Friday, October 24

copyright is theft? really?

this was an interesting paper which i read about from here. Abstract:

This paper exploits variation in the adoption of copyright laws within Italy – as a result of Napoleon’s military campaign – to examine the effects of copyrights on creativity. To measure variation in the quantity and quality of creative output, we have collected detailed data on 2,598 operas that premiered across eight states within Italy between 1770 and 1900. These data indicate that the adoption of copyrights led to a significant increase in the number of new operas premiered per state and year. Moreover, we find that the number of high-quality operas also increased – measured both by their contemporary popularity and by the longevity of operas. By comparison, evidence for a significant effect of copyright extensions is substantially more limited. Data on composers’ places of birth indicate that the adoption of copyrights triggered a shift in patterns of composers’ migration, and helped attract a large number of new composers to states that offered copyrights. - See more at:

quite an interesting argument. Copyright is intellectual property and you should protect it. I saw this great point in the comments, which I didnt know about. Do you think theft only happens in torrents today? See what this note says with respect to Dickens.

In publishing The Pickwick Papers in volume form after the book’s epoch-making serial run in 1837, Dickens dedicated the work to dramatist and politician Thomas Noon Talford, partly because this writer as an M. P. had introduced a copyright bill in the House of Commons in 1836. Dickens was already aware of how much money he was losing as a result of massive violations of his copyright both at home (via theatrical adaptations) and abroad (via cheap American re-prints). As a shorthand reporter for The Mirror of Parliament and the True Sun (1831-33), young Dickens had followed the copyright question avidly from the press gallery. In 1835, while a reporter for The Morning Chronicle, Dickens applauded the efforts of the young barrister who had been elected Member of Parliament for Reading in 1835 to introduce a copyright bill, which eventually became law in 1842. In early 1844, Talford would act as Dickens’s attorney in the case against Richard Egan Lee and Henry Hewitt for their flagrant plagiarism of A Christmas Carol.

Young Charles Dickens, in the process of being lionized by his Yankee readers, dared to assert that, had American publishers paid Sir Walter Scott appropriate royalties for his works re-printed in the United States from Marmion in 1808 to Castle Dangerous in 1832, he would not have faced bankruptcy in the middle of his career and would not have died at the age of 61, broken in body and mind by years of financial difficulties, and “unjustly deprived of his rightful income” (Ackroyd 350). Further, he alluded to the disgraceful treatment of Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848), retired Royal Naval officer turned author, who established residency by means of his 1837 tour, but was subsequently denied copyright protection by American courts unless he were prepared to renounce his status as a British subject and become an American citizen.

Dickens was essentially using the plight of these authors to argue his own case, for as fast as he turned out The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and other early novels, American publishing houses snapped them up and published them in cheap editions which sold in the thousands across the country, pocketing the proceeds without sending so much as a letter of thanks to Boz. The piracies began as early as the publication of Sketches by Boz in 1834.

He bewailed, ironically, “the exquisite justice of never deriving sixpence from an enormous American sale of all my books.” Having already spoken up for increased copyright protection in Britain and for a British-American agreement, he had it in mind to advance a just cause from which he and others would benefit. Ignorant of the complications of copyright politics and of the recent severe depression, he crossed the Atlantic with the na├»ve expectation that in this republic of his imagination elemental notions of fairness would triumph over politics and power relationships, as if America were some elegant utopia. . . .(Kaplan 124-125)

The rowdy American press, particularly in New York, soon disabused Dickens of his utopian notions vis a vis copyright. Americans, expecting him to be grateful for their warm reception, were staggered when this young British goodwill ambassador at the beginning of 1842, at a dinner held in his honour in Boston, dared to criticize them as pirates while urging the merits of international copyright, which at that point in American history would have seen vast amounts of Yankee capital heading overseas with little reciprocation.’

here are some of the arguments on copywrite is theft. Here. And here.

Thursday, October 23

Recession or no recession, many NFL, NBA and Major League


Both of you have investments and thankfully have got the savings bug. That's very good discipline. I've seen poverty closely kids and it's not fun at all. Not at all. Specially when you're old. That's the worst part kids because you cannot make money at that time and have to rely on people's handouts. 

It's soul destroying to ask for money. I've seen your grandparents in extremely difficult circumstances as far as money is concerned kids. Never ever allow yourself to get into that situation. 

You may have lots of money kids. You may invent something big. Or one of your lottery tickets comes true. Or an investment pays off. But always be grounded. 

See the story of these athletes. They are like flashes in the pan kids. They earned loads and then whoosh. All was gone. 

Read and learn. And remember the rule kids, save 1/3rd of your money. Every month. As much as possible. 



Recession or no recession, many NFL, NBA and Major League - 03.23.09 - SI Vault

What the hell happened here? Seven floors above the iced-over Dallas North Tollway, Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is revisiting the question. It's December, and Ismail is sitting in the boardroom of Chapwood Investments, a wealth management firm, his white Notre Dame snow hat pulled down to his furrowed brow.

Wednesday, October 22

White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why

This is a very USA centric opinion piece son so one has to be careful in extrapolating it but I've seen the similar behaviour in many other countries like in Europe, UK, some countries in Asia. The idea of going out in the wild where you are walking the paths, cold or hot. Sweaty. Hungry. Carrying water and swatting fleas and other biting insects. Not quite fun is it? My feeling is that poorer sections of the world are too close to the time that they had to work outdoors to make their living. So for them to voluntarily head outside into the wilderness is strange and doesn't compute for them.
And you're too young to perhaps appreciate this son. At this moment you need friends, lights, music, company and and and. Which is perfectly fine. Because you're at the age where you are still finding and defining yourself. Looking externally and understanding people. Which is right and do more of it.
When you reach my age perhaps you will be more comfortable with just being with yourself. Curious attribute -- loneliness son. I've got to admit that I usually don't feel that but that could be because I'm ok with being alone. Lol. Who wants to be with this messed up mind anyway?
But once in a while I feel the need to get away from it all son. Just me, my legs, camera and you head off into the mountains or forests. You don't need company and you definitely don't need groups. At best have one person with you but select very carefully son. The wrong choice and you will regret it as then the beauty of Mother Nature is lost in the cacophony of I'm hungry, I'm dirty, I'm cold. I'm hot. Whatever. :) try to find somebody you can be quiet with son. Quietly standing by a little stream in a forest or mountain and observing a dragonfly darting about and sharing that moment with somebody. You will burn that memory in your brain and it will live on for decades compared to memories of expensive gifts or holidays which disappear quickly.
But there is huge joy in wandering the forests and mountains. Sometimes you feel like weeping with the sheer beauty of what you're seeing. The majestic sweep of mountains receding into the horizon. Clouds roiling over. Shadows on the ground. Grassy plains. The silence broken with bird song or chirruping of insects. If you're quiet and are very lucky, you can hear God talking to you. It's such a wonderful feeling.
White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why.

Tuesday, October 21

More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat

I attended a lecture on Wounded Minds at the old alma mater. Fascinating stuff. the lecturer talked about the following:

The First World War not only shaped the lives of thousands of young men and their families but also sparked a significant transformation in the treatment and understanding of mental illness. For many the trauma of war didn’t end with the final gunshot; the phenomenon of shell shock saw soldiers return home still reeling from the horror of what they’d seen. Whilst many of their symptoms – dizziness, loss of appetite, and deafness – were typical of having sustained a head injury, many soldiers had no such wounds and some hadn’t even been on the front line.
Leading physicians and neurologists alike, baffled by what they were seeing, began to think differently about psychiatric disorders, producing new causal theories and treatment initiatives. By the end of the war over 240,000 cases of shell shock had passed through British Army medical facilities. With treatments researched and out-patient units emerging, psychological medicine had truly arrived.
Whilst the term ‘shell shock’ has since become redundant, with psychologists preferring ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ (PTSD), there’s no doubt that what this phenomenon taught us about mental illness remains as invaluable as it ever was.
As we mark 100 years since the start of the Great War, we are delighted to invite you to join Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War studies, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Director of the
King's Centre for Military Health Research, and Professor Edgar Jones,Professor in the History of Medicine and Psychiatry, to examine the appearance of shell shock during the First World War, the struggles faced by affected soldiers and exactly how it impacted our understanding of mental health then and now.

anyway, there was one point which they mentioned which made me go look for more information. And this was the story of George McQuay.

Here’s the soldier before he left for the war.


then he left for the war. mental health treatment was pretty much rudimentary. Shell Shock was considered to be “cowardice”, he came back to Australia with complete loss of memory, depression. So they ran a campaign to find out who he was. After many many misses, his mother found him, from NZ!

meeting2[1] stroll[1]

Such a tragic story. But you know what fucks me off? Is how easy we think of sending our troops into battle. Here are some statistics about the PSTD incidents. I quote,

Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.

  • there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million "Vietnam Era Veterans" (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
  • at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
  • out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get "minimally adequate" treatment (RAND study)
  • 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than  previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
  • 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
  • rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
  • in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
  • recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
  • PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
  • recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. "Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan." Susan V. Eisen, PhD
  • Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
  • More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

I hate war, and I hate a foreign policy which requires needless deployment of soldiers. By all means, defend the country, but to send them to Kurdistan? why? So the Islamic State will win over, sod it.

Monday, October 20

one of the most destructive but strangely seductive sights


i love volcanoes and lava flows. there is something abut their sheer destructive power that just fascinates me. plus the colour red. and how relentlessly it flows. and how it transforms the landscape. and how it gives birth to new life and new land. love it. i can watch this for hours transfixed.