Link Dump

I'm a little brain dead right now, so here are a few things that have caught my eye recently:
  • SFWA's Awesome T-Shirt: Was this funnier when I didn't know the origins of the t-shirt? Maybe, but it's awesome anyway. (Via Scalzi)
  • The High Frontier, Redux by Charlie Stross: A total buzzkill, but worthwhile reading on the likelihood (well, unlikelihood) of colonizing space. Needless to say, we won't be sending out the colony ships anytime soon. It's detailed and interesting, and there are a ton of comments.
  • How Many HTML Elements Can You Name in 5 Minutes?: I got 48 out of 91 on my first try. I kicked myself for not remembering most of the remaining ones.
  • Retro-Future: To The Stars!: Classic scifi illustrations from the 1930s to 1970s, many from former Soviet countries.
  • Air Traffic Video: John Robb points to an awesome video that shows all air transportation flows over the US. It's mesmerizing.
  • Infringement Nation (.pdf): Interesting article on how everyone regularly commits copyright infringement without even knowing it (i.e. this is without even taking into account p2p downloads, etc...):
    To illustrate the unwitting infringement that has become quotidian for the average American, take an ordinary day in the life of a hypothetical law professor named John. For the purposes of this Gedankenexperiment, we assume the worstcase scenario of full enforcement of rights by copyright holders and an uncharitable, though perfectly plausible, reading of existing case law and the fair use doctrine. Fair use is, after all, notoriously fickle and the defense offers little ex ante refuge to users of copyrighted works.

    In the morning, John checks his email, and, in so doing, begins to tally up the liability. Following common practice, he has set his mail browser to automatically reproduce the text to which he is responding in any email he drafts. Each unauthorized reproduction of someone else's copyrighted text-their email- represents a separate act of brazen infringement, as does each instance of email forwarding. Within an hour, the twenty reply and forward emails sent by John have exposed him to $3 million in statutory damages.
    And it goes on from their, until we reach this conclusion:
    By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal charges). There is nothing particularly extraordinary about John's activities. Yet if copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent allowed by law, he would be indisputably liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file sharing. Such an outcome flies in the face of our basic sense of justice. Indeed, one must either irrationally conclude that John is a criminal infringer -- a veritable grand larcenist -- or blithely surmise that copyright law must not mean what it appears to say. Something is clearly amiss. Moreover, the troublesome gap between copyright law and norms has grown only wider in recent years.
    I wonder how much I've tallied up as a result of quoting his article on this blog entry? In any case, it sounds like we're in need of some copyright law revisions.
  • The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings: I recognize the name, but I've never read any of the comics he's illustrated. Nevertheless, you don't need to read comic books to enjoy this smackdown. (via Galley Slaves)