New religions

If you were to invent a new religion – a post-enlightnment, post-Darwin, post-DNA, post-space travel religion – what would it look like? Would it scrap a conventional, external deity in favour of some kind of meditation-enhanced ego? Would it have an extra-terrestrial creation myth? Would it have a ‘chief scientist’ and be active in gene science? Would it clone human beings?

Creative Commons

Let me get this straight right up front: I think the public domain is critically important to human advancement, I think the net is its most important representative on this plane and I think copyright is out of control. I also think that Creative Commons is a fascinating and practical new approach to networked copyright (Danny explained it here and mirrored a useful flash presentation).

But… then let me go on to say that I dislike orthodoxy of every kind and that, in the clamour to roll back or abolish copyright law and in the profusion of alternatives, I see an emerging orthodoxy – the public domain is in crisis, creativity and innovation in peril, copyright owners returning us to the dark ages. The story neatly collapses together lots of hot geek issues – like open source, unbundling Microsoft and Web Services – and it pulls together lots of clever and useful minds – like Kahle, Lessig, Barlow and about half a million bloggers – but it’s not an open-and-shut case.

Where, for instance, is the actual damage caused by extended copyright protection for books? Who is actually suffering under the silly provisions of the DMCA and won’t the whole thing be thrown out bit by bit by various courts? Are the record labels hurting anyone with their suicidal mis-application of resources in file sharing?

I blogged the public domain in more detail in June here.

Joe Strummer

I’m certain we’ll see better obituaries for Joe Strummer from some of the great writers of that period (many of whom are presumably now drowning their sorrows) but, in the meantime, here’s one from the NME whose crass content management system just can’t help offering ‘Joe Strummer ringtones’ under the headline.


I make no apology for the fact that this weblog has taken a domestic turn lately. It’s Xmas. The pleasure of watching the faces of our three and four-and-a-half year-olds watching Cinderella this afternoon was so intoxicating – I wish this dumb camphone would work in low light. I could have shown you! You’ll have to make do with the ugly sisters (click the little picture for a bigger one – the limitations of the Ericsson sometimes make for quite lovely images).

How do they do that?

Talking police car
This £9.95 toy records twenty second sound clips and incorporates them into its programme of lights and sirens and racing around. Oliver, aged four, takes this entirely for granted, of course. This morning, the car raced up to me in the kitchen and announced “Daddy, you are under arrest”.

Tily in the gloom

The questionable low-light capabilities of this Ericsson cam-phone (have you wondered why the TV ads all seem to be set in the Sahara or Southern California in high summer?) and the sepulchral gloom of Blacks in Dean Street produce interesting results. Here’s Stuart Tily,‘s new capo, looking like a Rembrandt merchant (you might need to adjust the brightness to see him at all).