Boing Boing 

Article about United States Narcotic Farm rehab center


Scientific American has a slide show of old photos from the United States Narcotic Farm, a converted federal prison in Kentucky that housed thousands of drug addicts from 1935 to 1975, including Sonny Rollins, Peter Lorre and William S. Burroughs. I like this photo of syringes taken from volunteers admitted into the treatment facility.

UPDATE: Here are more photos, along with information about the book and documentary by JP Olsen, Nancy Campbell and Luke Walden.

Reaping a Sad Harvest: A "Narcotic Farm" That Tried to Grow Recovery (Via Mind Hacks)

Tattoo-inspired haircutting scissors

Elvisfemaleskull Elvisflames
Freebird Shears is launching a new line of hair dresser scissors influenced by tattoo art. The company's Dieter Scholtyssek tells me that the hammer-forged Japanese steel shears were "inspired by Elvis Crocker, a well known tattoo artist in Arlington, Texas (formerly of NYHC Tattoos)." Freebird Shears

Jasmina Tešanović: Made in Catalunya / Lou and Laurie

Essay By Jasmina Tešanović; Photos by Bruce Sterling.

Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson performed a poetry session in Kosmopolis Barcelona. She was big on the screen from somewhere in US, while he was small and live in front of us, on the black and red stage, with a bunch of loose sheets of paper from which he was reading verses.

It was a weird session from this recently married couple, who have always had a huge audience all over the world. They were not singing but speaking of Catalonia, to the Catalans, using the words of Catalonian poets. Transgressive, brave, underground. angry verses of poor, gay, wronged, talented, wild personas -- translated into English. The verses rang around the packed crowd as an electric wave on the spine.

The sleepy spoiled bourgeoisie of the new mainstream, who came to see a celebrity punk dancing and singing, were shaken to their bones. Some applauded, some left, but the emotive response was visible.

Video: Made in Catalunya with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson (YouTube)

in his press conference Lou Reed said he was fed up with being asked about his darkness, about his bad boy attitudes. The Velvet Underground rockstar was fed up with the press, but the press is not dismissing him or his new book, just published in Spain.

Barcelona is the center of Spanish publishing, it is multicultural and leftist, and yet it is also separatist and nationalist, as proud and touch as right-winged poor illiterate cities . The Catalans claim their own language, their own culture and they want to split away from the rest of the Spain.

Kosmopolis is a Barcelona festival of literature, new media and politics: it invites prominent artists, writers and political activists from all over the world. The city is proud of their culture and of their literary guests. The streets outside the venue are full of tourists, street artists, Catholic beggars, pick pockets , transvestites, émigrés, music bands, cafes, young desperadoes and old jet setters. Lou and Laurie performed their "Made in Catalonia" show as gypsy jet setters -- a crowd who make Catalonia a nationalist region with cosmopolitan principles. The new nationalism smells of cosmopolitan elitism -- splendid separatist islands, eluding a world in decay. If you don't want to be with them, you will have to do without them.

Read the rest

Harold and Maude paintings

Etsy seller almostfamous is selling these delightful original paintings of Harold and Maude. They're acrylic on canvas and $370.
Harold: I like you, Maude. Maude: I like you, Harold.
Harold and Maude paintings (Thanks, Tara McGinley!)

Black Sabbath Sneakers (Fairies Wear Hi-Tops)

Along with those Doors shoes, the 100th anniversary Converse hi-tops line includes this Black Sabbath commemorative edition. And here's why the subject line is so clever. I guess the Gonzo ones never happened. (Thanks, Richard Metzger!)

Wars and social unrest lead to more zombie movies?

Annalee Newitz from the science fiction blog io9 says,

We did a study (with related analytical chart!) of how many zombie movies got released every year since 1910, created a line graph of them, and correlated spikes in zombie movie production with social unrest. It was actually quite eerie, because wars and social upheavals always seem to be followed by a giant leap in numbers of zombie movies in theaters. Coincidence? You be the judge!
War and Social Upheaval Causes Spikes in Zombie Movies (io9)

Researchers build "haunted" room

Researchers from Goldsmiths College in the UK have attempted to build a "haunted" room. When people say homes are haunted, they often describe strange smells, odd dizziness spells, and other unusual physical phenomena. Ghostbusters frequently associate those experiences with anomalous electromagnetic fields (EMF) and infrasound. To test out the reported connection, Chris French and colleagues in the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit built a room outfitted with EMF and infrasound generators. Then they sent test subjects into the "haunted room" and analyzed their reactions. Greg Taylor at The Daily Grail has more on The Haunt Project. From The Daily Grail:
 Images Objects The Haunt-1 Unfortunately, although most participants reported some unusual sensations, there seemed to be no correlation between feelings of being haunted and the presence of EMF/infrasound (or lack of, as the case may be). Despite such a kick-ass experimental setup, it would seem the unusual sensations were probably just a result of suggestion, with participants expecting to feel something after being told pre-experiment. The only significant predictor of unusual experiences in 'the haunt' was the temporal lobe lability of the participant. French and his team see this as simply being most likely due to the the psychological profile of these people (increased suggestibility, belief in paranormal events, seeing stimuli in noise). What would be nice to see considered is whether the causation runs the other way (yes, I am a trouble-maker)...
The "Haunt" Project

Previously on BB:
Researchers build "haunted" room

Headlong: laser-fine YA novel about kids' friendships and escaping destiny from Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja is two of the finest writers I've ever read. Two, because she's had two careers: first as they doyenne of a lurid and literary horror subgenre they called "splatterpunk," a literary movement that she defined with books like The Cipher, which combined intensely poetic language and lavish grotesqueries.

Then there's the other Koja, the young adult writer whose debut YA, Straydog, showed us a very different kind of writer, whittled down to the bone, spare and simple like watching Astaire dance, books of deep alienation and hard redemption that made me remember exactly what it had been like to be a kid on the outside.

Kathe's a friend of mine, and I once lamented to her the loss of that first writer, the lavish and poetic Koja, and she said that she didn't really miss it, didn't plan on bringing those old splatterpunk books back into print (I immediately bought a second set of them used and carefully hoarded them). She then went on to describe the manifold rewards of writing for younger audiences, describing an experience so intense and rewarding that I ended up writing a young adult novel myself: Little Brother.

I've just finished reading Kathe's latest: Headlong, and now, it seems, Kathe Koja is just one writer again, a superb amalgam of the two Kojas I love to read so much.

Headlong is the story of Lily, a privileged girl at an exclusive prep school where she is a multigenerational legacy whose past and future are both utterly circumscribed by the expectations around her.

It is a good life, but it is not good to her. Lily isn't right for the life and the life isn't good for her, and she's trapped by it until Hazel arrives at her school. Hazel is an orphan, raised in New York by her brother who is now a successful photographer. Hazel is planning on flunking out of the school within a year, and her wildness opens something in Lily.

All this is told with many changes in time and point of view, and with the poetry that I remember from the first incarnation of Kathe Koja, but perfectly, perfectly synthesized with the second coming of Koja, spare and severe. These two voices, combined so well, become a laser for slicing open Koja's characters and revealing their souls in a series of explosive little scenes and sentences, each more evocative than the last.

You won't find a truer account of the oppressive weight of expectation and the liberating power of breaking free, rushing headlong into the dark and denying the safe and the known, nor of the intensity of adolescent friendship. Koja is one of the treasures of fiction, and of young adult fiction especially, and if you haven't read her, you really should.


See also:
* Kids' lit renaissance, don't miss Koja!
* Going Under: moving kids' novel

God Hates Signs protest waged against Westboro Baptist Church

200810291726 The ladies and gentleman at Westboro Baptist Church -- who enjoy disrupting memorial services for soldiers killed in battle with their hateful homophobic tantrums -- seem unhappy about this dada-style "God Hates Signs" counter protest campaign. (Photo by Burstein)

God Hates Signs Protest of The Westboro Baptist Church

Marina Bychkova's Enchanted Dolls

Marina Bychkova is an artist whose medium are dolls. Her work is absolutely stunning. Bychkova's lovely figures remind me of a Mark Ryden or Lori Earley painting brought into the 3D realm. Seen here is "Bride of Frankenstein" (2008, 13.5" tall). From the doll description:
Bride2 I like to challenge conventional imagery of known literary characters, and provide an alternative view of how they might have looked. The reason my Bride is blonde, is to contrast the iconic image of the movie's version, and also to play on the idea of the body's low Melanin levels. I imagine that when she was alive she was bright and vibrant with dark eyes and raven hair, but the postmortem trauma to her body and the mechanical process of reanimating her corpse had changed its molecular composition. I think that being blasted with several thousand volts of electricity would contribute to that also. The metal helmet is her life support and what keeps her dead brain artificially alive by pumping oxygen into it and zapping it with small amounts of electricity to maintain its basic functions. It acts like a pump and a defibrillator.
The Enchanted Doll (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

Previously on Boing Boing:
Marina Bychkova "Mermaid Song" doll
Marina Bychkova incredible dolls

Gama-Go's new Big Vinyl Yeti

 Images D Bigyeti Large Back in August, I posted about Gama-Go and Ningyoushi's development of a new Big Yeti designer toy. The Giant Yeti has finally been birthed and it is a big un'. The 9.5" high beast features posable arms and a light-up torch to guide him through the icy darkness of Nepal or your bedroom. For the next week, each Yeti figure ships with a free Yeti Ice Cave t-shirt.
Big Vinyl Yeti at Gama-Go (Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman loves the Big Yeti too!)

Previously on BB:
Giant Yeti (real, not a hoax!)

HSBC's bizarre lumberjack ad

John Swansburg, Associate Editor, says: [I wrote about] the truly bizarre new HSBC ad running on TV (and on YouTube). Have you seen it? It's the one that features a violent confrontation between police and environmental protesters who protecting trees marked for clearing. But then it turns into a love story between one of the protesters and a logger -- complete with a soundtrack by Joanna Newsom, of all people. And this is all by way of selling the services of an international banking conglomerate. Very weird.

Anyway, thought the ad might be something BoingBoing readers would have seen and scratched their heads over. Here's my analysis:

HSBC's Bizarre Lumberjack Ad

Errol Morris' "real people" ads for Obama


Errol Morris created a series of interviews of Republicans and independents who are voting for Obama. He also wrote about long history of "real people" political ads for the NYT.

If you’re not going to put words in people’s mouths, if you’re really listening to what they have to say, you’re going to learn something. Admittedly, the evidence is anecdotal. I haven’t selected these people through some kind of statistical sampling. These people are self-selected. They wrote in and said that they were registered Republicans, Independents or switch-voters who were planning to vote for Obama. People in the middle. And I was interested in talking to them on film about why they were making the switch from voting for a Republican to voting for a Democrat. Was it linked with policy? With the personality of the candidate?

This time — as opposed to 2004 — the content of the interviews has been qualitatively different. The people I interviewed have embraced Obama. They are voting for a candidate, not against a candidate. Lissa Lucas, for example, tells the story of voting for someone for the first time in her life. There is a feeling of hopefulness. There is this optimism, even though the situation in the country is arguably much worse than four years ago. A failing economy. The continuing war in Iraq. A crumbling infrastructure. But there is the core belief that if we pull together, we can save the country.

Republicans and independents who are voting for Obama

Interesting drawing technique using water

Yesterday, Cory reviewed Emmanuel Guibert's graphic novel Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope. In the comments, J Meyers pointed to this video of Guibert's interesting drawing technique.

Live Chat With John Hodgman on Washington Post

Our guest blogger John Hodgman is too modest to pimp this, but there's a live chat session going on right now with him over at the Washington Post: John Hodgman Discusses 'More Information Than You Require' (WaPo). Snip:
New Orleans: What is the force of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick?

John Hodgman: The force of a single roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris=one American Chuck.

In England, however, they use the old Imperial Chuck, which is the equivalents to 1.34 American Chucks.

That is all.


I AM AWAITING word from Patrick Borelli to see if there is any high quality video of Grand Master Priest, breakdancer, Mason, available for posting here.

IN THE MEANTIME, here are some answers to your questions from the comments.

RE: MAJORD AND MADFIST'S DISCUSSION about the attainability of the 33rd Degree within Freemasonry, in this case you should consider the messenger before you blame the popper/locker. My conversation with Grand Master Priest regarding his Craft was brief, and I may have gotten some details wrong. I also think he may be somewhat older than he appears in the photograph, because breakdance and Masonry, in combination, make you immortal.

RE: ANONYMOUS, the answer is YES. The man I met is certainly the "Grand Master Priest" who is on staff at the Mystical Grand Masters School of Popping. But I must have gotten the name wrong somehow. The masked man in the video certainly has the moves. But according to his bio at the MGMSOP, that man was born in ancient Lemuria. So I cannot say for sure if that is also the man I met in Philadelphia.

[VIDEO; note, lyrics are explicit]

I WILL PROVIDE more information as it comes to me, as he really was a lovely and amazing person.

That is all.

Dean Kamen Q&A: American culture needs a geek overhaul


(Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief, Jim Meigs (left) and inventor Dean Kamen.)

Andrew Moseman says: Dean Kamen is famous for inventing the AutoSyringe, the portable dialysis machine, the iBOT self-balancing wheelchair, and, of course, the Segway human transporter. But he is most passionate when talking about his nonprofit organization, FIRST, which tries to get kids excited about science and technology by having them build 120-pound robots to slug it out on a rough-and-tumble field of play. "We're not competing with science fairs, we're competing with Britney Spears and Shaquille O'Neal" for the attention of teenagers, Kamen said. The FIRST game changes every year—in 2008, teams raced 40-in. balls around a track. Kamen spoke with Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief Jim Meigs and an audience of journalists and FIRST competitors at the magazine's headquarters, in New York City's Hearst Tower. Kamen's core message: American culture needs a geek overhaul.

What do you think is the most important science and technology issue to be addressed by the next president? What's the biggest issue he should take on?

Is it energy? Genomics? Is it bird flu? Is it the polar caps—are they really melting? Is it terrorism? You pick the crisis du jour: The answer to all these issues is going to be an educated, competent global society. This country ought to lead the world, for lots of reasons. And we ought to help the rest of the world get educated, because if they are educated, their impact on the environment is actually way less. If they are educated, they'll have better ideas than killing each other or killing you and me.

The next president should recognize the power of technology. Technology is how we create wealth, how we cure diseases, how we'll build an environment that's sustainable and also gives people the capacity to pull more out of this world and still leave it better than when they found it. You know, people always talk about rights in this country—I wish we had a bill of responsibilities. So I think the president has to stop thinking of the crisis du jour and say, "In this race between education and catastrophe, we need education to win." The next president better make sure that all kids are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And with 50 percent of the kids in the 20 largest school districts in the country not graduating high school, they're part of the problem. This is unsustainable. It has to change.

Read the rest here:

Dean Kamen on education

Tim O'Reilly's endorsement of Barack Obama

...over on O'Reilly Radar blog is one of the more extensive and thoughtful analyses of what this presidential candidate's policies mean for those of us who make our living in technology. Snip from the introduction:
[W]e need a president who can harness the best and brightest our country has to offer, a president who is conversant with, and comfortable with, the power of technology to assist in solving these problems, a president who is good at listening, studying, and devising solutions based on the best insight available, rather than on narrow ideology. We need a president who can forge consensus, not just among the partisans in our own fractured democracy but around the world. We need a president who can inspire our citizens and our global partners to forgo narrow self interest and embrace the possibilities that we can achieve if we work together to build a better future.

I believe Barack Obama is that president. He is a man of intelligence, but also a man whose character and temperament seem suited to the problems of our age: unflappable, optimistic even in the face of adversity, willing to speak the truth about subjects that have long been taboo (I'm thinking of his speech on race, and his speech on fatherhood) and with unscripted reactions that show his fundamental decency (I'm thinking of his reaction to those who wanted to make a campaign issue of Sarah Palin's daughter's unplanned pregnancy.)

Because this is a tech blog, not a political blog, though, I primarily want to address the subject of why members of the technical community should join me in supporting Barack Obama. (The New York Times has made a compelling case based on the broader issues, as has Colin Powell.) I outline four principal reasons:

1. Connected, Transparent Government
2. The Financial Crisis
3. Climate Change
4. Net Neutrality

I will also discuss some important additional considerations, personal and political, that I hope Radar readers who don't want to see politics in these pages, will forgive.

Why I Support Barack Obama (O'Reilly Radar)

Joe The Plumber, meet Dave The Fisherman

Ari Kuschnir of m ss ng p eces, an independent video producer who collaborated with Boing Boing tv on one of our favorite episodes ever, has produced this short spot about a working class guy from Michigan who sees the world differently than "Joe the (faux) Plumber." Watch: Dave The Fisherman (YouTube)

Mark Cuban blogs:

Transparency is key to the success of the Bailout and related loans and investments the government makes with our tax dollars. Without complete transparency, we will get from our government what we always get when it comes to finances, confusion. To do my part, I’ve worked with the folks at to create

Its job is simple, keep an eye on our taxpayer dollars and call Bullshit when necessary.

if you take a trip over to Bailoutsleuth you can see that its already time to call BS. In the first contract handed out, in this case to Bank of NY Mellon Corp, the compensation section is blacked out.

Sad. So very sad, that we couldnt make it a week without being afraid of the very taxpayers who are footing the tab for all of this.

Bailoutsleuth will try to publish every day in keeping up with how our taxdollars are spent and the people and companies that are impacted by this program. We are still a work in progress and look forward to your comments , feedback and tips.

Announcing (Blog Maverick), and here is

LOLarts show

Boing Boing tv pal Mark Day of YouTube has a fun video report up from the LOLarts show which took place last week in San Francisco. LOLarts - LOLcats art show! Kthx!

See also this related item on Scott Beale's Laughing Squid blog, LOL Arts Show, A Benefit For Partners in Reading.

Video The Vote

Founded two years ago by Ian Inaba of Guerrilla News Network, John Ennis of Shoot First, Inc., and James Rucker of, Video the Vote seeks to ensure "timely, complete, and accurate reporting of voter suppression and election irregularities by organizing citizen journalists to document elections and then using their footage to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges facing American voters." More:

Video the Vote operates through a simple three-step process.

1. Volunteers sign up online, giving us their email address, cell phone number, and video proficiency.
2. On election day, voters call in to national hotlines to report problems at the polls, Video the Vote dispatches our volunteers to get the story.We also obtain footage from roving videographers who are documenting the election process in their communities.
3. Volunteers then upload their footage to our web site where it is available for immediate viewing by the media and the public.

(Thanks, Melanie Cornwell)

The Uncertain Future of Free Expression

Aram Sinnreich says,
I just co-authored an article in Truthdig on what we call "e-speech" -- freedom of expression in digital media. The article attempts to pull several issues (e.g. net neutrality, electronic privacy, walled gardens, asymmetrical access) together under one umbrella, and to propose market- and technology-based solutions to these challenges.
His co-author, tech journalist Masha Zager, also happens to also be his mom. Says Aram, "It's the first thing we've written together since I was in grade school!" Snip from the piece:
Although no one is slowing down or opening your posted letters, spying on your face-to-face conversations or restricting your physical ability to make music, all of these barriers to free speech–and more–are becoming increasingly prevalent in the world of digital communications. And as tools like the Web, e-mail, voice over IP, Internet video, mobile phones and peer-to-peer file sharing become increasingly vital to our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, businesses and government institutions, these limitations on speech and threats to our privacy are becoming increasingly important civil rights issues.

When we talk about unequal access to computers and other digital communication technologies, we speak about the “digital divide.” When we talk about the concentrated ownership of the Internet access business, we can point to a simple, powerful statistic: Four companies control nearly 60 percent of the American ISP market, and four companies control nearly 90 percent of the American mobile phone market. But there’s no simple way to talk about the interrelated issues of electronic surveillance, network neutrality, asymmetry and “walled garden” technologies that collectively threaten free expression in the digital world.

Without a name for the big picture, it’s difficult to do anything about it. Imagine trying to reverse global warming, reduce pollution and save species from extinction without the umbrella of the word environmentalism connecting the issues. Therefore, we propose the term e-speech as a concept to unite these issues, and to discuss potential solutions to the problem they collectively pose.

E-Speech: The (Uncertain) Future of Free Expression (Thanks, Noah Shachtman)

Bat-Manga: the lost Japanese Batman comics of 1966

In 1966, manga prodigy Jiro Kuwata was commissioned to do a regular Japanese manga version of Bob Kane's Batman comics, to tie in with the Japanese launch of the Batman TV show. Kuwata quickly decided that Kane's scripts wouldn't play to a Japanese audience, so he remade the Dark Knight for the expectations of a mid-sixties, manga-familiarized audience. The result was stunning: a weird blend of genius suspense and gonzo weirdness, as villains turn into dinosaurs, commit strange crimes, rise from the dead, and rampage through a mangified Gotham City that has the streamlined wonderfulness of space-age Japanese pop culture.

These comics were lost for decades, but they have resurfaced now, recovered from private collections and reprinted in Bat-Manga, a new anthology from Pantheon edited by Chip Kidd. Kidd has supplemented the material with fantastic photo spreads (by Geoff Spear) of collectible Japanese Batman toys from the era. The reproductions themselves are only minimally cleaned up, leaving intact the yellowing paper, the wildly variable print-quality, the strange nostalgic quirks of printing from that era.

Kidd's also included a delightful interview with Kuwata, production notes, and plenty of trivia for those who are as besotted with this as I am. I've taken a bunch of photos of the spread and stuck 'em in my Flickr stream -- they don't really do the interiors justice, but I hope you'll be intrigued enough to track down a copy and see it for yourself.

Holding the book is weirdly dissonant. All these imperfections give it the feeling of a vintage piece, something rare, much-loved, and fragile. But the book is also superbly made, on beautiful paper, well-bound, with flourishes from the end-papers to the binding, and so it also feels thoroughly modern and secure.

Rarely have I held a book so fondle-able, a book that delights so much on any random page. This is not like any other Batman book you've seen. If I had to choose between this and the formidable Frank Miller collections, I'd give up the Millers in a heartbeat. And that's saying something.
Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan , Bat-Manga in my Flickr stream


200810281751 NOT ONLY IS THIS MAN A BREAKDANCER, he is also a Freemason of the 33rd Degree (I don't know which Rite; it was late), and a master of both Crafts.

HIS NAME is Grand Master Priest Faustus, and I had the honor of seeing him perform at the 215 Festival on Friday at the Society of Free Letts, where he appeared as part of Patrick Borelli and Douglas Gorenstein's "Holy Headshot" project.

HE IS, frankly, the poppingest, lockingest Freemason I have ever met, and also a contemporary of many of the men who invented things like popping and locking. (He did not invent Freemasonry, however. HE IS NOT IMMORTAL. But he did have an amazing square and compass belt buckle, which started our discussion of The Craft)

IF ANYONE has any video of this event, I would be very glad to see it.

That is all.


I AM IN DETROIT today, sitting in the lobby of WDET, stealing broadband from a student's room at Wayne State University. So I shall offer a few brief follow ups to your very welcome comments.

TWO COMMENTERS on my previous post on Gnomes pointed out that I might enjoy Brian Froud and Terry Jones's Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. Indeed I might and have. But not as much as I enjoyed Brian Froud's The World of the Dark Crystal.

IT IS, OF COURSE, beautiful. But what I found inspiring, even as a child, is that someone would take The Dark Crystal so seriously, and draw and describe the Ur-Skeks-iverse in such sincere and deranged details. I think it is fair to say that everything I know about Skeksis culture derives from this book.

IN OTHER COMMENTS SECTIONS, Brermatt noted that the Battle of Galactia Ride also appeared in the FIRST "Get Smart" movie, "The Nude Bomb." It is so, and I know, because I saw this movie on TV in Australia some years ago, and I was so surprised that I practically went down the drain the wrong way.

NOW, however, it is on DVD, and insanely, i09 has the relevant clip in WIDESCREEN.

I MUST NOW drive to Ann Arbor.

That is all

Video for new book, Jetpack Dreams

Here's the video for Mac Montandon's new book about the history of jetpacks, Jetpack Dreams: One Man's Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Was. It's a delightful and engrossing story of the quest for one of humankind's greatest technological fantasies —- to strap on a device and fly like a bird.

Jetpack Dreams | Jetpack Dreams website

Synchronized Presidential Debating

If you thought the three presidential debates were similar, here's proof you were right. This video show how eerily similar the candidates' canned arguments were. Synchronized Presidential Debating (Thanks, Joe Dolce!)

Andrew Keen predicts the end of "free labor" online

Andrew Keen wrote an unintentionally funny essay about how the bad economy is going to make people stop contributing content online unless they get paid for it.
200810281647 So how will today's brutal economic climate change the Web 2.0 "free" economy? It will result in the rise of online media businesses that reward their contributors with cash; it will mean the success of Knol over Wikipedia, Mahalo over Google, over the, iTunes over MySpace, Hulu over YouTube Inc. , over, TechCrunch over the blogosphere, CNN’s professional journalism over CNN’s iReporter citizen-journalism... The hungry and cold unemployed masses aren’t going to continue giving away their intellectual labor on the Internet in the speculative hope that they might get some "back end" revenue. "Free" doesn’t fill anyone’s belly; it doesn’t warm anyone up.
(As Jesse Walker at Reason says, "Because that's why most people contribute to YouTube and Wikipedia. It's the reason why people post comments here at Hit & Run. 'Back end' revenue! It's the American dream!")

Keen doesn't realize the power of egoboo. Richard Eney wrote in his 1959 Fancyclopedia II that science fiction fandom "may be defined as an infinitely complex system for the production of pure egoboo." The same can be said for the Web, too.

Economy to Give Open-Source a Good Thumping

Sarah Palin, proud socialist

The best part of Hendrik Hertzberg's excellent New Yorker commentary about McCain and Palin's failed attempt to convince people that Obama is a socialist is the final paragraph containing this boast from Gov. Sarah Palin:
The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.
Like, Socialism