Professor Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University Law SchoolLink
12-2pm Monday 4 October 2004
Edward Lewis Theatre, Windeyer Building, UCL, Cleveland Street, London W1
Molecules of a simple sugar, glycolaldehyde, were detected in a cloud of gas and dust called Sagittarius B2 about 26,000 light years away.Link (via Futurismic)
Observations indicated large quantities of the sugar frozen to a temperature only a few degrees above absolute zero, the point at which all molecular movement stops.
We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work - after all, we would've never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.Link (via Blackbeltjones)
We told you these things so that you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built. We knew all along that DRM schemes do not work, and we knew that whatever we create can be broken by us. We don't care anymore, because your money made us bigger than you.
Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don't treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want.
We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it: told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in the head in twenty years. Some of us told you that the future is going to be interactive - what did you do? You started to think how to make interactive movies (CD-I, anyone?), which is not what it really means, while we wrote games and tried to understand the new mediums, not how to bolt it on onto old things.
We lied to you. And we apologize for that, but it was for the greater good. So we're not the least bit sorry.
Signed: The Computer Industry
Fun Furde says, "The Gravity is equal parts cute and creepy. Cute because it's sort of like a pet that's happy to see you when you come home. Creepy because it's a lamp that moves by itself! No idea if they're actually going to make this or how much it will cost if they do. Or how they keep the lightbulb from smashing when it hits the ground."
A plane bound for Washington from London was diverted to Maine on Tuesday after passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens - showed up on a U.S. watch list, federal officials said. One official said Islam, 56, was identified by the Advanced Passenger Information System, which requires airlines to send passenger information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center. TSA was then contacted and requested that the plane land at the nearest airport, the official said.Link to AP news story. John Battelle comes up with an infinitely better hed for this post than I: Link
In their experiments, the researchers presented the subjects with either blue or yellow squares. One color was associated with a mild electric shock. Using this method, the subjects acquired a fear of the colored square associated with the shock.Link (via Futurismic)
Phelps's team then extinguished the fear response by presenting the colored square associated with the shock, first with a gradually reduced shock and then with no shock at all.
There's another article about Virgil Partch (aka "VIP"), a delightfully wacky cartoonist from the 40s and 50s. If you look closely at the hands on VIP's characters, you'll notice that they have more than five fingers. Sometimes they have as many as 12 fingers on a hand! He did this because he used to work at Disney, where he was forced to draw four-fingered characters. The extras fingers were his way of evening the score.
The price of Comic Art is $9, which is a good deal, because it's glossy color throughout. Link
UPDATE: Aaron sez: In response to Mark's post on Comic Art #6 where he mentioned never seeing a photo of Seth, I figured I'd point him over to the NYTimes article from July 11th. Along with a great interview of Seth, Joe Sacco, Chester Brown, Adrian Tomine, and Art Spiegelman, there's a nice photo of them all together. Seth is in the top right of the photo. Link
One problem, for instance, is that when a paper like Publishers Weekly does a spread on the graphic novel, they need to justify it with some advertising. And who can afford that kind of ad? DC of course, so the image of the latest Batman paperback will dominate the page, and any blather we spout about the serious intent of the graphic novel will be somewhat wasted.Link
Monster Island is a 60 chapter serial novel published to mobile phones under Creative Commons license by David Wellington (an indie author) about a Zombie Apocalypse in New York City. Monster Nation, the second novel in the trilogy, will be available in September 2004.Mobile Link (Also available at winksite.com under "Featured Sites.")
UPDATE: Jef sez: [Here's] the full webpage for David Wellington's "Monster Island". The mobile phone serial concept is dandy, but the winksite pages contain very little content per click, which is necessary for mobiles, but frustrating if you want to read it online or cut/paste to upload to a PDA.
UPDATE: David Harper of Winksite sez: "Great point about reading Monster Island from the desktop. Let me explain a bit on what is going on. When you point your browser to Monster Island (http://winksite.com/monster/island) you are presented with a version appropriate for your mobile phone or PDA. The version that pops up when you enter that address from a PC is intended to emulate/demo the mobile experience. We certainly would not expect or suggest anyone to read the novel from their desktop in that manner.
The mobile version of Monster Nation, the prequel to Island just launched today at http://winksite.com/monster/nation and can be reached from your desktop at http://www.brokentype.com/nation/. Chapters are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Over the next couple of weeks feeds of each of the novels will be made available for syndication. In addition, as each novel in the trilogy is completed, a downloadable PDF version will be made available under Creative Commons license.
"The blogosphere giveth, and the blogosphere taketh away. UPS got wind that I had one of their shirts, and they called and want it back. Here's my description of the first call. And here's my explanation today of why I'm giving it back.
[F]or one moment, I'd like you to perform an exercise in selective attention. Forget every other consideration – even though they're fair and important considerations – and see if you can acknowledge that a world in which everyone has free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world. Imagine your children could listen to any song ever created anywhere. What a blessing that would be!Link (via isen.blog)
...We publish stuff that gets its meaning and its reality by being read, viewed or heard. An unpublished novel is about as meaningful and real as an imaginary novel. It needs its readers to be. But readers aren't passive consumers. We reimagine the book, we complete the vision of the book. Readers appropriate works, make them their own. Listeners and viewers, too. In making a work public, artists enter into partnership with their audience. The work succeeds insofar as the audience makes it their own, takes it up, understands it within their own unpredictable circumstances. It leaves the artist's hands and enters our lives. And that's not a betrayal of the work. That's its success. It succeeds insofar as we hum it, quote it, appropriate it so thoroughly that we no longer remember where the phrase came from. That's artistic success, although it's a branding failure.
The Toronto Globe and Mail has totally re-jigged their web site.Ah well, one more reason to get your news elsewhere. Link (Thanks, Misha!)
1) You need to register to see just about anything
2) Worse: From a quick glance, most of the feature writing, editorials, columns, etc now requires a *paid* subscription. They want $14.95/month for access to this. Even if you already subscribe to the print edition, they want you to pony up an extra $6.95 a month for full access to the web site.
The International Herald Tribune reported on September 20th that "the Pentagon has begun restricting international access to the official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots." Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Ellen Krenke confirmed that a number of Internet service providers worldwide had been blacklisted "to thwart hackers." Such measures are generally recognized to be ineffective against hackers while blocking legitimate users.Link
Apparently, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website is now blocked to civilians overseas trying to find out how to obtain absentee ballots in at least 25 countries--including Japan, France, Great Britain, and Spain--although military personnel overseas have other mechanisms for requesting absentee ballots.
The theme for this year's ETech is "Remix," encompassing those nexus points of iterative hacking and large ideas that have a way of transforming technology:Link
* The phone has become a platform, moving beyond mere voice to smart mobile sensor–and back to phone again, by way of voice-over-IP.
* Geolocation, once the provenance of government and geologist, provides a sense of "there" and facilitates ad hoc group forming with feet in both the virtual and physical worlds.
* Peer-to-peer brought us the concept of the average PC as "the dark matter of the Internet," even more applicable to the mobile devices in our pockets. These devices, networked in a mesh, are starting to behave more like colony creatures than stand-alone devices.
* The grand unimaginative vision of web services as B2B EDI replacement has given way to recombinant data services and syndicated e-commerce for the rest of us.
* Geeks with screwdrivers are risking "letting the magic out" of their computers, game consoles, and other assorted gadgets, discovering instead that there's even more magic to be had when you've taken the screws out.
* I'm the evening's guest at the British Science Fiction Association meeting in London, this Wednesday, 5:30 - (The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews West, London, SW1X 8HT, 020 7235 3019)
* I'm a speaker at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology WWW@10 conference in Terre Haute Indiana, Sept 30 - Oct 2
From the "Explaining Barbeque to the World" desk at the State Deparment Bureau of International Information Programs: BBQ is a "method of cooking meat very slowly over coals was adopted by the early European settlers in North America and called barbecue. When it is done, the tender meat is chopped or shredded, topped with sauce that varies from region to region, and often made into a sandwich with a soft roll and some cole slaw. As with so many cooking methods, there is great debate among purists over what constitutes real barbecue, but none over its stature as a delicious and uniquely American dish."Link (via Waxy)
A considerable number of folks invited to use the phone said they didn't know the phone numbers of any of their friends. Today, many people keep all numbers in their cell phone's address book, and never dial the numbers directly. Many of them called their own voice mails since they knew at least that number, and often exclaimed in amazement at just that. (Alas, many of the voice mails they left themselves will have been somewhat garbled due to the internet traffic issues.)Link (Thanks, Brad!)
"When observing real surfaces in the natural environment the visual information that specifies near and far points varies when we change viewing direction," he said.Link (Thanks, Ernie!)
"When we observe a picture on the wall, on the other hand, the visual information that defines near and far points is unaffected by viewing direction. Still, we interpret this perceptually as if it were a real object. That is why the eyes appear to follow you as you change your viewing direction."
Todd said people may be surprised by this phenomenon because of the unique perceptual aspects of viewing a picture. We perceive the object depicted in a painting as a surface in 3-dimensional space, but we also perceive that the painting itself is a 2-dimensional surface that is hanging on the wall.
"Unfortunately, to read the article you need to register." Reg Req'd Link, use "firstname.lastname@example.org/feeshfeesh" (Thanks, Becky!)
This is a segment of a larger piece, the working title of which has been "Ambient Misinformation about Publishing and Writing, and the Cultivation of the Reader Mind: A Rant I Didn't Get to Deliver at Noreascon." It has occurred to me that I could write about this one for a very long time without exhausting the subject.Link
Certain words and phrases are like little genetic markers for scammers. Here's a non-exhaustive list, non-exhaustively explained:
1. "Giving new writers a chance." Also: "Helping new writers."
While agents and publishers frequently do just this thing, they don't talk about it in those terms. For them, it's always a specific new book, a specific new author. Making judgements about which book and which writer they're going to work with is the heart of their job. When you hear someone talking in an indiscriminately general fashion about giving a chance to new writers, there's something wrong.
Same goes for "helping new writers." There might be legitimate projects aimed at helping new writers as a class, but the business they're in isn't agenting or publishing.
"Inside the engine, the acoustic pressure is high enough to pop your eardrums," (Northrop Grumman researcher Mike) Petach told New Scientist. "It's louder than a thunderclap." He adds that the sound does not escape the engine, so the device could be used to produce electricity for submarines, which must glide undetected beneath the ocean's surface.Link