Lessig on text and image

by John Q on January 20, 2005

Earlier this week, I attended a Creative Commons conference at QUT in Brisbane, including the launch of the Creative Commons licence for Australia. The main speaker was Larry Lessig, who gave two papers and joined a panel discussion as well. Lessig is a great speaker with really effective presentations, a point on which I hope to post more later. There was a lot of food for thought, and I’ll start with the opening presentations.

In this talk, the central idea was remix, taking bits and pieces from the existing culture and recombining them to produce something new. My summary of the core argument

  1. text is the past, video and audio are the future
  2. the set of rights surrounding text has always allowed for a lot of remix, including direct copying for fair use, parody and so on
  3. because of digital rights management technology and strong IP, the current trend is to suppress remix for video and audio, thereby depriving our culture of one of its historic sources of validity

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by Ted on January 20, 2005

Gary Farber of Amygdala could probably use some help.

Is Iran next? And if so, how?

by Ted on January 20, 2005

Last night, I attended a presentation by Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It was put on by the Houston World Affairs Council about Iran’s nuclear program. (Short plug- Houstonians with sufficient interest in public affairs to read blogs really ought to look into HWAC. It’s one of the best deals in town.)

Shorter Ray Takeyh: Iran is unlikely to stop weaponizing its nuclear program. From our perspective, all options stink.

Longer Ray Takeyh after the break.

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Meanwhile, just across the border

by John Q on January 20, 2005

Iranians are stocking up on candy and flowers with which to bestrew invading US troops, according to Thomas Friedman who says “many young people apparently hunger for Mr. Bush to remove their despotic leaders, the way he did in Iraq.”. His evidence for this proposition is the following

n Oxford student who had just returned from research in Iran told me that young Iranians were “loving anything their government hates,” such as Mr. Bush, “and hating anything their government loves.” Tehran is festooned in “Down With America” graffiti, the student said, but when he tried to take pictures of it, the Iranian students he was with urged him not to. They said it was just put there by their government and was not how most Iranians felt.

Iran, he said, is the ultimate “red state.”

Oddly enough, when I last visited America, I met plenty of people who “love anything their government hates,” and assured me that the kind of thing I saw on Fox was not really the way most Americans felt. They didn’t feel able to confess to me that they were longing for the arrival of a Franco-German liberation army, but no doubt if I’d had the benefit of an Oxford education, I would have been able to detect their eagerness for an invasion, civil war and so on.


by John Holbo on January 20, 2005

I’ve gotten myself involved in something a little unusual (for me, anyway). I’m on the program committee of OOPSLA ’05. Specifically, I’ll be reading submissions in the ‘essay’ track. These are supposed to contain "in-depth reflections on technology, its relation to human endeavors, and its philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, or anthropological underpinnings." I’m announcing it here because academic folk with solid but untechnical essays that fit the bill might not necessarily think to submit to a conference nominally devoted to object-oriented programming. I’m quite curious what sorts of things I’ll be reading. Should be fun.

Iraq: just about time to go

by John Q on January 20, 2005

The latest terrorist bombings in Iraq came closer than usual to home for Australia, with two soldiers suffering (reportedly) minor injuries in an attack on the Australian embassy[1], while 20 more Iraqis were killed, adding to the tens of thousands already killed by both/all sides in this terrible war, which seems to get more brutal and criminal every day.

It’s pretty clear by now that Iraq is approaching full-scale civil war and that, as is usually the case in civil wars, the presence of foreign troops is only making things worse. But rather than arguing about this last point, it might be better to put it to the test. This NYT Op-ed piece by three researchers from the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggests a referendum on US withdrawal to be held soon after the forthcoming elections. They make a pretty good case that it would be hard for the Baathists to justify disrupting such a referendum, though no doubt some would do so anyway. At least, this would be true if the main Shiite parties adhered to their previously stated position of favoring withdrawal.

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