O'Reilly Media shutters its conference business forever

O'Reilly Media's events, from the old Emerging Tech Conference and OSCON to FOO Camps and Strata, have long been energized and productive gatherings of geeks from around the world. Communities were forged there and emerging ideas were accelerated to action. I have fond memories of those real-world scenes, including the 2005 ETech Conference, one of the very infrequent times Xeni, Mark, Cory, and I were all in the same place. Photo evidence below. Sadly, O'Reilly president Laura Baldwin has announced the shutdown of O'Reilly's in-person events division. That marks the end of an era in computer culture. From O'Reilly:

It has been a rough few weeks as we’ve seen the COVID-19 virus take a toll on our livelihoods, our families and the world economy. People are losing their lives, and businesses are suffering in the shadow of revenue losses and a volatile stock market. The virus has had a material impact on O’Reilly’s in-person Events division as well. We previously made the painful decision to cancel our Strata California and Strata London events. Today, we’re sharing the news that we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all future O’Reilly in-person conferences and close down this portion of our business. Without understanding when this global health emergency may come to an end, we can’t plan for or execute on a business that will be forever changed as a result of this crisis. With large technology vendors moving their events completely on-line, we believe the stage is set for a new normal moving forward when it comes to in-person events.

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Coronavirus conference canceled due to coronavirus

An event titled "Doing Business under Coronavirus" was scheduled, but it turns out that coronavirus has other plans: the conference day has beencanceled due to the spread of the illness. Bloomberg News reports that The Council on Foreign Relations has also nixed the rest of its roundtable agenda for the immediate future.

Across the U.S., the spread of the novel virus has so far scuttled more than 50 major corporate events with an estimated attendance of almost 1 million people, according to data collected by Bloomberg News.

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I'm the Author Guest of Honor at Baycon 2020, May 22-25!

Baycon is a large, regional science fiction convention that's been serving the Bay Area for 38 years; I attended several times when I lived in San Francisco and this year I was tickled to be invited to attend as Author Guest of Honor. The event is May 22-25 (Memorial Day Weekend) at the San Mateo Airport San Francisco Marriott (at Hwy 92 & 101 in San Mateo, CA). The convention is one of the best regional cons I've ever attended, with an outstanding mix of fannish activities (boffer swords! flint-knapping! multiple warring Klingon clades!), literary panels, and panels on tech, politics and other subjects salient to the Bay Area. I'm so pleased to be invited and I'm looking forward to seeing you there! Read the rest

Angelenos! Come to ICANN this Friday to Save Dot ORG!

The disgraceful, shady plan to sell control over the .ORG domains to a private equity fund controlled by Republican billionaires is on the ropes, with tens of thousands of people and thousands of .org registrants having signed a petition calling for a halt to the deal. This Friday, we're converging on the ICANN offices in Playa Vista to deliver that petition. I'll be there. Will you? Read the rest

Angelenos! I'm speaking in Culver City tomorrow about the sale of .ORG to private equity

Late last year, the nonprofit Internet Society abruptly announced a deal to sell control over the Public Interest Registry (which manages all .ORG domain registrations) to Ethos, a newly created private equity fund capitalized by three politically connected families of Republican billionaires. Under the deal, ISOC would get $1.135B to spend on various projects, and PIR would have to return a profit to their private equity investors. Read the rest

Tickets for Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) 2020 are now on sale!

Aestetix writes, "HOPE 2020 [ed: Hackers on Planet Earth, the triennial, astoundingly great hacker con put on by 2600 Magazine] is in a brand new location and will be bigger and better than ever with lots more activities and space - all without leaving New York City! It will be held from July 31st to August 2nd at St. John's University in Queens. Get your tickets now for only $200, while supplies lasts. Read the rest

Coming soon to a city near you: HUMP, Dan Savage's amateur smut fest, banned from Facebook!

Every year, veteran sex-advice columnist mounts (ahem) HUMP, an amateur, pornographic short film festival, which tours around Canada and the USA for a dazzling evening of smut, humor, tenderness, weirdness and delight. HUMP is now in its 15th year, and none of the videos from the festival have ever leaked online, which is a testament to the kinds of audiences it draws. Read the rest

Machine learning is innately conservative and wants you to either act like everyone else, or never change

Next month, I'm giving a keynote talk at The Future of the Future: The Ethics and Implications of AI, an event at UC Irvine that features Bruce Sterling, Rose Eveleth, David Kaye, and many others! Read the rest

To do in LA, Jan 18: a special screening of Charlie Chaplain's "The Gold Rush" with live, improvised piano accompaniment

Heather sends us a notice of "a screening of Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece The Gold Rush, with live musical accompaniment at Hollywood's stunning new venue: The American Legion Theater on Highland Avenue." Read the rest

Call for entries: Share Festival 2020, themed "RIOTS Here we are"

Share (previously) is an annual festival held in Turin and Belgrade and curated by Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic; the 2020 Share Festival call for entries just went live, along with this year's theme, "Riots: Here we are." Read the rest

To do in NYC: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir present Earth Riot

We've been writing about Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping for nearly 20 years, tracing his remarkable spectacles of anti-consumerism around the world. Read the rest

Tickets for HOPE 2020 go on sale today!

Aestetix writes, "Our 13th conference is taking place next summer in a brand new location as you've probably heard. We expect it to be bigger and better than ever with lots more activities and space - all without leaving New York City! Since this is #13, we figured we'd make an initial batch of tickets available on November 13th at precisely 13:13 Eastern Time (that's 1:13 pm for those who don't do 24 hour clocks)." Read the rest

Oculus headset giving you a headache? Come see ye olde analog virtual reality in Los Angeles!

Image: Forest Casey

If you’re hankering for an unusual outing in Los Angeles, look no further than the Velaslavasay Panorama. Home to the only panorama west of the Mississippi and the only one painted since the nineteenth century, the Velaslavasay is the art form’s newest entry in its long and illustrious history. Panorama paintings were antiquity’s preferred immersive medium, predating film, VR and a much cheaper sightseeing trip than hopping aboard a train.

From the Velaslavasay Panorama website:

The Velaslavasay Panorama panoramic exhibition encircles the spectator within a fully enveloping atmosphere; a vast painting of a continuous surrounding landscape, accompanied by sound stimulation and three-dimensional elements, affords the viewer an opportunity to experience a complete sensory phenomenon. Historically, the panorama was an immersive 360-degree painted environment, often including a three-dimensional faux terrain in the foreground of the painting to enhance the illusion of depth and simulated reality. An early ancestor of the motion picture, the captivated public would visit these paintings-in-the-round as an entertainment or novelty, much along the same lines as the cinema is seen today.

Panoramas were widely accessible, extremely popular (and were lambasted for being so by art critics) and immensely entertaining. The decline in the proliferation of panoramas came about following the spread of cinema and became largely forgotten about, at least in the United States. Enter the Velaslavasay Panorama, first founded by Sara Velas in Hollywood and now located in West Adams. The Velaslavasay has both preserved and updated the medium, incorporating light and sound for a completely immersive panoramic experience. Read the rest

Today is Aaron Swartz Day

Lisa Rein writes, "Today, Saturday November 9th is Aaron Swartz Day all over the world. We have events going on all over the world here - with a Zoom channel and Gitters set up for questions that will be monitored from San Francisco all day (The San Francisco event details are here for FOIAPALOOZA). Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz at SF in SF, November 10

This Sunday, November 10th, see the wonderful science fiction writers Charlie Jane Anders (previously) and Annalee Newitz (previously) in conversation with Terry Bisson at the always-great SF in SF lecture series; doors open at 6PM at the American Bookbinders Museum (366 Clementina Alley) ($10/$8 students) with a post-show podcast from Somafm, and books on sale from our friends at Borderlands Books. Read the rest

Japanese film festival in Los Angeles this weekend, Nov 1-3, 2019

The Japan Cuts Hollywood film festival takes places this weekend at the Chinese Theatres in Hollywood. Carla and I will be there. Japan House Los Angeles is curating three movies on Saturday:

37 SECONDS | Director HIKARI is an award-winning writer, producer and director.

TEN YEARS JAPAN | The executive producer is Hirokazu Kore-eda. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with three female Japanese directors.

NO LONGER HUMAN | The US Premiere of director Mika Ninagawa.

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#NoTechForICE: Calling on ACM to cancel Palantir's sponsorship of the first ACM Symposium on Computer Science and Law

Next week, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) will host its inaugural Symposium on Computer Science and Law, whose sponsors include Palantir, Peter Thiel's notorious surveillance-tech company, which just renewed a $49m contract with ICE to provide technological aid for ICE's ethnic cleansing program, which has included mass family separations and the deaths of children in custody. Read the rest

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