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The future is on its way, and it's too hot.

Back in the Before Times, George W. Bush justified not doing anything about emission standards and climate change by suggesting that in the future there would be wonderful technology that would clean everything up at the push of a button; the nicest, shiniest button ever. No one ever asked how much that button would cost, but he implied you could pick it up at a Radio Shack for $4.95, or $4.27 at the Presidents Day Sale.

Here we are in the future, Radio Shack is gone and that button has not been installed. ...continue reading "Earth at a Tipping Point"

After you see "Hidden Figures" (or read the book) check out Tom Wolfe's story of the same events. It's interesting to see the same events from a different perspective.

After you see "Hidden Figures" (or read the book) check out Tom Wolfe's story of the same events, sans mathematicians. It's interesting to see the same events from a different perspective; what's left out can be infuriating, but that's what's instructive. And fair dues to Wolfe, his book is a great read and he doesn't contradict the other version so much as leave it out -- possibly was unaware of it? -- concentrating on the story from the perspective of the astronauts, which is what makes the combination of these two versions a compelling, rounded history of this time and place.

 

 

Black macaque selfie, still copyright-free.
Macaque selfie
I can use this picture because a macaque took it. Look forward to seeing it often.

In August 2014, a court ruled that a human photographer who owned the camera a  black macaque used to take a selfie cannot claim copyright on the picture, using the same logic that says complete strangers don't own the copyright on a the picture you took of them standing in front of the Teddy Roosevelt butter sculpture at the state fair when they handed you their phone to use.

Now a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the monkey doesn't own the photo either. PETA had brought the lawsuit on the monkey's behalf; the judged determined that the law doesn't specify that non-humans can claim photograph ownership, using the same logic that explains why your car doesn't own the copyright on the photo of you driving through a speed trap on the toll road. Also, since there are no monkeys in PETA, he had doubts about their legal standing to represent their client. (Sidenote: Does anyone actually know where the client is these days?)

The photographer insists he will appeal and win, since he intended to take a picture.

In other words: Black macaque selfie, still copyright-free.

Research: "Not Quite 'Planet of the Apes'":The New York Times has this piece on bonobo research by writer James Gordon and filmmaker David Frank.

"Not Quite 'Planet of the Apes'": The New York Times has this piece on bonobo research by writer James Gordon and filmmaker David Frank.