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pressure from party members, MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, the UK Liberal Democrats have unequivocally withdrawn support for the Digital Rights Bill, a sweeping, 24,000+ word bill that the Labour government are trying to push through Parliament with only a few hours'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)
They say advertising's an ephemeral medium, but I'm not so sure. I collect old library-bound volumes of Life magazine, and given proper care (and kept away from the razor-clutching hands of people who want to carve them up and sell them piecemeal on eBay) those magazines have some serious shelf life, and so do the bright colorful ads they contain. And there are any number of websites archiving film, TV and radio ads, from the Internet Archive on down. But an agency called Element Six Media is creating ads that really are ephemeral -- as much so as melting snow and drifting sand. It may not be art, exactly, but it sure is arresting. And if the point of advertising is to get you to look, mission accomplished. (Via Inhabitat.)
"It's reimagining of the story of Jesus Christ (referred to as Joshua because his mother's husband, Joseph, thinks the name Jesus 'sounds like a Mexican') and his disciples from childhood to crucifixion. The twist: They are all gay men, two of whom are married in a ceremony performed by Joshua -- heralded as the 'King of Queers' before he is crucified." Shocker: A student play about a gay Christ is not going over well with school administrators in Texas. (thanks, Antinous)