Monthly Archives: January 2009

Equal Pay Legislation – passed and signed

The Lilly Ledbetter Act was passed and signed.

So fuck off, Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy.

Your utterly superficial and mean (as in, scanty, beggarly, stingy) interpretation of the Equal Pay Act managed to hurt some people but did not carry the day.

Jackasses. Also, a big fuck you to the Republicans (including George W. Bush) who held off this legislation since 2007.

data privacy day — no, i did not know

Someone twittered today, “Did you know today was Data Privacy Day?” No, I did not know. But indeed it is. Behold!

On January 28, 2009, the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries will celebrate Data Privacy Day. One of the primary goals of Data Privacy Day is to promote privacy education and awareness among teens across the United States, helping teens learn to network and work online safely and responsibly. Data Privacy Day also serves the important purpose of furthering international collaboration and cooperation around data protection issues.

Celebrated jointly with the European Union for the first time in 2008, Data Privacy Day is quickly gaining recognition here in the United States. Congressman David Price has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives seeking support for the declaration of January 28, 2009 as National Data Privacy Day.

Please join ITAA for our event commemorating Data Privacy Day and featuring remarks by Congressman Price and Member of European Parliament, Alexander Alvaro, as well as key representatives of the privacy community. A networking reception will follow.

ITAA would like to acknowledge Intel, Microsoft, AT&T, Oracle, and Google as supporters of Data Privacy Day.

from the Information Technology Association of America ….

sweet (day 1: stop the bush regulations)

sweet:

Obama halts all regulations pending review

17 hours ago AP 2009/01/20

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama’s first acts is to order federal agencies to halt all pending regulations until his administration can review them.

The order went out Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Obama was inaugurated president, in a memorandum signed by new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. The notice of the action was contained in the first press release sent out by Obama’s White House, and it came from deputy press secretary Bill Burton.

The waning days of former President Bush’s administration featured much debate over what rules and regulations he would seek to enact before he left office.

(also? i loved that whitehouse.gov flipped over right about noon. badgerbag tells me that the old robots.txt was like 2500 lines long, but the one is only a couple of lines long. heh.)

marital happiness, kids, and, umm, housework

The New York Times covers research showing that marital happiness increases when the kids leave home. Contrary to popular opinion, which has suggested that parents — particularly moms — suffer depression from “empty nest syndrome”, research published in November in Psychological Science found that “marital satisfaction actually improves” when the kids leave home.

But if you read closely, you realize that the research shows marital satisfaction increasing not among “parents” generally, but among women specifically — presumably, women in a heterosexual marriage. Apparently, it’s not about increasing the amount of time the couple spends together; the couples spend the same amount of time together during and after the kids. “But they said the quality of that time was better.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that “the quality of time” might have something to do with this:

The arrival of children also puts a disproportionate burden of household duties on women, a common source of marital conflict. After children, housework increases three times as much for women as for men, according to studies from the Center on Population, Gender and Social Equality at the University of Maryland.

the giant hologram theory of the universe

Yes, yes, the Inauguration is a big deal. And I am soooo glad that our long national nightmare is finally over.

But.

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our politics, fellow Horatios.

Recent physics results help stitch together a number of findings, unexplained phenomena, and the usual bizarre physics theories into something which I find both compelling and, frankly, a bit disturbing.

The gist is that the universe, as we know it, in its adorable 3-dimensionality, is really a projection of the 2-dimensional edge of the universe. No, seriously.

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time – the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into “grains”, just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” says Hogan.

If this doesn’t blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: “If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.”

The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard ‘t Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.

Marcus Chown, “Our world may be a giant hologram”, New Scientist issue #2691 (Jan. 15, 2009).

You have to read the whole thing.

This is going to be rocking my brain for a long time to come.

hat-tip to larry shaw ….

Google Book Search panel at ALA Midwinter

The ALA’s Copyright Subcommittee (Committee on Legislation) is hosting a panel on the Google Book Settlement at ALA Midwinter this year — Saturday at 1:30 at the Grand Hyatt. (I’m on the committee and on the panel.) Should be interesting.

Come to the Google Book Settlement Session at ALA Midwinter Conference January 24th, 2009, 1:30-3:30, Grand Hyatt, Maroon Peak Room

If you’ll be at ALA’s Midwinter Conference in Denver at the end of January, please check out the session “Google Book Search: What’s In It for Libraries?” The open forum will be hosted by the ALA Committee on Legislation’s Copyright Subcommittee to discuss the proposed Google Book Search settlement. The discussion will take place on Saturday, January 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt, Maroon Peak (listed as the Washington Office Breakout Session IV – Google Book Search in the program).

Panelists will include Dan Clancy, Engineering Director for the Google Book Search Project, Karen Coyle, Digital Librarian and Consultant, Paul Courant, Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, and Laura Quilter, Librarian and Attorney at Law. The session will be moderated by Nancy Kranich, chair of the COL Copyright Subcommittee. Following brief opening remarks by each panelist, there be an opportunity for dialogue and questions from the audience.

Additional information about the proposed Google Book Search settlement is available at http://wo.ala.org/gbs/.

oclc will take member feedback on catalog records policy change

OCLC will take member feedback on its recent proposed change in licensing terms on cataloging records. See OCLC’s press release from yesterday, “OCLC Board of Trustees and Members Council to convene Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship.” link from librarythingtim

yaay.

update 2009/1/15: Salon on OCLC at Radical Reference, Friday, Jan. 23, 8 pm, at ABC No Rio, 156 Rivington St., Manhattan.

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