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Topic: Miscellaneous 9:09 am EST, Jan  7, 2009

the dilemma

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Apple Drops Anticopying Measures in iTunes
Topic: Business 9:03 am EST, Jan  7, 2009

Last month, the music industry pulled out its stun guns, aka PR flacks, to bring you the following breaking news:

In a stunning turn of events, the US music industry has ceased its long-time litigation strategy of suing individual P2P file-swappers.

Earlier today, Apple briefly summoned the world's attention to bring you the following incredible (!!!) news flash:

Apple said it would begin selling song downloads from all four major music companies without the anticopying measures that have been part of its iTunes store since it opened in 2003. It will also move away from its insistence on pricing songs at 99 cents.

In other words, Apple's software engineers are so distraught over Steve Jobs' failing health that they have resorted to spinning the deletion of annoying source code as a major product innovation.

Does this sound familiar? Let John Markoff take you back:

Long assailed within the computer industry for routinely adding too many features to its software programs, Microsoft will tacitly acknowledge that criticism today when it starts a Web marketing campaign for its new Office XP software suite that ridicules its notorious Office help system.

The Clippy campaign, which will cost about $500,000, also includes a Web-site-based computer game in which irate users, many of whom have long found the paper clip program annoying to the point of distraction, will finally be able to retaliate by shooting virtual staples, tacks and rubber bands at the animated Clippy figure.

The story behind the story, of course, is that the "music industry" -- by which I mean the cartel engaged in organized trafficking in an artificially scarce form of antique "performance capture" -- is an industry in decline, and the major players are desperate to stanch the flow of attention to other "new" (and more participatory) media. Regardless of these late-stage efforts, the decline, which is both inevitable and inexorable, may be viewed as a leading indicator of a broader, long-term phase shift in celebrity culture.

From the archive:

The trick is to make people think that a certain paradigm is inevitable, and they had better give in.


Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness and at the hole we have driven ourselves into, for we are completely committed to an unsustainable technology.

In this case, what's unsustainable is not just the artificial scarcity of individual captured performances, but rather of the underlying capture technology, not to mention the performance itself.


But for everyone, surely, ... this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Very different is the mood today.

Apple Drops Anticopying Measures in iTunes

Op-Ed Columnist - The Mideast’s Ground Zero -
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:40 am EST, Jan  7, 2009

The fighting, death and destruction in Gaza is painful to watch. But it’s all too familiar. It’s the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: “Who owns this hotel? Can the Jews have a room? And shouldn’t we blow up the bar and replace it with a mosque?”

Op-Ed Columnist - The Mideast’s Ground Zero -

Digital World: How to beat anti-Israel hackers at their own game | Internet and Technology | Jerusalem Post
Topic: Current Events 5:14 am EST, Jan  6, 2009

While the fighting goes on down south, Israel and the Arab world are engaged in another battle - a cyber one. And right now, we're not doing that well.

a civilised approach to a deluge of hate

Digital World: How to beat anti-Israel hackers at their own game | Internet and Technology | Jerusalem Post

Op-Ed Columnist - The Confidence War -
Topic: Current Events 5:02 am EST, Jan  6, 2009

In this new game, both sides seek the destruction of the other, but neither has the power to achieve it. They are engaged in a struggle that has no near-term practical end. The extremists’ goal is to kill as many Jews as possible and wait for God (or Iran) to kill the rest. Israel’s goal is to restrain the brazenness of the extremists until their movement somehow burns itself out or is destroyed from within Arab society. Israel’s realistic immediate goal is not to achieve some permanent resolution, but to merely suppress terrorism week by week and month by month.

In one scenario, Israel finishes a quick ground assault with a lightning effort to clean out the tunnels in the Philadelphia Corridor. Then it withdraws from Gaza, at a time of its own choosing, to let the psychological reverberations begin. In another scenario, Israel’s assault drags on. The suffering of the innocents in Gaza magnifies. The meaning changes.

The architects of the first scenario understand the rules of the new game. The architects of the second miss the core concept: psychology matters most.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Confidence War -

Op-Ed Columnist - Dangers of the Penn -
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:48 am EST, Jan  5, 2009

I thought I’d begin 2009 with a movie, so on its first freezing afternoon I went to see Gus Van Sant’s “Milk,” starring Sean Penn in a breathtaking performance as a smart, wry gay-rights politician whose whimsical effectiveness arouses murderous ire.
Was this really the same Sean Penn who’d just penned a fawning tribute to the grim Cuban president, Raúl Castro, a dictator presiding over a 50-year-old revolution that once dispatched gays to labor camps to correct their “counterrevolutionary tendencies?”

Yes, it was, despite the fact that “Milk” is precisely about the sort of grass-roots political movement that would be impossible in the Cuba of the Castro brothers, despite the fact that the “inalienable rights” of hundreds of Cuban political prisoners are trampled daily and despite the fact that the pursuit of happiness for most Cubans has been reduced to eking out an existence on $20 a month.

A gift for detachment is as important to the journalist as a gift for empathy is to the actor.

art and politics rarely if ever mix well
I tried to think of a single instance of a great artist who was a great politician and couldn't think of a single instance. There were great artists that have used art to bring social themes and issues to public consciousness like Dickens but not an example of a practical every day political leader and who was also a great artist. Havel sprang to mind and examples of great artists with lousy political instincts like Neil Young and even malign political instincts like Wagner. So maybe art is too emotive. Any suggestions?

Op-Ed Columnist - Dangers of the Penn -

Washington Times - EXCLUSIVE: RNC draft rips Bush's bailouts
Topic: Current Events 11:46 am EST, Dec 30, 2008

In what would amount to a slap in the face to a sitting Republican president and the party's Senate and House leaders, national GOP officials, including the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, are sponsoring a resolution opposing the resort to "socialist" means to save capitalism.

"We can't be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms," said Solomon Yue, a cosponsor of a resolution that would put the RNC -- the party's national governing body -- on the record as opposing the U.S. government bailouts of the financial and auto industries.

civil war in the Republican Party

stuff like this always reminds me of the Godfather and the discussion about how every 10 years you need to have a war to clear the air ( and I think in practice it brings forward new leaders and provides a learning curve in the practicalities of politics ) however the article reminds me how the political right has fallen in love with ideology which for so long was the scourge of the left and interminable arguments about angels on pins, ownership of the means of production and other points of dogma and related nonsense. Internecine warfare over "principles" hahhaha. The joys of true religion, they could do with watching the Life of Brian and learn about the history of the Popular Front

Reg Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the
Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.
PFJ Yeah
Judith Splitters.
Francis And the Judean Popular Peoples Front.
PFJ Oh yeah. Splitters.
Loretta And the peoples Front of Judea.
PFJ Splitters.
Reg What?
Loretta The Peoples front of Judea. Splitters.
Reg We're the Peoples front of Judea.
Loretta Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
Reg Peoples Front.
Francis Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
Reg He's over there.

Washington Times - EXCLUSIVE: RNC draft rips Bush's bailouts

The Fight Over NASA’s Future -
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:59 am EST, Dec 30, 2008

NASA has named the rocket Ares I, as in the god of war — and its life has been a battle from the start.

Ares I is part of a new system of spacecraft being designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to replace the nation’s aging space shuttles. The Ares I and its Orion capsule, along with a companion heavy-lift rocket known as the Ares V, are meant for travel to the Moon and beyond.


the NYT on the current state of play regarding the next gen launch vehicle for manned missions

The Fight Over NASA’s Future -

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research....
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:49 pm EST, Dec 28, 2008

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research. -Albert Einstein

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research....

Topic: Miscellaneous 4:20 pm EST, Dec 28, 2008

Congrats to Rattle and his lovely new bride!!:) Many Best wishes!!


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