Archive | Self-indulgent Academic Rumination

Suggestions for your periodical reading list

Although on-line reading continues to grow, many people still enjoy old-fashioned printed periodicals. In the spirit of gratuitous advice, here are some suggestions for print subscriptions.

First of all, if you’re conscientious about registering for the frequent flyer program every time you step on an airplane, you may accumulate a few thousand points on various airlines which you fly only occasionally. You’ll never get to the level of a free ticket, but the points expire if you don’t use them. So use them for magazine subscriptions. I’ve been enjoying the daily Wall Street Journal that way for several years, and have used low-level points for dozens of other year-long or half-year subscriptions over the past decades.

Second, there’s a lot to be said for trying many different periodicals with one-time subscriptions. You may find a magazine that becomes indispensable for you (as The New Republic was for me, for about 15 years), but just reading something for a year or a half-year can broaden your knowledge, and then you can move on to something else.

Some category recommendations:

Newsweeklies: Back in the olden days of the 1970s, these were truly great. Then, the daily New York Times wasn’t available outside of the New York area, and the Wall Street Journal was sparse on non-business news. Time and Newsweek, and to a lesser extent U.S. News & World Report, provided in-depth, thoroughly-reported stories of the major issue of the week, the deep inside of presidential campaigns, and so on. These days, it’s hard to make a case for reading the remnants of those once-important magazines.

The Economist is still probably the most influential periodical in the world. If you read its U.S. coverage, you’ll quickly discover that the analysis is not nearly so sharp and insightful as the omniscient [...]

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Computer Crime Law as an Academic Field: Ten Years Later

Author’s Note: This post is a self-indulgent academic rumination about the area of law in which I do a lot of writing. I don’t know how many readers will be interested, but it’s probably not that many. So feel free to skip.

Around a decade ago, when I first went on the teaching market, one of my ideas was to help establish computer crime law as an academic field. My thinking at the time was that the role of computers in crime and criminal investigations was likely to be a major focus of attention in criminal law scholarship in my lifetime. Strangely, few if any people were writing in the area, so the field seemed wide open. And having spent a few years practicing in the area at DOJ already, I had the advantage of a head start. So I decided that I would try to spend a chunk of my academic efforts helping the field come into being.

A decade later, I’ve been reflecting on how the field has developed.   There are different criteria that could be used, but here I want to pick just one:  its importance as an academic subject of study.  On the whole, the results have been mixed. [...]

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