Cheers to Ali Spagnola, who spent three years and $30,000 to invalidate a bogus trademark awarded on a popular—and decades-old—drinking game.
American intellectual property law is enough to drive one to drink.
Just ask Pittsburgh musician and artist Ali Spagnola, who emerged victorious earlier this year after what has to be one of the weirdest trademark battles in recent history. Spagnola spent three years and $30,000 of her own money to correct an error by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It’s an example of a larger problem, where people who create and curate for kicks run afoul of those willing to abuse the trademark system to shut down our fun.
Last week, deejay Jimmy O'Neill died at his home in West Hollywood at
age 73. O'Neill was a central figure in hippie culture, and he got a
pretty raw deal from The Man for his efforts. O'Neill was host of the
enormously popular teen music show Shindig!, then used his clout to
open a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip and book his
favorite acts. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the
strip, and soon the killjoys descended. The city hastily enacted a
series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. The footage
in this clip from November 12, 1966 shows what happened next.
In what would become a template for youth resistance, young people
gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept
growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn
and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The
incident inspired many songs, including Buffalo Springfield's anthem
“For What It's Worth," often interpreted as an anti-war song. The
young people who witnessed this injustice, including Peter Fonda, Phil
Proctor, and Jack Nicholson, came away with renewed resolve to fight
even bigger political battes.
Boing Boing fave and pioneering cult artists Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) and beloved Other Half Lady Jaye (who passed away at 39 years old in 2007) are the subject of The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. Director Marie Losier documents the loving relationship of the two soul mates and collaborators, focusing on their Pandrogyne project. As an expression of their love, the pair received simultaneous surgical procedures to merge into a third pandrogynous being. Update from Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: "It's really a love, LOVE letter to Jaye and all the casualties of the pain of bigotry and bias too many of us experience." [apologies for the inaccurate earlier description! -AJ]
Following the film, Thee Majesty will play a full set of their ambient soundscapes and spoken word, led by Genesis. This rare performance will blend poetry, performance with music improvisation, hypnotic loops and blistering noise. Sounds like a Boing Boing lullaby!
...It would be a lot like the Matt Mulholland version of the execrable "Friday." Whenever that song goes back in my head, Matt's version pulls me back from the brink of insanity. Thank you Matt, for proving turd-polishing is not a lost art. Video link. (PS: Sorry for breaking the BB press blackout on she who must not be named.)
Last year, Pesco mentioned the new SXSW Title Design Competition. Ian Albinson's presentation video for this year's SXSW "Excellence in Title Design" competition screening summarizes a lot of the really good work in film (and some recent television), from Intolerance, to Enter the Void. Some good films to add to your watch list, too. Link has full list of titles. Video link.
Zick Rubin is a copyright/trademark lawyer who used to teach psychology. His work was notable enough to be cited in the The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology. Unfortunately, that book listed him as having died in 1997, as shown above. Wikia, the for-profit wiki farm, has a Psychology Wiki entry for Rubin which included his death date, citing the Penguin book. Rubin, still very much alive, was doing a little vanity Googling when he learned of his death. He sent a note to Wikia's Angela Beesley, who corrected the article, only to have it reverted. Rubin then wrote a New York Times piece blaming "the internet" for trying to kill him, currently one of their most e-mailed stories.
The New York Times loves stories claiming the internet is full of dopes who generate misinformation when they aren't stealing from others (see the epic Bill Keller/Arianna Huffington beef this week). Psychology Wiki, like the unrelated Wikipedia project, requires a reliable source for any disputed fact, but that is one of those things that's very hard for people outside of wiki-world to understand. Wikipedia's policy is verifiability, not truth. This simple rule is a cornerstone policy, one of the five pillars.
The editor who reverted Angela's change was following policy, though it would have been better to go the extra step and find one of the many reliable sources stating that Rubin has been above ground since 1997. The good thing about the internet is that these changes can be made quickly and easily. So I wrote him a nice proper Wikipedia article today, citing his Times Op-Ed and putting that content into the Creative Commons. So Psychology Wiki is corrected, he has a new Wikipedia entry, and the Penguin dictionary is... still floating around with its misinformation. Can't blame "the internet" any more.
Turning data strings like DNA and what-not into audio can produce interesting results. YouTube user r2blend says, "If you import an EXE file into an audio program as audio data, you hear all kinds of cool stuff. The most awesome by far for me was MS Paint." Fisco130 then made a club remix of the MS Paint data audio. Wonder if any scans of great works of art contain secret music? Does malware translate to sad trombone sound, or Rick Astley? [Video link]
The skies have stories to tell. Some of the stories make for interesting puzzles, particularly sightings of previously unseen objects in earth orbit. My friend Ted Molczan is part of a small but dedicated group of private citizens who track satellites, with a special focus on unannounced/secret satellite launches. 2011 has already been an interesting year for the group, who post their findings at the SeeSat-L website (satobs.org) and others. Ted presented compelling evidence that he had spotted a possible Prowler satellite that may have been secretly launched in 1990 on space shuttle launch STS 38. Today, Greg Roberts of their group found the USAF's X-37B OTV 2-1 spaceplane, launched into a secret orbit on Saturday. Ted was kind enough to share his philosophy, techniques, and consumer-grade equipment, all of which is easily available for interested citizens wishing to get involved.
Do you consider yourself a government transparency activist?
Ted: "I see myself as a hobbyist who enjoys solving technical puzzles that help to increase public knowledge of space flight, and improve the transparency of activities taking place in Earth orbit."
How do you respond to your critics within government intelligence agencies?
Ted:"The most common criticism is that by publishing the orbits of intelligence gathering satellites, we may enable adversaries of the U.S.A. and its allies to
Evolution Control Committee's new compilation collects all the cool stuff they have released in bits and pieces over the last few years. Who knew we'd reach a point where there were mashup nostalgia acts! It's hard to believe ECC has not been sued into oblivion since their seminal Rocked by Rape* single took aim at how the mainstream news packages fear for consumption (between similarly-themed television commercials). Well, Dan Rather is retired, but ECC is still here in all their parodic/fair-commenting glory. If you haven't heard them before, "Stairway To Britney" is hard to beat in the mashup pantheon, and "Pwn Monkey" blends Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" with a manic pastiche of samples not seen since Paul's Boutique. They even start the album with a funny EULA-pimping "Listener License Agreement" track. You can find ECC on Amazon, iTunes, most major P2P sites, or below. They're doing live shows to support the album, too, so check it out.
NSFW: clip contains nude-idity. Mikl-Em at Laughing Squid has an excellent post today about how San Francisco became the epicenter of the professionalization of America's pornography industry. Sex and early adoption of technology are always closely intertwined, and many new technologies become widely adopted because they improve the means of production and/or distribution of pornography. San Francisco's mix of hippies, recently discharged Vietnam veterans, burlesque halls, and shuttered film houses created a perfect storm of opportunity in 1969 for amateur stag films to evolve into a nascent film industry. I can't wait to see the full-up version of this documentary.
These beautiful dragonfly-like model planes can float for up to half an hour under the power of one single-wound rubber band. Check out the trailer for Float posted by Phil Kibbe. Amazing craftsmanship and techniques! Video link. (via devour.com)
We've seen matadors get their comeuppance before, but here's another entry in Boing Boing's ongoing series of animal karma: during the commotion at a police raid of a cockfight, one of the roosters decked out with razor-sharp blades cut a guy so badly he died. The headlines write themselves, so please add yours in the comments. Also, cocks.