I saw this tweet by Matt Gemmell yesterday, and found myself conflicted. My first thought was along the lines of, “Hey, he’s right!” Then I considered a bit more, and decided, “Well, no. I spend large parts of my day in iOS, and it is only natural to desire a beautiful and pleasant environment. I see celebrities’ outfits somewhere less than once per day, so of course their choices are irrelevant.” Then I thought a bit more, and realized, “But, wait, the people who tend to care about celebrity fashion also spend lots of their time on following said celebrities, both in their careers and their personal lives. So desiring beauty for them has the same source! They want a pleasant environment — they just have a different chosen environment than I do.”
So I retweeted it. Any 140-character comment that can cause that much thought is one worth sharing.
One of the feel-good arguments people use against copyright infringement (I’ve had more than one person use it on me personally) is that you enjoy a creator’s work without them seeing any profit from your enjoyment. If I pirate Magna Carta Holy Grail when Jay-Z’s label releases it next month, I get to groove to the beat without him receiving a dime.
At the same time, not one soul has ever chastised me for bringing my own store-bought candy into a movie theater. Theaters make essentially no money off your movie ticket — that goes straight to the studio. Theaters make their profit off the concession stand. That’s why they charge ten dollars for a bag of popcorn and five dollars for a soda that you would pay a buck for at McDonald’s. That’s why nearly all theaters say you may not bring in your own food — they want and need you to buy theirs.
So here we are. If I download Jay-Z’s album, I have saved myself ten or fifteen dollars and enjoyed the music (by finding an alternate source that gives me the same product for less), without either stealing from or giving to Jay-Z (he has neither lost nor gained any tangible property). If I bring my gas station M&M’s to watch the new Hobbit movie, I have saved myself ten or fifteen dollars and enjoyed some candy (by finding an alternate source that gives me the same product for less), without either stealing from or giving to the theater proprietor (he has neither lost nor gained any tangible property).
What is the difference between these two “crimes”? Just this: if the theater owner catches me, he might kick me out. If the intellectual property conglomerates catch me, they might sue me into oblivion, putting me millions of dollars in debt; I would be paying that off for the rest of my life.
Lauren and I have missed the last two months or so of Big Bang Theory. This week, we finally had time to try to catch up. We discovered that BBT was not available through Hulu, and their website had only the latest two episodes. To watch the several previous shows, we had to go find a pirate stream to watch. We did this, without too much trouble.
When we got to the episodes CBS had, we switched over. The official stream had ads (more than I’m used to for streams), and the quality was lacking — the stream skipped constantly, and the picture quality kept dropping out for a few seconds. The pirate streams didn’t have ads or quality issues.
So CBS tried to bring me in by giving me an inferior product with less availability, two things that are well within their power to fix. And these people wonder why piracy is common?
Futility Closet posted a mathematical riddle without an answer, but I’m pretty sure of my solution. Go read it before we start (and answer it yourself before reading further, if you want to avoid spoilers).
One quart equals 32 ounces. One pint equals 16 ounces. We have a 1-quart bottle filled with 1 pint of scotch, and an empty 8-ounce glass. We want to finish with 1 pint of liquid, made up of 1 part scotch and 5 parts water.
Top off the bottle of scotch with water. Mix. It is now equal parts scotch and water.
Two times, pour from the bottle into the glass, and dump the glass. There are now 16 ounces of drink in the bottle, still half and half.
Fill the glass from the tap, then pour that into the bottle. Mix. There are now 24 ounces in the bottle, mixed as 1/3 scotch, 2/3 water.
Fill the glass from the bottle once, dump the glass. There are now 16 ounces in the bottle, still 1/3 scotch.
Top off the bottle from the tap again. Mix. It is now 1/6 scotch, 5/6 water.
Two more times, pour from the bottle into the glass and empty the glass. Now, finally, the bottle contains 16 ounces (one pint), composed of 1/6 scotch and 5/6 water.
I have moved! For those who didn’t know, Lauren and I have been wanting to move up to Pennsylvania for a while now, and we finally got the opportunity this month.
We moved up over this past weekend. This time we rented a truck, but hired movers to load it for us, then unloaded it ourselves at the other end (with the help of local family and friends). I think it worked out very well. We saved money over getting movers to do the whole thing, but it wasn’t too terribly bad on us since we did get them to do the worst part — the furniture Tetris that ensures you don’t have to make a second trip.
So here we are, 72 hours later, with everything moved, everything in the right room, and even a lot of stuff completely set up. We have a working living room and bedroom and dining room, a stocked fridge, and I was able to sit out and smoke a celebratory cigar on our deck last night. Fantastic.
The big deal for me is that we finally have a garage. This is a first for us. We did have an old detached carriage-style garage at our first house, but that was next to useless. Now, though, we can actually park the car inside, or even better, I have covered space for PROJECTS. Project number one is to build myself a workbench so I can do other projects. I am so excited!
Now I just have to get used to bad drivers, worse roads, and state-run liquor stores…