Like computer hackers who crack digital networks and surreptitiously take control of key machines, members of UX carry out clandestine missions throughout Paris’ supposedly secure underground tunnels and rooms.
Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.”
“The natural home for ideas and creations is in the commonwealth, the public domain. We cleverly give the creators of ideas and art and inventions a temporary monopoly for their creations outside of the commonwealth in order to encourage them to make more new things. That is good. For a while that temporary period in the US was 58 years after the work was created for copyright and 17 years for patents.”
When copyright was first brought into law in the UK (1709) the terms were 21 years for books already in print and 14 years for new ones, with an additional 14 years if the author was still alive when the first term ran out.
“Unfortunately, as creators became corporations, they have lobbied for laws (and financially supported the elections of lawmakers) that have extended the “temporary” period till it is in effect, unlimited for copyright.”
Also: Copyright and Wrong - Why the rules on copyright need to return to their roots
“The notion that lengthening copyright increases creativity is questionable. Authors and artists do not generally consult the statute books before deciding whether or not to pick up pen or paintbrush. And overlong copyrights often limit, rather than encourage, a work’s dissemination, impact and influence. “
“Canada celebrated New Year’s Day this year by welcoming the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Carl Jung into the public domain just as European countries were celebrating the arrival of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, 20 years after both entered the Canadian public domain. Canada’s term of copyright meets the international standard of life of the author plus 50 years, which has now become a competitive advantage when compared to the United States, Australia, and Europe, which have copyright terms that extend an additional 20 years.”
“The Canadian government filed notice of a public consultation on December 31, 2011 on the possible Canadian entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations, trade talks that could result in an extension in the term of copyright that would mean nothing new would enter the Canadian public domain until 2032 or beyond.”
“Now is the opportunity to help preserve the public domain in Canada by speaking out against TPP copyright provisions that would extend the term of copyright or impose even stricter digital lock rules. The consultation is open until February 14, 2012. All it takes a single email with your name, address, and comments on the issue.
The email can be sent to [email protected].”
Dubstep (and other styles of electronic music) explained in 3 minutes.
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Looks like the Winnipeg Police Service needs bone up on their math skills. Their 2010 annual report includes some strange stats. When comparing 2010 with 2009:
- They report a 20-30% decrease in crime per district, even though their reported city-wide decrease is only 7%.
- This 7% decrease, when compared with their actual reported offence numbers, turns out to be a 9% increase.
- They report a decreases in “Events for Service” for all districts, even though there was no significant city-wide change in “Events for Service” between the two years.
Some of these discrepancies appear to be tied to the new WPS policy of listing certain incidents as “non-district specific.”
Reading and Listening in 2011
This is what I read and heard over the past year. I beat my goal of one book per month. Maybe I should try for 24+ in 2012.
It was a very sci-fi year. Pullman’s Dark Materials books were my favourites, although I’d say this was a 4 star year on average.
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
- Quicksilver - Neal Stephenson
- The Captain and the Enemy - Graham Greene
- The Caves of Steel - Isaac Asimov
- The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell
- His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman:
- The Golden Compass
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass
- Childhood’s End - Arthur C. Clark
- After the Party - Lisa Jewell
- Calculating God - Robert Sawyer
- Foucault’s Pendulum - Umberto Eco
- Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clark
In the non-fiction world, I seem to be on a bit of a “Ruby with Olsen” kick.
- Eloquent Ruby - Russ Olsen
- Design Patterns in Ruby - Russ Olsen
This was the year I discovered audio lectures. Most of these were heard while running in Assiniboine park.
- Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines
- No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life
- Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator
- Science Fiction - The Literature of Technological Imagination (Out of Print)
- Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History
- Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning
We Saw Each Other
“I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful.
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“
“I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”
A Quora thread on Etz haDaat tov V’ra, the fall of man from Genesis the first book of the Jewish and Christian Bibles.
Some responses worth reading:
“The question exhibits three further imprecisions about the fruit of this tree.”
— A close look at the question at hand.
“Genesis is just one of many attempts on the part of early man’s collective unconscious to narrativise a growing awareness that our species.”
— English gentleman Stephen Fry’s response.
“God did not want us to live forever in fear and shame, He needed to heal the self-inflicted wounds from the knowledge of good and evil before eternal life would be a gift.”
— Brother Francis Thérèse of Salvador da Bahia Mission
Related: On the Marionette Theater. In search of grace in adulthood, the burden of self-aware.
A collection of Starlings is called a Murmuration. via