Copyright Ruling is a Ripoff of Consumers

“Walt Disney understood the value of the public domain, and used it precisely as other great artists had done. He updated an out-of-copyright character to create Mickey Mouse, for example, and launched an empire. The company he founded later used writer Victor Hugo’s work, which was also no longer owned by anyone, to create a cartoon based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame saga. The Disney animators had every right…

Content is Crap

“The public water system is somewhat unpleasant to think about. Basically, the stuff you flush down the toilet gets sent through a filtering system. That system ‘treats’ the sewage until what remains is sufficiently pure to send back to you as drinking water. As content intermediaries, publishers perform an analogous function. Individual software writers, authors, and musicians produce something close to raw sewage. The computer programs, books, and music that…

Vonnegut at 80

Cranky avant-garde novelist Kurt Vonnegut on George W. Bush: “He’s in the same business I’m in. He’s telling stories. It turns out this is the simplest of all stories to tell. I mean, I want to hold attention when I write something. What he wants to be is interesting. And revenge is interesting. I’ve said there are two radical ideas that have been introduced into human thought. One of them…

Yes – in 10 Years We May Have No Bananas

“Almost all the varieties of banana grown today are cuttings – clones, in effect – of naturally mutant wild bananas discovered by early farmers as much as 10,000 years ago. The rare mutation caused wild bananas to grow sterile, without seeds. Those ancient farmers took cuttings of the mutants, then cuttings of the cuttings.” James Meek explains why bananas may be dying out. –Yes – in 10 Years We May…

Fly UI

“I have seen one of the finest instances of user interface design ever, and I saw it in the men’s room at Schipol airport in Amsterdam. In each of the urinals, there is a little printed blue fly…If they had put big circular targets, and arrows with a little printed message “pee here!” (like it would probably be if anybody ever tried such a thing in America), it would backfire.…