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Archive for the ‘miscellaneous’ Category

Off to Switzerland

I will be in Zurich for the next three days to give a talk and take part in an interview. Blogging may or may not happen during that period; it would depend on time and internet connectivity.

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Newness

Eliezer has an unusual suggestion on how to spend New Year’s Day.

Sometime in the next week – January 1st if you have that available, or maybe January 3rd or 4th if the weekend is more convenient – I suggest you hold a New Day, where you don’t do anything old.

Don’t read any book you’ve read before.  Don’t read any author you’ve read before.  Don’t visit any website you’ve visited before.  Don’t play any game you’ve played before.  Don’t listen to familiar music that you already know you’ll like.  If you go on a walk, walk along a new path even if you have to drive to a different part of the city for your walk.  Don’t go to any restaurant you’ve been to before, order a dish that you haven’t had before.  Talk to new people (even if you have to find them in an IRC channel) about something you don’t spend much time discussing.

And most of all, if you become aware of yourself musing on any thought you’ve thunk before, then muse on something else.  Rehearse no old grievances, replay no old fantasies.

If it works, you could make it a holiday tradition, and do it every New Year.

I think it is a beautiful idea.

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I will be off on a camping trip to Death Valley National Park for the next five days. We leave tomorrow morning. There is no internet there, so this is going to be the last post till the 31st.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Come back next week.

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Another policy change

I have changed the Creative Commons license that governs the content of this blog. In plain English, the change amounts to the following — now you can quote, republish, adapt or otherwise use any part of this blog for non-commercial purposes, provided you attribute me  as the original source. This is more restrictive than my previous license, which allowed such use even for commercial purposes, but of course, vastly less restrictive than the default “all rights reserved” copyright, where only ‘fair use’ is permitted.

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Comment policy

Here’s a simple question — who owns the comment you post on someone else’s blog?

One view is that the blog is the blog owner’s property and he owns all the content on it — including the comments — and has the right to do whatever he wants with them. Thus he may choose to publish or not publish a comment, edit it to any degree or delete it whenever he feels like.

However a little reflection should make one realize that by US law, the commenter by default attains copyright on any content he or she creates. So unless the commenter gives away some (or all) the rights associated with copyright, the comment is his property. Of course, it is debatable whether the act of posting the comment on another’s blog automatically means that the commenter gives away some of those rights.

Basically, things are a little murky. However, there is a simple solution — having a comment policy. All bloggers should clearly indicate to users what rights they have and what rights they are giving out when they write a comment. This is not only the honest and transparent thing to do but it also protects the blogger from potential legal repercussion later. This is the reason why all major comment-enabled blogs have a policy these days.

With that preamble, I present my comment policy below. It will also henceforth appear at the top of this blog. I view this blog as my property (indeed, the main reason I use WordPress is that I get such extensive control upon this site’s content) and the comment policy is written to reflect this view.

Muse Free is my blog and I will generally try to maintain it in a manner that is professional, courteous, friendly, and honest. I believe in allowing my readers an opportunity to express their views on my posts. That said, it is a big internet and I view this blog as my space. So, while you have the right to post anything you want on any open comment thread, I have the right to do anything I want with that comment henceforth. In short, once you post something here, you effectively lose control over it.

More precisely, by leaving a comment on Muse Free, you grant me a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable and transferable license to store, use, transmit, display, edit, delete, publish, reproduce, or otherwise distribute your comments without limitation, as well as to make such additional uses of them as may be needed by me.

Nonetheless, you as commenter are responsible for your words. So long as your comments have not been edited by me in a manner that changes their meaning, they do not reflect my opinions, even if I retain them on the Muse Free blog. By submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that the comment content is your own, and to hold WordPress and me harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.

Usually I will not exercise my right to edit or delete a comment without good reason. A relevant and civil comment will most likely be accepted and retained. However, these are not promises. As stated above, my right to moderate, edit or delete any comment may be exercised at any time for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. By putting a comment here you are implicitly taking a risk that I may delete your comment at any time, use it in any manner with or without attribution, edit it as I please or abuse your trust in some other way. Any or all of these actions by me will be legal according to the policy stated above and if you do not wish to take this risk, you are advised to not post a comment on this blog.

These terms of use may be revised from time to time. Please check this page periodically for updates. Your posting a comment on this site on any given date indicates your acceptance to the terms of use as of that date.

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Why Muse Free?

A reader asks me why I call my blog “Muse Free”. I generally think that names should speak for themselves but in this case I don’t mind giving a bit of an explanation.

First off, thought and freedom are two concepts that are very dear to me; and who doesn’t want a name to consist exclusively of dear words? However “think” or “thought” sounds too dry; muse gets its about right.

As for the name itself, I wanted it to have multiple significant meanings. Muse Free has at least two obvious meanings: Muse free(ly), Muse (on) Free(dom). Both of which go to the heart of what I want this site to be about.

But there is a third meaning that relies on a different, perhaps less known definition of the word muse. I quote from the Literary Dictionary:

muse, a source of inspiration to a poet or other writer, usually represented as a female deity, and conventionally called upon for assistance in a poet’s invocation. In ancient Greek religion, the muses were nine sister‐goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the goddess of memory), who presided over various arts and some branches of learning. Their cult was associated particularly with the Pierian Spring on Mount Olympus, with Mount Parnassus near Delphi, and with Mount Helicon in Boeotia. Their names and responsibilities are as follows: Calliope ( epic poetry); Clio (history); Erato ( lyric love poetry); Euterpe (flute music); Melpomene ( tragedy); Polyhymnia ( hymns); Terpsichore (choral dance and song); Thalia ( comedy); and Urania (astronomy). Later poets of the Renaissance, however, often referred to the women praised in their love poems as muses who inspired their verse; and in modern criticism the term has often been extended to any cause or principle underlying a writer’s work.

The third meaning of my title is that it refers to the hypothetical Goddess defined above who inspires my writings. She is free.

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A query for my readers

Do you find that this website is much slower over the past few days? If so, is your problem limited to my site or are you experiencing it on other wordpress blogs as well?

As for me, everything from viewing my own blog, posting, accessing my dashboard etc has been really slow for the past week or so. I am curious to know where the problem lies. A simple yes/no reply in the comments would be highly appreciated. Even if you are not a regular visitor of my blog, please let me know if the loading time for this particular visit felt normal.

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