Copyright my Childhood

November 5, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on 11/5/18.

 

I can appreciate Locke’s assertion that ownership of something comes from the mixing of labor. If a person donates their body and time to an object or the betterment of something, then they should in part be rewarded with the benefits from the object. This also prevents people from owning more resources than they can feasibly use. A huge issue with today’s society is that there are people that have too much and people that have nothing, and under Locke’s idea this wouldn’t be a problem. Now the issue in current society is with money and not anything truly tangible without illegally stealing, however I can imagine in the earlier times that land hoarding would be a problem. Locke’s idea would prevent people from taking an entire state that could never, and probably would never, use solely for the right to say they have it.

 

That being said, I can also appreciate the problem this poses with intellectual rights. In my opinion, speaking something can be considered laboring the earth. Your voice allowed the manifestation of an idea, and thus you should reap the rewards of it. Even books are physically written on paper and are owned by whoever put the words on the page.

 

Now the passing on to children argument: I like the idea of passing your spoils onto your children, but under Locke’s idea it shouldn’t be passed on. I still think there are some circumstances where a parent’s monetary reward or intellectual property should be passed down, especially since most children suffer or thrive when their parents thrive. For example, in the case of a medical lawsuit where a parent was deformed by a company that now has to pay for the parent’s deformity. These rewards should be passed down to their children because the children lost parts of their parents as well. It’s not intellectual property, but it’s a case where children should reap the spoils of their parents. Plus, most parents work hard so their children don’t have to work as hard and they should be allowed to ease the life of their children if they desire.

 

I also don’t believe anything you experience is now yours. In the case of music, just because I heard the song does not mean I spent the labor required to own the song. So, I should not be allowed to freely use a song for profit because I heard it or experienced it. Especially since, in this case, I merely enjoyed the hard work put in by another person. Therefore, an experience does not make something freely public domain but the work put in to create the experience. Which is also why I must mention that I ensure to copyright all of these posts. I don’t want another person who merely experienced my writing to be able to claim that it is now theirs. They did not participate in the lecture I attended or that the instructor gave and they did not put their fingers to a keyboard and type it. Their enjoyment, or hatred, of my writing does not give them rights to utilize it for profit. Especially since I’m not getting paid, if I were then maybe we could talk about it.

Country Bumpkins and Disco

October 31, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on 10/29/18.

 

I want to start by saying, before I forget, the fact that Stallman’s FOUR freedoms begin with ZERO and therefore ending in THREE. This bugs my OCD to no end, and I just thought I should mention it.

 

Anyway, I appreciate the point he is trying to make about how history thrived on plagiarism and could continue to do so. My only qualm with this, as mentioned in class, is that as intellectual property, there’s no way a person could get paid for it in this instance. Although, I think if nobody got paid, then that would solve the problem. So maybe it’s more of an all-or-nothing type thing. It would definitely better benefit society, but then that would require more jobs available that would equal the number of people currently getting paid for intellectual property, under the all-or-nothing rule.

 

With this, I come to a compromise. If the intellectual property can overwhelmingly better society, then it should be free. This includes life-saving drugs and medical treatments as well as things like gnu and linux. I don’t believe this includes music since, without it, humanity would survive but be really sad.

 

Now for the scavenger hunt, this search was a roller coaster from beginning to end. The first article I found talked about how a “country music teacher of color” got arrested for kidnapping. Which isn’t really related to the music, but was still an interesting read. When I reached the relevant, and further mentioned, article I knew I was in for a ride. The article begins with “If your favorite disc jockey’s voice has recently developed a ‘daown home’ twang-welcome to the hoedown.” First, I don’t appreciate the misspelling of down because only SOME of us talk like that. I can’t say anything about the hoedown reference because, let’s be honest, country music families (including mine) kind of fall in that category. Next, the article states:

“In fact, they get downright ornery if one trys to put country into the fad music category with disco.”

Let me just start by making sure everyone reading this noted the comparison to DISCO. To be fair, being born in the early 90’s didn’t really educate me in the realm of disco but I’m positive that country and disco are nowhere near the same realm. So, they must have been somehow related back then which means I would not have been a fan in the 80’s. However, upon further reading, they’re making the comparison on the basis of their idea that country will be a one-hit-wonder type like disco was. Little do they know in 1981 that disco would continue to be popular amongst those weird aunts that only go clubbing while it’s simultaneously bingo night.

The newspaper wraps up the article with the phrase “And as any country bumpkin can tell you, ‘If’n you ain’t sure about where you’re goin’, you’re better off stayin’ out o’ the woods.’” For starters, I detest the bumpkin reference, but I’ll let that slide. Secondly, what’s wrong with that saying?! It is good, well natured, advice that has both a physical and practical reference. Therefore, I think next time this writer gets lost in the woods because they didn’t know where they were going, they should have to come back and apologize for not listening to this golden advice.

I would also like to note, as a final thought, that I suppose we do get downright ornery if one trys to put country into the same category with disco.

 

Article: https://search.proquest.com/news/docview/512247907/pageviewPDF/C539E3436D1142AFPQ/1?accountid=14541

So it continues…

October 15, 2018

This blog post is for 10/15/18.

Expanding on the change in genre for different audiences, I do think that the changing of genres resulted in the better distribution of music. Back in the days of segregation, a great deal of people would not listen to a song that was created by “a person of color,” so changing the music could allow for the music to be heard. However, I do not believe this was done to honor the music or to ensure that the song was heard simply because the music deserved to be heard. It was spread in order to have a financial gain and to try to white wash the music industry. While controversial, I think certain songs that were edited to be a different genre were edited in order to create a “white” version. As mentioned in class, King records published the white records much more often than the race records, now whether this was because that’s what they sold or because that’s what they preferred, I don’t know.

 

Hitting on Cowboy Copas Filipino Baby, or just Cowboy Copas in general: they’re a prime example of this misuse of music to spread the idea that they are “honoring” the cultures they are insulting. The song initially sounds like a love some made out to someone who is missed and loved. Later in the song though, he uses words like “pet,” “dark face,” and “claim” which directly show that this relationship was not out of love, but ownership. Love is well known now and then for being “blind,” so by the fact that he noted her color in the lyrics at all proves the point. I can see how the name of the song wouldn’t be too offensive since it’s a culture more than a locality, but there cannot be an argument for the other points. You own pets as property and property is claimed as well, so there is no other meaning to the song other than he thought he was owed her since he “owned” her.

 

I feel less strongly about the idea that the style of song should be attributed to whoever first wrote it, because each version of the song is very different. There are covers of songs on YouTube that are way more popular than the original, and it’s not because people like the YouTube users better. The cover artists are just singing differently, and that difference made it more appealing. Each version still should have been published the same amount, but I can understand the need to save money by not publishing goods that don’t sell. I’m also sure that advertising would have gone a long way as well.

 

I am also disturbed by the idea of “Finger Poppin’.” I don’t know what it is, and I’m a little worried to find out.

This blog post is for 10/10/18.

 

The idea that the older, like Jimmie Rodgers old, was created to help the new immigrants to cities remanence about the country seems to ring true at least for the most part. When looking at even just the names of Jimmie Rodgers song, they reference Tennessee, Texas, Memphis (which is also in Tennessee), Carolina, and Mississippi. These places, if not now then definitely back then, were considered very country or rural. One song even mentions a cowboy, which I would venture to say you can’t find in a city. Even I listen to some current country music because it reminds me of the much different life I had in Texas than here in Northern Virginia. Then, when you look at Merle Haggards song, he mentions directly in “California Cotton Fields” plowing cotton fields. These songs were meant to evoke a rural feeling to them.

 

I can also see how the different genres of the same song were made in order to appeal to different people. For example, “Whatcha Know, Joe” was made in a “race record” as well as in a more upbeat and country song. So, three versions of the same song were created to appeal to the African American crowd, the northern white crowd, and the southern white crowd. This leads me a little bit closer to the idea that there’s a semi-common origin between music genres. There’s at least a way that they fed off of each other in order to fine tune what sold in certain places and what did not.

Texas my Texas.

October 1, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on October 1, 2018.

 

The idea that the Minstrels, where white people would paint themselves black and perform as black people, were a way to widen the gap between the two races holds certain validity. The shows, while being highly insulting, seemed to be a way to broaden the gap between white and black populations, but also a way to lessen the gap between the “white population” which did not include other “white” people like Italians. I’m not sure if they are exactly the reason that the “white population” was able to integrate to include all European nationalities.

However, I can say that it popularized the music form that was used in Minstrels. The music was so popular, that by the time Minstrels were no longer popular, the music form turned into country music. This music it STILL POPULAR TODAY. The last viral video of this form of music was the yodeling boy that was singing in Walmart, and he was so popular that he went to perform at Coachella alongside people like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. It was shocking for me to find out that the form of country music that I adore was from such racist background. Then, if attacking country music wasn’t enough, the state song of Texas was also racist! I was raised and spent most of my educational life in Texas, so I can say that their education system is more of a way to hide what they don’t want their population to know. So, I did not know that the state song had such a background, and that was probably intentional. Texas, and America as a whole, have a lot of hoops to jump through before we can officially say that there isn’t a race problem. That being said, I do think the music industry has made many advancements in the field of racism. It is still slightly present in the way that certain races are “typical” for certain music styles. As mentioned earlier, country music was created “by and for” white people, and rap seems to be dominated by black people now. Plus, each race has to express the typical country or rap artist regardless of their background or even race. In the case of Eminem in rap, who appears white, he mentions how difficult it is to be taken seriously as a white man in rap. And now that I think about it, all of the black country artists I know are more recent (as in the last 20 years). At least I can be comforted by the fact that, even if it started as racist entertainment, the music industry seems to have broadened their horizons to be slightly more inclusive.

 

Side note: The Minstrel posters were highly unnerving for two reasons: the facial expressions were unnaturally stretched or emphasized and the emotions of the person were nearly impossible to read. These two things would unnerve any normal human being since humans are innately able to determine people’s emotions based on their facial expressions, but when the expressions are not only difficult to look at, but difficult to analyze, it’s very unnerving.

You may be a hyperlink.

September 26, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on September 26th, 2019.

 

The revolutionary idea of hypertext brings me back to a blog post a few posts back: the idea that older generations have a linear train of thought and the newer generations have almost a “multi-tasking” manner of analysis. I believe the examples I used included Judge Judy and a new show like Judge Faith. (I’m a fan of the court shows obviously.) Judge Judy, who is around 70 currently grew up in a drastically different world than Judge Faith and I did. I would venture to say the hyperlink contributes to the reason current generations think this way. Before the hyperlink, people were required to read literature in a linear manner, from start to finish in a chronological fashion using the page numbers. If you skipped to the middle of the book, you would miss connections due to the author assuming you have read everything prior. However, with hyperlinks it is possible to skip to the “middle” of an idea on the internet to get more information. Plus, authors using hyperlink are going to assume that you are going to skip certain parts and thus will reiterate parts more often in order to make sure if you skipped the page you still get the point. This jumping system has allowed, or even trained, the current generations to be able to pause mid-thought, read some other relevant information, and then continue on the original thought without losing the point.

I suppose that means younger people are the hyperlinks of our population.

 

Additionally, the revolutionary nature of the access of information literally changed the way the world thought. People that weren’t defense agencies all of the sudden had access to all of this information that was not available before. The world of paper pages has now become the world of internet pages! Advertisers, too, have access to a whole new world to sell and push products and companies to people that aren’t even in their state. Companies were also allowed to get information on the people they were advertising to, or hiring. This also started the idea that once something is put on the internet, there is no way of getting it off because it’s everywhere. Without a central source, it’s impossible to delete something from every source. In the end, it’s best to write on paper the things that could come back to haunt you, or else you might end up like this guy:

Image result for comic about hyperlinks

Source: Dilbert.com

This blog post is for the lecture on September 24th, 2018.

 

I can understand much better now why Claude Shannon would venture into the electronic mouse game. By the way it was originally explained, it seemed as though he was just “piddling around” and playing with machines for fun. However, the relay system he created was a great way to demonstrate the power of relay memory and the usefulness for the future phone companies. Plus, as a cat owner, the play possibilities are literally endless.

 

Image result for shannon mouse

This image is Claude Shannon with his electric mouse, Theseus. Source: Cybernetic Zoo

 

More interestingly, the thought that order, mathematical order anyway, leads to very little information in the end. What was explained in the book about Shannon, mentioned in an earlier blog, was that the mathematical order present in things, like language, causes the words to be worth less. It’s almost calling text lingo the superior language. For example, the word “you” versus “u.” The former takes longer to write and say, plus it takes longer to understand the meaning because if you’ve never seen any of the letters you have to piece together three instead of one. This means that the “y” and the “o” in the word you are really worthless as they aren’t needed to understand the word, so they aren’t needed at all.

 

This idea, theoretically, is a good thing for computer science because it allows for language and numbers to hold zero meaning. For example, Google is able to pull up webpages and process information in any language. Regardless of what country or language the program was made in. This is due to the letter grouping of the program and its ability to locate patterns and order in any language and spit back articles that matched the pattern. Overall, the study showed that the ability to find order and mathematically represent it, while making the information worth less, allows programs to better understand the information since it was simplified.

This blog post pertains to the lecture on September 19th, 2018.

The first notes I would like to make are on the required reading “A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age” by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman. For starters, the introduction was puffing (slight exaggerations or white lies in order to make a person seem better or more qualified than they are) slightly in order to explain Shannon’s contributions to the binary code, but the way that the author did it had me convinced for about half of the book that Shannon was the one that invented binary. Most of the book had these slight attributions that wanted the reader to attribute these creations to Shannon instead of the founder, and that made understanding his actual contribution quite difficult. However, I understand that we couldn’t have the inventions without Shannon’s paper “Mathematical Theory of Communication,” which he actually did write. On the other hand, the descriptive writing about Shannon’s childhood and his time in Ann Arbor were very personable and written in a way that was amusing, so I can forgive the previous slight of confusion. Interestingly, and relative to my field, was how Shannon invented the code geneticists use to describe alleles and the population. Which surprised me because I wouldn’t expect a coding person to come up with symbols for a biological science, but I suppose with his cryptography background, symbols were kind of his thing.

 

To start on the lecture, the ideas created by people like Vannevar Bush and Lee DeForest seem to be the building blocks for the technological advancements we have now, and for that I thank them. While a majority of the systems’ inner workings is lost to me, I can understand all of the thought and work that went into figuring these things out. Especially since it’s difficult for me to conceptualize what they figured out, even though I have the blueprint of what they created. I can personally relate to the necessity of the Audion because, even though all phones already have it, my mother still insists on making sure people in Texas can hear her without the use of the phone. Maybe she got used to her parents speaking without amplification, or maybe phones just aren’t her specialty. Either way, I can see how a room full of people talking like that would increase the noise and therefore reduce the signal.

 

Last thought, the more I hear about Steve Jobs the more I believe that he just pasted together other people’s ideas in order to make some mixture that he could put his own name on.

I’ve been thinking a little bit more about why the younger generations like “stagnant” music. Now, I haven’t listened to a great deal of older music where the volume varies greatly, so if I am wrong please correct me.

 

I think it has to do, at least in part, with the new additions the new music can add with the use of technology. In the car the other day, every song on the radio had some sort of non-instrumental addition. Like clapping, or the dubstep sound I can only describe as the “wub-wub.” Some had other vocalizations, but they were repeated in a way that was not likely to have come straight from a person. Are they called soundboards? Those things with the preprogrammed sounds for each button, and that way you can hit multiple buttons in a certain pattern to create an electronic song. Thus, every time you hit the button the sound goes off or starts over, so I think the voice additions might have been from a soundboard.

 

Therefore, I think the lack of volume change comes from the addition of other sounds that if the volume were to be changed as well might be overwhelming. Versus for old music, the volume had to change in order to make the song more dynamic, where as the younger music doesn’t need any more dynamic additions.

 

Let us look at the two examples given in class: Fireworks by Katy Perry and (while I don’t remember the exact example used in class) let’s say the 1920s singer Cliff Carlisle. While Cliff has multiple different instruments and volume variation, he does not have any sound effects relatively close to the firework popping. Also, in Fireworks there’s a clapping sound, that seems to cut unnaturally to give it a sharper edge. Now, I believe that older music had the opportunity to do this as well, but I think newer music definitely uses it more: layering of sounds. Older music had a few instruments that played a melody and harmony with the vocals while the newer music layers what sounds like four or five different bands together.

 

The sound change in newer music isn’t nearly as dynamic, but the additional use of technological advancements and just over-the-top showmanship seems to replace the need for this change.

What is the Ideal?

September 12, 2018

Ok, so I can officially say: I’m an established idealist. I think there is one ideal, and nobody reading this (including me) will ever be able to reach it or even fathom it. To be fair, I was an idealist long before I was religious so I can’t even attribute my ideas to religion. My modus operandi is to pick things that fit the closest to an ideal that it will ever be possible for me to reach, albeit in food, or family, or even relationships. I have no interest in fixing people or things, however. I think that’s the beauty of idealism, too, there is a perfection, but I don’t ever have to bother with reaching it (as long as I don’t kill anyone).

 

What about music? This one was a little tricky. Personally, I think the ideal of music is no autotune. A person’s natural and beautiful voice holds much more weight than anything man could create. Don’t worry, this applies to instruments too! Being blessed with the ability to play an instrument, sing, or even the blessing of knowledge, is something to be admired for what it is: a blessing. Even if you’re not religious, you have to admit that your gifts have to be attributed to something, and it could be your own hard work or your genes or even God.

 

So, back to how I pick “The Ideal,” it’s a construct. I decide what I think the ideal looks like, and then I get pretty darn close all the while knowing that I may have to fudge on certain things because the ideal is impossible. With family I may fudge the whole “always get along and hold hands,” because frankly my family is the definition of chaos. For spouses I may fudge the whole “love at first sight,” because I’m honest in that my personality grows on people. It just takes longer to grow on some than others, so if I’m close to the ideal I may wait way longer than I should for them to decide they like me.

 

In life I have a seemingly simple ideal: make something of yourself, find a love, have a few kids, then the rest I’ll kind of just make up as I go. Now of course, the ideal would be chasing it NOW. But the fudging here is I know I can’t have a spouse or kids now, so I work on other things until those are a little closer to ideal.

 

Last thought, popular things do not have to be the ideal. I know you’re all thinking:

Image result for how can you say things so controversial but so true

But bear with me, just because everyone likes something doesn’t mean it’s the best. I haven’t specifically read the entire Bible, but I’m pretty sure there’s a whole town where the complete OPPOSITE of ideal was popular. That’s the town where God kind of decided, “Burn it, and start over.” And so, it was. Therefore, it’s possible to make completely not-ideal things the popular opinion but I highly doubt he’ll have to start over just because people like Justin Bieber exist. Because I know if I hear Apollo’s harp and its some Little Wayne and Justin Bieber mash up, I’m going to be pissed.

 

I can’t be sure what the ideal really is, but I can say definitively as the professor hit on: Baked Hot Cheetos are the closest to ideal humanity will ever get to. No argument. Even my cat is in awe of the mere presence of them.