Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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IEET > J. Hughes

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Ashley X, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, XING and Bald Women

Posted: Jan 12, 2007

Its been a crazy ten days here at the IEET as our site traffic soared after the Ashley X story broke loose.

George was fielding calls from all over the world since he was the only bioethicist cited by Ashley’s parents in their 9000-word defense of their treatment decisions. The phone started to ring off the hook at the IEET as well, leading to my appearing on CNN twice (Nancy Grace and Paula Zahn), Sky TV in the UK, and even Al Jazeera TV. Most bioethicists were understandably cowed by the intense yuck-factor reactions and predictably histrionic “eugenics” denunciations from the disability extremists and Christian Right.  Even good-guy Art Caplan gave into the yuck side and joined with Wesley J. Smith and the biocons in insisting that this was a slippery slope, etc. etc.

However our internal conversations were by no means consensual. IEET intern and soon-to-be WTA Board of Director member Anne Corwin has long been involved in disability issues around neurodiversity, and so contributed some much appreciated insights into the concerns of disability activists.

Site Traffic.
As a consequence of the Ashley debate our site traffic tripled there for a while, which led me to check our server statistics more often than usual. Traffic has tapering back down with the story, but I share here the always puzzling terms that drive search engine traffic to us, with links to the relevant articles:

robert anton wilson
ashley x, ashley, ashley treatment, pillow angel
bald women
emory university coca cola protest november
changesurfer radio

Another observation about our site traffic. Until November Google was the principal referrer to the IEET. But in the last six weeks Stumbleupon has shot to the top of the referrer list. I signed up for stumbleupon - a meta-tagging tool for webpages and site - and find that it is incredibly addictive. Its delicious meets “shuffle” meets Google’s “I feel lucky.”  Its also incredibly addictive.  I think it’s a good sign that so many people are tagging our site
and articles, and thereby driving traffic to us. I also have added all the other tagging links at the bottom of your articles
by the way - delicious, spurl, magnolia, reddit, newsvine - so if you are the tagging type, tag away.

Social Networking. We’d also like to start exploiting some of the potential of the social networking sites for expanding the visibility of the IEET, and promoting work and business oriented networking for our members.  We’re focusing on two sites, LinkedIn and XING, for now. A number of the principals and friends of the IEET are already in Linkedin, a US-based free business networking site - with additional premium levels of course - where you list your employments, skills, what kind of job you are looking for if you are looking and so on.  If you are interested in getting linkedin to the IEET network, (a) join Linkedin, and (b) email me (director at or Marcelo (mrinesi at for a connection.

For the IEET fellows, and the sustainer and supporters of the Network for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (NEET), we are using a newer and more dynamic social networking tool, XING. XING is a European version of LinkedIn, except with more free services including a Groups feature.  XING has generated a lot of interest and has been selected by many universities and organizations to run their network. If you’d like to be part of the NEET in XING, (a) become a supporter or sustainer of the NEET, (b) join XING, and (c) email me (director @

Finally, the fellows and staff are also in the midst of a very interesting mission/vision discussion, leading to an ongoing internal poll as to some suggested new slogans. Hopefully we’ll have an announcement about all that next week.

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The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @