Live from New York, it's -- three comic talents who first made a name for themselves on the internet.Link (Thanks, Macki!)
Andy Samberg will become a performing member of Saturday Night Live's 31st season cast debuting Oct. 1, while Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer have joined the show as writers.
But all three got their first big break online, thanks in part to the viral popularity of video shorts they released on the net.
In a move that may have helped fuel rapid grass-roots distribution, the comics released their work under Creative Commons licenses, which essentially let anyone copy a given work for free provided that person doesn't try to profit from it.
From the text:
The exhibition's deeper subject is the dreamer in all of us. The art in these ham-fisted photographs of transparent tomfoolery, such as it is, is generally not formal but mystical. I don't mean that the images of spirits and ectoplasms and mediums lofting card tables into the air are believable (although they are, I suppose, if you wish them to be). I mean that they inevitably sail past their intended goal, which is to document the unbelievable, and end up in a realm of higher truth. They remind us that art is a wonderment defying logic.Link
How else to describe, except in terms of wonderment, the deliciousness of the implausible image of the French medium Marguerite Beuttinger accompanied by her twin spirit, a trick of double exposure that evidently fooled somebody at one point. A blurry Marguerite is standing beside a seated Marguerite whose body is so slight that it makes her look like her own dwarf twin. The effect is marvelous, as is the multiple exposure of the ghost of Bernadette Soubirous, in white robes, gliding under a trellis, gradually evaporating into a brick wall.
By 1983, O'Reilly had learned enough about computers to start his own business. He set up shop in a converted barn in Newton, Massachusetts-, with about a dozen people, all working in a chaotic open room. "The company then was a loose confederation of people who knew Tim," says Dale Dougherty, who fell into the circle in 1984 and is now O'Reilly's most trusted associate and a 15 percent partner in the business.Link
What happened in that room was a small revolution in technical writing. The O'Reilly approach was to figure out what a system did and plainly describe how you could work around problems you encountered. "The house style was colloquial - simple and straightforward," Dougherty says. "And the other thing was to tell the whole story, not just what's easy to say."
In 1988, O'Reilly and Associates was producing- a two-volume guide to the programming libraries of the X-Windows system; in the process of showing it to vendors for licensing, people kept asking if they could buy single copies. MIT was about to host a conference on the system, and O'Reilly figured he'd give it a shot. "We went to a local copy shop that night and produced around 300 manuals," he recalls. "Without any authorization, we set up a table in the lobby, with a sign saying copies of an Xlib manual would be available at 4:30. By 4 pm, there was this line of 150 people. They were literally throwing money at us, or sailing their credit cards over other people's heads. That was when we went, 'Publishing could be a really big business.'"
Link to RealVideo clip, Link to program page (via Mason Inman's Moonshine Lard Man)
See the occult architecture of Chicago as only Kenneth Hite can show it to you--then use this knowledge to survive (or, at least, be the last one to lose their mind) in an original roleplaying adventure of eldritch horror!Link (Thanks, Tavis!)
The Windy City is the birthplace of urban horror. Riding on the L with a faceless mass of drones being herded back to their soul-crushing jobs, Fritz Leiber looked out across the sooty rooftops and envisioned the kinds of ghosts that the metropolis demanded. In his classic novel Our Lady of Darkness, Leiber invented the arcane science of megapolisomancy, the magic of cities. Or so the story goes.
Is it possible that Leiber didn't create a fictional concept, but instead revealed a hidden truth? Were the street plans for the great American cities laid out like circuit boards to channel psychic energies, with steel-girdled skyscrapers designed as capacitors to store up these forces until they were needed for some cosmic ritual? (The Ghostbusters script could well be calculated misinformation, or a nod to fellow initiates).
If anyone knows what's really going on, it is Kenneth Hite. Guided by his uncanny mastery of Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, you'll spend a Saturday afternoon inspecting the architectural evidence. Then head downtown to the Hotel Intercontinental--which was constructed as an athletic club for the Medinah Shriners, but may serve another purpose for their secret masters. Here, you'll experience an unparalleled evening of roleplaying led by Kenneth, and learn first-hand why he wrote the definitive chapter on "The Joy of Research" for Gamemastering Secrets. It'll be a day trip you'll never forget, which could be problematic if you still have to go into the city after dark.
Game industry veterans Greg Costikyan and Johnny Wilson announced today that they are joining forces to launch Manifesto Games, a new venture to build a strong and viable independent game industry. Its site will offer independently-developed games for sale via direct download--a single place where fans of offbeat and niche games can find "the best of the rest," the games that the retail channel doesn't think worth carrying. Three types of games will be offered: truly independent, original content from creators without publisher funding; the best PC games from smaller PC game publishers, including games in existing genres like wargames, flight sims, and graphic adventures; and niche MMOs.Link
While games were once the domain of hobbyists, today, the game industry considers any title that sells fewer than 1 million copies to be a failure; "The typical game store only has 200 facings," notes Costikyan, Manifesto’s CEO., "They can only carry best-sellers. On the Internet, there is no shelf space and you are limited only by how well you can market yourself, your site. This is where niche product can rule." Manifesto believes that an independent game market is analogous to film or music, where less commercial offerings aimed at identifiable markets and produced at lower budgets than the "blockbusters" can achieve profitability and critical success.
"The game industry has become moribund,” notes Costikyan. "Because of ballooning budgets and the narrowness of the retail channel, it is now essentially impossible for anything other than a franchise title or licensed product to obtain distribution. Yet historically, the major hits, the titles that have expanded the industry to new markets and created new audiences have been highly innovative. It is time for us to find a way to foster innovation, because it's not going to happen if we leave it to the large publishers."
"Many companies are entering the direct download space," Costikyan continues, "but in most cases, they're either focusing on casual downloadable games, or on offering the back catalog of major publishers. It’s amazing that casual game publishers can succeed selling games to people who, historically, haven't bought them, but we’d rather try to sell games to people who already buy them. By offering greater exposure to independent games, we'll be introducing gamers to a universe of games they haven't already seen--and that, we think, is the winning strategy."
"Honeybees that defend their colonies by killing wasps with body heat come within 5°C of cooking themselves in the process, according to a study in China. At least two species of honeybees there, the native Apis cerana and the introduced European honeybee, Apis mellifera, engulf a wasp in a living ball of defenders and heat the predator to death."
Bottom line? Lawers, unclench: this should be considered fair use.
Google will make its money by selling ads next to book search result pages, just as it does when you search for images or Web pages – but the company says it won't show ads on pages that display books from libraries.Link
(...)[T]his isn't the same as the recording industry's war on file-sharing or the Motion Picture Assn. of America's battles against DVD bootleggers. Google isn't pirating books. They're giving away previews. And in order to provide those keyword-searchable peeks, Google may have to scan entire books. For example, let's say you're a pug aficionado. A search on print.google.com for "tiara" + "pug" can't point you to the instructive masterpiece "Putting Party Hats on Dogs" unless the scan process got all the way to page 237, where the chapter "Princess Tea Parties for Toy Breeds" begins. OK, there is no such book, but work with me here.
Perhaps the Authors Guild members would prefer that search companies pay them for the right to build book search services. If Google has its way, their logic goes, we'll lose control over who can copy our work, and we'll lose sales. But Internet history proves the opposite is true. Any product that is more easily found online can be more easily sold. Amazon.com's "look inside" feature works similarly. And, surprise, the Authors Guild has squabbled with it too.
If the paranoid myopia that drives such thinking penetrates too deeply into the law, search engines will eventually shut down. What's the difference, after all, between a copyrighted Web page and a copyrighted book? What if Internet entrepreneurs could sue Google for indexing their websites? What if the law required search engines to get clearance for every Web page? Even a company as large and well-funded as Google couldn't pull that off because what's on the Internet, and who owns that content, changes constantly.
As important as they are for people around the globe who want to know what is happening in Iraq, the stringers cut only a shadowy profile outside the newsrooms where they send their reports - by choice, because their lives are continually under threat. Who the stringers are, how and why they do their work comes into much sharper focus for the Western journalists who work with them. And, sooner or later, the Western journalist gains a vivid appreciation of the risks the Iraqis run in helping to collect the news. But even with us, there are limits; we aren't seen much together outside of work; we do not share their family celebrations.Link
One week ago, a different stringer from the one who had been merely warned met with a much more tragic fate. Men claiming to be police officers showed up at the home of Fakher Haider, a stringer in the southern city of Basra who worked primarily with The New York Times, and took him away in front of his family. Mr. Haider was found dead hours later.
Exactly why Mr. Haider was murdered, and whether it was related to his work for this newspaper, have not been determined. But he had just filed a report on clashes between British forces in the area and members of a militia that has infiltrated the Basra police force but is loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Mr. Haider's killers arrived at his home in at least one police car.
The advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders reported on its Web site last week that when Mr. Haider's death is included, 72 journalists and "media assistants" - stringers - have been killed in Iraq since the American-led invasion. The great majority were Iraqi, but not all: Steven Vincent, an American freelance reporter, was shot and killed in Basra in August after being taken away, also by men in a police car.
Snip from New York Times story:
[C]ome Saturday it will look as if a tornado had picked up a Prada store and dropped it on a desolate strip of U.S. 90 in West Texas. That is where Prada Marfa, a permanent sculpture by the Berlin artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset will be installed. (Actually it will go up in Valentine, Tex., about 26 miles outside Marfa, a town of 2,400 that has become a magnet for artists and art lovers.) The sculpture is meant to look like a Prada store, with minimalist white stucco walls and a window display housing real Prada shoes and handbags from the fall collection. But there is no working door.Link
Responding to a Boing Boing post from earlier today, Steve Simitzis of Suicide Girls says:
Well, since you posted about the criminal case (which isn't over yet), the case is United States vs Chad Grant, not Suicide Girls vs Chad Grant. It's a criminal case - your post would imply that it's a civil dispute between us and him, which it's not. We reported the intrusion to the FBI, and from there, the government decides whether or not to prosecute. I already gave my testimony (yesterday) so I feel okay talking about it.Previously:
But anyway, the reason why the two situations (the criminal case and the upcoming government crackdown) are connected:
During the investigation, the FBI asked us to provide them a list of every single photo set that contains bondage, blood play, urination, etc. In short, anything a jury might find "obscene". The idea was that the defense would try to discredit SG by displaying in graphic detail how we're disgusting and therefore evil. And the prosecution wanted to be ready for this attack, by knowing everything we had in advance, so they could either try to downplay it or make some other point about it. Either way they wanted to be prepared. But of course that's irrelevant to the case, since the defendant (a) also worked for an "adult entertainment" company, and (b) we're not on trial anyway - he is, for computer intrusion.
So, as requested, we started assembling the list of photos containing said naughty content, when news of the upcoming crackdown started to surface. And it immediately became crystal clear: if we were handing over a list of every photo on our site that contains the content they're about to start prosecuting, and if someone in the Attorney General's office would have that on file, it would be a quick and easy few steps from there to going after us, a fairly well-known site. We felt that we were too close to the fire at that point, and took the content down.
So - were we contacted by the FBI specifically because of the "war on porn"? No. Were we contacted by the FBI and asked for a list of all our "obscene" content? Yes. So when people were asking "were you contacted by the FBI?" we really couldn't give a straight yes or no answer without talking about something we couldn't talk about.
So you took down content to help you win a case against a competitor (even if by proxy), effectively admitted on the public record that you feel this content is legally obscene and you're ashamed or afraid to show it in court, played a highly misleading PR game, and didn't come clean about it until the PR started to go bad?
As I said before, as someone who really has had a real threat of prosecution and had to uproot my whole life and company to avoid being shut down due to being unwilling to compromise the ethics of my site, I really think it's unfortunate that you guys did not have the strength of character to do the same, and I think it's even worse that you'd manipulate the courts by playing along with the FBI like this. It's not going to be helpful.
I'm sorry to be so blunt about this but I really feel you guys need to take a stronger stand, especially because if they ever actually did come after you on this point you're such an easily defendable target.
PLEASE restore the content, along with a pledge to fight to protect it.
I bought a fresh can of self-defense spray at my friendly neighborhood weapons depot last week. "Sabre" is a potent mix of military-grade tear gas and pepper spray. It's at least a few times stronger than Chanel Number 5. and at $9 each, it's about twelve times cheaper. One detail on the packaging was really funny, though. On the back side of the box (partial scan shown above), a series of line drawings depicting potentially threatening foes you might need to use it on, or situations you might use it in. One of them is a blonde teen "student" smoking a cigarette, seated beneath a school sports pennant, and it's not entirely clear whether he's a victim or an aggressor. Link to full size.
"I don't know how the man got it up in there," said Sgt. Robert Pearson. "It was a six point buck."Link
It wasn't known where Holliman got the deer, which had been dead for some time, Pearson said.
Apparently, Holliman was nabbed and released earlier in the weekend for other unusual behavior. From EMS Network:
Lieutenant Scott Nanney says officers saw the man with a wheelchair near the hospital.Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)
"Actually he was in the wheelchair riding it in the middle of the road and intoxicated. So, that's when officers decided to take him into jail for four hours."
Police say the man wasn't charged with anything in the wheelchair incident.
He was only taken to jail for his safety, until he was sober enough to leave.
Link to Taylor Hokanson's site, Link to Mess Hall
"Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other," notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.Link
Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. "In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10," says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers' bottom lines.
Fragrance is different. It's invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste.