Archive for December, 2011
Once a work of art has colonized your brain you see it everywhere. The landscape piece Duncan Alexander contributed to a recent Nicholas O'Brien-curated show at 319 Scholes has had that effect on me. Was surfing around the website of the Metropolitan Museum and spotted it on a Google cache page. See the red arrow in the screenshot below (not the black one):
And then I found its original location on the Met website. It seems to have acquired a drop shadow but the style is unmistakable.
"Crom and Bass" [4.2 MB .mp3]
This song has a message and the message is "I don't care." (Technical note to self: the main synth is the A-112 wavetable playing a sample of the Vermona Perfourmer and harmonizing with another Perfourmer riff played simultaneously with the same MIDI notes. The guitar amp-like vibrato is made with an ADSR envelope's control voltage plugged into the A-112's CV in.)
"Barney's Bag" [mp3 removed -- a revised version is on Bandcamp]
The song is kind of jazzy and the title is kind of a parody of a jazz song title from the '50s. This is a substantial reworking of a song I don't yet have the fortitude to post, with the working title "Barney's Bag (Chipmunks)," which features chipmunk-like vocalese made with live FM synthesis.
This version has the synth-bass-piano combo I've been working with in recent songs; I had to write some harmony to make this work. (Monk meets Glass in a robo-carwash.)
bullet time ball by lolumad
Update: The problem discussed below was solved--somewhat inelegantly--by installing the Disabler Word Press plugin and checking "Disable Texturization" in "Settings."
Before CSS took over all human expression I used two hyphens to make a long dash (also called an em-dash or emdash, ostensibly because it's the length of the letter "m"). In text or HTML that's an adequate way to distinguish dash from hyphen using the QWERTY keys and no special characters. CSS tries to get cute and replace characters you type without having an agreed-upon standard about what's being replaced. Hence this problem:
There is a character called an en-dash or endash that is shorter than an emdash but rarely used. Up until this month, Word Press, or perhaps just the "classic" or "journalist" WP themes, automatically replaced two hyphens with an en-dash. Unbeknownst to me and most of the rational world, you were supposed to be typing three hyphens to make an emdash. I haven't done this, ever. The endash was a poor substitute but it was unhyphenlike enough and sufficed for me to separate thoughts in a sentence. But when I upgraded to Word Press 3, suddenly each endash on this blog is reading as a single hyphen. I've amended the posts from the last couple of weeks to make "proper" emdashes but what about the last seven years?
Google Reader and Bloglines still show endashes for my two-hyphen typing. Saved pages from this blog, in Firefox, show two hyphens. So its clear the "two hyphens into one" filtering is happening in my current, live, Word Press, CSS, theme, editor, micromanager, whatever. Pardon me while I disappear for a while until I figure out a way to fix this. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
The Guardian has some video clips of the funeral of Kim Jong-il in North Korea. We haven't seen this kind of military pomp and mass, mindless outpouring of public emotion since the death of Ronald Reagan.
(hat tip mark)
hat tip blingscience for robot arm and girders
Jeepers Media searched the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and found evidence that the current supporters of the draconian SOPA and PROTECT IP "anti-piracy" laws pushed file-sharing software heavily in the late '90s/early '00s. CNET, now owned by CBS, and other SOPA-supporting "legit" companies, offered a host of downloading tools and encouraged un-tech-savvy users to rip, save and remove DRM controls from copyrighted material, the video alleges.
Why encourage "illegal" downloading and then lobby for prosecutors to have "additional tools" to prosecute downloaders? Jeepers Media suggests a conspiracy by SOPA supporters (i.e., big media and entertainment companies) to gain "control of the internet." Likely it is simple grasping opportunism and nothing as smart as a conspiracy--CBS acquired CNET in 2008 and is using them as a villain now to have favorable laws passed--but lawmakers should be aware of current SOPA advocates' past contributions to so-called infringement.
A Jeepers Media video explains the connections in the style of an obnoxious late-night infomercial. [YouTube]
Wrote emails to my Senators and Congressman opposing the Internet Blacklist Legislation (the SOPA bill in the House and the presumptuously-named PROTECT IP in the Senate). Ostensibly designed to "stop piracy" (whatever that is in an age of instant copying), the bills tamper with Internet mechanics and would seem to favor the Communist Chinese model of online content facilitating. One Senator wrote back with this boilerplate:
Dear Mr. Moody:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the PROTECT IP Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property  (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011” (S. 968) would give law enforcement additional tools to combat the illegal online sale of counterfeit or copyright infringing goods. Specifically, this bill would give the Attorney General the power to serve issued court orders on search engines, payment processors, advertising networks, and Internet service providers. It would allow suit against site operators, but would not allow law enforcement to block access to a site.[4} This bill would also require plaintiffs to sue the owner or registrant of a domain name before bringing suit against a site itself.
The “PROTECT IP Act” was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2011 and now awaits action by the full Senate. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers this issue. Thank you again for contacting me.
1. As Richard Stallman has pointed out, there is no legal concept of "intellectual property" -- rights conferred under copyright, trademark, and patent laws each have their own quite different reasons, limits, and means of enforcement. Commingling the concepts benefits owners who are trying to create broad property rights for what should be very specific legislative protections. If you mean copyright, say copyright. The bill is vague in its very name.
2. Why is this needed? The "safe harbor" provisions of the current law (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) do an adequate job of balancing the interests of the public with the acquisitiveness of copyright holders.
3. The Attorney General already has this power. Are you talking about extending his jurisdiction to trump state law? Or other countries' laws? If so, is this wise?
4. If you are tying a site owner up in court, incurring attorney fees, etc, this is effectively "blocking" the site of a mom-and-pop publisher. Anyway, site owners can already be sued without changing the current law.
5. Again, if by "plaintiffs" you mean the government or entertainment moguls, you are talking about parties with large resources to sue vs people who will be wrecked by litigation. Under the "safe harbor" provisions of the current law, a takedown notice gives all parties an opportunity to rectify possible infringement without resorting to legal process. Even this procedure is abused by aggressive potential "plaintiffs."
The above notes occurred to me after some time thinking about how defensive and vague the Senator's canned response was. Here's what I actually wrote back to him:
Dear Senator ____________,
Thank you for your reply.
83 prominent internet engineers and inventors have written a letter explaining what is wrong with the Internet Blacklist Leglislation (including PROTECT IP). The letter is published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) at
In relevant part it states:
"If enacted, either of these bills will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. Regardless of recent amendments to SOPA, both bills will risk fragmenting the Internet's global domain name system (DNS) and have other capricious technical consequences. In exchange for this, such legislation would engender censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties' right and ability to communicate and express themselves online.
"All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but these bills are particularly egregious in that regard because they cause entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under these proposals. In fact, it seems that this has already begun to happen under the nascent DHS/ICE seizures program."
The Internet has been a tremendous gift to free speech but its architecture is fragile. PROTECT IP is being urged by the entertainment industry without regard to the greater public good. The existing Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides adequate means to protect copyright holders without damaging a free and open Internet. I urge you to vote against PROTECT IP or other current blacklist legislation if voted on by the full Senate, and to share the letter linked to above with your colleagues.
Best, Tom Moody