lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
You know, politicians seem to love the pattern: Tragedy! - Something must be done! - This is something, therefor it must be done!

So if I was to say I think our current crop of politicians were making these tragedies more likely to occur by inflaming things... They would be all for having panels set up to investigate them and suggest how to rein in their extremist tendencies, right?

Yeah. Didn't think so. They're only in favor of nonsense when it's pointed by them at others.

Behaving sensibly sadly is about as likely as their pushing to improve mental health care, supporting community policing over antagonistic occupation policing (why yes, our local sheriff does indeed have an armored personnel carrier, not a van with ego issues but an actual APC complete with fifty-caliber machine gun), or put significant increases into basic science and engineering R&D.
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
So, we have yet another executive saying we should stop with all this privacy talk. In this case, Randi Zuckerberg who is Marketing Director for facebook. In fact based on what she's said, "I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors." (source: blog post on the EFF's website Randi Zuckerberg Runs in the Wrong Direction on Pseudonymity Online) she thinks that people won't misbehave if their real names will be attached to their actions...

rest of rant below cut tl;dr version: I might listen to you if you voluntarily give up all privacy yourself first )
lilfluff: An irked Pithani the student-librarian mouse. Drawn by Tod Wills (aka Djinni on LJ) (Exasperated)
I have been known to joke that Arizona's claim to have a monsoon season is a joke. Or one of those marketing lies like when early settlers called the not-so-green Greenland, Greenland in order to attract more settlers. "You're going to call this place Barrenland, Carl? Who's going to move to Barrenland to raise a family. Call it... Greenland! No, no it's not a lie Carl, it's spinning the message. Carl, put the ax down Carl..."

Oh look, a weather rant under the cut )

But you know what? Arizona has borrowed another foreign weather related word. Haboob. It's basically Arabic for, "It's the end of the world! Oh, wait. Never mind, it's just a miles and miles long wall of dust." We got one here in the Phoenix area the other day. Want to see it? Fortunately someone else had a camera and they posted a picture to Flickr. Haboob over Phoenix Arizona. Check that description, "A massive dust storm called a haboob hit Phoenix, AZ in the evening of July 5, 2011. It was over a mile tall and 30-50 miles wide." Forget a mile tall, check out that width. It didn't hit Phoenix. It hit Mesa, and Tempe, and Scottsdale, and Phoenix, and Guadalupe... You know, how about we just say it hit the whole thing. If a city was vaguely in the vicinity of Phoenix, it got hit.

So why write all this?

Guess who was on the road when it hit. Oh. For extra credit, guess who doesn't have functioning windshield wash sprayers. Sure, the dust alone wasn't a big problem (if you don't mind visibility dropping at times to 10-20 feet). But when it first started to rain it was a bare sprinkling that didn't do anything more than make the dust stick.

So yeah. The TL;DR version. Monsoon season in Arizona is a joke, but oh lord are the haboobs real.
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Pithani the Librarian Mouse)
You know how in preschool you would get the lesson, "After going potty you need to wash your hands," that your parents first taught you reinforced?

Do we perhaps need an e-commerce preschool in which people can be taught, "After getting a credit card number, make sure you aren't saving it clear-text on a public facing server." And should we not consider companies that make this mistake to still be e-commerce toddlers? Possibly quite cute, but not yet ready to be given serious responsibilities.

Similar lessons being, "Don't store their password, store a hash of the password," and "Use SSL on those login pages, it's good for you."
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
This started as a comment elsewhere, but grew large enough I decided to make it a post.


I think a large part of the problem with copyright law today is that much of the law is pre-Internet and the powers that be (both government and in the major corporate publishers) are reluctant to change the law in anything but a "Squeeze tighter" direction. Ever increasing copyright lengths (really, are you really going to be encouraged to do more work because your great-great-grandchildren instead of just your great-grandchildren will have possession of the copyright?). I think of it in some ways as being like the 13 Colonies and Britain. Declaring independence was not inevitable. Had parliament and the crown been willing to look for a compromise position then the Commonwealth Realms might well include us as well as Canada, Australia, Jamaica, etc.

But currently you have things like Adobe initially saying that, "Yes, reading an ebook to your child is a license violation," music companies suing students and initially saying "We'll make this go away if you let us tell you what degrees you may and may not work towards" (and only backing off when the college said, "Whoa, what? We may have to rethink whether or not we will cooperate with your information requests"), DVDs that use 'copy protection' that doesn't actually prevent commercial pirating operations (or even give them a moments headache) but does help them prevent you from fast forwarding through ads like you could on VHS and does make it illegal for you to attempt to make use of fair use rights, and a Congress that happily puts in another extension to copyright length whenever the earliest Mickey Mouse works are about to expire. And the more they do this the more average people start to see copyright as something illegitimate, something akin to their city using eminent domain to seize the land homes are one and hand it over to developers who just happened to make campaign donations. And that is a bad thing because copyright *IS* worthwhile and worth keeping. Useful things like open source licenses are only enforceable because of copyright law. Get right of that and they aren't even worth they paper they aren't printed on.

Keep in mind another word for a copyright violator is 'potential voter' (I really wish I could remember who I first heard saying this). If the various concerned groups on all sides of the issue don't sit down and look for a reasonable compromise then some politicians might start looking at some of the more extreme push-back positions as a way to increase popularity. And I've heard of some extreme positions. Not merely banning software patents but software copyright as well. Or putting software in a separate category with a much shorter length (heard as little as six years suggested) due to the speed at which things computer related change. There is the Founders Copyright movement which suggests rolling back copyright terms to 14 years, with only the first term automatic and the one allowed renewal requiring registration (the argument being that if something is viewed as holding value then the owner will take the time to renew it, and if they can't be bothered to fill out the paperwork then why not let it fall into the public domain).

Or, possibly even more likely than drastic reductions in copyright length is the dreaded "T" word. I've heard people ponder a number of times, "If Intellectual Property is property, then perhaps there should be a property tax on it. If Mickey Mouse is going to be copyrighted forever then shouldn't the Disney Corporation pay the public for that privilege and not just congressional campaign funds?" And won't those moves to strike back at the major corporations be oh so fun for small businesses and individuals who get caught up in it? "We see that you have a blog. You will need to fill out form SE-IP-EZ, the worksheet is only two pages long, that's easy isn't it? Oh, you have two blogs? Well then you'll need to fill out one for each, plus another for your Flickr account. What? No, of course this isn't already taken care of by your having paid income taxes on your salary. Next you'll claim you shouldn't have to pay taxes on your house just because you already pay income taxes."

Now, this is the point where one would commonly point to the Japanese and their hands off attitude towards Dojinshi (fan comic books, and related works including written fiction, visual novels, etc). And the Japanese have found a compromise position that works for them. The people making fan comics, etc, do in fact sell them for cold hard cash (a position that would have even many American fan fiction supporters frothing at the mouth) but in return voluntarily restrict the number of copies made. The various publishers turn a blind eye to the fact that this whole market is in violation of Japanese Intellectual Property laws, and in return the next generation of comic book writers, artists, programmers, etc, come to them already having learned to fit their work into standard lengths and write/draw on a deadline. One could say that the Dojinshi market it like the media version of minor league sports, where people learn the basics and the majors go to recruit new talent.

But there is that pesky bit above, "turn a blind eye to the fact that this whole market is in violation of Japanese Intellectual Property laws". Get new management in one of the companies and there could be a team of lawyers walking the isles of the next Comiket handing out preprinted cease and desist letters left and right. I've heard this is unlikely because the companies would fear turning their fans against them, that if say (for the sake of argument) Sunrise was to start going after Gundam dojinshi, you'd see otaku burning their model collections and emailing the TV stations saying, "Take Gundam XYZ off and put something else, something NOT by Sunrise in its place or we'll boycott the whole station and all your advertisers". Maybe that does keep it in check. But as for me, I'd prefer more than just an unwritten gentlemen's agreement when you consider the potentially hefty penalties for IP violations.

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lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
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