Philosophy in my inbox

Just to prove the email isn’t entirely useless, Charlotte passed the following along to me and I though it was worth sharing. I have no idea who the author is.

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and
well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,
Champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body
thoroughly used up, totally worn out and
screaming WOO HOO – What a Ride!”


Parody of copyright billboard

I’ve been working in Boston lately and I’ve seen the original posters and done my share of sneering. And I’ve grown increasingly annoyed at what I have to sit through in the movie theater after paying for my tickets.

I do wonder what the right mix should be between education, ridicule, and civil disobedience toward industries struggling to hold off the future. Why is it that reasoned discourse seems the least likely alternative?

Parody of copyright billboard. Cory Doctorow: While in Boston for WorldCon, I spotted these copyright warning posters in the lighted advertising podium. Trevor points to a much better parody. Link (Thanks, Trevor!)
[Boing Boing]

Reading habits and The Creative Habit

I’ve been doing the 50-book challenge this year. Although I’m way behind on writing up what I’ve been reading, I think I have enough in the queue to hit the goal by year’s end. A quick count says I’ve posted 27 short reviews, I have another 6 books finished that I need to write up, and I have somewhere between 19 and 28 other books I have in various stages of completion.

For years my reading habits typically have multiple books in various stages of being read. Sometimes I get sidetracked enough on some books that I end up having to start over, but generally I find it more interesting to have multiple threads running in parallel because I then get the additional benefit of watching and reacting to how different books interact with one another and with whatever I happen to be working on at the time.

Perverse, I suppose, and YMMV.

At the same time, this strategy also allows me to plow through particular books when I’m in the mood or they resonate in some way with my immediate needs. Often that may be nothing more than retreating into a good story. I blew through about half of The Rule of Four this weekend. Certainly doesn’t hurt that besides being a good read, it’s set on the campus of Princeton and that makes it feel like a mini-reunion.

I chose to leave that on my bedside table when I headed out to O’hare this morning, however, to leave room in my backpack for Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. I’m not done yet, but will be before week’s end. I came upon this by way of a recommendation that showed up in my aggregator a while back from Dennis Kennedy (I think). This is an absolute must read (and re-read) for any of us who has to create as some part of what we do. In my own view, that includes anyone who would even loosely describe themselves as a knowledge worker.

Among many insights, Tharp shows why most knowledge management efforts have been disappointing at best and points to how they will need to change to succeed. See Chapter 5, “Before You Can Think out of the Box, You Have to Start with a Box,” for insight into why knowledge management needs to start at the personal level, even if it must ultimately connect with those around you.

A treat from Halley

A nice Sunday afternoon treat from Halley.

Our Job.

Our Job

Thanks to John Perry Barlow for ending his email with this great quotation.

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.

— Thomas Merton

[Halley’s Comment]

Lessig on the current campaign

As you would expect, Lessig neatly wraps up what ought to be going on in the campaign in lieu of what has become the typical behavior we see. And we will likely get the representation we deserve rather than the representation we need.

yet more irrelevant questions.

So, shamefully, I’ve contributed to this irrelevant question blog (“Mr. President, how many times have you been arrested?”), but I can’t begin to describe fully how depressing this presidential campaign has been.

Why do we waste attention on these ridiculous questions?

I’m sure Mr. Bush’s record was nothing to be proud of — his drinking problem is well documented, and these things go together. But I’m also sure he is no longer that man — and for anyone who has seen someone overcome that demon, you know the courage this requires. So I really don’t care how many times he was arrested, I don’t care if he used power to escape his obligations in the Reserve — whether he should be our President depends only upon whether the policies he will pursue are good for this nation.

Likewise, re Mr. Kerry: I am sure he demonstrated unimaginable courage in volunteering to serve his country in an unpopular war, and then mustering the courage to articulate brilliantly the reasons why that war was wrong. But we’re not electing a captain for a military unit — if shots are fired, he will follow orders, not give them — and while it would be great if he could find a way to articulate why this war was wrong, the presidency is not a reward for great Senate testimony. Whether he should be our President depends upon whether the policies he will pursue are good for the nation.

So why can’t we actually talk about the conflict in these policies? I’m confident about that choice, but I would love my view to be challenged by real arguments, and a focus on real issues. CBS almost seems proud of their idiotic story. Shame on CBS. Shame on us. [Lessig Blog]

Endangered Devices – Buy an HDTV for Freedom!

Don’t tell my 15-year old who’s been lobbying for HDTV, but this is the sort of thing most likely to get me to act sooner rather than later. It strikes me that the efforts of industries to preserve themselves by criminalizing behaviors are more likely to lead to widespread civil disobedience than to anything helpful to their cause.

[foo] Endangered Devices – Buy an HDTV for Freedom! (Offer not good after 7/05). Wendy Seltzer, lawyer for the EFF (join here), talks about the drive to mandate building restrictions devices into hardware that plays media content. The broadcast flag requires HDTV devices to check for a “do not redistribute” flag in the content they receive. With the flag, they can’t output high-def digital or record it. She says that this mitigates against open source software since it is modifiable; all tuners would have to be closed source. “In the post broadcast flag world, no one can bulid a TiVo without first asking permission from the FCC.” Until July 1, 2005, it’s capable to… [Joho the Blog]