16 April 2014

Nice Day for a Red Wedding

Shoe, 16 Apr 2014

Not much of a surprise, is it?

  • The king is dead, and good riddance. There's been a Red Wedding, now a Purple Wedding. What's next: A White Wedding?
  • From the Bureau for Ahabian Affairs, one learns that elements of the Japanese parliament want to defy an international-court-imposed whaling ban. The irony that the court ruling rejected a facially untenable claim that the whaling was for "research purposes" seems to have escaped just about everyone. This is, bluntly, another example of tradition (specifically including traditional privilege, in this instance with strong religious overtones) v. science... and you can probably guess which side of that debate I support, at least by default, even without considering that holding a feast on whale meat sort of undercuts the stated rationale that it was scientific research.
  • That sort of argument, though, is centuries old... and for some people, it was more fun in the past. As it happens, I'm not a huge fan of Cosmos, and wasn't in its prior incarnation either: Too much dumbing down and not enough math (or experimental technique). But then, even as an undergrad when the Sagan version came out my scientific background was well beyond that of the target audience. I'm even less of a fan of the particular kind of "journalism" epitomized in that article, though — the kind that applies a predetermined, outcome-determinative ideological-political framework to every difference of opinion. I know a fair number of socially conservative, "faithful" scientists who reject creationism and its variants for reasons utterly incompatible with Mr O'Hehir's assertion that such rejection comes from "liberal hysteria."
  • The Economist offers a fascinating piece on language and migration. Deutsch, natürlich; und Arabisch für mein Remora. Neither of us intends to park a two-metric-tonne trailer in your neighborhood overnight, however...
  • The IPKat notes a lament that one should not blame treaties for bad domestic IP law. It's sort of ironic, too, that we have a built-in conflict lurking in US law: Unlike the fundamental law of virtually any other nation, the US Constitution proclaims that it — an instrument of domestic law — always trumps any treaty (or, presumably, other international law). Or, at least, that's been the interpretation our Supreme Court adopted (consistent with the notes of the Constitutional Convention, which were not available at the time that line of precedent began). All of which is a roundabout poke at copyright registration, and particularly at § 411's blatant inconsistency with Art. 5 § 2 of the Berne Convention on Copyright, which — under that same line of precedent — overrules registration, because a treaty requirement overrules a mere domestic statute (but not the Constitution).