Category: Practical


© The Lex Talionis

Lifehacker publish a short list of the hangups we all face when trying to be productive. Click the link to read the full article. It’s a quick read.

Seven Tricks Your Mind Plays on You (and How to Fight Back).

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It turns out some things cannot be copyrighted. If something is seen as utilitarian like food or clothing it cannot be copyrighted –Oddly enough pharmaceuticals that are sometimes needed for people to survive do not fall into this category. So those “Insert brand name here”  jeans that cost you $100 can knocked off tomorrow and that company cannot sue, more on that in a bit.

The RIAA has attempted to crack down on music piracy by suing individual people. Effectively targeting they client of the very industry they claim to be protecting. Piracy isn’t a new thing.When I was growing up there were people who recorded music tracks from the radio and made their own “mix tapes.” In my old neighborhood in LA if you wanted to watch a new movie you would simply go to the laundromat and an older, typically Asian woman, would come around offering you the latest movie blockbusters. On DVD before the industry giants managed it. The internet has just facilitated the process but the question has yet to be resolved. What should we do about copyright? Well before we make a decision we should look at how it effects certain industries. Namely the fashion industry, books, and cinema.

Authors

Brandon Sanderson

For those who don’t know Brandon Sanderson he is the current author of the Wheel of Time Series this epic fiction series was originally written by Robert Jordan who died recently. The series has spanned over two decades and Brandon Sanderson became an accomplished author on his own before he took over this amazing series. Now why do I mention all this? Well Sanderson has an interesting article you can read here on a book called Warbreaker. He goes on to say ” I also realize that something Cory says is very true—my biggest challenge as an author is obscurity.” Sanderson approached his publishers and decided to release a complete novel for free. He released it unedited and later on released subsequent versions with edits. Warbreaker is still available to download for free in it’s final version as well as early edits and can be purchased through the regular distribution channels. SInce he did this in 2007 I will attempt to contact Sanderson to see if he will share his sales figures for this book. It would be interesting to see if his gamble paid off? The reviews seem mainly positive as of today on both Amazon –with almost 300 reviews at the time of this article– and Barnes & Nobles –over 350 reviews–

When Robert Jordan passed away the Wheel of Time community was left distraught with the unfinished final novel (later split into three volumes) and a new author was chosen by Jordan’s widow and editor Harriet. Until that point I never hear of Brandon Sanderson and would have purchased one of his books to see what type of author he was. I’m sure he would have sold a lot of books at that point but Sanderson did something interesting he gave away his book Mistborn: The Final Empire. It was the first book in a trilogy that Sanderson was writing. You could download the whole book completely free. I was shocked. I downloaded the book and went on to purchase the remaining two books. At the time of publication of the last book I drove three hours away to get it on the day it was released since I now live in Puerto Rico and most books stores around me simply don’t carry it.

With the Wheel of Time Sanderson has clearly left obscurity behind long ago and is one of the most successful authors in his genre.

Neil Gaiman

I love wimp.com. For those of you who don’t know what that is it’s a site that publishes 5 videos a day. These are generally extremely though provoking, amazing, uber-cute or just outstanding in their own way. Neil Gaiman was featured on Wimp under the video title “Neil Gaiman on copyright piracy and the Web.” Gaiman was initially very upset with piracy of his books on the internet. After a while he notice that the places he would be pirated would actually have higher sales. Gaiman says “You are not losing book, you are not losing sales by having stuff out[ your books ] there.” He goes on to mention various social experiments and discovered, interestingly enough, that 90-95% of people who have favorite authors and buy their book and support them have not purchased the first book that they had read from that author. They may have been lent the book, taken it out of a library or even pirated it. Gaiman sees this as a form of advertising and introducing new readers to his body of work. You can see the full video below.

Neil Gaiman on copyright piracy and the Web.

Fashion

As I mentioned earlier the fashion industry largely exists without copyright protection. We all know that the industry is not suffering from lack of sales. Nike isn’t in risk of bankruptcy despite the fact that huge companies that spend their days dealing with money like AIG some how need bailouts. The fashion industry is growing. Woman pay more for the handbag than the “expensive” electronics they have kept inside it and let’s not even begin to talk about shoes. Watches fall into the fashion category. You can find watches for $1 maybe even less that will accurately keep time. Yet fashionable watch companies often start the figure for a watch in the triple digits. You can get a similar watch from another company for a fraction of it’s value. The fashion industry has done well to position and market itself and has been able to exist without the restriction of copyright. They don’t have to invest in separate organizations that come after you for buying jeans that are similar to a branded Express pair. They can focus on the thing that matters. The product.  Take a look at this extremely interesting Ted Talk by Johanna Blakley on copyright and the fashion industry for more information.

Movies

The movie industry has an advantage over the record industry in “extras” and video quality.

The movie industry has a lot of footage when they release a single film. The have shots from alternative angles, they have outakes that are often funny or interesting in some way, they sometimes shoot scenes that are removed from the theater version and even shoot alternative endings. More commonly they interview the cast about their role and character and even offer directors commentary. Movies are often dubbed over or voiced over in other languages and subtitle tracks are available in every major movie release. All of this makes for a pretty impressive package. When you pirate a movie you often miss out on some of these features. If I love the movie I go out and purchase the DVD. It’s a way of reliving the movie through a perspective.

When it comes to movie quality there have been some pretty significant changes. Initially every movie was reformatted from theater aspect ratio (The ratio of width to height ie 16:9) to the common 4:3 of a television screen. With widescreen monitors and televisions we were able to get a truer cinematic experience. The trend was moving from low clarity on old VHS or video cassettes to DVD to Blueray. Higher and higher definition. Now we can watch movies on smaller devices like cell phone and tablets where file size has become relevant again. You don’t need an extremely large image on a small screen. If you took the time to build a DVD collection it has become outdated when compared to the HD clarity of Blueray and movie resolutions will continue to go up as pixel density increases with products like Apple’s Retina Display. Let’s not even get into 3d versions of a movie. So what are you to do? Invest now or wait?

This is where the movie industry can step in and help. If you already purchased a DVD why would you go out and purchase the same movie again on blueray? As customers become more tech savvy the restriction on resolutions and video formats offered to the end user need to be varied at a reasonable price.The initial purchase should cover all of this and in formats that are not locked down in DRM (digital rights management) that is so secure that it keeps you from watching your own content on different devices. After all when we are purchasing a  movie we are purchasing the right to see that movie in a way we want as long as we do not distribute the movie or make a profit from it’s sale.

What the Movie industry has done so far

One of the best things the movie industry has done is put it’s content online. It is faster and easier to download a movie from itunes than it is to pirate that same movie. Media center devices often offer a way for your to rent or purchase content directly from your remote control. That facilitates a legal way of getting your content in the format you need. What if you already own a movie. If you own a DVD Wallmart and VUDU offers a service that allows you stream a digital copy of the movie via VUDU in Blue-ray resolution for just $5. It’s a much cheaper alternative to purchasing a blue-ray copy of a movie you already own. They also offer a $2 conversion option but I don’t think it’s a good option if you can just convert the movie yourself using programs like handbrake.  The movie industry has now begun to offer digital copies of your movie when you purchase the movie on blue-ray or DVD. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I decided to do some research and although, in theory, it’s great in actuality it doesn’t pan out well.  Lee Rodriguez decided to get a download all the digital copies of various movies he has purchased and found that it’s not as easy as you would think to put a movie on a device he owns. Check out the full article here. I will leave you with his quote

“The high road was blocked. Someone somewhere decided it was more important to make sure I couldn’t put the movie online than it was to make sure I could put the movie on my portable device of choice. Luckily, someone else put it online for me and everyone got a happy ending.”

The problem is the movie, recording, and book industries as-a-whole tend to forget that they are selling to their customers and people who may initially pirate their works are potential customers. Tit for tat doesn’t work. Maybe the rest of the industry can take a page from Brandon Sanderson and Neil Gaiman. If they focused more on the customer than on the pirate the bottom line will fix itself.

The Rules for Women

Moisturize your face AND neck daily

Don’t wear too much makeup if you do, wash of your makeup the second you don’t need it.

Dress up but don’t show off your ASSets like you’re having a bake sale. No one will buy the buns if you’re giving away free samples.

Always wear a bra, even while sleeping

Measure yourself for a bra, your girls are worth it.

Make exercise a part of your routine now and you’ll thank me later

Drink plenty of water

Ask for help and remind a man you are a woman with playful and gentle words, when need be

Offer to pay but accept a man’s payment

Never put out if you really like a man. A man that wants to take you home can’t wait but a man who want to take you to his family’s home can.

Don’t tempt yourself. If you hang out, alone, with a man when you’re already in a great relationship you are one slip away from messing it all up.

Don’t cheat, open the relationship or break up.

Don’t cheat because you’ve been cheated on. Karma’s a bigger bitch than you are.

Empathy that’s acted upon, communication and trust are necessary components to every great relationship.

Lack of communication is the death of a relationship.

Use your mind AND heart. Don’t assume because you love someone it will work out neither should you assume that just because that person has all the things on your list, you will love them.

Love is a living thing. It grows and dies based on how we take care of it.

Girls this list will be ongoing.. so make some suggestions and I may add them.

No. Why would I intentionally put something in my body that can create the flu or worse. The odds of getting swine flu are extremely rare. The odds of contracting it and dying, even more so. There’s something that’s not right about a new flu that has a vaccine. Think about these scares. If there’s nothing bad going on in the world then a flu comes about. It happened with mad cow disease (that wouldn’t happen with an animal that was raised halal cause the cause was a cow was fed another cow. Men created it by going against nature.) This made media headline, as we all know. Only 3 people died from mad cow in the US (Of those three 1 was from Canada) and 214 world wide. Then there was Bird Flu. Worldwide since the WHO started collecting data in 03-09, there have only been 262 cases world wide. Zero South America, North America, or Europe(there were some cases reported in Turkey.) Now there is Swine Flu. In all, 50 cases are known to have occurred since the first report in medical literature in 1958, which have resulted in a total of six deaths. Of these six people, one was pregnant, one had leukemia, one had Hodgkin disease and two were known to be previously healthy.

So here are the odds of you contracting and dying from each of these diseases: (I’m doing the math intentionally high on the disease side. It’s supposed to the be cases reported each year divided by the global population this year, then averaged. I will take all the cases ever reported and divide by the world population. An unrealistically high figure.. just so you can see what we’re talking about.)
Global Statistics (Versus US Statistics in Parentheses)
Mad Cow 1 in 32 Million (1 in 103 Million)
Bird Flu 1 in 26 Million (No cases reported in US)
Swine Flu 1 in 136 Million (1 in 51 Million)
Other Comparisons
Death by lightning in just the US during your lifetime: 1 in 5000
Winning the Mega Millions: 1 in 135 Million
Motor Vehicle deaths worldwide in 2004: 1 in 5,553
Royal Flush in Poker: 1 in 260,000

Death Caused by Cardiovascular Disease: 2.9 in 10 people

It’s bad enough we have these low risk diseases with so much media attention. Now we have companies making a profit on these scares. GSK has reported £1 Billion (Roughly $1.66 Billion)  expected in sale just from vaccines by the 4th quarter 2009. So the moral of the story is. If it said it in 2 or more of the 3 major religious text (Torah, Bible or Quran) not to do it, don’t do it (eating pork.) If it seems like something that’s extremely wrong (feeding cows cows!!!) don’t do it and finally don’t believe the hype whenever something is happening major and scary do you own investigation.

My Anthro professor once said a method of a nation united is to have a common enemy, whether it be real of fabricated, the threat holds people together. If you look at what’s going on in all of this and what they want you to come out with the end result is, don’t travel, live in fear, hate people who we don’t understand. So my message is, travel, don’t live in fear, and ask why should we hate that person. If a person is screaming in the street we often ask someone around them “why is that guy screaming?” it’s funny how when the media screams at us we just accept it as fact.

Even a regular flu shot can have adverse effects. Just look at the video below.

Cooking In a Hotel Room

This Brit find a creative way to use the appliances and resources at his disposal to create a very reasonable meal.

A craigslist education

I was looking through “The Best of” craigslist ads and stumbled upon this one

Originally Posted: Sun, 21 Dec 00:46 EST 

1. I love my wife.
2. I would never cheat on her
3. After a decade together, I still fantasize about her when I’m alone
4. Our baby is beautiful.
5. Wife has 6 pack abs again
6. She makes the effort
7. And so do I
8. We appreciate each other
9. And work together
10. And stay sexy for each other
11. And fantasize together
12. And motivate each other
13. We don’t watch TV
14. TV is distractive shit
15. Instead we talk
16. We eat together
17. And listen to each other
18. I love it when she rubs my neck when I’m driving
19. She loves it when I rub cream on her feet
20. I leave the seat down
21. Sometimes she makes me a sandwich
22. I brush the snow off her car
23. She surprises me with sexy things
24. We met at the Roxy
25. I still have her phone number she gave me

My advice for fellow men posting to R&R (or just in general):

1. Don’t complain about how your wife or gf treats you. Is there a reason she treats you that way? Put down the remote and work on it with her. Go to therapy. If you can’t work it out, separate and get on with your life.

2. Don’t brag about cheating on your wife. That’s a lame thing to do. Real men don’t brag about cheating on their spouses. When you brag to strangers online about cheating on your wife, you’ve reduced yourself to the lowest form of shit imaginable.

3. Don’t post cock pics. It’s lame. If you want to be with a woman, take a shower, shave, get dressed, and go out and meet one.

4. Don’t whine. Real men don’t wine. They effect change.

5. Don’t post porn. It’s lame. We all know where to find it if we want to look at it. The woman in the picture won’t magically appear in your bedroom if you post it. You have better things to do with your time than that.

6. Stop being hateful. It doesn’t make the world a better place. it doesn’t make you happier. Shut off the computer and work on making yourself a better person.

7. Stop being angry. You were born into a world with many problems, get over it. We all have problems. The sun doesn’t rise and set on your ass. Work them out. Shut up and Do what you need to do.

8. Don’t act like an asshole just because you happen to be with some assholes. Be a leader. Wake them up or find better friends.

9. Stop being led by your cock. Men who are slaves to their own cock are weak. Lead your cock, don’t follow it. Master your cock instead of master-bating it. Silly insecure boys post messages asking women to show their tits. Be a man, use your big head, get off your ass and go out and meet a woman. Both you and your dick will be happier for it.

10. Don’t troll for FWB if you are in a relationship. There is nothing more cowardly than to sneak around behind your spouse’s back. If you want to play the field then stop being a louse, grow some balls, step up to the plate and tell your spouse or girlfriend that you want to move on. You don’t want her to waste your time, so don’t waste hers. Be a man.

11. Stop hating on fat women. Fat women aren’t happy about being fat. They know what they’re up against and they don’t need your shit to add to the problem. They’re not all lazy fuckers, they’re often victims of stress and depression like you, except they turn it inwards instead of spewing written shit like you. Be an encouraging pen pal, not a verbal shitheel.

12. Stop spewing racist shit. It’s another waste of your time. All the minorities around you are here to stay. Get used to it.

13. Stop spewing homophobic shit. One in ten are gay. That means someone in your own family. Probably you. Gay people want the same thing you do: nice neighbors, a wide screen TV, lower taxes, and a day’s pay. What’s the fucking problem. Your bullshit won’t change anything. Get over it.

My suggested goals for my fellow men:

1. Strive to be a man people want to be around. This means being congenial, fair, loyal, and honest.

2. Try to do something nice for someone at least once each day, even if it’s as simple as holding a door for someone.

3. Decide what your principles are as a man and live by them. Make decisions using your principles instead of using fear, pain or pleasure.

4. Strive to exercise a few times a week. It keeps you fit and your mind clear.

5. Keep yourself groomed, clean, and neat. it will make you feel more confident.

6. You live in a marketing culture that tries to convince you that self gratification in all forms is the way to happiness. The real way to happiness is to give to others. Find a benevolent club, church, or organization. Join it and make a difference. Then you’ll feel real happiness in spite of your other problems.

7. Shut the TV off. Find productive ways to spend your time. Any time you are about to do something, ask yourself first if you are just distracting yourself.

8. Don’t spend your life distracting yourself from being something better.

9. Realize that everyday you are exposed to 3000-5000 advertisements.

10. Rise above the sea of bullshit around you. Be an island.

11. Stop worrying about keeping pace with your friends. Instead figure out what is important to you.

12. The world is full of creepy, insecure, arrogant, selfish, dishonest, and narrow minded men. You can be something better.

As men, truths to heed:

1. You are allowed to feel emotion, smile, laugh, and have fun

2. Asking for directions is a sign of strength, not weakness

3. The measure of a man is how he thinks and acts, not about muscles or tattoos. Think about that.

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Jessica told me that if you run water while cutting an onion you won’t get teary eyed. I’ve tried it and it works, but why. Today I was watching the history channel and they explained why it works. Onions contain high levels of sulfur when you cut into an onion sulfer is released into the air and combines with the natural moisture on the surface of your eyes to create sulfuric acid. You tear to dillute this acid further. So in conclusion anything that can capture the sulfur vapor and combine it with water would effectively neutralize the sulfur enough so that it won’t form sulfuric acid on the surface of your eye.

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You may have heard that apple will take an old ipod back and safetly dispose of it. What you may not have heard is that they do the same for computers, monitors, cell phones and laptops. Apples recycling program will allow you to recycle your old computers and monitors when you purchase a new mac regardeless of make or model. The same goes for your old monitors or laptops. Apple will also take back ANY old cellphone, no purchase necessary. As if that isn’t kind enough they’ve teamed up with FedEx to offer free recycling. Who knew going green would get so easy?

For the no purchase ipod and cellphone recycling program just click the link below.
Apple Ipod/Cellphone Recycling

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Ecstasy Myths Debunked


One of the major myths pertaining to MDMA, also known as ecstasy, involves “ice cream sized scoops” being destroyed in the brain. This is not true. The myth started circulating after an erroneous study that was published. You can read more about it here. You can also hear the retraction on an NCR news cast that I found on youtube here.

Other myths include dangers of drinking too much water.
Also False. Drinking too much water is only dangerous due to depletion of electrolytes. Drink a Gatorade, Disani or Powerade every few bottles and you’ll be fine.
Water myth debunked here

And finally does ecstasy drain your spinal fluid?
No. You can read more about that one here.

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