Slate points us to a strange ad for Friskies, the cat food, that features dancing turkeys, a golden fish-shaped boat, and a rainbow-colored wonderland with a red carpet leading to a bowl of cat food. The pet food brand claims it's trying to reach owners who want to "get inside and experience the magical world their cats experience." There's even a psychedelic remix version on YouTube, set to The Byrds' Eight Miles High.
One of my favorite moments in the set last night was when Badu turned to her laptop on stage (yep), opened up a Sun Ra track, let it hang in the air for a while, bobbing her head, then led her band and the audience in a live call-and-response cover of that same song. The track was Nuclear War. I've embedded the original above.
"Nuclear War.... Nuclear War... They're talkin' about... Nuclear War... It's a motherfucker, don't you know... If they push that button, yo' ass gotta go...."
Boing Boing reader Georgia McElveen sends this photograph, and says she shot it after "coming accross a group of three girls protesting the burqa ban in France on Monday March 29, 2010." And that is all we know.
The number of Americans targetted by entertainment industry lawsuits nearly doubled this month, as the the US Copyright Group ("an ad hoc coalition of independent film producers and with the encouragement of the Independent Film & Television Alliance") brought suit against 20,000 BitTorrent users. 30,000 more lawsuits are pending, bringing the total number of US entertainment industry lawsuit defendants up to 80,000 (when you include the 30,000 victims of the RIAA).
This beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves gambit is puzzling to me. It seems likely to me that most of these defendants will settle for several thousand dollars (regardless of their guilt) rather than risk everything by hiring a lawyer to defend themselves. But does the "US Copyright Group" really think that Americans will go back to the mall with their credit-cards in hand once their friends' lives have been ruined by litigation?
How about making peace, instead? Offer blanket licenses, DRM-free downloads, ad-supported streams, and products whose EULA consists of "By buying this product you agree to abide by copyright" (a far cry from the current status quo, which goes more like "By buying this product, you agree... [15,000 words omitted] ...that we can spy on you, take it away again, stop you from exercising your consumer rights to lend or give away this product, etc etc etc).
UK Labour MP Austin Mitchell has had a change of heart on the dread Digital Economy Bill and has produced anearly day motion asking to have all 24,000+ words of it subjected to scrutiny and debate, rather than being hidden away in the undemocratic, secretive "wash-up" process: "That this House believes that the Digital Economy Bill [Lords] is too important to be taken further in the last days of a dying Parliament; and considers that a bill with so many repercussions for consumers, civil liberties, freedom of information and access to the internet should be debated and properly scrutinised at length and in detail, with a full opportunity for public discussion and representation in a new Parliament after the general election and not rushed through in the few days that remain in this Parliament." Write to your MP and support the motion!
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has a new process for reviewing requests for earmarks (money apportioned to local projects): she requires anyone requesting an earmark to make a video about it and put it online where everyone can see it.
As your Member of Congress, I am committed to doing everything I can to support the economic and community development important to the people of the First District---that means fighting for sound federal investments in our community that can grow our economy and create jobs.
This year, I am unveiling a new, transparent and open approach to how I receive, review and submit these federal funding requests: every requesting organization has been asked to make a short presentation, which has been recorded and posted online. This is in addition to extensive written materials they submit describing their funding request and how it will benefit Maine's first district. All of this information is particularly geared towards jobs retained or created and examining the long-term economic benefit of federal dollars. The videos and project descriptions will be posted on my website and the public is invited to comment on the projects.
I would love to hear what you think about these projects or this process.
For some reason, GE once produced a line of housewares called "Tramatic" and advertised them with the slogan, "Tramatize your home!" No word on whether the homes ever got over the trama. Still and all, I like the lines and colors of these appliances!
John Hilton III and David Wiley from Brigham Young University conducted interviews with authors who give away the electronic editions of their printed books and produced a short, fascinating look at the motivations and satisfactions of free online distribution. The paper, "Free: Why Authors are Giving Books Away on the Internet" is a free PDF (natch).
The authors' responses are (in my opinion) extremely interesting. Major motivations for making work freely available include "to increase visibility," "to increase sales," and "it's a moral obligation." All of the authors were glad that they had made they work available for free, and most reported that they thought it had increased the reach of their work. Nobody perceived that sales had decreased as a result.
During the ten weeks of the study the books were downloaded 102,556 times. Collectively, the books sold 68 more copies in the ten weeks they were online for free versus the ten previous weeks. This was an increase in sales of 26%. Over the same period of time in 2008, sales of these same books decreased by 38%. Furthermore, a study of comparison titles that were not put online for free found that sales of comparison books decreased both in 2008 and 2009...
With Tron: Legacy due out later this year (MCP, help us), a revival of the classic Tron from 1982 is underway, with a few truefans translating their passion into fun videos. At top, Hexagonall's "Tron vs. Saul Bass" title sequence. Below that, a new Tron (1982) trailer. Its creator, DrewboiX, writes, "Wanted to make a exciting trailer with a modern feel as oppose to its original marketing in the 80s." (via Underwire)
Mark Hogancamp was beaten into a "brain-damaging coma" by five men outside a bar. After he awoke, he devoted himself to building "Marwencol," a 1/6th scale WWII town, in his back yard: "Mark populated the town he dubbed 'Marwencol' with dolls representing his friends and family and created life-like photographs detailing the town's many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helped Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds from the attack. Through his homemade therapy, Mark was able to begin the long journey back into the 'real world', both physically and emotionally - something he continues to struggle with today."
The level of detail is amazing, and heart-wrenching, and sometimes just plain weird and disturbing. But it's also wonderful -- both as a display of sheer craft and dedication, and as a monument to a difficult and painful recovery.
Colin sez, "In New Zealand, Select Committees (cross-party groups of MPs) are part of the law-making process. The committee considering revisions to patent law has come out against software patents, saying that software patents can stifle innovation and competition, and can be granted for trivial or existing techniques."
I'm headed to Seattle this weekend to be one of the guests of honor at Norwescon, along with (among others), Vernor Vinge. If you're in Seattle and you can make it, I'd love to say hi! Here's my programming schedule for the event:
Here's a turn-up for the books: AT&T, Google, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many others have formed a pro-privacy coalition that's asked Congress for updates to wiretapping laws to close loopholes that make it easy to listen in on "Web 2.0" without a warrant: "the current electronic privacy laws are woefully outdated and must be updated to provide clear privacy protections that reflect the always-on, location-enabled, Web 2.0 world of the 21st century." (EFF is suing AT&T over its complicity in the Bush-era illegal NSA wiretapping, and has filed an objection to Google's Book Search settlement on privacy grounds -- it says something that all three organizations agree on the need for this update to privacy law)