Privacy in the 21st Century: Cyrus Farivar

Brazos Book Store is a LEAP Ambassador favorite. This cozy book store host a number of events every month and we love making our way to Houston for a fun evening out.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics , Brazos Bookstore, Cyrus Farivar, Habeas Data

Cyrus Farivar is a Senior Tech Policy Reporter at Ars Technica, as well as an author and radio producer. His second book, Habeas Data, is about the U.S. cases over the last 50 years that have had an impact on surveillance and privacy.SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics , Brazos Bookstore, Cyrus Farivar, Habeas Data

During his book talk, he painted a picture of events that unfolded and eventually lead to some of the most important privacy and surveillance case decisions.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics , Brazos Bookstore, Cyrus Farivar, Habeas Data

It was so interesting to hear about a tracking device used to find a meth lab or big and bulky recorders inside of phone booths used to capture illegal gambling and how the placement of such devices, timing, and not having a warrant can all effect whether the evidence was legally obtained.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics , Brazos Bookstore, Cyrus Farivar, Habeas Data

The most interesting part was when Cyrus was reading a excerpt from his book. It was describing the events of a supreme court case that took place 10 years ago where a justice speculated about a future where all vehicles have a GPS. Now, we all carry around GPS systems in the palm of our hands with cell phones.

 

After the interesting book talk, Cyrus signed our books and spoke with usSHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics , Brazos Bookstore, Cyrus Farivar, Habeas Data.

As we made our way to Azuma for dinner, the car was filled with chatter about the surveillance technology and privacy, and this was a discussion we continued at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. 

We love to order family style appetizers and entrees and share so that we can try more food.  We ordered a sample of 10 skewers that included 8 meats and 2 vegetables such as black cod, steak, and peppers.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Azuma

For our main meal, we asked the waiter to give us 5 different of his favorite sushi rolls. He did a great job and we enjoyed the rolls he picked for us.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Azuma

Full from raw fish, rice, and soy sauce, we made our way back to Huntsville.

National Book Awards at SHSU: 2018

by Bianca Saldierna

The National Book Awards Festival returned to Sam Houston State University this April as part of an annual tradition. The NBAF–sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing, and spearheaded by Amanda Nowlin-Obanion–brought three recent NBA finalist and winners to our university.

This year, Lisa Ko, Danez Smith, and Jason Reynolds joined us for a reception and a mainstage reading & discussion which was free and open to the public. Jason Reynolds, a New York Times bestselling author, was the 2016 Finalist in Young People’s Literature for his book Ghost and the 2017 Finalist for his book Long Way Down.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Jason Reynolds

Danez Smith was the 2017 Finalist in poetry for Don’t Call Us Dead. Lisa Ko, was the 2017 Finalist in Fiction for her book The Leavers.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Lisa Ko

The LEAP Ambassadors are always honored to have the opportunity to meet inspiring and talented people such as these authors.

For the reception, Beatriz and I joined the visiting authors and several important and well-known community and university figures such as President Dana Hoyt, Mayor Andy Brauninger, Provost Dick Eglsaer, Vice Provost Mary Robbins, Dean Phillip Lyons, and LEAP’s life-long friends, the Woodwards! Throughout the evening, we enjoyed the delicious finger food and interesting conversations that echoed through the room. Certainly, attending to the reception served us well, as we are a few weeks away from graduation and we needed people who inspired us to live our lives more fully and creatively!

Thank you to the organizers for all their hard work and for giving us the opportunity to attend share an evening with them.

 

Talking History with Stephen Harrigan

by Brian Aldaco

Not long ago, the LEAP Ambassadors traveled to Austin, TX, and interviewed Best Selling Author, Stephen Harrigan, which Michael Foster’s wonderful crew turned into video trailer for Let’s Talk.

Already having a relationship with Harrigan and knowing much about him, we were looking forward to visiting with him again.

The Ambassadors, along with bright students interested in hearing from Mr. Harrigan, gathered at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Holcombe Room. With a wonderful top-floor view of campus, we shared and insightful conversation with Mr. Harrigan. We were familiar with his Texas Historical Fiction works and were already amazed by his writing.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Stephen Harrigan, Gates of the Alamo

However, his latest project had us all captivated; a multi-volume collection of Texas’s History commissioned by UT Press.  The book isn’t yet out–in April he was working on the 1970s and 1980s–but UT Press did release what amounts to a preview of the book, “They Came From the Sky.”

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Stephen Harrigan, Gates of the Alamo, They Came From the Sky

Through our conversation we were granted a glimpse of the amazing stories of our state’s past this new project will include. From comical anecdotes, like Eastland’s Old RIP, to the tragedies that have also shaped Texas, such as Charles Whitman’s UT shooting, Mr. Harrigan provided an in-depth overview of some of the most interesting events throughout the years.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Stephen Harrigan, Gates of the Alamo

Our now fully accomplished guest also shared his reputation-building experience from when he was a young writer in Austin. He mentioned that when he sent his first article proposal, he was amazed when the magazine publishers accepted it. Although he was shocked, he eventually wrote his article and a month later received his first writing pay-check from none other than “Rolling Stone.”

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Stephen Harrigan, Gates of the Alamo

We were all thankful that we got a chance to speak with Mr. Harrigan. After we finished our conversation, we grabbed our copies of his latest publication “They Came from the Sky” (a preview of his soon to come history of Texas) and asked for the author’s autograph. The LEAPsters will wait in anticipation for his epic publication , but there was no need to say a definite goodbye to Mr. Harrigan as we would see him later that day at SHSU’s Let’s Talk.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Stephen Harrigan, Gates of the Alamo

Crime and Punishment: With Kathryn Casey in Houston

With a busy couple of weeks ahead of us, we decided to take a Friday-night opportunity for a trip to Houston to meet an interesting author known for her Texas true crime books.

Five LEAP Ambassadors traveled to Houston for a presentation and book signing by Kathryn Casey, a mystery and true crime author, at Murder by the Book. Over the course of her career, she has authored seven highly acclaimed true crime books.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Murder by the Book, Kathryn Casey, In Plain Sight

I was one of the few who had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Casey on a previous occasion. She was a featured guest at SHSU’s Let’s Talk event in 2016, and I had collected some of her books, including one about the I-45 murders.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Let's Talk,, Kathryn Casey

On Friday, she discussed her newest book, In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders.  The title refers to the unprecedented murders of two prosecutors and a prosecutor’s wife in Kaufman County in 2013.

She describes the small town of Kaufman as a small and quiet town where everyone knows each other. Suddenly the quiet town was thrown into chaos when the County Assistant District Attorney, Mark Hasse, was killed outside the county courthouse. A month later the District Attorney Mike McClelland and his wife were brutally killed in their own home.

Kathryn Casey decided to tackle this story and write a book about it. This prompted moving to Kaufman and doing extensive research on the murders. She described her experience in Kaufman and the extensive challenges she faced until she was able to make connections in the community, speak with different people, and gain unique access to the story.  She described her research as comprising of over 100 interviews, including interviews with Eric Williams and his wife, both of whom were convicted of murder.

After a great conversation with Ms. Casey, in which she mixed gravity, seriousness, and even a little humor…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Murder by the Book, Kathryn Casey, In Plain Sight

…we headed to Kenny & Ziggy’s for dinner. We expanded our horizons this time with a New York Delicatessen Restaurant. It was certainly a special treat to have dinner at an authentic third generation deli. When we arrived we were surprised and slightly overwhelmed by their menu. Personally, it was the biggest menu I’ve ever seen! Some of us went for the hot dogs while others went for specialty sandwiches. Everyone’s food was amazing and we ended up voting it one of our favorites!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Murder by the Book, Kathryn Casey, In Plain Sight

LEAP Hosts Author James Reston, Jr.

The LEAP Ambassadors are hosting journalist James Reston, Jr. this week.  In the spirit of the LEAP’s interdisciplinary mission, Reston will speak to Dr. Melissa Mednicov’s “Modern Art” class, to an audience at Brazos Bookstore (in Houston), to a group of students in a studio production, and at our heART of Huntsville program.

His appearance is timed with the release of his latest book, “A Rift in the Earth,” which the New York Times called “superb” and Ken Burns called “extraordinary.”  The book addresses the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the controversy over Maya Lin’s Vietnam War Memorial Wall.

Prior to his main events on campus, he enjoyed a dinner with the LEAP Ambassadors at 1836…

LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, James Reston Jr

…where he discussed his cameo in “Frost/Nixon,” which was based on his book, his work on Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre, and other interesting topics.

LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, James Reston Jr