Christopher sez, "We developed an infographic along the lines of 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' to show how Charter Cable is engaging in predatory pricing to kill cable/broadband competition in one of the few places in the US people have a choice. You want to know why we don't have real competition in broadband and cable? Anytime a new entrant builds a better network, these big corporations run them out of town by dropping their rates for crappy cable. If the FTC/FCC bother to act, it will be years from now."
Hammock-tent-makers Tentstile have a new 5-8 person model -- string it up between a couple-three massive trees and it becomes a treetop aerie, far above the madding crowd of critters and hikers.
Tentsile combines the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the usable space and security of a tent. The ultra portable structure uniquely employs tension forces to provide separation from wildlife, including insects, snakes and other predators but also from sand storms, earth tremors, cold or wet ground, debris or contamination.
My friend, artist Amy Crehore, has finished a lovely painting, called Basker's Cove.
Tavis sez, "A mind-blowingly recursive poster that represents the AD&D rules for procedural dungeon generation as a flowchart which is drawn as a dungeon. From the The Mule Abides blog at NYC's intersection between role-playing games, the gallery art scene, and how Kickstarter can jam 'em together. Cory's linked the Mule before as HOWTO have a D&D party for 8-year-olds; also featured in this post is a nifty Kickstarter for the first publication from the Play-Generated Map and Documents Archive, similarly linked for Homemade D&D module, 1981."
Mike sez, "With the Texas Primaries coming up in May, I thought you would be interested to know that some of the Redditors that were involved in the boycott on GoDaddy.com and 'Operation Pull Ryan' (where Reddit raised money for Rep. Paul Ryan's opponent), have started TestPAC, a non-connected, registered PAC, with the goal of defeating Lamar Smith in the Republican Primaries."
You'll remember Lamar Smith from such stupid Internet laws as SOPA and the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (AKA "the Spy on Everyone Always Act"). He's a 25-year incumbent and a powerful committee chairman. And he's kind of a tool.
What we aim to do is a bit unorthodox: use Texas’ semi-open primary system to edge Smith out in favor of another Republican candidate. When voters identify themselves to the election officials, they must request a party’s specific ballot. As explained on Wikipedia:
Only one ballot is cast by each voter. In many states with semi-open primaries, election officials or poll workers from their respective parties record each voter’s choice of party and provide access to this information. The primary difference between a semi-open and open primary system is the use of a party-specific ballot. In a semi-open primary, a public declaration in front of the election judges is made and a party-specific ballot given to the voter to cast.
This means that Republicans, Independents and Democrats can participate in the choosing of either party’s candidate in the primary election. While Democrats who choose to participate in the Republican primaries are exempt from also voting for their own party’s candidate, it is important to note that their actions would speak volumes in regards to changing the political landscape in their district. Keeping in mind the fact that Smith has enjoyed comfortable margins of victory over the years in a district that heavily favors Republican candidates, a vote for another candidate in Texas’ open primary would possibly have a greater effect than simply voting in the Democratic primary and ultimately losing the race.
Mr. Smith Comes Back From Washington (Thanks, Mike!)
Heidi MacDonald has a great post about a Henry Darger-esque fellow named James Killian Spratt who created a obsessively detailed version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars.
In a few short hours, I’ll be doing something I’ve dreamed about my whole life -- going to see a movie about John Carter of Mars… I could write a lot about my own perception of Carter’s Mars, but what I’m here to do today is introduce you to the boldest, most audacious adaptation of the book, one that is incredibly UN-Disney and very very NSFW. I speak of James Killian Spratt’s word-for-word comics adaptation of A Princess of Mars.
I happened on this site while I was googling for some other Carter information a while ago. I’ve shown the site to a few people since then and the common reaction is jaw dropping. Who is this guy?
James Killian Spratt we’re told, is a Master Sculptor who lives in North Carolina. He is blind in one eye and is an expert in all things Martian, including Jetan, the game of Martian chess that a few people have actually played in the last 100 years. Spratt has made actual Jetan sets:
The wild, all-naked JOHN CARTER comic Disney does not want you to see (NSFW)
[Video Link] Here's an excerpt from the new book, Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works, by Ash Maurya. It's published by O'Reilly (which also publishes MAKE, the magazine I edit).
Running Lean is an ideal tool for business managers, CEOs, small business owners, developers and programmers, and anyone who's interested in starting a business project.Read excerpt.
Find a problem worth solving, then define a solution
Engage your customers throughout the development cycle
Continually test your product with smaller, faster iterations
Build a feature, measure customer response, and verify/refute the idea
Know when to "pivot" by changing your plan's course
Maximize your efforts for speed, learning, and focus
Learn the ideal time to raise your "big round" of funding
[Video Link] These fellows use chopsticks to liberate their comrades of material possessions. It looks like hard work, but their job is made easier thanks to apathetic onlookers who don't intervene. After a long day of stealing, these thieves will have collected a great many facial tissue packs! (Thanks, lunchthief!)
Our maker this week is Kyle Machulis, a hardware and software hacker who led the team in making the reverse engineer drivers for the Microsoft Kinect. Kyle is also an avid self-tracker, which means he uses technology to measure different aspects of his health and biology.
Here's what we talked about in this episode:
This is an excellent short profile of video game pioneer Ralph Baer. He's 90 and still inventing.
Ralph Baer is often called the father of video games. His invention, the Magnavox Odyssey, was the first home console system. I photographed and interviewed him this summer as part of my ongoing series on inventors (the book and app for which will be out eventually I promise).Director David Friedman says, "This video is part of an ongoing series of photo and video portraits of contemporary inventors from all walks of life."
Since he turns 90 years old this week, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the video game, I chose for this video some bits from our interview in which we talk about, among other things, why he's still inventing at 90 years old.
(Thanks, Ironic Sans)
On Behance, art director Bjoern Ewers shows off the gorgeous macro-photo ads he produced for the Berlin Philharmonic, which depict the insides of instruments as airy atria (or, as Colossal has it, "vast and spacious, almost as if you could walk around inside them.")
The long road of Canadian copyright reform is nearing an end as the Bill C-11 committee concluded hearing from witnesses yesterday and indicated that it will begin a "clause-by-clause" review of the bill starting on Monday. While there will still be some additional opportunities for debate - third reading in the House of Commons, Senate review - the reality is that next week's discussion will largely determine the future of Canadian copyright law.
For the thousands of Canadians that have participated in consultations and sent letters to their MPs, there is reason for concern. On one side, there are the major copyright lobby groups who have put forward a dizzying array of demands that would overhaul Bill C-11 including requiring Internet providers to block access to foreign sites, take down content without court oversight, and disclose subscriber information without a warrant. On top of those demands, the industry also wants individuals to face unlimited statutory damages and pay a new iPod tax.
On the other side, there are groups such as Access Copyright that are calling on their members to urge the government and committee MPs to undo the Supreme Court of Canada's CCH decision on fair dealing. While many of these demands are clearly far beyond "technical amendments" and should be ruled out of order, the last minute push must be met by Canadians who favour a balanced approach to copyright reform that retains the best of Bill C-11 and makes some modest changes to digital locks, the one remaining area of concern. My message to the MPs focuses on three simple principles:
1. No SOPA-style amendments. That means no website blocking, no warrantless disclosure of subscriber information, no expanded enabler provision, no unlimited statutory damages, no iPod tax, and no content takedowns.
2. Maintain the fair dealing balance found in C-11 by expanding the provision to include education, parody, and satire and relying on the Supreme Court's six-factor test to ensure that the dealing is fair.
3. Amend the digital lock rules by following the Canadian Library Association's recommended change linking circumvention to actual copyright infringement.
The message is going to my local MP, the Ministers and to Bill C-11 committee members.
Closing Time on Canadian Copyright: Help Stop the Final Push for SOPA-Style Reforms & Efforts to Gut Fair Dealing (contains links to contact your MP and the committee members)
Last week, I wrote about the controversy entailed by the R-rating the MPAA has given to the documentary Bully, effectively putting it outside the reach of most of the young people it addresses. Now the film censor board in British Columbia has given the film an all-ages PG rating, calling the MPAA's judgment into question.
“Last night, I learned of the B.C. board’s decision to grant Bully a PG-rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teachers, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause,” Hirsch said Wednesday in a statement.
'Bully' Doc Gets PG-Rating in Canada, Despite MPAA's R-Rating Stateside (Thanks, Antinous!)
Yesterday, I wrote about Jon Corbett's video, in which he demonstrates a method that appears to make it easy to smuggle metal objects (including weapons) through a TSA full-body scanner. The TSA has responded by saying that they still trust the machines, but they won't say why, "for obvious security reasons."
As Wired's David Kravets points out, Corbett is only the most recent critic to take a skeptical look at the efficacy of the expensive, invasive machinery. Other critics include the Government Accountability Office ("the devices might be ineffective") and the Journal of Transportation Security ("terrorists might fool the Rapiscan machines by taping explosive devices to their stomachs").
Corbett responded to the TSA's we-can't-tell-you-or-we'd-have-to-kill-you rebuttal with "You don't believe it? Try it."
“These machines are safe,” Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview.
In a blog post, the government’s response was that, “For obvious security reasons, we can’t discuss our technology’s detection capability in detail, however TSA conducts extensive testing of all screening technologies in the laboratory and at airports prior to rolling them out to the entire field.”