EU Screws Up Copyright Ruling on Student’s Presentation

EU Screws Up Copyright Ruling on Student’s Presentation:

It would seem obvious to me that educational use should be a valid exception from copyright law. After all, copyright exists for the benefit of society, and educating the next generation is to our collective benefit.

The concept of fair use is clearly established in US copyright law, and in fact Germany has a similar law. Furthermore, the EU copyright directive states that EU members can pass laws granting a copyright exception for education purposes.

But this court went against both common sense and existing policies to rule that because the student’s presentation was posted online, the copyright was infringed.

That is a terrible ruling, with a frankly nonsensical justification. It is based on the assumption that putting the photo online was a unique and special thing, when in fact everything is put online these days. It is 2018, and I am surprised the school hadn’t required the kid to put the presentation on Slideshare, Google Docs or some other online service because they wanted to the student to learn how to use the online tools.

The fact the court can’t see that is evidence of just how out of date they are and how little they know about modern times.

(Via The Digital Reader)

Also on:

Brilliant movie goof Twitter account

Brilliant movie goof Twitter account:

On the @movie_goofs Twitter account, a fellow named Sean posts brilliantly funny “movie goofs” that aren’t actually goofs. And for additional fun, see the responses from folks who don’t seem to get that Sean is just kidding.

(Daily Dot via Neatorama)

(Via Boing Boing)

Also on:

Significant Digits For Friday, Aug. 10, 2018

Significant Digits For Friday, Aug. 10, 2018:

More than 760,000 competitors

More than 760,000 people entered the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship this year. The winner of the Excel division, claimant to the fantastic title World Excel Champion and surely now the most popular kid in his high school if there is any justice in the world, was 15-year-old Kevin Dimaculangan of Florida. [CNN]

(Via Features – FiveThirtyEight)

Disappointed that my friend and Excel enthusiast @JWGoerlich didn’t make a stronger showing here.

Also on:

New Polling Agency

New Polling Agency:

There is a new polling agency on the block, called DeltaPoll.

I had never heard of them until last week, when they had a strange poll published in the Daily Mail (which, obviously, I’m not going to link to).

I think we need new pollsters like we need a hole in the head. These companies are forever misrepresenting the accuracy of their surveys and they confuse more than they inform. I was intrigued, however, so I looked up their Twitter profile and found this:

They don’t have a big Twitter following, but the names behind it have previously been associated with other polling agencies, so perhaps it’s not as dodgy as I assumed.

On the other hand, what on Earth does ’emotional and mathematical measurement methods’ mean?

(Via In the Dark)

Also on:

Surprise Functionality from a Moribund Product

When I moved to Japan I bought in the US two Sonos Play:1 speakers primarily to play music (Jazz & a martini when I got home) & Audible audiobooks in my living and bed rooms.

And then Sonos lost the ability to play Audible.

Plan B was to get a Play:5 and an Apple AirPort Express, both also from the US, and connect them together via audio cable. This allowed me to fire the speakers via AirPlay from my Apple devices. It worked, but imprecisely and with problems. I unhooked the Play:1 speakers (the problems) and they sat on a shelf for the better part of a year. The Audible audiobooks and podcasts from Overcast mostly worked streamed from my Apple devices. BTW, I had kept up with the developments from Sonos but did not think any of my devices were in scope, so I considered them moribund.

Here’s the thing: I spent a big chunk of my home furnishing budget on those damn “smart” speakers and then doubled down to get them to work. I ended up making many other ill-advised purchasing decisions to cover the sunk costs. Economists will tell you I made at least four incorrect decisions. I will tell you that four seems conservative.

Today I cleaned my apartment. I moved, hid, trashed, and organized many things while waiting for the rain storm that did not come. Part of my big tidying was the relocation of my older technology for repurposing. To do so, unplugging all the things was required including the Sonos Play:5, the one bit of my audio setup (with the AirPort)  still in occasional service.

In fiddling to fix audio problems I checked the Sonos iOS app. An update was pending, which I executed. Surprise, surprise! Suddenly the speaker gained AirPlay 2 functionality! And Audible!

It worked slightly better than the AirPort, so I unhooked its audio cable. Still good. On a whim I pulled the Play:1 speakers out of storage and powered them on. They worked, after upgrades and in the short window in which I tested them, better than they ever had.

I am fortunate to get some new value out of my purchases. These are still early days in the Sonos rehabilitation but I am guardedly optimistic. If they don’t end up panning out I am sure the person who buys them from me will enjoy them to no end with lower expectations.

P.S. – I will think long and hard before I buy another Sonos product. I’ve been advising friends and family to avoid their kit. If this pans out, maybe I will alter my tack.

Also on:

This sea is disappearing because it’s near death

This sea is disappearing because it’s near death:

THE ARAL SEA, which lies between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south, was one of the four largest lakes in the world.

There was a time when the shoreline of the Aral Sea was an idyllic affair. Well, not anymore.

So how did human activity manage to drain the 67,339 square kilometers sea which used to supply tens of thousands of tons of fish every year?

In the 1950s, the Soviet Union diverted the Aral Sea’s two rivers sources – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya – for agriculture. As a result, the decreased water flow made the sea saltier, killing off the abundant freshwater fish.

By the 1980s, it had completely destroyed the fishing industry, which at its peak represented roughly 13 percent of the Soviet Union’s fish stocks.

This, in turn, forced a mass migration of people as the dried-out Aral seabed caused an imbalance in the weather patterns.

The area’s inhabitants also suffered health problems at unusually high rates, from throat cancers to anemia and kidney diseases. Infant mortality in the region has been among the highest in the world.

(Via Travel Wire Asia)

Regardless of what one thinks about Global Warming and humans impact on nature, this is 100% man made. See also the Salton Sea in case one thinks this was a Soviet-only occurrence.

Also on:

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books – Atlas Obscura

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books – Atlas Obscura:

Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everything from queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles.

(Via Atlas Obscura)

My friend used to be employed as a librarian. I think they never stop being a librarian.

My favorite librarian moments: talking Twin Peaks when it was on its initial run; getting called out for not having read the Iliad & the Odyssey when I bragged about doing so (since corrected); the same librarian geeking out with me over the album Nursery Crime by Genesis; doing a fun podcast with one.

Also on:

How to Say “Happy Birthday” in 25 Different Languages

How to Say “Happy Birthday” in 25 Different Languages:

Happy Birthday in Japanese: お誕生日おめでとうございます (Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu)

“Congratulations on your birthday!” In Japan, they celebrate Shichi-Go-San, which literally means 7-5-3. These are lucky numbers and children go to a Shinto shrine on 15th November if they had a lucky birthday that year. They pray and give thanks for their good health and strength. All children go when they are three years old, boys when they are five, and girls when they are seven.

(Via Fluent in 3 months – Language Hacking and Travel Tips)

Odds are good that I will get to say this to my son in Japan later this year when he comes to visit. The trip is my present to him (and me ☺️).

Also on:

Can you travel to Japan if you’re disabled?

Can you travel to Japan if you’re disabled?:

OFTEN, people with disabilities or the elderly folk find it hard to travel due to the lack of facilities and services.

But with more and more people seeking good accessibility, companies are leveling up and going barrier-free to accommodate these travelers.

According to The World Bank, one billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.

And of that figure, more than 26 million adults with disabilities travel for pleasure and/or business, taking 73 million trips, according to an Open Doors Organization (ODO) study.

For many, language is already a barrier. Accessibility shouldn’t be another.

(Via Travel Wire Asia)

Train stations in Japan are the worst by far for the disabled. Elevators are inconveniently placed, many stairs don’t include escalators or wheelchair lifts, and there is no physical barrier at most platforms preventing someone from falling on the tracks (though that is rapidly changing.

However, Japan has several advantages for the disabled. For example, there is almost universal walking guides for the blind, audible signals for crossings, and train station agents wearing white gloves will help anyone who needs it. The further one gets outside of the metropolises the less these measures are in place.

Read the article for the whole story. I’m curious if you have a story about this you’d like to share. If so, please do so on your social network of choice and link to this post.

Also on:

Is flexible working all it’s cracked up to be?

Is flexible working all it’s cracked up to be?:

Having the freedom to occasionally work outside the office and have more autonomy over your work hours may sound like an absolute slam-dunk. But is the future of flexible working all it’s cracked up to be?

The simple answer is, yes.

But as with anything in this life, that comes with caveats.

(Via Asian Correspondent)

Four times last week I looked to see if colleagues were in the office and at their desks so I could ask them a question face-to-face. The weird part of this is that, in these instances, we communicate better via text (email, Slack, Sametime, text message) because their English is only slightly better than my Japanese. There was no benefit to talking in real-time.

It’s a bad old habit from my office working days into which I find myself falling.

Also on: