The government just can't resist sticking its nose in with the little guys while leaving the big boys alone.
On December 1, if you are a blogger who has received a comp copy of something to review, you are required to disclose that.
Ostensibly, I don't have a problem with that. Some of the games I review for Video Game Trader are comps (I also have a considerable stash in my collection that I pull out when I need to). Some reviews, it's obvious they got comps (especially with comic books. Come on, you think they can just pop down to the shop and find some of these titles?). And it does help weigh how objective a review is. After all, if someone gets more than just, say, the price of postage to return a review copy, that might influence how a review comes out.
So what's my bitch?
This is for bloggers. The rules are unchanged for other media. And as we've seen time and time again with payola or old boy networks, disclosure is crucial, not only for the sake of review, but to keep an industry from becoming a walled off fortress that only those with a patron inside the gates can get to. In short, those who can pluck the strings that hold of the world are left alone while bloggers have to show they aren't doing anything shady.
You folks had to know I'd be writing about the Shroud of Turin at some point today, didn't you?
When I decided to become a student of my teacher, she encouraged me to question everything, including her. "You don't advance if you ignore inconvenient facts." This also included things that I thought might stump her. Potentially, she was that confident that she could handle any questions I asked -- she had literally traveled around the world when she made it to Illinois, and talking with her was like talking with someone who had lived Biblical history.
While talking one day, I hit her with a burning question -- is the Shroud of Turin real?
She thought for a moment, and said, "You are actually asking me two questions -- was there a shroud for Jesus, and is the one from Turin it? The answers are yes to the first and no to the second."
She explained that Jesus did get a shroud, but no one knew there was anything special about it or the man it covered. Jesus had been condemned as some nutball who thought he was the Messiah, so no one really kept track of His burial shroud. What happened to it, if anyone did grab it, is anyone's guess.
She had actually seen the Shroud in person on her travels. She felt an obligation as a spiritual pilgrim to do so. She looked at the Shroud. And she studied it long and hard. For years, when asked if it was real, she would say, "I don't know."
Then, one day, the answer hit her. She knew the Shroud was a fake and could prove it. The tip-off was how, when Jesus was crucified, the Romans wanted to make sure he was dead. So they ran him through with a spear to make sure the job was finished (Christians will recognize this as the Lance Of Longinus). This is mentioned in three of the four Gospels. The Shroud has no such markings where the spear wounds would have been. This is why, when Mornblade told me they had carbon-14 dated the Shroud and it's origin was about the time it was discovered, I wasn't the least surprised.
Since then, people have been having the time of their lives trolling religious types, explaining how the Shroud could have been faked. Today, A CHALLENGER HAS APPEARED!!! Luigi Garlaschelli is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia in Italy, and he claims to have proven the Shroud is a fake with science instead of the Bible.
As my teacher said, you don't advance if you ignore inconvenient facts. Sure, when it comes to religion, you're never going to scientifically prove anything. But when you are confronted with so much evidence that something is no miracle but just a practical joke that has survived for centuries, you aren't wrong to at least wonder how true it is.
Today at work, some of the women in the office are discussing Halloween and their kids costumes. Among them is the leader of the Twi-tards at work. She has made it clear she is spoiling for some payback and I should keep my guard up.
Me? I'm not worried.
Today, she makes her attempt. As I'm passing by, she asks, "Hey, Peter. Where would I get a pocket protector for my kid?"
I don't have the slightest clue.
Lunging strike. "Well, I figured you would know. She's dressing up like a nerd for Halloween."
Reversal. Shouldn't she be wearing a costume then instead of her regular clothes?
She told me to go soak my head (okay, I'm paraphrasing). PWND!!!1!
Here's a snippet from an interview with Steve Ballmer about Silverlight, which M$ is trying to port for Linux users.
Mr. ARRINGTON: Is Silverlight essentially competing with Windows? I mean, the way you described some of this here, it’s like they’re competing with each other.
Mr. BALLMER: No, it depends on what the strategy is. IE only runs from Windows. Anybody who uses IE uses Windows. So does it compete with Windows? No it helps Windows. On the other hand, when we tell people the right applications which are not unique to Windows that doesn’t particularly help Windows. And so we’ll continue to see and do things that are standard-based because that’s important. And you continue to see us encourage developers to do things that run uniquely on the Windows platform. You know, with the new Silverlight, you can build Silverlight applications that are flash-like in the sense that they run across platform. But you can also do things which are even nicer which really narrow down and run only on Windows. And given that Windows is a billion units, you can afford to make optimizations as long as they bring value and do your applications that are Windows unique.
TL;DR -- forget about that interoperability bullshit.
There was a beaut of an exchange on the IRC channels years ago. A poster in college said that a girl was wandering the halls of the dorm, offering free blow jobs to anyone who would finish her term paper. He asked what the paper was about, and she said, "Accomplishments And Growth Of Feminism." E to the P to the I to the C Fail.
I bring this up because of this quote from the L.A. Times -- "Some of the [entertainment] industry’s most prominent women said they believe [Roman] Polanski, who faces a sentence as low as probation and as high as 16 months in prison for pleading guilty to having sex with a minor, should be freed. “My personal thoughts are let the guy go,” said Peg Yorkin, founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “It’s bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It’s crazy to arrest him now. Let it go. The government could spend its money on other things.”