29 July 2009

Die Grippe

Travel grippe finally caught up with me. Urggh. Thus, these sausages got some extra aging and "seasoning." Even more so than usual, you really don't want to know how these link sausages were made.

  • William Shatner (and his hairpiece) have been up to interesting things lately. He's left a voicemail message for every HP employee decrying HP's breaking of a "promise" to stop using "dangerous" plastics in its computers.1 And then there's this video, which is so wrong that it's right.
  • The Louvre is going to admit that not everyone is in Paris or speaks French by putting its database online in English tomorrow. What's next? Will the French Dictionary Police turn in their badges? Meanwhile, the AP — as further proof that it has learned nothing about copyright and intellectual property, news, and marketing since it lost a seminal case a few decades back — is going the opposite direction, planning to "wrap" its online news in (unusually defective) DRM.
  • This is complicated enough to make a truly excellent exam question for an upper-level law school class: a festival of GI Joe fan fiction, not coincidentally just before the release of a major motion picture. On a parallel track, the authorized evolution of fan fiction — properly published media tie-in fiction — issued its own "annual" awards at ComicCon. Discuss.
  • I'm afraid I know a lot more about the tangled web of film rights to Tolkein's works than I can really say. Without further editorializing, let me just say that this account from School Library Journal vastly understates/underimplies the issue(s) involved, and that the lawsuit seeking equitable return of rights is merely the tip of Smaug's snout... while he's still asleep. The problem is not with Peter Jackson, or at least this problem is not with Peter Jackson.
  • The major pop-music magazines appear to be dying. Schade — they deserve it, but for a reason untouched by the article in question: Their standards and content are so bad — and they have been that way for thirty years or more, before Spin itself was more than a concept — that they have long been mere carriers for advertising. Calling their recording reviews "drugola" (counterpart of "payola"; reflecting the actual medium of exchange) would have been too generous since about 1971. At least, based on the influence of musicianship upon review content, one can only infer that some serious drugs were involved...
  • The New Yawkah "discusses" The Left Hand of Darkness (and other topics) with Ursula K. Le Guin.
  • In the "I'm still chewing this sausage to see what it really means" department, an interesting (if somewhat misguided, because it's drawing in terminology from yet another technical realm: military theory) piece on IP in corporate communications with some as-yet-unclear implications concerning business plans. And from the same blawg and department, two other incompatible corporate issues meet: accounting (specifically, depreciation of assets) and trademark valuation, with some of the same implications.

  1. The implicit claim that there are "nondangerous" alternatives, by the way, reflects an egregious misunderstanding of the various chemical processes by which all plastics are made. In this instance, it's a question of balancing the risk of careless disposal of the endproduct causing damage against the manufacturing process almost certainly causing damage, albeit to a much smaller number of people.