Orson Welles hates the advertising copy he's being asked to read

Here's a YouTube clip of Orson Welles' infamous frozen/canned food advertisement voice-over recording sessions in which he berates the engineer for the inanity of the material he's being asked to read. It's a rare chance to hear a serious tantrum executed with stentorian emphasis. There's a brilliant homage to this in a Pinky and the Brain cartoon that makes for a great coda.

Orson Welles - Frozen Peas (Thanks, isaak!)

Tool to calculate benefit of rooftop solar in Cambridge, Mass


Gmoke sez, "The city of Cambridge, Mass has teamed up with MIT to produce a Solar Tool that allows people to type an address into a website and get a detailed account of that roof's solar electric potential. This is probably the most detailed service now existing and every building in Cambridge is covered. You can learn how much of your roof sees enough sun for a PV installation, how large that PV installation can be, how much it will cost, how high your Federal and state tax rebate will be, how much electricity it will produce in a year, and how much carbon it will displace."

Solar Tool v.2 (Thanks, Gmoke!)

Microsoft claims ownership of the number 45, asks Google to censor the US government and Bing


A series of monumentally sloppy, automatically generated takedown notices sent by Microsoft to Google accused the US federal government, Wikipedia, the BBC, HuffPo, TechCrunch, and even Microsoft Bing of infringing on Microsoft's copyrights. Microsoft also accused Spotify (a music streaming site) of hosting material that infringed its copyrights. The takedown was aimed at early Windows 8 Beta leaks, and seemed to target its accusations based on the presence of the number 45 in the URLs. More from TorrentFreak's Ernesto:

Unfortunately this notice is not an isolated incident. In another DMCA notice Microsoft asked Google to remove a Spotify.com URL and on several occasions they even asked Google to censor their own search engine Bing.

The good news is that Google appears to have white-listed a few domains, as the BBC and Wikipedia articles mentioned in the DMCA notice above were not censored. However, less prominent sites are not so lucky and the AMC Theatres and RealClearPolitics pages are still unavailable through Google search today.

As we have mentioned before, the DMCA avalanche is becoming a bigger problem day after day.

Microsoft and other rightsholders are censoring large parts of the Internet, often completely unfounded, and there is absolutely no one to hold them responsible. Websites can’t possibly verify every DMCA claim and the problem will only increase as more takedown notices are sent week after week.

Microsoft DMCA Notice ‘Mistakenly’ Targets BBC, Techcrunch, Wikipedia and U.S. Govt

Fact-checking the RIAA's claim that the number of working musicians fell by 41%


Matthew Lasar's long Ars Technica feature, "Have we lost 41 percent of our musicians? Depends on how you (the RIAA) count" does an excellent job of digging into RIAA CEO Cary Sherman's claim that the number of working musicians in the USA has declined by 41 percent. After checking the RIAA's math, Lasar finds a gigantic discrepancy between the figures they cite and the conclusions they reach. But then Lasar delves further into the underlying sources, as well as government and industry stats, and finds that basically, the number of musicians working in America may have slightly declined, but is also projected to rise.

It is worth ending this cautionary tale with a review of the BLS's own occupational handbook projection for musician/singer employment in the near future. Note that the handbook cites a much higher employment figure for both trades in 2010 than mentioned in the above tables: about 176,200 musicians and singers. That's because it comes from the Bureau's National Employment Matrix, I was told, which adds additional data sources.

Employment for musicians and singers is expected to grow by ten percent over the decade—"about as fast as the average for all occupations," the government notes:

The number of people attending musical performances, such as orchestra, opera, and rock concerts, is expected to increase from 2010 to 2020. As a result, more musicians and singers will be needed to play at these performances.

There will be additional demand for musicians to serve as session musicians and backup artists for recordings and to go on tour. Singers will be needed to sing backup and to make recordings for commercials, films, and television.

Have we lost 41 percent of our musicians? Depends on how you (the RIAA) count

Sexy Ursula the Sea Witch costume: sexy fat characters have to be skinny


Tavie sez,

Heads up - if you're a fat woman who wants to dress up as a popular fat character for Halloween, good luck trying to find a plus-size Ursula (from "The Little Mermaid") costume.

Disney DOES partner with a company called Disguise Costumes to offer those ubiquitous, often inappropriate "sexy" versions of characters, and they do offer an Ursula costume - but Ursula can't be fat and sexy at the same time, so if you're an actual plus-size woman, better look elsewhere. The "Sassy Ursula" offered in their "Fabulous Flirts" collection comes in sizes S, M & L - with L equal to a US 12-14. (The company does have a small range of actual plus size "Disney Princess" costumes - you can be Fat Cinderella or Fat Belle if you want to, but you can't be Ursula. Better luck next time, fatties.)

It's outrageously exclusionary - it basically tells fat women that we're too fat to play a fat character; it also tells fat women that in order to be sexy, a character must be made skinny.

Sassy Ursula (Thanks, Tavie!)

Bacon ice cream sliders


Further nutritional oddments from a touring author (see yesterday's installment). I stopped into the most excellent indie bookstore Diesel at the Brentwood Country Mart in LA for my Pirate Cinema book tour, and noticed that the ice-cream parlour next door was advertising bacon-spiked ice-cream sliders, as well as a corn and spicy cheese crisp ice-cream sandwich.

I'll be in Lansing, MI tomorrow (tell your friends), and look forward to discovering more characteristic local cuisine.

Bacon and spicy corn Ice Cream Sliders, Brentwood Country Mart, Los Angeles, California, USA

Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly's debate kicked ass

Last night's Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart debate, the "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium," just crushed it. This is the best 90 minutes of video you're gonna see this month, and is unquestionably the best presidential debate of the season.

Update: In the comments, Patrick McGorrill adds, "Also available from www.therumble2012.com where they're using the Louis CK model. 90 minutes of DRM-free, HD video, for $5." That is a stone bargain.

Here's the Guardian's Amanda Holpuch with a recap:

The economic discussion focused on O'Reilly and Stewart's disagreement on government spending. O'Reilly said he thinks too much money is given to "slackers" who "mooch" off the government through welfare and other subsidies, though he supports social security. Stewart took issue with O'Reilly's determinations of what things are acceptable to be subsidised by the government.

"Why is it if you take advantage of a tax break as a corporation you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of a tax break as a person you're a moocher?" Stewart said.

Jon Stewart lays into Bill O'Reilly in presidential debate spoof

Toothpaste for Dinner needs your business

Complexin writes, "Drew, of daily webcomic 'Toothpaste for Dinner' and 'Married to the Sea,' among other sites, seems in danger of going offline. He's offering special discounts on t-shirts, a book, and original music in hopes of generating enough revenue to keep it going. According to his Twitter stream he's not interested in donations... but if you enjoy the comics consider purchasing some of the associated items from the Sharing Machine store. I own a few of the t-shirts, and they are well-made, sized correctly for women, AND bitingly hilarious. Bonus: comes in men's styles, too."

I don't own any of Drew's tees, but I do own, cherish and highly recommend his book.

Toothpaste For Dinner: Daily comics by Drew (Thanks, Complexin)



Don't throw your baby in a dumpster sticker


There's not much context for this image uploaded to Imgur by sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net, which uses pictograms to encourage people to take unwanted babies to hospitals rather than putting them into dumpsters. The image title implies that this one is on a hospital door, though other reports suggest that similar stickers are to be found on actual dumpsters.

Local hospital's good advice is good

Sociology Student Sheep have fun-ruining epiphanies


Holly curates a Tumblr called FUCK YEAH SOCIOLOGY STUDENT SHEEP, featuring a wide variety of symbolic Soc students having ironic epiphanies, and whose motto is "Time for some motherfucking Sociology." I love having my fun ruined!

FUCK YEAH SOCIOLOGY STUDENT SHEEP (via Sociological Images)

Supreme Court case will decide whether you own your stuff

Writing in MarketWatch, Jennifer Waters explains the implications of a Supreme Court case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, which turns on the question of whether you have the right to re-sell things you buy out of the country, or whether the copyrights embodied by your phones, clothes, gadgets, books, music, DVDs, and other possessions mean that you can't sell your stuff without permission from the original manufacturer.

Following Wiley's theory, you don't really own most of your possessions. You share ownership in your goods with the companies that made the goods you "bought" from them, and they get a veto over your disposal of them, and can also demand a cut of the proceeds.

Put simply, though Apple has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen does on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

“It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Bland (sic: Jonathan's surname is actually "Band"), an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”

Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

Oatmeal fundraiser for Tesla museum is a triumph


The Oatmeal's campaign to raise funds to preserve and develop the 16 acre plot in Wardenclyffe, Long Island where Nikola Tesla's lab once stood has concluded successfully. The fundraiser aimed to raise $850,000 and ended up with $1.4 million, with donations from over 100 countries. The money was given to a group called The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and was used to buy the land from the Agfa Corporation, its erstwhile owner.

With The Oatmeal's help, nonprofit buys property to build a Tesla Museum

(Image: Tesla Science Center)

Cory in Redondo Beach today

Yo, Redondo Beach! You're my last west coast stop on this leg of the Pirate Cinema tour, and I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy today at 2:30PM (I'll be back on this coast later to visit Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle). Tomorrow, I'll be in Lansing, MI, before a multi-day Chicagoland extravaganza. The tour has stops in cities across the US and Canada -- see the full schedule for details. Come on out and meet your fellow happy mutants!

Clothes made from vintage kids' sheets


One of my favorite shirts of all time is a Western shirt made partly from recycled Star Wars sheets, just like the ones I had as a boy. In that vein, I offer you BongaChopShop on Etsy, where you will find a wide variety of dresses, bags, etc, made from other brightly colored kids' sheets from the same era, such as the Star Wars dress or the GI Joe dress. (via Neatorama)