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Essays on History

A Thousand Lakes of Red Blood on White Snow

Over a bottle of Swedish vodka, a friend and I recently drifted on to the topic of Molotov cocktails. In case you don't know, that is not a drink actually served at any cocktail parties. But depending on your audience, its story could make for a good cocktail party yarn. Here follows a brief history of the little-known subarctic origins of the Molotov cocktail in the epic Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40. It is a true tale of a people who stood up to the depredations of an evil empire, and, against all odds, prevailed. Along the way you'll gain a pretty good idea of what exactly the Finnish word "sisu" means, despite English lacking an exact and equivalent translation.

Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire

This is a transcript of Prof. Joseph Peden's 50-minute lecture "Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire" given at the Seminar on Money and Government in Houston, Texas on October 27, 1984. The original audio recording is available courtesy of the Mises Institute. I have commissioned this transcript in the hope that you may find it as interesting and educational as I did.

Essays on Technology

The Unlicense: The First Year in Review

It's Public Domain Day again, and it's now been exactly a year since I first introduced the initiative: an easy-to-use template and process intended to help coders waive their copyright and dedicate all their code to the public domain with no strings attached. It seems a good time for a brief recap of the happenings on this front over the last 365 days.

Licensed, License-Free, and Unlicensed Code

As discussed on the mailing list, the notion of "licensing something under the Unlicense" is a not infrequent misunderstanding that calls for better explanations as to the essential difference between licensed, license-free, and unlicensed code. I will attempt to break it back down to the fundamentals and work upwards from there.

Dissecting the Unlicense: Software Freedom in Four Clauses and a Link

I've previously written on the motivation that led us to formulate the Unlicense, a template for dedicating your software to the public domain. Today, I will elucidate the rationale for and the provenance of each of the four brief paragraphs (plus footer) that constitute the Unlicense.

Set Your Code Free

Today is Public Domain Day, in honor of which I’m hereby relicensing (or more properly, unlicensing) all of my software into the public domain. As the public domain is these days unfortunately somewhat an obscure concept to many people, and disclaiming copyright interest in open-source software seems at present a relatively rare phenomenon, I will elaborate some on the rationale and implications.