21 August 2009

Link Sausage Avatars

Even more miscellaneous than usual.

  • As this video excerpt demonstrates, it's important to know your audience. In this instance, the dining-room table accused a speaker of supporting a "Nazi policy" while forgetting that the speaker in question is both Jewish and an acknowledged — hell, avowed and proud of it — homosexual.
  • Is Russia haunted by Stalin's ghost? Is it something in the "Russian character" (if it exists); something in the "human character" (if it exists); or something else entirely, such as a cultural return to the only method of governance they've known for ten centuries in the face of uncertainty?
  • It'll take a lot more than hocking the jewelry of the new rulers to fund an expedition to Mars... but this article implies that going to Mars is the same sort of thing.
  • Momentum against the Google Book Search settlement is growing: SFWA has issued a formal (public) opposition;1 Amazon, Yahoo!, and Micro$oft have announced their opposition; and Ed Hasbrouck (of the NWU) has gone into more detail. And everyone is still, nonetheless, ignoring the elephant in the room: Treaty obligations regarding "formalities" under the Berne Convention.

    Meanwhile, the glorious history of French prowess at arms has added another chapter, as France surrenders to Google in something disturbingly like the original agreement with the University of Michigan libraries that gave rise to this nonsense in the first place.

  • Disdain in Spain when magic is made plain.
  • So, then, how much is that brand worth, anyway? How typical of accounting rules to create a cost for everything ("goodwill") in a bit of circular reasoning (the real "value" of a company must always equal — never exceed or fall short of — its capitalization).
  • Last, and far from least, there's the identity of gamers. Now, I may be a coffee-swilling civil procedure geek from the Pacific Northwet who could certainly stand to lose a few pounds, but I'm not a video gamer. For one thing, I'm much too old to be covered by this flawed study; for another, my gaming has seldom involved videos (or computers/AIs, most of which lack the tactical and strategic sophistication of the average houseplant). If [insert deity here] had meant us to play video games, It wouldn't have decreed combat results tables, polyhedral dice, or character sheets!

    Besides, Felicia Day is a gamer.

  1. Disclosure: As a policy matter in my capacity as a nonvoting member, but not as legal advice (since I'm not the designated counsel), I made recommendations to SFWA almost as soon as the settlement was proposed making these very points.