John Ashcroft was “barely articulate,” “feeble” and “clearly stressed” as he sat in a hospital room chair in March 2004 when top White House aides unsuccessfully tried to persuade him, as the Attorney General, to sign an extension for warrantless domestic eavesdropping on Americans, according to notes made by Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I.
Mr. Mueller’s notes of his visit to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room provide another eyewitness account of the dramatic confrontation over the secret surveillance program. They confirm an account of the encounter given by James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about it in May.
August 16, 2007
Taking Advantage [5:56 pm]
Britain’s top lawyer decided on Thursday that no action would be taken against a Muslim woman accused of listening to an MP3 music player under her hijab while on jury duty.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was thrown off the jury considering a murder trial when one of her fellow jurors reported seeing headphone wires coming out of her headscarf.
A Paean To The Compact Disc Standard [5:26 pm]
It was Aug. 17, 1982, and row upon row of palm-sized plates with a rainbow sheen began rolling off an assembly line near Hanover, Germany.
An engineering marvel at the time, today they are instantly recognizable as Compact Discs, a product that turns 25 years old on Friday — and whose future is increasingly in doubt in an age of iPods and digital downloads.
Mr. Dack, 30, said his intention was to construct a kind of false past from spare parts and also to infuse mindless pop-culture products from a more carefree time — “Most of the songs are kind of soft-rock or pop hits, a bit schlocky,” he said — with some existential dread. It might not accomplish the task in quite the same way that David Lynch did with Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” in the movie “Blue Velvet,” or that David Chase did with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the recent cut-to-black finale of “The Sopranos.”
But there is something at least a little creepy about being informed to the melody of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” that the Soviets have developed a particle-beam accelerator to render missile attacks futile. ([Philip K.] Dick, as if to cover himself in the event of the Soviet Union’s demise, included a stray prediction for 2010 that foretold the invention of a device that could alter the past, meaning that the end of the cold war could still be erased in a few years by pro-Soviet guerrillas.)
[...] Mr. Dack said he had not sought permission from record or music-publishing companies before appropriating — or sampling — their sheet music. “I’m not making any money off this book,” he said. “We’re giving it out.” He added, “I guess maybe it’s something I should worry about a little.”
From the press release:
This exhibition takes the form of a musical score accompanied by a text lifted from the paranoid cold-war era predictions of noted science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. While Dick’s description of apocalypse seems archaic, it also seem at times oddly prescient.
Dack’s series pairs sheet music from Top 40 #1 pop hits of the corresponding years from 1983 – 2000, with these predictions by Dick for the corresponding year. This coupling exposes and bears the aesthetic of the relationship between reality, prediction and hindsight with added subterfuge regarding the rapid fire evolution of contemporary society and subsequent cultural amnesia that happens from one day to the next.
The LATimes On Fashion Copyrights [11:18 am]
As much as the imitation galls some designers, though, there are many apparel manufacturers who don’t want copyright law to intrude further on their industry. And they’re right. The likely effect would be less creativity and innovation, which is exactly the opposite of what the framers of the Constitution intended when they empowered Congress to protect intellectual property — in order to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.”
[...] There are at least three fundamental flaws with the proposal. First, it would enable designers to claim copyrights over styles and features they didn’t invent. There are only so many ways to design a T-shirt or a strapless dress, and chances are good that they’ve all been done already. Second, lawsuits would more likely target U.S. apparel makers than manufacturers in distant or undeveloped low-wage countries. Meanwhile, judges would become the arbiters of fashion innovations, deciding whether garments were sufficiently unique or excessively similar.
Finally, applying copyrights to apparel design would discourage the copying that actually promotes the sale of designer clothing. [...]
Expanding Job Market for Economists [11:14 am]
Like many central bankers, Eyjolfur Gudmundsson spends his days fretting about inflation, making sure monetary growth is reasonable and trying to collect data about the economy.
The difference is that the economy Guodmundsson oversees exists only in the virtual world of Eve Online, a science fiction computer game run out of Iceland.
And you thought “Moon Unit” was bad [10:25 am]
A Chinese couple tried to name their baby “@,” claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said on Thursday.
[...] While the “@” simple is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word “at” to sound it out — which with a drawn out “T” sounds something like “ai ta,” or “love him,” to Mandarin speakers.
The Loco Parents [8:40 am]
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst ranked sixth in the nation for copyright complaints in February. In the past year and a half, the school has begun offering free downloads to students, but school officials are still struggling to find a panacea for a problem that has plagued campuses nationwide for the past several years.
“I thought we were pretty strenuous before, but it hasn’t worked,” said John Dubach, the school’s chief information officer. “This whole system has got to change somehow. There’s got to be some better understanding of the problem.”
Starts with thinking about what the problem actually is, though.