Technolotics #6 – Aids in Uganda, Hurricane Katrina



Listen: Episode 6
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Filesharers buy more music

Guardian Reviews Study – which alleges filesharers buy more music [1]

– Fileshares spend 4.5 times more on (downloaded) music, according to music research firm ‘The leading question’

– Controversy exists as to whether music sales have really fallen, for 2 reasons. Sales are calculated by record companies as percentage of units shipped which then sold. Ship more units and sell less and sales magically drop. Sales of music were at an all time high in the late 90’s, as music fans began to fully adopt the cd format

– Head of EMI stated that cheaper tracks would sell more = ‘Bollocks’

– Felix Oberholzer, a Harvard Business School professor, and Carolina academic Koleman Strumpf, last year produced research which concluded that when it came to CD buying, downloading had a net effect of neither adding or subtracting to CD sales.

– Industry sources put illegal:legal downloads at 900m:180m per half year.

– This is important because record companies argue that the reason for falling profits is filesharing; and that they are suing not out of pigopoly but necessity.

Meanwhile the RIAA sues more filesharers, there’s a good discussion on Slashdot [2].

Also Hollywood admits commercial piracy is the real problem [3]

Poor left to face the fury of Hurricane Katrina

Here’s an article from before the Hurricane hit [4]. – Not only were poor ill equiped financially to escape, or even prepare; they lacked information about the potentially catastophic impact of such a major hurricane.

And here’s one about the poor sheltering in the cities sports arena [5]

Hugo Chavez, socialist president of Venezuela offers aid [6] – Aid from Venezuala and other nations including Canada, refused.

Is the disaster in New Orleans further evidence of the damaging effects of global warming? [7] – past 10 years have been most active hurricane years on record, possibly the result of changes in temperature and salination in the Atlantic due to global warming – link is still very controversial

New Orleans is now pretty much a war zone with troops given orders to shoot to kill.. But how to differentiate looters and survivors? [8] – Troops ‘Fresh back from Iraq, they have M16’s and they are locked and loaded’ Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco – Don’t confuse reports of violence and hijackings, with lootings. People are literally Starving in New Orleans, and only a tiny minority have resorted to violence

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency warned this would happen) [9] – Bush Administration cut flood prevention funding by 44% – In 2003 allowed development on wetlands which were necessary to control flooding – Forsing Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to say they could only protect wetlands if related to interstate commerse

Democracy now has excellent coverage of the disaster. [10]

Comparison of Cubas hurricane preparation. [11]

Windows Vista is designed for Hollywood, not users


Windows Vista (formerly Longhorn), is set to enclude a raft of technologies to ‘protect’ read ‘control’, the media and programmes you watch, run and create on your pc.

GM promice self driving car by 2008

[13] Possible fluff piece. Another story on same topic [14]

– Opel Vectra will use lasers a video camera (and one would assume an onboard GPS to navigate roads) – Car will ‘see’ signs, bends, other vehicles and lane markings Highly dubious as all these road features can be obscured – Interesting comparison with Darpa’s Grand Challenge

Creationist Theme Park Opens in Palm Springs


Great quote..

Kids flock to the huge statues. “And it’s not like they’re crying, ‘Oh, mommy, take me out, I’m scared.’ They’re drawn to it,” Chiles said. “There’s something in their DNA that knows man walked with these creatures on Earth.”

A related story: The battle over evolution continues in US schools. [16]

US Abstinence Policies harming Ugandan Aids Battle


Not allegation from lefty group, but UN’s special envoy on fighting aids in Africa.

Background: Uganda has one of the most sucessful anti AID’s campaigns in Africa A.B.C (Abstinance, Be Faithful, Contraception) – although I’m not sure if that’s a translation. However an article in the Lancet has questioned these figures [18].

More criticism of Creative Commons

Reg writer lays it on thick [19]

– Article has an elitist atitude to creativity, refering to users of Creative Commons as ‘hobbyists’. Also asking whats wrong with existing liscencing system, where mashups which aren’t successful won’t be sued and those worth a damn will be liscenced.

– This is bollocks – The ‘Grey Album’, a possibly the most innovative hiphop album of all time, was taken off physical shelves and effectively banned online – do to the reluctance of the beatles record company to liscence their back catalogue – which is heavily sampled in the album.

– Small scale mashups are regularly sued, and always have been. Record companies have used any means necessary to limit and control remixes – for example the well known case of the underground Band ‘Negativeland’, who’s remix of U2’s ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’, entitled U2, was sued for trademark infringement [20]

– article ignores technologies such as DRM, which would, if retrospectively extant, have prevented the very development of Hip Hop music and mashup culture

– article ignores the cases of documentaries like the groundbraking ‘Eyes on the Prize’ civil rights documentary which can no longer be shown, due to its use of stock footage for which the copyright has now lapsed [21]

– Of couse Beethoven doesn’t ‘need to be remixed’ but, remixes and sampling, such as the groundbreaking ‘Art of Noise’ album, The Seduction of Claude Debussy [22]. Can create something wonderful and original through a redevelopment and reinterpretation of pre-existing work – arguably something which all creativity does anyway. Were there a ‘patent’ (not directly relevent but metaphorically so, especially with the advent of software patents) on classical music, we would never have had Mozart in the first place.

– The writer does not realise that with the advent of digitization, outside of museums, in future only CC style liscenced and public domain information will be the ONLY free to access and develop information.

Research Alleges up to half of Research is Wrong


– New Scientist reports on an analysis by John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, which states that only 50% of the conclusions of research is ultimately supported by future studies

– We bring this up, because it will be misinterpreted as meaning 50% of research isn’t worth doing. When in fact no research could be tested for replicability if it wasn’t done in the first place.

– The article also states the odds for research that uses overly small sample sizes is worse; which is obviously true, but should be taken care of by research departments granting permission for a study, along with statistical power etc. At undergrad level these issues are often ignored, but at graduate level one would hope they are addressed

– Very interestingly article is published by Public Library of Science [24], an open source science organisation which seeks to enable the creation of public libraries of science containing the full text and data of any published research article, available free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world.

– Link to article [25]

Media Pimp

Real time HTML Editor [26]

The miniture Earth, poverty cartoon [27]

The Elegant Universe [28], free downloadable documentry.

Threadless T-Shirts [29]


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