May 16, 2009


Crash! is a short film directed by Harley Cokliss, based on J. G. Ballard's short story Crash! Starring J. G. Ballard and Gabrielle Drake.

May 15, 2009

The stratospheric Colossus of Sound

"Poème électronique" (1957–1958)
Edgar Varese

"Poème électronique is the first, electronic-spatial environment to combine architecture, film, light and music to a total experience made to functions in time and space. Under the direction of Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis' concept and geometry designed the World's Fair exhibition space adhering to mathematical functions. Edgard Varèse composed both concrete and vocal music which enhanced dynamic, light and image projections conceived by Le Corbusier. Varèse's work had always sought the abstract and, in part, visually inspired concepts of form and spatial movements. Among other elements for «Poème électronique» he used machine noises, transported piano chords, filtered choir and solo voices, and synthetic tone colorings. With the help of the advanced technical means made available through the Philips Pavilion, the sounds of this composition for tape recorder could wander throughout the space on highly complex routes."
Via Wikipedia

May 14, 2009

Straight from the horse's mouth:

Striking a New Balance

As of today for all US craigslist sites, postings to the “erotic services” category will no longer be accepted, and in 7 days the category will be removed.

Also effective today for all US sites, a new category entitled “adult services” will be opened for postings by legal adult service providers. Each posting to this new category will be manually reviewed before appearing on the site, to ensure compliance with craigslist posting guidelines and terms of use. New postings will cost $10, but once approved, will be eligible for reposting at $5.

Unsurprisingly, but completely contrary to some of the sensationalistic journalism we’ve seen these past few weeks, the record is clear that use of craigslist classifieds is associated with far lower rates of violent crime than print classifieds, let alone rates of violent crime pertaining to American society as a whole.

Craigslist blog

May 13, 2009

An idea whose time has come

Modern Mechanix

Ralph Nader: Internet not so hot at "motivating action"

For those of you who think that the Internet has heralded in a new era of grass roots political opportunity, prepare to be challenged by Mr. Participatory Politics himself.

"Are big corporations afraid of the public use of the Internet? Does Congress fear the civic use of the Internet? Does the Pentagon fear the civic use of the Internet? Those are the questions you want to ask," Ralph Nader told an auditorium of college students in Washington, DC on Monday. "My tentative conclusion," he continued, "is that the Internet doesn't do a very good job of motivating action."

More at Ars technica

Gamification: Game Mechanics is the New Marketing

In the 40’s and 50’s, companies discovered that if they put convincing messaging in front of people while they are listening to the radio or watching TV, they could influence behavior. But as those mediums and techniques begin to fade in their natural cycle of age and decline, what if instead of getting interrupted, people get wrapped in contexts filled with game mechanics that DIRECTLY induce them to take action. After all, there is no more consistent way to predictably induce desired behavior in humans than engaging them in a a context that uses game mechanics such as leader boards, leveling, currencies, stored value, privileges, super-powers, status indicators, random reward schedules, etc. It’s like life, and we were designed to respond to these stimuli.

A good example of this is Tencent in China, a social network where many members have virtual pets. If Tencent wants to increase revenues at the end of a quarter, they simply write a script that make a large portion of those pets sick, which causes the owners to need to buy virtual medicine for the pet to heal it. Voila, a strong finish to the quarter.

MyCokeRewards is another good example. It’s a loyalty program involving many standard game mechanics, which last year accounted for an enormous portion of Coke’s ad spend. Instead of spending the money on TV ads, they spent it on getting people engaged with a virtual currency, leaderboards, quests, and each other. (Gabe Zichermann calls this stuff “funware.” It’s a good name for it. I also like the idea of the “gamification” of everything, which I’ve heard Clay Shirky and Bret Terrill use.)

Gamification is coming to everything in the next few years. The next portal is a game. The next email is a game. The next social network is a game. Your next trip to the supermarket could be a game. Your next job could be a game. That means a lot of things, but for one, people with an understanding of those mechanics and how to create contexts will be highly valued. Second, gamification is just the beginning, and will continue for decades.

So forward thinking people should consider marketing dead. To heck with cajoling, influencing, convincing, and motivating. Create contexts for people where it is in their self interest to do what you want them to do. It works for them, and it works for you. And that might be the best part of it, is that as everything gamifies, we’re going to like it. It’s fun! and taking action in a well defined context with a clear rewards structure can be flat out meaningful for people.

Ooga Labs

May 12, 2009


``We are confronted with portentous problems which can not be solved just by providing for our material existence, however abundantly. On the contrary, progress in this direction is fraught with hazards and perils not less menacing than those born from want and suffering. If we were to release the energy of the atoms or discover some other way of developing cheap and unlimited power at any point of the globe this accomplishment, instead of being a blessing, might bring disaster to mankind... The greatest good will come from the technical improvements tending to unification and harmony, and my wireless transmitter is preeminently such. By its means the human voice and likeness will be reproduced everywhere and factories driven thousands of miles from waterfalls furnishing the power; aerial machines will be propelled around the earth without a stop and the sun's energy controlled to create lakes and rivers for motive purposes and transformation of arid deserts into fertile land...''

A Battle to Preserve a Visionary's bold Failure

Tesla at Wikipedia


Gee Dad, what should I be when I grow up?

Read about the future.
More government comics here.

May 11, 2009

No technology is ahead of it's time...

"No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the times."

Martha Graham

Consider this a post critical of public officials

From Ars Technica:
A recently introduced cyberbullying bill could land us all in jail—that is, if you have ever used an electronic medium to troll someone. HR 1966, the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, is named after the high-profile "MySpace suicide" victim Megan Meier. It's meant to prevent people from using the Internet to "coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." However, as with many bills of this nature, the murky language and vague standards leave much open to interpretation, which has caused critics to call it the Censorship Act instead.

HR 1966 was introduced in April by US Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and it's supported by 14 other members of Congress. According to the text, individuals who bully others via any electronic means could face fines, two years in prison, or both. This, of course, could include those nasty text messages you sent to your ex on Saturday night, the questionable e-mail you sent to your brother, or those forum posts you made in which you called for someone who liked the new Star Trek movie to jump off a building.

The bill largely flew under the radar until fairly recently (thanks to NetworkWorld for the heads-up) but criticism has been building. The language in the bill is so vague, it could be interpreted to apply to practically any situation, including blog posts critical of public officials.
More from Ars Technica