Science fiction without the future….

Science fiction without the future….
Science fiction author Judith Berman looks at a year’s worth of issues of Asimov’s and ponders the dearth of new, young sf readers. She raises the point that very few of the stories being published today are a celebration of the future (or indeed, the present), but rather they look backwards to the “Golden Age” of sf when writers were exuberant about tomorrow. She calls me on this — rightly so — for a couple of future-shocky stories I sold to Asimov’s, and goes on critique the genre for being almost exclusively focused on its fear of the present and the future. Good, thought-provoking stuff!Link [bOing bOing]

Stratfor tells it like it is

The Intensification of Global Instability. Iran is moving toward internal crisis. Venezuela’s political problems are worsening. The Israeli and Palestinian conflict is entering a new era, and civil war has broken out in Colombia. The United States’ inevitable obsession with al Qaeda has ultimately contributed to this process of destabilization. [via Stratfor (subscription required)]

Windows Media Player is potential

The new version of Windows Media Player maintains a logfile of all the media (digital video and DVD, digital audio and CD) that each user plays on it, much like a browser’s cache. Unlike a browser-cache, however, WMP talks to a centralized server every time you insert new media and transmits a unique identifier number that could be stored and sold to marketers (though MSFT says they won’t be doing this). And like a history file, the media player’s file can be the source of embarassment if spouses, parents, employers, kids, etc get into it and discover your dirty little viewing and listening habits.

Privacy experts said they feared the log file could be used by investigators, divorce lawyers, snooping family members, marketing companies or others interested in learning about a person’s entertainment habits. It also could be used to make sure users have paid for the music or movie, and have not made an illegal copy.

“The big picture might be the owners of intellectual property wanting to track access to their property,” said Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University.Link [bOing bOing]

Dead-on Graham Parker rant

Dead-on Graham Parker rant about the state of indie labels and US radio promotion.

“After driving around the states for a month, tuning into rock stations as I did so, I felt like I was listening to some kind of state-run communist radio, so indistinguishable was the formatting from one state to another. I commented on this to the aforementioned employee, a chap closely involved in the promotion of my album.

“No, it’s worse than communist,” he replied. “It’s the worst of capitalism.”