19 June 2009

These Internet Sausages Neither Kashrut Nor Halal

It may be Friday, but (as indicated by the last three items below) I have no objection to pork products. It's one thing to honor one's ancestry; it's another thing entirely to be bound by it (and what is the binder in these dubious internet sausage links, anyway... or does anyone really want to know?).

  • In the Department of Unintentional Irony, The Atlantic is running with a story on the "death" of the weekly newsmagazine... but for The Economist. This is just jawdroppingly, recursively goofy. To begin with, The Economist has never pretended to be a "weekly newsmagazine": it has always classed itself as a "newspaper," but one offering analysis more than breaking news; it has always priced itself for the upper middle class and upper class (running at least five times the going rate for its purported competition); and the article itself bears a more-than-faint patina of disdain for mass-market publications that change in response to changing market and technological conditions... which is particularly silly given the provenance of The Atlantic itself (and reminds me more than a bit of Pierre Menard). Perhaps the most delicious bit of reflexive irony, though, is buried in the author of the article's own history of adapting to the market, including his role as a modestly evolutionary editor of the modestly better than toiletpaper Spin (which aspires to be Rolling Stone when it grows sobers up).
  • Google, in a remarkably stupid move, has already started modifying the publicly available feature set of Google Books in a way that by itself calls the fairness and propriety of the GBS settlement into question. This reflects the principle problem with the technology industry: The tech geeks and law geeks don't communicate before doing all that cool stuff. There's plenty of blame on both ends: The tech geeks seldom even talk to the lawyers... at least in part, and probably mostly, because the lawyers don't respond coherently (or quickly) when they do.
  • Here's a fascinating look at how copyright "should" be treated in insolvency (UK equivalent of bankruptcy). I'd be very interested to know how often this ideal even gets acknowledged — let alone measurably approached — in practice... particularly since the UK doesn't have the WFH doctrine, which by its nature should (but seldom does) make things much more Interesting in US bankruptcy practice.
  • From the Department of A Pox on All Their Houses, Professor Madison comments on the recent multimillion-dollar filesharing verdict. Of course, if the "information wants to be free" advocates really believe that that meme applies, they'll take up a collection to at least cover the criminallosing defendant's legal expenses a(and probable liability for the RIAA's attorney's fees). But then the "information" wouldn't be free, would it? Or, I suppose, they could just start a food fight... which, come to think of it, reflects what's going on more than one might wish. Maybe they're really more concerned with responding to the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor.
  • Professor Froomkin offers an interesting (and understatedly correct, IMNSHO) comment on Judge (Justice-designate) Sonia Sotomayor's enemies and missteps. That includes you, Broad Universe: I've been excluded from a number of organizations through "invidious discrimination" in the past, and I don't tolerate it under any circumstances... particularly when the purported "subject" is as clearly distinct as the value of a copyrighted work and the gender of its creator (n.b. Exhibit A: James Tiptree, Jr., one of the "heroes" thereof...).
  • It's the end of the first week of summer school classes for the elder remora... which means he has his first midterm today, after the equivalent of four weeks of class. And in honor of that midterm being in a rather difficult language...

    ...which definitely beats the inept analysis of Ayotollah Khameini's Friday prayer speech today. Hint: In Persian/Farsi, one can (and Khameini seems to have based on that marginal-audio-quality recording, albeit not as clearly as he should have) make a distinction between an organization and a person who is a leader of/seeking to become a leader of that organization. None of which excuses any of the election fraud apparently involved: The secular election was inherently fraudulent by pretending that it was for a position of real power in a theocracy.