Today on Boing Boing tv, the first in a series of gaming/gadget features with Joel Johnson from an annual celebration of 8-bit/videogame-inspired music. Joel says:
Last week found us at Blip Festival 2008, the megalocus of live chiptunes music, where Game Boys met Atari STs with Amiga visuals for four evenings of square wave fun.
We were out in Gowanus in Brooklyn at the event, at least until Rob and I got tired and had to go home and rest our widdle heads. But until then, we got to speak to several of the artists just after their sets, and the BBtv crew is taking our drunken, blurry footage and actually making something worth watching out of it.
Perhaps you missed an episode or two of Boing Boing's daily original video programming this week? Here's a recap, so you can watch while you pretend to be productive at work for what's left of this fine Friday.
â™¦ THURSDAY: I interviewed WITNESS digital archivist Grace Lile, and she spoke about the importance of preserving and making available video that documents human rights abuses -- here in the US, and around the world. WATCH IT. Here's a Direct MP4 Link.
â™¦ Also on Thursday, we aired a WITNESS video feature about the lives of child soldiers in the Congo, and a man who works to demobilize, rehabilitate, and protect them. WATCH IT. Here's a Direct MP4 Link.
â™¦ FRIDAY, today -- we aired our final WITNESS feature in this week's series. This video told the story of a Mayan man who witnessed the Rio Negro Massacre in Guatemala. WATCH IT. Here's a Direct MP4 Link.
In this episode: the story of Jesus Tecu Osorio, a Maya Achí man who witnessed one of the most horrific massacres of Guatemala's 36-year internal conflict, when he was a child -- and what he is doing to preserve the memory of victims, and the rights of survivors.
In 1978, in the face of civil war, the Guatemalangovernment proceeded with its economic development program, including the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam. Financed in large part by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the Chixoy Dam was built in Rabinal, a region of the department of Baja Verapaz historically populated by the MayaAchi. To complete construction, the government completed voluntary and forcible relocations of dam-affected communities from the fertile agricultural valleys to the much harsher surrounding highlands. When hundreds of residents refused to relocate, or returned after finding the conditions of resettlement villages were not what the government had promised, these men, women, and children were kidnapped, raped, and massacred by military officials. More than 440 Maya Achi were killed in the village of Río Negro alone, and the string of extra-judicial killings that claimed up to 5,000 lives between 1980 and 1982 became known as the Río Negro Massacres. The government officially declared the acts to be counterinsurgency activities.
This video is narrated by REM frontman Michael Stipe, and is presented with the music of composer Philip Glass. For more on WITNESS, and how they are using video to draw world attention to human rights abuses throughout the globe, visit the recently launched Witness HUB website.
Related: earlier here on Boing Boing, I shared a report I filed for National Public Radio about the group that conducted the exhumations mentioned in this WITNESS video. The Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) are technologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists who unearth these mass graves. They work to identify the dead and return the remains to their families for dignified reburial. The process begins with the hard work of the exhumation itself, but they also use DNA forensics and software they develop themselves, so they can identify a greater portion of the remains, and preserve evidence that could be used in criminal trials. FAFG staff routinely deal with death threats from those who do not support their work. Listen to "Group Works to Identify Remains in Guatemala ," and here is the entire NPR special series, "Guatemala: Unearthing the Future." (Image below: Xeni Jardin)
Previous BBtv + WITNESS episodes on video and human rights:
BBtv presents this week's Friday "Unicorn Chaser" -- the goofy truth behind Xeni and BBtv's UK music correspondent Russell Porter's reports from the SF Outside Lands music festival. Summer concert season is long gone, and the gaffer tape that once spelled "Boing Boing tv" on our tour bus has long since faded, along with our concert sunburns. So we figure it's safe to reveal how much dorking out took place between story tapings and band sessions. Besotted joyrides on stolen Segways, the snatching of sunglasses from complete strangers, and improvised pickup lines like "I'm the drummer from Radiohead. Really." Russell? You really are "special." We love you, man, and we miss "working" with you.
BBtv Reports from the 2008 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival:
More than 20,000 children have been abducted and forced into armed service by warring factions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996. Many of these children are sexually exploited; many are forced to participate in or witness atrocities, as a way of life.
In this episode, we'll hear from Bukeni Waruzi of the Child Soldier Project (AJEDI-Ka/PES), who are working to demobilize the boys and girls and provide them with protection, rehabilitation, and psychological care.
If you'd like to support the work of the Child Soldier Project, here's more info on how to assist (they are accepting donations, but there are other ways to help, too).
For more on WITNESS, and how they are using video to draw world attention to human rights abuses throughout the globe, visit the recently launched Witness HUB website.
Machine Project, a wonderful little alt/tech gallery and event space in Los Angeles where we've shot many a Boing Boing tv episode, is hosting another one of their annual holiday season Fry-B-Ques.
Last year, BBtv attended, and we shot the episode above. You're not actually supposed to fry gadgets, and now that a year has passed, fine, I can reveal that we did not really fry a cellphone. It's all Final Cut magic. Fake. Fakefakefake. You cannot fry cellphones, or gadgets, or bailed-out automobile manufacturers, or credit default swaps, or anything non-edible at the Fry-B-Que. There, that's over with. I feel so much better.
Now, then. If you go, here is my advice: do not eat anything for like 48 hours beforehand. Here's the blurb from Machine Project:
Fry-B-Q is here! Please join us on Sunday, December 14th at 8pm. This year there's a new twist – Pie-B-Q! Head to Machine for the fried food extravaganza and live music by Emily Lacy & friends, and then go next door to our neighbors the Echo Park Film Center for screenings of new videos from the Machine Project Field Guide to LACMA, rare Machine home videos and pies. Pies! Starts at 8pm. Admission to the event is free, pay $5 for all you can fry privileges, and $5 for all you can pie privileges. Things to do:
1) Arrive between 8 - 11 pm Sunday Dec 14th.
2) Bring something edible to fry. Our trained fryolater technicians will be standing by, eager to batter and fatify your soon to be delicious snacks. Our extensive testing suggests that almost any item will bring great fried satisfaction - potatoes, fish, vegetables, onions, twinkies, etc. Just in case we bought extra fire extinguishers.
3) prepare for eating pie.
4) Bring cash or checks (or credit cards) small and large and become a friend of Machine Project. We need your help to keep doing what we do, and your membership fee is fully tax deductible. Details on our support page.
Today, we present this interview with the organization's digital archivist, Grace Lile about video as a tool to fight human rights abuses at home and abroad. She tells us about how WITNESS gathers videos from human rights activists and "citizen eyewitnesses," and why collecting and preserving this footage matters.
Grace also tells us about the recently-launched hub.witness.org, which is a sort of gathering place for people who want to get involved.
(Special thanks to Yvette Alberdingkthijm, Sameer Padania, Martin Tzanev, Matisse Bustos Hawkes, and Bryan Nuñez of Witness, and BB Patron Saint Joi Ito.)
WITNESS was founded by musician and activist Peter Gabriel with other human rights groups in 1992. They use video and online media to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. We'll be airing reports from the WITNESS archives this week, and tomorrow Boing Boing tv will present an interview with the organization's digital archivist, Grace Lile. She spoke with us about how WITNESS gathers videos like the one I'm embedding here, and why collecting and sharing this footage matters. She also tells us about the recently-launched hub.witness.org, which is a sort of gathering place for people who want to get involved.
Today, as a special edition of BBTV WORLD, we present a video from WITNESS that was produced by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). With this video, they sought to "prevent continued unlawful acts that threaten the rights to life, liberty and personal security of two boys, Jorge, age 18, and Julio, age 17, and 458 others detained in the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital of Paraguay." The two boys were detained in approximately six-by-six feet isolation cells, naked, and without access to bathrooms. Hospital staff said the boys have been detained in these conditions for the past four years.
The video is deeply disturbing. I found it very painful to watch. But the producers, and the people behind WITNESS, hope that by documenting these abuses and making the documentation available to the world in this explicit form, we will be inspired to stop the abuse -- in this case, and in others around the world.
Clearly still struggling through Infinite-Jest-esque urges to purchase beauty-enhancing video phone masks and the anxiety of talking to yourself while staring into a tiny, lit, terrifying Hal 9000 eye-hole, I've made my official non-gnome deathknight debut on BBtv.
In it I recap what we've been doing on the site (most notably, the debut of Monster Mii), recommend Dr. Awesome, the first game that's felt to me like a proper 'iPhone game,' versus a game that's merely been made for the iPhone, and let you know what's happening on the site in the coming weeks.
Bonus points for recognizing any of the ephemera in the background, and, as usual, a direct download link so you can blow it up full screen and shoot suction darts at my scruffy mug.
The Philips Norelco Bodygroom ($50) is a shaver for men, specially tuned to the harmonic frequencies resonant with the hexagonal shafts of masculine hair for a shave that doesn't just cut your hair – it shatters it. (Or it's just a fancy double-edge electric clipper specifically marketed for men.)
Either way I tried one on various bits of my body, including, I discovered to my horror after I had already uploaded the video to the BBtv crew, what was to end up to be my exposed cock. Thankfully due to the magic of editing you can enjoy my aimless rambling without getting a flash of the juniors, which have been replaced with the soothing softness of a harmless kitten.
You can get an idea of how the Bodygroom works in the video, but here's a quick spoiler: I think the new Bodygroom is a pretty great, especially with the new attachments, although I don't know that it does a whole lot that you couldn't do with any other rechargeable clippers. Still, recommended.
â™¦ Mark is into all things "down home" of late -- including chickens. He shot a time-lapse video of his chickens frolicking around in the back yard, and we did what any responsible viral video producers would do. ADDED YAKETY SAX.
â™¦ Pesco found some awesome Claymation Splatterpunk movies from a guy in Japan named Takena. He's a genius. Enjoy the montage in today's ep.
â™¦ MONDAY: Our Weekly Update featured Dale Dougherty speaking with us about why he believes television news (specifically CNN) is having a hard time covering the economic crisis. We spoke to Julie Amero, the substitute teacher in Connecticut whose life became an extended living hell because of pop-up porn on a computer in her classroom, and the stupidity of overeager prosecutors, lying IT "experts," and corrupt, buck-passing bureaucrats who don't know jack about technology (an extended audio interview with Amero is coming up on Boing Boing, soon). We viewed snapshots of the tragedy in Mumbai, a city known and loved by editors and commenters alike, here at Boing Boing. WATCH IT. Here's a direct MP4 Link.
â™¦ TUESDAY: In our weekly Boing Boing Gadgets Video feature, Joel Johnson did not show us his junk. But he did give us a naked shower review of an underwater MP3 player. He did not like the device, but many of our commenters rather liked seeing him make a lovable oaf of himself in the buff. WATCH IT. Here's a direct MP4 link.
â™¦ THURSDAY: Joi Ito invited Silicon Valley's Web 2.0 elite to Tokyo for a tour of the otaku district, led by Danny Choo in Stormtrooper finery. Danny is a big internet celebrity in Japan, and he is also the son of legendary shoe designer Jimmy Choo. This is already one of my all-time BBtv favorites. WATCH IT. Here's a Direct MP4 Link.
This year, the Digital Garage New Context Conference and Ellen Levy's Silicon Valley Connect worked together on a program for visitors from Silicon Valley to Tokyo. Silicon Valley Connect is a program that Ellen runs which brings executives and visionaries from Silicon Valley to various parts of the world. This year, we organized a group to visit Japan.
As part of the "cultural program" we decided to take a tour of Akihabara, the mecca of all things otaku, anime and electronic in Japan. I asked a very special friend, Danny Choo, son of the famous shoe designer Jimmy Choo, to lead the tour. I call Danny "The Prince of Akihabara". He is one of the world's experts on Japan's otaku culture and has one of the most popular English language websites about Japan.
What hath videoblogging wrought? It is my honor and personal shame to present my video review of the Freestyle Audio Soundwave underwater MP3 player. Using the miracle of not showing you my junk, this is my first nude videoblog, but remains safe for work. Except for my dancing, which if everything goes to plan, will induce crippling nausea.
If you'd like a direct download – I'm looking at you, my furry fanbase – then here is a direct MP4 link.
Might I suggest you wander on over to the viewer comment thread on Boing Boing Gadgets blog, where the words "cheapish," "fap," and "natural urge to want to see the entire shot" have recently been typed? And don't worry, I swear the video is totally worksafe. Also, the ending is quite funny, so do stick around for that.