Archive for the 'law' Category

Topics for Friday Night Party Line for June 2, 2006.

May 31, 2006

Here are the topics for Friday Night Party Line, June 2, 2006.  Some of these are from last week because we didn’t get to them.

Imagine yourself being 10 years old again.  Would your 10 year old self find you to be cool today?

I wonder if what one really enjoys in life can be distilled to one day. Can you describe your ultimate day? Can you think of how you would take the things you enjoy in life and put them all into one day, assuming you could do anything you want?

People are putting up videos of their children being born on YouTube.  I'm all for childbirth and all that, but do we really need to see the live event??   Would you do that?  Have people send such video links to you?  Have you seen these things?

There is a new friend making service called  It's not a dating site.  It gives you a new friend every 4 days without regard to gender, age, etc.  You communicate with this person back and forth and decide if you want to keep them as a friend.  Would you try such a site?

There is another website that just came out called  From the website:  “You type in the name of a friend and it will run searches on MySpace, Friendster, Facebook and more. Create profiles on your friends and save them to your "buddy list", then you can just click their name and see all their profiles later on! The buddy list also shows you who's online by checking their IM statuses.”

Have you ever written a complaint to a company about something?  Do you do it often?  Have you ever gone further and filed a complaint with the company’s regulator?  How did it work out for you?

At the University of Florida, the police there have become a fan of the fiction of a certain graduate student.  After reading his horror fiction on Live Journal, they've asked him to submit fingerprints and DNA.  What are your thoughts on this?

In the life imitates art category of the day, there are a group of computer geeks in Silicon Valley that have started their own fight club, like the movie “Fight Club.”  There are videos on the web that show these guys beating the crap out of each other.  Would you ever do such a thing?  Do you know anyone who has done this?

There was a big blow to the Space Elevator this week when it was discovered that carbon nanotubes might not be able to handle the job.  What do you think about the Space Elevator concept?  Will it ever get off the ground?

Henrik Ibsen is getting popular again and a number of items have been in the news about him recently.  Have you ever read or seen one of his plays?  Do you think he's worthy of all this new attention?

Topics for FNPL podcast May 26, 2006.

May 24, 2006

Kelly, Marc and Ray are scheduled to be on the show (and maybe others, TBA). These are the planned topics for Friday Night Party Line this Friday:

Have you played with the new free Skype out yet? We're going to on Friday Night. We're going to call various other podcasts to test it out.

What are, in your opinion, the three worst magazines out there today and why?

Are you polychonic or monochonic?

Digitizing your life: what do you think of the MyLifeBits project, Gordon Bell and the SenseCam?

Has someone ever asked to go somewhere with them to help them (when you really haven't wanted to)? What did you do and why didn't you want to go?

It's almost summertime and the living is about to be easy. Or is it? What do you do in the summer that you don't do in the winter? Do you spend less time online? Are you a warm weather person or a cold weather person? Does your city have any seasonal activities that makes it special?

Have you ever built your own computer? Have you ever overclocked anything? Would you ever want to?

At the University of Florida, the police there have become a fan of the fiction of a certain graduate student. After reading his horror fiction on Live Journal, they've asked him to submit fingerprints and DNA. What are your thoughts on this?

Henrik Ibsen is getting popular again and a number of items have been in the news about him recently. Have you ever read or seen one of his plays? Do you think he's worthy of all this new attention?

There was a big blow to the Space Elevator this week when it was discovered that carbon nanotubes might not be able to handle the job. What do you think about the Space Elevator concept? Will it ever get off the ground?

Planned topics for Friday Night Party Line, May 5, 2006.

May 3, 2006

They say that 16,000 species face extinction. What does this actually mean? How many species go extinct naturally and how many are directly attributable to man? How can we actually test for extinction? Is there workable middle ground on this topic?

Eccentricity, idiosyncrasy and genius. How are these character traits related? Have you ever met a highly intelligent or creative person who is mostly normal? Is it true that in order to be creative one must walk the line of insanity?

The DARPA 3 Grand Challenge has been announced! Will this be as fruitful as the prior two Grand Challenges?

A 104 woman is marrying a 33 year old man. While this is not a western couple, are we going to see more things like this as humans live longer? Will there come a time where this type of thing is not viewed as gross or funny?

There was also an article about a 46 year old female bigamist. That’s sort of an interesting turn. Normally, you hear about men doing that. Is this just a one-off sort of thing or is it a societal trend?

Can you believe that people are still trying to use made-up documents to get out of paying their bills? Will people ever accept the concept that there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Have you heard about the new “Skypecast” 100 person chat service? I’ve figured out ways to get multiple Skype sessions going, but this is another thing entirely. What do you think it’s effect will be on the podcasting world?

This week I noticed one of my computers was trying to hack into one of my other computers. “Uh Oh.” I thought to myself. Something must be wrong. So I downloaded a virus checker and found no fewer than three viruses on my computer. That hasn’t happened to me in years. What’s been your recent virus experience. Do you do anything to protect yourself?

What do you do to keep yourself organized every day? Have you heard of time mapping? Are gimmicks worth it? Is there a point in doing anything beyond a Outlook or even a paper calendar?

David Blaine, everyone’s favorite masochist has created a human aquarium for himself. Will you be following this guy’s exploits this time?

Memory and personal relevance.

February 27, 2006

Big cities with serious population density can create a feeling of frenetic energy just with all of the activity taking place. I’m not sure if it is simply all the people just moving around each one with its own purposes or if it is the volume of people or both.

Normally, I don’t notice this sort of thing. I live near a city, but what I’m experiencing on my current trip never happens in my local city.

Since I’m a visitor, I have the time to walk right the through the throng and get coffee with more leisure than those around me (at least those around me with jobs). This time also probably means more to me than most people going through their normal routines.

Human memory of moments are sorted by relevance and importance. But it is a personal relevance. It is the most personal of all relevance. My moment in the strange city will stick with me longer because it is out of my normal routine. I remember, for example, the homeless guy sleeping in the Starbucks, his head back and mouth open in his chair, snoring. Most of the other people getting coffee probably won’t retain that memory or it is a different familiar memory that is one of many memories of the commonplace scene.

I think of memories as node points in my mind tagged with a time and date and sorted and retained by relevance. It is proof positive to me, though that most of life is irrelevant as I retain very little. It reminds me of the story of what lawyers used to do centuries ago when no one knew how to read and write. When someone sold a piece of property, they would take a kid out the closing and smack the crap out of him with a stick. The kid then remembered the incident and remembered the transaction because he remembered the pain. It was a time node in his life of high relevance and he became a human deed. He would remember the parties to the transaction along with the pain.

In a way, it’s ok that most of life is irrelevant. If every moment were earth shaking, we would lose our perspective. We would focus more and more on minutia trying to get some handle on a way to organize our minds and separate one moment from the next. So thank god for those boring days. They let us retain what’s important.

Paying Taxes on Everquest Booty.

February 13, 2006
There is this great story on NPR that I picked up on their business podcast. It seems that Uncle Sam might be interested in your activities in Norrath. It turns out that since virtual items and gold won in games has real world market value, winning them creates real-world taxable gain. Right now, for example, gold in EQII is selling for $50 real world money per 1000 EQII “gold.” Say over the course of a few months, your character generates 2000 gold. You’ve just earned the real world equivalent of $100 income which is taxable in real life, even if you don’t sell it. Now I suppose you might be able to offset the “cost” of your monthly subscription to EQII, but I don’t know. 

Now suppose you find a really rare sword and you trade it to someone else for a shield. The NPR report says that this could be considered barter trade and you could be taxed on that as well.

My favorite mental picture is going through an audit:

Auditor: Now, er, Mr. Thaed.
Thaed: Yes?
Auditor: It says here that your occupation is “Necromancer.” What exactly is that?
Thaed: Oh, I animate dead things to kill monsters.
Auditor: I see. And you made $100,000 gold doing it?
Thaed: Business was good, I killed a dragon!
Auditor: I see.

The thought of the millions of people throughout the country playing MMORPGs and then getting 1099s from Sony at year-end is really thought provoking. The guy in the article says he’s not going to be the one asking the IRS for an opinion on this because he would feel the wrath of gamers everywhere. I figure he’s already let the cat out of the bag by calling the IRS and talking to NPR. Talk about changing the face of gaming as we know it!

Free credit reports? It sounds like spam!

January 11, 2006

I want to share with you the fact that I was able to get 3 free credit reports on myself in a matter of minutes tonight from one website that takes you automatically to the three consumer reporting agencies. I was doing research for a presentation and I came across an article that mentioned Normally, I am skeptical of such things.  I mean I know that under FACTA you get 1 free from each bureau a year, but I figured it would be difficult.  Throwing caution to the wind, I plunged right in and now I have a free report from each of the agencies on my favorite subject: me.

Hmmm, I’m not too shabby if I don’t say so myself… and my credit’s good too!