Saturday Links for the Week – December 2, 2006

london subway
US Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit Against EPA For Not Doing It’s Job: In one of the most important rulings for the US’s environment in decades, a lawsuit brought by 12 states against the EPA for neglecting its job to enforce air pollution laws causing global warming is now being argued in front of the US Supreme Court. The Bushies are likely to prevail, unfortunately, since they are the ones who have picked the majority of the right-leaning court. The very fact that one group of governments has to sue another to get them to enforce already-feeble environmental law shows how far the corporatists have come in their domination of US politics. And last month’s election results won’t significantly change that.

Ontario Municipal Board Deals Death Blow to Oak Ridges Moraine: And in one of the most important rulings for Canada’s environment in decades, the stridently pro-development Ontario Municipal Board has ruled in favour of a massive development scheme on the Oak Ridges Moraine North of Toronto. The Moraine is the buffer for Toronto development and urban sprawl, and its protection is essential to the health of the groundwater and wildlife habitat for the greater Toronto area. This ruling, by the arch-right-wing OMB, an unelected organization with extraordinary powers which is in the back pockets of big development interests, essentially opens the entire Moraine to untrammeled development, since it serves notice that developers will continue to receive automatic approval for all developments on the Moraine regardless of their environmental impact. I predicted this a few months ago. I wish I had been proved wrong.

…Now do you see why I’ve given up on political means to ‘save the world’?

Fashion Industry Proves Severe Intellectual Property Protection is the Enemy, Not the Friend, of Innovation: Andrew Leonard in HTWW explains how the fashion industry, which has none of the IP rights that music and film executives argue are essential to their viability, is doing just fine without them. Excerpt:

Like the music, film, video game, and book publishing industries, the fashion industry profits by repeatedly originating creative content. But unlike these industries, the fashion industry’s principal creative element — its apparel designs — is outside the domain of IP law. And as a brief tour through any fashion magazine or department store will demonstrate, while trademarks are well-protected against piracy, design copying is ubiquitous. Nonetheless, the industry develops a tremendous variety of clothing and accessory designs at a rapid pace. This is a puzzling outcome. The standard theory of IP rights predicts that extensive copying will destroy the incentive for new innovation. Yet, fashion firms continue to innovate at a rapid clip, precisely the opposite behavior of that predicted by the standard theory.

Canada’s Liberals Elect Environmentalist Moderate Over Charismatic Front-Runners: The Liberal Party’s choice, virtually certain to be Canada’s next Prime Minister to replace the right-wing ideological extremist Stephen Harper’s minority regime, confounded all the pundits. StÈphane Dion received only 20% of the delegates’ votes on the first ballot, but thanks to second and third place votes moved by opportunistic front-runners Bob Rae, the former NDP Ontario premier who switched to the Liberals to run for the leadership, and Michael Ignatieff, the Harvard professor and neophyte party member who gave up his comfy position and returned to Canada after decades in the US for the same reason. Seems that the Liberal faithful thought that hard work and a lifetime’s devotion to the party and its principles were more important than charisma and clever speaking ability. Although Canadians don’t yetknow Dion, I predict he’ll win a landslide victory in the next election.

Just for fun: Geoff Ryman’s fascinating interactive online novel 253 set on the London Underground (mapped above). I’m just working my way through it, but it’s addictive. Thanks to etbnc for the link.

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2 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week – December 2, 2006

  1. Marty Avery says:

    Dave, if you call 253 an interactive novel, check out 2 installments on a hybrid: part story, part film noir, part online game…soon to be an episodic film. Gorgeous, rich, evocative. Check it out.Oh yeah, and producer Ian Harper makes gadgets that measure electromagnetic smog as a day job.

  2. Marty Avery says:

    You’ve got Stephane Dion and the Oak Ridges Moraine, we in Alberta have Ed Stelmach and the tar sands. Have a look in my backyard if you want to wring your hands and feel the impotence of politics.

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