model wins right to sue anonymous blogger who maligned her

Model Liskula Cohen was defamed online by an anonymous blogger. She recently won the right to force Google to reveal the identity of the blogger that had been criticizing her online.

Model Liskula Cohen was defamed online by an anonymous blogger. She recently won the right to force Google to reveal the identity of the blogger that had been criticizing her online.

now here’s something that i’ve been following very quietly for a while:

In a case with potentially far-reaching repercussions, Liskula Cohen sought the identity of the blogger who maligned her on the Skanks in NYC blog so that she could sue him or her for defamation.

A Manhattan supreme court judge ruled that she was entitled to the information and ordered Google, which ran the offending blog, to turn it over.

as many of you know, i and other dead sea scrolls scholars have been the target of a well-organized, well-timed, two-year long smear campaign perpetrated by raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental institute ludwig rosenberger professor of jewish history and civilization, dr. norman golb. the campaign centered around a series of over 80 aliases used by raphael golb to malign many scholars that study the scrolls and disagree with norman golb. i chronicled the campaign in detail before turning my findings over to the new york county district attorney’s office. on march 5, 2009, the manhattan da’s office executed a search warrant for golb’s residence and he was arrested,

on charges of identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment. The crimes in the Criminal Court Complaint occurred during the period of July to December of 2008.

you can follow the criminal proceedings against golb on the new york state unified courts system ecourts website.

golb’s attorney insists this is a ‘first amendment case.’

we, the targets of this campaign, are awaiting the conclusion of the criminal case against golb. this manhattan supreme court ruling may come into play during the criminal investigation because golb used multiple aliases to set up several blogs in order to criticize his father’s perceived rivals anonymously. this ruling may assist the manhattan da’s office, who are coincidentally the same ones prosecuting golb, in ordering several online forums like blogs and crowd powered news sites to turn over the identities of aliases who use the services to defame others openly.

and while this ruling may assist in the criminal case, i’m betting it will do far more for the civil cases that are patiently awaiting the resolution of the criminal case against norman golb’s son, raphael, any who informed and collaborated with him, and their employers.

== update ==

now, the *woman* who was trashing cohen is upset that google outed her. probably because she’s about to get sued for defamation.

maureen dowd: “Stung by the Perfect Sting

israeli archaeologists upset after being ‘excluded’ from conference on palestinian archaeology

Hishams palace is one of many important archaeological sites in the West Bank. (source: wikimedia commons)

Hisham's palace is one of many important archaeological sites in the West Bank. (source: wikimedia commons)

now here’s a turn of events.

apparently, several israeli archaeologists, including uzi dahari, the vice-director for archaeology with the israel antiquities authority (iaa), felt they were not invited to the archaeological conference entitled ‘overcoming structural violence’ in ramallah.


Senior Israeli archaeologists have accused conference organizers of including only speakers who presented Palestinian points of view. But Claire Smith, president of the World Archaeological Congress (WAC), the organization that sponsored the conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, says Israelis were not deliberately excluded.

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obama may need that ‘reset’ button again – for healthcare

The "Reset Button" given by U.S. Secretary of State Hiullary Clinton to Russian Foreign Minister Dmitri Larov to symbolize the "resetting" of U.S.-Russian relations. The Russian word "Peregruzka" printed on the button actually means "overcharged" or "overload," not "reset."

The "Reset Button" given by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larov to symbolize the "resetting" of U.S.-Russian relations. The Russian word "peregruzka" printed on the button actually means "overcharged" or "overload," not "reset."

president obama waved the white flag yesterday, basically signaling the end of the ‘public option’ for healthcare. this is precisely why he wanted the vote to take place in congress before the august recess: he can’t control congress when they’re back in their districts listening to the people (and the lobbyists). so while the bush administration was often heavy-handed with its handling of congress, president obama has the opposite problem: he can’t get even his most important ideas through a house and senate that his own party controls.

first, president obama pulled the plug on the website, where citizens could report instances of individuals and websites making claims that the white house thought were ‘fishy’ (essentially anything that criticized the president’s healthcare overhaul). this was seen by many as the beginnings of an ‘enemies list,’ which wouldn’t have been the first, but would have been the first such white house sponsored, publicly nominated list.

now, with the president’s own administration (in the person of health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius)  conceding that the ‘public option’ is not a necessary part of the healthcare overhaul, and with blue dog democrats quickly responding, ‘now, that’s not a bad idea,’ the entire healthcare ‘overhaul’ appears to becoming little more than shuffling the deck by adding some new regulations and oversight rather than re-dealing from a fresh deck.

so maybe it’s time that obama recalled that ‘reset’ button that secretary of state clinton infamously gave to russian foreign minister sergei lavrov, and allowed the button to realize its full, denotative potential. indeed, given the estimated cost of the proposed healthcare public option, there would be no better word to describe it than ‘peregruzka‘- overcharged.

ucla’s arts library to be eliminated

UCLA Arts Library

UCLA Arts Library

i heard about this yesterday through the grapevine, but it was confirmed today. the ucla arts library is going to be eliminated and integrated into other ucla libraries. according to the plan, the volumes will still be housed at ucla’s westwood campus, but within other libraries. this is yet another victim of the california budget cuts.

this is unfortunate because the arts library is a wonderful space to research the arts and it’s a great place to study. however, it’s not as if the library’s volumes are disappearing; the volumes will still be at ucla. it’s inconvenient and not ideal, but these are desperate times.

(and for the record: the photo shown in the la times article is *not* a picture of the arts library, but of the historic powell library. there is no plan to shut down the powell library, which is a part of the extensive ucla library system.

the real question is: who is going to get this coveted space (which is adjacent to the center for digital humanities in the public affairs building)?


see the letter to gary strong, university librarian from a group claiming to be ‘instructors—at ucla and beyond—in the arts, architecture, art history, film, television, theater and the humanities.’

brad lidge studying biblical archaeology

Brad Lidge celebrates a World Series victory with the Phillies

Brad Lidge celebrates a World Series victory with the Phillies

reports are that philadelphia phillies’ closer brad lidge is studying for a degree in biblical archaeology.

Lidge is studying online for a degree in it from Regis University, a Jesuit college in Denver, Colo.

i like brad lidge. he seems like a nice enough guy. as a former baseball player, i can appreciate a man that wants to prepare for life after baseball. and as one who travels to a new town every night, i can’t begrudge someone who is taking online courses from regis university. those of us with advanced degrees from major universities may me tempted to look down on him, but i applaud him for being interested in education and trying to better himself while he makes a living as a professional athlete. it is certainly better than dog fighting, drunk driving, or shooting yourself in the leg.

now because he is a pitcher, i’m guessing they started him in the introductory courses (which are probably taught by catchers ;- ). and as a former catcher, who has successfully transitioned into life as an archaeologist, i’d like to offer mr. lidge some advice about the differences between baseball and archaeology:

  • you no longer have to dig the dirt out with your cleats. you may now use a trowel.
  • ‘dig dig dig’ no longer means ‘run quickly.’ dig means dig. when doing archaeology in israel, the proper way to say ‘run quickly’ is, ‘holy sh!t! hezbullah is bombing us again. yallah! yallah! yallah!’
  • a balk is no longer a bad thing, in fact, a well-trimmed balk is a great source of much pride.
  • sledge handles are just like baseball bats: if you jam yourself when you swing, they will break.
  • the flight from los angeles to new york is exactly the same as the flight from los angeles to tel aviv: kosher food, heavy security, and few people speak english on arrival. no difference.
  • dugout humor is just as raunchy as square humor, except girls are telling the dirty jokes.
  • unlike baseball, where the radar measures the speed of a pitch, radar in archaeology measures what’s under the ground.
  • a pick off is no longer an attempt to get the runner at first base out. it means the head of your pick has fallen off, probably because the four nails you drove into the handle with a piece of basalt are bent and rusted out.
  • baseball is a game of inches; archaeology is a game of centimeters.
  • like baseball, you must always wear your hat and gloves.
  • like baseball, if you don’t get dirty, you didn’t put in a full day’s work.

so kudos to brad lidge for beginning his biblical archaeology degree while he is still making millions as a ball player. maybe next year, the jaffa cultural heritage project will get a baseball-related sponsor: the red man tobacco excavations at jaffa.

and if you need a tutor in your studies, i’m here to help. if i can help internationally acclaimed movie star and devout catholic nicole kidman with her biblical studies, then i can help you, mr. lidge, transition from baseball to archaeology.

(here’s some extra credit: can anyone come up with more similarities between baseball and archaeology? if so, put them in the comments box below.)

new free biblical hebrew textbook available online

Ruth 1 from the Aleppo Codex

Ruth 1 from the Aleppo Codex

john a. cook and robert d. holmstedt have made available online their new biblical hebrew textbook entitled, ‘biblical hebrew: a student grammar‘ for free. available as a simple .pdf download, the book appears at first glance to be a well organized introduction to biblical hebrew. because it was developed with online dissemination in mind, the book integrates several pedagogical techniques (like digitally marking up texts and apparatuses for clearer explanation) that are not found in older, classical hebrew textbooks. releasing the book for free online will guarantee greater exposure and therefore better adoption than publishing a bound paper volume alone. likewise, the digital format will allow for quicker corrections to any typographical errors that can then be integrated into the text itself, which is superior to a separate, printed errata sheet tucked inside the front cover of a printed volume.

for those of you that always wanted to learn hebrew, this is a great opportunity. thank you to drs. cook and holmstedt for the effort and for making it available for free online.

ucla experiential technologies center unveils qumran visualization portal page

Dr. Robert R. Cargill in Qumran Interview Video for the UCLA ETC

Dr. Robert R. Cargill in Qumran Interview Video for the UCLA ETC

the ucla experiential technologies center has produced a new website for its virtual modeling research projects. among the digital reconstruction projects are the egyptian site of karnak,  santiago de compostela, and of course everyone’s favorite, qumran, the site associated with the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. each site comes complete with a description of the project, the principal modelers and research team, and a short movie introducing the research project.

for more information regarding the etc,including a complete listing of the research technologies available to researchers, visit

the university of california and jstor team up



Seal of the University of California

Seal of the University of California

a brief article in the chronicle of higher education by jennifer howard today revealed that the university of california and jstor have joined forces to provide seamless access to journals published by the california press.

The venture, called the Current Scholarship Program,will debut in 2011. It aims to provide a more cost-effective way for libraries and end users to have “seamless access” to all current content from the scholarly journals published by the California press, including those from scholarly associations.

you can read the original press release here.

google’s caffeine spells further trouble for microsoft and bing

Google Caffeine

Google Caffeine

now that microsoft has purchased taken over partnered with yahoo, it is google’s move. i had commented earlier that google’s venture into the pc operating system business would mean temporary salvation for flailing yahoo, and this has come to pass with the partnership with microsoft. then again, this was expected. microsoft’s partnership with yahoo means google must now step up its game. the fact that they knew this was coming were prepared for this partnership was made manifest by their announcement of ‘caffeine’: the next generation of google search technology. google’s quick response to microsoft’s long and labored with partnership negotiations with yahoo reveals that google is holding all the cards and driving the development of the web-based communication services we use.

the article states:

Basically Google engineers are re-writing the foundation code of their search engine infrastructure. The Caffeine preview is meant for developers to test search page powered with same Google search engine. This infrastructural change will be the foundation for the future indexing changes that will take place in Google s search engine to speed up website. By speed, the next-generation architecture would be focused on offering real-time search results.

real-time searches? wow! that is fast. and the timing of it will make microsoft’s bing obsolete before it is fully adopted by the public.

this is one strategic area where google (and apple for the matter) is superior to microsoft. while microsoft produces new software, tests it, tweaks it, and then launches it with much fanfare (only to watch it bomb like vista), google develops a simple version of a much-demanded software and soft launches it as a beta to an open development community. this not only allows new ideas and innovation to be integrated into google’s existing products in development, but gives google users a sense of ownership in the forthcoming product. everyone likes to say, ‘i helped with that,’ or ‘i already use that’ whenever something new is released. google understands this and exploits it like no other. google then tweaks the live product, instead of holding the product back until it is supposedly ‘perfected.’

in the rapidly changing world of technology, you’ve got to be ahead of the competition not only in innovation and development, but in release to the public. google has perfected this; they wait to announce new product offerings on the heels of their competition’s announcements, essentially drafting off of their competition’s expensive press release campaigns and taking the wind out of their sails all in one swift motion. there is nothing more frustrating than working for years on a new product, ramping up the release, and spending time and money and releasing it to the public, only to have someone else announce something better a week later. microsoft is learning this the hard way.

and if you haven’t yet seen this classic video, this is why i use mac and google.

‘out of egypt’ starring ucla’s kara cooney premiers on discovery august 24, 2009

Kara Cooney hosts Discoverys new show, Out of Egypt

Kara Cooney hosts Discovery's new show, 'Out of Egypt'

mark your calendars! ucla egyptologist kara cooney’s new show, out of egypt, is premiering on discovery august 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm.  dr. cooney is brilliant, funny, and well spoken. in fact, i’m not the only one saying so:

Cooney’s perspective appears to be a winning one. The June 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly counted “Out of Egypt” among the “14 TV shows we can’t wait to see.” It has also gotten a thumbs-up from Daily Variety.

if you’re looking for factual information on ancient egypt, debunking, and a glimpse into the fascinating beauty of the ancient world, don’t miss ‘out of egypt’ starring kara cooney on discovery this fall.

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