The Dune in our Heads

A problem crops up when filmmakers try to adapt epic fantasy worlds to the big screen—particularly beloved, richly-imagined literary ones. Sacrifices must be made. Characters are cut, and plotlines are re-routed. Scenes and places don’t match what readers have pictured with their minds. Fans of the original book cry foul.

In the case of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, his vision for Frank Herbert’s masterwork Dune was so over the top, so surreal (and, at times, so absurd), it probably would have blown the minds of critics before they had a chance to grumble.

That is, if Jodorowsky’s translation and transmogrification of Dune had ever been made. It never was.

Read the rest

3D printed food-sculptures


Cornell University and the French Culinary Institute are collaborating to modify 3D printers to output delicious, detailed, edible objects. They puree materials such as "chocolate, cheese and hummus to scallops, turkey, and celery" and feed them to at Fab@Home open-source 3D printer. Shown here is a tiny Space Shuttle made of ground scallops and cheese.
"It lets you do complex geometries with food that you could never do by hand," said Jeffrey Lipton, a researcher and graduate student at the lab..."

"...I can imagine creating really interesting textures using meat with the same technique," [Dave Arnold, director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan] told Spark. "Imagine [a food] almost like a meatloaf that absorbs sauce like a sponge. That is cool -- much cooler to me than printing some ersatz steak."

3D printers create edible objects

Printing Food (Cornell University)

(Image: Cornell University/French Culinary Institute)

Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property: understanding the state of play in global knowledge politics

Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property is a book and free download from MIT press:
What might "terminator" seeds, access to medicines, free software, and free culture have to do with one another? Do the global attempts to push back against more intrusive intellectual property laws have a common perspective and theory? This book addresses that question, introducing readers to the emerging politics and ideas of "a2k," and the revolutionary expansion of "intellectual property" that preceded it. The book also is a critical engagement with the ideas and possibilities of A2K, with contributions by some of the leading thinkers in the field (Benkler, Liang, Aigrain, Love, and many others).
Co-editor Amy Kapczynski adds, "An online symposium about the book is ongoing at Concurring Opinions this week - stop by if you have thoughts to add!"

Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

LibreOffice turns 3.3, now ready for general use

The Document Foundation, which coordinates development of LibreOffice, a new, free and open office suite, has reached an important development milestone significantly ahead of schedule. LibreOffice 3.3 shipped this week; it's the first, stable, road-ready version of the suite. A large, 100+ community of developers has been attracted to the project, and while it's still clearly under construction, it's an impressive showing in a short time.
LibreOffice 3.3 brings several unique new features. The 10 most-popular among community members are, in no particular order: the ability to import and work with SVG files; an easy way to format title pages and their numbering in Writer; a more-helpful Navigator Tool for Writer; improved ergonomics in Calc for sheet and cell management; and Microsoft Works and Lotus Word Pro document import filters. In addition, many great extensions are now bundled, providing PDF import, a slide-show presenter console, a much improved report builder, and more besides. A more-complete and detailed list of all the new features offered by LibreOffice 3.3 is viewable on the following web page: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/new-features-and-fixes/

LibreOffice 3.3 also provides all the new features of OpenOffice.org 3.3, such as new custom properties handling; embedding of standard PDF fonts in PDF documents; new Liberation Narrow font; increased document protection in Writer and Calc; auto decimal digits for "General" format in Calc; 1 million rows in a spreadsheet; new options for CSV import in Calc; insert drawing objects in Charts; hierarchical axis labels for Charts; improved slide layout handling in Impress; a new easier-to-use print interface; more options for changing case; and colored sheet tabs in Calc. Several of these new features were contributed by members of the LibreOffice team prior to the formation of The Document Foundation.

The Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 3.3 (Thanks, Ben!)

Linux users twice as generous as Windows users

Crunching the numbers on the pay-what-you-like Humble Indie Bundle package, the Wolfire people noticed a curious thing: Linux users contribute twice as much as Windows users. "So far, the average Mac user is donating 40% more, and the average Linux user is donating 100% more!" I've got a half-formed theory in my head that living in a world where people are generous and share makes you generous and sharing, while living in a world where people are stingy and proprietary makes you stingy and proprietary. This would be why Econ students play the Ultimatum Game more cruelly than civilians.

IP Alliance says that encouraging free/open source makes you an enemy of the USA

The US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance has asked the US Trade Rep to add Indonesia to its list of rogue nations that don't respect copyright. What did Indonesia do to warrant inclusion on this "301 list"? Its government had the temerity to advise its ministries to give preference to free/open source software because it will cost less and reduce the use of pirated proprietary software in government. According to the IPA, this movement to reduce copyright infringement is actually bad for copyright, because "it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions."

This is like crack dealers campaigning against having a laugh with friends because happiness reduces the need for intoxicants. This is like... well, it's like a bunch of fat-cat scumbags behaving so shamefully that you want to smack them.

Let's forget that the statement ignores the fact that there are plenty of businesses built on the OSS model (RedHat, WordPress, Canonical for starters). But beyond that, it seems astonishing to me that anyone should imply that simply recommending open source products - products that can be more easily tailored without infringing licensing rules - "undermines" anything.

In fact, IP enforcement is often even more strict in the open source community, and those who infringe licenses or fail to give appropriate credit are often pilloried.

If you're looking at this agog, you should be. It's ludicrous.

But the IIPA and USTR have form here: in recent years they have put Canada on the priority watchlist.

When using open source makes you an enemy of the state