Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Friday, November 21, 2003day link 

 WorldChanging
picture WorldChanging is a splendid new weblog by Alexis Steffen, Jamais Cascio, and other contributors. Its motto is "Another world is here". Lots of good, positive material.
[ | 2003-11-21 15:15 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Nano-progress
picture Nano technology progresses on various fronts.

According to New Scientist, Israeli researchers have succeeded in getting DNA to assemble nano-scale transistors. In other words, biology used to create self-assembling electronic devices. Still way to go before it can be useful, but it is the first successful demonstraton of that kind.

And, according to SpaceDaily, Russian scientists have made a device that should be able to produce large amounts of nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes is the strongest material currently in existence. It is a key component of plans to create space elevators. E.g. cables from the earth to geo-stationary orbit, allowing you to take an elevator into orbit. Or, better yet, cables from the earth to the moon.
[ | 2003-11-21 15:15 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Criminal Companies
There's something really infuriating about companies that build their business on (mis-)using some existing laws to screw everybody but themselves. Well, the good part of it is that it exposes bad laws, and makes loads of people want to change them, but in the short term such companies will often get away with it.

Prime areas for legal, but anti-social, perverted and criminal business opportunities are in the fields of patents and copyrights. If you play your cards well, it is better business than dealing drugs, because the courts will protect you, and you don't need to produce anything valuable at all. You just need lawyers who will work for percentages.

The MPAA (movie companies' association) and RIAA (record labels' association) are continuously busy with that kind of activities. Instead of figuring out how to evolve their business towards what people want nowadays, they try to protect their old business by threatening and extorting and suing people. And they keep large volumes of perfectly useful movies out of circulation, just because they own them and don't know how to make money with them.

Several software related companies that are failing in having a real business have adopted an approach of extorting other companies. A company called SCO, which bought key pieces of UNIX from Novell, attracted investors based on a plan of extorting money from UNIX licensees and Linux users. It is an incoherent and wacky plan which probably won't work, but they're trying hard, having spent $10 million just in laywer's fees to attack other companies. More here and here.

Lots of questionable legal activity springs up around bogus patents. E.g. Altnet is a company that made a business off of creating spyware to infiltrate your computer. They now bought a patent which supposedly would allow them to extort money off of peer2peer networks. And the patent itself is a trivial technique they had no part of creating in the first place. Read about it here.

Why do I call them "criminal"? My definition of criminal isn't about whether it is legal or not, but rather that you're bereaving others of the real value of their work and creativity and amassing value for yourself that you didn't create. Nowhere is that quite as obvious as when it comes to the "ownership" of ideas.
[ | 2003-11-21 15:15 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 WarMarketing: how to sell a paradox
From the site of the British-American Coalition Against WarMarketing:
How do you actively promote starting a war, when most people want peace? How do you convince the peaceful majority of a nation's populace that unprovoked aggression is rational? How can you sell death and destruction, in the name of peace? This is the systematic practice of WarMarketing.

Definition: WarMarketing -- Promoting fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), by spin-doctoring known false information with the deliberate intent to justify otherwise irrational acts of aggression. The skillful productization of premeditated acts of mass-violence that is inflicted upon many innocent people, with the ulterior motive to license "officially approved" personal financial gain for a few guilty people.

Definition: WarMarketer -- One who enables a warmonger to package, position and promote the plan to stir up war. One who conceives of and evolves the deceptive re-branding of the government entity previously known as the "War Department," into the more palatable "Department of Defense."
Indeed. These days it is vital to become an expert in double-speak, propaganda and Weapons of Mass-Deception, so that you can notice when somebody's fucking with your mind, and take evasive action.
[ | 2003-11-21 16:11 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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