Friday, January 30, 2004

Artistic freedom vouchers

I love this idea for "artistic freedom vouchers" (AFVs) which would allow individuals to contribute a refundable tax credit of approximately $100 to a creative worker of their choice. In return, these creative workers would be ineligible for copyright protection for a significant period of time, and all work that they produced in that time would go into the public domain.

To be honest, it does sound a bit pie-in-the-sky to me (for one thing, the initial effort of setting up the scheme would be huge and I can only imagine the howls of protest from the media companies...), but it's a fantastic idea, and it's good to see people looking for creative alternatives to copyright.

A cool matter

Apparently, scientists at the University of Colorado have created a new form of matter – the fermionic condensate. I think that this is really cool. It might only occur at a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, but they're still hopeful that it could be used to make a room temperature superconductor. Well, hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Jobob's blogging!

JoBob has started a journal that I've linked to on the navigation bar. Jo's journal is fun to read, very interesting, and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 26, 2004

AUT strike worries

As someone who works in academia (although by no means an academic), I'm watching the current dispute between the AUT and the employers' organisation (UCEA) with great interest. For those who haven't been following this dispute, it centres around the new pay deal that UCEA has proposed to bring all university staff under the same pay scale. The AUT claims that this will mean a career-reduction in earnings for many staff (with figures to back this up here). Following the decision of UCEA to abort last-minute talks, the union has begun a ballot for strike action. As a member of the AUT myself, I have voted YES in this action and although I'd be very pensive if it actually came to walking out, if necessary, I see no alternative.

One thing that worried me a lot would be the impact on students of strike action by an academic union, so I was heartened to hear that the president of the NUS have pledged their support to the action.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry (unoriginal but obvious)

I watched The Hulk this evening, and really rather enjoyed it – indeed, I think that it's the best of the recent comic book films. I'm not sure why, but it's possibly the fact that it seemed to take itself much less seriously than the others, and Ang Lee's direction had a lot to do with that. It was very comic-book-like and smart.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

More proof that Americans have no sense of humour.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

It's nice to see articles like this hitting the mainstream on the BBC (and counterbalancing some of their other pieces which seem to be just music industry press releases). Bill Thompson's article on the shifting of too much power into the hands of copyright holders is well written and will hopefully start to bring these sorts of issues to a wider audience.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I went to see The Return of the King last night. By the gods, that was a bad film!! I started cringing within the first three minutes of the film and didn't really stop until the final credits. There are just so many bits that annoyed me that it's not worth enumerating them, but suffice to say that there were just about three scenes that I did like: I found Faramir's charge at the Pelennor Fields quite moving; I thought that the final destruction of the ring was appropriately tense; and I liked the very end with Frodo saying goodbye to his friends. Apart from that, it was at best indifferent, and at worst incredibly bad. There was probably a fairly good action fantasy film in there somewhere, but it sure as hell wasn't The Lord of the Rings!

Monday, January 05, 2004

There's a nice article in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding music downloads and the (lack of) effect that it's having on the industry in Australia. I can't imagine things being all that different here.

Friday, January 02, 2004

I'm glad to see Tim Berners-Lee (Sir Tim now, of course) honoured in the new year's Honours list. He deserved it – more so than the entire England rugby team, in my opinion.

PS: happy new year

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