Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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September 2011
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Censoring Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the Chancellor Who Cried Wolf

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:49 pm

From the Huffington Post: Greg Lukianoff: Censoring Joss Whedon’s Firefly and the Chancellor Who Cried Wolf

Seems my suggestion to the Chancellor in yesterday’s post was for nothing; he’s backed the over-reacting kampus kop to the hilt.

Man, does Wisconsin look silly right about now…

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University of Wisconsin–Stout has lost it’s collective mind

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 11:47 pm

Here’s an odd story; a drama professor at the University of Wisconsin–Stout tapes a poster of Firefly on his door, with Mal Reynolds looking tough, and the line from the pilot episode, “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” The “Chief of Police” (not a “real” one, understand, just the head of campus security with an ego-inflating title) rips the poster down because its implied violence is a threat to hearth and home,, and she threatens the professor with criminal charges (Huh?) if he replaces it. The drama professor decides to stick his metaphorical tongue out at the system by replacing it with a poster that says, “Warning: Fascism” and includes a cartoon image of a silhouetted police officer striking a civilian and the text, “Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets.”

So naturally the boss of the campus police-wannabe’s makes things worse by over-reacting again, and activating the, “threat assessment team” (Wisconsin a hotbed of terrorist threats requiring an assessment team? Really?) and again threatening the professor.

So the campus looks like it’s run by the Keystone Kops.

I urge you to read the entire sordid story at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education website. And here are my personal comments to University Chancellor Charles Sorensen; I hope he takes them to heart:

Look, I know I’m supposed to include the carefully-crafted form letter here, but let’s cut to the chase: do you realize how truly ridiculous your university looks to those of us outside it? I mean, I have known people from Wisconsin, and none of them have been over-reactive nincompoops as your “Chief of Police” clearly is. I mean, seriously, what’s next; removing any “Hang in there baby, Friday’s Coming!” posters because they promote cruelty to felines?

You really only have two choices; end this now by reigning in your chief campus cop, or back her and allow this idiotic incident to continue making it appear the University of Wisconsin–Stout is operated by a bunch of incompetents who have never heard of either the Constitution or educational freedom of thought and expression.

Seriously, give the guy back his poster and see if you can find something constructive for Ms. Walter to do with her time in the future, something better than ripping down posters of canceled television programs.

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New emotion detector can see when we’re lying

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:58 am

From the BBC: New emotion detector can see when we’re lying

From the article: “Traditional lie detection depends on the venerable polygraph, first developed in 1921, a much more invasive apparatus with a set of wires attached to the skin.
Later this year, though, they plan to deploy it in a UK airport, probably running alongside experienced immigration officers as they conduct security interviews.”

Yipe. I know a lot of guys who’d better hope their wives don’t get ahold of this thing…

But seriously, am I the only one creeped-out by the idea that some computer can make determinations as to my veracity? Who will fix the devastation of false-positives ?

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EU extends music copyright to 70 years

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 7:35 am

From the BBC: EU extends music copyright to 70 years

From the article: “Regulations approved on Monday extended copyright on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.”

Of course. And fifteen years from now, they will extend it from 70 to 90, ad nausium. Nothing will ever be within the public domain again, so entrepreneurs like Walt Disney will never be able to build on the past. Culture is dead.

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Not Much Time Left for a Free Copy…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:12 pm

…of Bob Edwards’ new book A Voice in the Box; My Life in Radio - get it now while you can! Check out this post at BobEdwards.Info for complete details about the free offer, and this blog post for my review of the book!

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Astronauts’ tracks, trash seen in new moon photos

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 4:23 pm

From the Associated Press: Astronauts’ tracks, trash seen in new moon photos

From the article: “Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan wrote in an email to The Associated Press that the photo gives him a chance to revisit those days, ‘this time with a little nostalgia and disappointment. Nostalgia because those special days are fondly etched in my memory and disappointment because it looks like now we will not be going back within the days I have left on this planet.’”

Of course, the conspiracy theorists will have to believe this is doctored by the government, too…

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Ebook Publishers Seem Really Confused…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 12:07 am

I’m probably the only person who actually reads these stupid things, but in some of the ebooks I own (screw ‘em, I own the books just as if I had purchased the paper version) the following appears in the “fine print” buried in the back of the book:

No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of [publisher].

There is a small problem with this, though. If you purchase from Amazon, you will need Kindle for PC (or a real Kindle); if you purchase from Barnes and Noble, you need Nook for PC (or a Nook). These applications (or the software in the real-world devices) are, “information storage and retrieval systems.” So by purchasing and reading the book in the application or device you are supposed to be using, you are actually violating the letter of the license the publisher believes it can force upon you.

Not the dumbest thing content providers have written, but pretty stupid nevertheless.

Of course, I have to admit, I routinely violate the letter of these stupid “shrink wrap” agreements…I figure if I don’t provide it to anyone else, what I do with these books is my business. If I wish to read them on my Android tablet without installing fifteen different ebook readers, one for each type of DRM these chuckleheads can come up with, well, I will. I don’t share with anyone else, since that is clearly wrong, but changing formats for my own convenience is a violation I’m quite prepared to live with.

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Bob Edwards’ New Book - FREE!

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:54 am

Bob Edwards’ new book, A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio, is free in ebook format for the next week! Until September 9th, 2011, the book may be downloaded free from multiple ebook retailers…check out this post at BobEdwards.Info for complete details!

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