ALLOpod Episode VIII – The REAL First Episode of the Year of the Dog

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

ALLOpod Episode VIII – The REAL First Episode of the Year of the Dog

Genre-defiant musician _AA_ rings in the Chinese New Year with a song called Gee, which he says reminds him of, “Dangermouse and Bananaman.”

One very interesting current event is that Dick Cheney shot a 78 year old lawyer in the face while they were out poaching. We have a brief discussion on how the situation is being handled and how the whole thing sets a dangerous president precedent for other people who are poaching (or shooting lawyers in the face).

As it turns out, we were wrong about the previous episode being the first episode of the year of the dog. The Chinese New Year was on 29 January, so it actually happened after the previous podcast was posted. Oops.

We also made a change to the way our single-episode sponsorship works. Last month we said that $25 would get you one minute, unless you sponsored the show during the months of February, March, and April. We have changed this such that now, if you’re one of the first three single-episode sponsors, regardless of which month you sponsor, $25 will get you four minutes of time to say whatever you want.

Also, the John Cage song I mentioned in the show is actually called 4’33”, not 2’37” as I thought. At least I was right about it being by John Cage (although, it’s kind of hard to get that part wrong).

In last month’s episode, we announced that we would have a contest and this month the contest was announced! Entering is easy, but you’ll have to listen to the show to find out how!

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you probably know about the trouble that some U.S. companies are getting into over in China. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cisco, and several other companies are feeling the heat from U.S. citizens as well as the U.S. government because they’re censoring content at the behest of the Chinese government. Turns out that not only are Chinese and U.S. citizens bummed about that, but so is the U.S. government; so bummed, in fact, that they created a task force to combat internet censorship. Which is ironic, since other facets of this same government are trying to censor those parts of the internet with which they disagree.

For Valentine’s day, Andrew Burton wrote us a special technology haiku:

“you need an ipod”

(special valentine’s day edition)

like the heart, or love

music completes the creature

you need an ipod

We transitioned to our interview with Stu Evey by listening to Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King as performed by _AA_. It was… Interesting, to say the least.

Also interesting (in a slightly different way) was our interview with ESPN co-founder, Stu Evey. He talked to us about the founding of ESPN, as well as the state of Spokane, WA (the city where we live). Unfortunately, we had some problems with our equipment that caused us to lose some of his answers. About halfway through the interview, I figured out what the problem was (and hopefully it will never happen again). If you hear some weird edits or if any of the transitions seem odd to you, that’s probably the reason why.

One really interesting question and answer that we lost was, “What was the first thing that aired on ESPN?” Stu’s answer was, “Canadian girl’s slow-pitch softball, because that’s all we could get the right to.” Classic. -)

Next month’s interview will be with the creative force behind the new sketch comedy show, Throbosho! You can download the pilot episode from their website (see infra for the link). We’re taking your questions, but we’ll be interviewing them in early March, so get those questions in ASAP!

If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to help sponsor the show, e-mail us at: podcast alifelessordinary . If you send us a question or comment, be sure to mention if you want to be included in the shout-outs.

If you want to hear your name mentioned in our shout-outs, send an e-mail to: podcast alifelessordinary . Please include your name and location (for example, “Thomas in Spokane, WA” or “Phoenix in Japan”).

Links:

_AA_ [del.icio.us]

Wikipedia: John Cage [del.icio.us]

XM Snags Oprah [del.icio.us]

Google vs. Google China in an image search for “tiananmen” [del.icio.us]

ESPN [del.icio.us]

ESPN: The No-Holds-Barred Story… [del.icio.us]

Throbosho! [del.icio.us]

Andrew Burton [del.icio.us]

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8 Comments

  1. Thanks to my mum for the “precedent” correction. I =knew= it wasn’t right, but I was too burned-out from working on the podcast for the past two days to think of how to spell it properly.

  2. Freudian slips are awesome!

  3. Yeah, I thought it was a particularly nice one.

  4. Even better than Cuba’s cigars – their hip-hop. No, I’m serious. Check out Orishas. From all who know me, I generally hate rap…so this has to be something special!

  5. Warning, long comment ahead:

    1. Haiku literally meant ‘hai’ (amusement) ‘ku’ (sentence), although now it just means ‘haiku’.

    2. Google in China… Oy, where to begin…

    I initially had the same knee-jerk reaction as everyone else. “But, their motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’, how could they do this?” But after pondering it and considering the situation in the larger context, I believe Google made the right choice. The proper, moral, _Good_ choice. I further believe that refusing to do business in China at all would have, in fact, been evil.

    And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that people still in the “Google=evil” stage just haven’t thought it all the way through yet. But that’s just my opinion; we can agree to disagree. ^_^

    But, how about a quick experiment?

    Step one: Look around you. How many objects can you see just in the room you are in right now that were made in China? Unless the answer is ZERO, _you_ are doing business with China. You are supporting them.

    Does that make you evil?

    Step two: Ah, Slashdot. How I love thee.

    Part A: Defeat the censorship.

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/09/08/1247244&mode=thread&tid=99

    Use elgooG

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/30/technology/browser0130/index.htm?cnn=yes

    Spell poorly

    Part B: Relevant Results

    http://www.google.cn/search?q=tiananmen+Square++massacre&btnG=%E6%90%9C%E7%B4%A2&hl=zh-CN

    275 hits, that’s WITH the censorship in place. If you thought there would be zero hits, you’d be mistaken.

    Part C: Comments

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175251&cid=14571530

    I used to live in a totalitarian regime for the first half of my life and know the effects of government censorship. I have to tell you that if I should choose whether to have google with censorship or not have it at all, its clear what I would choose. I would indeed perceive it as a great evil if Google would withdraw their services from me because of someone’s quite stupid elitist opinion.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175251&cid=14571126

    It’s by no means obvious to me that “provide nothing” is less evil than “provide partial.”

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=178260&cid=14781024

    The fascinating news for me is Google, a private company standing up to the fascist tyranny of the US government.

    Aside from the fact that it should be the job of the US poulation to do this, and the profound irony of a corporation standing up for rights the ordinary individual is too apathetic and mentally lazy to deal with there is the hilarious spectre of Washington chastising Google and Yahoo over their censorship. Could the irony be any richer?

    http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175437&cid=14584735

    Just because Google is an American company, it is not within reason for it to impose American ideology on another nation. While doing business within a market sponsored and regulated by another government, it is only fair that you play by their rules. Google is NOT a liberation army, they are not defenders of democracy or freedom; nor is it their right to assume such a role in a foreign land.

    http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175437&cid=14584913

    Most of the comments here and the other articles on the subject follow the “everything or nothing” mentality. This is typical when asking for opinions of people not directly affected by the matter. Most of you being outside China, it is easy to claim that you would rather not use Google at all instead of use a reliable service with certain “sensitive” pages filtered.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175050&cid=14555266

    For someone who is currently living in China and using it daily, I am very glad they made this particular decision. For those condemning Google for not sticking to “Don’t Be Evil” or for selling out, consider this – which is the greater evil, to filter out some information (and let people know it _is_ being filtered), or to deny them access to information altogether?

  6. In response to Phoenix’s comment:

    Step 1: Of course I have stuff that was made in China. Does that mean I’m supporting the Chinese government? Perhaps, but indirectly. The problem with an argument like this one is that (pretty much) you have to buy stuff that’s made in China. Saying you’re going to avoid products made in China is like saying you’re not going to eat anything made by Kraft foods. Good fucking luck.

    Step 2: (responses to a few of the comments posted)

    I’m glad that people have found ways around the censorship. I’m glad that the Chinese people are willing to, in one way or another, subvert their own tyrannical government. I don’t think that Google is being evil, per se, but I wonder what the repercussions would be if they decided not to censor anything. I suspect that the Chinese government would attempt to censor Google, but we know for a fact that the Chinese government isn’t too smart about proxies, so Google would still be accessible in China (if a little inconvenient).

    I agree that it is not Google’s place to decide what is appropriate ethical behavior and they certainly shouldn’t break the law in another country, no matter how asinine those laws are. That having been said, many people view Google’s censorship as a breach of their own declaration of principles, which is why this is causing such a big stink.

    Really, the point I was trying to make was one more critical of the U.S. government, and not so much of Google (I also find it interesting that everyone defends Google, but Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Cisco are left to fend for themselves). I don’t think our government should be telling Google (et al) how to conduct their business on an ethical level (especially since our government is far from a model of morality). I also want to know why (A) if there’s an embargo on Cuba because they’re communist, why didn’t we impose an embargo on China? And (B), if Communism isn’t such a big deal after all, why is there still an embargo on Cuba? Surely our government’s mixed messages only serve to confound our negative image in other countries.

    Google is a private entity; they’re allowed to conduct their business as they please, provided they operate within the confines of the law. In this case, the law in China states that they cannot make certain pages readily available. In fact, let’s make this a little easier; let’s take China out of the equation altogether. Google doesn’t have an obligation to make every single page on the internet available to anyone; even in this country. However, as a search engine, they’re in the business of providing access to web pages. They are also competing with other search engines to provide access to the greatest number of web pages (among other things). However, that doesn’t mean that they have to provide access to =all= web pages. After all, no one let out a peep when they publicly admitted to blacklisting some websites. How is this really any different?

    I went to a private school, which is surprisingly like a dictatorship. At a public school, you have certain rights that cannot be denied. At a private school, free speech is a privilege. You can be censored (which, thankfully, I never was). Your club can be shut down. You can be expelled. Any of these things can happen if the administration disagrees with you. It’s a bit harder for those things to happen at a public school. The same is true for Google. They aren’t state funded, so they don’t have to play by the rules of the U.S. Constitution. They’re a private entity, so they get to play by their own rules. Priority #1 is protecting themselves and their bottom line. If it takes a little censorship to do that, well, so be it.

    Simply put, I’m not really critical of Google, I’m critical of our government. I think this Joy of Tech sums it up nicely.

  7. Google.com is still not censored, it’s just blocked outright. The Google.cn servers are in China and therefore within the Great Firewall. Unblocked but censored.

    If you can figure out how to access Google.com, it’s all gravy.

    Also for the record, French and German search engines (including the respective Google iterations) are also censored, but no one seemed to care much about that.

    The reason Yahoo, MSN, et all are given a harder time than Google is because they are much, much worse. Yahoo and MSN have done anything the Chinese government has asked, including releasing private personal information on people. Google hasn’t. Google obeys the letter of the law as minimalistically as possible, going so far as to notify users when content has been censored (because the law does not forbid that). That’s the difference. Of course, Yahoo and MSN don’t claim that their motto is “Don’t Be Evil”.

    I feel that Google is sticking to the spirit of their motto fairly well, despite the (long expected) public backlash. We all know that “A person is smart, people are dumb.” People, as a group, are often short-sighted and ignorant. That is the natural state of things. Examine the reaction of people (whom do not understand the economics of the situation, or even basic market theory) when they heard the founders sold off some of their own Google stock. Ridiculous. Don’t get me started on how absurd people can be…

    I anticipate the time when the general feeling toward Google swings back the other way.

    Of course, despite the previous success of their motto, we all know that Google will slightly alter it in the future…

    http://blog.outer-court.com/googlerobot/

  8. Looking for Me?

    I know I said I wasn’t going to post today, but I can’t pass this one up. I was going through my site statistics this morning and found some really bizarre searches that led people to my site. Many of…