Idiots! Here Comes Book Burning

Posted in News, Rant, Technology on August 5th, 2009 by Dr. Warthan
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America’s entire science-fiction history is full of stories warning of a dystopian future where books are outlawed, art is destroyed, and the punishment for reading poetry is death.  Who thought that having “electronics books” was a good idea?  Not me, and here’s the proof:

Talk about irony. In an Orwellian moment, owners of Amazon’s Kindle discovered that their recently purchased copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm had been deleted by Amazon. Apparently, a third-party retailer who specializes in selling public-domain books used Amazon’s self-service platform to sell copies of two Orwell titles. Unfortunately, those books aren’t public domain in the U.S.A.

So, with a kindle, “they” can reach out and remove books from your possession.  Sounds a little like depriving you of your property without due process.  Here it comes.  It’s starting to happen for real.  This is the warning sign.  We’re already suckers for DRM crap and DCMA garbage; we can’t copy, move, lend, or basically use anything we pay for and own.

But there’s a flip side.  It turns out that, as usual, we are our own worst enemies.  Society has bred a kind of soccer mom criminal.  It’s become socially acceptable to simply go to a Torrent website and illegally download copyrighted material whenever it suits us.  Music, movies, books, games, and software.  Shoot, if young women could illegally download pregnancy, I’m sure they would.

So, the bad news is that we will end up creating the Firemen or Grammaton Clerics ourselves.  It won’t be government, but private corporations.  Think about it, who wants to get rid of your rights the most?  Is it your job, or the government?  The Government that we always seem to fear is by the people and for the people; the Government is ourselves (at least for now).  But what is the government becoming?  It’s becoming privatized.  We already know that huge corporations buy our politicians.  Since Corporations are running America, maybe we should be concerned about them being “big brother.”  Perhaps they already are:

At Work, here’s what happens:

  1. Someone accuses you of doing something wrong to your boss.
  2. Your boss didn’t like you anyway, and the accuser is kind of cute.
  3. The boss concludes whether or not you are guilty.
  4. You are not informed about the specifics of the charge.
  5. You are not allowed to know who accused you.
  6. You are not allowed to cross examine witnesses.
  7. You are not allowed to examine evidence.
  8. You have no representation.
  9. You are terminated by a pink slip; it’s the first you’ve heard of it.
  10. You realize you should have joined a union.

Man, at least with the government, you get some kind of fair shot.

Anyways, these dystopian book-burning warnings come in all shapes and sizes.  Pay attention to them!  Some of my favorites are Equilibrium, Idiocracy, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Gattaca, V for Vendetta, I Robot, The Matrix, Metropolis, and Animal Farm.

Source: SHIFT

Exponential Times

Posted in InterWebs, News, Technology on May 15th, 2009 by Dr. Warthan
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Fantastic video on the progression of information technology.  Example: It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New Your Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.  Example: It is estimated that 4 exabytes (4.0×10^19) of unique information will be generated this year [the year this post was made], which is more than the previous 5,000 years.

Seriously YouTube? No preview??

Art with Attention to Detail

Posted in Art, SteamPunk on April 21st, 2009 by Dr. Warthan
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The robot is interesting, and I like the train.  The double boiler implies a double fire-box, and the catwalk on the side is a nice touch.  But a steam locomotive requires fuel and water, always pulled right behind the engine; I don’t see that here.  It must be somewhere.  While nobody is going to question the giant robot, I think most SteamPunk fans have a good idea how a steam train works.  Attention to detail is important to me.  The community demands to know where the fuel and water is!