Awesome organist

At first, it looks like just another child doing just another recital piece, but it gets awesome quickly. Keep an eye on the bass line being played by her left foot.

Via Erik's Weblog.

Amazing Young Organ Player Rocks Out - Watch more free videos


Making the Electoral College irrelevant

Before I start, I should mention that using the word "irrelevant" always reminds me of Chico Marx. If you don't know why, you must go watch the greatest comedy of all time (imho).

Now, where were we? Ah, yes, making the Electoral College irrelevant. Obviously, someone had a brilliant idea some time ago, and for some reason, today is the first I'm hearing of it. You can go to nationalpopularvote.org for the full scoop, but here's the gist. The Electoral College method of electing a President is stupid, and Al Gore *should* have been President in 2000 since more people voted for him than for the Boob in Chief. However, to scrap the Electoral College, we need a Constitutional Amendment, which is a pain in the rump. However times two, there's a loophole waiting to be exploited. Each state can decide for itself how the electors it sends to the Electoral College should vote. Currently, they all say, "Whoever got more votes here in My State gets all our Electors". Suppose, instead, the State said, "Whoever got the most votes NATIONALLY gets all our Electors". Hmm.

Okay, the trick here is that if enough states (270 Electors worth, if memory serves) agree to do this, the President will be elected by the popular vote instead of the current idiocy. So far, only Maryland has committed to it, but here in New Jersey, we're awfully close to doing the same. This is a *brilliant* end-run around the Electoral College, and I really hope it works.


Facebook, Scoble and Russell's Law

The ubiquitous Robert Scoble was kicked off Facebook temporarily for screen scraping his friends' email addresses via an alpha test program from Plaxo. Like almost everything Robert does, this incident reverberated around the Internet, with bloggers expounding on whether Facebook or Scoble were "in the right". In particular, here's Jeff Jarvis' take called In Defense of Facebook. You should also read Is There A Conflict Between Open Social Graphs And Your Privacy? by Julian Sanchez at TechDirt.

In my opinion, both Jarvis and Sanchez are making the same basic mistake, although Sanchez attempts to talk his way out of it. The real problem with Facebook's attempt to control the data flow, and Jarvis' and Sanchez' belief that they have a right to control the data flow, is that it breaks Russell's Law. Russell's Law (which I made up, but has been holding up very well so far) states: You cannot encrypt past the intended recipient. It was originally coined to convey the impossibility of enforcing "for-your-eyes-only" emails via cryptography, but it applies to many situations. Like the impossibility of foolproof DRM-protected music. Now, here's another situation where it applies perfectly. You can't stop your Facebook friends from giving your email address to whomever they choose. You can make it temporarily tedious, but that's it.