Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thou Shalt Always Kill

In My Opinion, both this song and video are awesome. I respect a lot of things he's rapping about, as well as the editing.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oh for Christ's sake, Bush

Hey, we woke up today! That means it's another day that we exist! That's cause for celebration! But, it also means another day that Bush is alive and kicking, trying to beat up all you freedom-haters!!!!

As a freedom-hater, I strongly encourage you to STOP BUSH'S ILLEGAL SPYING PROGRAMS, which he is right now pushing to have expanded by congress.

In My Opinion, it's actually hilarious the way this is still, like, something that we have to talk about. Seriously. I'm laughing right now. In five years maybe I'll be crying, but right now this is hilarious.

Also, In My Opinion, the democratic and republican parties have grown too similar... and right-leaning. So, I implore you to consider the possibilities that are out there. Ralph Nader gets a lot of hate, but he's a really smart guy and has some good stuff to contribute to the country. I really wish that EVERYONE would vote for a party other than Republican/Democrat. I don't even care what party they vote for!!! Any party beside those.

Freakin' god.

Vonnegut's tips for short fiction

Some writing advice by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. on the subject of short stories, from Bagombo Snuff Box:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.*

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters,
make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see
what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible.
To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding
of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story
themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

(courtesy of they must need bears)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Home Values Rollercoaster

I think this video is a really exciting way to view the history of the value of homes over the last century or so. It makes me wonder how much more hard-hitting certain facts might be (like, say, the graphs of global temperature over the last few hundred thousand years!!!!!!) if they were experienced as a virtual, three-dimensional simulation instead of a two-dimensional representation of numbers.

Notice the spike in the last decade... love the final image (where are we headed now?).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

RIAA/IC Update

The meeting last night was quite different from what I'd expected.

I went in there expecting carnage, expecting to tear someone apart, but the three people who led the meeting were informative, helpful, kind, and more knowledgeable than I expected them to be.

They provided students with resources across the board... from free music alternatives to links to EFF and Creative Commons... also, it turns out that they did NOT divulge ANY personal information to the RIAA. What had happened was that Apogee, their ISP, received a series of pre-litigation letters. These letters were NOT DMCA COMPLIANT and, therefore, based on Apogee policy, were sent back undelivered. However, the college received copies of all paperwork regarding it as a part of its deal with Apogee. So, when the college received the pre-litigation letters, they held a long debate that culminated in them deciding it was their moral obligation to pass these letters on to the identified students (bearing in mind that all this time, all the RIAA has ever known is those students' IP addresses), as a means of making them aware that they were being legally targeted.

It is both the college's and Apogee's policies to divulge no personal information unless issued a proper, legal subpoena, which they have not as of yet been issued at all with regard to this matter.

In My Opinion, the college did a pretty good job handling things overall. The one thing I think they failed at was EDUCATION. They said that a few years ago the RIAA came to all colleges to discuss what could be done about the mass copyright infringement. They came to the agreement that colleges would set their judicial policies about it, and they would provide education. However, that never really happened.

So last night I, and others, strongly suggested a new wave of education where they not only inform students of copyright law and how to deal with this current RIAA matter, but also discuss the future of copyright law and perhaps how to change it.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The RIAA and Ithaca College

Recently the RIAA included Ithaca College students in its target group of college students to attack for copyright infringement. These fascists tried to collect money in "reparations" or really whatever you care to call them, from IC students and college students across the country. It is, of course, totally deplorable. The RIAA has been arguing that it is important for college campuses to cooperate, because it is important for them to instill the value and importance of copyright and its laws in youth in order for them to be able to interact properly with the world around them. What they are really trying to say is that it is important for us to stifle youth so that they will be properly tempered to be docile consumers and people who don't question either their government or other social systems. What they are really trying to say is, "Hey, we're trying to make some fucking money over here."

Bullshit, In My Opinion.

According to people with whom I've spoken, Apogee was contacted and "required" to deliver the names associated with IPs on the Ithaca College grid, and they denied the RIAA's request which is EXACTLY what they should have done. The RIAA does not have the right to go around policing the country and attacking people, ESPECIALLY (but not limited to) those with limited financial means, such as college students. Depraved!!!

However, Ithaca College has passed on the RIAA pre-litigation letters to the students cited, who now feel OBLIGATED to simply pay the FUCKING RIAA $3,000 dollars to prevent a lawsuit. Is this what we've come to? Just give me a boatload of money and I won't sue you. That's a great fucking message to pass on to the youth, guys.

Today at 7pm in Textor 101 there will be a meeting held by ITS and Judicial and Legal Affairs in something of a town council-style meeting.

IF YOU GO TO ITHACA COLLEGE, please forward that information to EVERYONE YOU KNOW who is concerned about copyright law, or who downloads music, or is angry about what the RIAA has been doing. Please go to this meeting and tell them that you firmly believe they must not reveal the names of their students! They must not bow to the BULLYING PRESSURE of the RIAA. It is their moral obligation to PROTECT the student body. Tell them to pursue actively educating students in not copyright law, but copyLEFT law and things like Creative Commons Licensing.

Links: EFF, Creative Commons

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Iraq In Fragments

I just saw a documentary entitled Iraq in Fragments this afternoon... a three-segment film, it concerns itself with various parts of the overall narrative of Iraq. Of course I use the term "narrative" in that case fairly unconventionally. Naturally, the country is not just a film and I am by no means making it diminutive by treating it as a narrative.

What it gave me was something I crave more and more: to see what other people's lives are like. In this case, it showed me the lives of people in war-torn Iraq. Those are lives I particularly want to have a better understanding of because my image and concept of the Iraqi people (as of Middle-Eastern people in general) are skewed.

In My Opinion, it was terrifying, enraging, consuming, engaging, and thoroughly worth my time. It continues to push me to ask myself, "How am I going to interact with the world and affect those around me?" A question that I have now and again asked myself within the context of this blog, and a question I hope will never be far from my mind.

I have asked my housemate, Zach, to be a contributing writer to this blog because he expressed to me the desire that was the same as when I started this blog: to express himself in the public forum. It's my hope that he will accept my invitation, and engage in the blog in a way that brings in more readership, is thoughtful and engaging, and that making this blog a joint venture will allow us to push each other to be less lethargic Americans.

Fingers are crossed.

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