Posts Tagged ‘Gizmodo’

Everything Is A Remix

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Found this over at Gizmodo but the actual site to visit is This is part 2 of Everything Is A Remix an extraordinarily well done 4 part critique of remix culture crafted by filmmaker Kirby Ferguson.

With deft, revealing editing and incisive commentary he delves deep into what it means for all of us as we proceed from our past to our future. Recognizing where we came from is essential to knowing where we are going. Ferguson’s work in this regard is essential. Watch it. Share it. Reward it.



P. S. Keep watching after the credits for a great addendum and a message from Kirby Ferguson himself.

See What Copyright Law Robbed You Of In 2011

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I cribbed this from Gizmodo but they got it from Duke University so that’s okay but what’s most important is the list of works which should have entered the public domain this year – but won’t – because the copyright laws were changed back in 1976 to completely fuck us all up the ass.

Images of Lord of the Flies, The Doors of Perception, Rear Window, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Seven Samurai, Waiting for Godot, Sports Illustrated, Horton Hears a Who!

Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image Wikipedia image

It’s important to remember:

Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Up to 85% of all copyrighted works from 1982 would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2011.

Here’s just a taste:

Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1954 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2011.

What might you be able to read or print online, quote as much as you want, or translate, republish or make a play or a movie from? How about William Golding’s Lord of the Flies? Golding first published Lord of the Flies in 1954. If we were still under the copyright laws that were in effect until 1978, Lord of the Flies would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2011 (even assuming that Golding or his publisher had renewed the copyright). Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2050. This is because the copyright term for works published between 1950 and 1963 was extended to 95 years from the date of publication, so long as the works were published with a copyright notice and the term renewed (which is generally the case with famous works such as this). All of these works from 1954 will enter the public domain in 2050.

What other works would be entering the public domain if we had the pre-1978 copyright laws? You might recognize some of the titles below.

    • The first two volumes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers
    • Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (his own translation/adaptation of the original version in French, En attendant Godot, published in 1952)
    • Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim
    • Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception
    • Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
    • Pauline Réage’s Histoire d’O
    • Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, subtitled “The influence of comic books on today’s youth”
    • Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    • Mac Hyman’s No Time for Sergeants
    • Alan Le May’s The Searchers
    • C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy, the fifth volume of The Chronicles of Narnia
    • Alice B. Toklas’ The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

Under the pre-1978 copyright law, you could now teach history and politics using most of Toynbee’s A Study of History (vols. 7–10 were first published in 1954) or Henry Kissinger’s A World Restored, or stage a modern adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s A Time to Love and A Time to Die for community theater.

The 1950s were also the peak of popular science fiction writing. 1954 saw the publication of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (filmed three times in the last half century by Hollywood), Philip Wylie’s Tomorrow!, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Deep Range, Robert Heinlein’s The Star Beast, and the Hugo Award-winning They’d Rather Be Right by Frank Riley and Mark Clifton. Instead of seeing these enter the public domain in 2011, we will have to wait until 2050 – a date that, itself, seems the stuff of science fiction.

Pieces of history, too, remain locked up. The first issue of Sports Illustrated – which featured on its cover the then Milwaukee Braves’ Eddie Matthews at bat with the then New York Giants catcher Wes Westrum – would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2011. (Time Inc., owner of Sports Illustrated, retains the copyright through 2050.)

Think of the movies from 1954 that would have become available this year. You could have showed clips from them. You could have showed all of them. You could have spliced and remixed and made documentaries about them. (You could have been a contender!) Instead, here are a few of the movies that we won’t see in the public domain for another 39 years:

    • On the Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan; starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Karl Malden, and Lee J. Cobb
    • Director Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr, and Thelma Ritter
    • The original Japanese-language release of Seven Samurai, directed by Akira Kurasawa; starring Takashi Shimura and Toshir? Mifune
    • Dial M for Murder, directed by Hitchcock; starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings
    • Walt Disney’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason
    • The cult horror classic, Creature from the Black Lagoon
    • The enduring holiday chestnut, White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Allen, featuring songs by Irving Berlin
    • The Barefoot Contessa, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O’Brien
    • Brigadoon, with Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, and Cyd Charisse; from the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical

If you wanted to find guitar tabs or sheet music or record your own version of some of the great music of the early 1950s, January 1, 2011, would have been a happy day for you under the old copyright laws. I Got a Woman (Ray Charles and Renald Richard), Mambo Italiano (Bob Merrill), Mister Sandman (Pat Ballard), Misty (Erroll Garner), Only You (and You Alone) (Buck Ram), Shake, Rattle and Roll (Jesse Stone, under his songwriting name, Charles E. Calhoun) – they would have all become available.

Go – read the whole post. It goes on to list many, many, many more works which rightly should have become public property – representing the culture we’ve grown up in, been immersed in and must respond to with works of our own.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, we exist in a continually growing cultural vacuum which benefits undead corporations and renders our own view of the world around us into a relentless advertisement for more of the same.

Copyright was created to protect the public domain – to ensure works would eventually fall into the commons – so we would all benefit. The law, and our own government representatives, have been corrupted – the laws inverted and twisted – and this effort continues – and will continue – until we either give up or stand up.

You and yours are poorer now.

Happy New Year.

Go make something new.


What A Package Hears As It Travels Across Europe

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I got this from Gizmodo:

What’s does being shipped sound like? A student at the Royal College of Art in London shoved a dictaphone inside a parcel and sent it off to Helsinki to find out.

Dictaphone Parcel from Lauri Warsta on Vimeo.


Big Bang Big Boom – History Of Everything

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I found this via Gizmodo and it’s a really cool animation done by the Italian artist BLU who’s work I’ve featured here before. This is pretty much just the history of everything – animated – on walls and rooftops. Like I said: cool.

BIG BANG BIG BOOM – the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Speaking of cool – today is another hot day and I will be doing as little as possible while waiting for the air outside to stop feeling like the boiled anus of a dead water buffalo.


We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I’ve posted an earlier version of this before but it always seems to make the rounds and resurface again and again – and with good reason. It’s Carl Sagan’s ode to the planet Earth – this time jazzed up with a bit of music and a montage of clips from iconic films. The images never fail to touch us in our hearts but it’s Sagan’s words that provide the greater force, reminding us how insignificant and at the same time how significant we all are.

The spacecraft was a long way from home.

I thought it would be a good idea, just after Saturn, to have them take one last glance homeward. From Saturn, the Earth would appear too small for Voyager to make out any detail. Our planet would be just a point of light, a lonely pixel hardly distinguishable from the other points of light Voyager would see: nearby planets, far off suns. But precisely because of the obscurity of our world thus revealed, such a picture might be worth having.

It had been well understood by the scientists and philosophers of classical antiquity that the Earth was a mere point in a vast, encompassing cosmos—but no one had ever seen it as such. Here was our first chance, and perhaps also our last for decades to come.

So, here they are: a mosaic of squares laid down on top of the planets in a background smattering of more distant stars. Because of the reflection of sunlight off the spacecraft, the Earth seems to be sitting in a beam of light, as if there were some special significance to this small world; but it’s just an accident of geometry and optics. There is no sign of humans in this picture: not our reworking of the Earth’s surface; not our machines; not ourselves. From this vantage point, our obsession with nationalisms is nowhere in evidence. We are too small. On the scale of worlds, humans are inconsequential: a thin film of life on an obscure and solitary lump of rock and metal.

Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you’ve ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings; thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines; every hunter and forager; every hero and coward; every creator and destroyer of civilizations; every king and peasant, every young couple in love; every mother and father; hopeful child; inventor and explorer; every teacher of morals; every corrupt politician; every supreme leader; every superstar; every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings; how eager they are to kill one another; how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. It underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.

The pale blue dot.


P.S. I found this over at Gizmodo where they also included these credits:

This is an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. It talks about the photo of the same name, Pale Blue Dot, taken by Voyager I on February 14, 1990.

The short film was produced by David Fu. Thanks to our friend Alex Pasternack—from Motherboard—for pointing us to this amazing video.

Thanks, Giz!

P.P.S. The Vimeo video was removed from their site so I replaced it with one on YouTube. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Augmented Humanity

Friday, November 13th, 2009

All this week over at Gizmodo they’ve put their focus on enhancements to the human body in a series of posts under the heading This Cyborg Life.

I’ve written here before about some of these possible futures we are rapidly entering and how we have, through our technology, achieved a greater role in our own evolution. Our tech, our media and our culture are all extensions of ourselves. One of the guest writers at Gizmodo is Aimee Mullins, who’s also been featured in this blog, and her thoughts are both provocative and inspiring. If you don’t read anything else today you must> read her post How Abled Should We Be?

Today they posted a video about a man named Tony Quan, a grafitti artist who is paralyzed from Lou Gehrig’s disease and only able to move his eyes. As you’ll see in the video he is now able to continue his public works – from his hospital bed – using a low-cost open source DIY system called EyeWriter, which uses off the shelf gear to create a head mounted device that tracks his eyes allowing him to paint (via projectors) massive scale tags.

We’ll see more of this personalized innovation come to the fore as people in their maker workshops and garage labs create extensions of themselves in tech and media and share it with the rest of the world. What may at first have been seen as singular project for an individual will quickly and easily be shared and embraced by the rest of the world – often with people finding further unanticipated uses and applications that further drives the initial innovation forward – carrying all of us along with it.

I’ve been sharing emails with my friend Bryan during this past few busy weeks about a number of topics of common interest and human enhancement has been one of them. The pattern of rapidly emerging linkages between ourselves and our machines (with our limbs, our eyes, our minds, and the rapid expansion of not just our technical ability to achieve these things but also our developing cultural acceptance of it all) is impossible to ignore. Integrating technology and the human species is not the fearful Borgian dystopia of popular SF narrative – it’s our future. Yes, there are caveats and concerns to be heeded but the emerging generations of users will be integrating their democratized home brew inventions directly with their bodies, becoming one with the tech that used to be a mere extension of self.

Check out the Gizmodo posts and ponder how you would alter or upgrade your present existence.

Welcome to the future.


Hi-Def Home Video From Edge Of Space

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Here’s another one for the Home Made Future department: I found this over on Gizmodo – back in August some amateur radio enthusiasts sent up a balloon with a tracking package and an HD video cam.

The footage they captured – the first successful amateur hi-def video from the edge of space – is extraordinary.

Pay attention around the 6:20 mark – that’s when the balloon pops.

These aren’t the only folks who have been doing this sort of thing. makers and amateur scientists have been sending up an increasing number of near-space expeditions.

It won’t be long before more fucking insane inspired dudes in lawn chairs start aiming to attain orbit.


Old tech re-purposed – new tech applied in unexpected ways – limited only by human imagination and passionate souls with way too much time on their hands – all of it is a recipe for a very interesting future indeed.

Fuck the jet packs, baby, I’m fillin’ the RV with helium and goin’ on a real vacation. Yee haw!


100 Years Of Cinema FX In 5 Minutes

Friday, August 28th, 2009

The industry of cinema may be dying or reinventing itself but the Art of cinema will live on. One of the great things about the movies was not the recreation of reality but the creation of non-reality.

There’s a great book called The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting which shows brilliantly how much of what we took for granted as being real in cinema was actually images painted by hand.

The techniques of manipulating light to create moving images is centuries old and has been absorbed into our psyche, our culture and our day-to-day vocabulary to such a degree we are no longer the same kind of human beings which existed before the dawn of cinema. I won’t get into arguments as to whether that’s good or bad – it just is.

Newer technologies are calling to us now and changing us further. It always helps to take a look back now and then to remind ourselves where we came from and how far we’ve travelled on this journey of augmented evolution. And it’s fun too!

I found this over at Gizmodo. It’s 100 years of visual effects crammed into 5 minutes.

If you have any others to add go to the Gizmodo post and offer your comments – they’ve allowed for posting of video snips too.

Enjoy your day.


Hibi no Neiro – International Web Cam Collage Music Video

Friday, July 10th, 2009

The Japanese band Sour has released an amazing video composed of multiple screens from webcam sources all around the world. It’s described on the Vimeo page of Magico Nakamura thusly:

This music video was shot for Sour’s ‘Hibi no Neiro’ (Tone of everyday) from their first mini album ‘Water Flavor EP’. The cast were selected from the actual Sour fan base, from many countries around the world. Each person and scene was filmed purely via webcam.

I love works that employ fan participation and combine low-tech resources to craft a really unique piece. I must admit, when I first started watching this vid I got a little irked because the initial layout onscreen is similar to a short film I’m in the process of making for the Zombie Short Film Festival (albeit, my shit won’t be anywhere nearly as creative as this) – but since, as they say, there are only so many crayons in the box I quickly got over myself and just sat back and enjoyed.

I encourage you to do the same.

UPDATE: The original Vimeo post of the video got deleted from their site for some reason, so here’s the YouTube version.


P. S. I originally found this over on Gizmodo. Thanks, folks!

Han Solo P. I.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I found this great side-by-side Magnum P. I. / Han Solo P. I. opening credit sequence over on Gizmodo. I love these kinds of mashups – like the Star Wars / Dallas opening. Enjoy.