Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Month: July, 2006

Awkward Answers to the Songwriter’s Guild

The “Songwriters Guild”:http://www.songwritersguild.com President Rick Carnes recently wrote to the EFF, seemingly in response to their “Frequently Awkward Questions for for the Entertainment Industry”:http://www.eff.org/IP/faq/.

Rick Carnes has a point- and for the most part I agree with him. The trouble is that for the most part, the EFF agrees with him too! It is unfortunate that his frustration is directed at the EFF. If EFF upholds free speech and someone slanders you, do you fault the EFF for allowing slander or do you go after the person who you believe has wronged you? Fred von Lohmann of the EFF has “posted a response”:http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004857.php which touches on the issues at hand without directly answering the questions. While Fred may not want to get in to an internet brawl over semantics, I have no such qualms.

In any case, I am not against a lot of what Rick Carnes has written.

Carnes’ questions are titled (the typo is his): Aways Awkward questions for the EFF

And here are my responses. I do not claim to speak for the EFF- in fact, in some cases, my opinions may not coincide with theirs. I will answer these as though they were addressed to me. Also- *I am not a lawyer*, never claimed to be one and I may not know what I am talking about. But this is what I believe. Read the rest of this entry »

95 Theses: The Aftermath

That past 2 days have been fantastic. After my long and heartfelt article was picked by BoingBoing, I figured that would be as good as it would get. Boy was I wrong.

The article made its way to Del.icio.us popular, the Digg home page, the Metafilter home page, Der Spiegel and dozens of other blogs. And now, 33000 readers later, I am stunned. Read the rest of this entry »

The Blogger’s Trifecta

In the past, this site has been slashdotted twice and digg homepaged once. Being slashdotted for the first time, last December, was great because it was the first time this blog got noticed any where outside my friends and family. Getting on the digg home page meant that an article had been accepted by the internet masses, which was uniquely satisfying- though that article was a jab at Microsoft, and so was easy to gain acceptance in certain communities!

Now we have been “boingboing’ed”- which is a different level of satisfaction, because it was accepted by Cory Doctorow. I’m a big fan of his- as I make it clear in the article- and appreciate the link from him a lot.

95 Theses of Geek Activism

Geek activism has not taken off yet, but it should. With the gamers recognizing the need for a louder voice, EFF gaining momentum and Linux taking on the mainstream on the one hand and recent severe losses in privacy, freedom of speech and intellectual property rights on the other, now seems to be the best time to rally around the cause.

Geeks are not known to be political or highly vocal (outside of our own circles)- this must change if we want things to improve. So here is my list of things people of all shapes, sizes and sides of the debate need to know. Some of these are obvious, others may not be meant for you. But hopefully, some of these will inspire you to do the right thing and others will help you frame the next discussion, debate or argument you have on these topics. Read the rest of this entry »

To Bombay

Bombay. A most fascinating place.

We may be told- ad nauseum- that it was formerly called Bombay. It is still Bombay to me when I speak (or write) English, and Mumbai when I speak Gujarati or Hindi. It is what it is- official name changes change nothing.

And it has been bombed. Seven times within the half hour. Again.

“Amardeep Singh”:http://www.lehigh.edu/~amsp/2006/07/bombay-blasts.html has some great links about that provide perspective and links to take action now.

“Suketu Mehta”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/07/11/DI2006071100620.html talks about the issues at hand at the Washington Post. He is the author of “Maximum City”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375703403/galaxyfaraway/ which is the second greatest book I have read on Bombay. The best, of course, is “Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140132708/galaxyfaraway/102-8769303-4742567.

And the Washington Post asks just the right question: “How Much can India Endure?”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/11/AR2006071101205.html

But — and here’s the crux of the matter — how long can India, Indians and the Singh government withstand the constant pressure from militant groups before they have to react? By any measure of international diplomacy, they’ve already been extraordinarily patient; compare their restraint with Israel’s response to the kidnapping of its soldier or to the U.S. and Japanese responses to North Korea’s missile tests.

My friend Rahul, at his blog writes in outrage, at the lack of anything but empty words from the people in power.

And I write this and quote poetry.

The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can’t laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.

The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic,
is a vast huddle with many units saying:
“I earn my living.
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.
If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time.”

The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum:
phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth:
“They buy me and sell me…it’s a game…sometime I’ll break loose…”

- *Carl Sandburg* from *The People, Yes*

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