seems ironic that CPSR is preparing to go belly-up just when we have supercomputers with practically infinite storage capable of executing more than two quadrillion arithmetic calculations per second piping data/information into high-performance visualization systems. The computing roadmap is for exa-scale computing by 2018-2020 and historically the computing roadmap has been extremely accurate. Exa-scale computing is frighteningly powerful and socially responsible computing is more important than ever.

It seems ironic that CPSR is dying just when the “Digital Divide” is wider than ever; electronic voting systems remain mostly proprietary and capable of stealing elections; net neutrality is an issue that’s beyond the understanding of most of us; educational systems think “learning about computing” means learning how to simply be a user of “apps” even though “program or be programmed” is more true than ever; RFID e-product codes and sensor data are getting piped into HPC systems; robots are being equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities; too few cybersecurity gurus are being groomed; there remains a huge dearth of women in computing; etc. etc. etc.

It seems ironic that CPSR is dying at a time when we continue to be led by 18th century political dinosaurs who scream about the importance of SCREAM (Science, Computing, Robotics, Engineering, Art, Math), yet are luddites of the highest order.

What am I going to help keep CPSR alive? Nothing.