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Links of interest for October 24th 2008 through October 26th 2008:
- (SPOILER) What happened when the lights went out. [Whedonesque] – Joss Whedon talks straight to the fans about Dollhouse: “Sadly, this is not a naughty post. It’s just Joss nattering on again. I thought it was time to check in with you once again, gentle viewers. Or readers. Or pictures-looker-ats (that might be viewers). Also listeners, sniffers, haberdashers, Olympic hopefuls, the elderly, the youngerdly, and the mighty state of Oregon (go Oregon-based sports franchise!) Welcome all. Welcome… to me. What’s me up to? I’m glad me asked. Me’ve (I’m not doing that any more) been working on a little show called Dollhouse. Yes, perhaps you’ve read about how it’s blazing an untrammeled path to surefire success, with nary a hitch or a hiccup, just pure blazing blazery, comet-like and meteoresque. What’s that, you say? You’ve read other things? Dark, Yog-Sothothy rumors about shutdowns and delays? Poppycock! They’re true. But I never pass up a chance to say “poppycock”. “
- Flunking Spore – John Bohannon [Science, 322 (5901): 531b, October 2008] – Apparently Spore fails to live up to the expectations of scientists and the promotional material for Spore might have been a little disingenuous: “So over the past month, I’ve been playing Spore with a team of scientists, grading the game on each of its scientific themes. When it comes to biology, and particularly evolution, Spore failed miserably. According to the scientists, the problem isn’t just that Spore dumbs down the science or gets a few things wrong–it’s meant to be a game, after all–but rather, it gets most of biology badly, needlessly, and often bizarrely wrong. I also tracked down the scientists who appeared on television in what seemed like an endorsement of Spore’s scientific content on the National Geographic channel. They said they had been led to believe that the interviews were for a straight documentary about “developmental evolutionary” science rather than a video promoting a computer game “
- The Medium – The Hitler Meme [NYTimes] – The New York Times on that Hitler (Downfall) meme: “On YouTube, we’re in a bunker, and the enemies are always, always closing in. The ceilings are low. The air is stifling. A disheveled leader is delusional. This is the premise of more than 100 videos on the Web — the work of satirists who for years have been snatching video and audio from “Downfall,” the 2004 German movie of Hitler’s demise, and doctoring it to tell a range of stories about personal travails and world politics. By adding new English-language subtitles, they transform the movie’s climactic scene, in which Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) rails against his enemies and reluctantly faces his defeat, into the generic story of a rabid blowhard brought low.”
- YouTube Enables Deep Linking Within Videos [TechCrunch] – “It’s not a big new feature but it’s certainly one that will come in handy: YouTube will now allow you to send users to a specific point in a video by appending a short tag to the end of a video’s URL. It’s pretty surprising that this functionality wasn’t available earlier, as Google Video introduced the same feature over two years ago. YouTube users have been forced to rely on third party services like Splicd to do the same thing. To specify a point, append a tag to the end of your video link with the following syntax: “#t=1m45s” (you can change the numbers before the ‘m’ and ’s’ to edit the minutes and seconds, respectively.”
- Woman in jail over virtual murder [BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific] – “A woman has been arrested in Japan after she allegedly killed her virtual husband in a popular video game. The 43-year-old was reportedly furious at finding herself suddenly divorced in the online game Maplestory. Police say she illegally accessed log-in details of the man playing her husband, and killed off his character. The woman, a piano teacher, is in jail in Sapporo waiting to learn if she faces charges of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating data.”
- Fan fury at Nine [TV Tonight] – Australian “Fans of Fringe who were unaware the show had been pulled from Nine’s current schedule got a rude shock last night and vented their anger in online messageboards. They were universally vehement in their displeasure with Nine’s programming. This site alone now totals 95 posts in one thread alone. Over on Nine’s own messageboard there were more furious comments: Fringe Dweller: C’mon channel 9, have some balls and tell the people why Fringe has been pulled! Oh I’m sorry, you don’t care about what people like. Maybe we could lose one of the four hundred different versions of CSI. God Bless ‘Two and a Half man’ where would you be without them. Maybe you can rename yourselves to Channel Two and a Half Men CSI Malibu!!! Why I’m at it, you pulled Fringe and we still have to put up with that The Strip crap.”
Interesting links for August 23rd 2008 through August 25th 2008:
- Drilling Down – Preferring the Web Over Watching TV [ NYTimes.com] – “For children ages 10 to 14 who use the Internet, the computer is a bigger draw than the TV set, according to a study recently released by DoubleClick Performics, a search marketing company. The study found that 83 percent of Internet users in that age bracket spent an hour or more online a day, but only 68 percent devoted that much time to television. The study found that the children often did research online before making a purchase (or bugging their parents to make one). The big exception to this rule was apparel: like many grown-ups, the children said they preferred to choose their clothes at a store.”
- Film Studies For Free [Catherine Grant on Blogger] – “Film Studies For Free actively espouses the ethos of Open Access to digital scholarly material. It aims to promote good quality, online, film and moving-image studies resources by commenting on them, and by linking to them. These resources will include published scholarship or research in various forms: from film and media weblogs, through online peer-reviewed journals, to other forms of web-based scholarly writing, as well as online works of film/moving-image research by practice. Film Studies For Free readers are invited to bring relevant items to the blog’s attention; please use the comments option or this email link to do so.”
- “A Few Lives Left” for Poor Research into Virtual Worlds [PERSONALIZE MEDIA] – A substantial, well-research and convincing rebuttal of this article from the SMH on Second Life and Virtual Worlds. This rebuttal contains many stats and figures which cast Asher Moses’ piece in a pretty poor light.
- Hollywood losing its grip on television content [Darknet] – JD Lasica interviews Eric B Kim (an Intel VP and general manager of its Digital Home Group) and Patrick Barry (VP of TV for Yahoo) about the coming trend of getting TV properly on the net: “Kim’s quote that most stuck out for me was this: “We’re bringing television to the internet.” Notice what Kim didn’t say: We’re bringing the Internet to television, which has been the approach of the big movie studios until now. (Or, until recently, We’re preventing the Internet from coming to TV.) I don’t know whether Kim’s turn of phrase was intentional or not — I suspect so — but the difference is a significant one. “
- Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games [Times Online] – “Extraordinarily lifelike characters are to begin appearing in films and computer games thanks to a new type of animation technology. Emily – the woman in the above animation – was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as ‘uncanny valley’ – which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness. Researchers at a Californian company (Image Metrics) which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a ‘control system’.” [Via io9]
- The dawn of intelligent machines [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The idea may scare some, but Intel predicts that by 2050 machines could surpass the peak of human intelligence. So predicted Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at the chip maker, in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum which examined how technology is expected to bridge the gap between man and machine. The vision included sensitive robots and shape-shifting materials. “There is no question that one of the most likely things that will happen in the next 40 years is that machine and human intelligence will come much closer together,” Mr Rattner told the BBC. “The ability of humans to communicate with machines and for machines to communicate with humans will get so much better.””