Category Archives: Life-Society

Life and Society

07 Mar 2010
One hand clapping

If I asked you to “listen” silently to this page for 4’33”, would that be a copyright violation? What if I attached a 4’33” long mp3 of silence? If I recorded it myself, would that be a forgery or a performance? What if I used a kazoo instead of a piano? Would 4’34” of silence […]

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19 Feb 2010
I C U

This is why I keep a PostIt over the lens of built-in cameras. Cory Doctorow says: According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators, who […]

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09 Jan 2010
Fire Safe Cigarettes

I first noticed “fire safe” cigarettes (FSC) a couple months ago. At first I thought I’d bought a contaminated pack. In a sense, that’s true — FSCs have bands of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) spaced along the cigarette to make them go out if not continually inhaled. Although FSCs aren’t required in Mississippi until July […]

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08 Jan 2010
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

One weekend home from college, I told my mother I had become a Satanist. That was so outside the scope of what she could accept that it really didn’t faze her. “Just kidding”, I said, “actually, I’ve converted to Catholicism.” That’s when she got upset. I’m sure you’d appreciate that a lot more if you […]

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31 Dec 2009
Pixelated Dreams

Lately my dreams, or at least the rapidly evaporating-on-waking memories of them, seem more realistic. Most are brief snippets, but some are lengthy detailed stories. Earlier times, if I remembered dreams at all, they were generally incoherent, often nightmarish. Occasionally there was no memory of content at all, just waking up with a pervasive sense […]

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30 Dec 2009
Miscellaneous Links 2009-12-30

Some random things I’ve run across the last few days: The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity A quote from the commentary on the third law: Our daily life is mostly, made of cases in which we lose money and/or time and/or energy and/or appetite, cheerfulness and good health because of the improbable action of some […]

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23 Dec 2009
Judge Bans Microsoft from Selling Word …

… or at least that’s what the headlines say. Gets your attention doesn’t it? Being such a fan of Microsoft, I couldn’t help but get a little buzz when I read that. Actually, Microsoft is banned from selling versions of Word that contain a particular piece of “XML technology” which i4i has patented. This is […]

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12 Dec 2009
TV Math

Are percentages really that hard? Now, journalism has a reputation for misreporting scientific studies, what with all that complicated mathematics, statistics, probability, and the drawing of logical conclusions, but this is ridiculous. After all, “per cent” sorta implies that the numbers should add up to some number relatively close to 100, and I think that […]

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22 Nov 2009
Words, Damned Words, and Legalese

Is legalese identical or similar to statistics? A Texas constitutional amendment from 2005 which says SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows: Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. (b) This state or a […]

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29 Oct 2009
What you get without network neutrality

quink has provided us with an illustration of what happens if network neutrality disappears (reddit discussion): click here for full-size image

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