Links for May 11th through May 21st:

Happy New Year! Links for December 21st through January 1st:

  • My New Year Wish [Neil Gaiman’s Journal:] – As New Years wishes go, I think Neil Gaiman wins this year: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
  • Henchminion Sends In the Tale of “The Magna Carta Essay!” [College Misery] – In 2005 a frustrated US college professor wrote a fake essay about the Magna Carta – filled with notable errors, jokes and almost no substance – and posted it online to several notable paper mills and plagiarism websites. Six years later it’s still out there and still being quoted. A notable tale for would-be undergraduates cutting corners with their research and citation!
  • Marvel’s lawyers get into fanboy flamewar with IRS about human-status of its mutants [Boing Boing] – Marvel’s lawyers argue that the X-Men aren’t human for tax purposes. Of course, this undermines almost 50 years of the X-Men as repressed and misunderstood humanity. Looks like the lawyers are running Marvel!
  • Doctor Who Meets Star Wars Episode I – The Prequel Menace [Mashup] – Extremely silly, but made with so much love and affection that it’s well worth 6 minutes of your time! :)
  • ‘Doctor Who’ Tops ‘Modern Family’ as iTunes Best-Seller of 2011 [Anglophenia | BBC America] – “Never underestimate the power of Whovians. That loyal fan base has lifted Doctor Who to the very top of iTunes’ list of most downloaded full TV seasons of 2011! Yes, more than any other show on TV. Can I get a Woo-Who? That means Doctor Who beat ABC’s hit, Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family (No. 2), Dexter (No. 3), Breaking Bad (No. 4), and True Blood (No. 5) in downloads. Just behind them at No. 6 is BBC America’s Top Gear. Here’s the full top 10 via The Hollywood Reporter:
    TOP-SELLING SEASONS:
    1. Doctor Who
    2. Modern Family
    3. Dexter
    4. Breaking Bad
    5. True Blood
    6. Top Gear
    7. Glee
    8. Entourage
    9. Archer
    10. The Walking Dead”
  • Company sues ex-employee for his Twitter followers [The Guardian] – “A Twitter user is being sued for £217,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, California, amassed 17,000 followers on the social networking site when he worked for PhoneDog, a website providing news and reviews about mobile phones. He posted Twitter messages under the name @Phonedog_Noah, but in October 2010 he left the company, renamed his account @noahkravitz and took his following with him. PhoneDog has launched legal proceedings seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months, for a total of $340,000. The company is arguing that Kravitz’s list of followers constitutes a customer database and the valuation is an estimate of how much each follower is worth to the company.”
  • ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Pirate Sentenced to One Year in Prison [ComicsAlliance] – “A man who’s confessed to uploading an early cut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet a month before the film was to debut in cinemas has been sentenced to a year in federal prison. Deadline reports that 49-year-old Gilberto Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of “uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution,” a charge which United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow described as “extremely serious.” The early leaking of the DVD-quality workprint of Wolverine created quite a commotion back in 2009. The pirated cut was downloaded at least four million times, which according to Reuters could have translated to $28.7 million in lost ticket sales if the downloaders opted out of seeing Wolverine in the theater. Compounding fears, the leaked copy was missing final special effects shots and other material, and the advance spoiler-filled reviews were incredibly damning of the X-Men sequel, which cost $150 million to produce.”

Links for December 2nd 2010 through December 6th 2010:

  • Facebook Causes One In Five Divorces In US [Link Newspaper] – I think ’causes’ is an overstatement; facilitates, perhaps: “Flirty messages and photographs found on social networking website Facebook are now leading to at least one in five divorces in the US, a survey has revealed. A new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also says around 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating, according to the Daily Mail. Many cases revolve around social media users who get back in touch with ex-girlfriends and lovers they had not heard from in many years. Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at five per cent and other websites together at 14 per cent.”
  • When Oprah Winfrey educates Yanks on our ‘hip’ McCafes, it’s the dollar talking [News.com.au] – For Oprah, Australia = product placement: “Oprah Winfrey has already given Americans an insight into our culture. This is despite the fact the TV queen some say is the most influential woman in the world doesn’t arrive in Australia until tomorrow. According to Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, which screened to 10 million Americans last week, we Australians call men “blokes”, women “sheilas” and we like to meet up at “hip joints” called McCafes to sip on gourmet coffee. Some of the one-million-strong Australian audience who saw this report on the Ten Network last week were a little surprised to hear of the importance of McCafes to the Australian lifestyle. […] The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”. In other words, the segment was paid for and funded by McDonald’s”
  • Labor to back adults-only games classification [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Good news: “The Federal Government has announced it will support a push for an adults-only classification for video games. A decision on the matter is expected on Friday at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. A recent Galaxy survey has found strong support for an R18+ classification, with 80 per cent of people surveyed saying they believed an adult classification was needed, while a government public consultation on the matter received close to 60,000 responses – with 98 per cent in favour of an adult rating. Currently in Australia, games classed above MA15+ are refused classification and cannot be brought into the country. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says an adults-only classification would include games with excessive violence or adult themes.”
  • Life on Mars? Not yet. But in the meantime, NASA has found a new kind of life on Earth… [Perth Now] – It’s life, Jim, but its diet is not as we know it: “Lurking in the depths of a California lake is a bacteria that can thrive on arsenic, an explosive discovery that could expand the search for other life on Earth and beyond, researchers have found. The NASA-funded study released today and published in the journal Science redefines what biologists consider the necessary elements for life, currently viewed as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. Not only does the bacteria survive on arsenic, it also grows by incorporating the element into its DNA and cell membranes. “What is new here is arsenic is being used as a building block for the organism,” said Ariel Anbar, co-author of the study. “We have had this idea that life requires these six elements with no exceptions and here it turns out, well maybe there is an exception.””
  • Making Copyright Work Better Online [Google Public Policy Blog] – From the point of view of digital libertarians, Google just got a bit more evil as they’ve pledged to act on reducing the ease of access to links to allegedly pirate material in their index. Google aren’t removing links (except where a DMCA takedown notice is submitted) but will prevent suspect material appearing in auto-complete, act faster on DMCA takedown notices, more carefully ensure AdSense doesn’t get used for ads pointing to pirated material, and other experiments. So the material is still returned in normal search results unless you’ve got the autocomplete on by default.
  • BBC Plans Subscription-Only U.S. iPlayer On iPad [mocoNews] – “This is huge. The BBC will launch the long-awaited global version of its iPlayer TV catch-up service on a subscription-only basis, and initially only on iPad. The service, carrying BBC shows like Doctor Who on-demand, will likely be very popular in the U.S., generating new income for the BBC back in Britain. The significance of the move is clear – it means the BBC will operate a subscription worldwide media channel that, in time, could become one of its biggest.”

Links of interest for September 12th 2008 through September 14th 2008:

  • YouTube bans terrorism training videos [SMH] – “Terrorist training videos will be banned from appearing on YouTube, under revised new guidelines being implemented by the popular video-sharing site. The Google-owned portal will ban footage that advertises terrorism or extremist causes and supporters of the change hope it will blunt al-Qaeda’s strong media online campaign.” [Via] I wonder what definition of ‘terrorism’ YouTube and Google will be using to enforce this rule?!
  • Video Game Snapshots [Gamasutra – Persuasive Games] – Ian Bogost review the emerging design-your-own-videogame tools and suggests they might best be considered tools for personal and social communication rather than meaningful game design platforms. This is not so much a criticism as a look at computer games through the eyes (and rhetoric) of Web 2.0: “There is simply no magic box we can put in front of the world which, when a button is pressed, turns what it sees into a video game. … There are lots of things one can do with web-based game making services. One of them is to try to create hit games that generate ad revenue and earn public renown. Another is to create art games meant to characterize the human condition,… But perhaps the most interesting uses of these tools are the informal ones that so closely resemble snapshots in spirit and function.”
  • Photoshop for Democracy Revisited: The Sarah Palin File [Confessions of an Aca/Fan] – Henry Jenkins takes a closer look at the various photoshopped versions of Sarah Palin making their way into US political discourse in the lead-up to the election. Some are flattering, some satirical, but all are participatory!
  • Large Hadron Rap [YouTube] – Kate McAlpine’s outstanding rap explaining what the hell CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is actually supposed to be doing! Lyrics and downloadable version here.

Links of interest for September 5th 2008 through September 8th 2008:

Last year as part of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign they produced the important and memorable Evolution video which graphically illustrated the many, many steps between a photograph being taken and the image based on that photograph ending up on a billboard or fashion magazine cover. This year Dove have, in my opinion, produced another fine clip which looks at the tirade of body images and messages young girls and women encounter through various media in their everyday life. It’s called Onslaught:

Incidentally, while I know these viral videos are something of a marketer’s dream, I don’t think that distracts from the message one little bit.

A few months ago I wrote about my disappointment with a statuette of Mary-Jane Watson from the Spider-Man comics which showed her basically washing Peter Parker’s Spider-Suit whilst standing in an overly provocative pose. There was substantial community dismay at this overtly objectifying piece (especially since MJ has, at times, been one of the stronger women in the Spider-Man franchise). It seems this dismay has had little sway, evinced by this new “limited-edition Witchblade Schoolgirl” piece hitting the shelves:

schoolgirl

I could rant further, but I think this response over at Occasional Superheroine is probably the most apt one.

Of course, the comic book industry (or the associated model market) are far from alone in extremely problematic and sexist representations as this Boing Boing post on hyper-sexualized advertising reminds us.