Friday, May 11, 2007

I just realized that Blogger has been apparently posting according to Central time, which is how my Google account was originally established before I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. So, I've changed that, and this is a test to see if I'm now posting at the right time. At the very least, my Digg Report posts are off by two hours, which makes them a bit confusing.

Update: Still not correct. Looks like I'll have to do some digging. This is embarassing; Blogger is hardly complex software.

Update 2: Found the setting, and can't seem to find Pacific Standard Time. So, I'm selecting "Pacific Daylight Time" to see if it does the trick.
As I continue to ponder the concept of DRM, which is to say, intellectual property, I'm often struck by how bankrupt are the arguments presented by those on the other side. This one posits that intellectual property, "ideas," does not constitute a "scarce" resource, and thus economic law cannot be applied to it.

I'm fascinated by this perspective. The writer even goes so far as to compare "ideas" to "air," as in, there's so much of them that "we don't need a market to efficiently allocate it." And so it was said as they were sent to the gulag.

Of course, "ideas" are created by people. There are a lot of us, certainly, but I don't think our "abundance" means that our efforts can be so freely distributed.
What's worst about this story is that it's true. I'm not in favor of spending American lives and resources on nation-building, but we certainly gain nothing by breaking our promises like this. A little gunship support after the first Gulf war might have been enough to bring about regime change in Iraq without spilling much, if any, American blood.

And, in that case, we'd probably be invading Iran today from American military bases built and supported by the Iraqi people. Perhaps an even more pronounced chain reaction would have occurred: unfettered access to Iraqi oil might have reduced our reliance on Saudi Arabia, thus reducing their ability to sponsor groups like Al Qaida and saving the World Trade Center.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg (at 1:47pm PST) at 3750 Diggs is a story about a woman who drives into a suprisingly deep puddle. Huh.

This is an example of another Digg trait: stories about stupidity often jump to the top. Nothing nefarious there. Sometimes the stories are even humorous. IT folk do tend to have a sense of humor.
In what will likely be a recurring theme here at DT, let me say: I dislike Boing Boing. In particular, I dislike their take on "digital rights management" or DRM (a misnomer if I've ever seen one, more to come on this topic). For example, the controversy surrounding publication of the HD AACS code is getting on my nerves, while Boing Boing continues to find new and innovative ways to milk the issue for all it's worth.
The $100 notebook project bothers me, as do all feel-good Lefty efforts at making people's lives better in spite of themselves. 100 million dead Communists last century are a testament to the good intentions that pave the road to Hell, and in my mind the $100 notebook is another example.

Will access to information help a starving, tribally oppressed African child? If so, will this happen before or after he is conscripted into some genocidal warlord's militia and she is sent off to some faraway village as a sex slave? The Internet is a great thing, no doubt about it, but it can't alter the underlying philosophical abyss that is the tribal collectivism of Africa.

From this story, it looks like the project is having difficulty getting traction. Probably, the warlords and dictators haven't yet figured out how to use the notebooks to their favor. They'd rather see charity in the form of money and food, that they can funnel away from the intended targets and toward their bands of thugs.
This should get the Iranian's attention. Cheney says good stuff here, within the context of two carrier strike groups (a fair bit of firepower, I must say), but will they listen?

I doubt it. We already have sufficient reason to use those carriers, and haven't, so why should Iran worry about such saber rattling now? Bush isn't just lame, he's castrated.