Bruce Sterling's speech from NEXT Berlin is a blast of cold air on the themes of startup life, disruption, and global collapse. Bruce excoriates the startup world for its complicity with the conspiracy of the global investor class to vastly increase the wealth of a tiny minority, and describes the role that "design fiction" has in changing this.
One agency of the federal government has issued a takedown notice to
another agency of the federal government, which in turn demanded that
we remove a film from the Internet. Not knowing what to do, I have appealed
for your help.
I hereby bring this plea before the Court of Appeals for Wonderful Things,
appealing to a jury of my peers, all happy mutants, for their verdict. Here are
the facts of my case:
* After the assassination of of John F. Kennedy on December 23, 1963, the
United States Information Agency (USIA), with the assistance of citizen Gregory
Peck, produced a 90-minute film called John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning,
Day of Drums.
* The film was shown overseas to rave reviews. The Daily Mirror of Manila
described it as a "work of art." The Times of India said "Each and every
shot of this one and a half hour long film is so effective and heart touching
that the spectators remain spellbound to the last minute." The Star of
Johannesburg said "This film makes one want to be an American."
* The USIA was prohibited by law from distributing films in the
United States as it was then illegal for the government to propagate
Aw, yeah! The UK Communications Data Bill -- AKA the "Snooper's Charter," a sweeping, totalitarian universal Internet surveillance bill that the Conservative government had sworn to pass -- is dead! Yesterday, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Parliament, announced that his party would not support the bill, and effectively killed it. Though I've been bitterly disappointed with some of the terminal compromises the LibDems have made, this makes me grateful to have them in Parliament. The kind of universal surveillance proposed in the Snooper's Charter was broadly supported by the last Labour government, which radically expanded state surveillance powers, and by the Tories -- thank goodness for the LibDems mustering a scrap of backbone at last!
The only downside is that the Open Rights Group had a whole series of great "Professor Elemental" videos that used pointed, excellent humour to mock and undermine the bill and drum up opposition to it, and now that's all going to go to waste (I blogged episode one yesterday).
Aw, who'm I kidding? This kind of thing never stays dead.
R Paul Wilson sez, "I've just released a short film about magic and nostalgia. 'The Magic Box' is based on experiences and memories that many of us share and follows a handmade magic trick as it passes from one generation to the next."
Ruben "Tom the Dancing Bug" Bolling sez, "I organized this video, getting cartoonists as diverse as Trudeau (Doonesbury), Spiegelman (Maus, etc), Keane (Family Circus), Mazzucchelli (Batman etc), Mo Willems (Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny) and others to illustrate a script advocating gun law reform narrated by Julianne Moore (!) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (!!)."
In this startling debut episode, the renowned Professor Elemental receives a commission from the government to build a marvellous snooping machine with which to catch the badduns. The Home Secretary has the right man for the job -- with the good professor's marvellous device, the Home Office will be able to spy on every communique that traverses the British Information Superhighway!
(It's all about the Snooper's Charter, the barmy UK legislative proposal to give nearly unlimited snooping powers to the government and police, and this video is courtesy of the good people at the Open Rights Group.
As mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the beautiful handmade shoes from Cydwoq, who manufacture their wares to order in Los Angeles. Here's a short and beautiful documentary on their factory and manufacturing techniques.
There's precious little info available about Mizirk "Boob Tracker," a computer vision project (based on a Kinekt?) that automatically detects boob-like objects and masks them with user-selectable bitmaps, following them as they move around the field of view. Mizirk's total delight in the performance of this little confection is what makes it.
Todd Bieber made a great short video on his experience as an Eagle Scout and a volunteer with the Scouts who is upset about the decision of the BSA to exclude gay and lesbian people: "I'm a filmmaker and an Eagle Scout. Recently, while serving as merit badge counselor of Cinematography Merit Badge, I invited several gay filmmakers to help teach some Boy Scouts about making movies."
The audience for Neil Gaiman's talk on the future of publishing at the London Book Fair apparently greeted his talk with stony hostility. But the Twitters liked it, and I like it too:
Going against a column yesterday in which Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray argued that Amazon was the "foe", and has "the ability to destroy the book trade as we know it", Gaiman believes that "Amazon, Google and all of those things probably aren't the enemy. The enemy right now is simply refusing to understand that the world is changing".
The novelist went on to urge the assembled publishers to be more like dandelions – an analogy he stole, he said, from Cory Doctorow.
"Mammals spend an awful lot of energy on infants, on children, they spend nine months of our lives gestating, and then they get two decades of attention from us, because we're putting all of our attention into this one thing we want to grow. Dandelions on the other hand will have thousands of seeds and they let them go where they like, they don't really care. They will let go of 1,000 seeds, and 100 of them will sprout," Gaiman told the Guardian.
"And I was really using that analogy for today, saying the whole point of a digital frontier right now is that it's a frontier, all the old rules are falling apart. Anyone who tells you they know what's coming, what things will be like in 10 years' time, is simply lying to you. None of the experts know - nobody knows, which is great.
"When the rules are gone you can make up your own rules. You can fail, you can fail more interestingly, you can try things, and you can succeed in ways nobody would have thought of, because you're pushing through a door marked no entrance, you're walking in through it. You can do all of that stuff but you just have to become a dandelion, be wiling for things to fail, throw things out there, try things, and see what sticks. That was the thrust of my speech," said the author.
Hong Kong Disneyland is finally going to get its own Haunted Mansion. Called "Mystic Manor," it opens in mid-May, and is a radical departure from the existing Mansions and Manor -- they've gone bananas with the old electroluminscent paint, in a very good way indeed. Here's a video of one of the preview ride-throughs.
The first area is Acquisitions and Cataloging Room, where Lord Mystic's collections are temporary placed and awaited to placed on shelves. The music box Lord Mystic mentioned is now in front of guests. Albert suddenly pops out and unlocks the box. The escaping magic dust floats in the air and brings life to all artifacts.
The first show case is the Music Room, in which weird and exotic music instruments are stored. A piano is placed in the centre of the room. The magic dust gives life to instrument and music plays. The music will follow the carriage and play the background music for the journey. Albert is excited and amazed. He follows the carriage, curious to visit all rooms.
The next stop is Mediterranean Antiquities. Paintings, ceramics, and Audio-Animatronic® statues start to move under the influence of the dust. An amphora with Hercules fighting with Nemean Lion to conquer Zeus’s quest spins and rocks when the carriage passes. The above description is taken from the Greek myths, the story of Hercules. As what the story told, Hercules only battled once with a lion, which is known as the Nemean Lion.
The carriages move into to a Solarium Room. Albert tries to toy around with the Venus fly traps as he is holding a piece of banana to them, then all of a sudden a large Venus fly trap open it's jaw as it tries to bite the guests, the room then becomes pitch black.
Soon afterward, the carriage enters the Slavic-Nordic Chamber. There is a painting of a Nordic God. He comes to life and blows freezing wind towards guests. Guests are able to feel cooling effect and see the special-effect smoke in this scene.
Gemma sez, "You wrote a blog post about how I was assaulted by the police after filming my boyfriend being searched, back in 2009.
The publicity we got from your post and the other press we got (Guardian and BBC) helped make thousands more people aware of this issue which led to the Metropolitan police eventually having to change their guidelines on photographing and filming the police. It was always my aim to get section 58a of the terrorism act clearer to all citizens in the UK and this hasn't changed.
Today I'm releasing the animated short film about the case - It deals with broad issues of police accountability and citizen''s rights as well as the specifics of my case. We also hope it entertains you on its way."
Into the Fire writes, "Into The Fire is a film with a difference. Besides being a hard hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants amidst a collapsing Greek economy, it's also an experiment in new film production and distribution techniques.
A year ago, we made a first, crowd-funded trip to Athens. We filmed shocking levels of racism, police brutality, and right-wing extremism - as well as the courageous and inspiring people who are organising against it.
"Into the Fire will be released on 21st April on the internet. We crowd-funded the film and crowd-sourced the subtitles: it's been translated into eight languages using the open subtitler Amara. We are also using crowd-sourcing as the release and distribution strategy for the documentary: anyone who signs up to participate will receive embedding details ahead of time, and the film will be released on various websites simultaneously. The audience becomes the distribution network."