Monthly Archive: December 2013

Public Domain Alternate History

Had copyright law remained as it was in 1957, quite a list of works would have become public domain on January 1, 2014. As noted at the link, famous works will tend to remain available, if not as inexpensively so as might be the case, but I am concerned with orphan works. When I look up books I liked as a child and cannot find them in print, or in print at a price one can afford, then the copyright holder either has no interest in holding them in copyright, or there is no living copyright holder, heir or assign who is aware or interested in that status. Such works have no reason to remain protected. Even if that protection lies only in fear that someone who can legitimately prove ownership might come out of the woodwork after all, if any interest is shown.

Worst are the academic publications that are behind overpriced paywalls that keep the useful arts and sciences from being promoted. Congress ought to be ashamed of extending copyrights to unconstitutional lengths, and courts out to be ashamed of going along with it. At least, I assume they have, since there must have been challenges. Copyright should not be controlled by media corporations. That was never the idea.

You Will

Remember the old series of AT&T commercials that predicted how we’d do things in the future, touting AT&T as the company that would bring you that new technological application? The entire series has been captured in one YouTube video, and it’s fascinating. They were on entirely the right track – not that the predictions were far-fetched – if not in small details or in who would be bringing it to you.

Just In Time Delivery Meets Weather

I hadn’t realized it was this bad, but I knew FedEx Ground and Home had delays that varied from terminal to terminal due to weather delays and closures rippling through the system. The thing is, this makes it sound like it was connected heavily to FedEx Express shipments and the equivalent UPS services, where people order late and rely on the expectated or even guaranteed miraculously fast deliveries they pull off. I did some of that myself, relatively speaking. UPS, USPS, and FedEx Express all preformed beautifully. I suspect we’re just all used to that being the norm, and we are not used to having over 50% snow cover nationally before Christmas (or January, really) arrives. It raised serious havoc. If you close a busy hub for multiple days due to weather, look out. Then they can push packages out as fast as they want, but local terminals and delivery vans have to be able to process and deliver them.

Lessons learned, no doubt, but sometimes it’s beyond anyone’s control.

Realistic Monopoly

These are great revisions to the classic Monopoly board game. I especially liked:

These rule changes create opportunities for cooperation, as well as the possibility of crises. That’s because most players will probably end up owing far more than they can hope to repay if they ever have to cover all of their debts at once. A few unfortunate throws of the dice can create situations where there literally isn’t enough money in the game. This creates a great opportunity for players to learn how debts get restructured, as well as the importance of knowing everyone’s place in the hierarchy of the capital structure.