IEEE SSIT Newsletter: Volume 10. Issue 1. Spring 2012
2011 Board of Governors Meeting
Next SSIT Board of Governors (BoG) meeting will be held on Saturday July 28, 10:00am - 3:00pm
The IEEE Conference on Technology and Society in Asia 2012, incorporating SSIT’s International Symposium on Technology and Society 2012 (ISTAS 2012) will be held in Singapore on 27, 28 and 29 October 2012. The conference will focus on social aspects of technology in Asia, including issues of development, sustainability, ethics, gender, quality, and the role of engineers and other technologists in meeting these societal challenges.
The conference will, among other things, mark the 40th anniversary of SSIT
Plans for the conference are confirmed, with papers currently being accepted via implementation of the Easychair system. Along with SSIT, financial sponsors are IEEE Singapore and IEEE Victorian Section (Australia) Additional Technical sponsors are IEEE India Council, IEEE China Council, SSIT Japan and SSIT Australia. The lead up to the conference is an exciting time, with conference attendees privileged to be in the company of high profile key note speakers for the event: NR Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Ltd; Professor Kenkichi Hirose, Tokai Institute of Global Education and Research and Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office on the Fukushima nuclear accident; and Michael Gurstein, Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training (CCIRDT), Vancouver.
If you want to catch up with a hundred or so other people enthusiastic to network around issues of importance to SSIT, this is one conference you won’t want to miss!
Full papers (peer-review and professional tracks): 31 May 2012
Notice of acceptance: 30 June 2012
Camera copy deadline: 31 July 2012
By Sophie McKenzie, Acting Secretary, SSIT Australia
IEEE Technology & Society guest introduction: The first issue of T&S for 2012 included a message from the Membership Committee chair to get involved in helping expand awareness of SSIT. This has already resulted in multiple responses from members interested in knowing how to get more involved.
Outreach work. SSIT is actively seeking opportunities to present its work to a wider IEEE audience. As a first step, IEEE Technology & Society editor Katina Michael pulled together a 20-page section for the Proceedings of the IEEE special 100 years anniversary issue (May 2012). If you are aware of any similar opportunities in your geography or society, please let me know. All we need is an introduction to the right person, and we will follow up with an appropriate plan (journal section, special issue, conference panel, or other activity).
Working with IEEE Membership Services: IEEE organises a range of services around membership, including reminder letters, special offers to IEEE members interested in SSIT subjects but not members, and welcome letters to members who join. The Membership Committee has prepared four such letters to be sent out to targeted audiences in May 2012.
For further information or offers of assistance, please contact g.adamson(at)ieee.org.
By Greg Adamson (Australia): Membership Committee Chair
Important Information about Supporting SSIT (SSIT members may find of interest, and could benefit SSIT's fiscal situation as well)
from Jim Issak, Member, Board of Governors, IEEE SSIT
“So, this year I qualified for the IEEE retirement dues renewal rate, which is half of the normal amounts for IEEE, WIE and my society memberships. I'm never one to turn down a bargain, even if I don't need to save the money. Knowing that SSIT is running a small deficit I've been trying to find a way to "Donate" to directly support SSIT operations. I also know that SSIT has many life members and no doubt some half rate members (that did not say half adzed*) like me and so I figured I'd share my findings with you-all.
First, the IEEE Foundation, including the Life Member Fund typically does not support operating expenses, so is not a good candidate for my objectives. For some time, there was not a clear path where IEEE could accept donations (a rather odd situation for a 501(c)3 organization) but that seems to have been cleared, and now it can be done. Finally, since IEEE units work on an explicit fiscal year structure, donations in the Nov/Dec timeframe are not useful with respect to the next year’s operating expenses. So, thanks to Karen Galuchie in the planned giving department, I now know that a check, soon after Jan.1st will do the trick. Here is the key information she provided:
Attn: Karen Galuchie
445 Hoes Lane; Piscataway, NJ 08854
made payable made to IEEE designated to SSIT:
Pay to IEEE
Memo: "For 2012 SSIT operations"
This should do the trick and this is what I plan on doing.
Should SSIT wish to solicit donations to support operations, this would need to be approved by the IEEE Board of Directors -- which may make sense over time. But even if we are not soliciting donations, we should understand that it is possible for individuals to make them, and how they can do it.
The other course of action I have taken is to opt for the Electronic version of Technology and Society ... which should save SSIT a bit of money as well. This can be done via my MyIEEE web site in the area for selecting products and services. I know SSIT is looking at going all-electronic distribution in the future as a way to cut costs -- although until I obtained a Tablet (Android type) I felt it would not be convenient to read T&S in my usual location (don't ask, and it's true for all of my technical publications, no reflection on SSIT.)
* For those who thought the term for a partially done task was "half-assed" be informed: the correct term is half-adzed. An adz is used to get a smooth finish on a large piece of wood such as a beam and often one side does not need to be finished, so it remains half-adzed. So this is not as pejorative as it might sound, or as it occurs in contemporary usage.
SSIT now has 15 chapters worldwide, and growing! We welcome our newest chapter, the Connecticut joint chapter of
The Australia Chapter, chaired by Greg Adamson (also an SSIT Board Member), was the most active in 2011 with
For a listing of the SSIT chapters, with contact information and links to chapter web sites, visit
For chapter resources or information on starting a new SSIT chapter, contact Emily Anesta eanesta(at)ieee.org .
It is requested to send reports on the activities/events organized by your SSIT chapter. This will help our readers
SSIT Australia has a big year planned for 2012 with involvement in the Technology and Society in Asia (T&SA) conference (http://www.TechnologyandSocietyinAsia.org/) to be held in Singapore on the 27th to the 29th of October (see separate article in this newsletter), as well as the continued planning of the conference "Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century" to be held in Boston (http://www.21stcenturywiener.org) celebrating his life and work on the 50th anniversary of his death. A monthly newsletter on "Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century" can be found on the web site. Nomination of a key event in his is under consideration for nomination as an IEEE Milestone. Several of Wiener’s colleagues and friends have expressed their interest and delight in the conference.
Other activities within SSIT Australia in 2012 include a number of technical meetings planned for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Our membership in SSIT continues to expand, with inclusion of new members (particularly student members) in our discussions of activities. Social Media such as Facebook and twitter is being employed to help advertise and expand the number of people attend our events.
By Greg Adamson, Chair, SSIT Australia
SSIT Boston Chapter
The SSIT Boston Chapter organized a talk on ‘The Tor Project: Anonymity on the Internet’ by Andrew Lewman on the March 19th 2012. Andrew Lewman is the Executive Director of The Tor Project, a non-profit organization providing research and free software that protects your online privacy and anonymity. Lewman manages The Tor Project's business operations, customer support, law enforcement liason, and advocacy activities while also serving on its board of directors.
Tor, "the onion router," allows people to achieve anonymity online, improve their security, and share data over public networks while maintaining their privacy. Tor is used by activists and whistleblowers to avoid internet surveillance, by law enforcement and intelligence services for open source intelligence gathering, and by ordinary people to connect to news sites and other online services that are blocked by their internet service providers. Andrew Lewman, explained the basics of how Tor works and trace the history of the Tor network from its origins at the Naval Research Laboratory to ongoing research and development of privacy tools.
The talk was well attended and broke chapter meeting attendance records with 47 attendees. Ten members joined the speaker for dinner afterwards.
By Jim Ernstmeyer, SSIT Boston Chapter Chair
IEEE-SSIT on LinkedIn:
IEEE-SSIT is on LinkedIn! Interesting SSIT discussions on the LinkedIn site are on-going and currently there are 604 SSIT members connected to the LinkedIn site.
The IEEE-SSIT LinkedIn site has now been switched to an open discussion group. All future discussions will be fully visible, searchable, and shareable on the Web. All past discussions are now closed in a members-only archive. We look forward to our future discussions now joining the broader conversation of the wider Web.
The Social Interface, a blog sponsored by IEEE-SSIT Australian chapter and Young Lawyers Communications, Entertainment and Technology Law Committee, started operations in September 2011. The blog aims to connect those thinking and writing about technology with those who design it and those who use it. Thus far, we have hosted posts on a broad array of topics including e-democracy, social media and überveillance and a broad array of technologies including smartphones, 3D printing and even the humble light bulb.
We hope that the blog will be of broad interest to SSIT members, who we invite to sign up to receive the blog by email at www.thesocialinterface.com. We also hope that some SSIT members will join the conversation, either by emailing us at email@example.com with a proposal for a post (approximately 800 words) to feature on the blog, or by making comments on other contributions on the site.
By Sarah Lux and Lyria Bennett Moses (Editors, The Social Interface)
SSIT Announces IEEE Barus Award to Environmental Engineer Marc Edwards
The IEEE-SSIT Carl Barus Award for Outstanding Service in the Public Interest will be presented in 2012 to Marc Edwards, a Civil and Environmental Engineer who worked to expose safety and quality problems in U.S. public drinking water supplies.
SSIT Ethics Committee Chair Steve Unger writes of Mr. Edwards:
“Marc Edwards, in the course of his research on water distribution systems, found that many homes in Washington, DC, were receiving water contaminated with lead to an extent far exceeding acceptable levels. The health of many thousands of people, especially children, was thereby jeopardized. The very agencies whose mission it was to protect the public against such hazards used faulty data and analysis to reject his conclusions and his recommendations for remedial action. Despite a loss of funding, and attacks on his competence, Edwards refused to back down. He probed more deeply into the subject, paying student assistants and other expenses out of his own pocket. His work discredited a defective CDC report that, in effect, encouraged water suppliers all over the nation to underestimate the problem of lead in drinking water.
"For more than a decade, on this project, Marc Edwards demonstrated courageous, persistent, unselfish dedication to the public welfare.
SSIT will present the Barus Award to Marc Edwards at a meeting later this year.
IEEE-SSIT Brian M. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award to be given to Bob Whelchel in 2012
SSIT has just announced that the latest recipient of the IEEE-SSIT Brian M. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award is Prof. Robert J. Whelchel, a Professor Emeritus of Engineering at Trine (formerly Tri-State) University, Angola, IN.
The O’Connell Award is a periodic IEEE-SSIT honor bestowed on a member who has served with particular distinction.
Among other past duties in SSIT, Whelchel has served as Society President, and also served two separate stints as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.
The award will be presented at a future SSIT meeting, and more complete information will appear here and in IEEE T&S Magazine at that time.
Nominations for SSIT Board of Governors
Nominations are being solicited for candidates to stand for election to the SSIT Board of Governors. The three year term will start January 1, 2013. Please note that travel expenses to 3 board meetings yearly are not reimbursed by the society. Nominations or questions can be directed to Karl Perusich at Perusich(at)sbcglobal.net.
2011 IEEE-SSIT Board of Governors:
Please welcome newly elected members Emily Anesta, Jim Isaac and Laura Jacob for three year terms ending in 2014. Following are the elected members-at-large.
2012 S.H. Unger, R.C. Arkin, L. Terman
2013 G. Adamson, J.R. Herkert, B.P. Kjell
2014 E. Anesta, J. Isaac, L. Jacob
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Next issue of SSIT newsletter (Fall 2012) will be published and emailed in the month of September 2012. SSIT brings 3 issues of SSIT newsletter in a year – Winter Issue in January, Spring issue in May and Fall issue in September every year. SSIT invites news, articles, reports etc. to share amongst the members of SSIT all across IEEE for the next issue of the newsletter.
Please offer your comments, suggestions and feedback to make SSIT newsletter more effective and informative. All communication related to SSIT newsletter may please be sent to the newsletter editor: Deepak Mathur at deepakmathur(at)ieee.org.