Daily Archives: May 10, 2006

A question about IP 6

Here is a question for all of you. If you have read any significant amount of my posts you may have already realized what I am about to say. I am very troubled by the concept of intellectual property. Two definitions that come from dictionary.com

intangible property that is the result of creativity (such as patents or trademarks or copyrights)


(IP) The ownership of ideas and control over the
tangible or virtual representation of those ideas. Use of
another person’s intellectual property may or may not involve
royalty payments or permission, but should always include
proper credit to the source.

The ownership of ideas is the part that bothers me the most. The whole concept is troubling. In a speech I heard by Lawrence Lessig he articulated a concept that resonates with me. If some has a tangible object like a camera, and another person takes it, the original possessor no longer has it and can no longer benefit from it. If one person has an idea and another person uses it, the first person still has the idea and can do what they want with it. The first person has not lost the benefit of that idea. They can still use the idea.

I’m not totally opposed to the idea of patents, because I think if someone comes up with a truly creative and original idea they should be able to make some money off that idea. But that should be based on a specific implementation of the idea. if someone comes up with a different or better way of doing the same thing they should be allowed to do that and compete. The basic idea should be open. That is what creates progress. People taking ideas and improving on them or coming up with better implementations. If someone cannot implement an idea they should not be given blanket monopoly control over a general concept. Even more importantly given the pace of technological development over the last few decades the length of any patent protection needs to be reduced not increased. I’m obviously rambling a bit here, but I’d like to know what other people think. Please comment on this post.

All Hail the RIAA!

Oh thank you gods of the RIAA! Previously, the recording industry has indicated in court filings that they didn’t consider ripping of cds to mp3 players to be fair use. That means that if you go to a record store and buy a CD they think it is illegal for you to make a copy for listening to on your digital audio player. Now they are saying that they are OK with it even though they still consider it illegal. How kind of them. I say screw them. Before you buy a CD or a song from a on-line music store check the label. If the label is a member of the RIAA, put it back and go find something from an independent label instead. There is a ton of great music out there. Support lesser known musicians instead of overpaid executives who add nothing to the creative process. Go browse through some of the DRM free music stores linked in the sidebar. Browse for musical styles you like and listen to the previews. Try some music podcasts to find new music. Just don’t buy from the big guys. They already have enough of your money.

Thanks for the smog sharper image

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads for ionic air purifiers that sharper image and other players sell.air purifier The actual benefit of these things is debatable at best. They function by blowing the room air over charged plates which supposedly charge the dust and pollen particles in the air and cause them to stick to the plates. How much of the dust in a room is actually removed is questionable. However, thanks to a new study funded by the National Science Foundation the charging of the air passing over the plates does cause the breathable oxygen gas to be converted to ozone. Ozone, while necessary for filtering out ultra-violet solar radiation, is definitely bad at ground level. High levels of of ground level ozone cause the creation of smog.

In a small and poorly ventilated room, the ozone adds to existing ozone and creates potentially unhealthy concentrations.

“People operating air purifiers indoors are more prone to being exposed to ozone levels in excess of public health standards,” said study leader Sergey Nizkorodov, a chemistry professor the University of California, Irvine.

Ozone can damage the lungs and cause shortness of breath and throat irritation, and it can also exacerbate asthma.

Nizkorodov and colleagues tested various air purifiers in homes, offices and cars. In many cases, ozone levels inside climbed above 90 parts per billion, exceeding California’s basic safety threshold. In some cases, ozone soared higher than 350 parts per billion, which if measured outside would trigger a Stage 2 Smog Alert, an event that hasn’t occurred in the Southern California coastal air basin since 1988.

So if the exorbitant prices that sharper image charges for products of dubious functionality, these things may actually be causing you lung damage. So save your money and change your furnace filter regularly. The furnace filter will probably pull more dust out of your air than this scam gadget anyway.