I will string out my wonderfully cogent and insightful gerrymandering piece, alternating it with postings of misc interesting items.
One note, though... may I ask you please feel free to mention even misspellings in comments! This is one reason I post drafts! Tweaking before publication in other places. CITOKATE, right?
As for my web site http://www.davidbrin.com/ I get a lot of overtures offering to make it “updated” or more similar to everything else out there that follows collective wisdom. Simplicity rules! Go with simple and large graphics! Lots of open space and big type! Be easy on the eye! To which I reply Bah! (sorry ;-) I WANT to be different. I want it clear that this is a place that is SUPER content-rich! You could have a 27” screen and still the menus only begin. I want the range of fun to be clear to the eye, even if you have to squint! This is a place for serious, not casual visitors.
===MISC Cool STUFF====
See this op-ed by Peggy Noonan It fits right in with what we've been saying about how Katrina illustrates the “war” between citizens and their paid protectors. Yes, it isn’t as good as if your favorite author had a better soapbox...
Google Takes On Copyright Laws -- (Wired -- September 19, 2005) With Google's book-scanning program set to resume in earnest this fall, copyright laws that long preceded the internet look to be headed for a digital-age test. The outcome could determine how easy it will be for people with internet access to benefit from knowledge that's now mostly locked up -- in books sitting on dusty library shelves, many of them out of print.
I am less worried than some, about mass availability of literature. iTunes shows that I was right in The Transparent Society. Decent people will pay what seems fair. Still, my personal bugaboo is works of copyrighted material that are kept SECRET by the copyright holders. This is not what patent and copyright law were for! They were set up as bribes to lure creative people into the open! Judges who supported Scientology, for example, in prosecuting people who shared CoS documents, were simply clueless. Those data thieves needed to be fined to compensate CoS for the real damage in LOST ROYALTY INCOME that those pirated versions took away from normal sales. (Hint: normal sales were zero, because of secrecy. But that is none of the law’s business.)
But this does not piss me off as much as the deliberate imprisonment by MOVIE STUDIOS of something like 10,000 screenplays! Every year studios commission these as works-for-hire or buy rights outright. Fine The writer gets good money. But then the soul-killing thing happens. Only a few scripts get filmed. The others? (And other DRAFTS?) These get sealed away in armored rooms, never to see light again. If the writer so much as circulates a few private copies? Whammo!
More than 10,000 works of art (many awful, of course, but some possibly gems) have been locked away this way. A crime against literature! I favor a law, allowing screen writers to at least post their scripts AS STORIES.
Who knows? Maybe groundswell opinion would even convince studios they have untapped wealth and a few might even be filmed.
One thing, I would love to be able to post-compare three Postman scripts. Eric Roth’s original horrid, nasty evil piece of doggy doo... vs Brian Helgeland’s filmed version, which was pretty good in places, though uneven and faltering in the end (probably not his fault)... vs one that I wrote, that has been seen by only a dozen people on Earth. Sigh. I bet mine would win any blind taste test.
= MORE QUICK STUFF =
Solar Minimum Explodes -- (NASA -- September 19, 2005) On Sept. 7th, a huge sunspot rounded the sun's eastern limb. As soon as it appeared, it exploded, producing one of the brightest x-ray solar flares of the Space Age. In the days that followed, the growing spot exploded eight more times. Each powerful "X-flare" caused a shortwave radio blackout on Earth and pumped new energy into a radiation storm around our planet. The blasts hurled magnetic clouds toward Earth, and when they hit, on Sept 10th and 11th, ruby-red auroras were seen as far south as Arizona.
Dang! I guess they were right about Global Warming... ;-)
See this: just cool: http://www.livescience.com/scienceoffiction/050912_walrus.html
In a new article, PPI’s Rob Atkinson writes that its time for a new approach to addressing growing income inequality. The chapter appears in a new volume “The New Egalitarianism” edited by Anthony Giddens and Patrick Diamond (Polity Press, June 2005).
Atkinson writes that while the New Economy has brought renewed growth and dynamism, it has also brought a disturbing increase in economic inequality. Compared to the prior war mass production economy that provided a comparatively egalitarian labor market in which there was robust growth, widely shared, today the U.S., and a number of other advanced economies, enjoy growth, unevenly shared. Where tens of millions of poor and working families, even ones without much education, were propelled into the ranks of the middle class in the old economy, today we are creating relatively few middle class jobs. Where President John Kennedy could confidently proclaim, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’, today a rising tide lifts the yachts much higher than the dinghies. Where a confident welfare state ‘leaned into the wind’ of the remaining income inequality with tax, spending and regulatory policies, today’s conservative policies make existing inequalities worse.
If we are to develop a third way on income inequality it will have to be based in the recognition that the New Economy has brought about fundamental new realities that can’t be ignored or reversed. It will require new kinds of pro-competition, pro-innovation policies that foster both greater growth and egalitarianism. But it will also require embracing policies such as more progressive taxation, better skills training efforts, and labor law rules that level the playing field for workers engaging in collective bargaining. In short, we need an agenda that takes both growth and progressiveness seriously.
View the article on the PPI website at: http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?contentid=253535&knlgAreaID=125&subsecid=164
he Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released the results of a national study of election practices. Created in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the commission is charged with improving how elections are run.
= Charged with Murder, Connected to Abramoff Two of three men charged with the mob style hit of a businessman a few months after he sold a fleet of casino boats to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff were ordered held without bond Wednesday.
The Republican Money Machine: The Hammer Falls It isn't just Tom DeLay. The vast corrupt money machine that funded the Republican Revolution is exploding before our eyes.