January 15, 2003Funny of the Moment
"[This news report about American military pilots being given amphetamines] gives a whole new meaning to 'Winning the war on drugs.'"
--from a Boston Globe letter to the editor, found by Larry M Headlund and posted to rec.humor.funny. Heheheheh.
Unfunny of the Moment
BoingBoing is in mourning over news of a Surpreme Court decision extending copyrights to 95 years for corporations (70 years after the death of the creator for other works.) The Constitution grants Congress the power to grant copyright for a "limited" time--the defintion of "limited time" will be "for as long as Disney has lobbyists". Trot out the usual (but somewhat justified) handwringing about how this stomps all over the concept of Public Domain (which most people really don't get anyway) and speculation about what this kind of thought would've done for Shakespeare et al.
On the other hand...I dunno. The landscape is different with corporations about. Corporations are kind of scary, actually, yeah, they're "virtual people" but they're potentiall immortal...that's kind of trippy.
These problems aren't new though. Dickens had to fight pirate editions of his works...and Cervantes wrote part 2 of Don Quixote partially because of some unauthorized sequels that were gaining popularity. From that perspective, a certain amout of piracy is probably helpful to individual artists (at least in the long term) and to culture as a whole. On the other hand, it's probably good if it stays a bit at the fringes, other wise content producers do risk getting royally screwed, and thus less likely to produce interesting content.
Equation of the Moment
Happiness = P + (5*E) + (3*H)
--"P stands for Personal Characteristics, including outlook on life, adaptability and resilience. E stands for Existence and relates to health, financial stability and friendships. And H represents Higher Order needs, and covers self-esteem, expectations, ambitions and sense of humour", from this BBC report on some work by Social Scientists.
Quote of the Moment
"The closer political metaphor [than 'regime change'] would be 'new blood'--and perhaps quite a bit of it."
--Christopher Hitchens in an article on Slate.com