A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for November, 2018

Intellectual Property Means Not Owning Property

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I make no secret of the fact that I don’t subscribe to the concept of intellectual property. The biggest reason I don’t subscribe to the concept is because the concept itself is an oxymoron. Property implies ownership and ownership implies absolute control. Intellectual property takes the form of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. If you create a song and are granted a copyright, does that mean you own it? No. The copyright is granted by a government agency. The agency dictates the terms of the copyright. Usually it dictates limitations such as a time frame (for example, your copyright is only valid for so many years). The same is true of trademarks and patents. Receiving a copyright does not grant absolute control, it grants limited controls. Under the concept of intellectual property the only ownership that can be said to exist is government ownership over all creative works.

Things are even worse for consumers. Consider Nintendo’s recent announcement:

For nearly three years now, creators who wanted to make money from videos that included footage of Nintendo games had to go through the onerous approval and content requirements of the Nintendo Creators Program, which also gave Nintendo a 30 percent cut of any ad revenues. Today, Nintendo announced it would be halting that program at the end of the year, in favor of a new set of “basic rules” for video creators. If those rules are followed, Nintendo now says, “we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright.”

[…]

In addition, Nintendo says video creators can only monetize these videos through a number of official partner programs on a handful of platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.

When you pay for a Nintendo game, you’re only paying for the privilege of playing it as far as Nintendo is concerned. If you dared to record yourself enjoying “your” game and clicked the monetize button on YouTube, you could expect a take down notice from Nintendo’s legal department because, as far as the company was concerned, it owned any footage made of its games and determined that it wouldn’t allow anybody to profit from “its” footage. Nintendo eventually eased up a bit and announced that it would allow you to profit from “its” footage so long as you gave Nintendo a 30 percent cut of the profits. Now it’s changing the rules again because as the owner of the games and, according to it at least, all footage of the games, it has the legal authority to do so. While you don’t have to become part of Nintendo’s Partner Program, you are restricted on where you can post footage from which you want to profit.

Imagine if these restrictions allowed under the concept of intellectual property were expanded to actual property. The construction company that built your home might be able to restrict you from monetizing any footage you made of the house. The manufacturer that built your vehicle might not allow you to post pictures of it on Instagram but only on Flickr. The manufacturer that built your computer might prohibit you from making an unboxing video. If any of the rules that apply to the concept of intellectual property were applied to actual property, most people would probably recognize how ridiculous the situation is.

In my opinion if you purchase a copy of a game, you should own that copy. You should be allowed to do whatever you want with it. If you want to record yourself playing it while you’re snorting coke off of a hooker’s ass and monetize that video, you should be allowed to do so (I also believe that you should be allowed to snort coke off of a hooker’s ass). There shouldn’t be a loophole that says any footage of that game is owned by the developer nor should there be any restriction preventing you from profiting from the game you purchased.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Bumping Off Bump Stocks

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Earlier this year Trump indicated that he would work to ban bump stocks. His supporters claimed that he actually had no intention of doing so and that his announcement was merely part of his extremely clever game of multi-dimensional chess again the liberals. Recent claims by officials indicate that his supporters are delusional, he’s not as good at chess as he thinks, or both:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to officially ban bump stocks on guns, a move that would put an end to the sale of attachments that allow semiautomatic rifles to fire faster and that would follow through on an order President Trump made this year to the Justice Department to regulate the devices.

An administration official said on Wednesday evening that a formal ban will be rolled out in the coming days to weeks, a timeline first reported by CNN.

The funniest thing about this, at least in my opinion, is that this news will likely change nothing as far as Trump’s supporters and detractors are concerned. His supporters will continue to claim that he doesn’t support gun control but his maneuvering those evil liberals into checkmate. Meanwhile, his detractors will still refuse to support him even though he’s now pushing for the gun control they ceaselessly demand.

This is part of the reason why politicians are unaccountable. Most politicos are unwilling to admit that they were wrong about a politician and will make any excuse to continue holding their opinion. Trump could sign a new ban on ascetically offensive firearms and his supports would still love him and his detractors would still hate him.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Worst Parents of the Year Award

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There are a lot of ways that parents can make the lives of their children miserable. One way for parents to start early down this path is to give their child a stupid name:

A Southwest Airlines gate agent at John Wayne Airport is accused of being awful in front of a five-year old girl – and on social media – because of her unique name.

The girl’s mother says the agent made fun of the name and even posted a photo of her boarding pass on social media for others to chime in.

Five-year-old Abcde Redford pronounces her name “ab-city.”

I guess some points go to the parents for at least getting five letters of the alphabet in the correct order.

Granted, I don’t think that the gate agent should have made fun of the child because the child was innocent. They should have ridiculed the parents for picking a name that would so inevitably cause their child to be picked on. If you want to give your child a unique name, there are a lot of excellent choices that aren’t as likely to result in ridicule from schoolmates (and gate attendants) as Abcde.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Using Approved Forms of Violence

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A college in Michigan has announced that it has developed a plan to defend against shooters. Faculty and students will be given hockey pucks:

Oakland University, a public school in Rochester Hills, near Detroit, is distributing thousands of 94-cent hockey pucks for just that reason.

The distribution, which began earlier this month, stemmed from a March faculty active-shooter training session, which followed February’s shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 dead.

A participant at the training asked Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon what items people could use to defend themselves on the campus, which has a no-weapons policy, the Detroit Free Press reports.

There are so many levels of hypocrisy here that I’m not even sure where to begin.

I guess I’ll start with the layer that seems to me to be the most obvious. The school has a no-weapons policy. It is providing faculty and students with hockey pucks for the express purpose of hurling them at an active shooter. In other words the hockey pucks are meant to be used to hurt people. A common word to describe a tool that is meant to hurt somebody is “weapon.” So the school no longer has a no-weapons policy. What it really has is a prohibition against unapproved weapons.

Now that the school no longer has a no-weapons policy, I think that it’s fair to ask what the purpose of the previous no-weapons policy was. If it was protection, the school has admitted that its no-weapons policy was incapable of fulfilling that purpose by distributing weapons. If it was meant to be a moral statement about the superiority of nonviolence, the school can no longer claim any moral high ground since it is now encouraging faculty and students to use violence. The only possible purpose that is left is that the policy is meant to conceal from faculty and students the fact that certain types of weapons exist. The only thing this accomplishes is prohibiting faculty and students from having a more effective means of self-defense if they want to stay within the rules.

This policy is a demonstration of pure cognitive dissonance. The school doesn’t want to admit that it’s no-weapons policy doesn’t provide any protection against weapons. In order to avoid admitting that it has attempted to equip faculty and students with “totally not weapons” to give them the illusion that they might survive when a bad person violates the no-weapons policy. The bureaucrats who administer the school know there is a threat but are unwilling to give faculty and students sanction to effectively defend themselves. In other words they are knowingly putting the people under their authority in danger.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 29th, 2018 at 11:00 am

This Time Will Be Different

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Albert Einstein is often credited with say, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” General Motors (GM) announced that it would be laying off 15 percent of its workforce. While tariffs aren’t entirely to blame for GM’s problems, they did contribute:

When President Trump announced tariffs last summer, Detroit’s Big Three automakers — GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — all trimmed their profit forecasts for the rest of the year, citing the rising commodity costs that would lead to hikes in prices and manufacturing costs. GM took a hard stance, warning of the fallout within the auto industry and saying that the tariffs risked “undermining GM’s competitiveness against foreign auto producers by erecting broad brush trade barriers that increase our global costs” in comments filed with the Commerce Department in June.

So tariffs didn’t bring economic prosperity to the automobile market (or any other market) so the solution must be more tariffs:

Donald Trump has renewed threats to impose tariffs on imported cars after General Motors announced job cuts and plant closures.

The US President tweeted that tariffs were “being studied” and that duties could have stopped the GM closures.

Tariffs have done nothing by damage to the economy so the solution is obviously more tariffs! There really should be a constitutional amendment that requires all incoming presidents to read the collected works of Ludwig von Mises and pass a comprehension test to guard against this kind of economic stupidity.

What’s even worse than the fact that the United States has a president that is committing economic seppuku is the fact that his successor will likely leave all of the tariffs in place. For some reasons politicians have an aversion to undoing the bad policies of previous politicians.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 29th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Totally Not a Registry

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Boulder, Colorado passed an ascetically frightening firearm ban but tossed a few crumbs from the table to those who owned such firearms before the arbitrarily selected cutoff date. So long as an owner properly registers his firearm in the city’s totally not a registry they can keep them. What does the city’s totally not a registry look like? Surprisingly it looks an awful lot like a registry:

In order to be part of Boulder’s “This-Is-Not-A-Registry” program, anyone who owned one of the banned firearms prior to June 15th, 2018 must go to the police department and have it “certified” before Dec 31st, 2018. They must then keep the certificate with the firearm at all times – forever – otherwise they’re a criminal. Lose this piece of paper? The firearm will be confiscated. Don’t comply? Criminal. Allegedly there are no copies of these certificates kept.

Requirements for certification include: Valid photo ID, the firearm being certified (unloaded and secured in vehicle), and a new background check. If the the background check comes back clear, two certificates per firearm will be issued. The cost is $20 for the first firearm and $5 for each additional firearm.”

I’m sure this information won’t be used when the law is change in the near future to prohibit the ownership of these firearms even if they were possessed by the currently selected cutoff date. No siree. Absolutely will not happen. Your freedom is guaranteed or your money back!

Written by Christopher Burg

November 29th, 2018 at 10:00 am

What’s Your Stance on the Second Amendment

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Them: “What’s your stance on the Second Amendment?”

Me:

Written by Christopher Burg

November 28th, 2018 at 11:30 am

Posted in Humor

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Designer Babies

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A lot of people are up in arms after news broke that a Chinese scientist has claimed to have created the first genetically edited baby:

Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, He Jiankui said he was “proud” of altering the genes of twin girls so they cannot contract HIV.

His work, which he announced earlier this week, has not been verified.

Many scientists have condemned his announcement. Such gene-editing work is banned in most countries, including China.

Assuming Jiankui’s announcement is true, which is an assumption that takes a great deal of liberty since his announcement hasn’t been verified, I can say that if I were a parent planning to conceive a child and a scientist came to me with a proven track record of genetically editing out susceptibility to diseases and genetic disorders, my checkbook coming out of my pocket would be the first thing in the universe to knowingly exceed the speed of light. But I’d also try to provide my child the best education possible because I’d be one of those asshole parents who care not one bit about what’s “fair.”

As a parent I would want to provide every advantage I could to my child so I understand why parents would allows Jiankui to perform an experiment that might remove susceptibility to HIV from their child.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 28th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Science

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One of These Things Is Just Like the Other

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Since I already wrote one post about the similarities between Obama and Trump today I might as well keep writing on the theme. A lot of people are up in arms because border agents used teargas on immigrants who were trying to cross the imaginary line that separates the United States from Mexico. How horrible is it that Trump authorized the use of such violence against poor, defenseless women and children (as his critics put it)?! Of course the people crying foul now didn’t utter a peep when the same thing happened under Obama:

Under President Donald Trump, CBP’s use of the substance has hit a seven-year record high, with the agency deploying the substance a total of 29 times in fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, according to the agency’s data.

However, the data also showed that the substance was deployed nearly the same number of times in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 under former President Barack Obama, with CBP using the substance 26 times in fiscal year 2012 and 27 times in fiscal year 2013.

Once again we see the hypocrisy that is common amongst the most vocal of politically opinionated individuals. When a politician on the “other” team does something, the politically opinionated scream bloody murder. When a politician on “their” team does the exact same thing, the politically opinionated clap their hands, cheer, and wax poetically about how effective “their” politician is.

I tend to consider most politically opinionated individuals to be unprincipled but that’s not entirely accurate. They do have one principle, which is that “their” party is always right. Even when “their” party does something they disagree with it’s only because it was forced into doing so by the “other” party. I believe that technically qualifies as a principle but it’s a stupid one to have in my opinion.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 28th, 2018 at 10:00 am

And We Will Call It Truth

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Remember when Barack Obama announced the need for a mechanism to filter approved news for unapproved news? His announcement was met with cheers by his supporters and called an attempt to establish an American version of Pravda by his opponents (of which I am included). Fast forward to today and things have changed. Donald Trump has announced the need for a government operated news outlet to combat fake news:

President Donald Trump on Monday suggested the US should form a state-run, global news network to counter what he called “unfair” coverage from CNN.

“While CNN doesn’t do great in the United States based on ratings, outside of the U.S. they have very little competition,” Trump said via Twitter. “Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way.”

The president added, “Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

I’m sure there are some significant differences between what Obama wanted and what Trump wants. For example, I’m sure Obama was considering calling his proposal “Pravda” whereas Trump will likely settle on a completely different name such as “Truth.”

It should surprise nobody that Trump’s supporters are cheering his announcement while his opponents (of which I am included) are claiming it’s an attempt to establish an American version of Pravda. In other words it’s business as usual here in the land of nonexistent principles and opposition to critical thinking.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 28th, 2018 at 10:00 am