Category Archives: Everyday Life

SOPA: Not Far Enough?!? Stop Subway Whistlers Too!

I usually don’t weigh in regarding my political opinions but when it comes to SOPA, I couldn’t resist. Keep in mind my perspective might be skewed because I am currently living in London where the US-centric view of the world is less predominant. So here it goes:

I am beginning to wonder if SOPA goes far enough. Here’s my case. I was sitting on the Tube the other day for a long time. The person next to me, a twenty-something fellow, well-dressed with stylish clothes, began whistling a Britany Spears song. I am sure his public broadcast was being enjoyed by more than just me. But then it occurred to me, has he paid the appropriate licensing fees to rebroadcast that material? If I had been at home in Kansas, I might have considered the prospect of a citizen’s arrest but as a foreigner, I wasn’t really in that position. Plus, for all I knew, maybe he had sent a royalty payment to Britany’s recording company.

This takes me back to my point….SOPA is NOT ENOUGH! I think SOPA needs a few additional clauses to cover whistlers, hummers, and, yes, even random chorus singers. They all should be required to display their license demonstrating their subscriptions are paid up before publicly (or even privately!) being allowed to reproduce the music in ANY form.

The US government could rely on citizen watchdogs first and then formally organize an enforcement agency to deal with violators. The enforcement will be tricky but that’s a detail Congress can organize later. Just think of how much better the world would be! As a tax payer, I would be happy to fork out the additional money required. An international enforcement branch could take care of overseas violators. And a Website could be maintained to let whistlers and hummers know what they can legally reproduce royalty free (e.g. old school tunes!). After all this goes through, no more unlicensed whistlers on the Tube in London…wouldn’t that be heaven?

One last thought, I mentioned this idea to a friend of mine. He brought up one more sticky point—singing in the shower. But, that is a no-brainer. Webcam enforcement could manage that for us easily! I am sure plenty of our congressmen would volunteer for that duty…Stop Sopa

Human Google

Human GoogleWhen in London it’s hard not to overhear what people around you are saying. You are surrounded by people on the bus, the tube, and sidewalk. Even in my flat, I can hear what the neighbors or people outside are talking about. Maybe that’s why strangers don’t go out of their way to greet you like someone in Kansas might—there are just too many voices all around and seeing one more person is not an event.

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation that included this:

“When I get home, I’ll ask my neighbor. The guy is a human Google.”

I had to think about that a moment. I had heard people use the phrase “human encyclopedia” to describe someone that seems to know a little about everything. But a human Google takes it to the next level—just another example of the changes influencing our everyday life and lexicon.

There was something just not quite right about a human Google so I continued to listen and the conversation added a few disclaimers.

“He’ll spit out a hundred ideas and maybe four or five of them will be worth looking into. He’s good to talk with but he’ll just go on and on… and he never knows what to do with his ideas.”

Aha! The human Google may not have the precision of a human encyclopedia. That does seem to be the direction we are heading—a clutter of information, some of which is useful and some, not so much. The human Google supplies the list but it is up to us to filter it.

Maybe the guy I overheard needs a new friend, a “human Wolfram Alpha”