Re: Teaching requires more than just knowing the subject matter
Classroom management I'll give you, though that's only really necessary because the courts have made real discipline in schools nearly impossible to impose and most folks can't keep order by charisma alone, but learning styles? There is no empirical basis for any meaningful instructional improvements based on "learning styles". Everyone learns best by doing, better by both seeing and hearing, and least well by only seeing or hearing. Brain development? Give me a break. I've taught ed majors (or "pre-service teachers" if you want the PC phrase), and the 85% of them who picked the major because it was the easiest on campus will forget whatever facts they memorized about brain development for the final before the start of the next term.
Most of American "teacher education" is indoctrination in Dewey, Vygotsky, "look-say" or "whole language" in place of phonics, the notion that self-esteem is a virtue (it's a vice -- read St. John Cassian or try teaching self-esteem-riden college students if you want to see why), and the latest baleful enthusiasm in math education, and is almost assuredly harmful to pedagogy.
Techdirt is a great bastion of good sense for folks of all political persuasions who see the downside of state-granted monopolies (patents and copyrights) now passed off as "property" rights with the incessant use of the phrase "intellectual property" by those pursuing monopoly rents.
A similar problem exists with state-granted oligopolies, such as the right to produce "qualified teachers" granted to colleges of education, or licensing requirements for virtually any category of jobs (be it physicians, dieticians, school teachers, plumbers, or interior decorators). The state restriction on supply stifles competition and innovation, and encourages rent-seeking behavior on the part of its beneficiaries.
In some cases, physicians, and perhaps dieticians (provided this isn't extended to trying to suppress diet testimonials by ordinary folks) and plumbers working in the context of new construction, the up-side in terms of quality control out-weights the downside. (Though arguably the state restriction on competition ought come with state regulation in the public interest of rates such professions can charge, by analogy to what is done with state grants of utility monopolies.)
In the case of K-12 teachers, I see no up-side. American higher education functions without state-imposed oligopolies being granted to Ph.D.-granting departments to produce "qualified professors", and is the envy of the world, esp. in mathematics and science. American K-12 education labors under such oligopolies and lags the entire developed world, esp. in mathematics and science.
Pirate it, see if you like it, then buy when you find it?
Yup. As Neil Young observed, "Piracy is the new radio." When the RIAA (and MPAA and academic publishers and . . . ) understand that and adapt their business models things will be good for the consumer and in the long run for "content industries". Unfortunately they all seem intent on making the "problem" of "piracy", which if it's not "the new radio" is really a black market in the face of state-created artificial scarcities, rather than "theft", worse by trying to defend their old business models with state power.
Great letter. The only criticism is that they (and we) should not be using the rent-seekers' phrase "intellectual property". Words matter. "Copyrights and patents" isn't that many more characters to type (and in some cases "copyright" suffices), and we should not cede the rhetorical ground that state-granted monopolies (even state-granted monopolies that succeed in some salutary purpose) constitute "property".
You can't really expect any business whose business model depends on artificial scarcity created by government intervention (in the form of monopoly grants called "copyrights" and "patents") to wholeheartedly oppose these measures. Microsoft is only doing this so as not to alienate customers: they, like Hollywood, the recording industry and dead-tree publishers, have failed to adopt the CwF + RtB business model and remain a lawsuit factory.
Such businesses would rather infringe civil liberties and destroy the internet than succumb to the law of supply and demand that naturally drives the cost of any good which can be produced in arbitrary quantity at near zero marginal cost (which includes not just digitized text, audio, images, and video, but software) inexorably toward zero. But that law exists and SOPA, PIPA or any other bill of that ilk will not repeal it.
"Piracy" is not theft (since copyrights and patents aren't actually property -- if they were they'd be of infinite duration as actual property doesn't suddenly become public simply by virtue of the passage of time, and copying does not deprive those who had a copy of their copy as theft of property does), but the inevitable black market (in copies of digital goods) created by government intervention in the economy.
Do it: I'd suggest a blackout of six-hours world-wide, 24 hours to the U.S. and a week to all .gov and .mil users, with a single page explaining the reason and issues at hand formatted so most browsers will display the entire message w/o scrolling.
I'm not sure the status of true threat doctrine in the Court of Appeals circuit in which Stout, WI is located, but regardless of whether the standard is based on a reasonable speaker, a reasonable hearer (or in this case reader) to whom the speech (or writing) is addressed, or a reasonable hearer (or reader) to whom the speech (or writing) is not addressed, in no case does either poster meet the notion of a true threat. No reasonable person could conceivably believe that a poster asserting that someone (most obviously the fictional character depicted, but possibly the occupant of the office) will only kill in self-defense or that fascism is associated with beatings and killings constitute threats to anyone.
It is only in the American context that the harmful effects of the present copyright regime contain any irony. After all, the Constitutional basis for American copyright and patent law is provided by
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
The way Congress has behaved since they passed the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act", one would think the clause read "To impede the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for indefinitely extendible Times to Commercial Interests and estates the exclusive Right to the Writings and Discoveries of Authors and Inventors."
In America the harmful effects are ironic, since they provide an argument for the unconstitutionality of the law. In Europe, it's just crony capitalism as usual.
Yes, the people have the right to opt out when the government changes the terms of the deal. Unfortunately, the only effective way of doing this is called a revolution (or if the people in a region want to opt out, secession, which tends to involve a war of independence).
Anyone care to go to the barricades (literally) to undo copyright maximalism?
I think this is for me the last straw. The corruption of copyright and patent law that began with the adoption of the name "intellectual property" for what had always been recognized as state-granted monopolies, and continued with the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act", and the issuance of patents on algorithms and business plans is now complete.
"Piracy" and willful patent and copyright infringement are now legitimate acts of civil disobedience against tyranny.
I'd come closer and closer to feeling that, but this really takes the proverbial cake.
Hoist the Jolly Roger in cyberspace and on the workroom floor until we go back to the terms of the Law of Queen Anne and the Statue on Monopolies of 1624! Everything else beyond that is fascist, crony-capitalist tyranny.
A proposal for harmonizing copyright and patent law
I've decided that the phrase "intellectual property" is an example of Newspeak, and except in quoting others or casting scorn on the notion that state-granted monopolies constitute "property", will not use the phrase henceforth.
As to harmonizing copyright and patent law, I have a simple proposal: let the whole world adopt as a uniform standard the Law of Queen Anne (14 years copyright, extendable at the request of the author, not the author's publisher, not a literary estate, the author, period, for another 14 years), and an update of the original modern patent law, the Statute on Monopolies of 1624.
Maybe Techdirt and those of us who post comments, except when quoting others, should stop using the phrase "intellectual property" entirely, or at least always include scorn quotes. The phrase has always been Newspeak, a phrase the very utterance of which is a lie in service of those on power.
What is called "intellectual property" is not property, but a government-granted monopoly. Yes, there is, perhaps, social utility in granting such a monopoly (the American Founders thought so, for a limited time, to authors and inventors), but it is still a government-granted monopoly.
Odd though it seems, to the extent that "Lady Gaga" can be said to have participated in artistic creation, it is primarily her image -- very much a work of artifice if not of art -- that she has created. That said, I think she is right in her intent to use copyright to grant herself exclusive rights to her image. This would not be the case for celebrities or persons in general whose image is not in itself a creative work.
Can anyone explain to us why there is not already a high-profile 4th Amendment lawsuit lodged by any of the ACLU, a right-of-center pro bono legal organization, the Airline Pilots Association or some trade or industry group representing either business travelers or tourism, seeking an immediate injunction against these procedures as unreasonable searches without probable cause?
Alas, the SouthButt precedent in which American trademark judges proved the don't know neither the difference between a face and a butt nor the directions of the compass suggests that evil may triumph in this case as well.
Thor? Too cute by half. I hope you realize that while some folks who call themselves monotheists may be one-god pagans, the ones you really have to engage in debate agree with you that there are no beings of the sort pagans called "gods" (we Christians were persecuted by the Romans on the charge of atheism), rather, we are firmly convinced that the ground-of-all-being, while absolutely transcendent, and properly unlike anything in our ordinary experience, is in some improper way more like a person than any other sort of thing, and ought be related to personally.
If you want evidence for our position aside from the testimony of ancient texts, I would suggest that fact that the world is most well-described by mathematics suggests a kinship between the reason for existence and a mind.
Now, some of us are also firmly convinced on the basis of events in the ancient Near East, that the ground-of-all-being (the Existing-One as he named Himself in the ancient texts you so scorn) transcends the distinction between unity and multiplicity, being at once the One God and the All-Holy Trinity, went to the trouble of assuming our nature in the person of the Son to fix the rather wretched relationship we'd vis-a-vis that same ground-of-all-being we'd gotten ourselves into (the technical name for which is "sin"), and so forth. But that is neither here nor there in considering the proposition "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
(Incidentally, I know you're not a Thor-worshipper. If you were you'd attribute the creation to Odin, Vili and Ve, who slew Ymir and fashioned the world out of his body. It's all there in the Eddas.)
Oh,dear I'm so depressed! We find an earthlike planet and then it's not there. The inhabitants must have blown the planet to smithereens with nukes just in time for us to see the planet before it was gone. The big filter is in the future, not the past, and we're all doomed!
I'm not actually serious. The real point is that the "100% certainty of life" on a planet is as silly a position as the one I feigned in the previous paragraph.