April 3, 2006 Archives

hmm

posted by tom / April 03, 2006 / 3 comments /

From TUAW:

Did you catch The Simpsons on Fox last night? Grandpa Simpson decided that he had had enough of life, and sought out a doctor that would perform an assisted suicide for him. Once the arrangements had been made, Grandpa was wheeled into the execution room and connected to the diePOD, which was the device that would get the job done (while simultaneously providing the soundtrack). As grandpa lay on the table, awaiting the inevitable, the diePOD played "Instant Death" by Megadeath.

Now that's satire, folks.

Actually, no, it isn't. But you're sneaking up on irony.

commence calendar-marking

posted by tom / April 03, 2006 / leave a comment /

DCeiver's hilarious Metro/terrorism slice of life is coming to the stage! Better yet, it's a stage mere blocks from my house. Better yet again, it's starring at least three people I know, and two more who I may have met and parties and boorishly forgotten.

Here's the post that got this theatrical venture rolling. If you can make it to the Warehouse next Monday, though, you might not want to spoil the surprise.

mighty / fallen

posted by tom / April 03, 2006 / 2 comments /

Wolfson shows, once again, why The Simpsons represents the single greatest non-internet source of knowledge in my entire educational history.

But it's been a long time since the show has fulfilled its mission of teaching our youth and fueling our nation's bootleg t-shirt industry. At the beginning of this season I thought we were in for an uptic in the great Simpsons sawtooth-graph o' quality. Not so. Here's the description of last night's episode, courtesy of Tivo:

Grandpa considers suicide but decides to become a matador instead, after foiling Homer's plans to make Springfield home to a professional football franchise.

How do you even pitch that as a show idea? All I can imagine is that a writer picked a moment to try to get fired that coincided with his boss doing the same.

leadership quality

posted by tom / April 03, 2006 / 4 comments /

Thanks to the insightful commentary of Sommer I know who Yulia Tymoshenko is, if not exactly whether she's one of the good guys or not. Also, I know that I've kind of got a crush on her — one that has only been encouraged by this morning's revelation that she has some of the best campaign posters anywhere.

She's got a pretty strong Buffy aesthetic going on, particularly in the first one. Sure, you might laugh. But keep in mind that there's only a thin barrier of Romanian counties between Ukraine and Transylvania proper. If you lived there, you might also put a high priority on electing somebody who's sold themselves as being tough on vampirism.

Via BoingBoing.

tmyk!

posted by catherine / April 03, 2006 / 11 comments /

the more you know segments from "the office" are cracking me up today. i have to admit, i toooootally gave up on the show early on when i found that the first two or three episodes sucked, but i've watched a few recent ones and i must admit that my usually so dead-on take on tv shows was pretty wrong in this case. the office: good for what ails you.

other tv thoughts: josh and donna. read they had the sex. didn't see it, but am bit torrenting the show now. was the josh-donna sex terrible or, you know, not terrible?

grey's anatomy: two words: hellooooooooooo chris o'donnell, my mothereffing god, where have you been the past few years, and what a beard. well, that was many more words than two, but he deserves many, many words. my lord. good mcdreamy foil.

even i have limits

posted by tom / April 03, 2006 / leave a comment /

Check out this interview with Rick Falkvidge of Sweden's PiratPartiet, a political party founded around the issue of P2P sharing (and at least loosely affiliated with The Pirate Bay BitTorrent site).

It's not a joke: with just 4% of the vote they'd establish a presence in parliament, and their favorability ratings have been polled as high as 57%. Of course, favorability doesn't necessarily translate into votes — people would probably express basic support for the Free Lollipops For Everyone Party, but perhaps not spend any votes on them. Still, the PiratPartiet folks seem to be going about this process methodically and responsibly, and from the (admittedly biased) sources I've read, IP issues have apparently become a topic of national debate in Sweden. They seem to have a real shot.

I find this pretty encouraging. I have no idea if the IP debate will ever take hold in America, but PiratPartiet's rise makes it seem to be possible, at least.

With all of that said, I can't quite bring myself to endorse Falkvidge's positions. Five year copyrights seem likely to seriously hurt content producers. And his take on the patent system is pretty stupid (his mobile phone industry example is laughable).

It seems pretty clear that some form of patent protection is necessary. It's just the details and extent of the system that needs fixing. Kill off coverage for business processes, algorithms, software methodology and discovered (rather than synthetic) genetic information. Make life harder for patent trolls. Spend more money on examiners and fire those who grant patents to perpetual motion machines.

It'd be a start, anyway. But it seems obvious that eliminating the patent regime entirely would be bad, bad news. Technology companies are going to protect their revenue streams one way or another. If you remove legal protections entirely you'll end up with a world full of epoxied-shut black boxes, all of which will operate on proprietary, closed standards and fail to integrate with one another. The digital world is still just now learning how to speak the same language. It'd be a shame to scare the corporations building it into packing up their toys and going home.

Perhaps PiratPartiet is pushing for more radical reforms than it actually believes in, planning for an inevitable compromise. If so, carry on, fellas. But as things stand I'm not yet quite ready to apply for Swedish citizenship. Better to wait until the EFF seizes the means of conduction at home.

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