The morning coffee and quantum teleportation

Quantum teleportation has been successful across a distance of ten miles. While the science reporters all try to rain on our parade and tell us that this works for information only, and not for matter, I for one am now looking forward to the day when my genetic information can be transported to a starship above and my synthetic human simulacrum on board will come to life.

The MPAA has asked the US Army to stop its soldiers from buying bootleg DVDs in Iraq. Their response? Why don’t you send us some movies to watch, instead?

Having trouble getting your first novel published? Don’t give up — you’re not alone.

Links, featuring brains and invisible shoes

The history of computers and publishing: The Sacred Rock of Tor
Belgium is attempting to ban women from wearing veils. But they do not put it that way — the proposed law makes illegal “clothing that obscures your identity”.

In other words, Belgium is planning to ban Halloween, Santa Claus costumes and fancy dress parties.

Well done, Belgium.

The brain, part I: Scanning athletes’ brains discovers how they are more efficient, and in some ways “smarter” than the average brain.
Daniel Gross is a writer for Newsweek and Slate. So when he tells you that Nobel-winning economists know nothing about the economy, and America is going to have an incredible bounce back from the recession, you should assume he’s correct.
Creating poetry using piles of books.
The brain, part II: Why we love to read.
Apparently not happy enough with merely denying gays the right to marry, California officials now like to forcibly separate elderly gay couples and steal all their stuff.
Web coupons do not provide a bargain, like paper coupons do. Instead they trade your privacy for a discount. Beware.

The morning coffee in the guise of a sheep

You can, apparently, win a Pulitzer Prize for drawing political cartoons. You cannot, apparently, put Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons on the iPhone.

(For the second day in a row, we have a reputed source, but no idea who to credit.)

Trying to evade capture by the police in Argentina? One strategy that has been successful is to disguise yourself as a sheep.

In the United States, a court has ruled that the normal rules for searching computers do not apply to those “crossing a border” — even when it is just a blatant attempt to avoid applying for a search warrant, or the border in question is along an Interstate between Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Copyright madness

When it comes to copyright, the world simply seems to have gone insane.

The UK music industry thinks it loses £200 million each year to piracy. So the UK government is now trying to push through a new set of regulations that would cost £500 million to implement. Which not only does not meet the most basic of cost-benefit analyses, but also would force an estimated 40,000 people offline due to the additional costs that would be passed on to consumers.

Meanwhile, my ISP has promised to start to spy on everything that I download. I cannot recall agreeing to allow them to do this.

But copyright issues in music are old news; the new battle is in books. Book publishers have now realized that many avid readers are now e-book readers, with more to follow on the iPad — now they are beginning to jump into the copyright act. Using the same sorts of measurements that the music and movie industries use, they are claiming to lose $3 billion a year to online piracy. A more interesting analysis takes the same methodology and applies it to libraries, finding that American libraries “cost” the publishing industry nearly $1 trillion every year.

This, of course, demonstrates how silly the claims are. Once one takes into account that those who violate copyright by downloading music, books, or movies are also the industry’s biggest customers, expenditures like those being made in the UK are revealed for being complete farces — rather than protecting profits, it takes away the ability for customers to discover the material in the first place.

There are interesting and sane views out there. Go To Hellman outlines the benefits of library sharing of books. Cory Doctorow discusses the possibility of creating an intelligent copyright system, rather than a one-size-fits-all system that doesn’t work.

None of that intelligent thinking is likely to be finding its way into the Anti-Conterfeiting Trade Agreement, however. The public, of course, is not allowed in on the multilateral negotiations — but big business is. What is sure to emerge are a set of rules to make the demise of the pre-Internet model as painful as possible for consumers and new start-ups, rather than a set of rules that still make sense given the technology available.

And yes, almost all of this has happened during the first 31 days of 2010. And there is no sign that anybody will adopt a system that has any chance of working anytime soon.

(Image from 917press)