November 2004

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2004.

Bloody comment spam

I’ve been getting flooded by “spam comment” bots again, and even though my blog is now set up to allow me to screen all comments from unregistered visitors, I really can’t scan 200-300 comments a day. Plus it eats bandwidth on my site.

So, I had to go with exclusive TypeKey registration. Registration is very simple. It just makes sure you’re human by getting your email address and using a scrambly graphic that you have to type in, just once. Then you have a TypeKey login and can use other Movable-Type based sites!

Bread, man

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco makes some points about music online, at Wired:

Tweedy: We live in a connected world now. Some find that frightening. If people are downloading our music, they’re listening to it. The internet is like radio for us.

WN: You don’t agree with the argument that file sharing hurts musicians’ ability to earn a living?

Tweedy: I don’t believe every download is a lost sale.

WN: What if the efforts to stop unauthorized music file sharing are successful? How would that change culture?

Tweedy: If they succeed, it will damage the culture and industry they say they’re trying to save.
What if there was a movement to shut down libraries because book publishers and authors were up in arms over the idea that people are reading books for free? It would send a message that books are only for the elite who can afford them.
Stop trying to treat music like it’s a tennis shoe, something to be branded. If the music industry wants to save money, they should take a look at some of their six-figure executive expense accounts. All those lawsuits can’t be cheap, either.

WN: How do you feel about efforts to control how music flows through the online world with digital rights management technologies?

Tweedy: A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.
Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator.
People who look at music as commerce don’t understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property.
I’m not interested in selling pieces of plastic.

The New Yorker

Yet another example of incompetence in Iraq. For ideological reasons, we disenfranchised the majority of people who formed the fabric of the country — professionals and experts and leaders who happened to be Baathist only because that’s what you had to do in order to survive. No gray areas in the mind of this administration, resulting in binary logic like this.

Here’s a question I wish more people would ask: Why didn’t we take some of the billions we’re paying federal contractors and put some of these Iraqis to work rebuilding their country, rather than just ousting them and leaving their idle hands to make devil’s workshops?

Hiding away

Philip Pullman: About the Writing

I don’t know whether there’s a God or not. Nobody does, no matter what they say. I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away.

Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them.


“Words are magic. Sometimes I think the whole world is strung together by words.” – John Cusack’s character in the movie “ Max

I’d not realized how amazingly well written this movie is when I saw it before. Gems just falling out of the characters’ mouths.

Well not precisely gems. Not all. Some are lumps of smouldering, white-hot coal.

“I am the new avante garde…and politics is the new art.” – Hitler

So it wasn’t the war or the economy that tipped the balance after all…

Four more years… let’s not be quite so asleep at the wheel this time, ok?

Food for thought:

Religion’s Kidnapping of the Campaign

We liberals sometimes forget that the United States has two sets of Founding Fathers: the Puritans of Massachusetts (inspired largely by the 16th Century French refugee to Switzerland John Calvin) and those remarkable avatars of the American Enlightenment: Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Paine (inspired by, among others, the 18th Century French refugee to Switzerland Voltaire).

First of all, go vote.

But then, before you start complaining about the Electoral College, be sure you understand it and its history: Origins of the Electoral College :: Ludwig von Mises Institute

And then read a somewhat romantic but still astute (and incredibly eloquent) argument for preserving the institution:

Statement on the Electoral College — Floor of the United States Senate, June 27, 1979 by: Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.)