Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Switching Servers Again

Posted by Adam Graham on January 16, 2008

Those of you who are RSS Subscribers will see this. Everyone else won’t. I’m having to move my blog again. This’ll be my 3rd host and I’ll hope it’ll be my last. I’d rather not talk about it. Blogging will be light for a while. Every post I make, I’m going to have to export the actual posts over here. I’m switching to a VPS server, which should avoid this happening. I work too hard to build the blog only to have it shut down by the hosting company.

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The Public’s Domain

Posted by Adam Graham on July 5, 2007

Lyn writes about a new take on Sherlock Holmes by Author Ann Lewis:

Despite the difficulties it presented, Ann believed it could be done and set out to prove it. Taking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s text, she reorganized it, edited it for first person voice, and added sections in Watson’s point of view to the story.

This is a very interesting takeoff on a classic, but why was she able to do it? Elementary, my dear reader, Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain. However, you’ll have trouble being able to re-engineer future PI’s anytime soon. Why? Because, it takes much much longer for works to enter the public domain.

I have mixed feelings on this. As a writer, I like having my works protected, but the current system of Life + 70 years goes beyond what’s reasonable to protect writer’s rights, and gets even worse when it comes to films. Perhaps, it’d be good to go back to what the Constitution says on the matter:

“Congress shall have power…to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;”

The reason we have copyright and patent protections is not for the benefit of writers and inventors, but for the benefit of science and art.

Thus, we have patents on medicines because, if we didn’t have patents, once a medicine was discovered, people could freely make it without paying the company that developed it and it would not be worthwhile to do the research.

The same is the case with copyrights, if writers and artists could create a novel or movie and then it could be instantly produced without paying them, then there wouldn’t be much of a motive to spend the time needed to create quality work.

But is the current life of the author + 70 necessary? I think not. While, twenty years would be too short a length of time for most works, there has to be some happy medium, particularly when it comes to visual arts.

In order to protect the copyrights of popular properties, corporations have lobbied for massive protections. In 2003, Mickey Mouse was set to lapse into the public domain as it was created in 1928, and under current copyright law would have pushed into the public domain. However, Congress was lobbied and Disney and all other Corporations were granted a 25 year Copyright extension. Thus, Mickey won’t enter the public domain until 2028 (unless Disney and its Congressional representatives won’t allow that too.) and Superman instead of entering the public domain in 2013, will enter the public domain in 2038.

There are two problems with this. First of all, Congress is using its Copyright power in a way the constitution never intended (as a way to help to big corporations.) and thus the cultural good intended is not being accomplished. It’s incredibly difficult to find public domain music because of this, for example.

The second point that must be that the harm is often done to the public. While most consider, “It’s a Wonderful Life” one of the greatest films of all times, it didn’t come into popularity until it was believed to have slipped into the public domain. Though later proven false, had it not been believed to be in the public domain, it would have never become a classic or got its second wind.

How many other great movies remain in a vault somewhere, languishing and unable to be discovered by the public due to copyrights that, while in force, are not being used for any useful purpose. Indeed, it’s counter to the reasons that Constitution gave Congress for protecting Copyrights. One key example: The 1950s Dragnet series is considered a pioneer of crime drama, but only 30 episodes that slipped into public domain are available anywhere. The show hasn’t been shown in syndication for decades, and a whole generation only knows Joe Friday as a 1960s anti-drug Crusader because the ’60s show has been shown. Beverly Hillbillies has enjoyed more airings, but still no DVD box set is available for them. The first ever TV show to be shot entirely in color, Bonanza, has no season box sets in the United States—only in Germany.

There are four solutions I see. The first three involve reform of Copyright laws:

1) Change General Copyright term from Life of the Author +70 years to Life of the Author + 20 years. There’s no reason for grandchildren (or in most cases, big corporations) to enjoy what’s in effect, a perpetual copyright. Of course, we couldn’t reverse this for the copyrights that have been granted since 1978, but how much of the stuff made in 1978 is culturally valuable anyway? But for future copyrights, Life of the Author +20 is appropriate and more than enough time for it to be exercised and enjoyed.

2) Revoke the 2003 Copyright Extension. It was unfair to the American public and against the Spirit of the Constitution. Those who had 25 years added to their Copyright term will either have their copyright expire when it should have originally but for Congress’ meddling, or given 5 years to prepare for their characters to move into the Public domain if that deadline has already passed.

3) Create a special category for abandoned movies or television shows. If a TV show or movie isn’t being syndicated anywhere in the US, isn’t being sold in active home video release for 15 years solid, it should automatically enter the public domain for fans to enjoy it. We’ll have to call this the Digiview Act.

4) An Industry consortium should set up a website, where they ask TV show fans to put their money where their mouth is. You want those last 3 seasons of Dragnet on DVD, what’s it worth to you? If they get enough fan pledges, they produce the set and send out to those who pledged to order it. Of course, government can’t force this, but it would be nice.

Regardless, I think our public domain and copyright laws need serious reform and balance. Of course, as most hardcore fans won’t make a stink about it, it’ll be an uphill battle, but one that’s worth fighting, in order to preserve and expose cultural treasures.

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True That

Posted by Adam Graham on July 5, 2007

Quote of the Day from the World Magazine Blog:

“Tomorrow is usually the busiest day of the year.”

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I Think Not Phone

Posted by Adam Graham on June 30, 2007

No, I’m not rushing out to buy an I-phone. The over-hyped device has some interesting promise, but there are two possible scenarios.

At worst, it’ll be another segway that’s got some novelty but doesn’t catch on. At best, in about three years I’ll get an offer from my current provider to get the I-phone or an equivalent for $19.95 and an agreement to extend the service agreeement two years.

 Update: Self-proclaimed Tech Nerd Mark Harris at Save the GOP confirms my suspicions about the over-priced Apple Gadget.

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I Think Not Phone

Posted by Adam Graham on June 30, 2007

No, I’m not rushing out to buy an I-phone. The over-hyped device has some interesting promise, but there are two possible scenarios.

At worst, it’ll be another segway that’s got some novelty but doesn’t catch on. At best, in about three years I’ll get an offer from my current provider to get the I-phone or an equivalent for $19.95 and an agreement to extend the service agreeement two years.

 Update: Self-proclaimed Tech Nerd Mark Harris at Save the GOP confirms my suspicions about the over-priced Apple Gadget.

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It Doesn’t Get Much Lower Than That…

Posted by Adam Graham on June 25, 2007

Using puppies to smuggle drugs.

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Nearly Impossible Darwinism…

Posted by Adam Graham on June 18, 2007

Evolution News and Views has a nice piece up on an dual-coding genes that includes this fascinating quote:

Coding of multiple proteins by overlapping reading frames is not a feature one would associate with eukaryotic genes. Indeed, codependency between codons of overlapping protein-coding regions imposes a unique set of evolutionary constraints, making it a costly arrangement. Yet in cases of tightly coexpressed interacting proteins, dual coding may be advantageous. Here we show that although dual coding is nearly impossible by chance, a number of human transcripts contain overlapping coding regions. Using newly developed statistical techniques, we identified 40 candidate genes with evolutionarily conserved overlapping coding regions. Because our approach is conservative, we expect mammals to possess more dual-coding genes. Our results emphasize that the skepticism surrounding eukaryotic dual coding is unwarranted: rather than being artifacts, overlapping reading frames are often hallmarks of fascinating biology.

(Wen-Yu Chung, Samir Wadhawan, Radek Szklarczyk, Sergei Kosakovsky Pond, Anton Nekrutenko, “A First Look at ARFome: Dual-Coding Genes in Mammalian Genomes,” PLOS Computational Biology, Vol. 3(5) (May, 2007), emphasis added.)

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Do You Need a Corded Phone?

Posted by Adam Graham on June 10, 2007

Apparently, there’s an interesting debate going on between cell phone companies and Qwest. Methinks, both have some ulterior motives, but decide for yourself. My wife and I have both LAN and Cell.

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Yes, I Have Wondered

Posted by Adam Graham on May 24, 2007

Bitterman at Ales Rarus writes:

Do you ever think about what other people think about you? I mean more than the usual, “Oh my god, I’m so fat” way that people worry about. What I’m trying to get at is what people really think about you as a person. Where do others see you fitting in their world, and what do they think you’re really like?

This is one of those questions that a great source of challenge for me. I imagine what other people think of me. It’s a tremendous challenge, particularly since my imagination goes wild trying to guess. It’s a great challenge for me.

Of course, you never really know what people think of you, not even right after you die. Right after you die, everyone is solemn and respectul out of sensitivity to your family (unless your name is Jerry Falwell.) So about 45 days after I’m dead, it’ll emerge what people really thought. I just won’t be around to find out. Foiled again.

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A Busy Vacation

Posted by Adam Graham on May 21, 2007

Friday, Sunday, and Monday were high volume active days. Thursday afternoon I got off work and within hours, we were off to a vets appointment following an interview with Mr. Cox. Friday was busy as well with a podcast with David Oatney in the morning, shopping, and getting the car lubed. Saturday was somewhat more restful. Watched some very nice DVDs and then went to Comedy Sportz in the evening. Sunday was crazy with several project coming due together. Today has been a cacophany of activity.

Monday Morning: Dental appointment. I found out the wisdom teeth have to go which means extraction, sedation, and finding a driver/ride. No luck on all counts so far. I’d like to go on a Friday after work so that I can rest up on Saturday without having to return to the grind after what I’ve gathered is quite painful oral surgery.

After that, it was off for 18 holes of Disc Golf at Ann Morrison, Lunch at Chuck-a-Rama. Then home to work on a big story I’ll breaking within the next couple of days, then a podcast in which I fumbled at the beginning with my opening clips no longer loaded in my Gizmo Project’s, the opening was weak. Thank goodness for Audacity editting software. Now, I have the Cox Campaign Podcast posted, and a blog entry made over there, along with the entries here.

Overall, I think I could have used a few more lazy days in the midst of the vacation, but on the other hand there were other things I would have wanted to get done as well that I didn’t.

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Good Deal

Posted by Adam Graham on May 14, 2007

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Online video sites that sell shows and movies such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes will likely peak this year as more programming is made available on free outlets supported by advertising, according to a study released on Monday.

Sales of movies and television shows are expected to almost triple to $279 million in 2007 from an estimated $98 million last year. But unless the average consumer begins paying for their online video en masse, growth in sales will likely peter out next year, according to Forrester Research.

“In the video space, iTunes is just a temporary flash while consumers wait for better ways to get video. They’re already coming,” said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey, the author of the study, who also called the paid download video market a “dead end.”

Forrester estimated that sales growth is not likely to triple or even double in 2008 and beyond, after early adopters and media addicts have already started using the services.

Confusion over different video file formats, difficulties watching downloaded videos on television screens and other technical problems have kept average users from paying for shows online.

Efforts by traditional media distribution companies to make more of their shows available for free on the Internet — including the Hollywood-backed film service MovieLink, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s service and Amazon.com Inc.’s Unbox service — are also working against paid services.

Led by Walt Disney Co.’s ABC.com, TV networks including News Corp.’s Fox are offering some hit shows online for free.

Good news for consumers indeed. Here’s to the death of Itunes video. The whole concept of buy videos you watch on your computer online has always struck me as a tad absurd, particularly if you’re talking about shows that you would TIVO normally.

Of course, what I’m waiting for is for Internet video to advance to the point where you can subcribe to a single channel or single show for a simple price and enjoy all the episodes that are playing that month. For some reason, Universal decided to short Dragnet fans, release Season 1 in a no-thrills box set that still cost around $35 for 17 episodes with one radio episode thrown in. For now, the option to see more Dragnet is either:

1) Subscribe to Digital Cable, and pay for all the tripe that goes with it to get TV Land.

2) Buy a bootleg set offline.

The former I refuse to do on principle, the latter is illegal and immoral. Whether I like it or not, Universal Owns the Copyright. The good news is that the second season of Dragnet should lapse into the public domain in 2043, so at last I’ll be able to get the DVD.

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Andrea’s unofficial IQ score

Posted by Andrea Graham on May 10, 2007

nice self esteem booster . . .

IQ Test Score

as for this:

Testriffic.com

why am I surprised?

This one should have been a no-brainer:

You’re A Mermaid!
So your one of them graceful, good tempered, water loving souls! That is great! You will attract a lot of attention and not understand why, but go with the flow!

And lastly:

What type of Dog are you?

Saint Bernard
Saint Bernard
Your have just as a huge personality as your size. Sweet and full of life. Slow, calm and laid back. You can be messy from time to time but your personality makes up for it almost all the time.
How do you compare?
Take this test! | Tests from Testriffic

Should I be insulted?

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The Legacy of Darwinism

Posted by Adam Graham on May 9, 2007

From Evolution News and Views:

By Darwinian logic, everything we do that’s connected to reality is a mating ritual. The effort to deny it is…a mating ritual. Darwinism itself is… a mating ritual. And the only way to feel better about all of this is to pretend that it’s not all a mating ritual. But… that’s a mating ritual!

What to make of this nonsense? Darwinism has given us second-rate science, lethal social policy (eugenics), and puerile philosophy. But Wright is right. Don’t be depressed. Just imagine that Darwinism isn’t true!

No wonder I’ve been feeling so cheery lately.

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Yea Verily, ‘Tis a Good Concept

Posted by Adam Graham on April 30, 2007

While I ranted against Sony’s pagan video game debut, this one sounds like something else altogether. A game to teach 2nd and 3rd graders the Bard, a worthy goal.

Shakespeare

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Wanted: People To Support Evolution Who Don’t Care About Science

Posted by Adam Graham on April 24, 2007

From Evolution News and Views:

In their article “Framing Science,” Darwinists Chris Mooney and Matt Nisbet discuss the options for Darwinists facing an uphill battle against Intelligent Design scientists in the public forum. They note that the public doesn’t “get it” that Darwin’s theory is beyond reproach, and they agree that what’s needed is a new “framing” strategy, championed by political consultant George Lakoff.

Matt [Nisbet] and Chris [Mooney] suggest that we use a technique that they call “framing.” This consists of emphasizing the parts of the message that relate to the things that the audience cares about…As long as the people we need to reach are uninterested in the science involved in the issue, we’re going to need to find other ways to get them interested in the issue itself.

Notice the difference in strategy between proponents of Intelligent Design and proponents of Darwinism. Intelligent Design scientists are energetically seeking public and academic forums to debate the science. They fight censorship from Darwinists in universities and federal lawsuits from Darwinists in public school science classes.

Darwinists furiously suppress public discussion of the Darwin/Design controversy and now seek to enlist “people who do not care about science” to help the Darwinist cause.

People uninterested in science are a natural Darwinian constituency. They’re a mother-lode for philosophical materialists who deny the scientific evidence for design in nature.

Indeed, there’s a quite a bit at stake from idealogical perspectives for those on both sides of the creation-evolution debate despite some pretention that all the Darwinist side cares about is science.

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