Brain candy for Happy Mutants
Updated: 1 day 1 hour ago
Entomologist Piotr Naskrecki found this fantastic centipede hiding under the smushy bark of a fallen log in Mozambique. You can see more photographs of it, and read more about its discovery at his blog, The Smaller Majority.
What makes this centipede particularly interesting (besides that great handlebar moustache it's sporting) is the long, fuchsia appendages on its rear end, each one topped with a feathery, yellow bit, like a flag on a pole. According to Naskrecki, nobody knows what those appendages are for. They seem to have evolved from the animal's rear-most legs, but their function is a total mystery.
Amanda Visell hand-carved an excellent collection of Ren & Stimpy sculptures. To give you a sense of the scale, Ren is 2" x 8" x 3". The set of four is $2,200 from iam8bit.
Conservative industrialist and Tea Party godfather David Koch has given $23 million to public television—a very, very good thing, many would argue, because government funding amounts to only around 12% of PBS' operating budget, and the fundraising climate for private sponsorship is grim. PBS is, I'd argue, the last place on television for serious news and investigative documentary filmmaking.
But Koch's backing comes with unambiguous pressure to alter the network's editorial content, and indeed, already has in at least one insance, according to Jane Mayer's piece in The New Yorker.
The story centers around WNET's attempts to placate Koch as it aired Alex Gibney's “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream,” a documentary critical of Koch and other "one-percenters." So critical, it was referred to as "Citizen Koch."
A spoiler regarding Koch's relationship with the PBS affiliate whose show aired the documentary: On Thursday, May 16th, WNET’s board of directors "quietly accepted [Koch's] resignation," the result of his "unwillingness to back a media organization that had so unsparingly covered its sponsor."
The Koch brothers are eyeing a number of large, struggling US newspapers as possible acquisition targets.
If they buy out a string of companies like the Los Angeles Times, how will that change news?
Alex Gibney's film is embedded below.
NEW YORK—Media consumers across the United States are reporting this week that sponsored content—articles and videos paid for by advertisers and distributed by print and digital publications—is easily the coolest fucking published material anyone could ever read or watch.
“I love, love, fucking love sponsored content,” said news and entertainment reader Erica Olson, adding that when she can tell a corporation is financially behind a piece of writing, she is even more inclined to click on it. “First off, it’s cool. That’s not debatable. Second, I don’t find it in any way insulting to my intelligence. In fact, it makes me feel smarter. And third, did I mention that sponsored content is just really fucking cool?”
Clayton Cubitt directed this new music video for New Orleans Bounce artist Nicky Da B. He writes, It's with great pride that I debut "Go Loko," the insanely fun new music video I directed for Nicky Da B. Prepare yourself for machine-gun New Orleans Bounce, twerking latex-clad bunnies, intergalactic booty constellations that would make Carl Sagan cry tears of joy, an asstronaut, a possibly demonic hairless cat, and perhaps my greatest invention yet: The Asscam™.
Turn your volume up and get down! If you love it, click over to the Vimeo page and drop something in the tip jar!
I'm so honored I got to work with next-level genius editor Bob Weisz, who's edited videos for MGMT and The Killers, even though I did have to wait a year while he worked on some little beastly indie film.
The first step, unfortunately, is that you have to have Sony's remarkable but rather expensive RX100, whose larger sensor makes much of the difference. Fortunately, the rest is all menu settings to get a flat image profile and 25fps. Guides from Run, Gun and Shoot and from EOSHD have the technical goods, but you'll need to cough up your own mise en scène.
Obscure Video Games collects splendid character art and workmanship from weird, unsuccessful or foreign-only titles of the 8- and 16-bit eras.
Julian Assange has presented a set of freedom-of-information liberated messages from GCHQ, the UK spy headquarters, concerning his own case. According to Assange, the messages reveal that UK spies believed that the Swedish rape inquiry against him was a "fit up" aimed at punishing him for his involvement in Wikileaks (many believe that the Swedish government would have aided in Assange's extradition to the USA, where there is a sealed Grand Jury indictment against him). He also revealed cables relating to the spies' candid opinion about his sheltering in the Ecuadorian embassy:
A message from September 2012, read out by Assange, apparently says: "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ … It is definitely a fit-up… Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate..."
...A second instant message conversation from August last year between two unknown people saw them call Assange a fool for thinking Sweden would drop its attempt to extradite him.
The conversation, as read out by Assange, goes: "He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months when the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now is it? He's a fool… Yeah … A highly optimistic fool."
GCHQ acknowledges that the messages are real, but, "The disclosed material includes personal comments between some members of staff and do not reflect GCHQ's policies or views in any way."
Julian Assange reveals GCHQ messages discussing Swedish extradition [Giles Tremlett and Ben Quinn/Guardian]
I gave the annual Sense About Science lecture last week in London, and The Guardian recorded and podcasted it (MP3). It's based on the Waffle Iron Connected to a Fax Machine talk I gave at Re:publica in Berlin the week before.
It's Sunday morning in London, where I'm living as of less than a week ago. I've got a hangover and kitchen cleanup duty, and on top of that, I'm out £10. An actual live baby fox entered our house last night. Last night was Eurovision. I've had my first Eurovision party as an embedded foreigner.
Wait, I'll tell you all about it, but let's back up a bit, first. My first Eurovision was last year in my New York home, playing host to English friends. Before that, I'm a little embarrassed to say I knew hardly anything of the pan-European song contest, and in watching it I experienced the kind of wonderment that's sadly pretty rare for us Americans: the world is so big.
I was also fascinated to learn about European politics in the guise of a pop competition. The winning nation has to host next year's event (this year Eurovision was in Malmo, Sweden, thanks to Loreen's victory last year) – but that's an expense some countries don't want. Sometimes when a country votes for you, as Portugal is wont to do for Spain, it's less support for your song and more trying to stick you with an inconvenient expense. Eastern bloc nations or Scandinavian countries have obvious alliances, where loyalty supersedes popularity or quality. It's not so much that the best song wins, but that the best-placed song wins.
Without a guide I might have bounced off it, but thanks to the inimitable Ste Curran – game designer, One Life Left radio show host and Eurovision Sage – I had an amazing time. This year we weren't at the same party, but his complete sincerity as regards the song contest, alongside his pure urge to immerse himself in unmitigated joy, are still with me.
“The ‘general' opinion in Britain is that Eurovision is ridiculous, a joke: dumb, homogeneous pop music for a competition that's decided more by politics than artistry," Ste writes me, when I extend clutching fingers for emotional support by mail. “‘Eurovision' as an adjective is more a pejorative than anything: everyone knows about it, lots of people watch, but largely to laugh. Appreciation for the event is often soaked in irony, the coward's way to enjoy anything. Never commit your heart to anything, never get hurt."
This 2007 Eurovision performance by Verka Serduchka of Ukraine is what I show my U.S. friends who don't know what Eurovision is. It's spectacular, and hilarious, and so genuinely awesome that if I'm in a bad mood I just put it on and it fixes everything. Try it.
Yeah, the pop songs are funny whether intentionally or not, and one should laugh. But truly enjoying Eurovision is about empathy for its narratives, Ste asserts: "Every four minutes a new artist appears, does everything they can to win the hearts and votes of 125 million people," he says.
“Think of that: for each of the performers this is their moment, as big a moment as they'll ever have, their World Cup, their Olympics, representing their country; likely the most visible they'll ever be and perhaps the single high point of their lives," he says. "They have trained and practised and dreamt and worried and oh my God here it comes, everyone is watching them, it is happening right now."
When I asked him what I should do at my first Eurovision party in London – a recently-blooded Eurovision fan (who still dances to Loreen's “Euphoria" and Tooji's “Stay") – his main piece of advice was to turn off the commentary. That and to watch out for regular, if ill-advised, dubstep breakdowns among all the songs.
UK commentator Graham Norton can get a bit derisive at times, right? When each contestant was introduced with a little visual montage of their home life, Norton called the framing convention “a bit banal." On Russia's singer's creatiive background, he said “she loves paintings, and... things."
“People often mistake the British allergy to taking anything at all seriously for cynicism," friend and British writer Laurie Penny explains to me. There are only a very few things, like Doctor Who and binge drinking, that we allow ourselves to enjoy unironically. Eurovision isn't one of them, particularly because we consider ourselves culturally and creatively superior to almost every other national entrant, despite our terrible food, horrible weather, Tracey Emin and Coldplay."
“We're also poor team players and worse losers; whoever invented the idea that it's the taking part that counts was not from the Home Counties," she adds. “So, we're only allowed to have fun watching Eurovision as long as we pretend to hate it and groan all the way through, and then console ourselves after another unsuccessful year with the idea that we're not really part of Europe anyway. Despite all of that, I imagine the growing xenophobic consensus in the screaming bear pit that passes for political debate in Britain right now would be blown wide open were anyone to suggest withdrawing from Eurovision."
Interesting! Now, on the big night my housemates made snacks – chips, oven pizza, and crusty things with meat in them that I've yet to fully understand. We went to the “American" section at Tesco, a shelf that had Aunt Jemima maple syrup (England has perfectly fine maple syrup and there is no reason to spend £6, or, like, $9, on the Aunt), and Lucky Charms, and strawberry-flavored marshmallow Fluff. We bought the Fluff. Everyone was surprised to like it on white bread with peanut butter. Yeah, that was my contribution to our Eurovision party. I'm sorry.
London is a place where people are fine with dipping Pringles in guacamole, and where guacamole is an odd, sour treacle resembling an avocado in color alone. It was good, though. Our housemates are wonderful, our friends are wonderful. There was some really nice liquor, and I think even Ste would agree with me that's all it takes to have a Eurovision party. Last year Ste brought me a bottle of cranberry Finlandia vodka as a house gift. I can't even tell you what all we drank this year.
Properly watching Eurovision requires a little research – there are semi-finals and eliminations rounds ahead of last night's Grand Final, and it's best to educate oneself ahead of time so that you know who you want to root for in the main event, whom to tell your friends about, when you can take a cigarette break and when you need to tell the whole room to quiet down and pay attention.
Last year there were a lot of songs we liked. This year I hitched my star to only one nation: Romania, and the incredible operatic acrobatics of Cezar Ouatu – a spangled, handsome Dracula accompanied by lyrical dance renditions of romantic blood rituals. My friend commented that songs called “It's my life" or including the lyrics “it's my life" generally represent a sort of tough everyman aesthetic, but in this case, the Romanian life is ballet blood sacrifices.
There's even a dubstep breakdown halfway through the performance that serves to remind what dubstep breakdowns can actually be good for. Oh man. Standout superstar of Eurovision 2013.
I couldn't wait for our friends to see Romania's entry. France was up first of all, with a blonde chanteuse in a fringed dress who reminded us all of Tina Turner (Graham Norton snarked about her being a little bit like Courtney Love). Her last name is “Bourgeois". No, really, it is.
Our friend Paul couldn't wait for us to see Lithuania's entry, a Morrisey-ish guy who used to be in a band called “Hetero," if we heard correctly, and sang a song about being in love because of one's shoes. Seriously.
Next up was Moldova's entry, who had a La Roux-ish coif and a massive dress that slowly elevated her taller and taller into the air. A Hunger Games-ish pattern of flames evolved across the dress; she was a real Girl on Fire, and I remember liking the song, but nothing else about it. Oh, but Finland's though, we'd already heard about – a cheerleader sort of lady in a saucy wedding dress singing a song called “Marry Me," which was more than a little misogynistic lyrically.
To address that criticism, “Marry Me" employed a trite sort of “surprise reveal": The tuxedo-ed backup dancers were actually women, and the singer kissed one of the women at the end of the song, which offended Turkey and threatened to interrupt the Eurovision broadcast in that country. Powerful gay marriage anthem this wasn't; I also heard rumors the singer wrote the song to enjoin her boyfriend to propose.
Belgium's was the sort of entry that reminds me of my friend Ste's encouraging us all to remember that for every silly pop act on that stage we might be tempted to have a laugh at, for those performers, this is their momentous big day on the world stage. Belgium's song itself wasn't especially remarkable, but the way the singer cupped his face at the end and hopped up and down to all of the applause was one of those touching Eurovision moments.
All I remember about Belarus is how much the song made me wish there were a “best legs" prize in Eurovision, is that a horrible thing to say, she came out of a disco ball, it was incredible. There's an interesting war going on in Eurovision between showmanship and actual excellent pop song, and a lot of times stunning showmanship lets people forget it's a song contest, and could you dance to it in a club and so forth.
Ah, there was the Maltese Doctor (Malta's entry was fronted by an actual adorable young doctor), with a sort of strummy twee jam band song that set everyone in the room to abrupt and fevered swaying. Think the Plain White Ts and their grating marshmallow-Fluff “Hey Delilah," that sort of thing. A collective awwww went up around the room here, and as much as any of us would gag to hear such a thing on the radio, the band looked so familial, so cheerful and sweet, it was hard not to like their performance.
Russia's performance last year was a set of dancing grannies, either an earnest subversion or an ironic cop-out (probably the latter, let's be real). This year Russia brought something more sincere, a balladeer that might have been even a little too dour, a little too restrained – aside from some lovely luminescent technology toward the end that saw audience members' glow bracelets glimmer on in convincing ripples as light-jellyfish seemed to rise through the air.
Germany came with “Glorious," an absolutely blatant rip-off of winning song “Euphoria" from Sweden's Loreen last year. I kind of liked Netherlands' Anouk and her patently un-Eurovision, minor key-heavy “Birds." Her odd voice put me a bit in mind of a Janis Ian or Melanie Safka kind of singer. Ukraine's act got voted very highly in the end, but she reminded me of a listless Rebecca Black-alike.
Erm. Okay. So. Here's where we got drunk and preoccupied, suddenly deciding that we would register with an online betting site and place £10 on Romania to win Eurovision. Not that we thought they would, really. We'd seen the odds sheet. But I was carried away with Eurovision fever, and thought if one is going to bet on Eurovision, why not do so in commitment to SPIRITUAL RIGHTNESS? The least opportunistic, least-cynical bet I could make?
It all degenerates from there, really. A baby fox broke into our house. A REAL LIVE BABY FOX. It was quite distracting. Then, our neighbor one house over yelled at us to be quiet because it was “ten minutes to one" (in New York, if someone tells you to quiet down on a Saturday night you yell even louder). People got into deep dialogues on the carpet and couldn't remember which member of Black Sabbath wrote Armenia's song (it was Tommy Iommi).
Azerbaijan had A SHADOW MAN DOING DANCE POSES IN A GLASS BOX. Seriously, that staging was brilliant. I heard one of the acts had a newly-nationalized American singing for them and that she was awful, but I never got to see her.
And yeah, my last note on Eurovision has to do with Graham Norton comparing the representative Ukraine had elected to announce its votes “Sideshow Bob." Tooji, who sang my favorite song last year, gave out the votes on his home Norway's behalf. It was nice to see him again. Denmark won, overall, as most people predicted they would going into the Grand Final.
Denmark's song was fine. The tinny drums and panpipes were a bit too Celine Dion for my taste, but the performers were captivating, the gold confetti was transporting, and I have to admit the tune is catchy. I'm still humming it a day later. It's no Romania, but it's all right.
At the time, by the end of Eurovision 2013, I was so busy drunk-Tweeting and trying to force the hashtag #RomaniaWasRobbed to trend that I hardly remember it. Denmark's singer looked like Isla Fisher and had a white dress, if I remember correctly. This year a good Eurovision drinking game would have been to drink whenever one sees a white dress (as Ste and his friends did), or whenever there was a dubstep breakdown, or whenever the TV marquee warned of seizure risk from flashing strobes.
Oh, Eurovision. Next year I aim to be in Denmark. Bet on it.
TechCrunch's Leena Rao reports on Hacker News, the code demo that quickly became a major aggregator. Now enjoying 1.6m page views a day, its success was due in part to minimalism ("he wanted Hacker News to look like your list of processes in a terminal window"), well-made moderation features, and the arrival of technically-minded Redditors overwhelmed by that site's explosion of trivial and trollish subject matter. With growth, however, HN is beginning to observe similar patterns within itself: "I wish the community would behave the way they did when it was a little village," says creator Paul Graham.
Make Games! published a huge list of indie titles, many of them free or trivially inexpensive, made using the wildly popular game-making software Unity—I know what I'll be doing next weekend! If you're feeling inspired, Make Games!' getting started page links to essential articles and Unity alternatives for developers of any skill level.
Yahoo announced today that it is buying blogging site Tumblr for $1.1bn, mostly in cash. In the posting, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made clear that the cooler, younger company would not be smothered by her firm's notorious corporate culture, under which many other purchases have withered and died.
I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
Yahoo! even set out to prove its noble intentions with a amusing animated GIF, adorning its post with a flashing remix of the "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON POSTER", edited to say "NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT."
Amid the announcement's language of respect and cultivation, however, Reuters' Ant DeRosa spotted a purple sheep already making itself comfortable:
This is the first scary part of the new post—Yahoo Tumblr: Marissa Mayer writes: “Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology”
But as we all know, Tumblr's users have been clamoring for Yahoo personalization technology. This pressure from within surely played a strong role in shareholders' calculations. Meyer also promised seamless advertising opportunities that enhance the user experience, another well—defined idea that's sure to please the crowd.
Indeed, what DeRosa calls the "scary part" actually bodes well for the heightened efficiency of Yahoo!'s usually—tardy purchase management and integration efforts. In the past, it's often taken several months or even years before any change at all is heralded in one of its many acquisitions.
Here, though, it took mere a mere 24 seconds to read from the introductory paragraph to Yahoo!'s announced intention to make a curiously unappetizing, corporate—sounding revision to the product. Using this as a normalizing metric for future developments, I feel confident that we can offer the following predictive timetable for the ongoing evolution of Tumblr.
8 a.m., Monday, May 20, 2013 — Official announcement.
I like it because I get the sense it's an edited transcript of Walt just making up fun stuff on the fly. I have no evidence for that, but I know he was good at telling stories without a script, and there's something about the phrases used that sounds a bit like Walt talking off the cuff. But what do I know?
I found it ten or so years ago, in the files of Eyerly Rides in Salem. They had a contract to build the Dumbo ride and a windmill Ferris wheel for Disney, but the deal fell through when Lee Eyerly got cancer. Also, Walt insisted the ride must load everybody all at once, while the Eyerlys knew from experience that was an inefficient way to work the queue.
At one point, somebody at Eyerly went to a bookstore and bought a Little Golden Book (or something) of Dumbo so they could have reference pictures in order to design the fiberglass elephants.
Take Walt being intractable, add the Eyerlys insisting they knew their business, then throw in cancer, and the deal fell through -- amicably, as I read the documents. Arrow Development got the contract for Dumbo. It barely worked on opening day and queues have been long for that ride ever since. The Ferris wheel idea wasn't built until Disneyland Paris.
I've got a LOT of transcripts of phone calls on that deal, and a few drawings/diagrams. Scanning all those documents is a one-of-these-days project.
Read it all the way through for an example of horrible, casual racism.
But that's the least of Jack's problems. Far more worrisome is Mr Quincrux, a strange man from an unnamed government agency who seems to have the power to make the omnisuspicious guards and wardens go into a trancelike state. He's very, very interested in Jack, and particularly in how Jack landed in juvie -- an unexplained attack on his foster siblings that we quickly learn had something to do with telekinesis. Shreve quickly discovers that Mr Quincrux is an emissary for something much darker than any mere government agency, and as things escalate and Jack's powers come to the fore, it quickly becomes necessary for the pair to break out and hit the road.
Great horror novels demand likable characters -- people whose danger we can't help buy empathize with -- and Twelve-Fingered Boy has a pair of two of the most likable characters I can remember meeting. Shreve is fast-talking, tough-as-nails, thoughtful and honorable; Jack is quiet, gentle, scarred but indomitable. Their adventures hopping trains and sneaking across the country to unravel the mysteries of the plot are part Huck Finn, part X-Men. The scary stuff in this book -- and there's some really scary stuff here -- goes beyond the usual scares of kids' horror, and is truly the stuff of nightmares. This is a book that mesmerizes like a venomous snake, and while it comes to something of a conclusion at the end of 264 too-short pages, I was delighted to learn that it is only book one of a trilogy. I'll be on the watch for the next two volumes.
Jim from the Open Rights Group writes in with the announcement for this year's ORGCon, a brilliant UK digital rights event: Legends of digital rights, Tim Wu and John Perry Barlow, will be leading Open Rights Group's 3rd national conference on June 8th. Join us for ORGCon2013 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London for the UK's biggest digital freedoms event. ORGCon has always been a sell-out event so grab your tickets now before they all go!
This year topics covered include:
Snoopers' Charter: What's the situation now?
Lessons from creative citizens: How to win at the Internet
What exactly is ORG anyway? Who we are and what we do
Who wins when copyright and free speech clash?
How to wiretap the Cloud (without anybody noticing)
The right to be offensive: Free speech online in the UK
and many many more!
Sign up here: Open Rights Group - Join us at ORGCon2013!
Travis sez, "The Pirate Party of Canada has uncovered that IP addresses from within the RCMP and Industry Canada are used to download copyrighted material. The point here isn't that they are downloading, it's that because all we have are IP addresses we don't know who is actually doing the downloading."
Two minor characters from my novel Makers have apparently come to life and written an article for 3D Printing Industry. These two people are patent lawyers for Finnegan IP law firm, Washington, DC, which I don't recall making up, but this is definitely a pair of Doctorow villains (though, thankfully, I had the good sense not to give them any lines in the book -- they're far too cliched in their anodyne evil for anyone to really believe in).
These patent lawyers are upset because the evil Makers (capital-M and all!) are working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to examine bad 3D printing patents submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office. The problem is that 3D printing is 30 years old, so nearly all the stuff that people want to patent and lock up and charge rent on for the next 20 years has already been invented, and the pesky Makers are insisting on pointing out this inconvenient fact to the USPTO.
This breaks the established order, which is much to be preferred: the UPSTO should grant all the bullshit patents that companies apply for. The big companies can pay firms like Finnegan to file patents on every trivial, stale, ancient idea and then cross-license them to each other, but use them to block disruptive new entrants to the marketplace. The old system also has the desirable feature of arming patent trolls with the same kind of bullshit patents so that they can sue giant companies and disruptive startups alike, and Finnegan can be there to soak up the tens of millions of dollars in legal fees generated by all this activity.
Can't these darned Makers understand? The point of a patent isn't to protect novel, useful inventions! It's to put the brakes on out-of-control innovation and to ensure that the children of the partners at Finnegan can go to a good college! What will happen to GDP if we divert money from the honest business of barratry and allow it to be squandered on making and selling stuff that people find useful?
The America Invents Act changed U.S. patent law to allow preissuance submissions, a mechanism by which third parties can submit patents or printed publications to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for consideration during patent examination, along with “a concise description of the asserted relevance of each submitted document.” The U.S. Congress intended preissuance submissions to help the USPTO increase the efficiency of examination and the quality of issued patents. Congress did not, however, intend the use of this mechanism to interfere with patent examination. Nor did it intend preissuance submissions to allow for third party protest or preissuance opposition. Yet a segment of the 3D printing (3DP) community, known as Makers, is using preissuance submissions as a sword to oppose 3DP-related patent applications. Perhaps more importantly, they are leveraging the concept of crowdsourcing to do so, potentially creating problems for patent applicants everywhere.
To understand why and how Makers are mobilizing to challenge patents through presissuance submissions, one must first understand what 3DP is, and the composition of the 3DP community. 3D printing—more formally known as additive manufacturing—is a technology that creates three dimensional objects from CAD files. There are many legacy and emerging 3DP technologies. Generally, 3DP works by fusing layer upon layer of materials, such as plastics, powder metals, and ceramics, to build a final, fully formed product, much as Athena sprung full-blown from the head of Zeus. This process requires a digital 3D model of the product, stored in a CAD file, and a 3D printer. Digital product models can be obtained by either (1) designing the product with a CAD program; (2) downloading an existing CAD file from the Internet; or (3) scanning an existing product with a 3D scanner to create a CAD file. Further, almost anyone can buy a 3D printer today; they are sold through Skymall and at Staples. Where 3DP was once cost prohibitive for most, ‘prosumer’ and home printers are now available at reasonable prices.
(via Beyond the Beyond)
(Images: Caricature of William Otto Adolph Julius Danckwerts, Caricature of Charles Russell, Leslie Ward/Vanity Fair/Wikimedia Commons)
Alan Wexelblat comment on the news that Nintendo has claimed "monetization rights" to fan videos on YouTube that feature tips on playing its games. Some of these videos are incredibly popular, and while their use of Nintendo's creations are often fair use, Nintendo gets to use YouTube's monetization system to advertise on all the videos:
The basic idea is that if someone makes a video of themselves playing a Nintendo game and uploads it to YouTube any ads shown with that video will be of Nintendo's choosing and revenue from it will flow to Nintendo. Ads may appear beside the videos or actually be inserted before and after the video when people go to play it.
The problem here is that "Let's Play" style videos are a pervasive form of information and sharing throughout the industry. I did a quick YouTube search for "let's play" for this blog post and got back over 9.1 million hits. People create these videos to show off their skills, to highlight interesting things they've seen such as game "easter eggs", to provide guides or walk-throughs, or just to share a bit of fun with friends. There are a few professional or semi-professional games writers who use this style of video to promote themselves or their channels, but they are a tiny minority of that nine million.
Nintendo has positioned its action as a gentler approach; rather than trying to ban content related to Nintendo games, they just want to make money off it by changing the video that an individual uploaded. Yeah, um, guys that's not a whole lot better. It also comes across as cheap and lazy - rather than creating content for YouTube that fans and players would want to watch, Nintendo is just taking over other peoples' content.
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