06 June 2015

Pre-Road-Kill Link Sausages

Lots of driving in the near future; given the roads in California, my suspension is likely to be the first bit of roadkill.

  • Here's something to look forward to: My soon-to-be home is one of the worst baseball towns in the US. I'm looking forward to it: Baseball is a communist plot to destroy the fitness and team ethic of America's youth. Not to mention that baseball/softball fields are configured in a way to prevent every other recreational use; even golf isn't that exclusionary.
  • Turning to the world of real sport, watching The Fall of the House of Blatter has been gratifying in some respects, but sad in others. I suspect that the FBI doesn't (yet) have a smoking gun — but that someone at InBev or Adidas (the two biggest, longest-term sponsors) does, and made it known to ol' Tightershortsforfemaleplayers. And the timing was intended so that Blatter can try to manipulate the succession — both in the permanent, nonelected staff (who actually know where those smoking guns are) and the presidency itself.
  • The Copyright Office has issued a new report on orphan works and mass digitization (PDF). It's not as bad as it could have been, but it's clearly a result of agency capture and has failed to adequately consider the constitutional purpose of copyright: Encouraging authors (for all types of works) to create more works and thereby advance the useful arts and sciences. I'll have more to say later, after I follow the references and footnotes in more detail... but the dearth of references to authors' interests is neither very surprising nor very encouraging.
  • There's a proposal to tweak Hugo voting rules somewhat jocularly labelled E Pluribus Hugo that I cannot support, for three reasons. First, it depends upon accepting the proposition that a popular vote among those who pay a poll tax to vote is the best way to determine actual quality. (I'd be probably be more supportive if the Hugos themselves were renamed from "Best" to "Favorite.") Second, it does nothing whatsoever to deal with the far-more-serious problems of source restrictiveness and the inept calendar (really? for an award issued in late August, we start nominations in January?). Third, at a fundamental level it fails to engage with the dynamics of cliquishness (for both real and imagined cliques, I should note) that are at issue; in fact, it bears a disturbing resemblance to the evolution of voting patterns in Jim Crow country following passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1964, if not with the same obvious discriminatory animus.

    I think this proposal has been put forth in good faith, in a highly conservative attempt to retain, and even reify, a particular (and wildly inaccurate) fannish/SMOFish perception of what the Hugos "are" and "mean." The irony of that characterization is intentional, especially compared to the various canine complaints; it is obvious, disturbing, and all too typical of attempts to tweak selection mechanisms without pondering what is being selected... and whether that requires a farther-reaching change.