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that make it easy to listen in on "Web 2.0" without a warrant: "the current electronic privacy laws are woefully outdated and must be updated to provide clear privacy protections that reflect the always-on, location-enabled, Web 2.0 world of the 21st century."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)
W00t! After pressure from party members, MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, the UK Liberal Democrats have unequivocally withdrawn support for the Digital Rights Bill, a sweeping, 24,000+ word bill that the Labour government are trying to push through Parliament with only a few hours' debate. Previously, the LibDems had supported the idea of the bill going into "wash up" (a streamlined procedure for passing laws without detailed scrutiny or public debate), provided that controversial proposals (such as kicking families off the net if they were accused of infringement) would be referred to another process later on. After public outcry from within the party, the front-bench changed its mind, and the party whip has said, "I have told the Govt we won't support the Digital Economy Bill as drafted. There is not enough time for MPs to examine it in detail." Well done, LibDems!
"Chess should not become an obsession. Otherwise there's a danger that you will slide off into a parallel world, that you lose your sense of reality, get lost in the infinite cosmos of the game. You become crazy."—19-year-old chess champion Magnus Carlsen. (thanks, Susannah)
Filmmaker Benoît Millot brought this lovely, dreamy live-action + 3D animated short film to my attention, and I'm so glad he did. Sort of a trippy, shoegazey Up in the Air meets Transformers. Been out a couple months, but new to me. Shot on a Canon 7D Mark I, and it shows. Music: Electric President "I'm Not The Lonely Son." (Amazon).
Over at io9, an physicist takes a serious look at the physics behind Hot Tub Time Machine. "Let the harrumphing begin!" Includes spoilers. Science aside, I saw the movie over the opening weekend, and laughed a lot. Recommended. Cusack will soon join us here as guestblogger, BTW. (thanks, Wilson Rothman)
Celebrity advocacy fail: an Indian girl, head shaved, rescued from child trafficking and from the street, is explaining to Lindsay Lohan while BBC documentary cameras roll that her mom and dad used to beat her unless she went out each day to earn money...
[B]ut it's hard to concentrate on what she's saying because what's happening behind her is so distracting. Lohan is rubbing her already-red eyes, spreading mascara around the place, twitching her eyebrows.
"Um. Um. Oh my God," the film star says, her lips wobbling uncontrollably. A disembodied hand pops into the screen to pass her a tissue. "Um. How did she feel? Um. How did they treat her?" she asks, beginning to sob.
The small girl turns to look at her in bemusement. The translator gives an embarrassed laugh and says to the girl: "She's crying for you. Why don't you comfort her?" So we watch as the puzzled child dutifully strokes Lohan's long mane of golden hair. "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Lohan says, with a husky gasp. "Sorry, I'm having a moment." Mercifully, the camera is then switched off.
"A scandal has erupted in the City Council of Bulgaria's Plovdiv as several councilors have been caught milking virtual cows on the Facebook application Farmville. The councilors were first detected playing Farmville two weeks ago during the debates for Plovdiv's 2010 budget." Busted! (via Julian Dibbell)