This may just be the best TED Talk video I've seen: listen.com/Rhapsody founder and extremely funny person (and soon-to-be debut science fiction author) Rob Reid examines the math behind the claims made by the copyright lobby and explains the mindbending awesomeness of the sums used to justify SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the like. Here's Ars Technica's Ken Fisher discussing Reid's philosophy:
Reid’s goal was to capture and represent some of the rhetoric from that past decade and a half in a way that would fill the hall with laughter, even if some of it came at the expense of some clearly ridiculous industry arguments. “Everyone can laugh at silly infographics,” Reid opined while silently crushing the serious journalism dreams of hacks everywhere. “And who doesn't want to deface a Leave-it-to-Beaver-like Christmas scene with pirate-and-Santa graffiti?”
The brilliance of Reid’s talk is that he thoroughly skewers the content industry’s dubious appeal to quantitative reasoning. We’ve all see the headlines proclaiming huge numbers of dollars, jobs, and patents lost to piracy. The appeal to quantitative measures is supposed to undermine counterarguments by doing two things: slyly stepping into a (pretend) world of objectivity, and raising the alarm with big, scary numbers. It’s hard to look at those kinds of headlines in the same way after Reid’s elegantly hilarious skewering.
Reid’s examination of Copyright Math began when he started working on his soon-to-be published debut science fiction novel, Year Zero, which Random House is publishing in early July (we’ll be reviewing it). Year Zero tells the story of how the toxic legal byproducts of some overly litigious lawyers cause problems that make global warming seem downright cozy. Not to give it away, but could you imagine how pissed off an alien music lover might get if he was sued into bankruptcy for pirating a few lousy Rick Astley songs?
Copyright Math: a quantitative reasoning master class by Rob Reid (video)
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]