It’s a girl!

I’m thrilled to announce the birth of my daughter, Teresa Marie. God grant her many years. She was 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long. Her brothers are not quite sure what to make of her, but are glad to see her and happy to hold her anyway. You can take a look at the hospital photo of her.

So now you know why there have been no updates for a week.

She’s named primarily for St Thérèse of Lisieux (called the Little Flower) and for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was influenced by and took her name from Thérèse. I highly recommend the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul. I’m amazed by the fervency she had for loving God. Her words are simple, yet profound. As a parent, I am challenged by how her parents so obviously raised her well, indeed raised her to be a saint.

Copyrights: 14 + 14 = Good

Opening briefs were filed May 20, 2002 in Eldred v. Ashcroft. The case is a constitutional challenge of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended existing and future copyrights by 20 years. For an excellent analysis of this case and the history of copyright read Is Life Plus Seventy Too Much?

Copyright in the United States was based on the common law system to forbid copying and was not based on author’s rights. The founders saw copyright as a way to secure benefits for the public from the works of authors and not as a way to reward authors. Copyright was intended to create a system that would foster creativity and learning and would promote the distribution of works by protecting the author. Therefore, the original copyright system was 14 years plus an optional extension of 14 years if the author was still alive. With CTEA that has been extended to the life of the author plus 70 years.
Create like it's 1790

I found the Internet Archive Amicus brief particularly compelling. They emphasize the number of projects working to prepare out-of-copyright works for digital distribution. From the brief: “For the second time in history the collection of all recorded information is within our grasp. Digital technology allows us the opportunity to build a ‘universal’ library that dwarfs the collections of the Alexandria Library and even our modern Library of Congress.”

The entire universe in 3 or 4 lines of code

Steven Levy talks about Stephen Wolfram and the book A New Kind of Science which I mentioned earlier. “Some of the engineers are developing A New Kind of Science Explorer, a PC application with a mini-Mathematica program that allows people to run the experiments in the book and begin to do research projects of their own. Wolfram feels very strongly that ‘his’ kind science is one through which amateurs will unearth major discoveries, and he has been thinking of various ways to assist them.” All this sounds like fun.

2 for II

I just got back from seeing Episode II for the second time. I was surprised at how much more I found in it than the first time. There are many parallels with The Empire Strikes Back and I enjoyed picking up on some I hadn’t noticed. Perhaps knowing the plot changed my perception, but the acting seemed more nuanced than I thought in my first viewing. I caught echoes of Jake Lloyd’s portrayal of Anakin in Hayden Christensen’s vocal delivery, particularly in the early scene where he complains about Ben. It’s always difficult to be believable when using different actors to portray young and old, so even minor cues help. (Ewan McGregor seems perfect as a young Sir Alec Guinness.)

There’s a line in Episode II that got me thinking about R2-D2. In the diner, Ben says something like “If the droids could think, none of us would be here.” Throughout the Star Wars universe, droids pretty much do what they’re told. This was the downfall of the droid army in Episode I. Non-battle droids are pretty simplistic. R2-D2, on the other hand, appears self-directed, motivated, perhaps even sentient. No other droid seems to be so aggressive or loyal. He seems to be much more than a simple astromech droid. For instance, he leaves the ship after receiving the communication from Ben and surprises Amidala and Anakin by seeking them out. Interestingly, C-3PO does not seem to have this quality; it is amusing how he follows R2-D2 around.

I’ve heard comments that the story in Star Wars is really about the droids. R2 plays a primary role here. If I’m right, and he is sentient, it adds impact to Ani’s line to Amidala about having R2 with them. It’s fun to ponder anyway. I’m just thankful that R2 doesn’t behave like Number Five.