Thursday, June 21, 2012


The summer solstice arrived with a roar roundabout Exit 151 – there's a heat advisory and air quality alert for the second day running. It feels more like late July than mid-June (last week it felt like early May). The township cooling center and one pool are open (find a NJ cooling center). How hot is it? Here's a heat index map as of 3:00 p.m. Gah!

Heat index map

Heat Index Map for June 21, 2012 at 3:00 p.m., from the New Jersey Weather and Climate Network. All stations are above 90° F (32.2° C); one-third report 100° F (37.7° C) or above.

If that weren't hot, hazy, and humid enough, there's an unfolding story on Ravelry that's hotter, faster, and superficially wackier than Fast and Furious (the gun-walking scheme, not the movies). Yesterday came an announcement that the U.S. Olympic Committee sent a cease-and-desist letter to Casey in re the Ravelympics, overnight there was a flurry of outraged Raveler reaction on Facebook and Twitter, and today there's coverage on NPR and the New York Times, and a sorta apology statement, then an updated statement from USOC. For all that, it still seems the Ravelympics will have to be renamed.

On the surface, the matter would seem to be a straightforward case of trademark infringement plus an outsized kerfuffle over some ill-chosen words. Except, as The Guardian reports in a must-read article, the Olympics is not an ordinary brand, protected by ordinary trademark law. As part of the bidding process, the International Olympic Committee requires host countries to create special laws that grant the organizers and their sponsors special protections. These laws privatize words and images in ways that privilege giant multinational corporations (which can afford sponsorship fees or, alternatively, ambush marketing campaigns) and disadvantage local small businesses (which can't afford sponsorship fees, sophisticated marketing, or, should push come to shove, legal defense fees). Seen through this lens, the matter becomes one of free speech, free expression, and free commerce; the letter from USOC is the tip of the iceberg – or the spear.

Summer of Socks begins

Thanks to Knitarooooo for the photo.

Meanwhile, today is also the beginning of the Summer of Socks. My first sock is Lantern by Lisa Stichweh, shown here at SnB. It's inspired by the Tour de France and the Tour de Fleece. But more on that another time.

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