July 31, 2005
Quite a Combo
Bikinis and museums? Unexpectedly hot in juxtaposition.
July 29, 2005
Famous on the Internet
July 28, 2005
A team of engineers at the University of Liverpool has helped reproduce an ancient Iraqi harp ... the Lyre of Ur. I don't know why, but that just seems cool.
The Fine Art of the Lead
It's been a while since I read a news article that really grabbed me. And I haven't even gotten halfway through this NYT story yet; all I know is the lead is a killer:
When they rewind the video of the fight in the cage, all the blood will spray back into Gervis Fool Bull's nose, all the screams will be sucked into the collective chest of the sweating crowd, and the fist will snap back toward the big truck driver from Iowa who threw it, a man with a mohawk haircut who grew up fighting his twin brother in the neighborhood junkyard.
Good lord! It's so well-written!
July 27, 2005
Slow News Day
I just posted a looooong item on morph advancing the argument that the Internet has not (just) sped the news cycle up, it's slowed it down considerably. I'd love to hear your thoughts, if any strike you. (Except for your comments on my use of the profoundly dubious phrase "hot breaking scoop.")
July 26, 2005
Oh yes: There will be a Voltron movie. Even (especially?) if it's bad, it will be good.
Noted: Pharrell Williams is doing the score!
Also noted: God I love that robot.
July 25, 2005
The Era of Slow News
It's common knowledge that since the advent of 24-hour news networks, the cycle of news has sped up considerably. With the rise of the Internet, it's gotten even faster. In this world of up-to-the-nanosecond news, we've learned, facts and context are thrown to the wind as our information train wreck speeds down the tracks.
Let's play devil's advocate.
My argument: The Internet is slowing the news cycle down. Way down. It's so slow, it's turning the clock backwards.... Read more ....
Is it just me, or was the news storm swirling around this weekend's bombing in Egypt a good bit more humble than the one around the London bombings? Since I was out Friday night, I didn't get the word until checking the papers Saturday morning. By that point, the news cycle was revolving around the fact that the terrorism-related death toll of the innocent in London had belatedly risen to 53.
I know terrorism-related deaths aren't quite as alien to Egypt as they are to Great Britain, but shouldn't news outlets strive for at least a pretense of parity in their coverage of each disaster?
I might also be completely wrong in my assessment of the relative play given to each story, but nothing in the Egypt coverage leads me to suspect the bombings there will still be getting front-page mentions in the national papers two-and-a-half weeks from now. Call me on this if it's not so.
To be fair: The editors may just be accused of going where the readers are. First and only Metafilter thread on Egypt bombings: 37 comments. First of at least a dozen threads on the July 7 London bombings: 712 comments. There are probably many more British MeFites than Egyptian ones, but dang.
Sleepless in Sudan
Here's a good blog by a "dazed and confused aid worker in Darfur."
July 23, 2005
A New Kind of Movie
Also: The V for Vendetta trailer.
July 22, 2005
Saheli has an interesting observation:
When you look at the local histories of this nation, they're filled with barely-somebodies enthusiastic enough to write up a charter and recruit some friends.
It's part of a longer post about corporations and principles and new forms of organization... checkitout.
Forest Grove is a haunting, beautifully shot Web narrative based on John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer." You might want to watch it before you read the rest of this, 'cause I think it might help to be a little bit unspoiled. (Warning: When I say "Web narrative" I don't mean it's some frothy little 8-minute distraction. Forest Grove runs about 45 minutes altogether.)... Read more ....
Tagore on Tour
Sepia Mutiny has the story on the Bengali poet's trips to America. Cool.
July 21, 2005
The Story Behind EPIC
At last... it can be told!
Man, it's nice to have some text beneath that teal banner again.
July 20, 2005
It's Not Failure
It's "deferred success." Ah ha hahahahaha!
Who said the following?
[...] They don't want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don't want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what's important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don't want news presented as gospel. Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.
A. Matt Thompson
B. Jay Rosen
C. Rupert Murdoch
July 19, 2005
Reporting the End of the World
Officially a Nerd
I got the shirt. Not "got" as in "purchased" but "got" as in "understood." I'm not that big a nerd. But yeah, by the way, if you other nerds never got the memo, uninstall the monkey (or at least
roll back to install version 0.3.5-, test here to see if you're vulnerable).
Skip the Encore
From Robin's alma mater comes this excellent Flash repository of footage related to political events. Try looking at political ads with the theme of flip-flopping and viewing Hubert Humphrey's "Wind" ad attacking Nixon next to G.W. Bush's "Blowing" ad attacking Kerry. (Via David Weinberger.)
July 18, 2005
So you've got four windows open on your desktop, and the one you want to drag your file into is at the bottom of the stack? A French researcher has imagined a method of leafing through overlapping windows to get to the one you want, almost like a book.
I think you'll have to watch one of the video demonstrations on this page to fully comprehend the coolness of this user interface scheme.
News Corp. Buys MySpace
July 16, 2005
I read the latest Harry Potter book this weekend. And I don't think it's giving anything away to say that the big theme of this volume is leadership.
I also just read a book called "The Crazed" by Ha Jin, which is not about leadership so explicitly, but is certainly about moral courage and guidance. (It takes place in China in the lead-up to the massacre at Tiananmen Square, if that's any indication.)
So I have been thinking a bit about moral leadership today. And, to my distress, as I look around the world, around the public sphere, I can't find any.
At least not the kind I want.
(Note: A cut-and-pasted line from Harry Potter in the extended entry. It doesn't give anything away, but fair warning all the same!)... Read more ....
July 15, 2005
Don't Look Now
Heh heh... I like this comment in response to a new article about monitor-level DRM on engadget:
Are they next going to ask everyone to replace our eyeballs with DRM enabled CCDs such that if we dun pay a fee, we will go blind? *shiver*
The story with monitor-level DRM is that if the video signal being sent to your monitor isn't, you know, all DRM-certified, the monitor won't show it. It either degrades the resolution or blacks it out entirely. Suckola.
July 14, 2005
The Cylons Are Coming! The Cylons Are Coming!
It's not the best-written thing in the world, but serves as a useful reminder that THE NEW SEASON PREMIERES TOMORROW!
(Previous Snark-love for BSG here.)
E-Paper's Here, Pt. 2
And If You Call Now ...
Great Ask MeFi question: Why are infomercials so darn addictive?
Most of us have been pulled in by an early-morning infomercial at some point, right? I remember being up late one night as I was packing up my dorm room after my junior year in college, when the infomercial for Nads came on the TV. Drawn at first by my incredulity that anyone would actually name a product "Nads", I quickly got sucked in by the fun Australian accents, the video (shown over and over) of a wife waxing her husband's back hair, and the infectious exuberance of the product demonstrators. ("I got Nadded!" one of them squeals.)
One of the staged scenarios for the infomercial features a group of ladies cheerily talking eyebrow waxing over cocktails around a picnic table. One of them mentions that Nads is organic, and another wonders aloud what it would taste like. At that point the lead product demonstrator whips out a spoon, grins conspiratorially at her tablemates, and digs right in to the tub of bright green hair removal cream.
The next day, I was telling all my friends about this amazing show. Most of them couldn't wait to see it, and one of them had caught it too. The next night, we waited for "Nads" to air again, and this time we were ready with a tape in the VCR. That summer, we watched "Nads" over and over. It was great.
To this day, when I see Nads available for sale in any drugstore or supermarket, I feel a tiny frisson of delight.
The last best infomercial I saw was for a ceramic hair straightening iron, which proves that you don't even have to have any shred of consumer interest in the actual product to find its infomercial fascinating.
Last year, NPR took a look at the infomercial in honor of the genre's 20th anniversary.
Update: More highlights from the Nads infomercial, which posed as a show entitled "Worldwide Health and Beauty Discoveries." Ha! I love it! I got Nadded!
In the Mood
Surprisingly interesting: the LiveJournal mood tracker. Also: wow, the United Airlines flight attendant uniforms were beautiful in the late '60s (and then took a drastic turn towards utter hideosity from which the airline still struggles to recover). (Both via Things.)
July 12, 2005
From Boing Boing:
RPC on the Record
Snarkmarket favorite Roy Peter Clark laid down the immortal Truth about journalism in a Washington Post chat today.
Nice! EPIC gets a mention on must-read gay blog Towleroad. Robin, Aaron, we have truly arrived.
Memoirs of a Survivor
July 11, 2005
Global Voices Even Better Now
Global Voices just got a makeover, and it looks great.
I know I re-recommend this site like every two weeks, but seriously: Click over, pick a country you like, sign up for the RSS feed, checkitout.
It is projects like this that will help the internet live up to all the techno-triumphalist hype.
Mum's the Word
When I read the transcript of today's White House press briefing with Scott McClellan, I knew someone was going to pull this "McClellan's a rhetorical genius" bit. Nonsense. People did the same thing with Ari F., and I call foul. Dogged question avoidance does not make one the second coming of Cicero.
In fact, from The New Republic last March (subscription required):
Fleischer was in this sense the perfect Bush press secretary. His ability to prevaricate and dodge, without betraying himself through physical or verbal tics, represented a kind of genius. Alas, what came so easily to Fleischer utterly eludes McClellan. If the two of them ever sat down at a poker table, Fleischer would probably walk away with all of McClellan's money and the shirt off his back.
Again, nonsense. In many of Fleischer's most heated press exchanges, he reverted to the exact same rote repetition thing McClellan does here. Both men do a perfectly functional and transparent job of stonewalling the White House press corps. Wouldn't a true rhetorical genius be so slick and insinuating about his point that you wouldn't even recognize it was just the same thing with different wrapping paper?... Read more ....
July 10, 2005
Paul's Google News
Google Blogoscoped brings us a mock-up of "Paul's" personalized Google News home page. Methinks Paul would quickly get bored with this arrangement.
'The Dumpling Seller Approached the Foreigner'
Interesting NYT article on linguistic diversity in China. It uses the "I cannot refer to myself in the first person, even though this story hinges entirely on a first-person experience" convention, which you know I LOVE, but is still worth reading.
Now That Is a Comic I Would Like to See
It seems that Salvador Dali tried his hand at drawing comics as early as 1916, when he was 12.
July 9, 2005
I tried to reform. After leaving college, I had to confront the fact that my activities during those four years were not socially acceptable. I assiduously removed all references to that lifestyle, reforming some of those dead-giveaway behavioral tics, brushing up on new conversation topics, even tweaking my music collection.
It was hard. It had been a wild four years, and I was still in the thrall of college a cappella. I had to move on.
But last week, my former a cappella group's CD was released, it arrived in my mailbox on Thursday, and folks, I have backslid completely. I have not stopped listening to this thing since I got it. I am absolutely swimming in six-part harmony cover versions of contemporary pop songs, and I'm no longer going to hide it. Call me a degenerate. I don't care anymore.
In fact, I'm posting three snippets of the album, three of my favorite parts. How I love this stuff.
What I Learned from Witches
I love Dahl, but I've heardly read any of his books. Roll call:
- His two-part autobiography.
- "Witches." (More on that in a sec.)
- A big book of his short stories. (Which are really grim!)
No "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," no B.F.G., no giant peaches.
So I wouldn't be a proper Dahl fan at all, except for the fact that "Witches" was no mere grade-school read: It was an essential part of my moral education!... Read more ....
July 7, 2005
The New Sonic Obsession
Ratatat. Check it out.
Here's the sound-bite:
... their unique sound born of a combined love of Jay-Z, The Rolling Stones, Timbaland, and Beethoven.
No lyrics, which I often can't hang with it, but in this case it's
fine great blowing my mind.
I love this effusive praise for one of Ratatat's songs, from an Amazon.com reviewer:
"germany to germany" could bring the world peace if it was played at negotiations.
These guys are Bill & Ted!
Never Scream 'NOOO' in Anguish Like Darth Vader Again
I just installed this Firefox extension, and haven't even used it yet, but I already know it's the best thing ever: Scribe saves the contents of all form fields on a page when you hit ctrl-S.
For instance... blog entries.
Even if you don't have a blog, you probably know the crippling disappointment of typing out a long message in webmail and then somehow... accidentally... closing... the window.
Nevermind, this doesn't work like I thought it would. That should teach me to post pre-emptive recommendations. Ha!
July 6, 2005
My Interview with Scott McCloud
He's awesome. Can't say I was the most inspired interviewer, but this was fun to do.
July 5, 2005
The interactive short story Façade has been released. I'll post with thoughts after I play it.
Yay, Gender Subversion
Virtual Band for a Virtual World
I am not a huuuge fan of The Gorillaz-as-band, but I do totally love The Gorillaz-as-idea. Neil Gaiman interviews Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett in the new issue of WIRED and it's super-good.
July 1, 2005
If Only I Had a TiVo
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the PBS series. Coming week after next. AWESOME.
Don't Leave Me Hanging
Excuse me, but it should be illegal to write about the winner of an ugly dog contest without actually including a picture of the dog!
Instead we get a descriptive paragraph. THANKS FOR NOTHING.
This is kind of awesome. The website for Wedding Crashers (the upcoming movie with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) is allowing anyone to digitally insert herself into the movie trailer. Thus ensuring that new pseudo-movie-stars like my friend Ryan McGee become the viral marketing brigade for the film.
Workmanlike RSS feed for the Romenesko sidebar. Not pretty, but it gets the job done.
Update: This feed had stopped working properly after the Wotzwot RSS tool's hiatus. I've updated it to scrape the page properly again.