Friday, April 10, 2009

Newsletter #00024

So I almost forgot that today was even a Friday. What a wonderful thing a three-day weekend is.

Alright, well I'm going to start off by talking about something that I don't know if many people know about and its something that Lauren Pi and I are into and its called Steampunk. Since I'm not sure how quite to start off talking about this myself, I am borrowing an intro paragraph from Wikipedia.

"Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date."

Seriously, this is pretty much the coolest thing ever invented. It's basically a genre of life. Seriously. Its a genre of literature, fashion, technology, music, movies and pretty much everything. It's really interesting thinking about what life would be like if we lived in a world like this. If you're still confused, here's a few pictures of steampunk-inspired things:

This here is a laptop somebody made steampunkish. I totally want one.
I believe this is the cover to the above laptop. Isn't it awesome?
If Pacman were steampunk...
So I was searching for some steampunk jewelry or a picture of what a steampunk world would be and came across steampunk Tinkerbell. This is awesome.
Some steampunk jewelry for you. If only I had $65 to spare...

Alright, thats enough of steampunk. (Okay, you can never have too much steampunk but I should probably move on to other things. These pictures are probably gonna take up a lot of room)

Since I'm really enjoying writing this newsletter this week I'm going to talk about some other things I like. Hopefully I don't end up being the only one.

There's a book I really want to recommend everyone here read. I feel like if anyone would like this book its people who read this newsletter.

So the name of the book is Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow. Not only is this book incredibly awesome (for reasons I'll tell in a moment) but the author is basically one of my heroes. He is really really active in things like creative commons. Basically what it is is a way for him to allow readers to read all his works online, share them and remix them however they want. He gives excellent arguments for it at the intro to his pdf file of Little Brother, which I first read for free online and then eventually bought just because I loved it so much.

Basically, Cory argues, its ridiculous to have copyright laws that do things like force teachers to talk to lawyers just to produce a school play of his book. Under creative commons, they can do that, but he still is able to protect his work and make money off of it because nobody can try and sell his stuff. He also talks about how allowing people to read his books offline actually sells more books, because, as he says "For me for pretty much every writer the big problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity (thanks to Tim O'Reilly for this great aphorism). Of all the people who failed to buy this book today, the majority did so because they never heard of it, not because someone gave them a free copy."

I know I can't really put it into detail or word nearly as good as he can, but I highly recommend everyone not only read the book, but read his views on copyright. I am a huge fan.

I want to quickly tell you what Little Brother is about, because this is a book that I think everyone should read. Honestly, its that good and I think, that important. Of course, if you are a strong Republican, ummm or even a weak one, you might not like it. Otherwise, I highly, highly recommend this book.

Basically this book tells about another terrorist attack on the US, this time in San Fransisco. The main character, Marcus, is basically in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets taken hostage by our very own Department of Homeland Security. Not only do they treat him like a terrorist, San Fransisco basically becomes a police state where anything goes in the name of protection. Even extreme violations of people's rights. When things begin to be taken too far, Marcus takes things into his own hands. Through his crazy use of technology he begins a movement to take on the DHS and regain his liberties as an American citizen.

Seriously, this book is amazing. Not only is the premise cool, but it really makes you think about things and realize just how dangerous a government can be when it gets out of control. There's also a ton of really cool facts and things you probably never knew about technology. It is definitely one of my favorite books. I also really believe that this book is so important, especially since 9/11 happened. Yeah, so basically I can't say enough. Read it. Share it. Buy it.

You can read it for free in many different versions at this link.

Alright. Well, this has been a rather long newsletter, and, in my opinion, the most fun one I've ever written just because I love the things I was talking about so much. Now's probably a good time to stop though, since I've been writing this for about 2 hours now.

April 10-2009
-By Kasey

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