Mr. Lessig and his followers do much to promote the public good and the quality of life. Copyright was invented to promote the public good by protecting the interests of creative people for a limited time. Now, in today's Market Society, (As opposed to Market Economy) this once-useful legal tool has been perverted to make money in perpetuity for property holders. These owners are rarely the creative people who developed the culture. For example: At the beginning of the 20th century a copyright lasted 14 years. The American songbook was remixed into jazz in the 1920s. The musicians had the right to do so because tunes from the sheet music craze a couple of decades before had devolved into the public domain. And from a little later? Just have a listen to Art Tatum's 1939 Tea for Two, which was written in the 1920s.
Jazz is an awesome cultural invention adored by fans all over the world. But, now, if you want to re-imagine or cover Sir Paul's Yesterday you still have to pay him (or somebody.) Hasn't society rewarded Mr. McCartney enough? It's time his music was kicked loose. Really. It is. And maybe if he was not still raking it in from work he did in his 20s he would be stimulated to do something new that was up to snuff. I am not a freetard. But, like Mr. Lessig, I hate to see society robbed of its heritage. And the culture held hostage by corporate interests.
A reasonable copyright term helped foster in the Jazz Age. And that is a beautiful thing. A thousand years from now someone will say: "America. Hmmm. Isn't that the place jazz was invented?" And twenty thousand years from now some being will say: "Earth? Hmmmm. Isn't that the place where Jazz was invented?" The point is that all we have left of any civilization is its culture. No one remembers the politicians and the rich guys. Just the artists they usually cheated.
So what did the aristocracy do in those days? Many were wasters and drunks, although they knew the bankruptcy and shortness of such a life. They gambled. They intrigued. They fought. They screwed around. They did lots of hunting. Some worked in areas of interest. Some were genuinely religious. Some were good managers and organized their large farms. Some used their wealth to pursue science or art. Or patronize it. But they occupied themselves and tried not to overdo it. (Except the French who quite lost their heads.)
One does not see a classless world evolving in the coming robot age.. We are great apes wired to have status. We will find a way to stratify ourselves. The self starters and the gifted will make music and art -- cannot help themselves. Driven to it. . And some will gain status from it as they always have. Scientists, too, will plod on, with much help from smart machines. Einstein said computers were not very interesting because they did not ask questions. I suspect that no matter how smart machines get they probably won't ask meaningful ones. So we will need scientists -- if only to ask questions. But we may have to see about that. A lot of people, of course, will be happy to consume. To watch sports... and porn... and reality TV (Now there is an oxymoron for the morons.) And reality porn.
So how will society look? The holders of capital will do as they do now. Organize the disposition of production and consumption and distribution. They will decide where to build shopping centers and robot factories. So, at the top, where they are now and have been,we will have the wealthy. They will do what they have always done. Their 'work' will not change. They will own the bots. The priestly class of yore will be replaced by the computerists and roboticists. The machine tenders. Not everyone can do this, but it will be a far more widely spread ability. It is already happening. Even flacks and ad men are supposed to code. Feh! These cyber guys guys will have real work, lots of status, money and awesome sex appeal. Nerds are clearly enjoying more status than ever. Ten years ago not many girls would look at a guy wearing a computer on his head (there were a few) except to laugh.. Now he's the bad ass with the Google Glass on the red carpet. Anyway, I digress. Then, next level down, come the artists and other creative types. Next level down from that? There will be lots and lots of makers. And people will just make plastic choking hazards to trade and or sell. There will be a lot more yoga instructors and massage artists. Craft beer will be more popular in the future. MUCH more popular.
I think back to Ancient Rome where there were lots of slaves to do the farming and the drudgery. Thousands upon thousands of citizens were on the dole. Bloody sports were really popular. Then, at the bottom, as always there will be a percentage of people simply content to consume the food, clothes, music, and entertainment the machines and other people make while contributing little. They will get some support from the state, which should do its level best to educate and elevate them as well as placate them. In other words things won't change much.
"Now. Bite my shiny metal ass."
You learn something new every day.
Got milk? Or should I say: "Have you some glandular secretion of a lower mammal?"
Oh these humans. The things they eat... And drink. Ha ha ha.
Bee excretia anyone? Excretia, not excrement. There is a difference. More like bee vomit. By the way, I'll take any honey you don't want any more.
It is very interesting to see the negative reactions here to the prospect of eating these non-traditional insect foods. (In the West. Or perhaps I should I say "The North?") Anyway, such food aversions can be very powerful. People have died rather than eat survival foods like bugs and other bush tucker. Literally starving to death in the midst of plenty -- even when they are presented with the option by knowledgeable companions. As Spock would say: "Fascinating."
And, paradoxically, the arthropods we do eat are foul feeders. It is common knowledge that crabs and lobsters and their ilk eat sea-bottom carrion. Many insects (also arthropods of course) are vegetarians (take crickets). There are tribes in South America that think eating shrimp is disgusting (and with some justification), but who will scarf down a cricket with relish. There was a good upbeat article in the New Yorker some time ago on bug eating... Hmmm. Found the New Yorker citation, anyway. Paywalled so no link.
DEPT. OF GASTRONOMY GRUB BY DANA GOODYEAR
I lived in Thailand for about five years and have eaten my share of bugs by choice. Toasted hoppers are very nice. And my particular favorite is a rich brown sauce made from rice bugs. I confess that for some time I thought it was made from peanuts. But once I found out it was made from big fat rice bugs I paused, shrugged, and continued to eat it.
I am not so fond of lizards... However, rural decorum has forced me to eat a few dishes of kow paht (fried rice) that included them. It is amazing how quickly one can adapt to new foods. Chocolate is notorious for its allowable inclusion of bug parts (as another poster has pointed out.). I have known this since boyhood. It never stopped me from eating a Hershey bar. The truth is pretty much everything that moves is edible. Plants, however, are a different matter. Many are highly toxic. Best to know what you are doing before tossing up a bush salad. My guess is that the "foraging" fad is going to kill a few people. They should stick to bugs. Much safer.
"I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
what they seem to have discovered is that one and the same gene in each species can mutate in a different way and cause two different brain types. That is a single gene mutates rather than two separate and unique genes. From TFA:
"Because the human cerebral cortex is generally considered "special," some scientists have hypothesized that the genes that govern its development of cortical folds and furrows are also unique to humans..."
Apparently these scientists hypothesized wrong.
I for one welcome our new rodent overlords.
As evidenced by TSA's recent and uncharacteristically sensible decision to ignore pen knives and other little sharps the agency has reaffirmed that they only care about stuff that can down the aircraft. No one can hijack any more by threatening the life of another passenger or crew member because since 9/11 the response to such threats has shifted from compliance to defiance. Armed with a bow and arrow made from an "umbrella, hair dryer, socks, a leather belt and condoms." a would-be attacker would receive a hearty laugh and a face full of mace. Emergency landing to treat passenger wounded by umbrella shaft? Yes.
I dare you to try to visualize the weapon in question and keep a straight face.
Joking aside, a determined group of attackers could create a lot of chaos with or without crap bought in duty free. In the right hands even a pair of eyeglasses is lethal. Godfather III anyone? But with the flight deck firmly locked the bird is probably safe.
In modern use our mines are deployed to temporarily interdict a particular area in order to promote the objectives of a ground operation. Modern mines -- the ones the US uses - can be deactivated via timer or, I guess by now, an encrypted coded radio burst. Seventy two hours is a long time during a kinetic battle. That is a typical delay.
When I was at the big annual weapons show in Singapore many years ago I checked out various makes of mines. You had to ask. It was like porn. The vendors brought the catalogs out from under the counter. Nothing mine-like was on display. The Yugoslavians (Yes, THAT long ago.) made some of the sleaziest permanent types -- WMD in slow motion. These are used to pollute borders and terrorize and coral local populations. Lots of them in Afghanistan. Not ours. Next door in Tajikistan there is a big mine problem left over from their civil war.
As to helicopter gunships spraying mock ordinance over downtown Miami I say, "Tired." Now as to drones spraying mock ordinance over downtown Miami I say, "Wired."