The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Saving Internet Radio

Submitted by Jim Brown on May 11, 2007 - 2:48pm

Josh and others have recently expressed concern about a ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that would kill internet radio. By jacking up royalty rates, small internet radio stations would get squeezed. Well, Sam Brownback and Ron Wyden have introduced legislationthat would put things right.

Here's a decent gloss of the issue and this proposed legislation from Wyden's website:

Currently, terrestrial radio stations only pay royalties to songwriters. Internet radio and satellite radio pay royalties to both songwriters and record companies/recording artists. However satellite radio only pays royalties of 7.5 percent of their revenue. The Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007 corrects the enormous disparity created by the CRB by putting Internet radio on par with satellite radio. Additionally, the legislation would create special royalty rules for the Webcasting arms of non-commercial broadcasters like National Public Radio and college radio to ensure they are not left out of reaching new listeners on the Internet.


Do you need a media trainer?

Submitted by ddd on April 21, 2007 - 7:08am

According to the New York Times this morning, a lot of people feel they do: business execs, job and school applicants, "aspiring daters," and so on. A snippet:

And why not? With the rise of YouTube, MySpace vlogs, video résumés and video dating sites, the revolution is being televised right before our eyes. To prepare for their 15 minutes, people are seeking professional help. And who better than someone who has been in the trenches?

“Today’s executives not only have to be photogenic, but also telegenic for anything from basic blogs to podcasts,” said Rachel Weingarten, author of the coming book “Career and Corporate Cool” (Wiley, July 2007). “Since this information is also more widely available and accessible, there’s less of a chance to impress people, and the concern is that the immediate sound bite, video loop or MP3 be dazzling.”


“We live in an on-demand world where people want the most detailed information to make a decision, as well as the ability to make that decision quickly,” said Nicholas Murphy, 27, the co-founder of The site, which made its debut last week, aims to help users create online video résumés. It also allows employers to videotape themselves so they can advertise to prospective employees.


The Law of Optical Volumes

Submitted by Jim Brown on April 20, 2007 - 2:42pm

There's an interesting story at Slashdot on the "Law of Optical Volumes" and math of readability when it comes to font design. According to the Wired story referenced in Slashdot:

The Law of Optical Volumes states that the area between any two letters in a word must be of equal measure throughout the word, and remain consistent throughout the body of text.

Wired's new logo follows this law. This raises interesting questions for visual rhetoric, web design, and digital literacy. Does the spacing of words on web sites play a part in the new literacies required to read electronic text?


Non-violent video game design in the CWRL

Submitted by Jim Brown on April 20, 2007 - 9:23am

I posted this over at Blogging Pedagogy, but I wanted to make sure Blogora readers got word as well. Some grad students in the CWRL are developing a video game for rhetoric classroom, and it recently got some local news coverage.

Some interesting things to note about the news coverage:

-They couched the story (of course) in terms of the Virgina Tech shootings. Since the competition was about non-violent video games, they found a way to transition from VT to something local.

-The correspondent conflates "logic" with "rhetoric."

-The grad students are referred to as "Assistant Professors" :)

One final note. The premise of the game is "Who killed the rhetoric instructor?" Students pull together evidence to make an argument about who might be responsible, and they have to make use of certain rhetorical strategies to gather this evidence. There is no "correct" answer to this murder mystery - it's all about putting together an argument. So, it's not the most nonviolent game in the world, but it does at least avoid the "shoot em up" paradigm.


MORSE Code vs. SMS

Submitted by ddd on April 1, 2007 - 3:43pm

For those of us with the tendency to get a leetle too cocky about the speed and advantages of our "new technology," Jay Leno orchestrates a challenge b/w the country's fastest texters and a couple of veteran MORSE code users. The latter tech is 170 yrs old, btw, and it wins.


John McCain: Plagiarist?

Submitted by Jim Brown on March 28, 2007 - 3:43pm

It's impossible to know if John McCain voted in favor of The Copyright Extension Act of 1998 (aka The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act) because it was passed with a voice vote. What we do know, is that the McCain campaign doesn't take pains to protect the intellectual property of others when it comes to campaign materials.

McCain's Myspace page uses Mike D's design template (no word on whether Ad-rock or MCA collaborated on said template), but does not provide attribution. It also links to images on Mike D's server. Thus, every time someone hits McCain's MySpace page, Mike D's server gets bogged.

Mike D got even though. He added this to one of the images that McCain's page was using:

"Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage...particularly marriage between passionate females."

He even added a signature at the bottom. See Mike D's explanation for more details.


Beer Launching Fridge

Submitted by ddd on March 9, 2007 - 8:21am

On the lighter side of the news.... I read on slashdot this morning that a student at Duke has just invented and developed a remote controlled "beer launching minifridge" that can toss him a beer while he sits on the couch up to 20 feet away. CNN picked up the story this morning, noting that the guy spent 150 hours and $400 dollars making it work. Deadspin has posted a video of it in action--the title of which is "Soon, Americans Will Lack the Need to Move." ....


study says p2p has almost no effect on record sales

Submitted by Jim Brown on February 13, 2007 - 8:55am

I broke my wrist yesterday, so I'm thinking the blog entries will be least for a while.

A recent study in the Journal of Political Economy notes that file sharing has had very little effect on record sales (link via Lawrence Lessig's blog).

Any chance this means the RIAA will shift its rhetorical tactics? Doubtful.