31 March 2009

QotD for 31 Mar., 2009

On the brouhaha by some authors and publishers over copyright & ebooks in general, and Amazon's Kindle specifically:
Maybe I'm right and maybe I'm wrong, but the important thing is, we don't need new theories about copyright law to test the proposition. The existing, totally non-controversial aspect of copyright law that says, "Amazon can't publish and sell my book without my permission" covers the territory nicely. ---Cory Doctorow

Simple, huh ? Now, if Kindle books:

  • Didn't have odious and burdensome DRM attached (so I could make decent backups),
  • Didn't cost so bloomin' much (make 'em the price of a paperback minus a buck or so to make up for the lack of printing costs), and
  • Were compatible with other ebook readers & software

then you'd really have something... But as it is ? Meh.

[via boing boing]

27 March 2009

26 March 2009

The Big Takeover

Matt Taibbi has a take-no-prisoners article in Rolling Stone on Wall Street insiders and the global economic crisis:
So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream.

11 March 2009

Whither the Evangelicals ?

Michael Spencer predicts the the coming evangelical collapse in an article yesterday on the Christian Science Monitor website:
Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

Now I'll admit that Spencer goes off the rails when he additionally suggests that wide-spread intolerance of Christians will also result, but the conservative evangelicals have always had a bit of persecution complex. However, the article is well worth your while and is overall a pretty thoughtful piece of self-examination. You'll want to check out the commentary in Rod Dreher's section of Beliefnet as well. Another conservative Christian who, even though I have plenty to argue with him about, has lately been taking a hard look at their role in the culture wars.

10 March 2009

Book! It's Got an Intuitive, Touch-based Interface!

What with all the Kindle 2 release brouhaha, I got a real laugh out of yesterday's comic over at Penny Arcade. ;)

06 March 2009

We Need a New Dream

It's obviously been hard not to think about the greed and short-sightedness that's got us in to the current economic predicament. But something really crystallized for me while reading a quote from the graphic novel The Watchmen (the same dialog is in the movie, too -'natch).

As they attempt to quell a riot, the Nightowl and the Comedian have the following short conversation in the midst of the chaos:

Nightowl: But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to America ? What's happened to the American dream ?

Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it.

We need a new American Dream. One that's not dreamt by spoiled, shallow, greedy children.