March Prism - 2002
Down The Road
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A Criminal Act?
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Unequal Opportunity
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Drive Time

This month, I think you'll enjoy reading “Pushing All the Wrong Buttons,” which appears in the Teaching Toolbox section. It lightly touches on some student behavior that may strike a familiar chord, and many of you will probably recognize some of the types profiled within. You may also benefit from how other professors have handled those few students who drive you crazy.

In “Unequal Opportunity,” we take a look at the status of women in science and engineering academic careers in Japan. Japan is probably 10 years behind the U.S. when it comes to gender equality, and to those interviewed for this article, change has been slow to occur. However, Japanese women have made strides in the workplace since the Japanese government passed a new equal opportunity law in the late 1980s. Japan is facing a severe shortage of high tech labor, and the time may be right for policy makers to better utilize Japan's pool of female brainpower.

The consequences of the Digitial Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a federal law passed by Congress in 1998, are examined in “A Criminal Act.” The DMCA makes it a crime to create or distribute any technology that can evade the encryption used to put anti-piracy protections in place. The academic community wasn't fully aware of its impact, and the law was adopted with limited discussion. The writer, a First Amendment expert, says that two key principles are involved—freedom of expression and copyright protection—and they're at odds with each other. Read this article and decide where you stand.

Finally, in “Down the Road,” we get a forecast of the car of the not-too-distant future. If accurate, there's plenty of change in the works, including a car that steers itself.

This month we have tried to provide you with an intriguing mix of articles. I would be interested, as always, to hear what you think.

Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher
f.huband@asee.org
prism@asee.org