Various Broadcasts  and Podcasts 

On this page I'll give some links to Web broadcasts of public discussions or lectures on topics of interest, where I have watched the broadcast or attended the event. The absence of an event just may mean I haven't seen it (yet).


TechRepublic and AT&T sponsored an audiocast on July 14, 2006, "Pandemic Readiness: A Six-Step Methodology for Business Continuity," with James Hilliard, moderator, and Jerry Shammas and Patty Cavelli from AT&T. Subscription may be required. The slides are at   The presentation starts with the discussion of H5N1 "bird flu" or "avian flu", but the concepts could apply to any yet unknown pandemic.  While this could sound like a business opportunity for a company like AT&T to sell a mix of communications strategies for readiness planning to large enterprises, the conceptual paradigm is important. This is different from Y2K planning, or from physical infrastructure disaster planning. There is much more conceptual tradeoff in the methodology. Grim possibilities like martial law were mentioned. One interesting sidelight is "virtual office" and the notion that an employer will want its associates to have a mix of access technologies at home (DSL, cable, satellite, dialup) because some modalities could be unavailable in some communities. This raises new ethical questions about personal v. business usage. The most important risk is huge employee absenteeism, including caring for sick family members,

AT&T has a planning for Pandemic video at this link.

 CATO INSTITUTE (archive is here).

These will prompt to view with Real Player. 

April 26, 2006. Copyright Controversies: Freedom, Property, Content Creation, and the DMCA. This starts with "Introductory Remarks" by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Mr. Smith expressed a concern that at one time there was no criminal penalty for distributing pirated material unless one charged. Ms. Lofgren pointed out that it is important that individual consumers have the ability to circumvent protection devices if for a lawful purpose, and she discussed the so-called Balance Act. She mentioned that at one time web surfing was almost made illegal! She also mentioned the takedown and safe harbor provisions in the DMCA and the problem that ISPs do not have an interest in content when faced with a cease and desist letter.

The second portion, "Foundations of Copyright" features Drew Clark, Jim Harper, Jim De Long, David K. Levine. The panel discusses the paradigm of intellectual property as different from tangible (especially real property or natural resources and commodities) because it seems infinite in possible creation and tends to distribute naturally. There is a discussion of whether copyright promotes the development of more arts and literature, and it does not always do so. The composer Borodin might have composed more if he did not have to earn a living in Russia as a chemist, but Verdi stopped composing operas once he had copyright. The cost of creating and distributing new works can be severely hampered by copyright licenses of existing works (such as movies buying music rights). Many times artists or whole companies use a free content model and make money by selling advertising or other services or by converting into some other form (a book or website generates a movie). For example, Google makes money from advertising while indexing a lot of free content--for free--and and other social networking sites try to make advertising money off of free content from young people--largely "the kids."  This raises unprecedented social and legal paradigm issues where families can be affected in various ways (security, family cohesion) by this new business model of some companies. Economists are concerned that sales and distribution, as a business matter, demand a very different temperament from that typically found with many artists. This can even raise ethical and legal issues. Another interesting point was that the pornography industry is very profitable without using copyright protection because of social disapproval.

The third portion, "Copyright and Technology" featured Kevin Maney (USA Today), Gregory Lastowka (coauthor of "Amateur to Amateur: The Rise of a New Creative Culture"), Michael Masnick, and Patrick Ross. The ideas in the second portion were continued. Amateurs are finding that they sometimes sell their work to large media companies, or sometimes are able to make money doing the distribution on their own. NBC Universal asked the question about the need to protect $200 million investments in movies like "King Kong" without piracy. The "Napster" phenomenon of downloading and peer-to-peer was not covered. The experiment by Stephen King to bypass the publishing houses with an online serial "The Plant" (where a vine threatens a real publishing house) was mentioned, as an allegory to "the revolution."

The final portion, "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act" featured four speakers and tried to get to the DMCA as an underlying public policy problem. Tim Lee, author of  "Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act" discussed the conceptual issues underlying the policy problem. To wit, "open standards" function in the IP world the way that the pricing system and price points (a favorite buzzword of Trump on The Apprentice all the time) work in the conventional economic world of fiat money. Value, that is, is something more general than just money, even though that is how we have to measure things. He discussed Digital Rights Management ("DRM") and the paradigm that large corporate content producers have felt pressured by their stakeholders to preempt piracy, given the technological pressures of digital media, the Internet, and open standards, in such a way as to interfere with fair use and threaten innovations that would enable small content producers to compete. The potential effect could be to allow large corporations to maintain a content "cartel." The other speakers were Solveig Singleton, Emory Simon and Gary Shapiro. There was some disagreement as to whether the DMCA is conceptually a reasonable model to solve a very difficult paradigm problem. There were questions as to whether home users can be prosecuted for circumvention if for fair use, and the answer tentatively seems to be that the liability is only civil; and there were comments about the spectacle of a volume of petty lawsuits against individual users downloading illegally through peer-to-peer (Grokster case) but yet the DMCA seems to be much more concerned with actual hardware and software devices than with abuse of networks. The DMCA had been a hot topic of informal discussion at gatherings of people in the Libertarian Party of Minnesota in the 1998-2000 period, when I was living in Minneapolis and participating regularly, and sometimes drew the attention of the local Independent Film Project . The fear then is that it could shut major production down from small filmmakers.  (Note: Mr. Lee has an op-ed "Entangling the Web: regulating service providers won't help consumers," essentially speaking against network neutrality legislation, in The New York Times, Aug. 3, 2006, p. A23.)

The Copyright and Intellectual Property forums provided a positive view of the "democratization" of debate through the Internet and "amateur to amateur" self-publishing. There are some ethical and business conflicts that can arise from this development (related to the legal concept of "right of publicity" in conjunction especially with security), as noted during the early part of 2006 by numerous media reports about the "social networking site" or "" problems. That might make a good topic for a future forum. I have a writeup at  that outlines my concerns (look especially at the footnotes and links.) 

May 4, 2006. Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws. This Cato Book forum with John C. Goodman and Kim Strassel, authors of the book by this name (Rowman & Littlefield) (with Celeste Colgan) with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-KS) discuss the way tax and labor policy affects families with different arrangements, as when there are two essentially equal breadwinners, or when there is only one. Senator Hutchinson talked about the homemaker IRA.

May 10, 2006. Parental Power: TV Indecency, The FCC, and the Media's Response ; With Roger Pilon, Jack Valenti, and Leslie Marx. The effectiveness of advanced V-chips, and of a la carte programming policy were debated. about 65 min

June 1, 2006. Gay Marriage: Evidence from Europe. with William N. Eskridge, Jr. Coauthor, Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? What We've Learned from the Evidence (Oxford University Press, 2006, Maggie Gallagher, President, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Coauthor, The Case for Marriage. With David Boaz. Mr. Eskridge disputes the idea that marriage in Europe (primarily Denmark) has gone down into cohabitation because of recognition of same-sex arguments. He claims that 1/3 of lesbian couples raise children and 1/5 of male couples. Ms. Gallagher talks about the paradigm of separating factual arguments from moral ones, but the tone of her argument is very respectful.  She does go into the "generative" arguments, which emphasize the public nature of marriage and intended connection to raising children in optimal environments. She mentions the birthrate arguments, which Mr. Eskridge rebuts with the point that worldwide population is increasing (he ties this to global warming), but it is not being replaced in many of the wealthier countries, and that begs serious political arguments (such as responding to the long term threat of Islam).  Of course, if marriage confers privileges, eventually those who do not marry may be called upon to make more sacrifices; and in a world that cannot take an infrastructural surplus for granted, one wonders about the moral arguments concerning attitudes toward the value of people vs. the value of one's aesthetic achievements. (I go into this here.) 81 min. 

May 23, 2006. Is the Massachusetts Health Plan a Model for the Nation? Len Nichols, Ron Pollack, Arnold Kling (book Crisis of Abundance), Michael Tanner. This is a discussion of the "brother's keeper" problem in health care, that we all share the medical costs of the uninsured. Does the Mass. plan (the so-called "Connector") impose government into personal decision making? Is this like the auto insurance issue? The debate was mixed, but one of the biggest problems is the extreme cost of cutting edge technology used to prolong life or treat very ill patients, so this becomes a moral question. In our country we place more emphasis on saving life than do other countries. Some other states are experimenting with other limited coverage plan. But Mr. Kling characterized the Mass. plan as one for the healthy, who don't use much care. Kling suggested that one or two states try a single payer system (I think a couple have), in order to shake down a "disaster" before it hits the whole country. 

May 30-June 2 2006. Health Care University on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Cato Institute.

In Session1, Peter Van Doren discusses "The Basic Economics of Health Care and Insurance Markets," 51 minutes. Brandon Arnold does the introductions. Mr. Van Doren discusses concepts like risk adverse consumers, risk neutral companies, moral hazard, and adverse selection. Moral hazard is reduced when companies require more copayments and deductibles from consumers. He discusses "guaranteed renewable coverage" in the individual markets, as productive if started early in life. Older employers, because they are often more productive, account for their extra benefit costs in the workplace when employers provide coverage. Dr, Van Doren points out that the sickest 4% of the population spends 50% of the resources. He proposes a lifetime contract where one accepts end-of-life rationing of health care, in exchange for lower premiums. There will be moral arguments against this from some, and questions about the filial responsibility obligations of other family members, especially adult children.

In Session 2, Michael Turner discusses "How Not to Reform Health Care." Mr. Turner analyzes public solutions, such as single payer, managed competition, and mandated employer coverage and the recent Massachusetts law making it mandatory for individuals to have some coverage. He points out that death rates for many malignancies (prostate cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer) are higher in Europe and Canada than in the United States because, with effective government rationing and waiting lists, treatment is delayed. The same appears to be true with heart disease and coronary bypass surgery. Hip replacements take longer to get, and I wonder if I would have laid in traction for three months had my 1998 fall happened in Europe. Managed competition tries to eliminate moral hazard as a factor in pricing. Mandated coverage invites special interest groups, often very politically polarized, to demand to be included in mandated coverage.

In Session 3, Michael F. Cannon discusses "Liberalizing the Private Health Care Sector." He discusses the policy objection to exempting employer-paid premiums from taxes, as they may encourage over-consumption by consumers; he discusses also the "large health savings account" that could be used to purchase private insurance to meet the employee's need without imposing group experience on the employer. Employers, however, often provide a cafeteria plan of various policies and companies.

Session 4, Mr. Cannon's "Reforming Government Health Insurance Programs" does not seem to have a working link.

June 30, 2006.  Fact and Fiction about Gasoline Prices, with Jerry Taylor. The speaker runs through the economic basics of fuel prices, as an "auction" much like Ebay or houses. He explains the 25-year-cycle in oil prices (they last plunged around 1986, leading to a secondary real estate depression in Texas). He goes through the problems of converting to other fuel sources for cars, and explains why ethanol itself is very expensive to produce in enough quantities here.

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

ACLU Lawyers Discuss COPA. The ACLU has audio discussions of its litigation against the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. At this link look under "Resources" on the left side of this page, and then look for "Audio" where Chris Hansen and Catherine Crump discuss the law. The discussions are high level and general. The trial is taking place in Philadelphia starting the week of Oct 23, 2006. More details are here.


For one thing, the Google-Dell home page offers the video "Derrick Comedy" where an appealing young man in a white toga teaches self-defense moves, sort of like Napoleon Dynamite's dance moves.

Josh Wolf:

A blogger and filmmaker from San Francisco, Josh Wolf, 24, was released from jail after eight months for contempt of court for refusing to release portions of his video "All Empires Must Fall" on the demonstrations in San Francisco July 8, 2005 protesting a G-8 trade meeting in Scotland. The blogger entry is here. More of this may appear on a cable channel or indie film later.

John Hancock Life Insurance: Long Term Care Insurance

The company gives a Webinar to employees and retirees of client companies about Long Term Care Insurance. The presentation (22 min) is in the form of a "film strip" with audio supplied over a phone call which is connected to registrants. Blogger discussion.


Microsoft has a 26 minute film "Orcas Beta 2" about the new Visual Studio .NET platform in which S. Somasegar and Scott Guthrie discuss the work environment and project management of the new release. The "My Dinner with Andre" like interview gives a good feel of what it is like to work in a leading edge software engineering environment, and gives a good feel for why the Information Technology job market requires such a heavy degree of specialization and "living the life." Here it the link. Here is the Blogger discussion.  There is also an interesting 29 minute instructional video on Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition (link). As an video, it shows a "filmmaking" technique of demonstrating computer keystrokes in implementing and using a computer application with computer screens.

Microsoft and Google:

Human Computation (2006) is a 40 minute lecture by software engineer Luis Von Ahn, with questions, about how spamming companies can defeat captchas. The basic question is to replicate in a computing environment what humans can do but computers can't. We know this from chess already.  But the issue here is identifying images. A company could set a sweatshop overseas to do this, but then there would be some cost per "free account" by bypassing the captcha. He compares the man-hours simulated by computers with what it took to build the Panama Canal (20 million hours). One technique is to offer an "ESPGame," and prompt responses by telling each participant who responds first. Then images can be parsed with a technique called "PeekaBoom." Then he talks about libraries of Common Sense Facts, and verbosity, and asymmetric verification systems. He mentions "The Matrix" movies -- computers need humans because we generate power, but we also generate context.  The URL to watch the video is here: 

A couple of links for these games include Gwap (includes ESPGame) and Peek-a-boom.


Another example of software instruction video comes from a set of seven YouTube videos from CakeWalk on the Sonar (music composition and editing and mixing) and related products, total about 20 min, with Robin Kelly, here.

Oprah Winfrey: New Earth Web Event (2008) discussions of spiritual, New Age, and psychological issues, blogger link.

Reputation Defender:

Here are a  number of videos from major networks (not Youtube) on Reputation Defense, at this link on "Reputation Defender".

For example, on ABC "i-Caught" (7:42) has Martin Bashir discussing services that encourage people to share negative information about others, and the Reputation Defender company (Michael Fertik) says that it raises "doubt" about individuals (based on unverified information) with employers, landlords, insurance companies, etc.  Fox News "American Newsroom" describes a case of abuse by the California Highway Patrol.   John Duetzman from Fox New York, and Mike & Juliet who talk about "cyber gossip" (12 min) and about how an NGO non-profit businesswoman (she was placing students in schools) was destroyed by a "gossip girl" where people believe viral Internet gossip regardless of its credibility (including a rumor that a woman's daughter was dead).  The woman did win a libel or slander lawsuit against another party and is collecting some of the judgment by garnishment.  He talks about a "deep search" on the Internet and an extended service that can rearrange the order of search engine results.  There is a "" site. The best clip is probably Forbes (5:40) with Poppy Harlow, in which Mr. Fertiks talks about the "deep Internet" not indexed by search engines -- his company can research that, too (so do companies like Lexus, of course -- the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul MN also has this concept). He also recommends "Google insurance" to people by creating blogs about themselves that is what they want people to see. Typically, these blogs are the first results presented by Google and other search engines (Blogger belongs to Google).  Some employers want their key employees and consultants to accept professional management of their "on line reputations."  These clips discuss many specific cases that are themselves harrowing (no, I didn't include the names of the involved people here to be picked up one more time by search engines).  Related blogger discussion (12/26/2007) is here

South Texas Law School, streaming video, can gay marriage be conservative? (2/15/2008). Includes video speeches by Charles Murray, Dale Carpenter, Johnathon Rauch, David Frum, Gerard Bradley, Robert Nagel, blogger link here.

Secondary School Filmmakers:

Jupiter or Bust: The El Sol Solution, Comcast, Zach Chastain, Bryan Cink  (2007); Our Duty, Charter Comm, Anthony Hernandez and Dustin Gillard (2007); When the Boys Come Home: The Controversy at Walter Reed, Cox, Ian Scott Wilson (2007); blogger link hereSee this link for discussion of a new Civil War school film (not yet available) on Stonewall Jackson.

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