NBC Says that P2P is Robbing Poor Corn Farmers - I don't actually have any contact with whatever department or lawyers are in charge of making this case so I don't have much to contribute to this report. The argument is that if people weren't stealing movies online they'd be going to theaters and buying popcorn which would be helping corn farmers. Actually, I'm more likely to buy a bag of Smartfood to eat while I watch a movie on my computer than I am to buy movie theater popcorn that requires a bank loan to afford.
Speaking of which, after watching Sunday's Flight of the Conchords on my DVR last night I went to YouTube to call up their stage clips. On a whim I finally plugged my laptop's video and audio outputs into my new HDTV. YouTube is not exactly a high definition experience but watching computer video on a big clear TV while sitting on the couch was a good time. (P.S. I spent forever trying to find the Flight of the Conchords "Make sweet love" song only to finally figure out that it's by a group called Tripod. Are groovy singing comedy groups common in that part of the world?)
Speaking of watching at home, have you seen this site? I only poked around a little but I found a surprisingly few dead links. (And I didn't know Robert Englund was in V - The series.)
Meanwhile... "The median U.S. download speed now is 1.97 megabits per second — a fraction of the 61 megabits per second enjoyed by consumers in Japan, says the report released Monday. Other speedy countries include South Korea (median 45 megabits), France (17 megabits) and Canada (7 megabits)." Can you imagine how much downloading would be going on if we were 30 times faster? Not to be a conspiracy theorist but I bet someone in the content business has and they're not happy about it.
Speaking of being unhappy about downloading, Commuter Click: Record sales are tanking, and there's no hope in sight: How it all went wrong - this is the follow-up. I think the recording industry would be in trouble even if there was no illegal downloading. Home recording, new social networks and means of distribution all mean bad things for musical middlemen.
Sort of related: Mac or PC rap
Roll the block. A nice puzzle with a limited number of levels so you have something to work toward.
I never heard of Grand Central and if Google is buying it I guess that doesn't matter but the idea of consolidating my numbers into a single number and never having to change them again has some real appeal.
90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources - A lot of them have duplicate functionality but this is still handy, especially if you're looking for free tools.
If ever there was a demonstration of just how boring prison is, it's this guy doodling all over himself. And it's also pretty funny that a white supremacist ends up tattooing himself blue to advertise his views. Blue power?
The baby from the Nirvana album cover is 17.
This blogger has spotted the same guy showing up in a lot of Muslim protest photos. I guess he just makes a good angry face that photographers like. I wonder if news photographers take this kind of thing into account. I remember a while ago when the ten commandments were being taken out of the court house down south and a bunch of Christians gathered to protest. Their protest was totally peaceful and respectful and basically prayerful. But of course there was one guy who was yelling and being generally insane and ranting. So of course, all the cameras ran over to him. Eventually the scene we saw was of other Christian protestors beseeching the crazy guy to calm down because he was casting the whole event in a bad light. I don't know how well this particular Muslim protestor represents the cause he's associating himself with but that's what comes to mind when I see the same guy showing up in all these photos.
Cocaine-addled driver destroys entire cornfield on run from police - It's the photo you want to see.
Moon over Manhattan - What did you think, it just floats around up there?
The paradox of choice is something I often wonder about when I hear Web forecasters talking about the demise of media giants. While there's a lot to appreciate in the diversity and opportunity of the Web, at some point do people just log off and go watch TV? Will a "mainstream media" be a useful means of narrowing the choices?
Speaking of narrowing choices, How Web 2.0 really works versus how we think it works. Given some of the responses every time I mention "wisdom of the crowds" I'd say how it really works is exactly how a lot of people think it works.
Do you remember a few years back there was a mini-scandal when some high school kids visited the president wearing flip-flops? Now high school kids are showing up at the White House and handing him a letter asking him to end torture.
Spinning Silhouette Optical Illusion - I broke my brain on this.
"Tetrachromat Females - The title is just a fancy way of saying that some women seem to have four colour receptors in their eyes rather than the usual three." Women seeing extra colors? Plus last week I read about supertasters being able to taste more than the average human. Was X-men fiction or forecast?
Microsoft hired a former Google employee and asked him about what it's like to work at Google (and how to compete with Google for new hires). The answers are much more interesting than the video tours I've seen of scooters and the giant white board.
Slide show: Inside China's Vast Factories - I don't know why, but I would have expected more mechanical automation.
Speaking of mechanical automation, Farms Fund Robots to Replace Migrant Fruit Pickers - Of course, if you think illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans, this still isn't very good news.
Virginia Introduces $3550 Speeding Ticket - It's actually a weird mix of a huge ticket fine plus a mandatory tax and then other penalties to boot. The article slips in the point that traffic lawyers will see new business as more people fight huge tickets. (Also interesting to note that this is a site about the politics of driving. New one to me.)
This story has been on TV all day but it seems appropriate for us to check out here. A guy was stuck on a plane that couldn't take off because of bad weather. He happens to run a video camera business and taped an interview with the pilots. This is an interesting side of the "shout it from the rooftops" theme I mentioned yesterday. Versions of this story credit the videotaping and "citizen journalism" with drawing the attention of authorities and eventually getting the people off the plane. P.S. I love the part where the pilot is lecturing him on security with the cockpit doors wide open. There's a certain national disaster that would have been completely avoided had pilots kept their cockpits secure and here's this guy acting like he sitting in his minivan. Nice. **ADDING: There's been some objection to my implied blame of the 9/11 pilots. See the comments for further discussion.
Speaking of keeping your video camera handy, I reckon if you looked hard enough at prehistoric cave paintings you'd find renderings of cops chasing skateboarders. Some things never change.
Speaking of maps, Where On Earth Was Middle-earth?
"As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas." I know the point is recycling but it sounds like it'd make a great evil genius ray gun.
Token Paris Hilton links:
"These guys take 30,000 matchstick tops and drop them in a bucket. When they finally light them the explosion actually creates a small mushroom cloud over the bucket."
How to become invisible... Tricks of urban camouflage
Pearl the cursing baby retires after one last video with Will Farrell.
Top 10 Uses For Used Coffee Grounds - If you're going to ask someone to rub used coffee grounds and oil on their butt and thighs and wrap them in shrink wrap, you're going to need to offer more reassurance than "it just might work."
You may have seen that there's a video of a groundhog or somesuch rodent with one eyebrow raised that's been circulating online. I didn't think much of it but it appears to be catching on as the latest silly Web viral icon. Some examples.
"The thing to understand at this point is the intention and concept behind current ops in Iraq: if you grasp this, you can tell for yourself how the operations are going, without relying on armchair pundits."
I haven't mentioned it much but folks online have been talking about Facebook the way they used to talk about Google (see the first half of this piece). The real kick came when they opened their platform to developers so that anyone could build a Facebook tool or widget. Lately I've been seeing discussion of what is being called The Facebook Problem. What happens when you make an application for Facebook and it's wildly successful with tens or even hundreds of thousands of users? "I have 250,000 users, now what?" More discussion here - and lest you think this doesn't matter to you if you aren't a widget maker, keep in mind that as soon as these guys figure out how to make money from what they make they're going to be trying to get you to pay it.
The Washington Post series on Dick Cheney that you've no doubt been hearing about is here. It is long as heck, which is probably part of why it's making so much news. Here's some really amazing insight into that series. What a gift it would be to read the news with this kind of perspective.
And the Cheney series has sparked a new wave of activity from the 9/11 Truth folks. I don't have much time for their open ended questions on the physics of building materials but they definitely do a thorough job of sifting through official accounts.
I thought I'd identified a trend worth describing but the more I surf, the more I'm beginning to wonder if the trend is simply "this is what we do on the Web." You be the judge: We pay a lot of attention to efforts at viral glory or the more controlled marketing of political causes. And we pay a lot of attention to the stories of individuals who don't ask for attention but end up being dragged into the digital spotlight. But arguably more common are cases in which someone turns to the Web to assuage the ache of injustice in some personal drama. People definitely have a sense that they can take their issue to the Internet to expose some bit of corruption or unfairness and sometimes it seems, for better or worse, the Internet actually listens.
What made me think about this theme is the case of a guy who believes his former roommate stole his camcorder. He blogged about it and put up some kind of accusatory video (which was taken down before I could see it). In the end enough people became sympathetic to his cause that the subject of his accusations began to feel threatened. Now the guy faces cyber-bullying felonies.
This guy took his bicycle on an airport road and the cops gave him a hard time. Without taking a side on this particular matter, I have to say, I'll never understand people who think it's a good idea to tell a cop they're being rude and ask for their name or their supervisor's name. That is a no-win gambit as far as I've ever seen. There is no story that goes: "I alerted the officer to his rudeness and pointed out that his salary is paid with my taxes. He thanked me for the reminder and gave me a lights and sirens escort to my destination, tipping his had with a smile as we parted ways."
This guy criticized a baggage handling company and now believes someone from that company is creating accounts in his name on gay dating sites. (P.S. While you're there, remember that Fingerwrecker clip from last week? Check out these clips from The Legend of 1900. That guy in the first one is meant to be Jellyroll Morton.)
Photography Banned in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland - The focus of this story is the way authorities have tried to discourage public photography citing bogus laws and vague security reasons. There's no denying this is taking place all over the country (lately there have been a number of stories about videotaping police) but I saw a different theme in this report. Increasingly Americans are embracing the idea of private public space - by which I mean, outdoor living space that's actually privately owned, like gated communities or those outdoor malls that feel like downtown shopping areas. It strikes me as odd that we as Americans are so passionate about our freedoms and yet we're also so open to subjecting ourselves to the extra layer of rules and restrictions of private space, whether it's a ban on photography or a limit on the number of cars you can have in your driveway or the color you can paint your house.
Speaking of outrages that kind of make sense to me, this blogger was barred from attending an Obama no-press event because he admitted to being a blogger. Bloggers are part of the press, so the guy was rejected. As with the above examples, he brought his complaint to the online People's Court. I'm inclined to agree with the Obama people here. It's not about whether you get a check for what you do, it's about the fact that you make a habit of reporting your experiences in a medium that could be accessed by millions. Bloggers have spent too many years struggling to be recognized as journalists to go back down the "little old me" road now.
This guy sought to expose a problem with cars driving through a park after closing hours. In doing so he filmed himself and a concerned citizen dragging barriers into the street. I'm thinking that's not a matter you want to take into your own hands, but if word of this video makes it to park officials I reckon he'll get the satisfaction he's looking for.
Feeling somehow similar are warnings to the same vast unspecified Web audience:
One thing you can expect from British Airways is that they'll get your title correct.
"A digital camera inside a parcel looks out through a small hole and captures images of its journey through the postal system." Unfortunately it doesn't give the full video that resulted. It reminds me of the camera mail project.
This eventually made mainstream news, but in case you missed it here's a first look at Harrison Ford back as Indiana Jones. Lookin' good.
I've seen a few versions of a report of a new list of most-hated Web words. For me, silly Web 2.0 names (I cringed as I posted that link to "Glubber" recently) can end any day now. Also start-up names that are missing vowels. And even though I keep writing it I agree with the inclusion of "social network" on the list.
"Ceravision has just announced that they have developed a lightbulb that is 50% efficient (more than twice the efficiency of CFLs) and will last...um...forever?"
Gizmodo's copy that accompanies photos of a custom "angel sword guitar" gave me a good laugh. I hope someone told Jack Black about this item.
"Pork-Busters" Busted - An interesting essay that takes some of the wind out of the sails of the movement to cut back on Congressional earmarks. It's such an accepted bit of wisdom that the government wastes money on pork that I don't think I've ever seen anyone give the idea any critical treatment.
Iran 'unable to take Australians' - This is actually old news because it happened before Iran captured those British sailors but the revelation is new and seems potentially significant as part of the story we'll one day tell in the fallout shelter while we eat cold MREs.
Julian Beever, the greatest sidewalk artist in the world... We see this guy's work online all the time but it's hard to tell what's new and what's old. In this case a dated, first person description of an encounter with him is helpful.
The Future of PR is Participation, Not Pitching - I spoke as part of a panel with Steve Rubel (the aforelinked blogger) and this post feels like something he could have said back then as well. That said, it's not any less correct or relevant.
e-learning 2.0: All You Need To Know - This is one to stick in your bookmarks and take some time to work through. Lots of links within.
"The fact that we don't understand what value others get from social web apps is part of the paradigm of social software. The key is that each person has their own social lives, their own social circle, and thus their own social values. What is important to their social life will almost certainly be unimportant to us because we have our own to worry about." This is the most reasonable paragraph I've read since I started keeping track of reasonable paragraphs, which admittedly started with this one. When you add to the equation the fact that so many tech writers are socially malformed, inept, or barren (not only am I including myself, I'm actually talking about myself, of course) and you get an even better sense of how "opaque" the value of some Web applications can be.
I didn't think much of the marble binary adding machine until I watched the video. Not only is it cool but it made me think about how some people -not me- are able to visualize math.
"In a recent SELF.com poll, nearly 1 in 20 respondents said their doctors had refused to treat them for moral, ethical or religious reasons." Is there some kind of quiz or something we're supposed to give our doctors to find out before-hand if they're going to hang us out to dry because their particular brand of mythology tells them to?
Sort of related: "Newly-qualified women doctors outnumber their male counterparts by almost three to two, a survey suggests."
12 of the Best Music Social Networks - This is worth paying attention to for two reasons. The first is that it's just a matter of time before giant record labels are extinct and people learn about and promote music by digital word of mouth through these kinds of social networks. Second, it's a great way to explore new music with a little bit of wisdom-of-the-crowds guidance.
Speaking of social music, the Last.fm normaliser is meant to build a playlist of your favorites based on how much time you spend listening to them on Last.fm. I haven't played with it yet but the concept sounds good.
"... and ever since then my watch battery hasn't needed replacing."
Speaking of the powers of electricity, this isn't funny but I did chuckle a little at thought of the cop who must have had the surprise of his life: "Police are investigating the firey death of a man who burst into flames after dousing himself in petrol and then being shot with a taser gun."
Commuter Click: Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace
Miracle diet pill with teeny-tiny side effect - When news of the fat blocking diet pill was going around we talked about it a little here in the cube farm but used delicate workplace words to describe the effect the pill has on your... um... personal output. This guy pulls no punches, so be forewarned, the language is a bit coarse.
Blogging Toolbox: 120+ Resources for Bloggers
Speaking of blogger tips, 10 Techniques I Used To Go From 0 To 12,000 RSS Subscribers In Seven Months - With No Ads Or Leverage
The seven most annoying things about the future - Onward is not always upward.
Yesterday I was having a discussion about whether Second Life has jumped the shark. Coincidentally the Wall Street Journal had a recent article about interviewing for jobs in Second Life -- that is, the interview is virtual, the job is not. You may not be able to read the article if you don't have a password but you can get a good picture of what it's about from the reactions that show up in the Techmeme list:
"For those wondering how I manage to regulate the duration of my polyphasic naps, and manage to sleep so soundly at work - I created the most invaluable mp3 I've ever possessed. (For those new to my site: Polyphasic sleep = not sleeping at night, but many naps throughout 24/7)" Do note the disclaimers. I'm listening to one of the mp3s right now and it's basically a white noise hiss. So far it's not causing me to cluck like a chicken or anything diabolical. Looks like the first one gives you 8 minutes and then wakes you up with barnyard noises and dance music.
"The Internet may be referred to as the 'information superhighway,' but a better analogy might be an enormous, hulking Tootsie Roll pop." This is more about the structure of the Internet itself, not like those maps of pundit bloggers we see sometimes. I'm printing up the paper that's linked in the entry but I have a feeling it's going to be over my head.
In the early days of trying to figure out how to convey the television experience on the Web there was a lot of discussion of "behind the scenes" features. As you can tell from this glimpse of Chris Matthews' excited state, sometimes behind the scenes is the best show. You can also see why those behind the scenes ideas never really turned out to be the best idea.
SimpleSpark is a search engine for finding that site that you thought could be useful but didn't have an immediate use for but then you realized you did but you'd already deleted the link from your notes.
Speaking of finding the tools you need, increasingly we are seeing sites dedicated to giving you the ability to build your own web tools without actually having the coding skills. So far I've only played with Yahoo Pipes and Microsoft's Popfly, but I'm a big fan of this idea.
*Yes, I did publish this a few times with two different titles. Sorry 'bout that.
Blabberize: Select the mouth, add the audio and your picture talks. Just in time for the political season. I hope these guys have some heavy duty hosting.
Speaking of making your own campaign ads, this is sort of the Fred Thompson version of the "Crush on Obama" video we saw the other day. It's not as sexually troubling, but it does make me wonder when we'll start seeing candidates try to rein in these kinds of volunteer contributions to the campaign. I don't know the relationship of the FredHeads to Fred's actual campaign but I can see how he might not want his image crafted in quite the way they're doing it. And just as the leak of Michael Moore's film could cut both ways (hurting ticket sales or helping spread distribution and interest) I have to wonder if we'll see volunteer videos of support that are actually opposition tactics. Now that I think about it, Obama has been particularly plagued. The "Crush on Obama" video was of dubious value and the one previous to that in which Hillary was cast as Big Brother had to be disavowed by the campaign.
Speaking of Hillary videos, I saw that Hillary Sopranos ad as the latest in a series of attempts to make her seem less like a D.C. robot and more like an actual human being, so I didn't think to add a layer of Freudian analysis to it. Ann Althouse did, however, and lit a small blog-o-fire. In short, Bill wanted onion rings because they symbolize vaginas and that's why Hillary gave him carrots (phalluses).
Speaking of viral gone wrong, College student gets hundreds of cell phone calls due to HALO 3 viral marketing campaign - The story doesn't summarize very easily but suffice it to say that avid video game fans, anxious to solve a puzzle related to a new game solved the puzzle wrong, refused to believe they were wrong and spread this guy's number across the Web. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, though it may just be that "viral" is a long, strange trip.
Speaking of trends and changes, "The willingness of the big broadcast television networks to embrace change — by making it easier to watch shows online and by adopting new types of ratings — is contributing to stronger demand for commercial time ahead of the fall season." Sonofagun... it worked. I do wonder though if it's just the on-demand element that worked or the fact that the online showings have fewer commercials (that you can't skip). Will TV on the Web end up being just like TV on TV?
"In the last 24 hours, Google produced 9,967 kilowatt-hours of electricity from the sun."
This is kind of neat. I thought it was a trailer for the new Harry Potter but it's a QTVR 360 photo of the set of 12 Grimmauld Place.
"Thanks to the ingenious workings of my cousin and mentor, Mr. Jules Verne, I have had the opportunity to travel from the present day, indeed, from the present century, far into the future, to a year that by my best surmise is approximately 2007, at which time I was able to converse with numerous members of the society of scientists known (enigmatically to me) as "The Blogos Fear." From these conversations, I have ascertained numerous proofs, some complete some in process, of the Theories of Organic Change and Natural Selection, as well as Sexual Selection, as have been laid out by my very deservedly famous uncle, Charles Darwin of the Royal Society." -From the intro of Tangled Bank #82, the science blog carnival.
How to Soundproof an Apartment - I never heard of Green Glue or mass-loaded vinyl.
This story of the crushing of drag racers' cars (which elicited a cry of, "Waste!" from every blogger with an appreciation for the parts in those cars) reminds me, Pinks is back on. (NOTE: Video/audio plays automatically) I don't know when the season started again but I watched a bunch the other day. And the site has a game.
"An electronic retinal implant uses technology borrowed from digital cameras to restore some sight to the blind" It's for when your rods and cones are shot but your optic nerve still works.
Creative writing exercise starter line of the day: "Ding has consulted his neighbours, who believe the flowers are the legendary Youtan Poluo flower, which blossoms only once every 3,000 years."
Glubble is a new Firefox Web filter for kids. Anyone use anything like this? My kid is too little to do anything more than break a computer at this point but I guess eventually I'm going to have to start paying attention to things like this. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like raising a boy in the age of Web porn. When we give him "the talk" will we have to include a segment on the dangers of personal sex tapes?
Speaking of kids online, AT-AT Walker stroller - Awesome.
I read all of Bill Dedman's "The list." My favorites were the Mtv guy and the cartoonist. The only one I thought was a little creepy was the Forbes person on the PERC board because they say outright that they see her as a vehicle for helping spread the word.
The Science of Gaydar - As is often the case with NY Magazine articles I got to the bottom of the first page and saw how many pages I had to go and went straight for the print button, so this is a Commuter Click for me. I was actually just recently having this same discussion with someone because gay pride day is coming up here in New York so I'll be interested to see if this article has a real answer: Regardless of whether you believe that there's a biological root to homosexuality, you can't deny that some homosexuals share some common traits and these traits appear to be international and cross-cultural. Are these traits just learned mannerisms or are there biological distinctions?
Singing Tesla Coil - If Spencer Gifts was purchased by Costco you could pick up one of these with your 5 gallon jar of mayonnaise. It reminds me a little of Close Encounters.
"Passengers on a Continental Airlines flight had to hold their noses for hours as sewage overflowed from toilets while they were high over the Atlantic." "He says was there was one partially-working restroom on the plane for the more than 200 people onboard."
Um... isn't the whole plane basically a partially-working restroom at that point?
Folks online are getting a laugh out of this parody of that Surface table-top computer.
I read this article twice and it still sounds like a scam. (The link in the article to Humraz has a typo in it.) You pay to bid in an auction and the person who wins has to have the lowest unique bid. I don't see how you develop a strategy for that so it seems almost like you just play your lucky number.
Tomb Chess: Control the Graveyard - Use your strongest undead warriors to take control of the graveyard.
This one's surprisingly addictive. Hope you enjoy it.
Also from the mailbag:
Thought you might enjoy the "Fingerwrecker". Whether or not you know or care about jazz, this guy will make your head spin. Plus, it's great to see that jazz is surviving in New Orleans post-Katrina.
Will adds: The role of "Disneyland's French Quarter" was unexpected to see in the description.
Someone is claiming to have stolen the manuscript of the next and last Harry Potter book and claims to reveal the ending to ruin it so kids don't bother to read it and aren't exposed to its "neo-paganism" (per the pope).
Here's a longer version of what I just said with slightly more detail but no real spoilers.
Here's the supposed revelation which is either a huge hoax or a huge spoiler that ruins the end of the book so don't click it if you're looking forward to reading it when it comes out next month.
By the way, the post is called "Full Disclosure: Harry Potter 0day" so if you see that heading on anything as this spreads, be forewarned.
I'd considered a bit of a rant about the Men Are Pigs condom ad which has drawn more attention in the blogosphere for being banned by a couple networks even though those same networks have no trouble lacing their programming with as much cheap sex as can fit (not that I object to cheap sex, of course). But then I saw this set of Brazilian ads which don't actually call women pigs by tries to help them feel that way. Larger versions are here. I don't think those are the original actresses Photoshopped. I think they're different models.
Speaking of killing the buzz of gaming, Voice Chat Can Really Kill the Mood on WoW (WoW is World of Warcraft the online role playing game.)
Though I should know better, I wonder if voice chat will spark a renaissance of verbal eloquence. I wondered the same thing about text chat and literacy and that didn't exactly work out. "Limited by early lexical laxity, the average North American adult knows only 30,000 to 60,000 words, out of a potential "working vocabulary" of 700,000."
Google Street View appears to have captured some kind of street fight.
Good copy Bad Copy - Another copyright documentary. My first thought was how much this reminds me of Frank Zappa at the PMRC hearings. This one is about DJ culture and sampling. DJ Dangermouse in interviewed. This copyright fight is pretty old in itself. when was that Beastie Boys song that caused such a fuss?
Speaking of pirating, is there any negotiating with pirates? It's a story/interview about a developer who asked pirates to stop distributing/stealing his work. He got a pleasant, civil reply. Go figure.
Sopranos is a distant memory at this point but for those of you who are looking for where the deep thinkers on the subject are, this guy has the most to say about the final episode that I've seen so far. He's got a lot of ideas working there but one is that the whole show is a funeral for Tony, with symbols of a funeral ritual appearing throughout.
Speaking of the Sopranos being a distant memory, it appears that the second stage of withdrawal from a popular series is parody. This one appears to be baseball mascots. The best is the view from the stands because you can hear the crowd reaction to the blackout.
And of course, the Hillary version. (Too bad she picked the lamest song.)
Speaking of progressive women, holy moly, Digby the blogger is a woman. Nicely done. I never guessed that.
The only problem with being a really fast rapper is that you have to come up with more lyrics to fit into the song. The guy says the words faster than I can read them. (Some interest in the fact that this is a UK.YouTube link.)
Speaking of finding stuff on YouTube, a few people have written in to point out some of the new features they've got going on there. I mentioned the remixer the other day, but did you see the Streams yet?
Also, I see YouTubers are planning an event in NYC on 7/7/07. So at least we know there will be lots of amateur video of the Second Coming.
I put my e-mail address in for the waitlist to try Zattoo. It sounds a whole lot like Joost, which also claims to be the new way of watching TV. Thankfully, someone sent me an invite to Joost a while ago so I've actually played with that one. It's a big video player with channel menus and show menus within the channels. Unlike TV, everything is on demand. Meanwhile, last night I bought a 15-foot cord to plug my computer monitor output into my new HDTV. I also hope to somewhere dig up a hack for how to get the episodes of The Backyardagains from my DVR onto my computer. My point is that the question of whether TV will eat the Internet or the Internet will eat the TV is not quite resolved for me.
Speaking of Web vs. TV, it looks like Strongbad has made his choice.
Speaking of doing old media online, instead of radio today I'm listening to the Project Playlist buzz tracks. I got there because I was reading a blog with a little player widget built into the margin. And in the way that these ideas can be similar from site to site I later saw almost the same thing but it was produced through a site called WebJay.
"So-called mirror-touch synaesthetes actually feel a touch on their own skin when they watch someone else being touched." What's most unusual about this article is that the condition isn't some rare case or fluke or possible hoax. It might actually be wide-spread.
Hurray For High Gas Prices! That's a Freakonomics link, so you know they're using some twisty logic to explain why higher gas taxes are a good idea.
Are Computer Keyboards Dishwasher Safe? The official answer is no, but the one the reporter tries sounds like it works, so go figure. I've heard that if your cell phone is wet you can use alcohol to get the water out. I wonder if you could do something similar to a keyboard once you took it out of the dishwasher.
Commuter Click: Sy Hersh's latest on Abu Ghraib and Taguba's report. I'm not sure Americans care about this story any more, if anyone ever did in the first place, but the piece is compellingly written. I reckon part of the reason people are open to the idea of a two year presidential election campaign is that they're too weary from scandal fatigue to think about the current administration anymore.
Speaking of scandal fatigue, political game hunters are really hot on the deleted e-mails story. The idea is that the White House is supposed to be non-partisan so it's a scandal that White House business is so intertwined with RNC business.
I should probably be afraid to link to Newsbusters, but grumbling about weather reporting is one of my favorite things to do so I got a kick out of this relaying of a report on poorly functioning weather stations. (I don't quite go for the theory that global warming is just false reporting by malfunctioning weather stations though.)
Speaking of faulty weather reports, possibly the most amazing prank ever: "Members of ZTOHOVEN connected up to one of the stationary camera during TV weathercast and in real time broadcast their own shots, which showed nuclear explosion. Then the picture changed. Instead of the name of the locality (Black Mine) the website reference ZTOHOVEN.com (now is overloaded) came up on the screen." This is their site.
Speaking of pranks, bicycle activists get sick of waiting for the government to put in bike lanes so they paint them themselves. I'm not sure why they use pink paint though. And for that matter, I'm not sure bike lanes really make cyclists that much safer. Literally just yesterday I was walking down the street and a car beeped as it passed a woman on a bicycle in the bike lane. The woman freaked out screaming, "Beep Beep! I'm in the bike lane! I'm in the F****** BIKE LANE!!" I think she got a better cardio workout from the tirade than from the biking. My point is that cars don't necessarily respect bike lanes just because they're painted on the road.
I'm not sure where this photo of the space shuttle launch comes from or even when it was taken but it does a good job of putting things in perspective.
National Lampoon's 72 Virgins - It's a trailer and you're meant to vote on whether National Lampoon should make the movie. I feel like I saw the whole thing already just watching the (fake?) trailer. Why extend it to 90 minutes? Just so they can add some boobs?
"Three countries use non-metric measurement systems: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States."
John Hodgeman has a blog. Here he is talking about the recent segment he did on the Daily Show about mixed martial arts fighting being homoerotic. (I don't think it is. Those guy kick ass.)
Every once in a while someone comes along and plays the role of troll to the Web 2.0 happy party. The most recent is Robert Gorman, blogging on the Britannica site about the shortcomings of Web 2.0 ideals. (Part 1, Part 2)
"This "wisdom of the crowds" and "hive mind" mentality is a direct assault on the tradition of individualism in scholarship that has been paramount in Western societies at least since the Renaissance and, before then, can be seen in the Church Fathers and the Greek philosophers, among others."
I usually skip these guys, but as often happens with online debates, I happened to read the rebuttal from Clay Shirky before I read his original argument so I had to backtrack. Now that I've read it I'm pleased to report that I'm not in a panic about having to find a new field of work. Even Nick Carr, who can always be counted on to resist Web 2.0 Kool-aid euphoria doesn't go as far as Gorman: "So while I'm happy to line up on Gorman's side in battling the hive mind fabulists, I'm not going to kid myself that it's anything more than a sideshow."
Speaking of the dubious benefits of citizen reporting, I was inclined to believe the story of a woman harassed by airport security over a sippy cup. I've had pretty good success so far at the airport with the baby's bottle, but generally I think the whole circus of airport security is misguided so my bias is to believe some of the horror stories we hear. So NowPublic, a citizen journalism hub published the report of this mother being harassed. The TSA responded with a "MythBusters" report of its own including video and a copy of the incident report. The middle video on the page is 45Mb but is pretty amusing when it gets to the part where the police make the woman clean up the water she spilled and more to the point, it does seem to confirm the TSA report, not the NowPublic report, that the woman spilled the water deliberately. In his follow-up, Bill Adler, the NowPublic poster is pretty forgiving of citizen journalism and himself for only writing "the first chapter" of the story. Like many others, however, I feel considerably less charitable about the job he did. Forcing government agencies to be more transparent by writing a factual expose is a win for everyone. government agencies to be more transparent in order to disprove false reports by lazy citizen journalists is not a win for anyone.
Speaking of citizen participation doing more harm than good, here's that Obama crush music video you may have read about. The source is BarelyPolitical.com. What's interesting to me is that a few political blogs I read saw the video and then had to confirm whether it was an attack ad. I'm sure this woman is sincere in her fancy for Barry Obama but I'm less sure she's serving the candidate well with this video.
(And speaking of the presidential horse race, "Maybe I missed a memo or something, but why do we need a presidential campaign that lasts over two f****** years?" When you consider the millions it takes to run for office and the percentage of those millions that go into media advertising, it's a wonder that the campaign ONLY lasts two years. The campaign could be, and probably eventually will be, an unlimited media cash cow in the guise of public service.)
Speaking of ambiguous benefits of the digital age, contrary to the laughably narrow perspective of the AP article, viewers who want a free look at Sicko are not out of luck just because YouTube pulled it. Duh. It looks like it's quite comfortable in the Pirate Bay top 100.
More interesting is an angle the cable folks have been taking in their coverage of the story today that it could be construed as a political attack - an effort to undermine the financial success of the film. There's probably equally valid speculation that it was his supporters who put the film up there to help distribute the message. I'd be interested to know how many theaters will be showing this movie. Significant to the story is Moore's views on illegal trading of his movies. "As long they're not doing it to make a profit off it, as long as they're not, you know, trying to make a profit off my labor."
Speaking of Sicko, A panel of anonymous physicians coughs up secrets of the trade.
Citizen mission control? "A Palatine mom got quite a shock when her baby monitor started picking up broadcasts from the International Space Station."
"The Justice Center has been evacuated eight times in three years, forcing the evacuation of more than 400 people. If the problem continues, it will result in a ban of all microwave popcorn." You just know there's one guy there who can't seem to get the hang of the microwave popcorn thing and is single-handedly responsible for all eight evacuations.
Why the question of global warming is moot. The guy in this video finally gets to his point just before minute 8: The risk of not acting outweighs the risk of acting. To be honest, I was expecting something a more profound, and the last minute of it gets a little sappy (but hey, I'm still linking to it, right?). I know I have a few readers who pay attention to skeptical perspectives on global warming so maybe one of you can tell me how much of a straw man argument this guy is setting up. As I understand it, the reason for debate over climate change has a lot to do with power and how much of it to give to environmentalists. I don't think anyone disagrees that a greener planet is a nicer one whether the globe is warming or not.
Here's an example: Freedom, not climate, is at risk - His point is that hysteria about global warming takes us away from the facts of the matter and ends up with a set of laws and restrictions that don't necessarily help the environment but do restrict our freedoms -- not unlike some anti-terror policies.
Speaking of which, Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot. "Terrorism is a real threat, and one that needs to be addressed by appropriate means. But allowing ourselves to be terrorized by wannabe terrorists and unrealistic plots -- and worse, allowing our essential freedoms to be lost by using them as an excuse -- is wrong."
Speaking of the influence of fear, How children lost the right to roam in four generations - I'm not totally ready to by into my own "speaking of" introduction to this one. There are probably other factors at play that keep kids closer to home.
Chinese Eye Tracking Study: Baidu Vs Google - These are always really fascinating and to be able to compare cultural differences in how Web pages are seen is a real treat.
How America voted. It's an animated gif of a map of county-by-county election results since 1960.
G.I.s' Guide to Iraq (1943) - At the end of the entry there's a link to a similar guide from 2003.
Thing I'm watching instead of TV... Bust my ass - Actually, I think it is TV but I don't think it's available on my TV. I watched the first few minutes and thought it was clever.
Another look at who's online and what they're doing.
YouTube has released a "Remixer" that lets you edit your YouTube clips, piece them together, add captions and then put the whole thing back into YouTube.
"Long ago, I learned a single sentence that sends obnoxious juniors away from me as fast as their little legs will carry them." I won't keep you in suspense: "Lean over to the child's watcher and, as politely as you possibly can, just say, 'According to the terms of my parole, I'm not really supposed to be this close to children.'"
A woman catches her own identity thief - It's a pretty exciting chase story but the ending isn't terribly satisfying.
Casting amazing shadows with piles of junk. (This is a neat blog to just surf from top to bottom by the way.)
Multi-penised, six-legged, two-anused piglet given silly name - I hope the editor won an office pool with that headline.
US prof plans to send message back in time - The fact that he hasn't already received the message (from the future) should tell him something. For me the MIT time traveler convention a few years ago put the whole matter of time travel to rest. They held a welcome party for people traveling from the future and no one showed up (as far as they can tell).
Robot Chicken: Star Wars - Full Feature - I was skeptical, but laughed out loud twice in the first two minutes. "Full feature" means it's over 20 minutes long, so this might be a good one to add to the "what I'm watching online because TV is all summer reruns."
By the way, Paul Potts the opera guy won that British talent show. What I didn't realize was that he was up against a breakdance crew and a guy with a puppet monkey. (It's interesting to note that if you don't have a UK IP address you can't watch the video on the official show site. "This content is not for viewing outside of the UK due to rights reasons.")
Speaking of finales, now that the show is over, Tony and Carmella are having a yard sale.
"The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life." When you read through the poll it's a little more nuanced - or maybe I'm just in denial. I'm choosing to believe that some of the people who are responding that they don't believe in evolution are simply open to the possibility that God had a hand in creation and aren't buying into the whole Creationist Museum story. I've been avoiding links to the mockery of the new Creationist Museum because it has a "fish in a barrel" feeling of cruelty. Of course, some argue that the real cruelty is what's being done to children forced to learn this perspective.
Now, I don't mean to draw parallels where there aren't any but something else that's been (back) in circulation online lately is this Dr Quantum - Double Slit Experiment video in which we're told that a particle (electron) duplicates itself and acts like a wave unless it thinks we're watching it, in which case it acts like particle. If I was a creationist this would not be a winning argument for faith in science.
Speaking of arguing with science, Kilimanjaro as "poster child" - Apparently the disappearing glaciers on Kilimanjaro have an explanation other than global warming according to a report that agrees that global warming exists but has some issues with blaming it for the snow on Kilimanjaro. The blog entry makes a good point about symbols versus the causes and/or science they represent.
Speaking of the big thaw, Photos show skeleton sticking out of iceberg - "Marine scientists in Canada and abroad are puzzled by bizarre photographs that appear to show the skeleton of a large mammal jutting out of an iceberg that recently drifted past Newfoundland's east coast." I love articles that blur the line between "don't know because to know you need to do tests" and "don't know because they've never seen anything like this before so clearly it's a monster or alien, perhaps part of a colony thawing from the polar caps as we speak to eventually enslave us all."
Still, in a way, speaking of science and subjectivity, Wikigroaning is when you compare the Wikipedia coverage of a useful popular entry with the depth of coverage of a nerdy obscure entry. See the examples, you'll get it. Good with tabbed browsing for quick comparisons.
Speaking of information for and by the people, remember Mahalo.com? It's a new search engine where the results are written by humans. Through a new feature called Greenhouse you can contribute results you've written yourself. "At the Greenhouse, people like you can build search results, and if the results are really good we'll buy them from you for $10 to $15 each!"
Does this make Hillary look good or bad? I think bad. She couldn't do this without a script?
Does it tell us anything that the photographer who took one of the weeping Paris photos is also the guy who took one of the most iconic images from Vietnam?
Speaking of technology design, is it sexist to frame "smaller and easier to use" design as being for women? I admit it never really occurred to me but this guy makes a good argument.
The point of Trulia Hindsight is to see how communities grow or just change over time. Some are a little more obvious than others. In some cases I find that zooming out is more interesting.
Here's a pretty powerful message that fits well with the missing watch video or that one from a while back with the card trick.
Here's one to use as a slide in your blogs versus mainstream media journalism slide show presentation: Confederate Yankee gathers enough information to refute a newspaper report of Iran involving itself in fighting in Iraq.
Flight of the Conchords premieres on June 17 on HBO but you can watch the first episode on their site for free now.
"It is no secret that the U.S. military has used the ocean as trashcan for munitions in the past."
You have one day left to bid on Bob Barker's microphone.
Attention, Web Surfers: The Following Film Trailer May Be Racy or Graphic - We look at a lot of movie trailers on this blog so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. The article includes examples. To watch the Red-tag trailer of SuperBad it rejected my use of the name Your Mama but accepted Joe Smith even though the other info was the same (and also false).
The I am Legend trailer (green)
The Wall Street Journal has a series of interesting graphs of presidential popularity (There's a "public" in the URL so I think you don't need a password for this.)
The top 100 hotties according to lesbians instead of "lads" and their mags. Obviously The L Word is very influential. The biggest difference is either the inclusion of more older women or the fact that I recognize more of the women on this list than I do on something like Maxim's list. There's a new pin-up industry of hottie girls who aren't famous for anything other than their beauty or are famous for stuff like reality shows. Lad mag readers know those girls but I don't and apparently neither do lesbians.
A lie detection test I never heard of before: "Can the suspect tell his story backwards? If not, he's lying."
"What's the bigger threat: illegal aliens, or invasive species?"
I've been to the Crestock stock photography site before to see the Today's Best/Worst Image blog but a few times recently I've seen links to their annual photo contest. The first round was "the meaning of life" the second round was sexiness and the third one, still being judged is speed.
For whatever else you might think of this photo of Bush it does appear to be further proof that his watch wasn't stolen.
You may recall the Patriot Guard Riders rallying at military funerals to block out the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church hate cult. Now I see another group called the American Freedom Riders rallying on behalf of anti-illegal-immigration activists. I know bikers have always done charity rides and stuff like that, but this is starting to feel more political. Since I've got two examples, I officially declare a trend.
Speaking of two equaling a trend, check out the similarity of Everyscape to the Photosynth demo we looked at last week. I'm not sure this gets its own trend name though. I'm inclined to think it's part of "geoweb."
A guy sets up his car to run on vegetable oil but ends up getting dinged by the government for nonpayment of "motor fuel taxes." It sounds mostly like a case of the law not keeping up with the times but it does make me think about how much money the government makes from gas taxes.
Rome reborn - Computer generated images of Rome as it was based on Rome as it is.
The Power of Yes: A Simple Way to Get More Out of Life - This is a pretty long blog entry on self improvement but I was impressed with myself for guessing what the headline was about so I'm adding it to today's links. I participated in some improv comedy in college and the main lesson I still remember to this day is "yes, and." When another actor presents you with a line, if you say, "No," you take all the energy and momentum away. But if you say, "Yes, and..." you carry the energy and you get to move it along. The interpretation in this blog entry is more like positive vs. negative thinking but if you're interesting in self-help this blogger's found a novel approach for inspiration.
When I tended bar long ago we had a mountain of a man as the weekend bouncer. We also had the tiniest pipsqueak of a girl as the hostess. Their difference was exacerbated by the fact that he wasn't very pretty and she was. I used to joke that a visitor from another planet wouldn't guess they were of the same species. Anyway, I was reminded of that when I saw the pictures of the Spice Girl with her trainer.
Massive list of tips on things to do with bored kids. Also interesting to see the auto-link feature. I've never seen that before.
The ten best things about Total Recall (the movie) - I absolutely love this movie and didn't realize anyone else did. I don't disagree with these necessarily, but the part where the guy unscrews his hand and unfolds that crazy mutant hand should be on there. Number 6 needs to mention the line that is the reason I never say "two weeks" clearly (or once). Number 10 needs to mention the "Get you ahss to Mahrs" line.
The Online Education Database is a collection of links to educational materials, lectures, classes and seminars. Because it's a collection of links there's no telling when you may hit a dead link and there's no consistency in what media players are used but still, this is a real treasure trove. Talk about alternatives to summer TV!
"Michael [Moore] wants YouTube members to share your Healthcare Horror Stories and tell us about an experience you had with your healthcare insurance company."
Yes, I realize it's already hump day and I haven't posted a Clicked entry yet this week. I have no excuse other than that I've been busy at work and tired at home. I have no idea why I've been busy when the parking lot is empty and my e-mail is barely pinging but somehow my to-do list has been backing up. Anyway, I'm catching up today.
YouTube DIY political analysis:
I did my surfing yesterday with the new Safari for windows (beta) browser. I wasn't going to bother downloading it even though everyone seems to be buzzing about it because frankly, everyone buzzes about new Apple stuff, but page load times are something I struggle with on my work machine and since that seems to be the main selling point of this browser I'm going to give it a try. Then I read this and decided to switch back to the devil I know. The change in speed wasn't all that remarkable anyway.
...Then, I was playing with the new weather.com animated weather map (which is an improvement - and I'm not just saying that because it's what you get when you click the weather tab on MSNBC.com's navigation) to see when there might be a break in today's thunderstorms for me to sneak home relatively dry (on the motorcycle) and the app crashed IE and took all my tabs with it. There's no winning. P.S. The map animates with updates every five or ten minutes, which is really handy for almost real time storm tracking. I still got home soaked, however.
Speaking of new browsers, I was reading about Me.dium that is basically about collaborative surfing. It reminds me of Swarm the Dot, which is temporarily down but described well here. I always think of surfing as a solitary activity. Can it really become something people do together, like watching TV?
Blondes have more fun in pageview war - This is sort of about stock picks but he tells a story about how people mostly click on pictures of blond women. I'm trying to think of how to test this on Clicked. Maybe I could put up identical posts but in one I'll include a photo.
Watch your car crash. Pick from a menu to see your car's crash test.
I avoid those dancing/singing/talent shows like the plague but folks are really jazzed about this ordinary guy who blew everyone away with his opera singing on "Britain's got talent." The piece is edited for maximum drama so it's a little hammy, but it's an uplifting four minutes. If you're curious, a little ways down the list of related clips is Pavaroti's version.
Speaking of non-United States events getting more attention on YouTube than on mainstream US media, Robert Kubica not only survived this crash but wants to race this weekend.
Interesting perspective from the stands. I have to think that part of the popularity of this video is that you can play it as many times as you want.
Among the non-Clicked tasks I've been working on this week is helping compile a list of links to ranked items (like Amazon's bestsellers). I found this cool research blog in the course of doing so. For example: Shape wiki? It's about the shapes of zones on maps. I didn't even know that was a thing.
Hitting stupid people on the back of the head with a metal spoon is pretty funny.
Glenn makes an interesting point about "identity politics" that I hadn't heard presented this way before. "Back before identity politics, and the notion that "the personal is political," the idea of a rich guy representing poor people was entirely plausible. ... But now that we have identity politics and the like, that's impossible: If only a woman can represent women, only a black person can represent blacks, etc. ... then obviously only a poor person can represent poor people. And since there are no poor people in American political office, poor people perforce go unrepresented." I chopped that quote up for the sake of length but his entry isn't too long to read.
Speaking of too long to read: Commuter Click: The truth about recycling
I thought the Sopranos finale was perfect - or at least, the last scene was. The show itself was a little too funny for my taste and I don't like they way Carmella turned into a ridiculous character this season ("If there were children playing in those leaves, you would have run them over.") when last season I would have sworn her character was being prepped to lead the family. I had a hard time understanding the people who felt ripped off by the ending, but a lot of folks online were linking to this bit of outrage. Most revealing are these two lines in the conclusion: "The Nielsen reality is that people don't watch TV anywhere near that closely anymore, much less remember what goes on from week to week, to give such a subtle ending its proper due. Besides, The Sopranos was not a show that went on inside your head." I disagree with both. The people I know study the heck out of the TV they watch and The Sopranos was absolutely a show that went on inside your head. But if you don't think so then I completely understand why you didn't like the ending.
David Chase speaks - Apparently Chase had agreed to an interview with the NJ Star Ledger some time ago. You already know my preference for interviews is to present the entire raw Q&A so I found this one a little annoying in how it's composed, but if you're trying to suck up every last drop of Sopranos you'll appreciate it.
Learning design lessons from the Sopranos.
Like many people, Don't Stop Believin' was in my head after the Sopranos finale so I went to Napster looking for a free listen. They only had a 30 second clip so I tried a new service I'd heard about, Lala.com. They also only had a 30 second clip (C'mon Journey, what's up with that?) but their business model/gimmick is interesting:
"You are entitled to receive one CD from another lala user for every CD you successfully ship from your Have List."
"Lala will issue you a starter kit after you register and agree to ship your first CD. The starter kit will contain five (5) reusable plastic CD cases and five (5) envelopes (collectively, the "Shipping Materials")."
So they've taken file trading back to its literal roots.
Now that Sopranos is finished and most of the shows you watch are on summer hiatus, you could go outside for a walk after dinner but that's crazy talk. Instead, take advantage of this time to watch some Web. Four Eyed Monsters is a 71 minute movie put on YouTube entirely for free. The idea is that they're accepting donations to pay for the film, and they've got a deal with a movie review site that they get a dollar for every new (free) sign-up they recruit. It's a cool idea and a cool opportunity, but a cynical part of me, way in the back of my mind noted that this would also be a pretty clever marketing ploy by the review site. Regardless, I'm going to give the movie a try.
"Shutter life" isn't a stat that's usually advertised with new cameras. I'm not even sure how to find out how many pictures my camera has taken in its life, but after looking at this I'm wondering if cameras should come with odometers.
Paris Hilton parody. I think that's the tune of one of the songs on her CD.
Today is Blog Like It's The End Of The World Day. "The idea is that your posting for that day is written as if a zombie uprising were taking place - around the world, and in your home town." The link has a list of participating blogs.
27 Skills Your Child Needs to Know That She's Not Getting In School - Or at least, 27 skills that aren't part of the 3 Rs of a traditional school curriculum.
The Web's designers had a good time with this set of graphics from the NY Times. It's a visual report on a recent series of Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst concerts.
And in case your week is slower than mine, let's end this entry with a Ralph Recommendation:
Taking a dump just got a little harder. Connect the pipes from the toilet to the sewer to prevent a smelly overflow!
Trust me --- this game doesn't stink!
The premise is kind of gross but Ralph's right, the game is pretty good. It's like advanced Tetris with shaped pipes instead of shapes and with extra toys thrown in.
There isn't much structure to this entry but I did find an uncommon collection in my notes, style blogs. The actress who plays Kelley on The Office contributes to Things I've Bought that I Love. Totally enjoyable, even for me.
Sk*rt - "For women and for the men who want to get into their heads." Like a shopping Digg.
That tag line for Sk*rt seems appropriate for the BuzzFeed style category. Most interesting find: FitFlops. Something about the way they fit makes you have to work your abs, glutes and "core" extra hard. Sounds like a combination of bogus claim, exhaustingly ill fitting, and dangerous, but they're in such high demand that the manufacturer literally can't keep up.
I think the real hook for Trendmill is that you vote up or down on styles you like or don't like. I didn't register but I can see that it has social site features so you can see who voted for what and who submitted what and build a friends list called an entourage. It seems like the kind of site you'd come up with if you were sitting around saying, "You know what would be a good idea for a fashion site?"
Story map - This isn't style based but it strikes me as the kind of thing readers of women's magazines would already know about that's completely new to me. What a great way to help guests who don't know each other break the ice - or at least give the shy guests something to pretend they're reading so they don't have to talk to the other guests.
Did Pirates Really Say "Arrrr"? No. And nobody ever walked the plank, either. I am shocked. Shocked! Lots of corrections on the bottom of this one makes me think there are quite a few pirate experts out there. Given this line you'd have to be an expert linguist to participate in this year's Talk Like A Pirate Day: "The onboard speech was most likely underclass British sailor with extra curse words, augmented with a polyglot slang of French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch picked up around the trade routes."
I listened to all the samples of this magic music and I don't feel high. Maybe I need better speakers?
Cat cam - Even though this comes with instructions I'm not sure this is a very pedestrian DIY project in spite of the modest mission. Basically he put a timer in a small camera on his cat's collar. Do check out the photo tours. They're more interesting than I expected.
The South World Map! There was a mention of this a billion years ago on a West Wing Episode and I was never able to find it online. This is more mindblowing than that music a couple links back.
Traffic Stats for Web 2.0's 25 Hottest Sites May 2007 - There's so much hype around some of these sites that it's easy to lose perspective.
Talking paper made by scientists - "The prototype display uses conductive inks, which are sensitive to pressure, and printed speakers."
The new John Cusack movie looks sick.
Beware random tennis balls. I never even heard of a tennis ball match bomb and I thought I was well versed in stupid ways to set myself on fire. Disclosure: The guy who found it is a family friend.
Is gingerism as bad as racism? Um... what? Gingerism is anti-red-headism.
What would happen if all 1.3 billion Chinese jumped in unison? To test it they got 50,000 people at a rock concert to jump in unison and measured movement in the earth of one twentieth of a millimeter from a kilometer away. Since that's not an earthquake they just brush their hands and move on. Someone double check my math, but expanding that .05mm to 1.3 billion people means 1300mm of movement, right? Isn't that an earthquake? (Ok, it's probably wrong to think it scales that directly but still, I'm not convinced yet.)
New 125 Miles per Gallon Toyota Prius - I think we've heard that stat before, but this is a real, mass production model car, not a concept.
"You wear lenses while you sleep, then wake up with perfect vision. Short-sighted Jimmy Lee Shreeve tried it - and couldn't believe his eyes."
Well I'll be damned: "It's official: After being pressured by fans, who sent 50,000 pounds of peanuts to its New York office, CBS has brought back "Jericho," the America-after-the-bombs drama that the network had earlier canceled." It worked.
"FFFFOUND! is a web service that not only allows the users to post and share their favorite images found on the web, but also dynamically recommends each user's tastes and interests for an inspirational image-bookmarking experience!!" Right now this is a really great viewing but it's also in private beta, which means it's being run by the circle of contacts of whoever made it. I'll be interested to see if something like this can grow and still stay interesting and not get cluttered with cute animal photos and calendar sunsets. NOTE: A few are disturbing (is that photo of the anorexic girl altered or real?) and there's the occasional naked fashion boobie.
Speaking of photos that might need low-level capital letter NOTEs, Coachella porn. Not porn at all, the photographer took some crowd shots at a concert. The result is oddly orgiastic.
For the Republican debate the other day Chris Dodd made another talk clock. I would have thought Wolf would have made a greater effort to make the thing even after seeing the Democratic clock.
Speaking of political horseracing, Pollster.com has some fun infographics.
Copies of the letters of support sent to the judge on behalf of Scooter Libby. Worth noting because hey, you never know when you may have to write one of these.
The Huffington Post has added a Digg-like feature called Huff It. The content is about what you'd expect, but what's interesting to me is that we've seen politics blogs add little buttons to advocate their submission to social sites but they really haven't been very successful in reaching those coveted front page spots. Is this a case of "if you can't join 'em, make your own"?
I don't know why I thought peeing on an electric fence would produce more twitching and jumping or at least some screaming.
As you know, I tend to think in threads of "speaking of" but sometimes these things really do seem to make a theme independent of my meandering mind. Case in point:
Have you seen this?
It's a pretty amazing demo of Photosynth, a project that, among other things, can grab several images off, say, Flickr, and then build a 3-dimensional, navigable model.
That is totally amazing, and I particularly like the idea of navigation by zoom (is that Seadragon?). It also reminds me of the mobile browser Deepfish project, that I've only read about but I understand it displays a whole Web page on your mobile device and you zoom in and out depending on what part you want to see, rather than wrestling with little scroll bars.
What else is interesting is that I've been playing with a lot of this kind of 3D zoom navigation lately and given that presentation it's probably not by coincidence. Recently folks were trading this gigapixel photo of Chicago at night. I thought it would be so big that it would crash my machine but it didn't. Instead the point is that the picture has enough information for you to do quite a bit of zooming. More fun to play with is this one of Machu Picchu.
If you still aren't feeling the depth-as-navigation vibe, check out SpaceTime. I've been playing with it quite a bit and only crashed it once. Even if you don't want to load it to play with it, the video demo is accurate. It presents your pages floating in space in a three dimensional stack that you can flip through. (Note to the folks at SpaceTime, I want the tabs to launch with a click instead of a paste in the address field.)
OK, here's one more. Recently the folks on Digg have been celebrating this "infinite zoom" animation (it does eventually repeat). Choose the Flash version.
And of course, I don't have to remind you that all of the latest exciting map applications have made us very familiar with the concept of zooming into a page for more information (or in some cases, too much information).
Speaking of spotting trends (and predicting them), Rex does a nice job rounding up links to support his thesis that prediction sites and tools are the future. I hope "prophetic clients" catches on as a term, just for the coolness of it.
Speaking of these prediction sites, part of what made me say, "oh yeah" while reading Rex's essay is that I had MediaPredict in my notes. You can check out the "how it works" tab for a video explanation but basically you bet fake money on ideas you think are good. The idea is that enough people making these kinds of assessments will result in worthwhile information about what will do well in the marketplace. Here's the line that I know will raise the eyebrows of readers here who've been critical of "wisdom of the crowds" models in the past:
"That kind of collective intelligence is almost always right." We'll see. Their use of the stock market model reminds me of Blogshares.
Also in my notes to mention here is Truemors. I'm not sure I'm totally understanding this site but the idea is for people to contribute "did you hear..." material that is true. So it looks like mostly news items, but there's an element of prediction there as well.
Perhaps more useful is that one of the founders of Truemors has been very open about the investment required to launch the site: By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09.
Kawasaki's numbers lead me to another trend, hyperlocal reporting, but this one doesn't need spotting, it's already a pretty well establish buzz-term. I don't mind saying from the outset that I'm a huge fan of hyperlocal news. I love gathering the free scrawny newspapers in the bank ATM lobby. I love reading blogs about my neighborhood and I like meeting these local bloggers and for that matter, I like being one. That said, I had some trouble with the dark perspective of this item: "Media companies have high hopes that hyperlocal news online will bolster their newspapers' futures. But early returns suggest the financial outlook for such ventures is not bright."
The off-target use of Backfence as a model of hyperlocal failure is part of why I don't agree with the article's bleak perspective. The focus on Baristanet in the second half of the article makes hyperlocal sites sound pretty successful to me, even if the scale is not the same as that of newspapers. Friends who are readers of Baristanet pointed out to me that the site has a rivalry with a Yahoo group that serves a similar function. Hello local newspapers, there is enough of a gap in coverage in this community, and enough interest and demand that two essentially volunteer news sites have spontaneously formed and one of them is slated to make 100 grand this year. How are you going to convince me that "the financial outlook for such ventures is not bright"?
In the course of making myself feel good about my opinion I also read this bit. "Hyperlocal journalism is just a fad term for what good community papers have been doing for hundreds of years." But never let it be said that I'm not open to being wrong. I followed the link in the comments of the above item to find out what "panlocal" means only to run into this: "My problem with hyperlocal is that I don't believe in it (and never really have) as a scalable business proposition."
Setting aside whether scalability is really the issue, it sounds like he's solving the limitations of hyperlocal news by mixing it with items of more personal appeal that aren't geographically based. (Is that what you got? My perception may be skewed a little because I recently read about this Yahoo guy who says search is out and personalization is in.)
More familiar to me is the conclusion of the AJR piece that a more likely solution as a business model is a network of hyperlocal and/or niche sites that form a profitable aggregate. "It's a paradoxical notion, one that seems to strike at the whole notion of "hyperlocal" journalism: To stay very small, you may have to get very big." I say this is familiar because if ever there was a long tail business strategy this sounds like one.
Related loose link: The Washington Post's local explorer is more like local infographics than local reporting, but still interesting.
Lighter links coming up shortly.
**UPDATED: Added some clarification to the disclosure about Alterman and expanded a little on the pseudo-property idea.
Plazes CEO Busted By His Own Product - not exactly (read the update) but a good story to be aware of. I'm waiting for the case of the person whose Twitter (or whatever) account ends up incriminating them. A reader recently sent this link about a story that made noise in the med-blogging community. The guy was anonymously blogging his own malpractice trial and got called out on the stand. Busted!
And surely it's just a matter of time before someone is arrested for what they're seen doing on these new street level maps. Speaking of which, this appears to be the definitive list of street level maps "Easter eggs" sightings.
Speaking of acting innocent, "Would we feel differently about street-level image mapping if it were done by a government agency?" (That link even finds some thong action on the map. Can you imagine, in your own car?? I'm sure legally there's no assumption of privacy but socially we don't expect someone will take our picture for public display when we're sitting in our cars.)
The other line I really like in that Boing Boing item is, "Cameras aren't new, maps aren't new, the internet isn't new, nor is Google or Microsoft. So why does this feel so freshly creepy to so many?" It reminds me of the Alisson Stokke pretty pole vaulter story. There's nothing particularly new in that case either but there's an extra element that makes it different somehow. The theory I'm currently nursing (and I'm open to workshopping of the idea) is that what's different is the way the Internet turns the intangible into pseudo-property. Part of what feeds the current debate about intellectual property laws is that digital media exists in a strange place between object and ether. We see bethonged women in public (and in Spider Man figurines) all the time, and a bunch of people probably saw the one on Google's map in person, but what's different is the ability to take the fleeting glance and subject it to the properties of the Internet. Not just the media properties, but the distribution properties and, especially now, the social properties so that the distance from private citizen to public figure is drastically shorter.
Speaking of that Stokke story, an interesting twist is being discussed regarding her father. He's a defense attorney who has had to defend accused rapists and other accused sex offenders. Part of the argument is that his lines of defense have involved blaming the victim. Not everyone sees this as an ironic twist but it does make for a few interesting minutes at the water cooler (or in that blog's comments).
Speaking of "asking for it" and my regular overthinking of gender issues, did you see the Sarah Silverman bit on Mtv about Paris Hilton? With Hilton in the audience at the Movie Awards, Silverman jokes that Hilton will get special treatment in jail and the bars will be painted like penises and hopefully Hilton won't break her teeth. Silverman is known for her coarse humor that often leaves audiences feeling more uncomfortable than tickled, but I was surprised at the number of Reddit commenters who came to Hilton's defense. Most people (and everyone at my water cooler) probably think Paris Hilton deserves every bad thing she gets, but it's still an interesting case of how there's no half-way when it comes to losing one's privacy. To my point above about pseudo-property (and today's headline) I didn't purchase the Paris Hilton sex tape, but as long as there's the Internet we'll always have Paris -possessed and yet not. ADDING: I was thinking about the properties of property and another one is access. With the Internet providing Paris Hilton's sexual exploits "on demand" it further comodifies her (and of course, the fact that she exploits herself so thoroughly only helps).
Speaking of how we feel about women, Is America ready for a trophy wife? I'm glad I clicked this after the blogger added the update because while I never really gave it much thought I probably would have assumed that Fred Thompson had earned himself a trophy wife. Unlike the blogger I give Jeri the benefit of the doubt as well.
Speaking of being glad someone else posted a correction to a contextual mistake with regard to hubba-hubba-ing Jeri Thompson, apparently Joe Scarborough's "work the pole" remark was part of a running joke about strippercise and he wasn't flatly comparing her to a stripper. See update III.
And by the way, have you seen Dennis Kuchinch's wife Elizabeth? ADDING: In the course of this going from draft to publish The Newshoggers blog seems to have pursued the same path I did, updating with Scarborough and the Kucinich connection and following up on the trophy wife question.
The Polar Clock is a neat idea but I can't quite figure if there's an at-a-glance benefit to it. Right now it's mostly blue, but does that tell me anything? I wonder if we'd think of time's passing differently if we assigned it colors or rendered it differently. I was too young when digital watches first came out to remember if it changed our perception of time. (I'm not trying to get deep here. I just mean the feeling you get when you look up at the clock and see the hands in certain positions.)
Speaking of clocks, if you're marking online winners of the recent Democratic debate, that award would have to go to Chris Dodd for this site's Talk Clock. Everyone found it interesting and easy to understand and tons of people used the embed code.
Speaking of the debate the other day, having worked with Eric Alterman pretty closely (I edited the Altercation column he wrote for MSNBC.com for a few years) and having had a few encounters with New Hampshire police, Eric's account of his arrest and release rings true to me.
Also with regard to the debate I played with MessageJury.com. They do "dial testing" where people watch the debate and work an agree/disagree dial. The graph of the results display over the video to show how the candidates' answers are being perceived by the audience.
I was interested to see the number of candidates in the debate who answered that one of their first tasks as president would be to travel the world to repair America's global standing. I have this on my Commuter Click pile: Improving America's global image
If you're traveling at 100 km/h in one direction and you throw a ball 100km/h in the opposite direction, what happens? The results of this video work pretty well except for some extra spin on the ball from the pitching machine. In the next episode they'll drive at the speed of light and turn the headlights on.
A time line map of man's spread across the globe. It's interesting to note the environmental catastrophes that put a serious dent in the human population in context of the current discussions of global warming.
Speaking of weather catastrophes, Global warming 'is three times faster than worst predictions'
But speaking of global warming, They call this a consensus? This is actually the starter page for a very long series of reports on the scientific perspectives that differ from the conventional wisdom on global warming.
And just to bring it all full circle, GM, Chrysler and The Auto Alliance create websites to sway consumers to contact Congress. (Contrary to popular convention I'm not suggesting that these three items "cancel each other out;" only that there's a lot of reading to do on the subject.)
"Priced at just $99, Meraki Outdoor can send a signal up to 700 feet. Paired with Meraki's existing indoor $49 Mini, the Meraki Outdoor repeater can power access for dozens of households sharing one high speed connection."
The crowd at Nathan's at Coney Island is going to be huge this year to see if this guy can take the mustard belt away from Kobayashi. I can't wait. (Although just watching the brief video made me want to gag so I'm not sure I could stand to see the event.)
Speaking of international food, What the world eats - Fascinating. Not really even preachy, though it's impossible not to compare.
The best productivity advice blog yet.
Typing game, Fingerjig. Usually I kick butt at these but I had a struggle with this one. 967,161 is my best so far. I'll try again in a bit and see if I can break a million.
Brits Drop 850,000 Phones Down the Toilet - Each Year - My initial reaction was to disbelieve this one straight away. Even the stat of "18 million new handsets bought in the UK every year" seems wrong to me. The population of the UK is 60 million. More than a quarter of the population gets a new phone each year and a million of them fall in the toilet? But then, people probably get a new phone every 4 years or less. The toilet part still seems high but maybe they hold their phones in more casual regard than I hold mine.
Why TV news should keep someone on staff with a better-than-average familiarity with Web trends: So you don't feature a goatse prank with a straight face. (It's at 1:04.) NOTE: If you don't know what goatse is you can look it up in wikipedia or you can take my word for it that it's the most obscene image ever displayed.
Reactee assigns you a keyword and puts your message on a t-shirt. People who send a text message to the company with the keyword on your shirt get a return message you set yourself. The site tries to make it sound useful but frankly it seems like more of a novelty. That said, I've always wanted license plate numbers on cars to function like phone numbers, so this Reactee idea as a bumper sticker would be more appealing to me. There's no way to contact a stranger in a car in the same way you can address someone who's close enough for you to be able to read the message on their t-shirt.
"The site is simple: it is like a currency converter, but for completely unrelated items."
Everyone's buzzing about Microsoft's new Surface computer. To be honest, I'd put off watching all the videos about it because we've already seen a few multi-touch demonstrations and everything I've read puts it way off in the future. But not only is Surface not some distantly futuristic technology but they're talking about turning these out to commercial partners within a year! And when you see the demonstrations they have for actual practical uses, the mind reels with the obvious cascade of follow-up applications. It's so easy to imagine these being part of every day life. If you're looking for something to feel excited about (as I was in the wake of seeing the sea water combustion idea trashed yesterday) sit through these videos. There's only reruns on TV anyway.
P.S. I love that it reminds me of the flat table Pac Man game that used to be at the local pizzeria.
3 tips to profit from casual games - It's about our little favorite, Desktop Tower Defense. Check out this line: "Though he has no professional experience with game development, the Visual Basic programmer is now making, by his estimate, high four figures monthly for his ferociously viral little game."
Speaking of games and the fact that it's Friday, here's a recent Ralph's Recommendation:
Lone Starship: Defender of the Planet - Imperial troops have decimated your star fleet, and you're the only starfighter left on the planet. Thousands of citizens are depending on you. You are their last, best hope...
I should have added, speaking of flat table games I used to play at the pizzeria. Good one Ralph.
Jason Calacanis has launched Mahalo as the world's first human-powered search engine. What makes it people powered is this note I see at the bottom when I try some test searches: "Mahalo's goal is to hand-write the top 10,000 search terms. You can help by recommending your favorite links."
Genes might help you learn Chinese - I was ready to resent the implications of this (one language being "naturally superior" to another, one race of language speakers being superior to another) but the article gives a really fascinating sense of how different languages are processed.
Getting Access to Gmail Accounts of the Deceased - Or: Why you should include your passwords (to the things you actually want your surviving family to have access to) in your living will.
Commuter Click/Weekend Beach Read: This excerpt from "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America."
Other Commuter Click: Yesterday I spent much of the day working on a recommended-reading list of important pieces to read if you want to catch up on the current state of the Web. In hunting down Jay Rosen's Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over I started reading the current entry there, an excerpt from "When the Press Fails..."
What the heck is vote caging, and why should we care? "Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren't living at (because they are, say, at college or at war)." More important to the theme of Clicked, this article quickly gets to the reporting of Greg Palast, whose name keeps coming up in liberal blog circles. (There's so much "they stole/are stealing the election" noise out there it's nice to have this Slate piece to sort out this particular story.)
Facial recognition slipped into Google image search - Add &imgtype=face to the end of your image search link and it gives you results that are faces.
The Freeaire checks when the outside air is as cold as your refrigerator and turns on a fan to use outside air in your refrigerator. It's like when there's a black-out and you have to put all your food in a snowbank outside.
Whenever I investigate something going on with LiveJournal I always feel like I've just walked into the middle of someone else's family reunion. The communities there are so intimate and rich with jargon and context it can be difficult for an outsider to catch up. The latest something-going-on is the deletion of a considerable number of communities over accusations of inappropriate content. Briefly, and at the risk of receiving a lot of correction notes, some fans of science fiction and fantasy like to write their own stories using characters and other elements from the shows/movies/comics/books/video games they like. These stories can sometimes be sexual in nature and occasionally depict situations that would be illegal or just inappropriate or unacceptable in real life. An anti-pedophile activist group poured through these fan-fiction writing communities and reported the ones they didn't like. LiveJournal axed them. CNET has a more detailed summary. Having said all that, apparently there are now also "mass reinstatements." NOTE: In the course of clicking through this story I saw very little visual NSFW material, but do recognize that this story is about overtly sexual writing. Just move on if you can't handle it.
...Feels somehow related to the above: "More than one in eight men do not volunteer to work with children because they are worried people will think they are a paedophile, a survey suggests."
Can this be true? The claim is that the Marines want to recall an honorably discharged Marine back to service only to discharge him again, but this time dishonorably, as a punishment for being outspoken against the war.
You knew that as soon as Google and Microsoft released those street level map images we'd start seeing funny captures and glitches. I looked at all of my previous addresses but didn't see anything really remarkable. One reader sent me this link with the comment, "I for one, welcome our new Pink Cloud Overlords..." And I saw this one that's supposedly a guy leaving a strip club, but that seems like a bit of a stretch (and who cares). Then finally I clicked Boing Boing's round up of reader contributions. Looks like there are a lot of solicitations out there for interesting stuff so hopefully we'll see that bear fruit soon.
ADDING (here it comes):
I had read about the weird tanning reality show in this bit of TV commentary. I haven't seen it on TV yet, but I recognized it in this clip of a woman pressuring her kid to get a tan like Lindsay Lohan. What a twisted world.
I'm not sure why people care so much, but the story you may have heard of an 11-year-old boy killing a giant pig has sparked passion in a lot of people. I arrived at this site through another site claiming to debunk the whole giant pig claim, but it looks like the pig-hunters are embracing this and other criticism so this one link gives a pretty complete picture of the debate.
Speaking of debating something that barely matters, how many people in this video/audio do you think are acting?
CEO of electric car company, Tesla Motors: "Every year spent on fuel cell programs by GM, Ford, Honda, and the rest is another year we at Tesla Motors can build our technological and market lead in the obvious winning technology: battery electric vehicles. We therefore sarcastically and enthusiastically encourage you to maintain the hydrogen bias and keep our competitors in the quagmire."
I also watched the videos here.
Squirrells with light sabers. The caption is the best.
Funny HTML earrings - I saw this on Digg, which means the artist who's making these can pretty much buy a yacht and retire by next week.