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Entries from August 2011

What Do Infringement/Theft Analogies Really Illustrate?

August 18th, 2011 · 14 Comments

Mike Masnick finds another MPAA flack in high dudgeon in response to the simple factual observation that, especially a rough economy, studios and networks risk audience flight to BitTorrent if they don’t make their own digital offerings more consumer-friendly: In other words: movie and TV theft is inevitable. Why? Because it’s easy to steal something […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

When Are Patents Obvious?

August 15th, 2011 · 19 Comments

I recently did a diavlog with my friend Tim Lee on the new BloggingHeads spinoff site TechHeads, during which I had a thought that seems like it might be worth spinning out. We’re all accustomed to seeing horror stories about ludicrously broad, bad technology patents that have given rise to a wasteful arms race between […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Why We Need (Openly) Gay Muppets

August 12th, 2011 · 58 Comments

The makers of Sesame Street released the following message today, in response to a Facebook petition that had called for Bert and Ernie to finally come out and get married: Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Journalism & the Media · Sexual Politics

An Action Movie That Will Never Get Made

August 10th, 2011 · 10 Comments

Reading Jeremy Waldron’s new paper on torture and “moral absolutes”, the following setup for an action movie that will probably never get made sprang more or less full-formed into my head. The film follows two protagonists: One is a recent recruit to an elite antiterrorism unit (think 24), the other has just stumbled upon (and […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · General Philosophy

Insuring Birth Control

August 5th, 2011 · 20 Comments

So, I’m as big a fan as anyone of the birth control pill, even though I’m an indirect beneficiary of its wonders. And notwithstanding my generally libertarian sympathies, I even think it makes an enormous amount of sense to make subsidized—and in some cases free—contraceptives available to people who genuinely can’t afford them, if only […]

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Tags: Uncategorized

Is Subjectivism in Ethics Coherent?

August 2nd, 2011 · 13 Comments

Andrew Cohen at Bleeding Heart Libertarians kicks off what will apparently be a series of posts on moral objectivity by considering the subjectivist position—the view that whether certain acts are right or wrong depends on the values of a particular person or culture. He takes a position I’ve always leaned toward myself, which is that […]

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Tags: Uncategorized