Fear Itself

I wanted to tell you a wonderful short story I had heard.

Listen to this woman – clearly from within a couple hundred miles of that region between Cologne and Katmandu. She’ll tell you a tale pulled from the darkest depths of her distant memory. You’ll learn something about how all of us perceive things.

Well, the word “listen” was supposed to be a link directly to the audio, but I couldn’t make it work, and so I can only give you a link to a page that completely ruins the effect. Try to close your eyes go directly to the button within this page that says “Listen”.

Furthermore, the editing of the recording could be improved. I wanted to take what should have been just a moment to edit it and provide my own version of it for you.

Damn. Thwarted by deliberate copy protection and by Windows and this blog software unintentionally making simple things harder than they need to be. None of this would have stopped me if I was determined, but it did push the effort past the threshold of what I was willing to do this morning. And why? The story is freely available to be heard, both on the air and on the Web. Only the form sucks and I want to improve it. The story came from public radio – a non-profit in the public interest, and paid for by the public. They got the story from a government sponsored project called Storycorps. And neither public radio nor Storycorps were the authors – the woman in the story was!

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. Well, I will go listen to the story at some point.

    Copyrights and copyprotections — man, are these concepts under seige! It will be interesting to see how things unfold over the next few years. It seems that the battle lines are becoming more and more clear: individuals versus corporations (as in, for example, “Corporation for Public Broadcasting). And furhtermore: young versus old.

    Meanwhile Wetmachine will muddle along as a host to discussions of this sort. I guess at some point I should take the furhter step of putting the contents of this site under Creative Commons or something — I should put up explicity privacy and copyright policy statements.

    But that’s too much work for this morning. Someday, maybe.

    But more important than most of the forgoing: it’s nice to see you posting again, bro. Don’t think we have not noticed your abscence. It’s good to see you again.

  2. Haven’t had a chance to blog on this, but the plan is to push back in ’07 for legislation that protects fair use. You can see the website for the new coalition (which includes my employer, Media Access Project) at http://www.digitalfreedom.org.

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