Links: New Graviton, Understanding Your Politicians, a Must-Listen Interview, and Getting Personal (Updated 16:26 GMT)

This week's must-click link is a radio interview.  NPR's Terry Gross spoke with David Dow, a man that, for over 20 years, has defended inmates on Death Row.  It's a sobering listen, as Dow explains how he - and his family - manages to live a life in which failure is an everyday occurrence, and dealing with the fact that he knows he is going to lose most of his cases.  Later, they discuss how Dow can represent convicted killers (few are actually "evil", while most were in their late teens or early twenties at the time of the crime, and have grown up and changed in the intervening time) and what happens when one that claims to be innocent comes around (as it turns out, most of the convicts he meets have come to terms with their crimes after the decade-long wait to be executed and so have moved past the pretense of innocence).

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Before settling their case against GeoHot, Anonymous got so riled up with Sony's treatment of the all-around nice guy criminal that they attempted to teach them a lesson.  Somewhere in the detached online attacks, however, things got personal.

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In one of the more fascinating piracy-related stories around, the manager of some Canadian band is angry because aforementioned band is being hung out to dry by the hundreds of thousands of possible customers that downloaded their new album instead of paying for it.

Well, of course, it's not that simple.  Fellow writer (hey, in case you forgot what I do)   Wayne Borean delved deeper into this story and discovered that no one actually downloaded this album - in fact, this album couldn't even be found on any torrent site*.  The manager, if you can believe it, was basing his "figures" off the fake links you find on every search, mistaking these advertisements for real downloads.

Unfortunately for Borean, they didn't appreciate his meddling ways and struck back in an unseemly manner.  The sad irony in this fact is that Borean is one of the band's dozen** fans, and was trying to help the band, not harm them.  The manager and band's own stupidity, in the end, did enough self-harm to make up for it, though.

Borean, while we're here, also posted a great article on the actual work that goes into sitting in front of a computer everyday and typing for a living.

* He did actually manage to find some songs on one site.  (One.)
** Okay, they do have more fans than that, but with fewer YouTube views than me (by a lot, which should tell you all you need to know), the number isn't as high as the manager would like to believe.

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The Harvard Business Review makes an excellent point when looking at "Big Content businesses" and their reaction to new technologies:
"Despite making their living relying on it, the Big Content players do not understand technology, and never have. Rather than see it as an opportunity to reach new audiences, technology has always been a threat to them. Example after example abounds of this attitude; whether it was the VCR which was "to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone" as famed movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti put it at a congressional hearing, or MP3 technology, which they tried to sue out of existence. In fact, it's possible to go back as far as the gramophone and see the content industries rail against new technology."
As author James Allworth explains, the ultimate result of this fear of innovation will be that innovating companies will depart for "environments extremely conducive to disruptive innovation" and leave a technological hole in American innovation.

I have to say that all this and the ICE's recent activity (taking down websites without notice) is fairly disconcerting. While one can understand the sentiment behind it, the distance between censoring the so-called "criminal" and what you just don't want to hear is surprisingly short.  And you don't want to see a governmental organisation traveling down that road.
Secondly, as someone that uses, let's say...  unconventional...  techniques in his work, I would like to see more innovation, not less.  Stifling it is something I absolutely abhor.

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During Obama's election campaign, and even now, the "Obama is a socialist" myth was bandied about by the media and subsequently people of the US.  Most people don't actually know what "socialism" is, mistaking it for something totally unrelated.  Now, I always thought this misunderstanding was because of the Cold War and the lies that were spread around by every party involved, but I recently discovered something interesting:


This chart, taken from the Political Compass, is "constructed on the basis of the speeches, public statements and, crucially, the voting records of each of the candidates."  Amazingly, not only is Obama not a left-leaning "socialist", but he is in fact on the right end of the spectrum.  Hillary Clinton, though you don't see it here, is even more towards the right, but is still perceived as a "lefty".

The striking thing about this is that, all along, we've been told that Obama is a "socialist", a "lefty", and so on, yet the truth is that he isn't even close.  It shows just how poorly the media has been communicating these facts and propagating untruths.  Disappointing, though hardly a surprise.

Additionally, we can have a look at the UK (circa-2010):



Here, it's also fair to say that anyone that thinks Labour is on the left is also similarly deluded.

In the end, what we need to learn is how to reshape our perceptions, putting aside old, partisan ideas, and see political parties as they are, not how we remember them or want to see them.


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Finally, MetalSucks is streaming Graviton's new album right now.  For those that don't know, Graviton is a project consisting of Sacha Dunable, Darin Tambascio, and Derek Donley.  You can also check out their songs here.  It's seriously awesome stuff, definitely an album I'm planning on getting.

***UPDATE***

Now, this is funny stuff.  One of the MPs supporting a controversial piracy law in New Zealand pirated a whole bunch of songs just hours before she made a speech disparaging piracy.

Hypocrisy?  According her, no.  She claims what she did doesn't count as piracy, contrary to the sheer fact that the law she just helped pass explicitly says it is. Ha!

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