Via Techdirt:

Torrentfreak has the story of an economics professor (of all things) who has apparently received a patent on a way to try to force students to buy expensive textbooks. The professor, Joseph Henry Vogel, is positioning this patent (8,195,571) as an “anti-piracy” technique, though it appears that it works equally well in preventing students from sharing a single textbook or merely checking the textbook out of the library. The details of the patent are hardly new or innovative either. The basics are that the class has both a textbook and an online discussion board — and buying the textbook provides you a code that allows you to enter the discussion board.

According to Torrentfreak, the publisher will also allow students to buy the access code at a reduced price, thus giving publishers the opportunity to charge multiple times for a book.

I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m really not. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen attempts by universities to stop students from doing things like checking out textbooks from their libraries instead of buying them. At the beginning of the first summer session of this year, my friend Andrew went to the library to check out his textbooks because he couldn’t afford to buy them all. He was able to check out the books, but while he was searching the catalogs online, he received a message telling him specifically not to avoid buying his textbooks, as it diminished the student experience. (Honestly, I’m surprised “student experience” hasn’t been trademarked already. I’ve heard that phrase used multiple times, specifically when suggesting accommodation methods for classes I’ve taken. One time I suggested asking a fellow student in the same class if he or she would be willing to take notes/assist with reading screens during lab work, and was told that this couldn’t be done, as it would adversely effect the student experience for that classmate.)

I think it goes without saying that patenting the learning process in this way is stupid. I can understand that this professor wants to get published, and doesn’t want people stealing his books. But I’d almost be willing to bet that this forum required for the class is inaccessible to adaptive technology, and last I checked, universities were supposed to be in the business of disseminating knowledge, not putting it behind yet more paywalls. They already charge tuition and fees, and students already have to pay for textbooks, some of which are special editions printed specifically for the professor teaching the class. And I can’t help but wonder if there are kickbacks for the professors involved or the universities. All of this, in my oppinion, raises questions about the knowledge being disseminated. How can we as students trust that we’re being presented with pure knowledge, instead of knowledge peppered with oppinions and cues on what to think? I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but things seem to be getting very cozy between publishers, universities, and private industry, and I find this slightly disturbing. I thought a professor’s job was to help students learn, to draw on their experience in order to teach the next generation. That, apparently, is not the case. And while I’m sure that in a lot of cases professors’ hands are tied and they’re put in a position where they have no choice but to buy into the idiocracy that is the current state of today’s academia, this guy doesn’t help their cause.

I’m going to have to remember to take this to my business law class on Thursday so we can discuss this in the portion of the class the professor leaves open for us to talk about legal issues that either effect us or that we’re interested in. This definitely gets filed under ridiculous, to say the least. The Fifth Circuit court in New Orleans has ruled that victims of Hurricane Katrina have legal standing to sue over global warming-related damages; the case in question was brought by Mississippi landowners against oil and coal companies they say contributed to global warming—and thus, exacerbated the hurricane’s damages. This seems like an attempted money-grab on the part of the landowners to me. I would have thought that their insurance, (assuming they are insured), covers acts of God, which is what a hurricane would be classified as. I’d ask myself what’snext on the lawsuit horion, but I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than this, except for maybe that lawsuit for a ton of money over the pants or whatever it was that got lost by the dry cleaners, but that one’s already taken. The WSJ Law Blog has more on this. See there for a full discussion of the ruling.
A driver told a blind cancer sufferer to get off his bus when a woman and her children became hysterical at the sight of his guide dog. George Herridge,
71, told how the mother flew into a rage and shouted at him in a foreign language. A passenger explained she wanted him to get off the bus during the incident
on May 20.
Mr. Herridge stood his ground and refused to leave the bus, and very good on him for that. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to go into activist mode. Guide dogs are an invaluable help to their blind companions, and people have no right to ask that people using guide dogs leave buses, or establishments, or wherever they happenn to be. And people who use religion as an excuse for this sort of abhorrent behavior are in a way worse. It’s like they’re trying to foist their own personal views of purity onto the rest of the world, who may or may not want it. Somehow, I don’t think God, or Allah, or pick the deity is going to send someone straight to hell just because they spent a few minutes of one day in the company of a dog. And as far as children being frightened of the dog and raising Cain, this would be one of those occasions where parents need to take control of the siituation and tell the children to deal with it, instead of convincing bus drivers to expel the passenger with the dog. I consider myself to be a tolerant person. I won’t go out of my way to offend someone’s sensibilities, and in most situations, will even go out of my way to make sure that their sensibilities are taken into account. But this sort of thing is just beyond the pale.

A driver told a blind cancer sufferer to get off his bus when a woman and her children became hysterical at the sight of his guide dog. George Herridge,
71, told how the mother flew into a rage and shouted at him in a foreign language. A passenger explained she wanted him to get off the bus during the incident
on May 20.
Mr. Herridge stood his ground and refused to leave the bus, and very good on him for that. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to go into activist mode. Guide dogs are an invaluable help to their blind companions, and people have no right to ask that people using guide dogs leave buses, or establishments, or wherever they happenn to be. And people who use religion as an excuse for this sort of abhorrent behavior are in a way worse. It’s like they’re trying to foist their own personal views of purity onto the rest of the world, who may or may not want it. Somehow, I don’t think God, or Allah, or pick the deity is going to send someone straight to hell just because they spent a few minutes of one day in the company of a dog. And as far as children being frightened of the dog and raising Cain, this would be one of those occasions where parents need to take control of the siituation and tell the children to deal with it, instead of convincing bus drivers to expel the passenger with the dog. I consider myself to be a tolerant person. I won’t go out of my way to offend someone’s sensibilities, and in most situations, will even go out of my way to make sure that their sensibilities are taken into account. But this sort of thing is just beyond the pale.

Mirrored from customerservant.com.

File this under the following:

  • How not to win friends and influence people
  • Ways to have your reliigious message rejected
  • Illustrations of extreme idiocy
  • Ways to make yourself and your co-religionists look bad

I’m sure there are probably other categories for this but they aren’t coming to mind at this minute. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish sometimes that protests like this should be made illegal at memorial services. You’ll have to watch the video at the link. The screen reader isn’t allowing me to copy the code properly, and/or WordPress isn’t parcing the embed code properly so that the player displays. (Via).
May the mourners Pvt. Long has left behind be conforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

File this under the following:

  • How not to win friends and influence people
  • Ways to have your reliigious message rejected
  • Illustrations of extreme idiocy
  • Ways to make yourself and your co-religionists look bad

I’m sure there are probably other categories for this but they aren’t coming to mind at this minute. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish sometimes that protests like this should be made illegal at memorial services. You’ll have to watch the video at the link. The screen reader isn’t allowing me to copy the code properly, and/or WordPress isn’t parcing the embed code properly so that the player displays. (Via).
May the mourners Pvt. Long has left behind be conforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Mirrored from customerservant.com.

A Louisville, KY pastor is encouraging his congregation to bring fire arms to church on June 27th, in celebration of the 4th of July and the second amendment. This is the sort of thing that transforms simple patriotism into Americanism, the idolatry of preference of some of those who would call themselvves conservatives. Look, I’m in favor of keeping and bearing arms, and I firmly believe in the right to use lethal force to protect loved ones and property. But this is taking it too far. Since when did weapons have a place in worship services? It doesn’t matter if the guns will be unloaded. If they’re going to go to all this trouble, why not just put some of them on the altar and start bowing to them. Maybe even offeer sacrifices and such. They’re already half way there.

A Louisville, KY pastor is encouraging his congregation to bring fire arms to church on June 27th, in celebration of the 4th of July and the second amendment. This is the sort of thing that transforms simple patriotism into Americanism, the idolatry of preference of some of those who would call themselvves conservatives. Look, I’m in favor of keeping and bearing arms, and I firmly believe in the right to use lethal force to protect loved ones and property. But this is taking it too far. Since when did weapons have a place in worship services? It doesn’t matter if the guns will be unloaded. If they’re going to go to all this trouble, why not just put some of them on the altar and start bowing to them. Maybe even offeer sacrifices and such. They’re already half way there.

Mirrored from customerservant.com.