Music Industry To Target College Students and Universities

This post is a response to an article that can be found: HERE

Greetings,

I came across the aforementioned article and wanted to say a few words about the state of things. At Southwestern (Adventist University), the ability to torrent has been disabled on the wireless network for performance reasons; however, over traffic to torrent sites and torrent tools, both legal and illegal, is restricted on all connections. That in itself is an entirely separate matter and at one point I went over that in a previous article on this blog: Piracy and Internet Censorship

The issue I wanted to talk about was the following paragraph:

“In July this year, the US put into effect a new requirement for colleges and universities to stop illicit file-sharing on their networks. This legislation puts defiant schools at risk of losing federal funding if they don’t do enough to stop illicit file-sharers on their campus.”

There are some issues I take with this. Who does it say controls the government if the entertainment industry can control university funding? Who decides whether what a university has done is enough? Why will this help?

1: Those with money control the government. I know we’d, myself included, like to believe that our democracy is a true representation of the will of the people, but let’s be honest. Lobbyists for many industries pay for senators and congressmen that will vote in their favor. Oil, Music, Logging, Automotive, and many others. They’ve recently had to limit the amount of gifts lobbyists can give to politicians yet again. It’s depressing.

2: My guess is that if this legislation doesn’t have the desired results, then the government will start restricting everyone who has not implemented draconian P2P reforms, but in the end that leads to #3.

3: Yes, it probably will stop piracy a bit, but the truth is that it will only momentarily delay the fall of label companies. Artists are getting more money that they ever have (In-depth Research), so there goes the excuse that loss of record sales is causing music artists to suffer. Many universities and colleges will probably implement reforms, but I worry about what precedent this sets.

I will not say piracy is correct, but the methods that are being used to deal with it are more harmful to America than piracy itself. I always worry when I see websites going to China to escape US censorship. Ironic, but sad.

A few thoughts until some other time.

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Minecraft

Greetings,

About 3-4 months ago I began playing a game called Minecraft. So what? Well, I believe I found something that brought me back to my days as a kid playing legos with all the elements of a virtual world. The premise is simple. You are alone in a world full of blocks of many shapes, colors, and sizes. You can destroy them, craft them, or even build with them. Colossal structures or humble cottages, it is your choice. But Wait, that sounds kinda boring? Well, depending on the settings you choose you can enjoy that blissful peace of spelunking and building, or you can add elements of danger. Come nightfall (If you should so choose) creatures attack: zombies, skeleton archers, little critters called creepers that like to explode violently, and many more to come.

The developer, who we affectionately refer to as Notch, took an old game and made it into a beautiful in-development experience. The game is only in the Alpha stages, so there are glitches, but the constant updates and the multiplayer forums are alway abuzz and though there are always trolls, the game is whatever you make it.

You can play the old game for free, or watch other people videos on Youtube, but I will personally vouch that out of every game I’ve bought over the course of my life, Minecraft is in the top 3. It has yet to be completed so I think it might surpass my favorite. Give it a try:

Minecraft

See you next time and Happy Thanksgiving

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Comic Absence

Greetings to all of you out in the Aether,

I’ve been gone for a while to work on various things, but I got pulled back by the need to write. Who knew?

I suppose there should be some sort of excuse for my absence, but Restoration Comic Theory tends to bore people. What I will do, however, is give you guys a sneak peak at my progress in my story. A point of clarification: The character who scribed this work is not me, but rather the book is a product of the character. This is as much his story as any story he tells.

I hope you enjoy.

Until the next time.

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Facebook got your Tongue?

Guten Abend (Good Afternoon),

“Time is Money” is a phrase we’ve all heard toted about to increase efficiency. Although undergraduate students may be more familiar with this maxim, “Efficiency = More Sleep”, in either case the point is the same. Efficiency runs 0ur lives.

How much is too much? When does the pursuit of efficiency affect our lives negatively? While walking through the library sometime, take a look into the MicroGarden (And the new MicroCafe). Do you see many busy and industrious students hard at work? Possibly. Though when I walked in earlier I found that no fewer than half were engaged in the popular social networking site Facebook.

We’ve become socially efficient. As the number of your “friends” grow, are you more social or has Facebook got your tongue. There are many that praise this new highly literate society that has more communications over the spread of the world than at any time in our history. But what do we mean by communicate?

Out of 500 friends, how many do you talk to on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Ever? The operative word in this question is “talk”. Facebook has turned us into a egocentric society. “I updated my status, I wonder if anyone read it?” This doesn’t account for the extremely personal information released on Facebook. Things that should be kept to oneself. Though we’ve become an increasingly communicative culture, does that mean we have anything to say? Not particularly. Most status updates deal with trivialities of life, to mention nothing about Twitter. “I got up.” or “Supper sucks.” are typical.

So how efficient does Facebook make us in our studies? I believe we’ve regressed in that aspect. The average American’s time on Facebook increased 700% in the past year. (1) This means, of course, that there will be a deficient somewhere, can you guess?

Though Math Scores have risen slightly, in this increasingly literate culture verbal scores have dropped 30 points, and writing shows a downward trend. There are of course many factors that play into SAT Scores, but the the point is: As the use of Facebook and other language applications such as texting increases, should our scores in verbal and writing rise?

The next time you log onto Facebook, there’s other stuff to be done.

Until next time…

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Post-WWII

Greetings to all of you out in the aether,

Sixty-five years and 9 days ago on September 2nd, WWII officially ended, but how long did the effects of WWII effect America? How long did Americans think badly of Germans and the Japanese? Far too long. Nowadays the hate and scaremongering has died down significantly, but who can trace the residual effects?

When I saw the phrase “post-9/11” I wondered about what the aftereffects of 9/11 have been and what they will be, and if we are truly post 9/11. For the past few days, a Floridian minister has been threatening to burn the Quran. The country is split over the Mosque to be built two blocks away from the former WTC. Today he has canceled the threat and said he doesn’t want anyone to burn a Quran. Pearl Harbor was our entry into WWII, what was September 11, 2001?

I’ve had conversations about the situation with various students of History, Religion, and of course, English. Many were well informed of the topic, other were not, but the point is this country is not “post 9/11”. We still live with people who monger fear and use ignorance of Islam to their advantage. And therefore, people who are misled in their ignorance.

In the temporal sense, we are post 9/11. In every other sense, 9/11 is here and won’t be gone for a while.

The New York City Mosque

Their are many sides to every story. Two major factions are talking about the New York Mosque. Those for it, that support Freedom of Religion. And those against it who have many reasons: the attacks on the WTC, the burning of christian churches by extremists, etc.

Islam is growing in America. Primarily because we offer the freedom to worship freely unlike some other countries. If we deny that right to anyone, then it can be denied to us in turn.

Until some other time…

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Are You Human?

Greetings,

All of you out in the aether, have you ever wondered what you are? In this age of AI, Cyborgs, and Alternative lives, how do we define ourselves as human, and how can we tell the difference? Pacemakers make many hearts beat, artificial limbs replace human ones, and micro-machines are pumped into our bodies to accelerate bone marrow production. What is the difference between us and the machines that replicate chess heuristics? Could you tell the difference between  And, if we aren’t human, what are we?

Human is a state of mind as much as anything else. Those of us that depend on the technologies of our new age in order to live, myself included, are something different from human. Pacemakers, artificial limbs, and medicines all place a person in a perpetually dependent state, unable to disconnect from society.

For Better or Worse

Does this make these select individuals of the technological age better or worse?

I certainly won’t be the judge of that, but whichever you decide, consider perspective.

For those who capitalize on the technological age, those that have excelled in civilization. They won’t find being different anymore than inconvenient or perhaps they may capitalize on it.

(Personally I’ve had to take medicine most of my life to even stay alive so believe me that I understand that those that find there problems a constant concern.)

For those of us who find the need to be connected to society a little bit distasteful, being, for lack of a better word,  Dependent can be a huge psychological blow. At the time I write this, I can get enough medicine for nine months, a short leash. (At thirteen, it was less) For someone who is independent and self sufficient, that leash can be a difficult thing to deal with.

SO is it better? Depends.

Take a moment and think on what ties you to society. If you needed to, could you break away from it? Are you a human, free, or dependent of society to keep you alive? A bit of self evaluation can be a cleansing thing.

What does this mean for the future?

The concept of consciousness is another thing to think on. If we got to the point where we could transfer our minds into machines, would you die and another person with an identical memory be born in the machine?

Is the mind a pattern of information that can be transferred? Or will it forever dependent on our flesh?

The advances we’ve made in the fields of biomedical research and cybernetics have led to longer and more productive lives. If we extend it further, what would change? Would society place more or less importance on youth? Ability? Would we become obsessed with immortality? Democracy?

Endless Technology

Take a moment to think on how your life would change. Would you value it more or less if it went on forever?

Until another time…

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Guild Wars 2

One of the few games I’ve had time for over the years is GuildWars, a MMORPG game with a tremendous ability for diversity of  characters and most importantly to me, it emphasizes teamwork.  Now, years later after it initial launch and sequels, comes Guild Wars 2. It promises to break the the cliche paradigms of most RPG’s by introducing new aspects to weaponry, adventuring and the dedicated healer class.

Guild Wars 2 concept artist, Daniel Dociu, has won an award in the Conceptional Illustration category for his work on GW2. I know many others our their are waiting for the release date to be set. I will be waiting in line, possibly writing papers, when the stores open. I hope to see you there as well.

Beautiful, Neh

Until next time.

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