"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Missing anything?

Amazon has the ability to delete from your Kindle books that you have purchased.

Consider the legal difference between purchasing a physical book and buying one for your Kindle. When you walk into your local Barnes & Noble to pick up a paperback of Animal Farm, the store doesn't force you to sign a contract limiting your rights. If the Barnes & Noble later realizes that it accidentally sold you a bootlegged copy, it can't compel you to give up the book—after all, it's your property. The rules are completely different online. When you buy a Kindle a book, you're implicitly agreeing to Amazon's Kindle terms of service. The contract gives the company "the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Service at any time, and Amazon will not be liable to you should it exercise such right." In Amazon's view, the books you buy aren't your property—they're part of a "service," and Amazon maintains complete control of that service at all times. Amazon has similar terms covering downloadable movies and TV shows, as does Apple for stuff you buy from iTunes.

The power to delete your books, movies, and music remotely is a power no one should have. Here's one way around this: Don't buy a Kindle until Amazon updates its terms of service to prohibit remote deletions. Even better, the company ought to remove the technical capability to do so, making such a mass evisceration impossible in the event that a government compels it.


Ironically, George Orwell's 1984 was one of the books deleted.

I find this scary. It's not so far-fetched, either, or something that might happen in some dark version of the future. Imagine going to China with your Kindle and the government insists Amazon delete all copies of prohibited books on all Kindles in China. Zap.

What weapon has man invented that even approaches in cruelty some of the commoner diseases?

George Orwell essay, How the Poor Die.

And it is a great thing to die in your own bed, though it is better still to die in your boots.

That could seem contradictory -- Orwell saying in this essay that it is better to die a violent death than a natural one of suffering -- it doesn't ameliorate war's cruelty that it allows people to "die in their boots."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Juvenile Delinquents of the Sea

Pulling at masks, yanking hoses and lights. Carnivorous calamari.

This was too good to pass up, a bunch of So. Cal soft-shell thugs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Trying to lift a CRT from one desk to another

Here is sci fi writer John Scalzi on the dinosaurish habit of not accepting email submissions. He's talking about the big three sci fi magazines.

In our office, it’s very inconvenient to pass around an electronic submission from one reader to another.
Why? Because you’re trying to lift a CRT from one desk to another? Put the submissions you want others to see into an online collaboration space, like, oh, Google Docs, which is free and dead simple to use. Heck, several people can look at the same submission at the same time that way, which is actually easier than passing around a paper version.

Y'know, there are so many literary magazines accepting e-subs now, maybe what we need is an outreach.

Zen Meditation Alleviates Pain

of creativity...? Apparently it alleviates other kinds of pain, so why not?

"We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability and engage in mindful behavior," said Eileen Luders, lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.
Article here.

And, meditation helps you return to what you were doing after you were distracted, according to another article on the Science Daily site.

Now back to whatever I was doing when I was distracted by the first sunny, warm weather of the summer.