random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  Abigail Pogrebin shouldn't worry so much about Christmas trees.

The decorated tree is a pagan tradition from North European "tree god" traditions. For most of recorded history, the Christmas tree didn't feature at all in Christian celebrations. In fact, the festival of Christmas itself, coming as it does so close to midwinter solstice, is pagan in origin.

The Victorians rediscovered the Christmas tree in the mid-19th century, and for some reason (the looks and the lovely pine smell?) the idea caught on.

True, a Christmas tree isn't Jewish. But then it isn't Christian either.

Is it unrealistic to imagine that everyone, including atheists such as myself, can enjoy Christmas for what it is, a midwinter festival featuring lots of presents, food and booze?

tagged: Christmas, religion
  —Kirkham Roger, Salon.com, response to an article about Christmas, http://salon.com/mwt/letters/2003/12/23/strom_hanukkah/print.html.

Archive for May, 2007

nyt / hal varian on copyright

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Hal Varian, the economist, has a nice editorial on orphan works.

NYT on copyright, again

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

After the silly editorial by Mark Helprin, who has obviously been confused by an absolutist romantic view of “property”, the NYT published 7 or 8 letters all in substantive disagreement. Now their theater section looks at another problem that copyright terms can cause: over-control of casting decisions by playwright’s heirs. Since Bernard-Marie Kolt├Ęs died in […]

online lives & data management

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

So, I’ve been posting a lot because my computer (beloved SugarPunk) is freaking out on me, and while I’ve been waiting to take delivery of a new HD, and working through various problems cloning it, and trying to recover data … all that time I have not much access to my actual files. So naturally […]

technological mandates

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

I’ve written before about the ways in which criminalizing specific medical procedures — e.g., the “partial birth abortion act” — is a technological mandate. As a technological mandate, bans on specific abortion procedures are subject to all the same flaws, overreaches, underreaches, definitional problems, and obsolescence problems that mandates involving technological protection measures for copyrighted […]

librarians on film

Friday, May 18th, 2007

The Hollywood Librarian: coming to a theater (or netflix) near you. If I know librarians (and I do) this film will do really well on DVD — we’re a self-lovin’ bunch. The trailer’s pretty cool — check it out. x-posted @ sivacracy … hat-tip to DTWOF by way of librarian vorse

riveting

Friday, May 18th, 2007

James Comey’s testimony Tuesday before Congress was riveting.

irrational economics @ the DOJ

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

The OECD is releasing a study confirming that entertainment & IP industries puff up their “lost to piracy” figures — by a lot. Actual losses are under $200 billion worldwide per year. The industry estimates at $600 to $1000 billion or more per year. … And is there any evidence-based lawmaking afoot? No, there is […]

new & fabulous uses for business method patents

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

patent your tax strategies! No, I’m not kidding. Go read the article. 52 patents for tax strategies have been issued since the first was issued in 2003, and 84 more are pending. If this annoys you and causes you to mutter grumpily about State Street Bank and the Federal Circuit*, put a smile on your […]

9th Circuit again: P10 v. Google

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

The Ninth Circuit has weighed in on Perfect 10 v. Google (captioned Perfect 10 v. Amazon.com on the 9th Circuit case download website). The opinion is by Ikuta, who (IMO) got it right on the Fair Housing Council decision yesterday. It’s a long opinion, and I’m still working through it. But here’s a summary of […]

Roommate.com reversed

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

The Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court in Fair Housing Council v. Roommate.com, limiting Section 230. Section 230 is the federal statute that immunizes online services providers for their users’ content. Most courts have construed Section 230 broadly, protecting ISPs against all sorts of liability. Intellectual property is (surprise) specifically exempted. In this case, the […]

turnabout for mormon missionaries

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Over on Dan Savage’s blog I caught this video with Australian comic John Safran sharing his thoughts on Mormon missionaries — and then making his point in person to assorted Salt Lake City residents by knocking on their doors to talk to them about atheism. Hilarious.

Wiley copyright imbroglio at science blog

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Last week a copyright imbroglio broke out at a science blog which had written a post critiquing mainstream coverage of a science article; the blog had posted a figure from the paper to demonstrate bad science writing in the mainstream media. Wiley sent a C&D; the blogger agreed to take the material down (actually took […]


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