Magazine subscription cards are a pack of lies

In a highly amusing post, Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson annotates a magazine subscription notice under the title, "When is my industry going to stop lying?" Chris points out the innumerable lies that make up the average sub card.
As you have no doubt guessed:

* there is no such thing as a "special courtesy rate" * "guaranteed savings" is a meaningless phrase (and indeed you can often find magazine subscriptions cheaper through an agent--check eBay--or a credit card loyalty program) * it makes no difference if you reply by the "reply by" date * "statement of benefits itemization" are just empty words meant to invoke an invoice * all those "free" or "included" things are just the regular content that's in the mag for everyone.

Link Read the rest

Deutsche Grammophon launches giant, DRM-free classical music store

Tony sez, "This week, Deutsche Grammophon, the classical music recording giant that's owned by Universal Music Group, launched its own DRM-free online music store. Peter, of the most excellent, interviewed Jonathan Gruber, VP New Media, Classics & Jazz, Universal Music Group International about the launch."
# The store is truly international: No, really international. Not the US and Canada international. The store will sell to 42 countries, and will extend to Southeast Asia including China, India, Latin America, South Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe including Russia. Two words: 'bout time.

# There's real variety: In a genre badly abandoned by an entire industry recently -- long before Napster, in fact -- DG has put up a serious catalog. And in a big change, instead of publishing a subset of their current catalog, they've actually re-released "out-of-print" albums. Lest you think I'm shilling for UMG, they've released a couple of my personal faves I only had access to on vinyl, and made contemporary music far more accessible.

The terms and conditions are kind of a mess here. On the one hand, the terms say (i) that this is a purchase, not a mere license, so the file becomes your property and (iii) that you're basically only expected to obey copyright law, not a bunch of made-up rules that Universal has imposed on you as a condition of selling you the music.

But on the other hand, you "agree" (iii, iv) that this is only for personal use without any right to redistribute (sell, loan, give away) the files, which are all rights that you get under copyright. Read the rest

Creative Commons turns five -- global birthday parties planned in many cities

The Creative Commons licenses turn five years old in December and they're having parties all over the world to celebrate! The main one, in San Francisco, is on Dec 15 from 10PM to 2AM, at the Terra Gallery at 511 Harrison Street.

My first novel was the first book released under a CC license, which means that my novel-writing career is turning five in January. Time sure flies! Link Read the rest

The sound of one cat purring:

Purrcast is a soothing little podcast that consists solely of the sound of cats purring. The website includes biographical information on each feline purr-former. Link.

Image ganked from Lazy Lightning's Flickr stream. (Thanks, beezers) Read the rest

Web Zen: photo zen

- todd hido - sara hobbs - mused - artcoup - city shrinker - cowscapes - a plat venture - postcard polaroid - flickrvision - deleted images previously on web zen: - photo zen 2006 pt. 2 - photo zen 2006 pt. 1

Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!) Read the rest

Real poop behind 2G1C, US obscenity law, and 'net security.

The Smoking Gun reveals the identify of the director of "2 Girls, 1 Cup," the internet's latest shock-meme. 2G1C's director is a Brazilian named Marco Fiorito. The 36-year-old from Sao Paulo describes himself as a "compulsive fetishist" and "an artist in the art of movie making." He started a porn production company with his wife in the mid-'90s, focusing at first on foot fetish films:

While Fiorito contends that his revolting films are not illegal in Brazil, some of his works have been branded obscene by U.S. prosecutors and led last year to the indictment of Danilo Croce, a Brazilian lawyer who lived in Florida and was listed on corporate documents as an officer of a company distributing Fiorito's films.

In his legal declaration, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fiorito contended that Croce, 43, had no role in his movie business, other than helping to process credit card transactions through a travel company the attorney owned. In June, Croce, who cooperated with investigators, copped a plea and was later sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation (since he was returning to Brazil) and ordered to forfeit $98,000.

In his declaration, Fiorito explained that had he known that selling his films in the U.S. was illegal, "I would have stopped because the money is not the main reason that I make these films." He then added, "I have already made fetish movies with scat/feces using chocolate instead of feces. Many actors make scat films but they don't agree to eat feces."

Link to court filings at The Smoking Gun (8 pages). Read the rest

Indian science fiction -- past and present

India's Tehelka has an excellent article on the history and state of Indian science fiction:
It all began in 19th century Bengal. The first example of modern Indian SF was probably a Bengali story, Shukra Bhraman or ‘Travels to Venus’, by Jagananda Roy in 1879. Or, depending on your perspective, much before that. “Science Fiction has been a part of Indian literature since the Puranas and the Mahabharata,” says MH Srinarahari, General Secretary of the Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies (IASFS). “There was the palace of wax made by the Kauravas and Ram faced Mrigmarichika, which was nothing but an illusion.”...

INDIAN SF also often comes with a moral message. “It should have a social purpose,” says Srinarahari. “If a writer is speaking of an imaginary world or change in his environ, how can he cope with it? Reading about it will educate a person.” Deshpande agrees. “There has to be a mission,” he says. In his story, the protagonist dreams that a bacteria is speaking to him, saying that increasingly powerful antibiotics are not the way to get rid of pathogenic bacteria. Peaceful coexistence between humans and the bacteria is the need of the hour. The subtext here, says Deshpande, is about nuclear weapons and terrorists.

Link (Thanks, Partha!) Read the rest

Uranium ore for sale on Amazon

Amazon sells uranium ore, "in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations." $23 a throw.


(via Making Light) Read the rest

Paintings of crime scene photos by Ashley Hope

Ashley Hope paints from crime scene photos. The images in this gallery depict murders of women. Snip from artist's statement:

There are certain moments in life when one experiences space and time to an excruciating degree. There are seconds -- fleeting, momentous seconds -- when the world seems relentlessly clear, and the very nature of existence graspable. When the moment passes, you think to yourself, "My God, I just saw it. It. The truth. What was it?" Although you are unable to define, the sensation of knowing stays with you. Most likely, the Real cannot be set in words, it is beyond words. Human tragedy is almost always accompanied by that glimpse of the Real.
Link to her website. Image: Laundry, 4' x 5', oil on panel, 2007. A debut solo exhibition is currently on display at New York's Tilton Gallery. (Thanks, Susannah Breslin, via rileydog) Read the rest

Rolling Stone -- every issue from 1967 to 2007 on DVD

I'm fanatical about Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40 Years. It's got every issue on three DVDs and works with Windows and Mac.

Once you install the reader application, searches are fast. They're even faster if you copy the DVDs to your internal hard drive. (You're not allowed to copy them to an external hard drive, which is a bummer, because I have a 100 GB external hard drive that is just waiting to be filled with something like this.) The first disc contains the print run from 1967 to 1983, which is pretty much all I care about, so I copied that one over to my internal drive.

It's fun to search on terms to see when they first appeared in Rolling Stone. "Punk Rock" made its debut in 1973 (though it was about garage punk, not the punk rock that began in 1975). An October 1977 article by Charley Walters called "Punk: Pretty Vacant Music" is the first to mention The Clash. (Walters has good things to say about The Clash, but dismisses punk rock music in general as "overly simplistic and rudimentary. It's also not very good.")

Hunter S. Thompson's first article for Rolling Stone (October 1970) is an exuberant, drug-fueled 12,000 word account of his nearly-successful run for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado.

The magazine got its first taste of MDMA on Decemeber 19, 1985 in Gary Wolf's article "Don't Get Wasted, Get Smart!" in 1991 P.J. O'Rourke's "Tune In. Turn On. Go to the Office Late on Monday." (Thanks, Jack!)

Boing Boing didn't show up until February 22, 2007 ("a must click resource for budding futurists since it broke news of the Segway personal transport in 2001"). Read the rest

John Gaeta on VRMAG

John Gaeta, the Oscar-winning special effects guru behind The Matrix trilogy and the forthcoming Speed Racer film, just told me about one of his favorite online hangouts: VRMAG. It's an online magazine about virtual reality in all its forms including, as John describes it, "interactive photography and explorable documentary art." Prematurely hyped during the cyberdelic 90s hysteria, virtual reality has actually progressed in amazing ways as an art form. VRMAG isn't just a technical publication for folks in the biz like Gaeta, but it's also an online gallery for some stunning VR experiences. The new issue features a look inside the closed zone of Chernobyl, Red Square, Mayan ruins, a pill's eye-view from a medicine bottle, the scene inside a washing machine, and many more articles and experiences. (Image above from Aldo Hoeben's "To Be In A Bubble Party At Sziget 2007.") Here's what John Gaeta says about VR MAG:
I have been inspired especially in the last couple years by the effort the magazine is making and have referenced many articles while making Speed Racer...which will be a nearly 100% GREEN SCREEN movie (like 300 and Sin City on crack) with many virtual sets created with HD QTVR locations...something that many VRMAG contributors are converging toward. I also think there is a new entertainment medium under way which will be manifested through some of the experiments reported by them.
Link (Thanks John Battelle for the intro!) Read the rest

Roger Price record in MP3 format - Roger and Over

WFMU has mp3 files of the late humorist Roger Price's album, Roger and Over. Price was the author of several humor books as well as the classic critique on dumb culture -The Great Roob Revolution.

I was fortunate to become friends with Roger Price in his later years, and fondly remember his encouragement when Carla and I were publishing the print version of bOING bOING.

Roger Price is my favorite forgotten comic, though this album may only give you the slightest idea why. Mr. Price is the self-same Price who co-created Mad Libs with Leonard Stern, and is therefore the Price in Price/Stern/Sloan (or pss!) – but that's not why, either. He also wrote for Bob Hope, Harvey Kurtzman's Mad and Steve Allen's Tonight Show, but that's also not why.

In the early 1950s, Roger Price invented the Droodle. That's why.

More specifically, Roger Price is aces with me because of the two collections of Droodles published by pss! – a little red book called "Droodles" and a little green book called "Oodles of Droodles" (formerly "Droodles #2"). I've had them since I was very young, and they were a major force in shaping my sense of humor. It's not the Droodles themselves so much, though they were certainly amusing and clever, as the commentary beneath them, which would often be ambling monologues only tangentially related to the picture above. Check out the "Crookshank" essay on the back of the "Roger and Over" record jacket for a sample of what I'm talking about.

Read the rest

eBoy giftwrap

eBoy, the art collective that designed the Boing Boing logo, has created several styles of beautiful giftwrap, which you can purchase from the eBoy site. Link Read the rest

Life of universe shortened by observing dark energy?

Article in the Telegraph reports on scientists' thoughts on the idea that the life of the universe might come to an end sooner because people are studying it.
New Scientist reports a worrying new variant as the cosmologists claim that astronomers may have provided evidence that the universe may ultimately decay by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have determined that the cosmos is in a state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may provide evidence that the universe will ultimately decay," says Prof Krauss.

Link (Via TDG) Read the rest

Turkey may charge Dawkins' publisher for "insulting believers"

The Independent reports that prosecutors in Turkey may charge the Turkish publisher of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion with the crime of "insulting believers." He could get up to a year in prison.
Richard Dawkins' best-selling atheist manifesto The God Delusion was at the centre of a growing row over religious tolerance yesterday after the Turkish publishers of his book were threatened with legal action by prosecutors who accuse it of 'insulting believers'.

Erol Karaaslan, the founder of the small publishing house Kuzey Publications, could face between six months and a year in jail for "inciting hatred and enmity" if Istanbul prosecutors decide to press charges over the book, which has sold 6000 copies in Turkey since it was published this summer.

Link (Via TDG) Read the rest

Brain visualized as an island map

The designers at New Zealand's Unit Seven created this New Brainland Map that visualizes and, er, maps out various neural regions. They used a reference photo of a human brain to model the 3D terrain. Computer wallpapers of the image are free and large color prints on silk paper are available for US$15-US$70 depending on the size. From the project page:
This digital elevation model was then used to create contour line data, relief shading and to plan where the roads and features should be placed for map compilation. Real New Zealand public domain data was then added for the surrounding islands.
Link (Thanks, Mike Love!) Read the rest

Fun flash game - Chat Noir

The object of this simple game is to click on the light colored dots to create a barrier that prevents the kitty from getting away. Each time you click on a dot, the kitty gets to move from one dot to another.

Link (Via Neatorama) Read the rest

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