Back from long hiatus

Hey folks, thanks to friendly nagging from Maggie, I’m going to try to keep my blog updated again, although it’s going to be terribly difficult because of all of the developments occurring with the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons. Swarthmore College has been in the news a lot lately because of the Diebold voting machine memos, and if you haven’t heard about it, I recommend that you check out our website.
In other news, my roommate Jerome recently mistook my electric toothbrush for a vibrator. He walked into the room the other day, and exclaimed, “You know somebody has been keeping a vibrator in our bathroom?” This would indeed have been odd, since we two are the only people who use our bathroom regularly. However, my Periobrush is probably not suitable for this purpose, despite its vaguely phallic shape. I can’t say that I’m disappointed about that…


A failure of your will is a failure of rationality. If you can will that you accomplish something (such as cleaning your room), that means that you have done the necessary calculations and decided that this course of action will be best for you in the long run. If, despite this knowledge, you persist in a different course of action (i.e. you lack the willpower to do what you have decided upon), this means that you have failed to keep your eye on your rational, long term self-interest. Instead you have conceded the field to short-sightedness, you have given into the pleasures of the moment. A person who cannot act in their own self-interest is by definition incompetent and weak. Also, failing to stand by your rational self reeks of hypocrisy, of lying to oneself. The more frequently you are able to adhere to your own decisions, the more effective and admirable you will be.

The SCDC is getting big

I’m so excited about how the SCDC is doing! We’ve been getting press from all over the place: the two Swarthmore College newspapers, the Phoenix and the Daily Gazette, Lawrence Lessig’s site, Boing Boing (“a directory of wonderful things”),, a random personal blog… All of these people from across the country are e-mailing and IMing us, wanting to work with us or start their own similar campus groups!
The most interesting conversation I’ve had today was with a grad student from UTexas at Austin, about the licensing practices of Role-Playing Games like Dungeons & Dragons. He had a lot of interesting things to say about the Open Gaming License, which is essentially like the GPL, and the more restrictive license D20, which lets you use the D&D brand name but doesn’t let you change the game in certain basic ways. Unfortunately it seems that the D20 license is taking over the industry, which reduces the diversity of games. I honestly don’t know much about the topic, but I expect to learn more about a lot of interesting topics like this through my work with the SCDC. These are certainly amazing times!
It’s really strange to realize that the SCDC is the first organization of its kind; that over all these years, there hasn’t been a student anywhere in the nation who cared enough about these issues to build a club to promote them. Swarthmore does have a somewhat radical, avant garde history though, which is easy to forget when we’re looking at it from the inside. Did you know that a Swattie may have been the first blogger? Here’s the article that says so, and here’s what the first blog looked like. I guess it just looks like a really basic webpage, kind of boring, but the bloggy content and the extremely early date (January 27, 1994!) is what sets it apart. Go Swat!