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Archive for May, 2010

Neuro-Linguistic Programming: why we say what we say

May 31, 2010 1 comment

Many times we say things without thinking, being it by being used to do it, or just by repetition. In example, that sharing is not a crime, or that copying a CD or lending a book is the same as steal it.

Thanks to a link from Dave Winer, I arrive to Stowe Boyd’s blog,in wich he comments about the social role of books, and how restrictions applied to digital books cripple that role.

It is not necessary to get maniac nor blame the new electronic formats, because new systems (Digital Restriction Management) ain’t nothing more than effective application of a little paragraph which is printed in almost every book. It says more or less this:

It is totally forbidden any reproduction (electronic, chemical, mechanical, optical, recording or photocopied), distribution, public communication and transformation of any part of this publication, included the cover design, without previous written authorizationfrom the Publisher.

In one of the traditional books (paper) which I have bought lately, the next must be added to the prohibitionist note:

El escaneado, tele-carga y distribución de este libro mediante Internet o mediante cualquier otro medio sin el permiso del editor es ilegal y punible por ley. Por favor, compra solamente ediciones electrónicas autorizadas, y no participes en ni apoyes la piratería electrónica de material sujeto a copyright. Apreciamos tu apoyo a los derechos del autor.

It is truly a jolly fun, not to say pitiful and hypocrite, reading “you are forbidden to do anything without previous authorization from the publisher” and “we appreciate your support to the rights from the authors” in the same paragraph. And I did not got it wrong: rights TO THE author.

Although there are more silly examples yet.

All rights reserved. This book can not be reproduced, nor totally neither partially, neither recorded in, neither transmitted by, a system of information recovery, in any way or in any media, beig that mechanical, photo-chemical, electronic, magnetic, electro-optical, by photocopy or any other, without prior written notice from the publisher.

Having in mind that, as far as I know, human eye is a photo-chemical and electro-optical system (any doctor in the room?) which recovers and interprets information, the simple fact of reading a book after having bought it, could constitute a crime against intellectual property. Some lawyer in the room?

To lend a book has a social and a marketing function. When we lend a book, apart from lending our impressions and written notes, we are making a reccomendation: I like this book more than this other one. And for that, either we lend it, or either we mark (or publish in our blog/website) some lines we specially like, and this could end with someone buying a new copy.
But according to those notes which, presumably, are about to protect the writer’s work, the fact of lending a book which we liked to somebody, constitutes a crime against intellectual property… the publisher’s!!!

We must know what we say. We must think what we say in order to be able to say what we think. Speaking of DRM is remembering this kind of notes which, with a fawlty language, deprive the rights both from the author, ultimate responsible for the work, and from the reader, who paid for it.

It is because of this that free licenses are so important, because they allow the authors, not the publishers, play by their own rules.
Converting your readers into criminals is not the solution. If you do that, they will behave as such.

Categories: The blog Tags: ,

Why Spain is different? Chapter 4: from the reality show to the differential fact

May 29, 2010 1 comment

Previously, on Spain…

When the Iberian peninsula was divided among four Christian kingdoms and several small groups of Muslim diabetics, the thing was very clear …. Or at least it could be to any civilized strategist: the Christian kingdoms were easy to form a common alliance to get rid of that called fuckingmoorishbastards.

Sancho and Alfonso of Castiella et Leon, or vice versa, deciding inheritance as good brothers

But remember we are talking of the Iberian Peninsula. So the four Christian kingdoms, after looking south a split second, followed the biblical tradition of resolving hereditary disputes by clubbing, unless the agent and sole legal representative on Earth of the Palestinian lynched a thousand years ago sneaked in the dispute. Then all were silent and obedient.
And thus was formed the lore of the Albigensian Crusades, the Battle of Muret and the confining of a small blond boy in the castle of Monzon.
And while the blond boy was visiting Monzon, a French monk who had invented a portable writing system consisting of small sheets tied which fitted in the pocket, was having a walk at Poitiers. While he was thinking there could be built something spectacular in the future, there was a couple of peasants who spoke of cheap beer and spicy women.
The monk, named Aymeric Picaud, asked for more, and farmers responded to him,

Allez allez! Visitez l’Espagne! Soleil et biere pour peu d’argent!

He didn’t wanted to know about all that nonsense of sun, beer and easy women, telling the peasants that he had a friend who told him there was a lot of architectural works and cultural performances.
Both farmers started to laugh their way, and went on singing a strange song that talked about an ancient kingdom, and a country very dear to someone.

So Aymeric took his horse and headed south towards Irun. He get lost in the Pyrenees, say, because of a snowstorm, and ended up at Roncesvalles. When he asked in his poor Hispanic

Hoygan, como you ir Santiagou, amigou? (Somewhat like Hoygan, I like go where Santiago, amigou?)

the basquenavarrian innkeeper saw the business, and answered:

Oh yeah, whatever. Sit here and Patxi will bring you something to eat.

Picaud got a slice of bread with a slime of cheese, which cost him three maravedis, thereby inventing the scam of the montadito.

However, there are detractors and envious which put Picaud on the French Pyrenees but not in winter and snowstorms, but in the summer. Eager to be near his destination, he picked some cheap french wine and pissed up himself to death, fainting near Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Either way, the navarrians gradually decreased the contents of the French monk pockets’, making him go around from village to village, absolutely all over the place, until one day, he acknowledged some freckle located in some raunchy place, suddenly recalling that he had been there before. So he turned tail, threw all sorts of oaths and swears to all the basque people and, eventually, continued his cultural route.

Aymeric Picaud arriving to Burgos

Inevitably diverted from its path, Aymeric was found alone, and almost without money, in the steppes of Leon, where he had to go asking their residents, occasional herds of goats, if he was stepping right to reach Santiago.
After crossing the endless, empty and cold but sunny plains of the Kingdom of Castille, he arrived at Galicia and asked a peasant

Hoygan amigou, how can me go Santiagou?

The farmer replied

The concept is the concept, And as I say something, I say something else.

And then sodded off.

Aymeric, deeply astonished and troubled by the strange inhabitants of that land, finally arrived in Santiago and made the rite through which the apprentice receives the teachings of the master by knocking their heads.
On regaining consciousness, and being ready to go back to where he came, he heard cries and shouts that asked why he was going in that direction, where there was no more than herds of wild goats and desert steppes for thousands of kilometers, finally getting to a land where people scam the hell out of you with cheap wine, fake cheese (without fungus and not smelly) and stale bread, advising Picaud that the right course was to the north, by the sea shore.
Seeing the transformation in the face of Picaud as soon as he heard that, from gentle monk to precursor to the Incredible Hulk, the Galician peasants wanted to leave quickly, and were thwarted obstructing each other, creating the impression that they did not know whether to stay or leave.

Back to Poitiers, Aymeric Picaud took all the small sheets on his pockets, put them the name of Moleskine (as you can see, a very stupid name, being this the reason why all the people went mocking him until the end of his days) and published it, especially paying attention to the ones who had scammed him badly. Incidentally, he invented literary tourism, travel guides and characters such as Bilbo Baggins and other famous travellers.
He also invented, without knowing it, French chauvinism, because he had never acknowledged he went the wrong way and that, instead of the cultural route that passed through the coast, he got lost in wild places. That way, readers of his “On Foot through Hispania: How not to be scammed by those fucking basque bastards”, whom were not that much smarter, they believed the monk’s and chose to cross a desert inhabited by goats instead of a pleasant scenery, full of fresh green grass and watered with frisky apple juice.

King Fernando III of Castiella, Toledo and Leon exemplifying Christian values

The new influx of people to this new route, made the CEO of the Kingdom of Castile extend a warrant for the French writer, inventing journalistic censorship by the government. As it was unsuccessful, the King finally decided to spend the monies and start building new infrastructure for the new route. Also, as the manual was intended only to prevent abusive practices in the early stages of the road, Fernando III of Castiella e Leon e Toledo called El Santo (The Saint) for its systematic and literal application of the biblical methodology for hereditary conflict resolution, started the re-population of the Leon steppes, originally a lush forest that old friend Pelayo had reduced to ashes in order to sabotage some tiger nut crops, at the sound of

If not for me, not for anybody.

Meanwhile, on the Mediterranean coast …

At Monzon grew a little blond boy, who became a two-meter bad-ass called James.
After, of course, some struggles between his cousins and other pretenders, James was able to assert his donkey jaw and reach his very own reality-show final, being the sole survivor and so won the divine right to be CEO of the Federation of United Catalan Counties and of Kingdom of Aragon (FUCCKA).
Good ole’ King James also started some catalan traditions as well as pactism and the differential facts: while the rest of the Christian kingdoms engaged in cultural binge-tourism, James I the “Bad-Ass” Conqueror, leader of the United Federation of Counties, saw on the sea … the final frontier … a possibility for internationalization, to do something that made him apart from the rest. He also came up to conquer new lands to the diabetic Moors, and to do that he summoned all his nobles and their armies … whom sod him on several occasions, as they considered that those ideas were completely loony and had no future, that the business was in tourism and infrastructure construction, as all the rest of the peninsula was doing.
Finally, thanks to the intervention of the three Popes, the only legal representatives of the old lynched who was shaping Europe a thousand years after his death, the Aragonese nobles began to support the good King James, who finally conquered the Balearic Islands, Valencia and then Tortosa (giving young europeans more places to go on vacation).
Years later, along with some more occurrences, he pulled a crusade out of his helmet, and one of the Popes bought it. But instead of conquering Jerusalem, he did not made it even to Marseille because of a storm and had to return home.
During his reign, King James had to confront various rebellions, both their own noble men and some of the conquered. The case of Valencia.
James used to observe the habits and customs of the places conquered, by granting the muslim freedom of movement and trade, provided he did not imported the Uses of Barcelona (and since then, the disputes between the provinces and the capital of the principality because of alleged centralism based in Barcelona have been almost daily).
Thus, the introduction of Usages, and not the muslim doing business, was not liked very much by the Christian occupants that, as soon as the king left, those buggers began organizing monumental piss-ups. This way there were various Saracen rebellions, during which James asked aid of Pope Clement IV, who made honor to its name: the king was put as a condition to help release the souls of Saracens and let them reach paradise. And if he did at once, with swords and not letting any single one of them alive, even better.
At that time, James had a glimpse of what would become one of our most beloved traditions. At first he said yes to Pope Clement, but when it came the time to decide, he passed the entire affair under his arch of triumph, and kept the rights and possessions of the Muslims in exchange for them to convert… and thus continue to pay taxes. Here’s the beginning of the pactism and that about “listen, listen to the money talks”.

Next chapter…

Why Spain is different? Chapter 3: from cultural tourism to reality shows

May 13, 2010 2 comments

Previously, on Spain…

After leaving Galicia and march south, muslims who conquered the Iberian peninsula in just 15 years were to decay. In their hedonism, they began to create wacky competitions like cake-roll-eating ones.
These activities led to a dramatic increase in cases of diabetes and obesity, and small rivalries that, over time, were gradually growing and growing.

Those at first harmless contests evolved into riots and street fights by disputes over who made the best cake-rolls in Al-Andalus, or by someone who said that to mix horchata with iced lemon juice could not be good.
Finally, the mobs grew up, forcing the disintegration of the Caliphate in different factions, each one defending their own recipes from the others, and giving way to Taifas, precursors of the Peña‘s system, very well known nowadays at the peninsula during popular festivals like San Fermín.

Thus, with half the population going on diet, stockpiling stevia and without wanting to hear about cake-rolls never more in life, and the other half defending their recipes from their respective grandmothers, muslims did not noticed about the continuous increasing traffic crossing the northern European mainland.

Far from promoting a change in the situation, the Christian kings kept things going, charging huge sums to European tourists in a commercial effort, along with bossy analfabeastism promoted by The System itself, meant that the population within Christian kingdoms cared little for Education:

Son, what you have to know is about numbers and little more, to not to get scammed by those Teutons and their spare change tricks. All this books and lyrics nonsense stuff only attract problems. Remember that stranger who came talkin’bout books, the same old guy which the priest made us burn alive…

Thus, much of the ancient writings that people like Maimonides helped to preserve, passed by the early second millennium’s Christianity.
One of these writings was the popular Roman Proverbs, compiled by Julius Caesar, which contained one of the most famous sayings: Divide et impera.
But unlike the story would have us to believe, the reality is that not being able to read those proverbs and sayings by Caesar thanks to being complete asses, the Christian kingdoms made no effort to divide them, and as it has been sufficiently clear paragraphs earlier, Al-Andalus was split because of internal disputes, obesity and diabetes.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Holy Roman Empire also experienced a slight fragmentation caused by the fact that any rule based solely on loyalty to the emperor’s personality, breaks when the emperor dies. On the Mediterranean coast, this fragmentation was being taken by a representative of northern european furry brewers: Wilfred, called “the hairy”.

Historically, a Count was little more than an administrative office. He levied taxes for the king, decided the public spending and was to him, whom the inhabitants of the domains had to answer. No more than a civil servant. As good officials, those cunts were holding the job for life, losing it when death arrived. But their sons had many chances, although not 100% safe, to inherit the contract. More than anything because they knew all the operation and had not had to waste time doing nasty job interviews.

Seeing that the Carolingian sale stalls had its days numbered, and knowing about the experience of new businesses opportunities being made just a little more westward, Wilfred the Chewbacca, as he was not noticed at the periphery of the empire, did what many others already were doing: passing its civil servant contracts, or counties that made up the Hispanic March, into perpetuity to his children, thus creating another well known spanish tradition: the political family sagas.

Thus, while Wilfred and his sons created the hereditary civil-servant system, the ignor-asses one day looked to the south and discovered that the previously cultured, refined and noble Muslims had become a bunch of rabid ill fatsos, engaged in heated debates over cooking recipes. But the Christian kings were unable to see the opportunity offered by a fragmented Al-Andalus. Moreover, they began to fight among themselves to dominate as many segments of the tourist route that crossed their domains.

The main company, the Kingdom of Asturias, lost its monopoly with the creation of different Unipersonal State Societies, as the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Galicia, Kingdom of Navarre and the Kingdom of Aragon.
As they were not so many, and people knew each other, they eventually started another tradition that still endures: inbreeding. Heads of households took over daughters and sons, forming alliances through marriage. The new couple had as many children as possible, because labor was needed to maintain the business, and the issue of hiring outsiders for the family business was not well seen. In addition, homers knew how everything worked and had not had to waste time doing nasty job interviews.

When, by the passage of time, illness or sudden stabbing on the back, the head of household passed out, he did not delivered before cutting the cake between the family, as good brothers.
And like good brothers, but also as good followers of the necrophilic cult, the sons followed the instructions regarding inheritance disputes within the strict interpretation of The Book: by smashing themselves to death.

At father’s death, and if someone had something to say, they mimicked Cain and Abel, and began to deliver blows, using either a donkey jaw, if dead donkeys were available (which with time became more scarce), or directly with a sword. Last still on foot got all the inheritance, in which was a sort of archaic Big Brother.

So, after the systematic application of this biblical solution, the Kingdom of Asturias became Kingdom of Leon, which after the merging was renamed itself to Kingdom of Castile and Leon, etc.., giving way to the four finalists in the reality show for northern Christian kingdoms: Castile and Leon; Navarre; Aragon; and the Federation of Unified Catalan Counties (FUCC).

Next chapter…