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Online Education, Job Competition, Genetic Drift, #EndCISPA

April 19, 2013

Video at FOX47 News: “MSU Online Zombie Course Wins Award” – note connection of zombies to online education, human behavior and “China“. Recall also previous ZombieLaw post about MSU’s zombie course.

Meanwhile computer scientists are seeking elite jobs through hacker competitions (like Hunger Games?). See Forbes: “In Silicon Valley Talent War, Zombie Math Rules” by George Anders (to appear in the May 6, 2013 issue of Forbes) about recruiting hackers from Siberia to code for Silicon Valley.

These two stories combined demonstrate a new world for creative-intellectual job placement – students can stay home, learn from home, and even be recruited for employment from home, and work from home. This has positive and negatives for the person, the family and the world economy. The ramifications of these changes will not be known for some time but we do know that traditional models will increasingly fail. The old vanguard will try to hold their power but their primary function was to collocate intelligent people (and things) in one place. Now that “place” is merely a brand and the individual is (trapped?) in their own home forever.

Zombies as creatures of fantasy are inherently related to entertainment escapism. For a long time college had an important entertainment component; time away on the hill or something akin to going to summer camp, an Amish Rumspringa, or an Aussie year in Europe — it was an experience of going somewhere and coming back more cultured (which often meant tired and broke from partying but it was an adventure) Now as academia shifts to online media, it may become more about the content education and less about socialization. This is positive and negative and may require youth to seek alternative forms of social escapism(?).

Consider this trend toward online in light of Rep. Mike Rogers’s claims that CISPA opponents are all 14 year olds in the mother’s basement (See PCWorld: “CISPA sponsor compares opponents to 14-year-olds” by Grant Gross. We are not. But even if we were, we would actually be in a pretty good powerful position to learn and engage with online curriculum from the best universities and compete for jobs across the world.

CISPA has been called a zombie law, reincarnation of SOPA and PIPA – See “Zombie law: CISPA cyber bill resurrected from the dead” But isn’t lots of legislation made through this zombie bill process? Isn’t that how the legislative process works, back and forth, eventually producing a dead mangled text that no one likes? It’s like sausages, the zombie is the pig that eventually gets grind and stuffed into its own intestinal casing. (“Laws, like sausages” is a quote from John Godfrey Saxe often wrongly attributed to Otto von Bismark and Benjamin Franklin).

So in a sense all bills are zombie bills of mangled meat parts but still some legal topics are more apt for connection to the zombie meme. As above, internet law is ripe for zombie theme because machine-robot-program-algorithms are like mindless zombies. Also they are man-made monsters. Similarly, genetic-modified agriculture laws inspire Frankenstein comparison. Bloggers at North Carolina Toxic Free News: “Zombie Attack on North Carolina Organics: NC Department of Agriculture brings 2005 Frankenfood legislation back from the dead” by Fawn Pattison about state legislation to prevent local municipalities from restricting genetic modified foods. One issue is that genetic-modified crops might drift and Monsanto might claim genetic ownership of entire farm communities. Farmers could take steps to prevent hybridization and we could hope the Supreme Court outlaws biological patents – but both are unlikely and difficult.

Zombie plants contaminating local communities is actually sort of similar to online education and the global workforce. The illusion of the local faced with an increasingly global system creates security demands. Corporate interests want CISPA (or something like it) to secure the infrastructure and protect their proprietary media content traffic. Similarly corporate interests want to be able to secure the distribution of their patented crops. All politics is local, but the sausages are imported and mom buys them to please her 14 year old son and get him to come upstairs for dinner, perchance they talk about what he learned online today…

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