Monday, June 30, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.This was no pacifist. He was Supreme Allied commander in the European theater and served with distinction before then. He'd never be elected today with these views, and anyone trying to claim we face a greater threat today than the Soviet empire at the end of the 50s is either fooling themselves or needs to pick up a history book.)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Summary: HeyWhatsThat is basically a rather advanced map hack site which includes viewsheds linked with government/public name systems (names with xy data) so from a given point you can see all the major peaks nearby. The proprietor and designer, Michael Kosowsky, has steadily been adding stuff to it and it now includes pathing (which gives you an elevation profile), and a night view.
I'm moderately curious why Google hasn't bought him out/hired him/stolen the idea. As far as I can tell, Kosowsky built all the tools (minus the Google Map of course) from the ground up. It includes some interesting little quirks based on his response to user comments, like the way it handles the curvature of the earth and the fact it switches to metric if outside the United States.
(To be completely fair, you might have heard about this site. Several other bloggers, including Ogle Earth, have wrote about it.)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Every person reading this article is actually copying it illegally. You can't help but do it. As you surf the internet your computer is constantly caching (saving locally) data that you are viewing. Anyone who has ever used the internet for anything is almost certainly a pirate. I'll let you all off with a warning this time. Humor aside, the problem is one that the music industry found itself in a long while ago with the invention and mass adoption of radio. John Philip Sousa was convinced anything but live shows would completely destroy music. The solution, after much complaining, was to just license the distributor. Now of course the distributor and consumer and creator is anyone and everyone on the internet. The compromise is an idea that is not new and is even talked about by both sides of the issue with increasing interest: mass public electronic media licensing. If everyone on the internet is a pirate, license everyone. Everyone who wants to buy in at least. You've solved 99% of your piracy problems by facing the reality of a system, the internet, that requires copying. You also don't even have to host the files themselves, users are more than willing to do so. The idea has merit but the problem is the pie to be divided. We need an organization as trusted as the Nielsen statistics are for downloaded media content to correctly award creators and their labels/studios/whatever. The only alternatives are to entire restrict piracy with the kind of locking down that would destroy the internet and privacy in general (people could still just rip stuff from friends/renters) OR to see an attempt to destroy internet and privacy while the major content holders die a slow and painful (for everyone involved) death at the hands of unrelenting technological innovation. Edit: Hahaha. Bonus quote from a Guardian article linked from the Cato piece:
When American troops liberated the city of Luxembourg in 1944, they made a strange capture: a machine capable of recording sound on magnetic tapes. Shortly after the war, this German military invention made its appearance in private homes. Tape recorders integrated listening and reproduction in one device, but as separate functions. That’s no longer the case with digital technology. Today, to use digital information is to copy it.
Computers operate by copying. They couldn’t care less whether the physical distance between original and copy is measured in micrometers or in miles; both work equally well for them. Copyright law, on the other hand, must somehow draw a line between use and distribution. That means putting an imaginary grid over the chaotic myriad of network nodes, delineating clusters of devices that can be attributed to individuals or households.
"For somebody who has spent 30 years in the music industry, you instinctively know this stuff is going on. But when you actually sit looking at your computer and see a number that says 95% of people are copying music at home, you suddenly go, 'Bloody hell'," he said.Turns out you could nuke the internet from orbit and the current copyright model is doomed. Note: Copying this work is no longer actually illegal in any sense, since I have licensed everything with Creative Commons.