Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last Call

Musician Michael Blake turned the digits of pi into musical notes and went viral with it.  Problem is that fellow musician Lars Erickson did that a few years back.  Erickson sued Blake when he found out, claiming his music was copyrighted.  When Pi Day goes horribly, horribly wrong...

Erickson had alleged that Blake's pi song "sounded substantially similar," and therefore infringes the copyrighted melody that Erickson registered in 1992. He told CNN last year that "nobody can copyright pi," but that he "copyrighted the melody of pi to protect my work, just like anybody would copyright their work."

Judge Michael H. Simon, of the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, agreed with the plaintiff on that point: "Pi is a non-copyrightable fact," he wrote. Still, he continued, "the transcription of pi to music is a non-copyrightable idea. The resulting pattern of notes is an expression that merges with the non-copyrightable idea of putting pi to music: assigning digits to musical notes and playing those notes in the sequence of pi is an idea that can only be expressed."

That doesn't mean Erickson's copyright is invalid, "only that Mr. Erickson may not use his copyright to stop others from employing this particular pattern of musical notes," Simon continued.

Erickson said in an e-mail to CNN on Tuesday that he would simply urge people to watch his video and Blake's video and draw their own conclusions.

"I wrote "Pi Symphony" 20 years ago, I am thrilled to have presented it first," Erickson said. "It was my gift to the world, no strings attached. Life goes on."

You be the judge of that.

Erickson's Pi Symphony...

Blake's Sound of Pi.

Rock on.

The Position On The Condition Your Condition Is In

Have a pre-existing condition?  Have health insurance now thanks to PPACA?  Better hope the GOP doesn't win in November and repeal the law or that SCOTUS doesn't scuttle the individual mandate, because the second that happens, you will be screwed for good:

Health-insurance officials say that if the mandate is repealed, “their first priority would be persuading members of Congress to repeal two of the law’s major insurance changes: a requirement to cover everyone regardless of his or her medical history, and limits on how much insurers can vary premiums based on age.” Their next step would be to “set rewards for people who purchase insurance voluntarily and sanction those who don’t.”

Other possible alternatives to the individual mandate that insurers are weighing:
- Penalize those who enroll outside of short annual windows; deny treatment for specific conditions, especially right after a policy is purchased
- Reward certain insurance buyers, such as offering much lower premiums for younger and healthier people
- Expand employers’ role in automatically enrolling employees for health insurance
- Urge credit-rating firms to use health-insurance status as a factor in determining individuals’ ratings

So yes, if the mandate is repealed and the HCR law changed or repealed, the insurance lobby is primed and ready to strike back and punish the American people.  Free market and all means they get to put on price on your health, you know.

The Road To Peak Wingnut

Meet the leading GOP candidate for Bob Casey's Senate seat in Pennsylvania, Sam Rohrer. He has some very insteresting views on federal highways, bridges, roads and other infrastructure:  it's unconstitutional and he's running for Senate on making it so.

ROHRER: Over time, over the last many generations, the federal government — seeking to grow, as most governments tend to grow — have become increasingly involved in activities that have been reserved to the states, being involved in such things as education, or health care, or for that matter even highways and roads. A great many things the federal government has increasingly passed laws, appropriated tax dollars which are yours and mind, and attempted to force the states to implement laws for which then the federal government essentially has control, so today we spend billions of dollars in this commonwealth in education and welfare that are put upon us, effectively, by the federal government. The states being enticed by the monies.

Sammy also would like to let you know that the Tenth Amendment already says he can do that, and if elected, these are the things he'll work to get rid of.

Yes, we've finally reached the point where Congressional Republicans are honestly running on the Ron Paul plan to get rid of as much federal government as possible and let the states compete for resources by seeing who can drive away the most looters and moochers.

Damn Mayans.

280 Seconds Of Pure Awesome

On his last day of work, a park worker soaked up some lion cub love. It just gets cuter and sweeter as it goes on. So if your workday has been rotten or you just need to smile, this one's for you.

About A Dog Named Lucky

Starving and out of his mind, Lucky was saved from a closet in an abandoned house in New Orleans.  Rescuers were about to shoot him because he was too wild to bring in, and that was the next most humane choice.

The man who went out of his way to save Lucky thought about him often after they were separated.  Who knows what Lucky had endured, but he would only let his rescuer come near him.  After a couple of small miracles, they were reunited when Lucky was brought back to a shelter.

Today, Lucky is approximately 7-8 years old and shares our house with four other rescued dogs and my unbelievable wife, Amanda, who is – naturally – a dog trainer. My cats have passed away but Lucky did fine with them. He loves his housemates but, not unexpectedly, he has his problems. He is fiercely protective of our home and doesn’t do well with people or dogs he doesn’t know extremely well. That isn’t going to change, so we manage his behavior when people are over by putting him in my office with some toys and a frozen peanut butter kong. He thinks he’s died and gone to heaven.

And here is a shot of Lucky now. Excuse me, there's something in my eye. I'll blame allergies.

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

As Cincy muddles through day two of record heat for mid-March, wolrd climate scientists are adding more pieces of the puzzle to the world's climate change conundrum.  The latest data confirms that 2010, not 1998, was the warmest year on record when taking Arctic readings into account.

Researchers have updated HadCRUT - one of the main global temperate records, which dates back to 1850.

One of the main changes is the inclusion of more data from the Arctic region, which has experienced one of the greatest levels of warming.

The amendments do not change the long-term trend, but the data now lists 2010, rather than 1998, as the warmest year on record.

The update is reported in the published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

HadCRUT is compiled by the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit (Cru) at the University of East Anglia, and is one of three global records used extensively by climatologists.

The other two are produced by US-based researchers at Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

And yes, the first attack on this is AHA EAST ANGLIA! CLIMATEGATE! YOU HAVE NO CREDIBILITY except for the numerous times that nonsense has been debunked.  Things are getting far worse out there.  Far more extreme weather events have been piling up in the US in the last several years, costing billions in damage and hundreds of lives.  It's only going to get more extreme.

The Big GOP Primary Thread: Da Bearz And Da Bull

Mittens has claimed Illinois.  The crowd went "meh."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney scored a decisive win in Tuesday night's Illinois Republican presidential primary, CNN projects, running ahead of his top remaining rival by a double-digit margin.

"We thank the people of Illinois for this extraordinary victory," Romney told supporters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. "Elections are about choices. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois joined millions of people in this country in this cause."

Mittens ended up with less than 50% of the vote, which is not what Mitt wanted to see in a "two-person race" between Romney and Not Romney.  Not Romney still won Illinois.  The Santorum folks at this point are running to get enough delegates to keep Mitt from hitting 1,144 and forcing...something.  An actual brokered convention, I guess.  Somehow, I think the pressure on Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul are going to be very, very strong now.  The GOP leadership wants this over with.  They want to start running against President Obama.

The much larger problem is that this is still a contested primary, and the turnout was pathetic. In 2008 900k votes were cast on a Super Tuesday showdown that all but sealed John McCain as the nominee .  The battle was over by Valentine's Day.  This year, the turnout was closer to 700k and Illinois was more important than ever. 

GOP's in trouble.  Bad trouble.  Nobody to blame but themselves.


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