Author Topic: Libel Chill  (Read 5400 times)

Toedancer

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Libel Chill
« on: August 17, 2007, 02:09:25 PM »
Since so many bloggers are being sued (including Tindall just for linking) thought we should have this site posted so we can stay up to date on it.

http://libelchill.ca/blog/

http://www.christindal.ca/category/internet-law/
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

deBeauxOs

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Libel Chill
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 04:05:12 PM »
I saw that on ProgBlog and it just seemed so convoluted and arcane that I couldn't make sense of it.  But then I'm in a pissy mood.
My brain on grump:

Holly Stick

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Libel Chill
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 04:08:27 PM »
DBOs, our emotiqueen! :applause:
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Toedancer

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Libel Chill
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2007, 10:42:59 AM »
The pissy grump mood must have come on AFTER you made that very insightful comment re: Birchers et al. My thoughts exactly.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Croghan27

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Case tests limits of academic freedom
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2007, 04:51:22 AM »
Here is something that has been smoldering for a while at U of O. The story is a bit odd as it concerns the Professor's attampt to get the Professorial Insurance to pay for his defense, rather than the attack on academic freedom to teach.

I heard of it last winter when this Denis Rancourt, a physics teacher, had a course he offered in social consequences of science cancelled by the administration.

Quote
Mr. Rancourt, a physics professor, has been in a protracted dispute with the university arising from the cancellation of one of his courses in which he used an unconventional approach to teaching science.

He seems, according to the story to have ruffled some feathers in his department, particularily that of his dean. While obviously irking the staff all to hell, it was rather popular with students. The Professor continued to offer the course even after it was cut off by the University.

Here is an brief description of events so far as I know them:

Quote
More than 30 student letters, as well as media exposure, have led the University of Ottawa's dean of science to reinstate a physics class that was unceremoniously shut down late last month because of its content. "Physics and the Environment," was widely known around campus as "Activism Class: Understanding Power and its Contexts." It has been taught, without incident, for eight years as part of the environmental studies curriculum.

Professor Denis Rancourt, who usually teaches more traditional physics classes, admits PHY 1703 is unorthodox. There is no evaluative marking, just a "satisfactory" or "non satisfactory" grade, and a participatory democracy approach in which students decide what they learn. But then, what would you expect from activism class?

"It was never intended to be a science course, it's a faculty of arts class open to everyone," Rancourt told XPress. But he said this kind of class is important for science students to take. Given that these are people who will be making far-reaching changes to society, Rancourt said teaching the social implications of what they're doing is very important. "They are dealing with medicine, nuclear technology, pesticides, all kinds of testing. Scientists are in a position to play a great role in society."

Dean Christian Detellier maintained he followed proper procedure and "consulted" Rancourt before he came into the class of almost 100 and announced it was cancelled. Detellier added that there were "a few, I can't name you a number,  
but a few," students who complained about the course material, but Rancourt and other officials are still only aware of one.

Detellier offered no apology to students or Rancourt and said that after consultation with both Rancourt and his union (wink, wink) the class could continue with no major modifications.


It seems in his blog  he bad mouthed the administration in the person of VP Victor Simon.

I can recall several 'Peace Activitism' courses being chopped in the 60s. It looks like what once was is now all over again.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

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Libel Chill
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2007, 05:38:22 AM »
In all sorts of ways, yes?

In the late 70s, there was a physics prof at U of T teaching a course called "The Zen of Physics," which of course the department wasn't entirely comfortable with so he had to offer it through the school of continuing studies. I forget the prof's name but he reminded me a bit of Doug Henning, the magician/illusionist, which seems apt. I sat through the first semester of that course in '78, evening class, and I was fascinated but then I drifted away. You can get the gist of the course from Fritjof Capra's famous book The Tao of Physics.

Physicists are often a little ... off-centre, shall we say. Good for this fellow for pressing on with his course -- I'm sure it's good for science students to be challenged to think outside the box -- that's important to their work too.

Croghan27

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Libel Chill
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2007, 05:51:37 AM »
Quote from: skdadl
Physicists are often a little ... off-centre, shall we say. Good for this fellow for pressing on with his course -- I'm sure it's good for science students to be challenged to think outside the box -- that's important to their work too.


One of the most brilliant and interesting of the American physicists is Richard Feynman.

One of the better lecturers, his 1962-3 lectures are very accessable to almost anyone.

An occasional bongo player in clubs, he spent part of his Nobel Prize award money defending his favourite strip club that had been shut down.

He was also the head of the investigation into the Columbia space shuttle disaster.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Agent 204

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Libel Chill
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2007, 06:23:28 AM »
I'm a bit out of touch. Who is Tindall and what were the circumstances of the lawsuit?
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But as long as you\'re comfortable it feels like freedom.
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skdadl

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Libel Chill
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2007, 06:27:35 AM »
Agent, it's a long, complicated story. If you go to Toe's link in the OP, you'll see that there is a guy in BC suing a number of people/orgs, among them a blogger called Chris Tindal.

Herr Magoo

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Libel Chill
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2007, 09:38:03 AM »
Quote
"It was never intended to be a science course, it's a faculty of arts class open to everyone,"


And the Faculty of Science didn't want to be its academic home?  That's not much of a surprise.

He should be talking to the Faculty of Arts.
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Croghan27

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Libel Chill
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2007, 06:03:17 PM »
Quote from: Herr Magoo
Quote
"It was never intended to be a science course, it's a faculty of arts class open to everyone,"

And the Faculty of Science didn't want to be its academic home?  That's not much of a surprise.

He should be talking to the Faculty of Arts.


Magoo - the information I get is that it is intended for science students. It mostly concerns the social consequences of scientific activity.

You are correct it does sound like an arts course, yet without implying that all cannot take it, it is offered by a physicist and is about implications of science. It seems to me to be properly placed in a science arena. I would think there would be some resistance to a physics prof setting up an arts course.

I am rather surprised there is not one that attends to that area already. (Maybe this backs up your point) UNB in the 60s - 70s had a philosophy course intended for senior science students about social fallout from their studies. It was titled The Philosophy of Science, but was more concerned with actual matters than those philosphical.
(If I can recall correctly, I went to another University.)
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Herr Magoo

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Libel Chill
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2007, 06:09:39 PM »
Typically, a Faculty of Science will deal with sciences themselves, and the practice of them.  Meta-discussions of science will typically fall under an Arts or Humanities Faculty.  Similarly, "Philosophy of Math" would be a Philosophy course, not a Math course.

Also, most Science Faculties tend to favour a somewhat more rigorous approach to assessment than "show up and claim your free credit".
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Croghan27

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Libel Chill
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2007, 06:23:56 PM »
Quote from: Herr Magoo
Also, most Science Faculties tend to favour a somewhat more rigorous approach to assessment than "show up and claim your free credit".


That was very much what this course was, the science students it was intended for had such heavy and esoteric caseloads that they needed what was called a 'bird' couse just to satisfy overall committments for number of courses etc.

Yet speaking to students in the Music Faculity would not return as much as speaking to budding scientists.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Toedancer

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Re: Libel Chill
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2008, 01:36:42 PM »
The blog libelchill.ca seems to have disappeared (first post) so I simply added Chris's blog with the posts re: the chill

And now I see the Drudge Retort has had a reprieve from Associated Press.

The Associated Press to Set Guidelines for Using Its Articles in Blogs

More worldwide blogger arrests reported:
Because some governments are hitting back harder and harder; last year saw a tripling in the number of bloggers arrested around the world compared to 2006, according to a report from the University of Washington.

and this Brit hacker may get a lifelong sentence  Although the Merkins want him to 'fry'.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

 

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