The Economics of Piracy


Read this.  Below is a comment on the same link from masgramondou, who fortunately weighs in at the first comment. It’s important enough, I re-posted the whole thing.

Piracy. Yes you want to stop it but, yes, it may be the best marketing tool you have as an unknown author.

Eric Flint (and others, e.g. Cory Doctorow) said it originally about a decade ago but it still remains the case. Remember the average reader is not in fact a criminal and, these days, understands that authors need the royalties to survive.

If you make it easy to purchase and consume then the majority of people who might consider pirating your work will buy it. However the price has to be right (i.e. $4.99 not $14.99 or $24.99) and you have to make it so that they can easily get it on the device(s) they want. Do that and most people will buy not steal. And the ones who will steal, probably wouldn’t pay no matter what you did so if the piracy is electronic you aren’t losing anything



This reflects some data I’ve seen from folks in the ad industry, who normally study what makes an on-line ad effective. What is interesting is that the numbers reflect very nicely, except that pirated works (especially text based fiction) are a better return on investment than internet advertising. Think on that a moment.

In the Tabletop Role Playing business, where razor thin margins are a way of life, there are companies who upload free copies of their games into torrent as an advertising strategy. They say that it is by far the best advertising dollars they spend– by a long mile.

FWIW, the company used something like paper chase to collect data on where their copies went. Only they weren’t hunting for pirate 0. (Or, in this case, pirates 1-500+)They did a distribution survey and how much pattern matching they got in their purchase database. The numbers they reported on that return were absurdly high. I mean, sure, they make good games, but… would you base your economic model on that unless the numbers were definitive?

Also, professional musicians are known to upload free videos to youtube, with full production quality sound. Everybody knows there is a way to download and strip away the video. More often than not, if somebody likes it, they will fire up Amazon or iTunes and pay up to get the produced version, even if there is little practical difference.

Remember: MTV and terrestrial radio were started on the theory that people buy what they like when they hear it for free. Note that MTV started in the 1980’s, when it had been established that the radio music sales model works.

Aristotle meets Jesus

An oldie but a goodie.

Margot St. Aubin

Aristotle depicted by Raphael, holding his Ethics: detail from the Vatican fresco The School of Athens, 1510 – 1511.

I think Chesterton is ignored today because we do not have the intellectual fortitude to understand his point. We are blinded by wit and a clever turn of phrase, but do not see the meaning behind what is said.

Thought is virga, showering us, yet dries up before it touches the soil. Because we do not believe that reality is real, thought is less than metaphysical, less than smoke. Talk is cheap and meaning is non existent.

Moral relativism is the philosophy of depression and death– a death of cold. That is, falling asleep, thinking everything is fine.  All you see is the whiteness of a blank page; there appears no reason to worry. Yet reality will still devour you, and finds it easier to do so when there is no…

View original post 199 more words

Sunday Shrine 1/18

Shrine to St. Oliver Plunket, SJ, the last of the “Popish Plot” Martyrs.

St. Oliver Plunkett

Yep, somebody made playing cards out of this trial and execution, it was such a big deal. Once the men were dead, a sifting was made of the facts.  Then it was discovered that Titus Oates made the whole thing up.  By then, the damage was already done, and more 16th century Brits were reading Dan Brown and loving it.

Here’s the shrine they built for him, at St. Patricks Roman Catholic church in Drogheda, Ireland.  Special thanks to Trounce ,  Peter Murphy, and Ralph Ellis for posting such nice pictures.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the shrine itself. The spire echoes the architecture of the church itself, and reflects the shape of a monstrance.  It’s not blasphemous. After all, man is made in the image and likeness of God, and the saint is only a saint because God has infused them.  This is made for God’s honor, not man.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The face of a martyr.  He was hanged, drawn and quartered.  Looks pretty good for all that, and over 300 years later.

By Trounce (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇓Now we get to see a particularly beautiful sculpture of the Last Supper, carved out of marble. I particularly like the weariness you can see on Christ’s face.  The emotions really jump out at you, yet a classical beauty remains.

By Ralph Ellis (Ralphellis at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And here we get a look at the church on the outside.   St Patricks is a lovely example of French Gothic revival.

By William Murphy (Flickr: Drogheda – St. Peter’s Church) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A Garden of Visible Prayer, by Margaret Rose Realy

By Ammodramus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 A Garden of Visible Prayer, By Margaret Rose Realy

She opens the way for a beginner to look at intentions of your work. This book demonstrates  how to move forward, to sort the wheat from the chaff in a sea of conflicting ideas.  She does this by looking at principles, requirements and limitations. Her gentle text coaxes them forward in a compelling way.

By Sgt. Michael Walters [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

All of these things are put into place by your intent, and the physical limitations of space.  It is perfectly designed to keep you focused on why and what you are doing. That makes all the difference when hard work and tough decisions come to call.

She comes from the Catholic tradition, but her style is so open that just about anybody could enjoy it, provided you are on board with the premise.  That being, that gardens are a wonderful expression of spirit, and that setting aside a special place for prayer is a worthy and healing endeavor.  She amply demonstrates this by showing you how to make it happen.

I have read a number of books like this over the years. Granted,  this back when I was still pagan, but I didn’t let that stop me from examining a variety of traditions.



I found them decent, but always missing steps between thought, planning and execution that the writer assumed everybody knew.  They tended to be thick quarto  sized coffee table books with panoramic views that would do American Home and Garden proud.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first thing you will notice is it is smaller than average for most gardening books. Do not think that being small translates to thin on information. She is efficient, and explains things both simply and clearly. She does not try to be all things to all people.

Instead of sweeping vistas, you have loving portraits of plants, plus an exploration of a variety of prayer spaces.  It gives a person with a limited space a place to breathe. Even  an apartment dweller who decides to arrange a patio garden of potted plants has to gain and is not classed out by art’s high expectations.


By そらみみ (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Cropped by Margot St Aubin

There are also special sections for working with a public space, and how to work with a symbolset that is not your own.  These tools are so handy you could apply the bare beginnings to a hundred different processes, from interior decoration to beginning a novel.

Granted, these tools will not get you *all the way* into starting a novel, but it does show you how to take the barest beginnings of inspiration and put them in a rational order without killing them with your outlining superpowers.


By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the best book on garden planning I have ever beheld. I do not say this lightly. I am not much of a gardener, but my mother owned all the garden books that existed between the 1970’s and the 1990’s. I was the sort of kid who read pretty much everything that had letters in it. I liked pictures in gardening books, so I read them to have an excuse to stare at the pretty!  Devious child, I was.

This woman is not just a landscape designer, but a master gardener who has spent years teaching a course that is outlined in this book. It is no mere course outline, but it is clear and well crafted framework to utilize for your own project.  the best part: all the inputs and limitations are what you bring on this journey.  Her long experience shines through.  I recommend finding other books if you want to know more about the care and feeding of plants or a source book for choosing specific varieties.

A lot of books like this suffer from trying to be ‘the be all’ book of gardening. She pares down and focuses on giving you the practical tools, even tells you where to get what she does not provide in terms of plant choice and care.  HOWEVER, by the end you possess the exact information you need to figure out what you need where to go next to get everything you need.  I have never seen this information all in one place.

A special note for those working on memorial gardens, or working on other sorts of deep emotional healing. The writing does tend to bring up lots of emotional stuff, even more than you expect. She provides a reading environment focused on looking at your feelings. So pick a good day, listen to some soothing music, and pick up this book. Even if a specific prayer garden isn’t your intention, and you just want to look at making your yard more your own, you will find tools to help that process.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Please note that searching for “prayer garden” does tend to get you those big panoramic spaces that I was snarking about earlier. I wanted to show that a number of different  religious traditions make prayer gardens, but the pictures almost fly in the face of what I’m saying. Awkward!

Foretaste of Heaven

These are some prayer gardens that I found while doing the graphical work for the book review that’s going up tomorrow. (really, honest!)   I found so many nice things, I decided to put some of them up tonight. First, a reminder that prayer gardens are a tradition that comes from the roots of Christianity.

The Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane are both pictured on here. There is  argument about where the latter is located. There are two popular options.

צילום:ד”ר אבישי טייכר [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑BTW, they still do prayer gardens in Israel.

The vast majority of these are from The Marian Orchard of Balete at Barangay Malabanan,  Balete, Batangas.  My first impulse was to showcase exclusively pictures from this beautiful location. I mean, Ramon F Velasquez gifted over 1000 pictures of this incredible location to Wikimedia Commons. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of his work.

Also, this is the sort of place I’d love to visit.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons And

They are not all from a Catholic retreat and garden on a tropical island. Baptists like prayer gardens, too.

By Regrothenberger (Reagan Rothenberger) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from the prayer garden at the Baptist University in Dallas.

By ThePrayerGarden (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is from The Emmanuel’s Holy Ground Prayer Garden is an Outreach Ministry of Emmanuel Independent Baptist Church in Roebuck, SC.

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Lest we forget, every cemetery is also a prayer garden.  Praying hands sculpture, Prayer Garden, Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton, Michigan.

By Boston Public Library [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This Baptist love of gardens goes back a ways. Here’s a post card. That may have been the original worship space for the congregation.

By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑Okay, back to Batangas. I love this little prayer cell, made from natural materials and a cascade of what looks like hanging grasses.  I bet it makes a lovely sound in the wind.

Yes, there are still more. Maybe I’ll put more up in a post-review post.

Pride and Peacocks

By Lorenz Frølich (1820-1908) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For various reasons, I was looking at Peacocks (and an occasional Peahen) on Wikimedia. I found so much beautiful art work on the not-so-humble peacock.

One of those reasons is that I’ve been doing a study of the 7 Deadly Sins.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like a downer, but I decided humor would make it fun and memorable.  Hence, we begin with Pride, and Peacocks.

What is interesting is all the sub-sins that come out of Pride. They don’t always flow the way you expect. Arrogance is only a part of it.  Did you know that Despair also comes out of Pride?  Despair often manifests itself in self-loathing. Thinking you are worse than everybody else on earth is also a form of pride. It is pride turned inside-out.  A demonstration is easy.

By jyshahJyshah at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

⇑Here is Pride as we know it.

⇓This is pride turned inside-out. How ungainly! But seeing what is on the inside (and what is behind the facade you are seeing) is educational.

By User:Arpingstone [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑This is William Etty’s study of a peacock (that’s a “rough sketch”) from “The Judgement of Paris”.   Isn’t this awesome? Wish it had a larger resolution!  I’d love to get in there and really look at the brush strokes.

⇑Now this is a work of art. That is a guard for a samurai sword, from the late Edo Period. (Late 19th Century), made or at least designed by Nagata Naohiro.


Archibald Thorburn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑I love how Thorburn teased out such precision and a metallic sheen from watercolor.

By Элизабет Сонрель [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

⇑No, I don’t know why the name is in Russian. Wikimedia says (click picture to see) it was drawn by Elisabeth Sonrel , and called “Le Paon; Majeste” (“The Majestic Peacock”)  See, even Art Nouveau wasn’t entirely a boy’s club.

The trick to pride is knowing that the goal is a happy medium.  That is, credit where credit is due, and failure should be an opportunity to learn.  Despite the associations, I’m almost hesitant to use Peacocks for Pride. They are such beautiful birds!  They are also fairly ill tempered beasts, and act in a perpetual state of Bridezilla. If my wedding venue is any indicator, that is.  🙂  Okay one more. You talked me into it.

By Darkros at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Yes, I know this is a male bird, but he still makes me think of a Bridezilla. 🙂  Enjoy!

Sunday Shrine 9/28

We have more from It is, once again, in New Meixco, though this time we go to Pensaco, New Mexico.  These photos are brought to you by Russel Lee.  These were taken in July of 1940.

We start at the church, and go on a pilgrimage. Once there, we go examine the first things in a graveyard, and see an adobe convent.  I provided some verse, as is appropriate while on a pilgrimage.  The quotes are from the Douay Rheims, as brought to you by

We should get going. There’s a long way to go.

8b25758v-1This is the first look we have of our church. We see the barn, and the rectory behind.

Matthew 3:11-12

I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

8b25718v-2This is the beginning of the procession. WE see that the country store is right down the road.
Isaias (Isaiah) 62:10
Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people, make the road plain, pick out the stones, and lift up the standard to the people.

8b25746v-3The beginning of the procession. A man who bears the cross.

Matthew 27:32
And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up his cross.



Isaias (Isaiah) 51:16

I have put my words in thy mouth, and have protected thee in the shadow of my hand, that thou mightest plant the heavens, and found the earth: and mightest say to Sion: Thou art my people.8b25759v-7The door to the Cemetery

Psalms 22:4
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.

8a29006v-8A grave. I believe those wreaths are supposed to represent the crown of thorns. The herb looks to me to be desert sage.

Psalms 56:2
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me: for my soul trusteth in thee. And in the shadow of thy wings will I hope, until iniquity pass away.

8b38162v-9 As promised, this is the convent. It looks tidy and very different than others I’ve seen. Also, the architecture looks considerably older than the church viewed above. On the other hand, it looks brand new. That might be because the sisters had recently re-stuccoed the surface. On the old buildings that is done every year.

Genesis 38:14
And she put off the garments of her widowhood, and took a veil: and changing her dress, sat in the cross way, that leadeth to Thamnas: because Sela was grown up, and she had not been married to him.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.

Who is the Architect?

Aesthetics and Message

Author: Wouter Hagens Creative Commons License

Why do we care about art? Why do we thirst for beauty?

Is it all about aesthetics? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about the message? That we knew that we could trust something that was beautiful without even looking underneath and seeing what it was?

Yeah, I admit, it would be nice. But there is a problem with that.  At that point, you have to ask yourself, what’s the difference between Art and Aesthetics? Turns out, it’s kind of a big deal.  Certainly preaching it is not art, but neither is an empty gesture.

Because… eventually you get something like this.  Cthulhu has an unfortunate accident with a bouquet of axes, and is subsequently turned into a building by an uncharitable wizard. Maybe Trajan?