iTunes for Bookworms

If you didn’t know about the magnitude of the Google Library Project, you’re not alone. In 1994, Google began approaching major libraries offering to digitize their stacks with an eye toward selling that digital content online, but only recently did industry heavyweights like Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo! join forces to create an opposition called the Open Book Alliance (a little Orwellian, no?).

But before these Kings of the Internet saddled up, the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers got wind of Google’s plans and filed a lawsuit alleging that the digitization of copyrighted books violates the copyright itself. Since then, a settlement has been reached that will allow the digitization project to continue. That settlement, however, is still subject to approval by a U.S. District Court where the Open Book Alliance and its friends plan to make their case.

One such friend is Scott E. Gant of a prominent Washington law firm. The New York Times reports that Gant’s amicus brief to the District Court represents “the most serious challenge yet to the settlement”. The comment was made by James Grimmelmann, an associate law professor at the New York Law School, who follows the case’s developments on his blog.

Google explains how the settlement, if approved, will affect its digitization project. In the meantime, the juggernaut internet company has just announced its release of over 1 million digital public domain books. The books can be downloaded in PDF format or EPUB, an open format which cannot be monopolized by any particular digital device.

I explained earlier that Amazon’s Kindle doesn’t support the EPUB format, but that Sony’s eReader does. Certainly that’s why Google is giving away some eReaders for the next ten days through a trivia contest. Answers are found using Google Book’s search engine.

Naturally the District Court ruling will apply to American copyright law, but across the ocean Europe is feeling the winds of change. Oxford University’s Bodleian Library is cooperating with Google, as are libraries in Germany, France and Spain. But now that the Europeans are all in it together, the European Commission will officially take a look at Google’s project next month.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

A UN-style partition plan for 'red' and 'blue' America

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce – and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less