A135137 to coin a phrase ... and then cash in

Jonathan Post jvospost3 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 20:00:56 CET 2008

"do you know who owns your "two cents' worth"(R)™?"

In the 1700s Samuel Johnson summed it up by saying that:

"No one but a blockhead writes except for money."

Of course, that was before the Open Source movement;)

As a scientist/mathematician, AND as a prolific professional author
(in MANY genres), I only own two things:

(1) my intellectual property rights [which is why, on 13 December
2007, I spent a sweaty hour pushing a disabled writer in a wheelchair
around and around on the Writers Guild of America picket line outside
Paramount Studios: the Internet does matter to content creators who
want to be paid, and WGA won that epic labor struggle];

(2) my reputation [which is why plagiarism and defamation are
existential threats which must be countered fast and countered hard].

The Open Source movement has brought many wonderful benefits:
(1) the SUSE Linux PC running Firefox, from which I send this email;
(2) OEIS, the greatest quasi-Open Source entity in Mathematics (modulo
njas, who should win a MacArthur Fellowship or Nobel Peace Prize, or
something, and the wonderful and distinguished and hardworking
Associate editors);
(3) the arXiv, which I read essentially every day, and often cite in
seqs on OEIS;
(4) PLOS, and other science databases, and note that the NIH now
mandates open on-line publication of all biomedical research paid for
by tax dollars.

In this context, I am probably not alone in resolving the
superficially opposed axiom sets:
(1) Hacker's Ethic: Information Wants to Be Free;
(2) Writer's Ethic: Content Creators Want to be Paid;
in the post-modern way:

(1) Pay your bills with a day job, be it fellowship, Professor, grant
PI, public school teacher, or waiting tables in a restaurant; and
"Keep Your Day Job";
(2) Do the Mathematics, or non-institutionally-affiliated Science
Research, or writing the spec novels or short stories or poems or
plays or whatever, "on your own time" as an independent contractor,
who has as assets the aforementioned intellectual property rights and
reputation, and has to turn hours into dollars (pounds, yen, euros,
...) and there are only ~24 hours in a day [mean solar day is slightly
longer than 86,400 SI seconds] *, although lawyers joke "There are
only 24 billable hours in a day, and I bill 36 of them).

We are all professionals here, in the best sense, of doing
high-quality work that can be sold or otherwise contracted in the open
market. We are also all amateurs** here, in the best senses:
"Etymology: French, from Latin amator lover, from amare to love;
Date: 1784
1 : devotee, admirer
2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a
pastime rather than as a profession
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur as retrieved on Feb
10, 2008 16:31:50 GMT

Conclusion: my answer to Jon Awbrey's reasonable and subtle question:
"do you know who owns your "two cents' worth"(R)™?" is:

I do, sometimes via my publishing company Emerald City Publishing
[since ~1979], sometimes via my consulting company Computer Futures,
Inc. [since ~1979], and sometimes via my and my wife's multimedia
company Magic Dragon Multimedia [since 1996], for tax purposes a
subsidiary of Emerald City Publishing.  I urge all my colleagues to
find what, for them, is the optimum balance between good business and
good collegiality.

Thank you for your kind patience, attention, and consideration.


Jonathan Vos Post

* [excerpted from "Coordinated Universal Time" in wikipedia]
"Coordinated Universal Time (UTC,--Fr. Temps Universel Coordonné) is a
high-precision atomic time standard. UTC has uniform seconds defined
by International Atomic Time (TAI), with leap seconds announced at
irregular intervals to compensate for the Earth's slowing rotation and
other discrepancies. Leap seconds allow UTC to closely track Universal
Time (UT), a time standard based not on the uniform passage of
seconds, but on the Earth's angular rotation.

Time zones around the world are expressed as positive or negative
offsets from UTC.

As a time scale, UTC divides up time into days, hours, minutes, and
seconds. Days are conventionally identified using the Gregorian
calendar, but Julian day numbers can also be used. Each day contains
24 hours and each hour contains 60 minutes, but the number of seconds
in a minute is slightly variable.

Most UTC days contain exactly 86,400 SI seconds, with exactly 60
seconds in each minute. However, since the mean solar day is slightly
longer than 86,400 SI seconds, occasionally the last minute of a UTC
day will have 61 seconds. The extra second is called a leap second. It
accounts for the grand total of the extra length (about 2 milliseconds
each) of all the mean solar days since the previous leap second. The
last minute of a UTC day is allowed to contain 59 seconds to cover the
remote possibility of the Earth rotating faster, but that has never
happened. The irregular day lengths mean that fractional Julian days
do not work properly with UTC.

UTC is derived from International Atomic Time (TAI), which is a time
scale tracking proper time on the rotating surface of the Earth (the
geoid). At any particular time, UTC proceeds as a linear function of

** Amateur, as distinguished from dilettante, dabbler, tyro; "mean[s]
a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or
professional status. amateur often applies to one practicing an art
without mastery of its essentials <a painting obviously done by an
in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance
of direct remuneration <remained an amateur despite lucrative offers>.
dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled
practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an
absence of serious commitment <had no patience for dilettantes>.
dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence <a
dabbler who started novels but never finished them>.
tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting
crudeness or blundering <shows talent but is still a mere tyro>."
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur as retrieved on Feb
10, 2008 16:31:50 GMT

On 2/15/08, Jon Awbrey <jawbrey at att.net> wrote:
> o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o
>  do you know who owns your "two cents' worth"(R)™?
>  http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/the-enclosure-of-our-common-language/2008/01/31
>  ja
>  Jonathan Post wrote:
>  >
>  > "A penny for your thoughts."
>  >
>  > "In for a penny, in for a pound."
>  o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o
>  inquiry e-lab: http://stderr.org/pipermail/inquiry/
>  mwb: http://www.mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey
>  mathweb: http://www.mathweb.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey
>  getwiki: http://www.getwiki.net/-UserTalk:Jon_Awbrey
>  p2p wiki: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/User:JonAwbrey
>  zhongwen wp: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey
>  ontolog: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?JonAwbrey
>  http://www.altheim.com/ceryle/wiki/Wiki.jsp?page=JonAwbrey
>  wp review: http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showuser=398
>  o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o

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