I came across the Microcosmographia Academia in one of Niranjan‘s slides (which are an interesting view into the world of academic politics and bureaucracy) and then found it in full at the webpage of Dr Utting of Kent University. It’s a lovely satire on academic politics from 1908 in the form of a short pamphlet. Just short enough, in fact, that I’ve wasted a good hour typesetting it [pdf,tex]. It starts with this small ‘advertisement’:

If you are young, do not read this book; it is not fit for you;
If you are old, throw it away; you have nothing to learn from it;
If you are unambitious, light the fire with it; you do not need its guidance.

But, if you are neither less than twenty-five years old, nor more than thirty;
And if you are ambitious withal, and your spirit hankers after academic politics;
Read, and may your soul (if you have a soul) find mercy!

The Pirate Bay Trial

February 28, 2009

So Stina wrote a piece for the independent about the Pirate Bay Trials which reminded me: I’m really upset about the implications of this attack one of the main hubs of the new social order! Just in case  you don’t know, The Pirate Bay is a place for downloading torrent files, which are little files that help you download bigger files from people all over the world. Generally, it’s used for downloading things you’ve not bought, and so helps us in the grand copyright infringement which, apart from making us feel kind of smug and priatey, proves the inefficiency in the market for such digital things and ultimately, hopefully, will change the state of play. See Steal This Film for more info.

Here, I just wanted to link to some coverage of the trial, which is illuminating. There’s Spectrical which is the sort of `official’ coverage, then there’s also TorrentFreak’s coverage which has an especially moving piece about one of the wife of one of the witnesses for the defence being sent a load of flowers. Then there’s also the mainstream coverage in the Guardian, in Cory Doctorow’s column Digital rights, digital wrongs. It all goes to show the lengths people go in order to restrict change. I wonder if I’ll be as motivated as the record companies when something I don’t want to change comes along? Hopefully, at least, I’ll be better informed than these dinosaurs…