Posts Categorized: ideas + opinions

This is Good and Too Long Coming… Cuba & the US

Today President Obama announced that the US and Cuba are working on normalizing relations. This is good that the US and Cuba are moving forward into 21st century. It is even better to say goodbye to the vestiges of the 1950 and 1960s policy that no longer fits either nation or the current state of the world.

Many kudos to Pope Francis, President Obama, Raul Castro, and all the diplomats and staff of the Vatican, the US, and Cuba who worked on the talks to make today’s announcement possible.

We trade with and can visit Vietnam, so why not Cuba. We trade with and can visit Russia. And China. And Laos, as well as other formerly and currently communist countries. It is time for us to kiss Cold War posturing* goodbye.

United States, let’s take the normalizing of relations with Cuba one more step and lift the trade and travel embargo while we are at it.

* We can leave the Cold War posturing and nostalgia to Mr. Putin, which seems to be his favorite activity the last year plus. Maybe Mr. P. should think about actually governing his country and improving Russia’s economy…

Wanderers

Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

Mon 12.01.14 – Digital artist and animator Erik Wernquist has created a wonderful short film on space exploration called Wanderers.

Wanderers is a vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.
Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.

The nice folks over at Cumbrian Sky have written a good blog post about the film and what it evokes:

Every few years a space exploration-related film comes along which actually *gets* it. It gets the beauty and drama of space exploration. It gets the beauty of what’s “out there”. It gets it Right. Every few years a film comes along which, with its breathtaking images and optimistic message has the power to excite and inspire a generation, and leaves even the most hardened space cynic picking their jaw off the floor.

Ok. Hands up who thought I was talking about “Interstellar” there… ?

No, I wasn’t. I know that’s the movie of the moment, and huge amounts of bandwidth has been eaten up with glowing reviews, praising to the sky its accurate science and its deep message and meaning. Review after review claims that it will be as inspirational as 2001 was when it was released. So I imagine you were thinking it was Interstellar I was talking about.

No, it wasn’t. I was talking about a film called “Wanderers”, posted yesterday without any fanfare on the Vimeo video sharing site.

Go watch it and then go look at the gallery of stills from the film as they are wonderful.

Thank you, Mr. Wernquist!

Flickr and the abuse of the Creative Commons

With the following Tweet today, Jeffrey Zeldman started a very good twitter conversation about Flickr, commericial/retail photo usage, and copyright/licensing/creative commons:

Andy Budd then linked to Zeldman’s blog post, What’s Wrong With This Picture? Flickr is about to sell off your Creative Commons photos, and started another good conversation on the topic:

Jen Simmons further drills into the debate with two succinct tweets and a blog post:

Jen Simmons’ blog post on I Don’t Want “Creative Commons BY” To Mean You Can Rip Me Off

And then Ms. Simmon’s linked to this Wall Street Journal article: Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos

The quote that sums up Flickr in this situation and my own opinion* comes from Zeldman’s blog post:

I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for about ten years. I love Flickr. Sometimes, for years, it has been like loving a friend who is in a coma. Now it’s like helplessly watching a cocaine-addicted friend snort up their kid’s college fund.

Come on, Yahoo.

* As for the larger scope of my own opinion on Flickr and other photo sharing sites is a blog post in the making, as I am still collecting some comparison data.

** Please note that I am pro-Creative Commons, but chose a few years go – due to abuse by others – to switch from a CC-NC license on my Flickr images and my blog images/posts to a Copyright – All Rights Reserved.

A Study in Character, the Hoarder Edition

Yesterday, my brother’s girlfriend Christine and I were discussing various bits as I read out news headlines from the Guardian at large.

Me: Ooooh.. front page… a man is hoarding snakes.

Christine: He is a teacher from Costa Mesa.

Me: The Guardian is a newspaper based in London.

Christine: He is a teacher. Probably from Costa Mesa.

Me, clicking through to the article and reading the main headline: Oh. He. Is. A. Teacher. And he is hoarding over 400 dead and dying snakes.

Christine: SEE! I TOLD YOU SO! I know hoarders, they are are always teachers. I watch hoarding on TV, they are always teachers.

Me, continuing to read the article: He is from Southern California.

Christine: COSTA MESA!!!

Me: Actually Santa Ana.

[Santa Ana is the city adjacent to Costa Mesa.]

Net Neutrality Explained Brilliantly by John Oliver

Net Neutrality explained brilliantly by John Oliver on his new show, Last Week Tonight. Watch the video to both laugh and be educated on a very important issue.

Great quotes from the video, plus a wee bit of commentary from me:

“Maybe, Maybe it is because of their lack of competition that we get such shitty service…” – John Oliver on Cable / Internet providers in the U.S. – “Yet, and yet, the download speeds we get lag behind Estonia!”

This is all too true. My best speed from TimeWarner broadband was 34 mbps down and 5 mbps up. Last summer when I was in Helsinki, my rented apartment’s wifi was 76 mpbs down and 54 up. Lick that TWC.

“O.M.G. How are you still SO DULL!!!! And that is the problem, the Cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil put it inside something boring. Apple could put the entire text Mein Kampf inside of the iTunes user agreement and you just go… Agree.. Agree… Agree…”

“This is the moment you have been made for…” – John Oliver on Internet Commenters

It is time for all of us to ask our government to break up the monopoly of one cable provider per city. Go make your comments at fcc.gov/comments, go do it now!