Hahaha...fun with Wikipedia. The last entry is my favorite:
A few days ago I was surfing the net when I stumbled across an astoundingly clever video. I had just finished reading about the whole stolen Cutline theme for Wordpress debacle, so I had copyright and intellectual property on my mind. This is an issue I’ve often thought about as I take my first baby steps of blogging. At times, I’ve come up with what I would consider mildly clever (and that’s stretching it) ideas, but wasn’t sure how ‘borrowed’ content works on the internet. I wasn’t really worried about getting sued (people have to notice your work for that to happen and/or you have to make money off said ideas), but I was more concerned with the ethics of it. My interest thus far has largely in photography, and I found Wikimedia Commons to be a decent if not extensive source of public domain photographs. In any event, the video I had happened across was hilarity and genius at the same time, but it sported a soundtrack not made by the blog creator (although full credit was given to the musician).
My father is an editor, but first he was a writer, and he ended up having a large part of one project essentially “ripped off” because he was too young and trusting to properly protect himself. So maybe that’s where my interest comes from, or maybe, just maybe my girlfriend is right and I am a paranoid freak. Besides all of that, however, I thought it an interesting dilemma – how to properly attribute work and how copyright works on the World Wide Web. My theory concerning creative material on the internet is that a lot of it is free (whether it be a Wordpress theme, Apache, a YouTube video, etc.) thanks not only the altruism of the creators, but also because it’s so darn easy to steal that keeping track of it would be pretty darn tough.
As luck would have it, a day or two after seeing the video, I awoke to a radio news story discussing this very issue. A segment on NPR dealt with the issue of ‘Fair Use’ in copyright law and discussed how individuals were free to alter copyrighted materials for their own creations. And it’s not just liberals saying that -- there are fancy Stanford lawyers who agree as well!
You can take a listen to the segment here.
The Stanford Fair Use Project can be found here.
Oh, and if it seems like I haven't been adding to this blog, well it's because all my pages seemingly end up supplemental these days. I expect I'll be adding more in the coming days regardless though.
I just finished watching "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" and the subsequent discussion on PBS's Independent Lens. I've been meaning to watch the movie for a long time, but I knew it would be extremely upsetting so I had been avoiding it. Well, my premonitions were well founded. Frankly, I cannot believe the gall of these disgusting people who bilked millions of dollars from hardworking people all around the globe. From celebrating the California wildfires and encouraging power plants to shut down to raise electricity prices, to the PG&E line workers who watched their 401ks plummet (in one case, from $350k to 1200), and the tens of thousands of Enron employees who were prevented from selling their stocks as the share price plummeted, thanks to top level Enron execs dumping their holdings by the boatload. I even feel sorry for Gray Davis, who was considered to be a top Democratic candidate for President of the United States and ended up being "fired" from the Governorship of California. It's easy to see why George W. Bush and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had no interest in helping California when their friends and major campaign contributors were doing so well.
It also irks me to learn how many of the criminals at Enron went unpunished and still enjoy the ill-gotten gains from those who's dreams they crushed. Not to mention the executives at Citibank, Merrill Lynch, CSFB, and on and on. The bankers were fully aware of the debt hiding practices at Enron, but went along with it for the only reason that mattered to them -- money.
Quite frankly, the story troubles me on a greater level as well; I fear it reflects the greed and consumerist nature of our society. In American culture, Green is God. I didn't lose money myself in Enron, but I did lose what was a considerable amount of money for me at the time in companies like Global Crossing, World Com, and others -- companies that lied about their holdings, their profits, and did so with their stock analysts' blessings. I'm fortunate, in that I'm young and still have a chance to recoup my losses. As for the lifelong Enron employees, the PG&E workers, and countless others who believed the lies and stock manipulations...well, they're not as fortunate.
An inflammatory headline, no doubt -- but one that I believe is true. I love sports, and I enjoy gambling just as much as the next guy. But don't ask me to support a "sport" where animals are routinely injured and then executed without batting an eye. It's interesting that cock-fighting and dog-fighting are illegal, frowned upon and thought of as barbaric, but horse racing is considered a gentleman's sport. Even more heinous is the rampant use of stimulants and other drugs provided to these animals. In doing so, owners hope that the horses will run ever faster, even if it means subjecting their bones and tendons to physical forces far greater than they were intended to withstand.
Then there are the connections to organized crime. The recently passed anti-gambling law made it illegal to bet on the NFL, but had special carve-outs to allow the horse racing industry to continue taking wagers. This was not just a coincidence born of congressional negligence, but rather a carefully calculated effort by both lobbyists and politicians. This profitable industry not only emerged unscathed, but was also strengthened in the process. With the new legislation, money spent on horse gambling is expected to increase further, since competition in the form of other sports wagers has been removed.
Closer to home, last summer 18 horses "broke down" (e.g. were maimed and then executed) over a seven week span at the local horse track in Del Mar. The solution according to the folks at Del Mar, was to build a new track. We'll see if that makes a difference this year, but I won't be holding my breath.
Spring has sprung, and with it, grilling season. It's always a bit dangerous when I get the cooking bug. Armed with beer, spatula, fire and meat I created the following:
The red is a tandoori tikka marinade -- soybean oil, spirit vinegar, garlic, salt, ginger, ground paprika, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, red chili, sesame oil -- from Asian Home Gourmet ($1.50 at Henry's, enough for 1 lb cubed chicken); the yellow is a curry powder consisting of coriander, tumeric, mustard, chili, ginger, cumin, and fenugreek. The chicken was left to marinate overnight.
Grillin like a villain:
The finished product:
The verdict: the tandoori turned out great, very flavorful and succulent. Will definitely be making this again. The yellow curry powder, while great for coloring, did not add a lot of flavor to the chicken. I sprinkled some more on after removing from the fire, let it mingle with the juices, and it tasted better after that.
Current Family Wine Notes:
charles shaw merlot - oakey
beringer merlot - yummy and woodsey
charles shaw shiraz - tastes like grape juice
barefoot zinfandel - tastes like pesticide
Crane Lake Malbec 2005
two thumbs way up
Loriñon from 1999
So, as I mentioned in the prior post, I had interrupted J's packing list in an effort to get her out the door. Well, shortly after we parked the now gasless Volvo, she realized she had forgotten her cell phone. So now we're stuck on the side of the road, an hour to takeoff for her flight, and no phone. No gas stations nearby, either...so we decided to hoof it. I don't know what's more remarkable, the fact that we made it to the airport within time for J to make her flight, or the fact that she didn't get completely infuriated with her absent-minded boyfriend. Is she not the greatest girl in the world? I can't think of any former girlfriend or friend's girlfriend who wouldn't have gone Chuck Norris on me (and deservedly so). As it turned out, I hiked about 5 miles yesterday (two miles to the airport and three miles back), and other than the back pain from carrying her bags, it was actually kind of fun. I should go for walks more often.
Whoo boy, did I screw up yesterday. J was leaving for Northern California to give a presentation (she's the industrious one) and I was, as always, her designated chauffeur. Miss Zoe doesn't like it when we leave for the airport together -- she recognizes the luggage and knows Momma's gonna be gone for a least a day or two -- and once even broke a window with her snout in her displeasure. So, J was beginning to recite her loooong list of things she needed and had packed (underwear: check, sunglasses: check, etc) as I ushered her out the door. I didn't want us standing inside with Zoe and the luggage while she did this, as Zoe was beginning to make "crazy face", which would only lead to dire circumstances down the road.
Anyhow, we climb in to my sweet-azz '91 Volvo and are driving to the airport when I casually remark, "Hey, my gas pedal has been doing this funky thing where I push down and it doesn't move." About a minute after that, we're idling at a red light and kaput, system failure. I look at the gas gauge and that sucker -is- in the red, but in my defense it's closer to the top of the red than the bottom, and definitely not underneath the red. And I always drive in the red! And there was no fuel light that came on either! But yes, for the first time in my looong, looong life, I ran out of gas. Doh! So I quickly flipped on the hazards, Jen steered and I pushed the Volvo to the nearest parking spot (Volvos are heavy!)
to be continued....
Don't really feel like writing much tonight...events like today's make me want to hunker down with my girlfriend and our dog and shut the mad world out.
I did want to take a moment to share the story of one of the victims. I don't know if he will get the recognition he deserves in the coming days, and certainly in light of the tragedy there will be an overwhelming emphasis placed on all the horrific details of today's events. But in my search for something, anything to renew my faith in the human spirit, I read the story of professor Liviu Librescu. Mr. Librescu died today, his final act being to sacrifice himself so that his students might escape. Although the story below doesn't state his fate, the Virginia Tech website is now reporting his death. Godspeed to him...
Has there ever been a better name for a politician than Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island? Are you kidding me? My jaw dropped when I saw him interviewed on Chris Matthews' program Hardball the other day. I didn't even hear what he said (they were discussing the Alberto Gonzalez testimony as it related to the firing of the U.S. attorneys), but he's got my vote. I don't know what the Democrats are thinking, beating around the bush with Obama and Hillary, when this guy clearly has what it takes to end up as the commander-in-chief. I mean, shoot, if we can elect a former baseball GM (and not even a particularly good one) to become president, surely we can get this guy in office. He even has political experience, having now served in the U.S. Senate. I'm not sure if there's a write-in spot for the presidential election, but given the current crop of candidates I might just put Sheldon in there. Perhaps it is a sad commentary when the most appealing political candidate is the one you know least about?
This is an inspiring video full of good advice. Finding good advice isn't the hard part, it's following it that's tricky. Still, it's a nice message and a catchy tune. And it is true, wearing sunscreen will keep you from looking like a lizard when you're 40 years old, especially here in San Diego.
P.S. Actually though, better advice would be to stay out of the sun completely rather than worrying about sunscreen. You can still get skin damage (which increases the aged appearance of your skin) or even worse, invasive melanoma (skin cancer). So just limit your sun exposure, wear a hat, and if you use sunscreen make sure you're covered for both UVA and UVB :)
Last night was a fun time out with J and her father. We started early, leaving Miss Zoe behind much to my lament (but it was worth it). We had reservations downtown at Bluepoint, and that was one meal that definitely did not disappoint. I got the ahi duo -- seared ahi and asparagus in a port-butter sauce along with an ahi sushi roll and a rice patty. It was outstanding, and made all the better by the Stone Pale Ale (Stone is a local San Diego brewery, highly recommended) I washed it down with.
Next, it was off to Petco for the Padres v. the Rockies. It was a tightly contested defensive ball game, but Adrian Gonazalez was brilliant down the stretch - he contributed a sac fly to tie the game, and then smacked a double to win it in the bottom of the 9th. We had great seats along the 3rd base line that Jen had bought for her dad's birthday present. The only negative was a loudmouth sitting behind us, but he eventually left his seats while the game was still tied.
We came back to find Miss Zoe had been an angel; thankfully there were no unpleasant surprises to greet us when we returned to OB. All in all, it was a great night out :)
(photo by inetours.com)
Digital Directory, Europe's guide to the Web
If you or someone you know suspects a heart attack (myocardial infarction in doctor speak), doctors suggest you treat the situation like a gunshot wound. In other words, get to the hospital stat. Call 911 and get an ambulance to the nearest, best equipped hospital. Cardiologists refer to the "golden hour" --significant because this will be when the fate of the patient is decided -- life or death is no exaggeration. A heart attack is caused by a blood clot blocking a major artery of the heart, the coronary muscle. Without blood flow, key parts of the muscle are prevented from receiving critical oxygen, without which cells die. Once myocardial cells die, the overall function of the heart to continue pumping blood suffers. Obviously, if this ability is sufficiently diminished, you end up dead. Below is a fascinating account from the New York Times of how one patient suffered his M.I. and the events that preceded it.
Ever thought about jogging through the Sahara desert? Probably not. Apparently, these guys, Charlie Engle, Kevin Lin, and Ray Zahab, not only thought about it, they decided it was a good idea. To put this in perspective, this amounted to running over 4,300 miles for 111 consecutive days (they got about five hours of sleep per night). That works out to about 39 miles a day, every day. Now, consider they did it in temperatures approaching 120 degree Fahrenheit. Definitely, this is not a good idea! Yet, the three undertook this amazing journey and, although I'm sure they were tempted to quit many times, they persevered and completed their journey alive. Read more about this incredible story below.