Mitik, a 234-pound, 15-week-old, rescued baby walrus, will travel from his former home in Alaska to New York City this week in a jumbo-size crate aboard a FedEx cargo jet, accompanied by a veterinarian and a handler.
Update: Here's Cory modelling one! And here's a previous post about the black ones. Cory says, "They make several appearances in HOMELAND, the forthcoming sequel
to LITTLE BROTHER." (The thing that's new here is the colors.)
My latest Guardian column is "Giving online customers the chance to pay what they want works," which describes the thinking behind the Humble Ebook Bundle, a bold name-your-price ebook promo that launches today:
What if the experience of purchasing electronic media was redesigned around making you feel trusted and sincerely appreciated? What if you knew that the lion's share of the money you spent on electronic media went straight to the creator? What if, in short, you knew your honesty would be rewarded with a fair deal for all parties?
Of all the ideas from the heady days of internet futurism, none is as fraught as "price discrimination," the practice of charging different rates to different customers for the same product. Price discrimination is a mainstay of the travel industry, where airlines and hotels try all manner of tricks to try and figure out who's willing to pay more and charge them accordingly.
For example, travellers who won't endure an overnight Saturday stay are presumed to be travelling on business, charging the ticket to someone else, and therefore less price-sensitive. So itineraries with Saturday stays are often much cheaper than those without.
Region-coding on DVDs is a crack at this: the cost of producing a DVD is very low, so the retail price is pretty much arbitrary. The studios thought they could offer goods at one price in rich countries, and a lower price in poor countries, and use region-codes to prevent the flow of cheap versions from the poor world to the rich world. But DVDs actually cost something to produce on a per-unit basis. What about purely digital goods?
Antifascist protesters in Greece who were arrested during a clash with members of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party/gang say they were tortured by the police, who put out cigarettes on them, tased them, beat them, and threatened to provide their names and addresses to Golden Dawn revenge squads. The Guardian's Maria Margaronis reports:
Several of the protesters arrested after the first demonstration on Sunday 30 September told the Guardian they were slapped and hit by a police officer while five or six others watched, were spat on and "used as ashtrays" because they "stank", and were kept awake all night with torches and lasers being shone in their eyes.
Some said they were burned on the arms with a cigarette lighter, and they said police officers videoed them on their mobile phones and threatened to post the pictures on the internet and give their home addresses to Golden Dawn, which has a track record of political violence.
One of the two women among them said the officers used crude sexual insults and pulled her head back by the hair when she tried to avoid being filmed. The protesters said they were denied drinking water and access to lawyers for 19 hours. "We were so thirsty we drank water from the toilets," she said.
One man with a bleeding head wound and a broken arm that he said had been sustained during his arrest alleged the police continued to beat him in GADA and refused him medical treatment until the next morning. Another said the police forced his legs apart and kicked him in the testicles during the arrest.
Call it kismet. Last year police officers fenced in a peaceful young woman and pepper sprayed her in the face at an Occupy protest. She fell in love with the medic who came to her aid. On September 28 the couple had a baby: Tegan Kathleen Grodt!
The New York police department conducts 1800 stop-question-and-frisks every day. This video contains an audio recording of a couple of Officer Friendlies conducting a stop-and-frisk on a Harlem teen named Alvin.
Radley Balko says:
This video includes a surreptitious recording of a stop and frisk in New York. It also includes interviews with NYPD cops who say that what you’re hearing isn’t atypical.
The phrase “police state” is overused. But if you can’t merely walk on the sidewalk in your own neighborhood without enduring this kind of harassment on a regular basis, I don’t know of any term that’s more appropriate.
Here's a beautifully shot video profile of our friend Mark Pauline, founder of Survival Research Laboratories. Mark has been creating explosive robotic art performances for over 30 years.
This is Mark Pauline, and for 34 of his 58 years he’s built robots. They are not practical robots, not servile room-sweepers or toadying floor-moppers, but multi-ton monstrosities, feral machines of metal and fire birthed from his idiosyncratic imagination. Everywhere he looks he sees machines yoked to the banal — a jet engine, a backhoe, a pair of industrial movers — everyday technologies bored by their routines. He sees their potential, then sets to liberating it; he digs deep into the machines to discover what they really want to be.
A couple of minutes into the video there's a scene where Mark is being questioned by a firefighter about the crazy fires and explosions involved in the show. It's hilarious.