OK, I know it’s picky, but the entire Supreme Court sequence in last night’s Law & Order season finale was hokey as all get-out. Nevermind McCoy not arguing a single legal point in his time before the Court, or the Chilean general being present in the Court; the biggest problem was them waiting for the decision afterwards, which just isn’t how things work.

Finally, the Republicans have decided to actually do their jobs and allow the dozens of Federal judge nominations to come to the floor of the Senate. Yesterday, 16 nominees were approved (all that came before the Senate); today, four are slated to appear. All in all, there were 65 vacancies on Federal courts before this, and I’ve felt that the Republican’s singlehanded block of the nomination approval process is one of the most underreported abuses of theirs in the last decade.

In the coolest find I’ve ever had, you can browse the Macy’s wedding registry of Newt Gingrich and Callista Bisek, and maybe buy them something nice. There’s still a lot that hasn’t been snapped up…

Everyone’s been talking about how bad the new Salon redesign is; what nobody’s mentioned is the column from David Talbot, editor of Salon, saying that they’re not wedded to the new design, recognize that users pretty much hate it, and are looking for ideas on how to fix it. A rare admission, by any account (just look at how CNN handled their redesign a few months back, and the universal hatred of it).

For some reason, I’ve been unable to put into exact words the reasons that the “We Card” Philip Morris commercial bothers me to no end. Luckily, though, Greg Knauss has come along and done so perfectly.

Holy shit.

I don’t know enough about the music industry to know the true significance of this, but a new study shows that CD sales within 5 miles of college campuses declined 4% over the last two years, possibly an argument that Napster and its clones have had an effect on music sales, at least in the population with the greatest access to Napster’s benefits. (A discussion has started on this.)

Interesting findings in a study on traditional CPR (breathing plus chest compressions) versus chest compressions alone. If you read the study (or even the first few paragraphs of this MSNBC article), though, you’ll see that the benefit seen with chest compressions alone is probably based on the fact that the people in the study were untrained; if someone with Basic Lifesaving skills is available, then there is a benefit to full, traditional CPR.

How cool would it be to witness the formation of a new island? The explosion pictures look very impressive.


I think it is more likely that sales have dropped near colleges because students are probably the most frequent users of e-commerce when buying music. Napster wasn’t even around two years ago.

Something else bothers me about this, though. Even if the decline is due to Napster, so what? Does the record industry deserve some special protection from new technology? Stamping out a whole technology just because it threatens an established industry is stupid - it seems like the goverenment saying “we can’t allow the evolution of lions, it might threatent to make zebras extinct.” To that I say, “deal with it.”

• Posted by: Paul Victor Novarese on May 25, 2000, 1:43 PM

I completely agree about the online CD buying thing — I thought of that after I posted the item today.

As for your new-technology protection argument, though, I completely disagree. This isn’t a new technology that competes with another music media, it’s a technology that steals music, and that’s wrong. Book publishers deserve protection from copier manufacturers — it’s called copyright, and it’s the same thing that, in my opinion rightly, is being used by Metallica and others to try to enforce their rights to their music.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on May 25, 2000, 2:42 PM

The technology itself doesn’t steal anything (just like the bumper sticker says - “Guns don’t kill people; I do.”). And the record companies should know that any attempts to regulate this will ultimately prove futile - Bruce Schneier has written an excellent explanation of why the trusted-client model is fatally flawed. They will be forced to adapt or die out. Artificial government intervention can prolong this process, but not stop it altogether without resorting to totalitarian measures. How vital is the current record industry business model to our society? The RIAA would have you believe that we are teetering on the brink of absolute anarchy. A lot of dollars are flowing to make sure a lot of legislators belive this crap. A lot of people are saying that the reason piracy is so popular is that record companies charge so much for their “product.” They have to so they can afford the lobbyists. Also, some see widespread piracy as a result of the record companies’ failure to provide easy access to works in a legitimate manner.

I’m starting to ramble here, so I’ll quit for now :)

• Posted by: Paul Victor Novarese on May 25, 2000, 4:25 PM
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