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Song Theory

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hannahdraper
12 days ago
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Washington, DC
diannemharris
12 days ago
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jhamill
14 days ago
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This. This is amazing.
California

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diannemharris
13 days ago
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jepler
17 days ago
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Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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Climate change is shifting cherry blossom peak-bloom times

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Kyoto Cherry Blossom Chart

Records of when the cherry blossoms appear in Kyoto date back 1200 years. (Let’s boggle at this fact for a sec…) But as this chart of peak-bloom dates shows, since the most recent peak in 1829, the cherry blossoms have been arriving earlier and earlier in the year.

From its most recent peak in 1829, when full bloom could be expected to come on April 18th, the typical full-flowering date has drifted earlier and earlier. Since 1970, it has usually landed on April 7th. The cause is little mystery. In deciding when to show their shoots, cherry trees rely on temperatures in February and March. Yasuyuki Aono and Keiko Kazui, two Japanese scientists, have demonstrated that the full-blossom date for Kyoto’s cherry trees can predict March temperatures to within 0.1°C. A warmer planet makes for warmer Marches.

Temperature and carbon-related charts like this one are clear portraits of the Industrial Revolution, right up there with oil paintings of the time. I also enjoyed the correction at the bottom of the piece:

An earlier version of this chart depicted cherry blossoms with six petals rather than five. This has been amended. Forgive us this botanical sin.

Gotta remember that flower petals are very often numbered according to the Fibonacci sequence.

Tags: Fibonacci sequence   global warming   infoviz   mathematics
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diannemharris
18 days ago
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notadoctor
18 days ago
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Oakland, CA
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Incredible low-light camera turns night into day

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The X27 camera takes videos in darkness that looks like they were shot in the daytime. And they’re in color…none of this black and white, thermal, or infrared stuff. The camera was developed for military use, has an effective ISO rating of 5,000,000, and has a comically long name: “X27 Reconnaissance Day/Night high Fidelity true real time low light/low lux color night vision Imaging Security / Multi Purpose camera system”. Pricing information is not available, but I bet you’re paying for every single one of those words. (via digg)

Tags: cameras   photography   video
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diannemharris
19 days ago
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DMack
21 days ago
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Victoria, BC
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Arab News discontinues Andrew Bowen’s column

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Arab News regrettably announces that it will discontinue publishing articles by US columnist Andrew Bowen.
The reason behind this decision is the columnist insisting that this newspaper deletes previous articles dating back prior to the recent US election where he was in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Bowen, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly requested the removal of these articles stating that this is needed for him “to be cleared” for what he claims to be a possible job with the new Donald Trump administration’s State Department.
Mr. Bowen also insinuated — verbally and in writing — that he will seek the support of influential friends and contacts to help remove the articles.
Arab News possesses all correspondence relating to this matter and its position is that such a request is unprofessional journalistically, particularly given that there were no factual errors or libelous comments that require a redaction or correction.
We wish Mr. Bowen the best of luck in his job application.

• Here is a link to Mr Bowen's complete Arab News archive 

Arab News regrettably announces that it will discontinue publishing articles by US columnist Andrew Bowen.
The reason behind this decision is the columnist insisting that this newspaper deletes previous articles dating back prior to the recent US election where he was in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Bowen, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly requested the removal of these articles stating that this is needed for him “to be cleared” for what he claims to be a possible job with the new Donald Trump administration’s State Department.
Mr. Bowen also insinuated — verbally and in writing — that he will seek the support of influential friends and contacts to help remove the articles.
Arab News possesses all correspondence relating to this matter and its position is that such a request is unprofessional journalistically, particularly given that there were no factual errors or libelous comments that require a redaction or correction.
We wish Mr. Bowen the best of luck in his job application.

• Here is a link to Mr Bowen's complete Arab News archive 

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acdha
25 days ago
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The Streisand Effect will be out in force for this one…
Washington, DC
popular
23 days ago
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CallMeWilliam
24 days ago
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diannemharris
25 days ago
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hannahdraper
25 days ago
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Washington, DC
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satadru
23 days ago
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HAHAHAHA
New York, NY
jeterhere
19 days ago
Life is hell :)

Public-records activist violated copyright by publishing Georgia legal code online

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Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org. (credit: Kirk Walter)

If you want to read the official laws of the state of Georgia, it will cost you more than $1,000.

Open-records activist Carl Malamud bought a hard copy, and it cost him $1,207.02 after shipping and taxes. A copy on CD was $1,259.41. The "good" news for Georgia residents is that they'll only have to pay $385.94 to buy a printed set from LexisNexis.

Malamud thinks reading the law shouldn't cost anything. So a few years back, he scanned a copy of the state of Georgia's official laws, known as the Official Georgia Code Annotated, or OCGA. Malamud made USB drives with two copies on them, one scanned copy and another encoded in XML format. On May 30, 2013, Malamud sent the USB drives to the Georgia speaker of the House, David Ralson, and the state's legislative counsel, as well as other prominent Georgia lawyers and policymakers.

"Access to the law is a fundamental aspect of our system of democracy, an essential element of due process, equal protection, and access to justice," said Malamud in the enclosed letter. The law, he reminded them, isn't copyrighted.

The envelopes themselves announced Malamud's belief in the strength of his argument. "UNIMPEACHABLE!" read the fruit-adorned stickers, surrounded by American flags. "Code is law," they continued, that phrase being the first words that appear in a well-known book by Harvard Law Prof. Lawrence Lessig.

Georgia lawmakers' response to Malamud's gifts was anything but peachy. "Your unlawful copying... Infringes on the exclusive copyright of the state of Georgia," read the response letter, written by the chairman of Georgia's Code Revision Commission, Josh McKoon. "Accordingly, you are hereby notified to CEASE AND DESIST ALL COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT."

McKoon told Malamud to stop copying, destroy his files, and remove the laws from his website. If he didn't comply within 10 days, they would file a lawsuit to force his hand and promised to seek damages for "willful infringement." There was an unannotated copy of state law available for free on the state's website, McKoon reminded him, and that would have to suffice. (More on that "free" copy later.)

Public.Resource.Org sent the annotated code to Georgia legislators and lawyers. Stickers on the envelopes read "Unimpeachable!" and "Copy that Code! Code is Law!"

Public.Resource.Org sent the annotated code to Georgia legislators and lawyers. Stickers on the envelopes read "Unimpeachable!" and "Copy that Code! Code is Law!" (credit: Public.Resource.Org)

Malamud has spent years freeing up vast amounts of public documents, like state laws, court decisions, and building codes. If you've ever looked at any public company's SEC filing through the Edgar system, you have Malamud to thank for it.

In Georgia's view, there were two separate works at issue: the actual text of the laws, which were available to the public, and the annotations, which were copyrighted and owned by the state. The annotated code includes things like judicial decisions related to particular sections. In McKoon's view, those extra notes are "value-added material," created by LexisNexis, the state's chosen publisher, and thus subject to copyright. (Materials made by the US federal government can't be copyrighted, but states can hold copyrights and state contractors can make copyrighted works.)

To Malamud, though, it was a faulty distinction. The OCGA is the only official copy of Georgia's laws, so that was the one citizens needed to be able to read.

"Any lawyer would ignore this publication and any of its components at his or her peril," wrote Malamud in his response. "No matter how you slice that cheese, it all looks the same. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated, every component of it, is the official law... Our publication of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated should be encouraged, not threatened."

“Profits” from free copies

In July 2015, Georgia's Code Revision Commission followed through with its threat and sued Public.Resource.Org (PDF) in federal court.

McKoon and other Georgia lawmakers maintain that Malamud's argument is overblown because the law itself is freely available. But Malamud has pointed out some problems with the free, public copy. First of all, it's hardly "free," because anyone who uses it has to agree to onerous restrictions and two separate terms of use. The terms include agreeing not to make copies, and it even prohibits using the code in "newsletters" and "articles." Malamud has also noted that the LexisNexis-owned website simply doesn't work that well.

Now, the case has concluded with US District Judge Richard Story having published an opinion (PDF) that sides with the state of Georgia. The judge disagreed with Malamud's argument that the OCGA can't be copyrighted and also said Malamud's copying of the laws is not fair use. "The Copyright Act itself specifically lists 'annotations' in the works entitled to copyright protection," writes Story. "Defendant admits that annotations in an unofficial code would be copyrightable."

He went on to acknowledge the Georgia situation is "an unusual case because most official codes are not annotated and most annotated codes are not official." Despite the fact the OCGA is official law, the judge said its annotations are entitled to copyright. The Georgia General Assembly has made clear "that the OCGA contains both law and commentary," Story wrote, and the two are distinguishable.

In the fair use analysis, the judge treated Public.Resource.Org harshly. Story made the extraordinary finding that Public.Resource.Org is engaged in "commercial" copying despite being a nonprofit, stating that the organization "profits" by "the attention, recognition, and contributions it receives in association with its copying and distributing the copyrighted OCGA annotations, and its use was neither nonprofit nor educational."

The judge also found that the annotations "are original works entitled to broad copyright protection," and blasted Public.Resource.Org for having "misappropriated every single word of every annotation using a bulk industrial electronic scanner."

“Apply for a license to read this law”

"The Official Code of Georgia Annotated is an edict of government and contains the definitive statement of the law as published by the State of Georgia," said Malamud in an e-mail exchange with Ars. "We are appealing."

It's Malamud's second setback this year. Last month, Public.Resource.Org was hit with an injunction for publishing technical and scientific standards that have been incorporated into laws.

For now, the Georgia laws have been removed from Public.Resource.Org, and replaced with a notification that "your access to this document, which is a law of the United States of America, has been temporarily disabled while we fight for your right to read and speak the laws by which we choose to govern ourselves as a democratic society.

"To apply for a license to read this law, please consult the Code of Federal Regulations or applicable state laws and regulations for the name and address of a vendor... Thank you for your interest in reading the law."

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diannemharris
29 days ago
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"your access to this document, which is a law of the United States of America, has been temporarily disabled while we fight for your right to read and speak the laws by which we choose to govern ourselves as a democratic society.

"To apply for a license to read this law, please consult the Code of Federal Regulations or applicable state laws and regulations for the name and address of a vendor... Thank you for your interest in reading the law."
acdha
29 days ago
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A signature trait of healthy democracies
Washington, DC
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