8/30/2013

A little more on Fair Use for my friends who believe quoting someone else's work without attribution is always "plagiarism"

The fair use defense to copyright infringement was codified for the first time in section 107 of the 1976 Act. Fair use was not a novel proposition in 1976, however, as federal courts had been using a common law form of the doctrine since the 1840s (an English version of fair use appeared much earlier). The Act codified this common law doctrine with little modification. Under section 107, the fair use of a copyrighted work is not copyright infringement, even if such use technically violates section 106. While fair use explicitly applies to use of copyrighted work for criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research purposes, the defense is not limited to these areas. The Act gives four factors to be considered to determine whether a particular use is a fair use:
the purpose and character of the use (commercial or educational, transformative or reproductive);
the nature of the copyrighted work (fictional or factual, the degree of creativity);
the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work used; and
the effect of the use upon the market (or potential market) for the original work.


The Act was later amended to extend the fair use defense to unpublished works.


There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission, and is not used in determining "fair use".

Allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. When you quote a short portion of some news article or blog post - either with or without attribution to the source -  especially if you are using it on social media for criticism, comment, or to make a point, this generally falls under the Fair Use doctrine - especially if it does not affect the market for the original work.

On the other hand, plagiarism is when you copy or republish all or a substantial portion of someone's work and attempt to pass it off as if it were your own original work. There is a very big difference between fair use and plagiarism.

8/21/2013

How Google +1’s Improve Search Engine Rankings

Cyrus Shepard reports on the Moz Blog that this year, for the first time, the  Moz Data Science Team measured the correlation between Google +1s and higher rankings.

They discovered that after Page Authority, a URL's number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, “the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.”

In addition, Searchmetrics, another firm, used a slightly different methodology and found Google +1s to be the highest-correlated factor they studied. 

They also make some recommendations about how to use Google+ to optimize SEO. Included in these are to follow great people, comment on posts, and share great content, making longer Google+ posts, as well as adding the  rel="author" meta tag to your website or blog.

Another important factor is to post public.  Posts shared privately don't pass the same juice as publicly shared post. Shepard concludes by saying that the point is not to go out and accumulate a bunch of +1s, but that earning a link on Google+ is like earning any other type of editorial link, and these links have actual value with real benefits.

8/20/2013

Why I Am Pro – Life

 
This subject comes up repeatedly, and because I have a number of liberal friends who challenge me on it from time to time, I thought it would be appropriate to summarize my views again.

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First and foremost, I do not base my pro-life stance on religion. I am about the most unreligious person you will ever meet. I'm not an atheist, but my beliefs in a Supreme Being certainly didn't come from attending church or synagogue. They came from science.


Science - that is biomedical science - tells us that once the very first cell-division takes place in a fertilized ovum, it meets all the scientific qualifications for a developing human life. Period. You don't need to wait until it develops a heartbeat. In the very first hour, it's a developing human being completely distinct from the mother, with it's own DNA. Therefore, as caring human beings, we must provide it with the same protections and rights as any other human being.


To me, this renders all these progressive liberal claims of a woman's "right to choose" or "reproductive rights" complete and total bullshit right from the git-go.


My son Andrew, who is now 24, autistic, and lives at home with me, was adopted at birth. I have the utmost respect for the woman who carried this wonderful young man to term, knowing full well that she would not keep him. Andrew has provided much joy to me as a father, and is a fantastic, intelligent, caring human being.


So please don't try to tell me that you have the right to determine when and under what circumstances abortion is legitimate. It's never legitimate to take a human life, even one that is only one hour old.

8/16/2013

Don’t Lose the War

The insanity of American foreign policy is on display everywhere in the world.

When you go to war against anyone, especially against extreme cultures and nations, you must bomb Dresden into smoking ruins, or you cannot win the war. You must drop The Bomb on Hiroshima, or the price will be a Pyrrhic victory at best. Just as in a personal fight against an armed mugger, you must fight for your life and when your opponent goes down, make sure he stays down, by whatever means are necessary -- or you will simply die.

In the struggle against Muslim extremism and against extremist cultures overseas, we have, instead, as Republicans, conservatives, Democrats and liberals, abandoned most of The Constitution and denied most of our own right and freedoms in the name of "security."

When you go to war, there are some enemies who must be utterly destroyed.

Americans no longer have the stomach to destroy their enemies. They no longer even have the stomach to fight for their own freedom. Both sides of the ideological divide in America keep electing and re-electing people who take their freedoms from them. Then, we all pay those same politicians to take our freedoms from us. We're paying them to steal from us and to kill and imprison our family members, friends and neighbors. We're paying for their corruption, cronyism and nepotism.

None of this will change, until we, as American citizens, are willing to change.
(Adapted and enhanced from Warren Bonesteel comment on PJ Media article)

Betrayal

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Betrayal is most often associated with love, though it can also happen between friends and so on. C.S. Lewis once said betrayal can happen only when there is love. Betrayal and deceit are two qualities that are abhorrent because they have a very bad effect on the other person, the relationship between them and their future.  The scar of betrayal can last for a very long time. It takes a long period of time to build trust, friendship or relationship but only an uncaring, insensitive moment to betray someone. Betrayal usually involves lying, deceit and hypocrisy. A betraying friend or lover can be many times worse than an enemy. You can forgive your enemy but it is extremely difficult to forgive someone who has betrayed you. The heartaches do heal, though.

Some people view betrayal as a deliberate act and deceit as something convenient --  the latter being just a little less evil.

If you have been betrayed by someone – either a lover or a friend, the smartest thing to do is to break off all contact with the person. That can be hard – but it is usually the best choice.

8/09/2013

The Founders, Atheism, and Deism


None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity.
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If the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion, the Constitution would clearly say so -- but it does not. Nowhere does the Constitution say: "The United States is a Christian Nation", or anything even close to that. In fact, the words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not even once. When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike.  They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had.

Christian Revisionists often attempt to rewrite history, in much the same way as holocaust deniers do. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was necessarily true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith.

And they accepted that even those who did not believe in a Supreme Being were qualified to hold office.

8/07/2013

Global Warming Alarmist Consensus Obliterated by Facts

 

A new, peer reviewed study published in “Energy And Environment” comes to the conclusion that global temperatures have actually been dropping since 1986.  This conclusion, at best, obliterates the claims that there is a global warming consensus.

The  “Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend  –  1982-2006” study took satellite derived temperature data from 1986-2006 that was collected using a European satellite system which measures thermal infrared radiation (similar to those red to blue heat maps that weather.com uses.) 

“The amazing finding of the present study is that we do not observe global warming in the period 1982-2006, but significant cooling. What could be the cause?

The satellite data are from a reliable origin supported by the European
meteorological community. Their accurate calibration has received due attention and efforts from Eumetsat. Our processing of these data has been simple and straight forward, involving only noon and midnight image composition, averaging and a filter to eliminate cloud effects. We have created similar planetary temperature change images for the unfiltered, 10, 20 and 30 day filtered data, clearly showing convergence towards the longer filters, indicating that cloud influences were effectively removed.
Moreover, we do observe significant temperature increase at some locations which are due to human interventions, and which are quantitatively in line with the theoretically expected effects of these interventions. Therefore we believe the observed planetary temperature decrease for most of the hemisphere to be real.


The cloud filtered temperature change patterns, in figure 2c, indicate that the largest decrease occurs in the more cloudy regions of the hemisphere: the tropics and the temperate zones, while in the desert belt the temperature decrease is much smaller. This suggests that cloudiness changes could be the mechanism behind the observed global cooling since 1982: an increase in cloudiness would decrease global radiation and increase rainfall and evapotranspiration. Both effects tend to decrease the surface temperature.”

LINK TO PAPER (PDF):

On Betrayal


When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing and fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears - the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unloved. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain - there’s no single event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. 

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Have you been betrayed? Are you still in a relationship with someone who seems like they've stopped caring, stopped investing, stopped paying attention? Do you feel hurt because you still love someone and you’re no longer getting evidence that they love you back?

Sometimes you just have to disengage and stop trying. Free yourself  -- and jettison the baggage for good.


The most difficult part of dealing with obvious betrayal is not just to let the other person go - but to be able to come back, be able to  love again, and have the self-confidence to not be afraid of being vulnerable.

Because betrayal can only happen to those who love.

8/06/2013

How I roll On Google Plus

Everyone has their own individual style on social media. Here is mine, in a nutshell, for whatever it may be worth to you:

First, my life is an open book, so virtually everything I post is public. The other reason I do this is because I think I have a message to deliver, and I want to be able to broadcast it effectively to a large audience.

For circle management, I really only have two main circles -- "friends" - which is where everyone goes initially, and "close friends", which is a circle you earn your way into. More on this in a bit.

When somebody circles me (which happens anywhere between 10 and 20 times a day), if time permits, I check your profile. A complete profile, with a photo of a real person, and at least a couple of posts so I can figure you out, will generally get me to circle you back.

To get into my "close friends" circle - which is the only one I am really interested in, because that is the only one of my circles that has the notifications feature turned on all the way, you need to meet the following general criteria:

1) You need to make posts. People who are inactive or who post rarely hold no interest for me.
2) You need to be an "engager" - That means not only that I see you interact with people on your own posts, but you also actively seek out and interact with people on their posts.
3) You need to be unique in some way - post original or interesting content, engaging, thoughtful content, commentary, etc.
4) I need to see that you are honest, ethical,  and sincere. People who I find out are dishonest, who lie, who are hypocrites, or who hurt others in any way are quickly dumped - as they should be. This includes people who I have gotten close with who later turn out to betray me.

For the remaining people who earn their way into my "close friends" circle, which now numbers about 70 and which I'd like to take up to 100 or so, I am fiercely loyal to you as a friend, even though you may only be a virtual friend and we actually may never meet IRL.

There you go! A complete social media strategy! It works great for me.

8/04/2013

Can There Be Morality Without Religion?


Despite religious rhetoric to the contrary, morals, ethics and laws do not necessarily derive from the Bible. In a group, there are selective pressures that tend to keep people in line. If a member of your tribe is killing other members of your tribe, then the tribesmen will not trust him, and will either kill him, or force him to leave the tribe (banishment), thus making it very difficult for the murderer to pass his genetic/ideological values to the next generation. This is just an example, but there are many more. There is no need for God to sit at the ethical bar; society does that for us as an emergent property of living in large groups.

Religion provides ethical laws given by someone else which are followed out of faith. There is nothing wrong with that. Organized religion can be a powerful force for good. One test of a good ethic is to switch the roles of the individuals and see if the situation is still fair. Another important realization is that there are many valid ways people can live and the freedom of choice is extremely important, because people seeking power and profit over others frequently do so by creating fear, anger and unnecessary laws designed to shift power towards a controlling minority. We do need social laws and we do need an ethical code, but as a race we may be in danger of the masses losing their free will as technology gives governments the power to read minds and manipulate thoughts; technology which will be functionally developed within this century.

I know some atheists who are some of the nicest people I know. Morals can be put in place by religion because you feel a need to please your god, but these people have good morals because they see what makes others happy and feel good, and they've learned to respect others.

Penn Jillette said, "The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn't have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine."

I grew up in a very non-religious liberal Jewish household. I didn't go to temple. It wasn't until much later, when I was married to the same woman, a Christian, for 23 years, that I went to church.

But I didn't learn and aquire my set of moral and ethical values from religion at all. I found God through a personal spiritual path of study and meditation. I suppose you could call that religion, but I do not. A part of my moral belief system tells me to respect the religious faith of my friends without being judgemental. Another part tells me that abortion is morally wrong. But I base that on science, not religion. Science tells us that when an ovum is fertilized by a sperm, we have a human life, and I believe that life must be protected. It does not matter if the fetus is six hours old or six months old.

So, in sum, yes - I believe and know that there can be morality and ethics in the absence of religion. Religion can certainly help, but for people who are able to think, it is not required. You of course may disagree, and if you do, that is fine, because it does not diminish my respect for you as a fellow human being in any way.

8/03/2013

Did God Create the Big Bang?

With the 1964 discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation—predicted by Big Bang theorists in the 1940s—the Big Bang theory became the preeminent cosmological model. The question was no longer, did the universe have a beginning? The question became, how did it happen?

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As more and more astrophysicists focused their attention on what happened in the first few moments, months and years of the universe, some Christians became upset that the new theoretical models didn't match up with their interpretation of Genesis  ( the Jewish account of creation is similar). Just as many astrophysicists felt that the expanding universe theory was a ploy to inject religion into science, many Christians have come to feel that the Big Bang is an effort to undermine the biblical account of creation. Other Christians, however, feel that the Big Bang is indeed consistent with the Bible’s account and they welcome such compelling evidence for the creation of the universe.


The Big Bang wasn't a sudden explosion of energy in some empty part of space at some distant moment in time. According to the theory, all space, time and energy came into existence together in that "bang." Before the Big Bang, there was no time. There was no space. Then, suddenly, an exceedingly dense, incredibly hot, infinitesimal ball of something – everything – appeared somewhere, somehow for reasons unknown and began to expand rapidly with our whole world inside of it.


Einstein believed in God not for theological - but for scientific reasons. As one Christian theologian put it, "I am not necessarily opposed to the Big Bang theory. Rather, I know who banged it."  Physics is constantly changing, and perhaps one day the Big Bang Theory will join the flat Earth and the geocentric universe in the dustbin of history. But until it does, belief in God should not be dismissed.


Sources: http://goo.gl/bQ425b http://goo.gl/5nSTzq

8/01/2013

How about the poor, president Obama?

Where are the policies that will actually help Americans at the bottom regain the dignity of real, value-creating jobs, Mr. Obama? Again and again, you have offered a higher minimum wage as a solution. Yet as the overwhelming majority of economists have argued for decades, the minimum wage actually harms the poorest workers — those with the weakest grip on their jobs.

Same with education: cheaper student loans aren't going to help the bottom quintile. Despite Pell Grants and other aid, only one in three children from the bottom quintile go to college—and just 11% graduate. You could go to bat for real education reforms that drive social and economic mobility, Mr. president. But you haven't.


You won two elections with what seemed to be sincere promises to fight for people. That should include fighting for people at the bottom, even if the best policies for doing so contradict your progressive-liberal policy dogma.

The American dream, which you so often mention in your speeches, won't be realized until the least among us have a real chance to earn their success.