July 29, 2009

“Information Wants To Be Free” [9:53 am]

Has Wikipedia Created a Rorschach Cheat Sheet? Analyze That

There are tests that have right answers, which are returned with a number on top in a red circle, and there are tests with open-ended questions, which provide insight into the test taker’s mind.

The Rorschach test, a series of 10 inkblot plates created by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach for his book “Psychodiagnostik,” published in 1921, is clearly in the second category.

Yet in the last few months, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been engulfed in a furious debate involving psychologists who are angry that the 10 original Rorschach plates are reproduced online, along with common responses for each. [...]

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OT: A Surprise This Morning [8:44 am]

I don’t know why, but it appears that The Boston Globe has made a change in its delivery schedule; to wit, one can now find the current issue in the Kendall Square vending machines before 7AM! Of course, I have also noticed that the machine where I used to have to stop to get a paper early in the morning has been EMPTY the past two days, so it’s clearly a zero-sum game when it comes to paper delivery — but I do think that they might even be trying to rework their supply logistics.

Or, it could just mean that the regular delivery driver is on vacation this week.

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I Wasn’t There … [8:26 am]

But this sounds more confusing than enlightening — but, sometimes, that’s Charlie’s way: Opening statements made in civil suit over swapping songs (pdf)

Charles Nesson, the Harvard Law School professor defending a college student accused of illegally downloading and sharing music online, used an unusual prop in his opening statement yesterday to illustrate why a federal jury should side with his client against the recording industry.

Nesson held up a rectangular piece of plastic foam wrapped in cellophane and said it represented the compact discs that record companies sold before digital music became available online. Then he sliced open the wrapper with scissors and hundreds of tiny jigsaw pieces fell in a pile in front of the jury in US District Court in Boston.

“You have the ability to share, and this physical object’’ - the 70-year-old professor paused as he snipped - “suddenly broke into a million bits. Here it is. Bits. . . . Can you hold a bit in your hand? You can’t. . . . And suddenly you have songs being shared by millions of kids around the world.’’

[...] Sam Bayard, a lecturer at Harvard Law who works at the university’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded by Nesson, listened to the opening statements and said Nesson appeared to be encouraging jurors to engage in a form of nullification. That refers to the controversial concept that jurors have a moral duty to disregard a judge’s instructions and rule in favor of a defendant in a criminal or civil case because they disagree with the underlying law.

“I think he’s arguing [Tenenbaum] did it, [the record companies] are right, but this isn’t morally blameworthy; he’s just a kid,’’ Bayard said. Such an appeal might encourage jurors to award minimal damages if they side with the industry, he said.

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