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  • Oct 22, 2011 @ 02:58pm

    A note on the issues around GMOs

    GM crops are 100% safe to eat. Up to date, the natural pesticides produced by such plants are all stuff that is harmless to people, so unless they start inserting genes for botulin or whatnot, such plants and animals completely safe for consumption. Another common misconception is that meat engineered to produce extra hormones can somehow affect human development. This is rubbish, as hormones are delicate molecules that do not survive the digestive process (never mind the trace quantities they will be in, and the species differences). In fact, GM crops and livestock are often more nutritious because of their engineering.
    What is of concern is how GMOs interact with our environment, a point Mike brought up earlier. A prime example are genetically modified salmon on open-water fish farms. This is downright irresponsible, as the GM fish can and do escape, and impact the natural salmon populations. The same can be said for pollen from GM plants- they might theoretically interbreed with native species or otherwise become invasive, or otherwise impact the local environment.
    The final point is completely unrelated to biology, and that is the patent system. I do not claim to have any expert knowledge in this area, but it doesn't take a genius to see there are bad things happening that are probably detrimental to our farmers.

  • Aug 13, 2011 @ 05:49am

    Safe water should be one of many first priorities

    I'm not saying that foundations supporting HIV research and other disease control problems are intentionally being hypocritical, but if your goal is to saves lives, infrastructure and clean water are BY FAR more important than a vaccine or cure that most of the people you are trying to save can't afford anyway. The people who benefit most from such advances are, you guessed it, wealthy denizens of developed countries- and the drug companies doing the research.

  • Jul 26, 2011 @ 05:20pm


    Here's another bit of modern music that hasn't been mentioned, and has gained more than a cult following. =)

  • Mar 29, 2011 @ 08:27pm

    Re: Re: I appreciate

    In layman's terms, it's like measuring water coming out of a pipe without knowing if the pipe has holes or where the water is coming from. There's information, but it's fairly narrow and specific, and it does not say anything about the plumbing system at large.

  • Mar 29, 2011 @ 11:40am

    Perhaps Righthaven is secretly an anti-copyright puppet group set up by some mysterious benefactor with really deep pockets that is trying to establish a set of unfavorable precedents?

  • Mar 29, 2011 @ 08:54am

    Re: smartphones and bombs...

    Where do you live? I won't say the US is innocent of those transgressions, but if you compare it with the rest of the world, it really ain't so bad. The main reason the US gets a worse rap is because of our freedoms- people are free to report what they want, assholes are free to be assholes, and people naturally gravitate toward the negative (at least, that's what sells). I don't believe the doomsayers that claim America is headed for total collapse. Things may change, perhaps even drastically, but in all likelihood the US will keep soldiering on.

  • Mar 28, 2011 @ 02:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes and no, AC. Sensationalist hacktivism may be the work of a small group, but that is the tip of the iceberg. The entertainment industry pushing for more enforcement is like the captain of the Titanic saying "Oh, it's only a small chunk of ice- we'll just push over it." Attempting to force wider, heavier laws will run the ship aground on the bulk of people who download illegally because it now does affect them. A handful of bored college kids DDoSing sites is easy to write off, but millions of (p)irate citizens not so much.

  • Mar 28, 2011 @ 02:10pm

    This is frustrating. Genes and 'discoverable' resources should not be patentable. A unique process for expressing an enzyme, or purifying it might be patentable, but patenting the 'information' contained within a gene sequence is ridiculous. If anything, it would be intellectual property- common IP, because the discoverer did not create anything new, or acquire the IP from its previous owner.

  • Mar 28, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Why not sue Hulu for offering the shows for free?"

    I believe the correct term is a rhetorical question. I'd like to believe that Jay is being sarcastic, given that he is a Techdirt regular. (Love your profile pic by the way!) Also, using an ad hominem attack in a debate is like invoking Godwin's Law. As soon as you resort to it, you have already lost.

  • Mar 22, 2011 @ 09:56am

    Re: Re:

    My gf pointed me to this youtube video of a comedian demonstrating how a ton of pop songs utilize the chord progression found in Pachelbel's Canon in D, seamlessly transitioning from a line of the song in question into the canon. Which has since been rearranged into countless works.

    Ah, link here:
    Comedian Rob Paravonian's Rant on how boring it is to play Pachelbel's Canon in D on cello.

  • Mar 21, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " it would first shift the burden in fair use cases. It would make fair use the default, and require the plaintiff to show that the use isn't fair."

    Wait a second, did I just read that right? Are you suggesting that copyright violators are guilty until proven innocent? Fair use should indeed be the default, because that is what encourages greater creativity- and that is what copyright was intended to support.

  • Mar 21, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Just some speculation

    It sure feels like Mr. Eisler has hit the nail on the head. The gatekeeper industries, by and large, realize that they are becoming obsolete, but rather than harness the new technology, they try to slow it down in hopes of maintaining their current, temporary dominance.
    On the other hand, based on the "disruptive innovation" argument, it is not strictly their fault for failing to adapt- the disruptive innovation, by definition, is basically the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. It's not that they haven't tried to adapt; in many cases, constrained by the existing paradigms, they simply aren't able to adapt.

  • Mar 18, 2011 @ 07:29pm

    Actually, the notion of an idea as a passport isn't too far off the mark. Obtaining a passport only allows you to visit foreign countries, it doesn't actually get you there. You still gotta pay the airfare (execution).

    1. Come up with a good idea
    2. ????
    3. Profit!!!

    Like Edison said, genius (profit) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

  • Mar 15, 2011 @ 08:39am

    "The presentaiton (which is embedded below)"
    -friendly neighborhood typo officer

  • Mar 15, 2011 @ 08:36am

    Imagine that!

    If the tubes are full and folks are complaining, do you make bigger tubes, or do you charge more for the existing tubes? Anyone with a brain can tell you which scenario is sustainable and better in the long run.

  • Jan 28, 2011 @ 08:54am

    Techdirt's predictions?

    Actually, I'd be quite curious to see TD review a prediction it was wrong about, and analyze why it may have guessed wrong. Understanding one's errors is useful, so I mean this in the best way possible.
    Or has TD always been so cautious that it has never made a wrong prediction?

  • Jan 26, 2011 @ 01:44pm


    You're not accounting for the fact that artists can't make much money off of gigs if they don't have fans. Digital music has allowed them to expand their fanbase like never before, because they are no longer beholden to gatekeepers like the recording industry.

    In short, the music industry is trending toward the ideal state, where music is easily available for cheap/free, and fanbases are comparatively easy to acquire for any starting artist. Money will be made off of creating value--i.e. collector's edition CD sets, live gigs, wearable and other merchandise. Even if you only make an average of $1/year per fan, it is not inconceivable to build a fanbase one million strong with the internet at your disposal. The upshot is, if you have the talent and the willpower to make the connection to fans, you will achieve at least a moderate success. The only gatekeepers in this model are raw talent and motivation.

  • Jan 26, 2011 @ 01:23pm

    In short, there's no exact way to do it "by the book". The new business model has a set of goals (Connect with fans, Give a reason to buy), and it can require a lot of work and/or creativity to achieve those goals because there are no universal methods. I suspect this is why for many, clinging to old business models is easier, and it works in the short run.

  • Jan 21, 2011 @ 07:20pm

    I wonder if Twisted would have sued if they had been bigger, and Capcom smaller. The statement makes it sound like Twisted would have hit back if they thought they could do so effectively.

    Still, a good call even if possibly made for other reasons. I can't imagine that the publicity from the Capcom copycat is bad for them.

  • Jan 20, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re: Compete with piracy?

    I would disagree with your assessment that the average home user wouldn't be able to torrent effectively, but your point still stands- Netflix offers a service that makes things easy, and that convenience is worth something.

    Actually, I would like to pose a question to Techdirt. It's true that Hollywood far overvalues its content, but that said, at least it is (mostly) not bereft of value. If Michael is correct, Hollywood prices itself at $16M a title (streaming license). How much value do you believe the average title is worth?

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