APS Sunset Review

My friend Russell Fish and I are heading down to Austin for the APS Sunset Review. The Sunset Review is a process where the state legislature reviews services and programs provided by the government and determines if they are obsolete, duplicated or unnecessary. We are going to present the troubling cases we have found where APS has seized personal assets and moved people into institutions against their will. We don’t see this particular service as something that benefits the people of the state of Texas. Hopefully we can bring these activities under closer review and even eliminate them for the many elderly people who can manage their own affairs.


Singing tiny robotic Einstein head

Tiny Robot Einstein Head

Work on the ROS/Blender robotics control pipeline has culminated in the integration of the system with the tiny robotic Einstein head that had been living at Polytechnic University under the watchful eye of the OpenCog group. Back at Hanson Robotics, tiny Einstein was mercilessly ripped apart and his head attached to an absurdly long robot snake neck apparatus that mimics the configuration of the upcoming “Dmitroid” robot system. Once suitably mutated, tiny Einstein was able to make a few statements and even sing a couple of tunes.

API copyrights and the GPL

Oracle has demonstrated that implementing an API is effectively the same as copying code from a program. To me, as a non-lawyer programmer, this surprising court decision seems to mutate copyrights into a kind of Software-Patent-Lite(tm) without the benefit of examiners or a 15 year term limit. This seems like a chilling new tool for deep pockets companies like Oracle to go about tormenting people. Thinking more deeply, however, you begin to wonder if Oracle hasn’t inadvertently created some kind of Free Software Doomsday weapon.

After all, if simply implementing an API makes you code a “derivative work” then doesn’t that mean the terms of the GPL will apply on any code that implements the API of a GPL’d system? Even if you didn’t copy code you have implemented that API and according to Oracle that’s a derived work. If you ask me, its the most excitingly vauge and contagious information phenomena since the Open Data Base License.

Reimagining art in Dallas

I had this conversation with Liliana Bloch on a Facebook Event page. I thought it had some useful stuff in it so I decided to move it onto my blog:

Ean Schuessler
 I guess it’s a little predictable that the “reimagination” is mostly “have the city buy more art”. Does that change things or turn art into even more of a game where artists chase after these political “gate keepers”? Artists need to take the manifestation of their dreams into their own hands.
 Liliana Bloch It doesn’t mean to buy more public art, it means to stop doing it if there isn’t a budget to maintain the piece. Is about collectors supporting educational to artists by acquiring pieces from reputable galleries and stop the idea that galleries are rip-offs. Is also about museums exhibiting Dallas and Texas artists and putting Dallas art in their collections and exhibit them.
 Liliana Bloch There has been a lot of progress in the arts in the last ten years in the art fields. It can be even better.
 Ean Schuessler I think we should throw Dallas’ most prominent artists in jail and make them into cultural martyrs, maybe put on an exhibit that displays their socially unacceptable artworks. It worked for the Dadaists when the Nazis did the Degenerate Art exhibit… worked for Pussy Riot too!

 Ean Schuessler Ok, I’m kidding… sort of. I absolutely agree with you about “localizing” the artistic culture but I do want to reiterate the “bozo effect” that Steve Jobs talked about. As soon as the state starts throwing money around you will see a sudden manifestation of people presenting themselves as artists who are also masterful at manipulating the social spheres around the political infrastructure. These people will probably crowd out the actual “artists” who have long been slaving away in poverty and obscurity to create their dreams. Frankly, I’m a big fan of “commercial art” where the artist selects a market and crafts a product that is aligned with what they are wanting to produce. Some see this as selling out but I see it as an engineering problem. If, as an artist, you want to produce product X then its simply a matter of figuring out how to reach audience Y that wants it. There is a question of pandering to audiences but you don’t have to do that. Its up to the artist who they pander to, that’s part of the self-expression process. The state only has to get involved for artists whose work can’t be supported by its target audience. In my opinion this should be reserved for “cultural preservation” kinds of artists who practice forms with a strong history that are less in fashion and are more about preserving traditions of craft.