Film historian Rick Prelinger has a large collection of industrial and education movies from past decades. I guess you can call them propganda to promote the American way of life. I just found out you can download or stream a lot of them at the Internet Archive. Link Discuss
NYT on Howard Rheingold's "smart mobs" anthropological investigations. Link Discuss
Which forbidden item would be easier to sneak on a plane: a metal nail clipper or this plastic knife concealed in a comb? Link Discuss
Here's a parody of the Apple TV commercial I was in. Link Discuss (Thanks, Dan Z.!)
Early death for Algernon:
Scientists create big-brained mice... Adding an extra version of a single gene makes mice grow big brains - brains so large they have to fold up, much as human brains do, to fit inside the skull, researchers said Thursday. It is not yet clear whether the mice are smarter - they were all killed soon after birth - but the scientists said they were surprised that one gene had such a strong effect and said they would do further experiments.
(My question is, why did they kill 'em?) Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!)
The thing I like about this list of records-to-shun is that it avoids the obvious targets (Manilow, Kenny G) and goes after worshipped bands like Nirvana and Green Day. I pretty much stopped buying music from any band formed after 1980, so I don't think I own any of albums on this list Link Discuss Thanks, Eric!
"A draft US Government report says we will alter human evolution within 20 years by combining what we know of nanotechnology, biotechnology, IT and cognitive sciences. The 405-page report from the US National Science Foundation and Commerce Department, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance", calls for a broad-based research program to improve human performance leading to telepathy, machine-to-human communication, amplified personal sensory devices, and enhanced intellectual capacity.
People may download their consciousnesses into computers or into bodies on the other side of the solar system, or participate in a giant 'hive mind' -- a network of intelligences connected through ultra fast communications networks."
Here's a page about John Poindexter, the guy who runs the Information Awareness Office (the place with the logo
of the eye in the pyramid glaring at the planet).
Who's John Poindexter?
Link Discuss (Thanks, Julian!)
A retired Navy Admiral, John Poindexter lost his job as National Security Adviser under Ronald Reagan, and was convicted of conspiracy, lying to Congress, defrauding the government, and destroying evidence in the Iran Contra scandal.
Sun Microsystems co-founder and libertarian activist John Gilmore is suing the federal government for its secret rule requiring airlines to check the IDs of domestic passengers.
On July 4, Southwest Airlines staff prevented Gilmore from boarding a pre-paid flight from Oakland to Washington, D.C, where he intended to petition the government to alter the ID check. He then went to San Francisco International Airport and tried to purchase a similar ticket on United Airlines. Both airlines, though unable to identify any actual regulation requiring him to identify himself, prevented him from flying. United stated that they were following an unwritten regulation that had only been communicated to them orally, and which changes frequently.
"We launched bOING bOING in 1988... We decided to explore the coolest, wackiest stuff we could think of, and came up with the name bOING bOING. Bouncing through our crazy world." -Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair Link Discuss
Here's a neat site that makes Amazon as easy to use as Google. Link Discuss
Jimwich sez: "An interesting piece by Jaron Lanier on his (uncredited!) role as futurist on Minority Report
, and his views on the film." Link Discuss
A world-class Boomeranger was arrested at an airport after she swore at a cop who told her that she couldn't board the plane without checking her boomerangs. She got three-months probation. Don't you feel safer now? Link Discuss
This logo for DARPA's "Information Awareness Office" is simply superb. The collage artist Winston Smith couldn't have come up with anything better. You've also got to love the IAO's mission: "The DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO) will imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness
useful for preemption; national security warning; and national security decision making." I'm waiting to come across a logo with a boot stomping on a human face. Link Discuss
Space Food Sticks, the snack that most closely resembles cat crap in a wrapper, are back. Stefan, who pointed me to this site asks a couple of good questions about this:
1) Is this really the RETURN of Space Food Sticks, or did they just find a pallette-full of them in a warehouse somewhere?
2) Is there really a need for a Space Food Preservation Society? I mean, dang, whatever samples aren't eaten will probably be around until a swollen red sun consumes the Earth five billions years from now.
Here's a place to buy Woodring figurines in the US. Link Discuss
The Russians, er, misplaced an experimental inflatable space vehicle after a successful (?) test-run.
Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)
Art Spiegelman reviews the new book about EC comic book artist Bernard Krigstein in the latest New Yorker
. I've never asked Dan Clowes about Krigstein, but I'll bet he was a major influence on Clowes. Link Discuss
Since someone complained that I posted something about Courtney Love, I decided to go all out with the celebrity stuff. The Britney Exposed site is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while. Link Discuss
A very funny site, called Science Made Stupid.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!)
Isaac Newton also used direct observation to formulate his laws. Newton was in government service for many years. His first law states:
* A body at rest tends to remain at rest, while a body in motion at a constant velocity in a straight line tends to continue in that motion.
Clearly, this law is based on first-hand observation of a bureaucracy in action.
One night, Newton became engaged in a heated argument at a local bar over a question of epicycles, leading him to punch his opponent in the nose. After being thoroughly worked over, Newton contemplated the results and announced his next law:
* Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
In a well-known story, Newton discovered gravity when he was hit on the head while sitting under an apple tree. This tale is, of course, fictitious. It was actually a fig tree, and the result was his best-known theory:
* I bet you could make a swell cookie out of these figs.
Check out this nifty animated logo on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!)
Amazing article by Howard Rheingold on "smart mobs."
The big battle coming over the future of smart mobs concerns media cartels and government agencies are seeking to reimpose the regime of the broadcast era in which the customers of technology will be deprived of the power to create and left only with the power to consume. That power struggle is what the battles over file-sharing, copy protection, regulation of the radio spectrum are about. Are the populations of tomorrow going to be users, like the PC owners and website creators who turned technology to widespread innovation? Or will they be consumers, constrained from innovation and locked into the technology and business models of the most powerful entrenched interests?
Aaron sez: "Not even a year after September 11th big companies are already trying to exploit the nation's biggest tragedy since Pearl Harbor.
"View this commercial, and see just how damn dirty capitalism can make some people.
"Or just read this excerpt from the narration that's delivered between shots of a happy family at home and a mystery man with a suitcase bomb:
Next time, it may not happen from jetliners smashing into concrete and steel, but when it comes--whether from a dirty bomb, nuclear accident, or even an earthquake that produces radiation--you won't have time to rush out and buy this remarkable early-warning system that could save you and your family's lives.
"What a crock. This reminds me of the build-your-own family fall-out shelters of the 60's."
Hard to believe this is really Courtney Love. What do you think? Link Discuss
Long excerpt from a Comics Journal
interview with the brilliant cartoonist, Jim Woodring.
...it takes more drawing to tell a story in pantomime. You can't ... it's harder to find shortcuts. You can't have any signs that say, "Meanwhile ..." and you can't have someone say, "Let's go to the store," and then in the next panel they're at the store. You have to show them going to the goddamn store. It takes a lot more work. Those Frank stories, like I said, are not a lot of fun to draw because I plot them so carefully, you know? I've heard that Alfred Hitchcock said that by the time he was ready to shoot a film, he didn't even want to do it any more because he'd already had all of the fun of working it out. It's the same thing with these Frank comics.Link Discuss
Audio transcript of The Comics Journal's
infamous interview with Todd McFaelane, conducted by Gary Groth. Link Discuss
Mondo 2000 founding editor is interviewed in Shift
S: Have you ever read Patrick Farley’s e-sheep comic? He did this one, this autobiographical comic, where there’s this guy, a parody of you... What he tells the main character, the autobiographical character, is that you made up all the stuff for your magazine.
RU: Actually, I say that all the time in public interviews, "We made it all up." Which in a sense is true -- some of it we made up and some of it we didn’t. Mondo 2000 clearly wasn’t journalism in the conventional sense. It was mostly composed of interviews, very subjective, really dedicated to people speaking in their own voice. It was very playful and very surrealistic. I never really wanted to do journalism -- I do now because I have to to make a living. And we do it at Thresher, I guess because it’s become a habit now. To say we made it all up is kind of flippant, but we weren’t concerned with responsibility or credibility. We were more concerned with creating a sense of excitement and energy and a sense of belonging to the next wave of culture. And we were concerned with making people laugh.
Raaven sez: "Inspired by the recent wi-fi warchalking symbols that are showing up, I set off on a post-migraine quest to find the meanings of original hobo signs. I found this incredible encyclopedia of symbols. So far the neatest feature is the graphic index, where you narrow your search by choosing basic descriptives of the symbol you have in mind. Up pops a list of the symbols that fit the descriptions, along with links to one or more entries of definition for each symbol." Link Discuss
An HIV-Positive Muppet will beging appearing regularly on the South African version of Sesame Street. Seems like a good idea. Why not in the US? Link Discuss (Thanks, Steve Portigal!)
According to the Sydney Morning Herald
, the Bush Administration plans on recruiting "millions of United States citizens as domestic informants in a program likely to alarm civil liberties groups." Link Discuss (Thanks, Chris Boyce)