I’m officially endorsing Brent Weischsel in the ANCESTOR User Generator Video Contest

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the UGV contest sponsored by Crown Publishing for Scott Sigler’s ANCESTOR release, you can get the details here: http://www.scottsigler.com/videocontest.

To me, “Jian’s Dream” is far and away the best script. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great videos that use the other scripts. Some are high quality, others are simply original and entertaining. I still smile every time I recall #8, Coxbrother’s sock puppet masterpiece. Within all of the “Jian’s Dream” videos, there are two that really stand out:

#5 by Brent Weischnel and #24 by Tyler Short.

I met Brent at Balticon this year and he’s a really cool guy. I have no idea who Tyler Short is and he’s smoking everyone else right now in view counts as it is. That’s the way this contest works. Each unique URL that watches one of the contestants videos all the way to end gives them a vote. The videos which have the most votes on July 7th will enter the finals. They will be viewed (and judged) by video industry professionals and the winners will be announced July 14th.

Brent is currently at #5, but the creator at #6 is very close in view count. Please watch Brent’s video if you have not already done so. He needs every view he can get. Thank You!

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Google faces an Army of opposition

Library-stacks-700pxI thought Google’s brainchild of scanning out of print books had long since run its course and was well on its merry way. Apparently not. Google is now facing organized resistance from a slew of academicians, librarians, publishers, and authors. The NY Times article does a good job of laying out the groundwork of the actual project and the opposition to it, so I’m not going to get into that here. I’m more interested in exploring my personal ambivalence about the issue.book stacks-jj-001

It really comes down to whether we can trust item #6 on Google’s Corporate Philosophy Page: “You can make money without doing evil.” This statement makes me immediately think of an Ariochism: “There’s always another perspective. Nobody acts evil intentionally. They’re doing what they perceive to be good. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Does a wolf think it’s evil when it eats the rabbit? I bet the rabbit does.” The point being, will what I think is evil be the same thing Google thinks is evil? It’s not like we all agree on this. Is getting an abortion evil?

Yes, having out of print books scanned into a digital database is a good thing. It’s the ownership of that material that makes it dicey. So why not make all of it public access? Let Google have a tax break for doing the work. Seems like a win win all around. They even mention something in the article about giving each university library one terminal with unrestricted free access. Why not a bunch? It’s not like everything has to be for profit, you know. Health care, firefighting, and military service are a few things off the top of my head that should not be for profit. Sure, we live in a capitalist society, but that does not mean that all our vocations need to be that way. The world is comprised of shades of gray, not black and white.library_stacks