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Recommendations for 08/04/2012

I have been very lax in doing these recently. I was sick for part of that time; but, more generally, I am still going though a phase in which I am looking at less stuff on the internet. This is probably, all things considered, a good thing, but it does not help produce stuff for recommendations.
My first big recommendation this time around is a book that I have not read yet, but I very excited about: The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (he’s written a very thorough Reader’s Guide here: http://nedbeauman.blogspot.com/2012/06/teleportation-accident-readers-guide.html). His last book, Boxer, Beetle, was a favorite of mine, and I have high hopes for the new one. I had to order it from Amazon UK because, for reasons which still both escape and enrage me, it will not be published in the US until MARCH of next year. But I think it’ll be worth the extra trouble of acquiring it before then.
Article: “The ‘Broken Patent System’: How We Got Here and How to Fix It” by Nilay Patel
In the tech world, complaints about the patent system in the U.S. have been numerous and loud in the last few years. This is mostly due to the abuse of the system by so-called “patent trolls,” who file or, more usually, buy very general patents and then sue bigger companies who actually make something in hope of making some money from other people’s innovations. There have also been major lawsuits claiming infringement between big companies like Apple and Samsung or Google and Oracle; the latter case, if nothing else, illustrated the ways in which the patent system needs to evolve to deal with new technologies, and, more generally, people often see these cases as a way for one company to try to avoid fair market competition from another. This piece provides a more complex view of what is and is not wrong with the patent system. The most interesting idea, for me, is that patents actually represent an exchange between inventors and society: in exchange for a legally protected monopoly for a defined period of time, the patent holder is agreeing to place his/her invention in the public domain after that period. So, we allow innovators some protection from competition—which also encourages people to invent stuff— and in exchange we get a hugely valuable archive of intellectual property.   
Song/video: A Result of Sound by Distance
I’m posting this first and foremost because I like it, and in general like almost all of what Distance does. I’m also posting it because THIS is what I mean when I refer to “dubstep,” a term I feel in being misused to refer to people like Skrillex, Bassnectar, etc. I’m not even a little bit interested in getting into the debate about “brostep,” or even whether those people are any good or not. I just want to illustrate that they are doing something quite different—whether or not you LIKE it— from what anybody meant when they said “dubstep” a couple of years ago. 
Song: 101 South by Two Fingers
Two fingers is Amon Tobin (author of my favorite record of last year) and Joe “Doubleclick” Chapman (about whom I know nothing). I guess you’d file it under instrumental hip-hop (at least this track); in any case, it bumps.
Song: Carcass (Sun Hammer Remix) by Laurel Halo
I am not totally sure how I feel about Laurel Halo’s album yet; it is, at least, really interesting, but I can’t quite get a handle on it as a whole. This, though, I like: a kind of fuzzed-out, signal-decayed version of one of the more melodic songs on the album.
Film: Sight by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo
Interesting short film, created as a graduation project by two young Israeli filmmakers, about the less appealing aspects of Augmented Reality (about which I have written before). 

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