Bruce Sterling's closing SXSW keynote: disruption and destruction

In Bruce Sterling's barn-burning closing keynote for SXSW 2013, he confronts the realities of disruption -- that disruption leads to destruction. Our wonderful things destroy other wonderful things. The future composts the past. We roast the 20th century over our bonfire, let's not shamefully pretend that we did it by accident. Let's eat our kill.

Important stuff.

Bruce Sterling closing remarks at SXSW2013 Read the rest

Steampunk DJ mask from Bob Basset

The wonderful folks at Bob Basset in Ukraine have a new piece up, the "Steampunk DJ Mask," of which I'm rather fond.

New Steampunk DJ Mask Read the rest

Happy birthday, Lee "Scratch" Perry! (and 1985 interview video)

Interview with Lee "Scratch" Perry from the 1985 documentary "Jools in Jamaica."

LEGO Star Trek Into Darkness trailer

You may have seen the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, but have you seen it... IN LEGO?

Is it worth spending half your profits "fighting piracy"?

On TechDirt, Tim Cushing follows up on a WSJ story where filmmaker/indie distributor Kathy Wolfe says that half of her profits, about $30,000, are spent sending out DMCA takedown notices to fight piracy. Wolfe has an admirably successful and long-lived business, and Cushing tries to find out how Wolfe hit on the $30,000 figure as the optimal amount to spend fighting piracy, but it seems that Wolfe's spending of half her profits are based largely on faith, and unsupported by any data she is willing to share.

Removing links may generate a few sales, but certainly not enough to offset an effort of this magnitude. Some file sharers will never purchase anything, and if they can't pirate a Wolfe film, they'll simply find something else to download. Others will purchase something after an illicit "preview." Taking away the link they might have utilized simply sends them looking for other links... or other movies. Generally speaking, a failed search for a "free" movie rarely results in the sale of the same movie.

Wolfe Video is doing the right thing by diversifying its distribution across multiple services and, even better, by running its own in-house digital rental/download platform. These efforts will do more to increase sales (and profits) than $30,000 worth of takedown notices. It's hard not to view illegal downloads as "lost sales," but entertaining that notion results in deterrence efforts that far outweigh the benefits.

The fact is that removing illegal options won't generate sales. Removing a negative ("lost sale via illegal download") doesn't create a positive ("gained[?] sale").

Read the rest

James Herbert, esteemed British horror/SF author, RIP

Famed British horror/dystopian fiction author James Herbert has died at age 69. Herbert was the author of more than twenty scary, science fiction, and/or apocalyptic tales like the 1970s man-eating rodent classics The Rats and Lair, and also The Fog, about an insanity-inducing chemical weapon.

"James Herbert: Master of British horror fiction" (The Guardian)

James Herbert (Amazon) Read the rest

The Owl is wise to the monumental mischief of the Terror Twins!

Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman, wrote the script for The Owl #2 (1968). Be careful, Terror Twins -- the blades on your gyro-copters are too close!

(Via Suddenly) Read the rest

Bike headlight displays speed

My friend Matt Richardson made a system for his bike that projects a spotlight with data onto the street. It's currently set up to display speed, but it can also be used to project other kinds of information (like turn-by-turn directions). He's going to write about it for MAKE so you can build one, too. Read the rest

Mr. Green shows how he composed a song for Rime

Mr. Green had fun making a song for graffiti writer Rime at Art Basel.

Back at it for December, 2012′s Art Basel, Rime and The Seventh Letter teamed up with Klughaus Gallery and Live From The Streets to bring an out of the box experience to Miami. With rented UHaul trucks to be painted, mobile music performances, and a cache of alcohol, weed, and mushrooms on deck, Rime and crew were able to keep the party going through out the week. Long nights of painting, partying, disappearing people and vehicles, and outwitting cock blocking cops made for hard to forget adventure.

See the 10-minute video here Read the rest

Ray Bradbury's fan letter to Robert A Heinlein

The Houston Press's 2011 coverage of Comicpalooza included this shot of a beautiful letter of appreciation from Ray Bradbury to Robert Heinlein, written in 1976.



AUG – 1976

The wonderful thing for me is that when I was 19-20-21, I, too, found many writers who were graceful and helpful to me and my writing, from Judith Merril and Damon Knight to James Patrick Kelly and Nancy Kress. Science fiction has always been a place where debts are paid forward.

From Ray Bradbury to Robert Heinlein, 1976 (via MeFi) Read the rest

Pop-up egg-on-a-stick cooking gadget

I have no idea whether the output of this "cook a perfect tubular egg-thing-on-a-stick" produces anything remotely edible, but the production company that made it is basically staffed with evil geniuses.

ACLU files suit to stop warrantless mobile phone searches

The ACLU of Northern California today filed suit against San Francisco and its Police Chief Gregory Suhr on behalf of civil rights activist Bob Offer-Westort, "whose cell phone was searched by the San Francisco Police Department without a warrant after he was arrested while engaging in peaceful civil disobedience."

The suit charges that warrantless cell phone searches at the time of arrest violate the constitutional rights not only of arrestees but also of their family, friends, co-workers, and anyone whose information is in their phones. This practice violates the right to privacy, and the right to speak freely without police listening in to what we say and who we talk to.
Here's the lawsuit document (PDF). It's interesting reading.

Offer-Westort advocates for the rights of homeless people. There's a video about his work here. Read the rest

Last chance to kick in for the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, which seeks to convert and preserve priceless lunar mission data from old analog media for future space nerds, has just a few hours left to reach its goal. Previous BB post here with video, and Maggie has more here. As tweeted by William Shatner! Yes, people will write checks to explore space. You can donate here, for a few more hours.

Read the rest

Space spy? NASA researcher, a Chinese national, arrested on plane bound for China

Aerospace contractor Bo Jiang, who is accused by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) of being a spy, made a first appearance in federal court on Monday. The Chinese national worked on contract at NASA's Langley's Research Center in Hampton, VA.

Federal agents grabbed him over the weekend just as he was boarding a flight from Dulles airport (in DC) to Beijing. He is charged with making false statements to U.S. authorities by failing to disclose all of the electronic devices he was carrying on his one-way flight, and has since been jailed.

Read the rest

Napalm Death concert cancelled, fear of volume-related building damage

Famed grindcore band Napalm Death were slated to play a unique concert at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Friday night, but the museum cancelled the show fearing that "the high level of decibels generated by the performance would damage the historic fabric of the building." The group was to play through a sculptural ceramic sound system built by artist Keith Harrison. The sculpture was expected to crumble under the volume of the performance.

"Sound as a weapon - or a weapon of change - is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating," Napalm Death vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway said last week. "The noise element of music should never be understated and this exhibition at the V&A will hopefully demonstrate that music can do interesting things beyond the realms of clipped production techniques."

According to the V&A, the museum "is committed to an exciting programme of exhibitions and events but the safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times."

Above, Napalm Death's "Suffer the Children" from their 1990 album Harmony Corruption, the first album to feature Greenway on vocals.

(via BBC News)

 What does a sonic blaster ("less-lethal" audio weapon) feel like ... Make your own $1 million vomit-inducing flashlight for $250 - Boing ... Testing infrasound thrills and chills with a double-blind randomized ... Infrasound Experiment - Boing Boing Read the rest

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