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Controversies!

A short entry to point to some worthy controversies… first, my good friend John Law has filed a lawsuit against Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel of Burning Man LLC, seeking to put Burning Man as a name and trademark into the public domain. I just read John’s quick overview of the topic, and the 70-some comments, and there are valid arguments on various sides of the issue. The crucial piece is John’s long-time antipathy to what Harvey and the others have turned Burning Man into, a mega-cash-cow… I wrote about BM a while ago, after going twice (finally) in 03 and 04, and generally I think it’s a hugely interesting and important event. With respect to the discussion, I think the creative commons or copyleft solution would be best, taking the trademark out of the control of any corporations but making it unavailable for commercial exploitation…

The other controversy is an old one I’ve been touting since the mid-1980s: the need for separate bikeways. Clarence Eckerson has put together a nice 8 minute video on the topic, which I recommend. It really aggravated me that the current plan to redesign Valencia Street again as a “Great Street” failed to include the urgently needed move of the bike lane to be next to the sidewalk, on the pedestrian side of the parked cars. We will never see a massive increase in urban cycling until there is a fully implemented infrastructure separate from cars for people to safely cycle on… dammit!

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