Lessig summarizes Wilco’s unique role in the online music wars:
The band Wilco and its quiet, haunted leader, Jeff Tweedy, is something different. After its Warner label, Reprise, decided that the group’s fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was no good, Wilco dumped them and released the tracks on the Internet. The label was wrong. The album was extraordinary, and a sold-out 30-city tour followed. This success convinced Nonesuch Records, another Warner label, to buy the rights back – reportedly at three times the original price. The Net thus helped make Wilco the success it has become. But once back in Warner’s favor, many wondered: Would Wilco forget the Net?
Lessig visits brazil and encounters old fashioned democracy…..
But more striking still was just the dynamic of this democracy. Barlow captured the picture at the top, which in a sense captures it all. Here’s a Minister of the government, face to face with supporters, and opponents. He speaks, people protest, and he engages their protest. Passionately and directly, he stands at their level. There is no distance. There is no “free speech zone.” Or rather, Brazil is the free speech zone. Gil practices zone rules.
Even after the speech was over, the argument continues. At no point is there “protection”; at every point, there is just connection. This is the rockstar who became a politician, who became a politician as a rockstar.
Beautiful, icy, winter photographs of Lake Geneva.
Richard Smith summarizes the story of a Tukwila, Washington firefighter – Philip Scott Lyons. Lyons, a Safeway loyalty cardholder was arrested last August and charged with attempted arson:
According to the KOMO-TV and the Seattle Times, a major piece of evidence used against Lyons in his arrest was the record of his supermarket purchases that he made with his Safeway Club Card. Police investigators had discovered that his Club Card was used to buy fire starters of the same type used in the arson attempt.
For Lyons, the story did have a happy ending. All charges were dropped against him in January 2005 because another person stepped forward saying he set the fire and not Lyons. Lyons is now back at work after more than 5 months of being on administrative leave from his firefighter job.
The moral of this story is that even the most innocent database can be used against a person in a criminal investigation turning their lives completelyupside down.
Kevin Kelly just released a $3.00 PDF version of his book, True Films. This interesting and useful e-book contains the best 100 documenatries he reviewed as True Films in December, 2004.
The Economist on Toyota’s automotive juggernaut:
THERE is the world car industry, and then there is Toyota. Since 2000 the output of the global industry has risen by about 3m vehicles to some 60m: of that increase, half came from Toyota alone. While most attention over the past four years has focused on a spectacular turnaround at Nissan, Toyota has undergone a dramatic growth spurt all round the world. Japan’s industry leader will soon be making more cars abroad than at home. It has overtaken Ford in global production terms and is set to pass Chrysler in sales to become one of America’s Big Three. In an industry strewn with basket cases, where hardly any volume producer makes a real return on its capital, Toyota is exceptional in that it consistently makes good returns (see chart 1).