Thursday, July 27, 2006
Hanlon's razor, a corollary of Finagle's law, is an adage which reads: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Also worded as: Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year....In addition, 64 percent say Saddam had "strong links" with al Qaeda....Fifty-five percent said that "history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq."....American confidence in the Iraqis has improved: 37 percent said Iraq would succeed in creating a stable democracy, up five points since November.
"You see any cops?" Eberhard asks, shooting me a mischievous look. The car is vibrating, ready to launch. I'm the first journalist to get a ride.
He releases the brake and my head snaps back. One-one-thousand: I get a floating feeling, like going over the falls in a roller coaster. Two-one-thousand: The world tunnels, the trees blur. Three-one-thousand: We hit 60 miles per hour. Eberhard brakes. We're at a standstill again -- elapsed time, nine seconds. When potential buyers get a look at the vehicle this summer, it will be among the quickest production cars in the world. And, compared to other supercars like the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, and Lamborghini Diablo, it's a bargain. More intriguing: It has no combustion engine.
The trick? The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries -- the same cells that run a laptop computer. Range: 250 miles. Fuel efficiency: 1 to 2 cents per mile. Top speed: more than 130 mph. The first cars will be built at a factory in England and are slated to hit the market next summer. And Tesla Motors, Eberhard's company, is already gearing up for a four-door battery-powered sedan.
But it seems that heterosexuals—so essential to the survival of the human race (Keep breeding, heteros! There just aren’t enough us on the planet!)—need to be afforded special rights. Without the exclusive right to marriage, the court assumes that heterosexuals could not be bothered to produce offspring at all—or, once they’ve produced them, could not be bothered to care for them.
Reading on, it seems the the WA Supremes are siding with the fundies: Homosexuality, they arque, is not an “immutable characteristic”—in other, and more familiar words, the WA Supremes believe that homosexuality is a choice, and, what’s more, gay men and lesbians are not discriminated against because we are free to marry opposite-sex partners whenever we like.
There are days we would rather know
than these, as there is always, later,
a wife we would rather have married
than whom we did, in that severe nowness
time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether,
standing in the museum before Rembrandt's "Juno,"
we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus
about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty
suspect ... and all marriages. Last night,
leaves circled the base of the ginkgo as if
the sun had shattered during the night
into a million gold coins no one had the sense
to claim. And now, there are days we would
rather know than these, days when to stand
before beauty and before "Juno" are, convincingly,
the same, days when the shattered sunlight
seeps through the trees and the women we marry
stay interesting and beautiful both at once,
and their men. And though there are days
we would rather know than now, I am,
at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten
my arms around the woman I love, now
and imperfectly, stand before "Juno" whispering
beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and --
when I come home at night -- I run out
into the day's pale dusk with my broom
and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base
of the ginkgo, something to keep for a better tomorrow:
days we would rather know that never come.
Q: So in other words, this has all the hallmarks of a good old-fashioned Microsoft vaporware campaign: wildly optimistic ship date (“this November”) and a laundry list of features missing from the iPod and iTunes (Wi-Fi, social networking, a video game mode, adjustable faceplates, and maybe even Sirius and/or XM satellite radio). I’ll bet it will ship on schedule, with all those features, and will be lightweight, thin, and get great battery life.
A: VERY DOUBTFUL.
Q: I was being sarcastic.
from an American soldier in Northern Iraq:
Baghdad has descended into complete anarchy, as near as I can tell. We have police investigators in Northern Iraq who are scared to drive down there to attend an IPS investigator's course for fear that they will be stopped by Sunni or Shia checkpoints and killed. And these guys are police! I imagine the situation is terrible for ordinary citizens.
This is the dark side of the big shift in the U.S. strategy/presence over the last year. As we've reduced our forces, disengaged from the cities, and consolidated on massive super-FOBs like Balad and Camp Victory, we have lost the ability to impose our will on the streets of Iraq. At this point, I don't know how effective U.S. forces can/will be in imposing order. We just don't have the combat power, nor the presence in the city, nor the right mix of constabulary and civil affairs units. It's frustrating.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Samuel L. Jackson on how starring in "Snakes on a Plane" may finally erase the catchphrase legacy that's haunted him since his "Pulp Fiction" days: "If people can stop yelling do I know what a quarter-pounder with cheese in France is called and start yelling get these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane, I'll be fine, I'll be great."
You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.
The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.
"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.
Six friends spruced up in fake blood and tattered clothing were arrested in downtown Minneapolis on suspicion of toting "simulated weapons of mass destruction."
Police said the group were allegedly carrying bags with wires sticking out, making it look like a bomb, while meandering and dancing to music as part of a "zombie dance party" Saturday night.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek
after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person
of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our
journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that
which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those
souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Leverage is related to force; leverage is a factor by which lever multiplies a force. The useful work done is the energy applied, which is force times distance. Therefore a small force applied over a long distance is the same amount of work as a large force applied over a small distance. The trick is converting the one into the other. The requisite mathematics was developed in the third century BC by Archimedes.
The simplest device for creating leverage is the lever. A lever is a stick which rests on a fulcrum near one end. When you push the long end of the stick down a long ways, the short end moves a small distance up with great force. With this device a man can easily lift several times his own weight.
What is continuous partial attention?
Continuous partial attention describes how many of us use our attention today. It is different from multi-tasking. The two are differentiated by the impulse that motivates them. When we multi-task, we are motivated by a desire to be more productive and more efficient. We're often doing things that are automatic, that require very little cognitive processing. We give the same priority to much of what we do when we multi-task -- we file and copy papers, talk on the phone, eat lunch -- we get as many things done at one time as we possibly can in order to make more time for ourselves and in order to be more efficient and more productive.
To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention -- CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.
We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multi-tasking.
So there I sit -- legs squeezed beneath a cafeteria table, stuffing my mouth with cake and listening to Jayson Blair explain why my college transcript, my newspaper clips, and my Bachelor's degree in Journalism are all utterly worthless.
"I understand," he says. "People tell you your whole life to get good grades and go to a good school because that's how you get ahead."
"And?" I ask
"And it's a lie," he laughs, shaking his head.
This wasn't how the week was supposed to end.
As an unconventional person, I rarely do things conventionally, nor do opportunities or experiences present themselves to me in a "normal" manner. I sent a film to the Montreal "Just For Laughs" festival a few months ago and forgot about it. A few weeks ago, JFL contacted me and told me my film had been accepted into the Comedia film portion of the festival, and I was invited to come with full accreditation, (which is the fancy way of saying "you get a badge") and even perform some live songs at the showing of the film, if I liked.
Unlike many festival comedians, I was not being flown in on a fancy jet plane, costs covered, or being put up by the festival in the regal Hotel Delta, comedy ground zero if you will, where all industry and talent converge in a vortex of hope, desire and disappointment, laden with excessive amounts of alcohol. No, I did it Delfino-style: I took the drive up to Burlington with my friends who happened to be going there anyway, and then hitch-hiked from Burlington to Montreal.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Very recently, however, I've discovered a way that I can trick myself into listening to the smarter part: I schedule, on the half hour, tiny little increments of work, then let myself go back to 'productively' goofing off as soon as I've done each little increment, at least until the next half hour mark chimes.
Let's say, as I did earlier today, that I have thirty theaters I need to call to check their base screen rental rates. I'll sit down and break the list into chunks of three or four theaters, and list them out over the afternoon. These four at 1:00, these three at 1:30, etc. I've found it works the best to set the first chunk about ten, fifteen minutes in the future.
Holy reclaimed afternoon, Batman! Somehow I've gone from a day where my brain seemed permanently out to lunch to one where I'm startlingly productive.
This is a remarkable fact for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Dockers campaign was aimed at men, and no one had ever thought you could hit a home run like that by trying to sell fashion to the American male. Not long ago, two psychologists at York University, in Toronto-Irwin Silverman and Marion Eals-conducted an experiment in which they had men and women sit in an office for two minutes, without any reading material or distraction, while they ostensibly waited to take part in some kind of academic study. Then they were taken from the office and given the real reason for the experiment: to find out how many of the objects in the office they could remember. This was not a test of memory so much as it was a test of awareness-of the kind and quality of unconscious attention that people pay to the particulars of their environment. If you think about it, it was really a test of fashion sense, because, at its root, this is what fashion sense really is-the ability to register and appreciate and remember the details of the way those around you look and dress, and then reinterpret those details and memories yourself.
When the results of the experiment were tabulated, it was found that the women were able to recall the name and the placement of seventy per cent more objects than the men, which makes perfect sense. Women's fashion, after all, consists of an endless number of subtle combinations and variations-of skirt, dress, pants, blouse, T-shirt, hose, pumps, flats, heels, necklace, bracelet, cleavage, collar, curl, and on and on-all driven by the fact that when a woman walks down the street she knows that other women, consciously or otherwise, will notice the name and the placement of what she is wearing. Fashion works for women because women can appreciate its complexity. But when it comes to men what's the point? How on earth do you sell fashion to someone who has no appreciation for detail whatsoever?
What Los Angeles is not known for is audiences who shout at the stage in reaction to political content. But such has been the case at the Geffen Playhouse in recent weeks for Sam Shepard's left-leaning political farce "The God of Hell," running through next Sunday at the Westwood venue.
During the July 12 evening performance, according to theater staff reports, a gentleman leapt to his feet and, at the top of his lungs, began hurling epithets at the stage, including "communist bastards," "pigs" and "slimeballs," before being escorted out of the theater.
Other audience members responded to the outburst by standing or applauding. And when the show was over, a woman who was returning her listening device politely asked: "Was that part of the play?"
Representatives of downtown's Mark Taper Forum reported similarly extreme behavior last summer at some performances of David Hare's "Stuff Happens," a multicharacter drama that starred Keith Carradine as George W. Bush and dissected events leading to U.S. involvement in Iraq.
A monologue by an actor portraying a Palestinian scholar who criticizes U.S. support for Israel was one of the hot buttons. A theater spokesman reports that at one performance, four audience members ripped up their programs, stormed out of the auditorium and confronted an actor who was making an entrance through the house. At an earlier performance, two other patrons disrupted proceedings by shouting that the monologue was "all lies."
So, why isn't anyone panicking? In 2001 and 2002, when the postmortems of the dot-com era were written, it was easy to declare the whole thing a failure and a scam. But with the passage of time, another picture has emerged. In a process that has repeated itself throughout history—with the railroad and telegraph, for example—investment bubbles frequently kick-start new industries and leave behind innovations and commercial infrastructure that others can use. The fiber-optic cable and dot-com business infrastructure that was rolled out in the 1990s wasn't simply abandoned. Second-generation entrepreneurs and companies have used it to great effect. The excessive investment in infrastructure may have set off ruinous price wars in 2000. But it also led to the swift rollout of broadband and sharply reduced prices of Web-hosting and data transmission. Google, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, and iTunes—all these highly successful, quality-of-life-improving businesses—were built on the wreckage of the dot-com era. As consumers, investors, and workers, in other words, we've all been enriched by the fruits of the dot-com boom. It just took a while.
Up-front, I must tell you that by reading this, you may encounter a spoiler or two, not because I want to wreck any potential surprises in "Lady in the Water," but because I no longer have any idea what constitutes a surprise in a Shyamalan movie. The fact that Bruce Willis, in "The Sixth Sense," was actually dead -- OK, that I got. But in "Signs," when the alien turned out to be a tall, faceless extra tiptoeing around Mel Gibson's living room in stretchy PJs -- one who could be vanquished by a bucket of water -- I lost all faith in Shyamalan's alleged mastery of the surprise-shockeroo plot twist.
I believe the chicken before the egg
though I believe in the egg. I believe
eating is a form of touch carried
to the bitter end; I believe chocolate
is good for you; I believe I'm a lefty
in a right-handed world, which does not
make me gauche, or abnormal, or sinister.
I believe "normal" is just a cycle on
the washing machine; I believe the touch
of hands has the power to heal, though
nothing will ever fill this immeasurable
hole in the center of my chest. I believe
in kissing; I believe in mail; I believe
in salt over the shoulder, a watched
pot never boils, and if I sit by my
mailbox waiting for the letter I want
it will never arrive -- not because of
superstition, but because that's not
how life works. I believe in work:
phone calls, typing, multiplying,
black coffee, write write write, dig
dig dig, sweep sweep. I believe in
a slow, tortuous sweep of tongue
down the lover's belly; I believe I've
been swept off my feet more than once
and it's a good idea not to name names.
Digging for names is part of my work,
but that's a different poem. I believe
there's a difference between men and
women and I thank God for it. I believe
in God, and if you hold the door
and carry my books, I'll be sure to ask
for your name. What is your name? Do
you believe in ghosts? I believe
the morning my father died I heard him
whistling "Danny Boy" in the bathroom,
and a week later saw him standing in
the living room with a suitcase in his
hand. We never got to say good-bye, he
said, and I said I don't believe in
good-byes. I believe that's why I have
this hole in my chest; sometimes it's
rabid; sometimes it's incoherent. I
believe I'll survive. I believe that
"early to bed and early to rise" is
a boring way to live. I believe good
poets borrow, great poets steal, and
if only we'd stop trying to be happy
we could have a pretty good time. I
believe time doesn't heal all wounds;
I believe in getting flowers for no
reason; I believe "Give a Hoot, Don't
Pollute," "Reading is Fundamental,"
Yankee Stadium belongs in the Bronx,
and the best bagels in New York are
boiled and baked on the corner of First
and 21st. I believe in Santa
Claus, Jimmy Stewart, ZuZu's petals,
Arbor Day, and that ugly baby I keep
dreaming about -- she lives inside me
opening and closing her wide mouth.
I believe she will never taste her
mother's milk; she will never be
beautiful; she will always wonder what
it's like to be born; and if you hold
your hand right here -- touch me right
here, as if this is all that matters,
this is all you ever wanted, I believe
something might move inside me,
and it would be more than I could stand.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Roy Bass emerged from the Mediterranean waves at noon Friday for a Popsicle break when, surfboard in hand, he heard his cell phone ringing on the beach. It was a recorded message: "An emergency draft has been activated."
Four hours later, the 27-year-old computer programmer was at an army base, in full uniform, preparing to head to Israel's northern border, where troops were massing to take on Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
The subject was appropriate to a show that bore a crippling messianic burden. Much of the program for “On the Third Day” was devoted to an essay and statistics detailing the decline of the straight play in commercial theaters on the West End. Most telling was a comparative breakdown of the offerings of 1956 (when 23 plays were produced, including 8 new dramas and 2 revivals) and those of this year, a half-century later (11 plays, including 5 revivals, 1 new drama and 2 adaptations of novels).
Friday, July 21, 2006
But sitting on another darned panel yesterday, Chrystia Freeland, ME of the FT in the US, said it better than I have. We were singing two-party harmony as I wondered why every newspaper needs a movie critic when the movies aren’t local and she questioned the need for the Miami Herald to have its own Moscow bureau — back in the heyday when she was reporting there herself — to get that apparently unique Miami view of the USSR.
Then she said that news is “an industry with a lot of oversupply that is now exposed.” I liked that hard economic talk about the business. It reminds us that we are an industry and need to reexamine our business assumptions like every other industry.
You can order any book ever published at the customer desk of B&N and they will ship it to your local store, and you will still have no obligation to buy. You can peruse it (or read it in its entirety) right there in the store. This is a very common activity according to numerous B&N employees, and one that's not even frowned upon.
In case you're wondering who or what Naomi Campbell's been beating lately, the abusive model -- who's dealing with three lawsuits from former assistants -- recently caused $54,000 worth of damage to the luxury yacht belonging to her then-boyfriend Badr Jafar. It was really all the chef's fault, you see, as his "tomato, mozzarella and dried ham starter with white wine" failed to please Campbell, who announced the culinary failure with a heated verbal reprimand that quickly became a shouting match. The chef made the mistake of screaming back, which obviously meant that Campbell had to throw plates and rip apart cushions and curtains. As this ultimately caused $54,000 worth of damage to Jafar's boat, Campbell and her beau have since parted ways the only way Campbell knows how -- with a police presence.
Chris Anderson's The Long Tail does something that only the best books do—uncovers a phenomenon that's undeniably going on and makes clear sense of it. Anderson, the Wired editor-in-chief who first wrote about the Long Tail concept in 2004, had two moments of genius: He visualized the demand for certain products as a "power curve," and he came up with a catchy phrase to go with his observation. Like most good ideas, the Long Tail attaches to your mind and gets stuck there. Everything you take in—cult blogs, alternative music, festival films—starts looking like the Long Tail in action. But that's also the problem. The Long Tail theory is so catchy it can overgrow its useful boundaries. Unfortunately, Anderson's book exacerbates this problem. When you put it down, there's one question you won't be able to answer: When, exactly, doesn't the Long Tail matter?
Aside from basic trust issues--Apple, for example, does not burden users with Product Activation or any similar anti-piracy technologies in its Mac OS X operating system--Microsoft made two major mistakes with WGA. The first was to silently post a beta version of the tool to Windows Update as a Critical Update, thus ensuring that it was quietly and underhandedly installed on hundreds of millions of customers' PCs: I mean, seriously. Is Microsoft honestly making guinea pigs out of its entire user base?
The second mistake was that WGA Notifications was also "phoning home" information to Microsoft on a regular basis. That's right: Not only was the software secretly installed on your PC, but it then regularly contacted Microsoft servers and provided them with data about the instances of pirated and nonpirated software out there. Customers and security experts reacted with alarm, as well they should: Microsoft had literally shipped spyware to its customers. Microsoft, meanwhile, reacted as they often do when something like this happens: They made as if nothing serious had happened and acted shocked that anyone could think otherwise. So much for the Glasnost of the consent decree.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
But my big problem was this – what the fuck was going on?? There’s this ship of slime pirates, and then a map, and a bad guy from the last movie gets hired on the ship, and Keira Knightley is stowing away on another ship, and then some Voodoo lady who’s been eating licorice offers cryptic advice, and there’s a dice game that makes no sense, and Keira’s dress is floating in the water and that is supposed to mean something, and Orlando Bloom’s clothes never get dirty, and they capture a little monkey for some reason, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon visits Jack one night, and Jonathon Pryce complains about wearing a wig, and it’s real important Jack keeps a jar of dirt, and there’s a three-way sword fight between Jack, Orlando Bloom and the bad guy from the last movie where they’re all accusing each other of things more confusing than any BIG SLEEP plot point, then they cut back to the George Washington looking guy who I hadn’t seen in a half an hour and completely forgot about and he’s …I dunno where, plotting something, I dunno what…and Jack’s palm gets black then it goes away then it comes back again, and he makes a deal with Octopus Beard Guy to do something in three days – I have no idea what -- or he has to give over 99 souls – not sure how one does that, and gorgeous Keira Knightley is forced to wear a pirate hat, and there’s a magic compass that always points to Disneyworld or something, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon turns out to be Orlando Bloom’s father and has a starfish attached to his face that he never thinks to remove, and cannon balls blast through Jack’s ship but it somehow never leaks, and many of our characters get caught in this giant runaway wooden wheel that looks like a prop from last year’s Reward Challenge on SURVIVOR, and there seems to be a rum shortage, and Jack does something good so Keira Knightley hand cuffs him, and Octopus Beard Guy can sometimes grow to the size of Catalina, and for all his slime no one on his ship slips while walking on the deck, and there are Red Coats for some reason, and letters of transit or a pardon in a leather case, and after all that NOTHING IS RESOLVED.
Britney Spears essay on tigers, found on her website
The screenplay for "Hounddog" - a dark story of abuse, violence and Elvis Presley adulation in the rural South, written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier - calls for Fanning's character to be raped in one explicit scene and to appear naked or clad only in "underpants" in several other horrifying moments.
Fanning's mother, Joy, and her Hollywood agent, Cindy Osbrink, see the movie as a possible Oscar vehicle for the pint-size star. But despite Fanning's status as a bankable actress - whose movies, including last year's "War of the Worlds," have earned more than half a billion dollars since 2001 - the alarming material seems to have scared off potential investors from the under-$5 million indie project.
"The two taboos in Hollywood are child abuse and the killing of animals," a source close to the situation told me. "In this movie, both things happen."
BEFORE THE DVD (which I'd expect in about two weeks, after the stink clears from theaters), you can already preview more of Shyamalan's pre-emptive P.R. campaign on Amazon.com, where there's a five- minute video clip of him reading from the children's picture book version of Lady in the Water. "I wanted to say 'Hi' to all the Amazon.com customers," he begins. (Not readers, kids, parents, book lovers, or fairy-tale enthusiasts, but customers—how shrewdly we're assessed.) He goes on to explain how, when spinning the original story to his daughters, "It went on and on for days and days. It grew into this kind of obsessive feature of our household." I'll say. Rarely do artists speak with such candor. Apparently by stringing together a bunch of Jabberwocky nonsense words and warm notions of a better tomorrow . . . if you just keep talking . . . the kids will eventually fall asleep! Better still, you've created an adult masterwork in the process, like Picasso picking up the bar tab with a napkin doodle. Get me Disney on the phone! I've got a script to sell!
Was this a hoax? A jump-the-gun glitch? A hype? In any event, one Amazon customer must have gone through his Web browser's cache and reposted the thing on the customer discussion board, touching off an instant classic of that kind of chatter where M.F.A. meets LSD. The following comments are fairly typical: "I am saying that the blurb is Pynchon parroting Pynchon … viral-marketing or, more hopefully, a Swiftian self-parody and critique of Internet subcultures (a sort of new, updated Tale of a Tub.)" Whee!
An Italian archaeologist accidentally found that the central gem in Tutankhamun's regal necklace is not amber, but a mere piece of yellow glass. Kinda cheap for the famous Egyptian pharaoh, best known for his splendid golden mask. Except that piece of glass is much older than civilization. Where did it come from, StarGate? Kind of. Scientists now think a meteorite much larger than the Tunguska event fell from the sky and exploded over the Sahara in prehistoric times. The tremendous heat of the 1000 A-bomb sized fireball melted large chunks of desert sand into perfect glass. The memory of such an apocalyptic event may have made sand-glass gems a desirable symbol, meant to emphasize the pharaoh's heavenly powers.
ANDRE: Well, what information would you send your ships to war on? Because if it’s all meaningless, what’s the difference whether you accept the fortune cookie or the statistics of the Ford foundation? It doesn’t seem to matter.
From My Dinner With Andre
youtube is not mytube:
...a change in their terms of service gives them the power to do what they want with your content. Not good. I just deleted all videos I cared about -- I don't want them making a buck off me or selling my content for advertising/whatever, fuck that. Yes you retain rights *after* the fact, but they don't have to tell you before they use your content. I had subscribers too, which is a bummer. Check out what other blogs are saying, snip:
"YouTube has recently revised their Terms & Conditions which now allow them to sell whatever you upload there however they want:
'...by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and its successor's) business... in any media formats and through any media channels.'
What this means is if you upload your web series to their servers they can now sell DVDs of it, merchandise it and probably even make a Hollywood version of it - and you don't get a cent. These rights can also be transferred to anyone who buys YouTube, which is very possible since its incredible site traffic (100+ million videos a day) makes it an attractive acquistion target and the company currently isn't making any money for its owners."
According to legend, the Royal Shakespeare Company once posted a warning to audiences: "This production contains real fire." Whether the promise was fulfilled in all senses, it certainly set a trend. Theatres' entrances are now festooned with cautions, some addressing health and safety issues, others more concerned with matters of taste and decency. As illuminating as what managements choose to warn against is what they choose not to.
So, earlier this year, Sam West's revival in Sheffield of The Romans in Britain alerted audiences to stage smoke, but not to the nudity and rape that are the play's most notorious feature. By contrast, the Oxford Stage Company's current reworking of Paradise Lost does warn about strobe lights and "scenes of nudity", but doesn't mention the smoke (which is, in fact, likely to be a water-based haze effect, more accurately described as "fog"). Notices outside Fuerzabruta at the Roundhouse in Camden mention strobe effects too; but, amid a massive, exhilarating and alarming assault on the senses from all directions, I don't see how you're supposed to pick them out.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
In his statement prior to vetoing legislation passed by Congress that would expand embryonic stem-cell research today (media were barred from the actual signing ceremony), President Bush revealed his utter contempt for science and his willful ignorance of what actually becomes of most of these so-called little boys and girls.
Surrounded by cheering Republican supporters, Bush called individual embryos “unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value. These boys and girls are not spare parts.”
An embryo is not a child. It is a cluster of cells smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Only about 10 percent of embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization are implanted and ultimately adopted; the rest are treated as medical waste and discarded.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Having a photo of something was as satisfying as owning it, sometimes more so. In 2000, when I moved into a tiny apartment in New York's Chinatown, I began a habit that continues to this day: I rented a Manhattan Mini Storage unit and stashed 90 percent of my "permanent collection" out of sight and out of mind. I became an iceberg, with most of my cultural weight hidden below the waterline. Without my past around me, I felt younger, more buoyant. And yet I never quite had the courage to jettison everything. That's the curse of storage!
If storage is in crisis, it's because the web has become everything a library used to be. The web is something like the Aleph that Jorge Luis Borges talked about, the point in space that contains all other points, and from which everything can be seen clearly. It's the "window on the world" McLuhan told us every dominant medium pretends to be -- and of course betrays us by never quite becoming.
Netflix Inc., which boasts nearly five million members, often trumpets how its all-you-can-eat rental model is changing the way people are watching movies. But Netflix may also be changing the way people don't watch them. Through its Web site, Netflix makes it easy to comb through a massive catalog of 60,000 films. It offers access to everything from Charlie Chaplin's 1921 silent tramp movie "The Kid" to recent Academy Award-winners like "Crash." And some members admit that when browsing the Netflix backlog, they overestimate their appetite for off-the-beaten-track films. The result: Sometimes DVDs languish for months without being watched.
"It's a paradox of abundance," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University. If people aren't pressured to see a movie in a specific time frame, he said, viewers tend to put it lower on their priority list. "When you have every choice in front of you, you have less urgency about any particular choice," he added.
Netflix officials declined to disclose data on how often movies are shipped or what types of movies tend to be returned quickly, citing competitive concerns. But a company spokesman said the fact that some people let movies linger for months before watching them, doesn't hurt its business.
Researchers have documented this behavior among movie-watchers. In a 1999 experiment, a group of volunteers were asked to choose movies to rent from a list of 24 videos. Their options were a mix of what researchers termed "low-brow" movies -- including "My Cousin Vinny" and "Groundhog Day" -- and "high-brow" offerings, such as "Schindler's List" or the subtitled "Like Water for Chocolate." The researchers found that when people chose movies to watch the same day, they often picked comedies or action films. But when they were asked to pick movies to watch at a later date, they were more likely to make "high-brow" selections.
For example, the subjects were much more likely to select Steven Spielberg's Holocaust survival drama "Schindler's List" to watch in the future, rather than on the same night. "It's a movie that's really miserable to watch but you feel like you should watch it," said George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the study's authors.