For the majority of us, our online connections with friends, family, colleagues and internet celebrities are managed through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When YASN (Yet Another Social Network) comes along and asks us to rebuild those social connections from scratch – but this time in "their" sandbox – most of us simply change the channel. Instead of asking you to re-create your social sphere, the new Outlook.com preview connects to the social networks you already use – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (and even Google) – to take advantage of the connections and relationships you’ve already created and use every day.
"In a new memoir, Wyclef Jean, the Haitian-born hip-hop celebrity, claims he endured a “crucifixion” after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake when he faced questions about his charity’s financial record and ability to handle what eventually amounted to $16 million in donations."
A landmark fair use ruling: a judge in the Southern District Court of New York has ruled that Google's program of scanning books for libraries, and giving them copies to use for full-text search is fair use. The suit was brought by the Authors' Guild against the Hathitrust Digital Library, which holds the digital books for the library. Timothy B Lee does a good job summing up the judgment and its implications for Ars Technica:
"The use to which the works in the HDL are put is transformative because the copies serve an entirely different purpose than the original works: the purpose is superior search capabilities rather than actual access to copyrighted material," wrote Judge Baer. "The search capabilities of the HDL have already given rise to new methods of academic inquiry such as text mining." Similarly, Judge Baer noted, the scanning program allows blind readers to read the books, something they can't do with the original.
Also key is the fourth factor: the impact on the market for the works. While a book search engine obviously doesn't undermine the market for paper books, the authors had argued that a finding of fair use would hamper their ability to earn revenue by selling the right to scan their books. But Judge Baer rejected this argument as fundamentally circular. He quoted a previous court decision that made the point: "Were a court automatically to conclude in every case that potential licensing revenues were impermissibly impaired simply because the secondary user did not pay a fee for the right to engage in the use, the fourth factor would always favor the copyright owner."
Etsy's Lameasaurus Awesomesauce makes and sells these custom nerdy dresses, including R2D2, Tardis, Dumbo, Vader, Mickey, Snow White, and many others: "The dress is fully lined dress with a semi-fitted bodice and elasticized back, circle skirt that twirls and swishes beautifully. It is made of 100% cotton with the exception of detailing. The dress can be ironed and washed."
Jeffrey sez, "Because there aren't enough things to be sad about in the world.
Behold, a once-glorious attic full of books falling victim to entropy and vandalism.
I don't know the real story behind this, but I know a sad sight when I see it."
McLaren, a cheating Formula 1 team, got caught and fined £34M, so they deducted it from their taxes. The British tax authority objected, but they appealed, and won. Ren Reynolds has a gamerly perspective on this on Terra Nova:
In short McLaren argue that the fine was an expense related to the trade that they were engaged in. That there are exceptions to this such as statutory fines, but this was not such a fine, it arose out of the contract between them and the sporting body and it was not a 'punishment' but a commercial deterrent as such it was a risk of and thus an expense of trade.
The way that this has been presented in some elements of the UK media is a some what popularist version of the dissenting opinion in the case by Dee. This opinion holds that the fine was a punishment and that 'fines and penalties' of a similar nature are not allowable under tax law. What's more "the conduct of McLaren fell way outside any normal and acceptable way of conducting their trade, as found by the WMSC."
The problem with this view is that it misunderstands the nature of games / sport and in particular their relationship with law.
To put it simply the sort of conduct that is accepted as part of a gaming or sporting practice is not just that set out by the rules but also a wide set of acts that are within the tradition of the actual practice of that game or sport. That is, there are types of cheating that while outside the rules of the sport are still seen as being within the bounds of that sport.
On the LJ Vintage Ads group, the always-reliable Man Writing Slash has assembled a collection of some of the finest illustrated peanut butter ads this writer has had the pleasure of seeing. It's a slice of idealized simulacrum straight from the collective unconscious of the American appetite.
I've found that having big stretches of time where I don't frequently check my email boosts my ability to accomplish things. A service called AwayFind gives me the peace of mind to ignore my inbox.
In a nutshell, AwayFind lets you add selected email addresses to a Priority Inbox. When someone on your list sends you an email, a notification appears on your phone. That way, you don't need to check your email inbox every few minutes. I've added my family members, my book editor, my coworkers at MAKE and Boing Boing, and a few other people to my Priority Inbox list.
Does this sound like Apple's new VIP feature? Yes, AwayFind and Apple's VIP share some of the same functionality. However, AwayFind goes beyond Apple's VIP feature, making it much more useful. Jared Goralnick, the founder of AwayFind, wrote a blog post that describes the features in AwayFind that VIP doesn't have. For instance, AwayFind determines the 25 people that you reply to the fastest and makes it easy to add them to your Priority Inbox (this list is regenerated every month). It also notifies you when someone you've scheduled a meeting with sends you an email before your meeting, even if they aren't in your Priority Inbox. These examples just scratch the surface. Check out a list of the other differences between VIP and AwayFind here.
You can try AwayFind for free for 30 days. After that you can subscribe to a personal plan for $4.99 a month, which includes 100 alerts a month, or a pro account for $14.99 a month, which gives you 1000 alerts per month.
Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Fiona Apple have all been famously busted for possession of cannabis at Texas' Sierra Blanca border checkpoint. But Nelly, who was detained last night, could be in a little more trouble than his fellow musicians. When his bus was searched, officers found 36 bags of heroin, a loaded pistol, and a duffel bag with 10 pounds of cannabis.
One of the passengers, a man named Brian Keith Jones, has fessed up to owning everything and was arrested. A dubious claim, sure, but Nelly and the remaining five people were released.
Yesterday, I posted my interview with Adrian Tomine on the Gweek podcast. We talked about his new book, New York Drawings, which has every illustration he's done for The New Yorker. Below are some of the illustrations we talked about at length in the podcast. I like the way Adrian tells a little story in a single illustration. Don't miss Adrian's funny autobiographical one-page comic strip about getting into a heated discussion with his relatives about his dislike of e-books.
His book also includes many of his sketchbook drawings and watercolors.
You've no doubt heard of Walter Mischel's Marshmallow Test and its followup study, which examined the relationship between delayed gratification (the ability to resist the temptation to eat a marshmallow right away with the promise of more if you succeed) and overall life success. Celeste Kidd, a U Rochester doctoral candidate, has published a paper in Cognition challenging Mischel's findings, arguing that children from more unpredicatable circumstances may choose the single marshmallow because they have a rational basis for suspecting that the experimenter is lying to them about the additional marshmallows that await them if they follow instructions.
The Marshmallow Test is sometimes used to suggest that people are poor because they have low self-control; Kidd's paper implies that poor people behave wisely when they grab opportunities as they present themselves, because they are often lied to when it comes to promises of greater rewards down the road.
Celeste Kidd adds:
The video discusses a study we recently did at the University of Rochester that revisits the original 'marshmallow task' experiments from Stanford in the 1960's. Our results suggest children's waiting during the marshmallow task might actually result from a rational decision-making process--not just a deficiency in self-control.
In the Stanford experiments, most children--75% of 3- to 5-year-olds in one study--appeared unable to resist the temptation of an immediate low-value reward (one marshmallow now) over a future high-value one (two marshmallows after 15 minutes). There's a popular misconception about these studies, though, which is that waiting for the second marshmallow is always the right thing to do. In fact, there are a lot of situations in which waiting is a bad idea. If you're skeptical that a second marshmallow will ever become available--or you believe there's a risk that your first marshmallow might be taken away--you should enjoy the smaller reward right away.
In our study, we preceded marshmallow-task testing with evidence that the experimenter running the study was either reliable or unreliable. Children who believed the experimenter was reliable then waited about four times longer before eating the marshmallow than those who thought she was unreliable (12 minutes vs. 3 minutes). These results suggest that children engage in very sensible decision-making that considers environmental reliability. They may also provide an alternative explanation for why marshmallow wait-times correlate with later life success--successful people grow up in reliable situations. Broadly, the study illustrates that children build a model of the reliability of others' behavior--and use this model to inform their decisions.
Scene from “Where the Wild Things Are” from the Aldeburgh Festival, directed by Netia Jones
Video artist Netia Jones holds a 21st century-style Wild Rumpus in the LA Phil’s production of Oliver Knussen’s opera version of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. With Sendak’s blessing, Jones devised a multimedia marvel where live opera singers are projected into Sendak’s world, creating an environment where monsters react to the onstage performers and vice versa.
The opera, written by Knussen in conjunction with Sendak, features honorary Wild Thing Gustavo Dudamel leading the LA Philharmonic in the loud, blustery and…well, wild affair.
On Thursday, The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released a report on privacy concerns sparked by the advent of whole genome sequencing (decoding the entirety of someone's DNA make-up), and the ease with which commercial startups offer to obtain and decode secretly-swiped DNA samples. Chairperson Amy Gutmann told reporters on Wednesday that there is a "potential for misuse of this very personal data." More at Reuters.
A Canadian musician called DJ Kid Koala has released a new album called 12-Bit Blues that comes with a kit for building your own miniature cardboard turntable, and a bonus two-track flexidisc to play on it. You spin the disc by hand, choosing the tempo that feels best to you. Here's a description from Springwise:
Although the record is being released on CD and LP – as well as digitally – those purchasing a limited edition physical copy will also get a flatpack kit that will enable them to construct a miniature working turntable and speaker resembling a gramaphone. The device is made of only cardboard and a sewing pin that acts as the needle. The package also includes a flexidisc containing three bonus tracks, which can be played on the turntable by rotating the disc by hand. The album itself is a nostalgic take on blues and hip-hop and the turntable addition is designed to invoke the old-time aspect of blues music and toy-building activities reminiscent of childhood, as well as forcing the listener to put in some work and attention in order to hear the music.
Without the use of post-production manipulation, Rogers’ works are made in-camera, on the spot, in water and at night. She applies her technique to bodies submerged in water during tropical nights in Hawaii. Through a fragile process of experimentation, she builds elaborate scenes of coalesced colours and entangled bodies that exalt the human character as one of vigour and warmth, while also capturing the beauty and vulnerability of the tragic experience that is the human condition.
"I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid of going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools."—Malala Yousafzai, age 11.
Ed Yong writes about the Chinese soft-shelled turtle: "Looks like someone glued the snout of a pig onto the face of a fish, with the texture of a scrotum for good measure. But its bizarre appearance pales in comparison to an even more bizarre, and newly discovered, habit: it urinates through its mouth."
Remember arsenic life? In 2010 NASA researchers thought they'd found evidence that certain bacteria could use arsenic in their DNA where all other forms of life on Earth use phosphate. Then it turned out their research was really flawed. Then it turned out they were wrong. In general, there was a to-do.
Fast forward to this month, when scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel published a study in which they were trying to figure out how bacteria can tell the difference between phosphate and arsenate and "know" to prefer the phosphate. They used phosphate-collecting proteins from four different species of bacteria in their research, including the one that had been at the center of the arsenic life controversy. And along the way, they discovered a fun twist to that story.