Learning from Doctorow’s ‘With a Little Help’

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues

This story is from Cory Doctorow’s new collection, “With a Little Help”. Visit craphound.com/walh to buy the whole audio book on CD, a paperback copy in one of 4 covers, or a super-limited hard cover.
This story, and the whole text of “With a Little Help”, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike, Non Commercial license.
Copy it, share it, remix it. As Woody Guthrie said: “This song is copyrighted in the US under a seal of copyright number 154085 for a period of 28 years, and anyone caught singing it without our permission will be a mighty good friend of ourn, because we don’t give a dern. Publish it, write it, sing it, swing to it, yodel it. We wrote it , that’s all we wanted to do.” (From the intro to all the recorded readings of the stories collected in Cory Doctorow’s  “With a Little Help,” 2010)

Dandelion business model

Dandelions growing at the edge of a sidewalk

From C. Doctorow: "Think Like a Dandelion". BoingBoing. Under a BY-NC Creative Commons License

Since 2003, Cory Doctorow has been both traditionally selling  his fiction works in print and releasing them online under the Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike, Non Commercial license indicated in the quote above. And making a living of it. Continue reading

Of Cows, Captions and Copyright: Users Need the Right to Caption and Subtitle Videos for Access and Learning

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues

Disclaimer | Digesting grass | Digesting videos | Video and text | Read-Write culture and tools | Universal Subtitles | Copyright hits the fan | Lessig’s plea | Other obstacles |Solution?


Non scientists should refrain from using scientific concepts as metaphors. I am fully aware of this, and actually, when a sociologist or other humanistic scholar thus hijacks terms or phrases like “black hole,” “big bang,” “DNA,”  etc., I skip his/her text if possible.

Nevertheless, what little I understand of how the cellulase enzyme works for ruminants has been very instrumental  in my first perception of how captioning videos helps all users digest their content, and underlies what I have written here so far about captioning. Hence the decision to come out explicitly with this subjective and uninformed perception of  it.

Digesting grass

Cows can digest and assimilate the grass cellulose because they ruminate it, but not only: humans could  chew and re-chew grass for hours and hours, yet they would still excrete its cellulose whole without assimilating any because we lack  something cows have: the cellulase enzyme that chops up the molecules of cellulose into sugar types so that they can be assimilated Continue reading