Monday, July 28, 2014

Train Ice

Thanks to

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Help wanted: Creative Commons is hiring a new CEO

Creative Commons is hiring a new CEO [PDF], who'll run the organization which currently has a $3M budget and a staff of 20. They're looking for someone who can lead, fundraise, and grow the organization. Creative Commons is at an inflection point in its history. In the coming years, CC will pursue strategies that expand use of its licenses and promote a robust knowledge-sharing ecosystem. The organization recognizes that many paths lay open for pursuing these objectives, and the search for a new chief executive offers an opportunity to explore new ideas for services, products, advocacy, policies and programs. The new leader will oversee continued stewardship of CC’s licenses and also seek new opportunities to expand knowledge-sharing through the internet.

Timeline of the future: 1,000 years time to one hundred quintillion years

What's in store for the universe? This BBC infographic shows what could happen, from the extinction of humans in 5 million years, to the end of photosynthesis in 600 million years, to the death of all stars in 110 trillion years. And that's just the beginning.

Sword and Laser Podcast 158: Read a Book, Change Your Brain - It's Science!

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. Check out previous episodes here. It's our first episode after New Year's and we're still recovering. Thank goodness Neil Gaiman, the Wertzone and Stephen Chow are here to perk us up. Plus we kick off our January book, The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany (read show notes here). Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Coldhands, My Canadian Girlfriend

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Davos V & Bran IV chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). They also talk about Railroad speaking directly to listeners, Stannis’s Bannermen vs. Ivan’s twitter followers, the Nightfort, prince stew, Railroad writing Hodor high, and a TALKING TREE.

Scan-to-email patent trolls sue Coca-Cola and other large companies

MPHJ is America's most notorious patent troll. The company -- whose owners are shrouded in mystery through a network of shell companies -- claims a patent on scanning documents and then emailing them, and they threaten business-owners with massive lawsuits unless they pay $1,000 per-employee "license fees." Mostly, the troll has gone after small-fry, companies too small to defend themselves, and has stopped short of actually going to court. But now they've gone big-league, announcing suits against Coca-Cola, Dillards, Unum Group and Huhtakami. It's not clear whether they've built their litigation warchest through the small-fry, but it seems unlikely. The lawsuit discloses that the troll extracted payments from Canon and Sharp in exchange for not suing their customers, and I suspect this is where the money for the suits came from. The legal filings in the cases are very long, and detail the companies' internal networks as evidence of patent violation. The troll relies on the fact that all three companies use Xerox and Lexmark products and since these two companies haven't paid ransom for their customers, it can be assumed that anyone using their devices violates the patents. The complaints describe the IT infrastructure of each company, apparently based on publicly available information. In the case of Coca-Cola for instance, MPHJ says the company transmits "electronic images, graphics and/or documents via a communications network from a network addressable scanner, digital copier, or other multifunction peripheral," which allegedly infringes MPHJ's patents. Coca-Cola uses a "standardized infrastructure of Lexmark C772 color and T644 monochrome laser printers, as well as Lexmark X642e and X646dte MFPs, all connected to the company’s network and integrated with the company’s FileNet system," write MPHJ's lawyers, from the Farney Daniels law firm. The four lawsuits are a major escalation in the battle over the MPHJ patents. They're remarkably long; the suit against Unum group is 47 pages, and the one against Huhtakami is 66 pages. In part, such detail about the nature of infringement suggests that MPHJ is responding to claims that its demands in the past have been too vague.

Welcome to Night Vale merch

I'm a great fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. As I listened to the New Years episode this morning, I was reminded that the podcast has a great store with a wide variety of awesome Night Valer merch, including the Sheriff's Secret Police hoodie and the Faceless Old Lady Who Secretly Lives in Your Home election poster. Seems like a great way to support such a great podcast.