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I am the news

"The New York Times Adds Freakonomics Blog, MySpace Adds The Onion, Google News Adds Comments" - If you squint, you can almost convince yourself you see a trend.

That last item about Google News adding comments has been the subject of a lot of online discussion over the last couple of days. In short, Google will allow the people involved in a news story to add their personal remarks to it (separately, not in the story text). I really like the idea of adding first person elements to news stories. Of course, this is essentially the principle behind booking guests for TV talk shows. And, obviously, it's essentially what a reporter does to get a story in the first place.  That said, it's not clear that Google is going to be employing bookers or reporters to get this done: "...If you've been covered in a news article please send us your comments and we'll work with you to post it on Google News."

What makes the idea contextually interesting on the Web, aside from making more explicit the connection between news and "user generated content" by showing people in the news as users generating content, is the relatively recent discussion of whether the interview as journalistic tool had been rendered obsolete by the ability of literally everyone to state their own piece on their own terms. Essentially: Why risk being misquoted when you can give your own quote on your blog. (That discussion thankfully summarized neatly here by Jay Rosen.)

A twist worth noting about this new Google feature is that Google apparently doesn't want to share it with anyone. As you may know, Google News is nothing but news from other sites that they aggregate.  Anyone trying to aggregate Google's own contribution to original news gathering will be blocked from doing so.  Hmmm.

Other interesting points explored here: Q&A On The New Google News Comments

Here's a slightly old Kevin Sites piece on that guy who painted all those pictures on his belly.

"An 8-million-year-old bacterium that was extracted from the oldest known ice on Earth is now growing in a laboratory, claim researchers." This article needs to end with one of three possibilities: Dinosaurs, global plague, or Homer Simpson accidentally killing and/or eating it.

Ah well, at least there's freakish aquatic life to fuel my need to mix fantasy and reality.

I wonder how the people in Pakistan feel about all the casual talk among presidential candidates about acting on "actionable intelligence."

11 Super Awesome Photoshop Movie Effects - I don't often link to Photoshop tip links because Photoshop is expensive for folks who don't want to steal it so not everyone has it, but this is pretty interesting for looking at how movie effects are done even if you don't do them yourself.

100 Websites You Should Know and Use - A mixed bag.  Some I get and some not so much.

Learning Japanese with Akira Kurosawa - This is another one of those Mahalo links like the one we saw last time for learning French.  This time it's not about lessons though, it's about listening to the language and reading the subtitles. So it's more like exercises than lessons.

A fake demo of what copy/paste would look like as a feature on iPhone. I don't really care about iPhone or fake future features but this demo is so well done, particularly the end that I had to share it.

Commuter Click: "Since World War II, a new era has quietly dawned in modern warfare: an era of psychological warfare, conducted not upon the enemy, but upon one's own troops. The triad of methods used to enable men to overcome their innate resistance to killing includes desensitization, classical and operant conditioning, and denial defense mechanisms."

At the beginning of the week, everyone was jazzed over an award winning animated short film called A Gentlemen's Duel and the link spread like wildfire.  Unfortunately, the lawyer letters also spread like wildfire and by the time I went looking for it all I got was pulled content messages and trailers (a trailer for a 7 minute film?).  So now it's pretty much a matter of chasing it around as it's re-uploaded and re-deleted.  That said, here's where I saw it.  Good luck. I'm a little squeamish about the slapstick violence against women, but the appeal of the film is the steampunk mecha battle.