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 for November 12th 2009 through November 14th 2009:
Labels may be losing money, but artists are making more than ever [Boing Boing] – Interesting figures that show while music labels might be losing money, artists are making more than ever. Live performances are the key revenue raisers. (The figures don’t break down much further than that, but it’s important since it asks whether artists or just labels are the ones who are really fighting “piracy”.)
Massively Increasing Music Licensing Fees For Clubs Down Under Massively Backfires [Techdirt] – Time for a few Creative Commons licensed nightclubs to rock Australia: “We’ve noted the ridiculous and self-defeating efforts by many music collections societies around the world to jack up their rates by ridiculous amounts. None was more ridiculous than the attempt in Australia by the PPCA where some of the rate changes would rocket up from figures like $125/year… to $19,344/year. Well, it looks like it’s already backfiring badly. Reader Dan alerts us to the news that the organization that represents night clubs and similar businesses in Australia, appropriately named Clubs Australia, has set up a system whereby the organization will specifically go out and seek music by artists not covered by the collections effort, and distribute that music to clubs and other establishments”
Moving forward with our media studies search [Just TV] – Jason Mittell is leading the search for a new comparative media studies faculty member at Middlebury College in the US. What’s fantastic is that as the search leader, he’s blogging the process and trying to explain how decisions are made – given the absolute paucity of jobs available today, these insights are remarkably valuable (and do turn an often opque process into a very human one: “But I think a key lesson for candidates to realize is that not making the cut is rarely a referendum of your worth as a scholar or teacher – it’s usually more about a sense of the position and internal needs that are hard to articulate, combined with the inevitable comparisons among the applicant pool.”
NASA finds ‘significant’ water on moon [CNN.com] – Wowzers, there’s water on the moon! “NASA said Friday it had discovered water on the moon, opening “a new chapter” that could allow for the development of a lunar space station. The discovery was announced by project scientist Anthony Colaprete at a midday news conference. “I’m here today to tell you that indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn’t find just a little bit; we found a significant amount” — about a dozen, two-gallon bucketfuls, he said, holding up several white plastic containers.
His Facebook Status Now? ‘Charges Dropped’ [NYTimes.com] – Facebook status updates as an alibi: “Where’s my pancakes, read Rodney Bradford’s Facebook page, in a message typed on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11:49 a.m., from a computer in his father’s apartment in Harlem. … words that were gobbledygook to anyone besides Mr. Bradford. But when Mr. Bradford, a skinny, short 19-year-old resident of the Farragut Houses, was arrested the next day as a suspect in a robbery, the words took on a level of importance that no one in their wildest dreams — least of all Mr. Bradford — could have imagined. They became his alibi. His defense lawyer, Robert Reuland, told a Brooklyn assistant district attorney, Lindsay Gerdes, about the Facebook entry, which was made at the time of the robbery. The district attorney subpoenaed Facebook to verify that the status update had actually been typed from a computer located at 71 West 118th Street in Harlem, as Mr. Bradford said. When that was confirmed, the charges were dropped.”
Links of interest for November 11th 2008 through November 13th 2008:
New York Times: Fake New York Times Declares Iraq War Over! Here’s Who Did It [Gawker] – “The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?”” The Yes Men. Clever parody; very clever indeed … the cover.
Big fuss brews over LittleBigPlanet [The Age] – “LittleBigPlanet is fast firming as one of the biggest game launches this year because players can create and share their own worlds, but Sony’s heavy-handed moderation has many gamers crying foul. A key selling point of the PlayStation 3 game, which was launched in Australia just days ago and has received an average rating of 95 per cent from reviewers, is that people can share their own levels over the PlayStation Network. Some have spent days crafting their ideal custom worlds, including tributes to classic games and characters such as Final Fantasy, Pac-Man, Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog, God Of War, Super Mario Bros and Indiana Jones. Over the past few days, many have found their levels summarily blocked by Sony and LittleBigPlanet’s developers, Media Molecule, because they allegedly breach someone else’s intellectual property.” (Copyright vs creativity in an entirely corporately-owned toy world with brilliant design tools … what could go wrong? :P)
Interview @MarsPhoenix – Universe – “For over a year, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed an entirely new kind of public involvement in science.”
Cloverfield: Mapped [Google Maps] – Blow by blow map of the action in Cloverfield. As you might suspect, the action doesn’t quite make sense if you look at it on a New York map!
China issues first definition of Internet addiction [China Daily] – Chinese doctors define what they call “internet addiction”: “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”
Is YouTube truly the future? [SMH] – Henry Jenkins and John Hartley give their take on the “pre-history” of YouTube, looking at DIY culture more broadly, including punk, zines and fandom, arguing for a deeper conception of participatory culture than just YouTube.
Monster mash gives ad boss nightmares [The Age] – “More than 6000 spoof ads made by viewers have been uploaded to the website for an ABC television series about the advertising industry, delivering the state broadcaster the kind of viewer participation that would be the envy of the commercial world.”
Half UK web videos are from YouTube [WatchingTV Online] – Comscore:”During March, 48% of the 3.5 billion web videos watched in the UK came from Google sites, of which 99% were from YouTube…. The BBC only has 1.2% share of the video viewing market despite the launch of the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service. “
It Really Looks Like Ice on Mars [Universe Today] – The Phoenix Lander on Mars may have uncovered ice. As anyone with a passing interesting in Mars science fiction will know, actually finding water/ice on Mars is the single either makes or breaks the possibility of terraforming Mars! 🙂
ABC Earth [ABC Online] – “The ABC Earth content layer (to be viewed using the Google Earth 4.3 application) is a trial that consists of video, images and content developed by the ABC. The layer includes National News and video …” (Fun way of engaging with news!)
Facebook ban for PM’s staff [Australian IT] – “Staffers working in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office and on his household staff have been asked to remove their Facebook profiles.” (A move sure to reinforce the image of Australia’s PM as something of a control junkie!)
Town forces Google to scrap street images [The Age] – “The small, private community of North Oaks in Minnesota enforces its trespassing ordinance, and Google Maps is no exception. The mapping service’s Street View feature allows users to see what a certain address or intersection looks like …”