Boing Boing 

Al Jazeera on the copyfight: it's about control over sharing without boundaries or regulations

James from the New America Foundation sez,

The latest Fault Lines documentary from Al Jazeera English is a must see. The piece argues that Internet policy debates - from copyright to cybersecurity - are about centralized control versus "the ability to share information across the world without traditional boundries or regulations."

My colleague Sascha Meinrath argues that these SOPA and Protect IP were demonstrative of RIAA and MPAA investments in political power and the documentary notes that these were "not about pirated entertainment but how do we live in the digital age and who gets to decide what we do." Sascha argues that these bills were demonstrative of RIAA and MPAA investments in political power.

The documentary wades into current cybersecurity debates and how they are fundamentally at odds with core conceptualizations of Internet freedom. Sascha argues that we are heading towards a world that requires a surveillance mechanism to support a locked down system where choice of applications, services, or speech is controlled. Clearly, the folks at Fault Lines understand what is at stake.

Fault Lines : Controlling the web (Thanks, James!)

Searching for Magic in India and Silicon Valley: An Interview with Daniel Kottke, Apple Employee #12

Daniel Kottke lives and works in Palo Alto, Ca. Here, he talks about the genesis of his 1974 trip to India with Steve Jobs.

Daniel Kottke was one of Apple's first employees, assembling the company's earliest kit computers with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in a California kitchen. In 1974, Jobs and Kottke backpacked across India in search of themselves; now, they are industry legends. Along the way, he debugged circuit boards, helped design the Apple III and the Mac, and became host of Palo Alto cable TV show The Next Step.

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The Eighth Continent: Searching for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

20 AUGUST—34°42' N 140°19' W

In the middle of the night, I dream that I am at the wheel of a great ship, sailing the Pacific Ocean. A hundred and fifty feet of steel, crowned with a dozen broad sails, forces itself forward through the waves. The rigging creaks with the roll of the ship. Water hisses along the lee rail. I adjust the wheel, peering at the binnacle to see our heading.

We’ve been at sea for nearly a week, and for weeks more we have no hope of seeing land. What we do hope to see, though, is something much rarer, something that amounts to a new and dark wonder of the world.

We are aboard the Kaisei, sailing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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Unboxing the astoundingly cool, dirt-filled ParaNorman press-box

I've just come back from a four-week working vacation with my family in LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Mountain View. As is customary on the morning after a long-distance family trip, I dragged my jet-lagged butt into my PO Box, where there was the usual mountain of stuff waiting for me -- bills, books for review, and a heap of junk mail as tall as me. But today, there was also a bubble-wrapped crate, quite heavy. Groaning a little at the thought of dragging this to the office, I peeled back the bubble-wrap...and then hastily jammed it back again, as the crate disintegrated and began to dump green potting soil on the carpet of my mailbox company.

We taped the whole thing back up again and I got it to the office in the back of a taxi. Once here, I grabbed a knife and set the crate down on a revolting, sodden sofa some miscreant dumped in the parking lot, thinking that whatever the box spilled out onto that wreck could only improve it. As I sliced away the bubble-wrap again, the crate completely fell to pieces, revealing an upside-down wooden coffin. I'd opened it from the bottom! Digging through the greenish soil (which was odorless, though it did leave powdery smears on my clothes), I discovered that the top of the box sported some live sod, and under that, a piece of semi-rotted burlap that semi-protected the coffin's lid, which was intricately laser-cut with an 18th-century date and a monstrous icon. Dusting off the coffin, I brought it back into the office, scraping as much of the crate's remnants as I could into the dumpster.

Prising the lid off the coffin, I discovered an absolutely gorgeous soft poseable maquette of a zombie from ParaNorman, the forthcoming Laika film. ParaNorman was clutching a rolled up scroll with a hand-written note telling me about the movie and making some shrewd guesses about how I'd relate to it.

I generally find elaborate PR stuff to be kind of tedious -- like getting torrents of the cheeziest SkyMall tchotchkes in the mail. But the ParaNorman folks really know what they're about. It was pretty gutsy to send me a giant box of dirt with a doll in it, and the doll needed to be extremely cool to overcome the automatic inward groan at the thought of having to deal with a massive MOOP spill when I opened the crate. There are a million ways that this could have misfired, but it didn't. Bravo, seriously.

As for the movie? Hell, I don't know. I was a big fan of Laika's treatment of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, so I would have gone to see this even without the weird-ass, amazing press kit. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't have hyped the movie beforehand, so they're doing something right. I don't know what I would do if every PR pitch came with a package this elaborate -- I'd end up drowning in potting soil, for one thing. But this is the most creative and awesome thing I've ever gotten in the mail, newsworthy in its own right, and they've earned this post. Here's the trailer: