Archive for August 24th, 2010

ASCAP attacks Creative Commons

| August 24, 2010 | 9 Replies
ASCAP attacks Creative Commons

No, this is not a comical make-believe headline from The Onion. ASCAP has lashed out at Creative Commons.

At this moment, we are facing our biggest challenge ever. Many forces including Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation and technology companies with deep pockets are mobilizing to promote “Copyleft” in order to undermine our “Copyright.” They say they are advocates of consumer rights, but the truth is these groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music. Their mission is to spread the word that our music should be free.

This smear campaign is a staggering display of ignorance. Did ASCAP actually hire a lawyer to advise them here? Do they have the faintest idea of what Creative Commons is all about?

Here’s the response of Creative Commons:

Last week, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) sent a fundraising letter to its members calling on them to fight “opponents” such as Creative Commons, falsely claiming that we work to undermine copyright.*

Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses – plain and simple. Period. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Without copyright, these tools don’t work. Artists and record labels that want to make their music available to the public for certain uses, like noncommercial sharing or remixing, should consider using CC licenses. Artists and labels that want to reserve all of their copyright rights should absolutely not use CC licenses.

Here’s more analysis, from Techdirt.

ASCAP’s blatant attack on Creative Commons (and EFF and PK; both of whom focus on consumer rights, but not undermining artist’s rights at all) shows their true colors. They’re not about artists’ rights at all. They’re about greater protectionism — which is not (at all) the same thing.

Share

Read More

Beware Annie Leonard’s presentation about all of our Stuff, unless you’re ready to implement big changes

| August 24, 2010 | 8 Replies
Beware Annie Leonard’s presentation about all of our Stuff, unless you’re ready to implement big changes

Annie Leonard is the author of The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change. I am only partially through her excellent book at this time. Tonight, however, I clicked over to her site to see what Annie had to say in her 20 minute video, “”The Story of Stuff.” It turns out that upbeat Annie, surrounded by cartoonish images, will fill your head with dozens of depressing statistics that will inexorably lead you to the conclusion that we’ve got to change our ways.

Annie starts out with a warning that we have a “system in crisis.” We have is a “linear” system on a “finite planet.” We also have a big problem getting our government to pay attention. More than 50% of our tax money goes to the military, and our corporations seem to own our government (51 of the largest economies in the world are corporations). Consider also Annie’s well honed argument that our official government policy is that we should purchase lots of unnecessary stuff and trash the planet.

Many other sites that can give you comparable statistics, but few of them have worked n my conscience as much as Annie Leonard’s site. The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but uses 30% of the worlds resources. If everyone lived like people in the United States, we would need 3 to 5 planets. Every minute, seven football fields worth of trees (about 2000 trees) are cut down in the Amazon. There are 100,000 chemicals commonly used in our products, and very few of them have ever been tested for human safety . Annie points out that almost none of of these chemicals ave been tested for “synergistic effects (to see how safe they are when used in combination with other chemicals). BFR’s (used for fire retardation) are commonly used in computers, couches and the pillows on which you rest your head on each night. The food with one of the highest concentrations of toxins is human breast milk.

[More . . . ]

Share

Read More

Maintenance

| August 24, 2010 | Reply
Maintenance

Tonight at about 11pm (eastern time) this website will be undergoing maintenance for about one hour. Then we’ll be back, better than ever, technologically speaking!

Share

Read More

Neutrinos may not be neutral after all!

| August 24, 2010 | 58 Replies
Neutrinos may not be neutral after all!

Do neutrinos affect radioactive decay? That’s what new research at Purdue seems to suggest.

When researchers at Purdue were looking for a reliable way to generate random numbers, they thought they were smart to use radioactive decay – after all the rate of decay was a known constant (for a given material) but the decay of any particular atom was truly random. But what they discovered may have huge implications for the Standard Model, for physics and for cosmology.

As the researchers pored through published data on specific isotopes, they found disagreement in the measured decay rates – odd for supposed physical constants.
Checking data collected at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Federal Physical and Technical Institute in Germany, they came across something even more surprising: long-term observation of the decay rate of silicon-32 and radium-226 seemed to show a small seasonal variation. The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer.

In addition, during a solar flare event in Dec 2006, a Purdue researcher, observing day in manganese-54, noticed that the decay rate began to drop almost 36 hours before the flare event

became visible on earth. In a series of published papers, the Purdue team showed that the observed variations in decay rates were highly unlikely to have come from environmental influences on the detection systems.

Their findings strengthened the argument that the strange swings in decay rates were caused by neutrinos from the sun. The decay rates dropped as the Earth came closer to the sun (where it would be exposed to more neutrinos) and rose as the Earth moved farther away.

So there was good reason to suspect the sun, but could it be proven?

Enter Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied physics and an expert on the inner workings of the sun. Sturrock knew from his experience that the observed neutrino intensity varies on a regular basis as the sun revolves and shows a different face to the Earth. He suggested that Purdue: Look for evidence that the changes in radioactive decay on Earth vary with the rotation of the sun.

Looking again at the decay data from the Brookhaven lab, the researchers found a recurring pattern of 33 days, which differed from the observed solar rotation period of about 28 days. They explain this by suggesting that the core of the sun – where nuclear reactions produce neutrinos – spins more slowly than the surface.

The evidence points toward a conclusion that emissions form the sun are directly influencing radioactive isotopes on Earth.

However, no one knows how neutrinos could interact with radioactive materials to change their rate of decay. This result holds promise in many ways: as an early warning system for Solar Flares; as an avenue for new research on neutrinos; or as the first inking of even stranger new particles. “It would have to be something we don’t know about, an unknown particle that is also emitted by the sun and has this effect, and that would be even more remarkable,” Sturrock said.

H/T: io9 and Symmetry Magazine

Share

Read More