Random thoughts, rantings, and images. On a personal note. My dad came from Bavaria in 1927. I was born during the Eisenhower Administration. I moved from near Roswell, Georgia to Clearwater, Florida in 1971. I moved to Largo, Florida in 2000 and still haven't gotten over that year's presidential election. If you are a '''Largoan''', yes, I'm that Mike Reichold. I am not the Mike Reichold who works for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers All my stuff here is Attribution required, share alike. There is/may be content here from Wikimedia Commons and or the English Wikipedia.

Wikipedia picture of the day, Aug. 23, 2007

Collecting cards with pictures of events in ballooning and parachuting history

Public Domain

Doctorow, copyright, copyleft

The best story I've read recently is "I, Row-boat," by Corey Doctorow. Any author who can mix Isaac Asimov references with Wikipedia is probably a genius. Mr. Doctorow's homepage.

Mr. Doctorow asserts that information wants to be free, to the extent that he releases electronic versions of his work under Creative Commons licenses. He, among others, says that this tends to help rather than harm sales. I find this fascinating because it runs contrary to what I would have thought, to what I was taught.. I bloody well expect to be paid for what I do, even if it�s in the form of a grade for school.And yet I am and have been drawn to the notion that all those bits and bytes want to be free. In the past, I�ve posted essays written for school on my webpage with the idea of sharing knowledge. I figured I could not make money from them anyway. I was shocked when I started finding them on Sites that sell essays to students-- for whatever reason.

So not only was someone making money off my stuff, they were harming students and the public by allowing the students to cheat themselves of the experience of learning to write their own stuff. I�ve taken down those essays rather than promote evil. I fired off a threatening email or two, but the effort of tracking down and suing the violators of my copyrights would be far greater than any possible benefit I might gain. As Doctorow says, it�s just dumb to put up bits and not expect them to be copied. You should see the efforts we Wikipedists go through to try to keep the copyrighted stuff off Wikipedia.

I�ve taken down my essays. I think the purpose of college writing courses is not to give professors papers to grade. It is to teach students to think. If they are buying instead of writing essays, they are not learning to think. Whatever I put up from now on will be copyleft-- I insist upon attribution and share alike. Probably another futile effort, but I doubt any rantings here will be of interest to college students to stupid or harried or lazy to do their own bloody work.

Beyond Jupiter and the transcendent

Aside from/a part of the whole copyright/copyleft issue in Doctorow's "Row-boat" is the idea of liberation or transcendence via digitalization/translation. Computers and the internet are the abode of sentient programs, "uplifted" reefs, and human personalities that have been converted to computer programs. Since bits are meant to be copied and spread, one sees multiple instances of one entity engaged in multiple activities and merging back together again. Since any sensible AI is going to make back-up copies and mirrors of itself, it provides immortality of a sort.

This reminds me of Robinet Broadhead from Pohl's Heechee stories. Death was not final for Robinet as he had money, power and influence sufficient to be "vastened," that is, have his personality copied as a computer program. As such, his subjective reality was infinitely greater than it had been as a mere human being. His time sense was much greater in that he could think faster and experience more things in less time and, of course split of copies and re-integrate them. Robinet was one of many such individuals, among them a computer version of his beloved wife, whose meat copy has gone on with her meat life after Robinette's ends and a general form JAWS whose destiny was to re-merge with his meat self and then terminate. No need for multiple copies of individuals full of military secrets floating around the ether. Robinette escapes death a second time when he sends a copy of himself into a computer storage unit to talk to one of the Assassins and the Assassin kills that copy.

In Clarke's 2001 and subsequent stories, Dave Bowman does receive a sort of immortality when his personality is copied and put to work by TMA-2/Big Brother. Dave's nemesis in 2001, the HAL 9000 computer, is also copied, rehabilitated and put to work by TMA-2 in 2010. But in 2001, he is not only an AI in control of their ship and lives, he is an insane AI in control of their ship and lives. To me the whole concept of creating AI's is questionable. Why would one create self aware machines when self awareness leads one to evaluate one's circumstances compared with others and make decisions accordingly, no matter how faulty the process by which these decisions are made. HAL's decision to kill the rest of Discovery's crew was due to mental imbalance; haven't we enough mentally disturbed humans killing humans without added homicidal computers?

But translation has not brought only immortality to HAL in 3001. It has brought redemption as well. He and Bowman sacrifice themselves in an effort to stop Big Brother from receiving instructions to "weed" humanity out of the Other's garden. Backup copies are sequestered on the moon in hopes of later finding a way of removing the virus that has infected their storage device along with Big Brother.

In Swanwick's Stations of the Tide, AI's and humans and copies of human's blur together almost indistinguishably. The electronic Phillippes in the Puzzle Palace have trouble telling each other apart. Earth, like any other collection of bits, strains against her bonds and yearns to ravish the Prosperan system. The machine copy envoy from the Denebian system mourns the death of his flesh self back on Deneb. Or instead, he mourns the life he left behind that he can never have again. Sure, he can send a copy back, but he will remain among the Prosperans. In other words, no matter how many bits might look and think like me, I'm the only me I will ever have. At the last, the viewpoint character, the Bureaucrat, sheds all of his electronisized powers and copies and multpilicites to live his life among the more technologically naive people of the planet Miranda. He has compared his old life with the freshness and vitality of a non computerized existence and dives into it.

Contacting me

If you remember my user ID is the same for Yahoo! as it is for geocities, you can guess my email adress.
I no longer post an email address online because the end result has been me receiving 19,580,927 emails like THIS ONE

Exclaimer and copyleft notice:

Some rites reversed! The creator of this work encourages the distribution and reproduction of his portions thereof, in part and in toto, by all and sundry, by whatever means necessary. Creator requires that all copies or portions of this work so distributed attribute the source document, to wit http://www.geocities.com/mikereichold/ and that it be distributed under the same terms as described herein, to wit, a creative commons, attribution required, share alike (version 2.5 ) license.


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Doctorow image on Wikimedia Commons from Gisle Hannemyr on FLICKR Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Pissantus plagaristicus adapted from Wikimedia Commons Name change without knowledge or consent or approval of image creator on FLICKR, jurvetson, under a creative commons attribution 2.0 It was reviewed on 23:01, 18 November 2006 by FlickreviewR, and confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

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