Posts

  • Their Law: New Essay on Harvard Law Review Blog

    I recently published an essay responding to They, Them, and __Theirs, an article on non-binary inclusion. (Yes, the title is a reference to a The Prodigy song.) 

  • Baking as Carework

  • Difficult Speech in Feminist Communities

    (This essay was originally published in 2017, as part of the Berkman Klein Center’s Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online collection. In the interest of making it more broadly sharable, I’m now posting it here.)

  • Making Your In-Person Event Inclusive of Non-Binary People

    When I attend events, I’m often the first out non-binary person that the organizers have ever invited. Many times, I am the first out non-binary person they have ever met.

  • 57.3%

    Last August, Jon Hanson asked me, as an alum, to give a talk to a group of Harvard Law School 1Ls about “life in the law.” It was one of the hardest talks I’ve ever given, because it’s some of the subject matter that’s still the rawest for me. It’s been sitting on my hard drive for a while, and although it fills me with anxiety, I figure it’s long past time I share it publicly. 

  • Computer Security for Lawyers Now Out in the Green Bag

    Computer Security for Lawyers is now out in the Green Bag! The Green Bag is one of my favorite legal publications, and I’m honored that a journal of entertaining things chose to publish my paper. 

  • Ally Skills Workshops

    This summer, I’ve begun running Ally Skills Workshops for groups of people interested in learning how to combat sexism and transphobia. My workshops are based off the Ada Initiative’s model and incorporate some of its CC licensed materials, as well as additional materials that I have developed. My slides are available here (ppt) or here (pdf).

  • New Paper: Computer Security Tools and Concepts for Lawyers

    I have a new draft paper out! It’s called Computer Security Tools and Concepts for Lawyers. I wrote this paper because I often find that lawyers outside of tech spaces didn’t understand fundamental computer security concepts, like what encryption does, or what social engineering is. I also wanted a piece pitched at the right level for lawyers who just want to know how to do a better job at protecting client information. 

  • Protect Yourself with Some Encryption

    Belated link out: I wrote a piece over at MEL Magazine on secure messaging apps you should be using.

  • On Being Out

    I think about being out a lot. Two things always pop into my head:

  • A Running List of AIs That Their Creators Claim Are Genderless

    Somehow they all use she/her pronouns or a feminine voice. I don’t have a firm conclusion on this yet - I just think this is a very odd trend. 

  • Baby Blue Activism at HLS

    Last week, I organized a letter in support of Baby Blue, Carl Malamud and Chris Sprigman’s open citation manual. Over 165 students, faculty and staff signed on in less than a week. For posterity, the letter is available here. I also wrote an op-ed which appeared in the Harvard Law Record, and which I’m reproducing below, titled “Harvard Law Review Should Welcome Free Citation Manual, Not Threaten Lawsuits.”

  • An Optimistic Review of Crypto: Someday Steven Levy Will Be Able to Write about Women

    Steven Levy can write compellingly about deeply technical subjects. He makes the history of cryptography come alive in Crypto. But god, I hate the way he writes about women.

  • But What Did the Daughter Think?

    But What Did the Daughter Think?

  • Wired Piece on ICANN WHOIS Changes

    Sarah Jeong and I have an op-ed in WIRED about how a proposal floated in a working group at ICANN could have profound consequences for people being harassed online. Check it out here.

  • Dear Copyright Office, Let Game Fans Keep Abandoned Games Alive

    When you buy a video game, you expect to be able to play it for as long as you want. You expect be able to play it with your kids many years from now if you want (well, maybe not Grand Theft Auto).  And you would hope that museums and media historians could preserve the games that were so important to your childhood. But unfortunately, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions (17 U.S.C. § 1201, or Section 1201) creates legal risks for players who want to keep playing after game servers shut down, and curators who want to preserve games for posterity. That’s why I’m spearheading an effort to win legal protection for game enthusiasts and preservationists who want to keep abandoned games alive by running multiplayer servers or eliminating authentication mechanisms. On Friday, EFF and I filed comments with the Copyright Office asking for a new exemption to Section 1201.

  • DMCA 1201 Exemption for Video Game Archiving and Play

    I filed a DMCA 1201 exemption proposal with the EFF on Monday.

  • Guest Editing Five Useful Articles

    This week, I co-edited the intellectual property newsletter Five Useful Articles (one of the six most popular email newsletters on Tiny Letter) with my friend, Parker Higgins.

  • Open Source Madness

    I wrote a thing for the EFF Deeplinks blog! Cross-posting it here.

  • 2014 Book Tracking Summary

    After last year’s book project, anything I do this year will pale in comparison. But I am keeping track of my reading on Goodreads, and have a spreadsheet with some information about the authors I’m reading.

  • My Day in San Francisco, in Snapchats (some sent, some not)

    No, there are no sexts.

  • San Francisco for the Summer

    A quick life update: I’m in San Francisco for next couple of months, working on coder’s rights and assorted other internety things at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (They have the coolest entrance.)

  • Not Only Filters: Some Suggestions for Dealing with Malware Protection in Libraries

    Happy 4/04 Day

  • Filing for Divorce in MA: Doing Law School Right

    Most law school assignments don’t make you reflect deeply on your relationship to your community or to the legal system. But I actually did something this semester that made me heavily consider how I as a law student relate to Cambridge, and how the law relates to everyday people. I tried to figure out how to file for divorce in Massachusetts.

  • Rdio Evangelism

    There are very few Internet services that I’m actively an evangelist for – Twitter is one, because I’ve met so many cool people through it. The other that I’m always trying to convert people to is Rdio, which is a music streaming service. First off, yes, it’s like Spotify. I can’t actually say that it’s better than Spotify because I’ve never used Spotify. (Back when I was making the switch to not owning my music, Spotify required Facebook log-in and that was a deal breaker for me.) 

  • The Great Book Project of 2013: Now in Video Format

    Last month, I gave a show and tell talk at the Quantified Self Boston meetup where I talked about quantifying my book reading habits from last year, and what I learned from setting diversity goals. It was a ton of fun - I did a 5-minute Ignite-style intro to the project, and then the audience asked some great questions.

  • Things that Make Me Happy

    I wrote a long reflective post about my first semester of law school and how I feel that the legal educational system sets people up for failure by forcing them to give up things that are important to them.

  • Perma: Solving Link Rot and Reference Rot

    Jonathan Zittrain, Larry Lessig and I have been working on a paper laying out some empirical evidence of linkrot and reference rot in law review and Supreme Court citations, and proposing a solution, which is called Perma.cc. Our research found that 49% of links in SCOTUS opinions and between 60-70% of journal links are broken - a huge number that only increases as time passes. The full results are available at the draft on SSRN

  • The End of the Books: What I Learned

    So I’m done with the great book reading project of 2013. (As I joked on Twitter, that means I’m done reading books forever, right?) I’ve compiled a list of recommendations, which are available here.

  • Week 37

  • Week 36

    Week 36:

  • Week 35

  • Week 34

  • Week 33:

  • Week 32: Haikus

  • Week 31

    Week 31:

  • Week 30

  • Week 29

  • Week 28

  • Week 27: A Week in Which Britain Disappoints

  • Week 26: Bad Pharma, Chasing Gideon, and other depressing reads...

  • Week 25: In Which I Run Out of Clever Titles

  • Week 24

  • Week 23: Mostly Mediocre

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  • Week 22: Go Read "This Is How You Lose Her"

  • Falling Off the Wagon

    I’m about six months into the 5 books-a-week challenge, and I’ve hit my first big slump. I still have about 10 books that I haven’t blogged, and I’ve been reading less. I’m about 14 books behind, for reference - I was averaging around 6 - 8 for the last 3 months. 

  • New Blog: "Long Distance Cooking Challenge" or Distavore

    It’s been a while since I updated this blog - and although part of that is because I’ve been lazy, the other reason is because I just started a new one as well. It’s called “Long Distance Cooking Challenge” - and it’s a food blog and a collaboration with my friend Jasmine. Check it out at here.

  • Week 21: I Confront the Dread Sheryl Sandberg

  • Week 20: Fantasy Done Right (and some other stuff)

  • Week 18 + Week 19: 2 Weeks of Book Tweets

    Deviating from my usual discussions to cover two weeks of books in one post full of tweet length reviews. (Yes, they are all are under 140 characters. I checked.)

  • Week 17: ITT I Finally Review Old Man's War

  • Vacation Books: Part Two

  • A Little Light Pool Reading

  • Baseball, Surrealism and Romance Novels?

    A Tangled Web, Bel Canto, Et Tu, Babe, The Victorian Internet and Moneyball

  • Perfectly Good Book Reviews and Constitutional Interpretation

  • Unrelated Books without a Cool Title

  • Reading Fast and Slow

  • Tamora Pierce, Big Data and Other Books

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  • Delayed Books

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  • 2 Graphic Novels, 3 Octavia Butler Books

    Wow, I’m behind on blogging books. A couple weeks ago, I read Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago, Cairo: A Graphic Novel and Chicken with Plums

  • 5 Books I Should Have Read Sooner

    The theme of these 5 books seems to be “books I probably would have enjoyed more if I had read them sooner.” So yes, I was behind in being a nerd and being a cyberlaw nerd - I had neglected to read Free Culture and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  • Attribution Troll Doesn't Learn Lessons or Understand IP Addresses

    Yesterday, Techdirt broke a story about what they called a “bizarre attribution troll,” a person or persons with a series of Twitter accounts that tweeted at users who posted a sentence-long poem by a poet named Shaun Shane. Last night, the troll decided that I would make a good target for its ire.

  • Two Weeks of Books: An Update

    That’s what two weeks of books looks like when I barely had time to read.

  • Week 2: 5 More Books

    Despite a hellish travel schedule this weekend, I managed to actually meet my book quota: mostly through reading 2.5 books on a very long plane flight to San Francisco. Most of this week’s reading was actually pretty depressing, and with the death of Aaron Swartz, who undertook similar projects, everything seemed to hit home a little harder than it would have otherwise. 

  • New Year's Resolution: 5 Books A Week

    I’m not normally a New Year’s Resolution kind of person - in fact, I told my roommate that this year I would resolve to wash the dishes on Jan. 1st and call it a day. I did that, but then I stumbled upon a Slate article where the author undertook to read a book a day for a year. 

  • “I need to read your shirt” - a mild story of TSA annoyance

    I went through airport security at Boston Logan last week. I usually don’t run into a ton of problems when I go through security – I take my shoes off, smuggle my toothpaste through, and keep my head down.

  • How to Team Problem Solve Right: Advice from the Theater

    As anyone who was in Ideas for A Better Internet last year knows, interdisciplinary problem-solving is a current academic fad. The basic idea is that the inclusion of people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise will lead to better solutions.  This isn’t wrong, of course – a team with varied expertise is probably better equipped to come to good solutions than one made up of people who all do the same thing.  

  • Bullkitten: Filtering Profanity on Forums

    I presented a series of case studies on game developers’ interventions to reduce abuse/trashtalk/player harassment in online games on Tuesday. This was one of them. (Warning: This post contains no pictures of actual kittens.)

  • "Virtual Reality": Presented Almost Without Comment

    Boing Boing linked to a truly cringe-worthy CNN piece on an EVE player who got buff called “Virtual Reality: Avatar inspires gamer to hit the gym.”

  • Gender, Healing and Guild Wars 2: A Study Design

    On Sunday, I posted a summary of my thoughts on some research that discussed whether people playing female avatars healed more than people playing male avatars.

  • “Do Men Put On Drag to Heal?”: Gender Performance, Healing and MMOs

    MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars have a long history of gender-based conflict and scholarship. There’s an abundance of early literature that talks about male players playing as female characters, and the various issues of appropriation and harassment they raised.  More recent dustups have focused on the armor of female PCs, and how realistic or unrealistic it is – the “chain mail bikini” problem.  (The photo, from Borderhouse Blog, depicts the same armor on a male and female WoW avatar.) 

    Male and Female Night Elf in Pants

  • Consuming News

    People consume news in very different ways. Not rocket science. That’s why there are a thousand different online services and platforms that deal with making content exist in the format/time/space/place you want it in. However, I’m going to suggest a corollary that is just as obvious but not yet solved: people have different requirements for news format, length and readability on a day-to-day basis. News routines don’t always work.

  • Code as Good Samaritan Law: Reflections on Rezzing in Guild Wars 2

    This is where I earn the L33t Speak portion of the blog name. Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 is a MMORPG (pronounced ma-more-pa-gah, just ask Yahtzee), or massive multiplayer online role playing game. Basically, it’s like World of Warcraft. However, Guild Wars 2 has done a bunch of things that I think will fundamentally change the genre from the funk that it has been in since WoW became the game to compete with. Those changes have made me reflect on how a couple of code tweaks can totally change the way people play a game and relate to other players. 

  • Some Quick Book Reviews

    So I was on vacation recently - and I used that time to catch up on some books I’d been meaning to read. Hence, some opinions.

    Reamde
    What is it: I know it came out a year ago, but I finally got around to reading Neal Stephenson’s Reamde. It’s more than 900 pages long, and the title (and central theme) involves some gold farming exploits in a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online roleplaying game, like World of Warcraft) called T’Rain. The main characters get caught up in some ridiculous intrigue and antics as a result of the goldfarming, including getting captured by terrorists and (almost) stuck in China.

    Should you read it: If you like Cryptonomicon, yes. If you like Snowcrash, maybe. If you were a bigger fan of Diamond Age or Anathem, you might skip it. If you have some categorical desire to read everything Stephenson ever wrote (like me), you were going to read it anyway.

    The key part is that it’s barely science fiction. Most of the things that exist in the world of the book are things that could exist now, so it lacks the showstopping big ideas of previous books. Most of the interesting MMORPG concepts come in the first couple hundred pages. After that, Stephenson chooses to spend quite a bit of time geeking out over guns - the last third of the book reads like a spy thriller with lots of shooting and very little traditional sci-fi geekery.

    Delusions of Gender
    What is it: Cordelia Fine does an amazing job summarizing the current literature that shows differences (or lack there of) between genders. It’s meant for a lay audience, so even the portions that go in-depth on neuroscience concepts are approachable. In many ways, this was a book I’ve always wanted to have access to for those pesky fights about gender differences, so I’m glad I found it. The sections on stereotype threat should be required reading for everyone who works in STEM fields.

    Should you read it: Definitely. Highly recommended if you’re interested in how studies and science work, or interested in perceptions of gender. Still worth a read for everyone else too. I wish the author hadn’t fallen into the common female author trope of talking about her husband and her relationship, but the book is so excellent overall that I’m willing to forgive it.

    The Gift of Fear
    What is it: A pop psych book by Gavin de Becker, an expert on abuse and violent behavior. The basic premise is that we all have instincts that tell us when something is about to go wrong or when people’s behavior doesn’t track with our experiences, and learning to recognize those can protect you. I ended up reading this book because it’s often recommended in the femo-sphere, on blogs like Captain Awkward.

    Should you read it: Eh, probably not. It reads like de Becker is selling you a product, for example, his consulting firm, and thus sounds like Art Smith on Top Chef Masters (loaded with references to famous clients). de Becker’s thesis also leads to lots of victim-blaming, or stuff that sounds a lot like it. Since we all have instincts that allows us to protect ourselves, those who ended up abused or injured clearly weren’t listening to their instincts hard enough. It’s not particularly enjoyable or fun, although it goes pretty fast.

    Some Remarks
    What is it: More Neal Stephenson! Some Remarks is a collection of Neal Stephenson’s non-fiction pieces, mostly already published elsewhere. It includes an interview he did with Slashdot, the Wired piece Mother Earth Mother Board, and some speeches.

    Should you read it: YES YES YES. Neal Stephenson freed from having to pretend he cares about character and plot structure = awesome. There’s a lot of powerful ideas and interesting structures and classifications. In particular, Mother Earth Mother Board is great.

    Okay, so you don’t actually need to buy this book - a lot of the stuff in it is freely available online, as linked to above. However, if you like paper, or if you want to have everything collected for you, Some Remarks is kind of nice.

  • HTTPS By Default: How Facebook Could Help Human Rights

    It is not news that Facebook has some image issues when it comes to protecting human rights. Its real name policy being enforced in an inconsistent way can create huge problems for activists and its privacy settings changes can result in data becoming public in a way that allows for identification of underground activist networks, to name two of many critiques made persuasively elsewhere

  • How to (not) Read Terms of Service

    People are bad at reading Terms of Service. Of course, most people don’t read Terms of Service, and that’s one form of being bad at it, but there’s also another – people interpret statements of what companies do as equivalent to Terms of Service, and Terms of Service as equivalent to what companies do.

  • Judge Posner drafted this opinion, which means that (as usual for him) it reads like a barely edited first-draft. As usual for Seventh Circuit opinions, it makes a number of questionable and undefended offline analogies, makes assumptions about factual questions that could/should be remanded to the district court, barely engages with or cites to other legal precedent, raises and addresses issues that the litigants never raised, and is filled with gratuitous digressions (e.g., an uncomfortable discussion that gay ethnic pornography might be illegal, a contention neither party advanced; and an odd discussion about the reputational capital benefits of sharing content).

    Judge Posner drafted this opinion, which means that (as usual for him) it reads like a barely edited first-draft. As usual for Seventh Circuit opinions, it makes a number of questionable and undefended offline analogies, makes assumptions about factual questions that could/should be remanded to the district court, barely engages with or cites to other legal precedent, raises and addresses issues that the litigants never raised, and is filled with gratuitous digressions (e.g., an uncomfortable discussion that gay ethnic pornography might be illegal, a contention neither party advanced; and an odd discussion about the reputational capital benefits of sharing content).

  • Some thoughts on Flava Works v. Gunter

    So an opinion came out of the 7th Circuit yesterday on whether embedding video was a form of copyright infringement. Flava Works was a porn company that had its materials behind a paywall, and myVidster was a bookmarking site that allowed users to embed said material without running into the paywall. Since the 7th Circuit doesn’t allow you to permanently link to a PDF, I’m linking to my copy, complete with creative title.

  • Feminist Intellectual Property?

    I’ve been sitting in on some sessions reviewing important cases in Criminal Law and Intellectual Property this summer. I’m struck by a number of the differences between the fields, unsurprisingly, but the one that popped out at me today was that Criminal Law is full of women. The victims, the accused, the examples – these cases have women in them.

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