[SIGCIS-Members] “Please Read the Article”? Please Cite Women Academics.

Ceruzzi, Paul CeruzziP at si.edu
Thu Feb 25 11:23:43 PST 2016

I’ve been reading this discussion with great interest. I hope people don’t mind if I go off track and share some impressions I have of the film War Games as it related to my own work.

The first is that you can see from the photo that Matthew Broderick is hacking into NORAD through an IMSAI 8080 computer. The IMSAI was basically a clone of the Altair, only with a decent power supply. The few Altairs that I ever saw in use typically had an external power supply bolted on, as the original power supply was not up to the demands placed on it. If indeed he could hack into NORAD with an 8-bit IMSAI, that was a heck-of-a programming job!

After the movie came out, Ed Fredkin, a Cambridge, Mass. computer pioneer, told me that his colleagues would come up to him and say, “I am so sorry to hear about your son.” People thought that he was the inspiration for Prof. Falken, since Fredkin owned an island. But Fredkin never lost a son, he was not a recluse but quite accessible, and it is much more likely that Claude Shannon, not Fredkin, was the inspiration for Falken (note the scene where Broderick goes to the library & looks up a cover story of a Scientific American article—Shannon published just such an cover story, on mazes, I think). Shannon was a bit of a recluse.

I had to order Schulte’s paper from Interlibrary Loans, so I haven’t had a chance yet to read it.
However, in the abstract, she talks about the “internet” in War Games. Is that right? I don’t recall Broderick using the “internet” to hack into NORAD, but I could have missed it. In 1984, with the IMSAI, he probably did not have internet access. Of course, there’s the internet, and there’s the “Internet.” See Quarterman’s book on “The Matrix” for more on this.

I am having your blog post forwarded to Larry Lasker, through a mutual friend. Let’s see if he responds!

As I said, I do not mean to ignore the important issues brought up by Meryl & others. It was just that reading about War Games brought back a flood of memories of the 8-bit world in those days.

Paul Ceruzzi

Paul Ceruzzi
ceruzzip at si.edu<mailto:ceruzzip at si.edu>

From: Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Meryl Alper
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 2:42 PM
To: members at lists.sigcis.org
Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] “Please Read the Article”? Please Cite Women Academics.

Hi all,

Over the weekend, journalist Fred Kaplan published an article in the New York Times, entitled "'WarGames' and Cybersecurity's Debt to a Hollywood Hack" (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/movies/wargames-and-cybersecuritys-debt-to-a-hollywood-hack.html?_r=0).

The core argument -- that WarGames culturally influenced the Reagan administration's cyberpolicy -- sounded a great deal like communication scholar Stephanie Ricker Schulte's work.  When I brought this reference to Kaplan's attention on Twitter, he was super dismissive and minced my words.  So, naturally, I wrote a blog post about the incident, situating it within a broader trend of tech journalists (mostly men) minimizing the work of academics (mostly women), and capitalizing on this sin of omission in promoting their own books and other works:  https://merylalper.com/2016/02/22/please-read-the-article-please-cite-women-academics/

I'm really interested to know the thoughts of this community, both as one that knows the history of cyber law/policy inside and out, but one with many members committed to egalitarian principles.


Meryl Alper
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Studies
Northeastern University
Holmes 217
m.alper at neu.edu<mailto:m.alper at neu.edu>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20160225/8a58ed3c/attachment.htm>

More information about the Members mailing list