We have an interesting perspective, having been born in the early 80’s when the personal computer industry was just starting to bloom and grown up in the 90’s and 2000’s when piracy began to become widespread among computer users. Before then, though, people would still pirate software and music alike.
Software has always been a common target for piracy, and before it was available online in such easily accessed forms as torrents or even just as downloadable files via email or web browser, it was available on BBSes as far back as the 1980’s. The reason that most people were not aware of this at the time was that access to the required technology and skill to use it was not very commonplace. As BBSes gave way to more user friendly software like AOL and eventually to the World Wide Web that we know today, more advanced computing power, faster internet speeds and more robust storage made it as easy as a few mouse clicks to pirate software as well as helping to distribute it to others.
(Listen in to the Retrospectical Podcast Episode 08: Online Piracy: Is Illegal File Sharing Stealing?)
Music has a similar story: people began copying vinyl records (although the process was far from perfect at the time) back in the 60’s, but really started gaining steam with the invention of the cassette tape. The issue there, though, was that the audio quality would degrade every time an additional copy was made. Still better than nothing, right? Soon after, CDs came out and with the advent of CD-burning technology, you could finally copy audio quickly, and with the same quality. At this point we also had digital rips from CDs to various audio formats that ranged in quality. It almost seemed like a step down since people were distributing music that sounded more similar to cassette tapes than a high quality audio source. Again, as compression algorithms were improved and the speed and power of computers and the internet increased, we’ve now gotten to the point where very high quality audio (as well as video including television and movies) are almost immediately available.
-In quite a few cases in the 90’s and 2000’s, people who had downloaded illegal files were sued by specific organizations: the RIAA or MPAA, for example. You hear less and less about this now because people are downloading in ways that are more difficult to track. By decentralizing the way that these files are distributed, applications like Napster (originally) and now BitTorrent and its siblings can make it much for difficult for people to be traced to their actions.
-Although we don’t hear much about lawsuits these days, ISPs are still keeping fairly good track of what you’re doing out there on the web and will often send copyright infringement notices via email or snail mail that let you know they have eyes on your activities online. At some point in the future, these same ISPs could cut off internet access for those people who are infringing their terms of service by participating in such activities.
Is File Sharing Stealing?
-Let’s assume that all people who are using illegal file sharing are not just thieves. Why would someone who wouldn’t steal a physical item feel comfortable stealing something digital? What is the moral/ethical difference between those two things?
-Wouldn’t stealing mean that one party has taken something from another party, meaning that the original person no longer has the item in question? Downloading a file from the internet does not actually remove it from the possession of someone else. Of course, the internet is not a tangible thing either; could it be shown that the item being stolen in some cases is actually a piece of the original party’s livelihood?
-A common argument is that downloading something to ‘try it out’ or that you would never have purchased otherwise isn’t ethically wrong. Is there any truth to this? What if a person finds that they really do like or use something that they had downloaded illegally? They should then purchase the item in question, right?
-In general, music, software and other media like television shows and/or movies are not really being sold – that is, if you purchase them you don’t own them outright, but rather a license to use them. It’s redistributing them that is illegal according to the agreement. Is there any way around this line of thinking to someone that ‘steals’ that intellectual property?
-These days there are many places from which you can play music, or watch TV and the IP owners still get a piece (however small) of the pie. Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu, etc are all places where you can consume media for free while still supporting their creators. If this is the case, why are so many people still downloading files illegally?
What About The Little Guy?
-It’s true that if I pirate a copy of a big budget movie, that will not affect in any substantial way the profits that the movie will make, or how many sequels will come from its success. But what about the little producers? For them, the margin involved when people are not paying for the product that they are producing is in some cases too large to ignore.
Bitcoin has been one of the rising stars of the internet over the past couple of years. It started back in 2009 when you could use your own computer to reasonably mine for bitcoins and just one coin was worth basically nothing. Bitcoin, or more likely something similar, has the potential to change the way that the world economy works (though not for many, many years to come). Recently, Dave and I sat down on our Retrospectical Podcast to discuss bitcoin.
(Retrospectical Podcast Episode 07: Bitcoin - What is it & How do we use it?)
Like any currency, bitcoin is made stronger when it has a large user base and has a stable value. Unfortunately, Bitcoin currently has neither of these traits, but as a brand new technology, it’s not expected to have these right away. Nevertheless, Bitcoin is still relevant because it’s the world’s first widespread electronic cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are cheaper, more secure and easier to use than traditional paper money.
Bitcoin is vastly more accessible to the entire world, when compared to traditional currencies. Only 7% of adults in developing nations have credit cards and 41% of them have bank accounts (compared to 89% in the developed West). Compare this to access to cellular phones, of which there are nearly 7 billion worldwide. According to the UN, more people have access to a cell phone than have access to a modern toilet. The point here is that there is already infrastructure in place in order to deliver banking services via Bitcoin to the entire world. This is especially beneficial when you consider that half of the world’s population doesn’t really have access to any banking services, even if they wanted it.
The decentralized design of Bitcoin keeps it from being controlled by one entity, like the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States. In this manner, the only changes to the currency are those that are accepted by a majority of the users. The decentralized nature spreads the computing power needed to run the network out across the entire world. This assures that a single entity would not be able to take over the network unless they had more computing power than the rest of the network combined, which is basically impossible.
All Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, but they are far from secret. The bitcoin network has a public ledger called the block chain (read more about it here). This is basically a list of every transaction that every bitcoin has been involved in from its creation. This feature is important because basically every computer on the network must agree that the block chain is correct, thus preventing someone from trying to falsify their copy of the block chain. For more info about the block chain and how bitcoins are created, check out the wiki section on mining, or the article on the bitcoin wiki.
Bitcoin can easily take the place of credit card transactions (maybe debit cards would be a more direct replacement, as Bitcoin does not extend credit to consumers). Bitcoin is vastly cheaper for the merchant than traditional credit cards, with transaction fees either being a fraction of credit card fees or completely nonexistent. Bitcoin can also be spent like cash, enabling a practical micropayment system that doesn’t have to be specific to one company or website.
You can spend bitcoin in denominations down to 1 Satoshi, which is 1/100,000,000th of a bitcoin. For reference, at the time of writing, $1 US is equal to about 410,000 Satoshi (where 1 bitcoin is equal to about $244 US). As a unit of measurement, a Satoshi is not very relevant today, but could be in the future once bitcoin is more widespread and has experienced some built-in deflation.
Today, some people think of bitcoin as an investment. This is mostly due to the volatility in the price and it should be noted that bitcoin is NOT an investment tool. Bitcoin is meant to be used as a currency, and is strongest when people use it as such and don’t treat it as a commodity. Over time, the value will stabilize and it won’t be something that people acquire as an investment, but something that people use as a tool.
Currently, most places to spend your bitcoins are websites, which doesn’t help out the saying that bitcoins “not money for the internet, it’s the internet of money”. Some of the larger websites that accept bitcoin are Expedia, Tiger Direct, Overstock.com, and Malwarebytes. Paypal has also set up an option for their merchants to be able to accept bitcoin now, enabled by just a click of the mouse.
Bitcoin has really not penetrated the brick and mortar stores yet. A quick yelp search only turns up one place in Chicago to spend your bitcoins (though there’s likely more) and just a handful of places in New York City. At least in New York City you can go to the Bitcoin Exchange and buy or sell bitcoins, or use a bitcoin ATM (also a few in Chicago).
So, what does the future have in store for bitcoin? Currently, it would be a stretch to even call the people using bitcoin today early adopters. For the most part, bitcoins do not appear to be used for commerce, though that is changing. I hope that the lunatic fringe gives way to the early adopters and that leads to a worldwide, easily used, and universally accepted cryptocurrency that can be controlled by the people and not a single organization. Call me an idealist, I don’t care, I just think that things can get a lot better with technology.
A quick thank you to all the pigs out there, for your service.Pigs weren’t always the domesticated and farm-raised animals that we are familiar with today; modern pigs all originally came from several different populations of wild pigs in Europe and Asia. People hunted wild boar and their meat became very sought after but dangerous to obtain because of their teeth and tusks. At around the same time in Asia and Europe, people began to tame pigs and use salt to cure the meat (including the pork belly) so that it could last longer and this cured pork could arguably be referred to as the foundation for what we call bacon today.
Another early variation of bacon came from Ancient Rome and was called “petaso”. Petaso was made by boiling the pork with figs and then searing it in a fire and seasoning it with a pepper sauce. A great pairing.. there are still quite a few ‘pig and fig’ dishes out there that I’ve had at restaurants and gastropubs.
Let’s jump to the Middle Ages in England. Lots of food historians believe that farmers raising pigs in this period of time may have begun to notice that some pigs had meatier sides than others. They would have bred these pigs to continue that trend because there have been accounts of a cut of pork belly and pork loin that was cured and eaten (the closest resemblance yet to modern day bacon) by the people at that time. This ends up being more like what we call ‘back bacon’. This is a leaner cut, wet or dry cured, that is not smoked and is still quite popular today in England.
(Listen to the Retrospectical Podcast Episode 06 all about bacon, including an interview with Baconfest Chicago co-founder, Seth Zurer)
A few hundred years afterward, peasants in Europe began to smoke the bacon, roughly following the same set of preparations that we do today. After acquiring some good quality cured pork bellies, they must be dried completely so that a pellicle (coating of proteins) forms over the meat. This is so the meat will absorb the smoke better and not dry out the insides. Then the pork bellies are smoked – generally for a long period of time at a relatively low temperature. At this point, they can be sliced to whatever thickness is preferred and cooked.
Back in the 17th and 18th centuries in England, nearly everyone owned pigs and had their own secret recipes for bacon (city dwellers were even allowed to keep pigs in their basements for those purposes until that was made illegal in the 1930’s). Obviously more of the bacon came from local farms and butchers but regardless, this explosion of such a variety of different kinds of bacon, sausage and other pork products must have been something to behold.
Toward the end of the 18th century, a bacontrepeneur named John Harris pioneered a new way of curing pork bellies in a brine that proved to be both quicker and more cost-effective. This started the bacon revolution full force, with hundreds of companies forming thereafter using his techniques or similar to get low-cost bacon out to the masses. This should be looked at as a compromise, however, as it is more than likely that the ‘craft’ dry-cured bacon that was previously being made by the people was much tastier and also higher quality product.
What Different Kinds of Bacon Are There?
All the bacons.. MMmmMMmmMM..Side bacon, or streaky bacon, comes from pork belly. It is very fatty with long layers of fat running parallel to the rind. This is the most common form of bacon in the United States. Pancetta is Italian streaky bacon, smoked or un-smoked, with a strong flavor. It is generally rolled up into cylinders after curing.
Middle bacon, from the side of the animal, is intermediate in cost, fat content, and flavor between streaky bacon and back bacon.
Back bacon (rashers, or, in the United States, Canadian bacon) comes from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. It is a very lean, meaty cut of bacon, with less fat compared to other cuts. It has a ham-like texture. Most bacon consumed in the UK is back bacon.
Cottage bacon is thinly sliced lean pork meat from a shoulder cut that is typically oval shaped and meaty. It is cured and then sliced into round pieces for baking or frying.
Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork.
Slab bacon is side bacon that is not sliced. It generally has the rind still intact, and usually has a medium to very high fraction of fat. It is made from the belly and side cuts, and from fatback. Slab bacon is not to be confused with salt pork, which is prepared from the same cuts, but is not cured.
(Click on the picture for a full-size version that you can actually read!)
5 Interesting Facts About Bacon
Bet you thought Baconnaise contained bacon.. think again!Bacon Explosion is one of the most popular dishes in the world after it went viral on the internet several years ago.. The Bacon Explosion is made of bacon, sausage, barbeque sauce and barbeque seasoning or rub. The bacon is assembled in a weave to hold the sausage, sauce and crumbled bacon. Once rolled, the Bacon Explosion is cooked, basted, cut and served.
Bacon is addictive – not just because of how good it is! It contains large amounts of glutamate, which actually produces stimulates the umami receptors in the brain and gives us a specific savory taste and lasting sensation. Interesting stuff.. other foods known to have this effect include: beef, potatoes, parmesan cheese and shellfish. Yum!
A bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover: "Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good." "Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of aminos which tops these up, giving you a clearer head." Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible.
Baconnaise is vegetarian.. yup. Believe it or not, they mock this dressing up to taste just like the real thing but it actually contains none of it!
70% of bacon in the U.S is eaten at breakfast time. This may seem perfectly reasonable, but it didn’t start off this way. In fact, it’s really pretty much only due to the meddling of Sigmund Freud’s nephew.. who - to no great surprise - was skilled in psychology, and therefore advertising. Mr. Edward Bernays. He, through a Beech-Nut Packing Company ad campaign (they manufactured a lot of pork products among other things), convinced the American public that a heavier breakfast (bacon and eggs, specifically) would be beneficial. This was backed up by some of his friends in the medical industry through a study that was performed. Immediately during and after the campaign, bacon became a huge part of the traditional American breakfast.
First off, and I’ve said this before, I am not the type of fan that seems to be the norm for people my age. By that, I mean I don’t just hate everything that happens. I like to let things play out before I make my decision.
Well I have let the WrestleMania buildup season play out…and it was just bad! Aside from a few moments scattered here and there, Raw’s have failed to produce moments that I would deem worthy of a WrestleMania build.
The last two days have actually produced moments that got me more excited for the Granddaddy of the All more than almost anything that we’ve seen on Monday nights. Roman Reigns was a guest on ESPN’s SportsNation and was interrupted by Paul Heyman…who went on to give a typical Paul Heyman type promo.
This came after WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar went on SportsCenter in prime time to announce that he was done with MMA and had officially signed a new deal with WWE. This was a HUGE announcement for WWE and HUGE for the Showcase of the Immortals. So much so that I am starting to get that WrestleMania fever that I am so used to this time of year.
So let’s take a look at the card this year and make some predictions. Looking at the card, yeah, I’ve seen better. But like I said before, let’s let things play out.
Tag Team Championship
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (c) vs The Usos vs The New Day vs Los Matadores
Just like last year, the pre-show gets a four-way tag title match to get the crowd ready for the main show. And once again, based on the teams involved, this should get the crowd going. This match is eight solid performers that I am sure will take it up an extra notch since their match got bumped to the pre-show.
With the recent injury to one of the Usos, I was holding out hope that they would be removed from the match. Nothing against Jimmy and Jey, but ever since the surprise we got at the Royal Rumble, I have been very anxiously awaiting the return of the Dudley Boyz! The tag team division needs a boost…or a 3D!
Until then, I see Cesaro and Kidd walking out still the champs.
AJ Lee & Paige vs The Bella Twins
In a perfect wrestling world, this match could create one of the biggest moments in WrestleMania history. Imagine it – after the match, all four are still going at it. John Cena and Daniel Bryan come down to help separate and hold back their respective significant other. While doing this, they shove away AJ – nothing too hard, just a nudge. That’s when Living Colour hits the speakers and AJ’s significant other comes down to her rescue. We have the return of CM Punk!
Well, that won’t happen, but this match will. We’ll give the nod to The Bellas in this one.
But if this match is what ends the show on Sunday…well…
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Bad News Barrett (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs R-Truth
Vs Dolph Ziggler vs Luke Harper vs Stardust vs Daniel Bryan
A lot of people have had a problem with how this match has been built. I disagree – I like what they’ve done. Over the last month we have seen nothing but chaos from these seven competitors and the belt itself.
That’s what this match is going to be – chaos! From WrestleMania 21-26 the money in the bank ladder match was consistently the most chaotic and exciting match on the card. Expect more of the same with this match.
I really don’t have a problem with any of the competitors wining this match as long as their name doesn’t rhyme with scar-ruth. With the way they he has been made a bit of a fool, I can see Bad News grabbing his belt back here.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This is the match that should have been the launch to a great career last year. Well that didn’t happen. So let’s try this again.
Based on the entrant list, there really aren’t too many names that would make sense winning. Kane and Big Show dominated the Royal Rumble in January…WWE better not make that mistake again!
This one is simple. Based on the crowd reactions over the last few months and the eruptions at the face turn teases, its time to finally light the fuse and watch Damian Mizdow explode!
Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins
This has the potential to steal the show. Orton and Rollins have done a great job building this match up (something you can’t really say too much this year). Rollins showed us at the Royal Rumble that he is ready to put on amazing matches with the top tier talent
We should see an exciting back and forth match here. But after a few years of doing jobs on the grandest stage of them all,
I can see Orton come out on top here.
Rusev (c) vs John Cena
I would have nothing but praise for the buildup for this match…had the buildup not included a match at Fastlane. I still don’t agree with the fact that this is a rematch. The Fastlane match should not have happened.
With that being said, this still should a good match. The obvious logic is that Cena wins since Rusev won at Fastlane.
That can’t happen!
The fact that Rusev is still undefeated should mean something. Beating Rusev should be something that is done by someone that is ready for a career boost, not someone who has already had one of the biggest careers in history. It doesn’t make sense. While it would give the US Championship a much needed shot of credibility, Rusev needs to walk out with the title.
Bray Wyatt vs The Undertaker
By far the best build up this year…and it was ALL done by one man!
Bray Wyatt is a legit star. He is ready and needs to be placed firmly at the top of the card. No better way to take that place than by beating the Deadman at WrestleMania – worked pretty well for Brock!
But can that really happen? After 21 straight wins, could the Undertaker lose two years in a row? I can see it happening which would actually lead to the dream matchup we have all waited for next year with The Undertaker vs Sting.
So can it happen? Sure it can. WILL it happen? … yep! Bray Wyatt wins!
Triple H vs Sting
I just got a a little giddy typing Sting when talking about WrestleMania.
I started watching Survivor Series a little late and was lying in bed watching the end on my computer about 85% asleep. When the lights went out and the crow sounded, I shot up! FINALLY! The biggest name to never enter a WWE ring was entering a WWE ring!
All that being said, this won’t be the five-star technical wrestling match that it could have been when WCW was bought in 2001…but it will still be an entertaining match to see.
The end won’t be a surprise at all – Sting wins.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns
When Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble, the immediate crowd reaction showed that WWE had to spend the next two months doing nothing but building Reigns up to being the badass needed to beat the Beast.
Yeah…that didn’t happen.
It started off solid. A win over Daniel Bryan at Fastlane and a few solid Raw performances. But the fact that the WrestleMania title match participants weren’t in the same ring until the Raw before WrestleMania was a head-scratcher. Hopefully you had stopped the head scratching before the face to face meeting last Monday because the tug of war that ensued probably would have made you dig to your skull.
But oh what a difference a day or two makes.
On Tuesday, Brock Lesnar went on SportsCenter and announced that he signed a new contract with WWE. If not for that announcement, the end of the match was a foregone conclusion. Obviously Vince would not have someone not under contract hold the title…just ask Bret Hart!
But that simple announcement has added the intrigue needed to aid this match. But that alone may not be enough.
(To take a page out of my confidence pool posts) Here is my BOLD PREDICTION for WrestleMania. To give us the WrestleMania moment that this show needs – we will see a double-turn. Paul Heyman, upset that Brock seemingly held his job up, aligns himself and helps Roman Reigns win the title. Reigns goes heel with Paul Heyman in a much needed boost for him. And Brock becomes a face, which has we saw during the Royal Rumble build, the fans are more than ready for. Do you remember the reaction when Brock came out and beat the holy hell out of Seth Rollins? Electric!
If that happens, the lack of solid build for the match will be forgiven.
It’s WrestleMania! What do you think will happen at the Show of Shows? Let me know on Twitter @Tadigity24.
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!