Just got a reply from my Senator regarding SOPA and PIPA:
My reply is below his:
From: Senator Ben Cardin - Do not reply to this message <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: XXXXXXXX@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 17:52 Subject: Reply from Senator Cardin
Dear Mr. Stone:
Thank you for writing to me regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (“PROTECT IP” or “PIPA”) (S.968). I value your input and appreciate your willingness to take the time to share your thoughts with me on this important issue.
The Internet is the transformational tool that it is because of the freedoms it allows and the connections that it helps make possible. At the same time, the reality is that Internet piracy costs America’s economy billions of dollars each year and hundreds of thousands of jobs. There is a common awareness that something must be done to stop this theft of American intellectual property, whether it be movies, music, journalism, or engineering designs. I believe that we can find a way to balance the freedoms essential to a vital and ever changing online world, with protections necessary to fight illegal activity solely designed to steal and cheat.
PIPA is narrowly tailored legislation that does differ from the much broader Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) legislation currently pending in the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, there are real concerns with PIPA, as currently drafted, that still need to be addressed. Based on many concerns, the Senate decided not to take up the debate on this issue immediately. I will continue to seek out meaningful alternatives that would fix the bill’s current flaws.
Thank you, again, for writing to me regarding this important issue and feel free to contact me with any future concerns.
I realize your time is precious, but I wanted to follow up on your email. The idea that internet piracy is somehow removing jobs or stealing “billions in revenue” is a fallacy touted by the Hollywood lobbyists that helped to draft this near disastrous legislation. That figure is a gross overestimate simply because it cannot be validated or verified. It is a scare tactic, they’re using it to scare you into believing that jobs are being lost and that you must do something, that when in reality Hollywood is more profitable than it has ever been. Which is troubling because many companies are now paying more for lobbyists than they are paying in taxes.
In this new age with this technology, the entertainment industry is not adapting to the world, it is trying to enforce its will upon it. The SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA legislation efforts speak to this.
Time and again the internet business model demonstrates that piracy is an obstacle to be overcome and not an enemy to be destroyed. It is a call to innovate! A time to redefine how we do business and challenge the reasons why we’re doing business in the ways that only made sense before the internet even existed.
Senator, are you familiar with Netflix? I’m sure you are, but in brief, a internet company that delivers physical DVDs to people’s homes for a fee. This company found that delivering these goods digitally was more cost effective and allowed them to serve a greater client base and waste less in shipping. Every customer who has Netflix has the internet and a computer which is capable of recording DVDs. They can stream these shows to their TV and they can also record. yet they don’t record and in fact the majority of users do not steal the DVDs image when sent to their homes. Why? Is it because they aren’t saavy enough to rip a DVD? Or because the rigors of digital rights management (DRM) are so stringent that it makes this effort impossible? No sir, they don’t do it because netflix is already providing a convenient service which allows instantaneous access to the media the people want. There is no benefit in pirating because the company has out-competed the pirates. And even this strategy may be flawed in the long term, as many companies are realizing the power of the internet is smaller prices and selling more units rather than nominal fees. Some of them are even considering giving content away for free and monetizing advertising.
Sir, Americans are very intelligent people. We are willing to go to great lengths to get what we desire, which is why America is the country it is today. I say to you sir, by not infringing on the internet and how it currently works you will be making a better America. Instead of Hollywood media moguls and studios dictating how media should work, they will be forced to innovate new business strategies to out compete the pirates. Imagine those companies being faced with innovate or be extinct? Imagine what wonders they might create if they didn’t have to sit on their haunches and be blithely defended by Washington? What if our representatives sent a message to them that “Americans need innovation, and media creators and controllers need to lead by example”? Do you think that jobs would be lost with such a mandate?
Instead of having to spend millions of dollars on DRM, they could be providing their movies on their own websites for a nominal fee. This business practice has been tried and proven in a number of instances Senator. Most recently by comedian Louis CK who provided a show he did for the fee of 5 dollars for internet access. This small fee made his work available to millions of people and the small buy price made it more compelling for the customer to buy. The man made several million dollars in a very short amount of time, quite profitable in comparison to that of a live show or to one done direct through a studio. To top this off, he donated almost half of the profits to charity because of how much money he’d made.
Sir, I humbly ask you to reconsider much of the preconceived notions that have been placed before you in the course of your consideration of this legislation.
I would ask that you bring in men and women of the industry for hearings. Ask the people who are making content on the internet and listen to their business models. Listen to the passion they bring to their craft and how the amazing tool of the internet makes that possible. The piracy will be there sir. Make America a place that strives to force innovation rather than stagnation through this myopic regulation. If not, the only people innovating are the pirates. Give the American consumer better choices than the pirate and you’ve cut them out of the business model.
This article is terrifying. I think everyone should read it. Please reblog.
Over fishing + careless fishing practices + warming oceans = no fish. \
“…Jack mackerel, rich in oily protein, is manna to a hungry planet, a staple in Africa. Elsewhere, people eat it unaware; much of it is reduced to feed for aquaculture and pigs. It can take more than five kilograms, more than 11 pounds, of jack mackerel to raise a single kilogram of farmedsalmon.
Stocks have dropped from an estimated 30 million metric tons to less than a tenth of that in two decades. The world’s largest trawlers, after depleting other oceans, now head south toward the edge of Antarctica to compete for what is left…..”
“Their bills have had mixed success and usually die before being brought to a vote, but SOPA and PIPA came frighteningly close to becoming law. The internet-wide protest this week seems to have stalled their progress and probably killed them for now.
But what will happen when the MPAA buys the next SOPA? We can’t protest every similar bill with the same force. Eventually, our audiences will tire of calling their senators for whatever we’re asking them to protest this time.
Eventually, we will lose.
Such ridiculous, destructive bills should never even pass committee review, but we’re not addressing the real problem: the MPAA’s buying power in Congress. This is a campaign finance problem.
The MPAA studios hate us. They hate us with region locks and unskippable screens and encryption and criminalization of fair use. They see us as stupid eyeballs with wallets, and they are entitled to a constant stream of our money. They despise us, and they certainly don’t respect us.
At the end of the last marking period, my daughter came home with some troubling marks. She’s in second grade, so “marks” is subjective. They are metrics regarding her citizenship, engagement, conformance to the rules, etc. But they were not great. She isn’t a bad child, far from it actually. And although she is my daughter and I am biased in her favor, I did not and do not believe that her apparent lack of adherence to the social contract of the classroom was from her being a bad child or even a bad student. To me? They spoke of someone who was really bored while at school. And, IMHO, they looked to me like someone who wasn’t properly motivated.
When I was in school, I remember being bored to tears. I used to read encyclopedias for fun while at home. Much of the stuff they put in front of me in elementary was just that, elementary. (Also, encyclopedia, pre-internet, these were tomes of knowledge that were set up like wikipedia but you had to buy them and they were heavy :D).
I see my daughter dealing with the same thing. She’s really smart. And she’s really bored of waiting for the school to teach her more things. And as a result, she’s acting out, not listening, doing her own thing and otherwise being a pain in the ass for her poor teacher. That won’t do.
I took her aside at the end of the last marking period with her report card in hand. I went through it line by line and talked to her about what each mark meant, and how many of them were below the standard that her mom and I had set for her. I told her they needed to improve. I gave her a reason to improve her.
I made her a deal, a contract, for her improvement. If she would make it through the next marking period with improvement of any kind in any part, we would go out together on a “Daddy-daughter” date to a place of my choosing. If she was able to improve every section of her report card by Today, January 20, 2012, we would go to a place of her choosing. By God if she hasn’t had a single problem in school since. The report cards are due out next week. I’m very eager to see what the real numbers are. But in truth I know they’ve all improved.
In the mean time, I’ve started engaging her in subjects that far outstrip what she’s learning in second grade. I do this for a lot of reasons, and none so important as a child’s potential should not be limited by their perceived age but how they act and what they really can handle. At night, I’ve been staying up and crafting her ciphers and math puzzles. I’ve been slowly introducing her to algebra through logic problems. I even broke out some geometry just to pique her interest. Her math scores at school have improved dramatically from the graded quizzes I’ve seen come home.
I’m looking forward to our little “Daddy-daughter” outing. She mentioned something about wanting to go to the local natatorium for some swimming.
“One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (via cynicalidealists)
Racking the mead today. Had to start with sanitation.
I have a 20 gallon primary fermenter. I started the sani this morning around 10.
I’ll be rinsing and treading with onestep next. After that, I’ll feed the kids dinner, get them situated in a movie and Then oh man. Pics time.
The fermentation is complete, so I’ll be racking through filter paper. I’m not quite ready to bottle so I’ll be filtering, pooling the two meads from the secondary fermenters into the big primary tank, cleaning the secondary fermenters, and finally diluting, back into the sanitized secondary tanks.
Big job, but the Mrs is gone for the weekend and I am bored. I even know what my dilution ratio is…
The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto.
The WikiLeaks cable reveals that in late 2007, the United States ambassador to France and business partner to George W. Bush, Craig Stapleton, requested that the European Union along with particular nations that did not support GMO crops be penalized…
The ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against nations who are against using Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, admittedly linked to organ damage and environmental devastation. Amazingly, this is not an isolated case. In similar newly released cables, United States diplomats are found to have pushed GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative…
Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto. The cables also highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Spain in their conquest to persuade other nations to allow for the expansion of GMO crops. Not only did the Spanish government secretly correspond with the U.S. government on the subject, but the U.S. government actually knew beforehand how Spain would vote before the Spanish biotech commission reported their decision regarding GMO crops.
Monsanto has a history of creating plants that can easily be pollinated and survive better than their natural competitors, then suing small farms when the successful (and patented!) crop finds it’s way onto their fields. Allowing them high level legal access to legislators and policy-shapers in the government is a recipe for oppression. When one company owns all the food that the western world has access to, does anyone really doubt that they’ll abuse their power?
I am shilling for my Aunt. She is an amazing crafter and runs her own little shop in the far upstate of New York in the Adirondack Mountains. She does some amazing work and makes everything from stepping stones to jewelry.
First, go grab some headphones. The best ones you’ve got. If the best ones you’ve got are these suckers (or something similar), you should really go buy new ones, but use the best you’ve got for right now.
Take a break from whatever you’re doing for 2 minutes and listen, but just listen to the whole thing, even if you have to multi-task.
If you can handle a beer you can handle making mead.
Make sure you boil sufficiently to remove all the wax from the honey. If you leave too much it will make your yeast fall out of solution. Make sure you pick a yeast that can handle a high starting gravity and a decent amount of Alcohol. I’m using KV-1116 for these fermenters.
Also, make sure you have a vessel that you don’t mind being occupied for quite a while. Unlike beers, this stuff takes a while to complete. The primary fermentation is about a week (or two) but the secondary and tertiary fermentations are upwards of 6 months with almost another 6 months of conditioning before it’s indeed ready. Good luck!