“But a social network isn’t a product; it’s a place. Like a bar or a club, a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful—the more people it attracts, the more people it attracts. Google couldn’t have possibly built every one of Facebook’s features into its new service when it launched, but to make up for its deficits, it ought to have let users experiment more freely with the site. That freewheeling attitude is precisely how Twitter—the only other social network to successfully take on Facebook in the last few years—got so big. When Twitter users invented ways to reply to one another or echo other people’s tweets, the service didn’t stop them—it embraced and extended their creativity. This attitude marked Twitter as a place whose hosts appreciated its users, and that attitude—and all the fun people were having—pushed people to stick with the site despite its many flaws (Twitter’s frequent downtime, for example). Google , by contrast, never managed to translate its initial surge into lasting enthusiasm. And for that reason, it’s surely doomed.”—
It’s interesting that DMs and RTs and things like that all started as work-arounds to accomplish communication goals on Twitter, and now they’re fully-featured mechanisms within Twitter’s official architecture.
“JD: That’s because, as important as politics are to me, the life and the spirit of people’s emotions are much more important. People live real lives where they love and grieve and feel pain and joy and that is a whole separate sphere. All that political stuff, I believe in it strongly, but not as strongly as I believe that at some point you or someone is going to need a song to sit with and comfort them in a hard time. That’s important to me, and if during that song I’m telling you how to vote, I’m not doing my personal job as a songwriter. Other songwriters may be well-placed to talk to you about politics, but the thing that I share with people is how to go into a place of emotion and really revel in it.”—
John Darnielle on politics in lyrics (via slocedot).
Some would refer to a songwriter who takes on social issues and engages with politics as a responsible artist. To do so is to misunderstand the responsibilities of the artist. John Darnielle is ACTUALLY a responsible artist.
The short answer to that question seems to be yes, but it’s also interesting, and barely mentioned, that the collaborative elements of the story (the ones written by both the original poster and the rest of Reddit’s posters) belong to the individuals who came up with them. WB might face some unique and interesting obstacles to this production!
“Voting 2-1 to void the fine, the court stated that the FCC has maintained a “consistent refusal” to treat sudden nude images as indecent, and there was no reason to treat the Jackson case differently. Finally, a nation can rest.”—
The AV Club brings to our attention something most people hadn’t thought about in a while. I took a course on FCC law once, and it was interesting to see how hugely the FCC’s policies and what they choose to pursue can change with each administration.
For instance, since Obama took over, have you heard of even ONE indecency fine levied against a television company? The FCC’s priorities have changed along with the chief executive. I find that really interesting.
A team of computational linguists at Carnegie Mellon University… has used geocoded tweets to build maps of regional language use across the United States. …
From these mountains of data can be gleaned hidden patterns of informal English, like the profusion of hella as a form of emphasis in Northern California, as in, “It’s hella cold out there.” Slangy phonetic spellings also show distinct patterns of distribution, with New Yorkers preferring suttin to sumthin (for something) and Californians writing koo or coo for cool. Even emoticons differ from region to region
The researchers, Andrew G. West and Insup Lee, wondered what content on the enormously popular Web site could be so troubling that Wikipedia administrators would decide to remove it forever. “Wikipedia is at that paramount example of open-source transparency,” Mr. Lee said. “So when you see them behaving in a nontransparent manner, you want to see what motivates them to do this.”
Copyright infringement was the most common reason Wikipedia stated for deleting material, Mr. West and Mr. Lee found.
It’s actually a really cool question. Wikipedia thrives on almost militant transparency and hands-off policies. So the things that make them go non-transparent and hands-on should reveal a lot about their most closely held values.
But it maybe doesn’t. Sure, one of the big ones is libel. But at the top is copyrighted material. The motivations for those two are very different: one is kind of altruistic, the other is more closely tied to compliance with the law, not utopianism. I just think that’s interesting.
Despite users’ curiosity around Google+, it seems like most Google+ users just wanted to see the platform before returning to Facebook. ‘Google has lost over 60 per cent of its active users on its social network Google+, according to a report by Chitika Insights, raising questions about how well it is doing against its rival, Facebook. Despite the clear interest in an alternative to Facebook, it does not appear that the people joining are staying around and actively using the web site. Google’s problem is not getting users in the first place, it seems, but rather keeping them after they have arrived. For now it appears that a lot of users are merely curious about Google+, but return to the tried and tested format of Facebook when the lustre fades. The problem is that Facebook is not going to rest on its laurels while Google attempts to get the advantage. Already it has added features inspired by Google+, particularly in terms of improving the transparency of its privacy options.
It’s also worth reading this rant from a Plus engineer about the platform’s shortcomings. It’s really smart and hits on probably the fundamental problems that make Facebook a better place for the kinds of things that people expect their social networking sites to do.
“I love that when Occupy Wall Street was denied permission to use bullhorns, demonstrators came up with an alternative straight out of Monty Python, or maybe “The Flintstones”: Have everyone within earshot repeat a speaker’s words, verbatim and in unison, so the whole crowd can hear. It works—and sounds tremendously silly. Protest movements that grow into something important tend to have a sense of humor.”—
Eugene Robinson (via azspot). I love a good analog solution to a problem. I don’t really have a TON to say about the whole Occupy Wall Street thing. It’s a general sort of mish-mash of ideas the same way that the Tea Party is a general mish-mash of ideas. It’s maybe more fun, and maybe more supported by the actual facts of how our society works, but it’s still really just a mish-mash. And it’s also not really doing anything that similar protest movements have done already, either in foreign countries during the summer of constant dictator-ousting or in our own country during the anti-union legislation protests that cropped up all over the midwest. There are even huge similarities between this and the Rally to Restore Sanity that the Daily Show put on not too long ago.
In short, the only novelty here might be the size of the protesting group, not the ideas or the structure or even the methods. But hey, cool story!
“Different languages are spoken at varying speeds but thanks to correlated differences in data-density, the same amount of information is conveyed within a given time period. For all of the other languages, the researchers discovered, the more data-dense the average syllable is, the fewer of those syllables had to be spoken per second — and the slower the speech thus was. English, with a high information density of .91, is spoken at an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second. Mandarin, which topped the density list at .94, was the spoken slowpoke at 5.18 syllables per second. Spanish, with a low-density .63, rips along at a syllable-per-second velocity of 7.82. The true speed demon of the group, however, was Japanese, which edges past Spanish at 7.84, thanks to its low density of .49. Despite those differences, at the end of, say, a minute of speech, all of the languages would have conveyed more or less identical amounts of information.”—The speed and density of language (via wildcat2030). This might be my favorite paragraph about comparing languages that I have ever read. I love everything that it implies about information and communication and the evolution of language.
Our new record was ‘officially’ released today. This means that you’ll find the digital version on various different Digital music stores like iTunes, AmazonMP3 and eMusic, and you’ll be able to stream the music from services such as Spotify and Deezer.
The physical versions (CD…
A bit of a reality check on how much it costs to make music available for purchase and streaming. Each of these services offers different benefits (from the possible mass exposure on Spotify to the only-diehards exposure of vinyl). All in all, the amounts charged for each type of delivery seem to scale correctly to match just how much a given audience segment wants the music. So that’s interesting.
Ok but remember: something taking skill is not what makes it elligible for copyright protection. It’s that it has creative elements. Photographs have creative elements. Those creative elements are protectable. Pretty much END OF STORY.
That’s the thing: thin copyright protection is mostly a legal fiction, short-hand for “this thing has very little creative elements, so very little of it is protectable.” There exist photos that have more creative elements than others; those have more protection. STILL pretty much END OF STORY.
An interesting case that’s attacking the first sale doctrine from a weird angle. It’s hard to imagine a world in which any books printed overseas cannot ever be resold without the printer’s permission. Bookstores couldn’t really exist in that kind of a system.
“Hotfile claims that Warner removed hundreds of files wrongfully. For example, when the studio removed pirated copies of the its movie “The Box,” it also deleted a BBC production titled “The Box that Saved Britain” and several files related to an alternative health book, “Cancer: Out Of The Box,” by Ty M. Bollinger. Hotfile alleges that this demonstrates a pattern of abuse of the copyright enforcement tool and a violation of its terms with the studio.”—
Maybe this will establish a mechanism for fighting back against companies that use the DMCA to have fair use works pulled from the internet. There needs to be a re-balance between the rights associated with fair use and the rights protected by copyright law. This might be a step in that direction!
A MAJOR solar storm would not only damage Earth’s infrastructure, it could also leave a legacy of radiation that keeps killing satellites for years.
When the sun belches a massive cloud of charged particles at Earth, it can damage￼ our power grids and fry satellites’ electronics. But that’s not all. New calculations suggest that a solar megastorm could create a persistent radiation problem in low-Earth orbit, disabling satellites for up to a decade after the storm first hit.
It would do this by destroying a natural buffer against radiation - a cloud of charged particles, or plasma, that normally surrounds Earth out to a distance of four times the planet’s radius.
You know how when the earthquake and hurricane rolled through the east not too long ago, we discovered that our plan for keeping connected using cell phones wasn’t good enough? Well we better get on that, because it’s time to also start preparing for SPACE weather emergencies. Our advanced have severely outpaced are preparedness for their failure.
Just when we thought iTunes had convinced us to pay for our jams, it looks like we’ve come full circle, back to free. Today, streaming music service MOG will join other services like Spotify and Pandora, offering a “gratis” option, reports The New York Times’s Ben Sisario. “MOG, an American music streaming service, has developed a free version to compete with Spotify.” But is the version really free? Just because you don’t pay out of pocket, doesn’t mean the service doesn’t have a catch. As with all neo-music listening options, it elicits subtler payments. No free streaming music service out there comes without a cost.
One of my favorite things about Hulu is this: it’s available for “free” online, which actually isn’t free because it includes ads. But when you pay the additional fee for Hulu plus, these ads don’t go away. Essentially, you’re paying for what you watch TWICE, once with your fee and once with the ads. So sometimes you pay twice for your streaming.
“Interestingly, the amount of data people create by writing email messages, taking photos, and downloading music and movies is miniscule compared to the amount of data being created about them, the EMC-sponsored study found.”—
Our computers and our Google profiles and our internet histories will eventually know more about us than even our close family will be able to piece together from our communication with them.
Imagine that: if a computer wanted to simulate me, maybe create an artificial intelligence version of me, then extensive interviews with my friends and family would be less informative than a simple scan of my laptop and of the websites I frequent.
“Why are books so long? Do the weighty thoughts of authors require it, or is it the economics of the publishing industry? Suppose there was a severe paper shortage, so that all books were restricted to a maximum length of fifty pages; would it not be possible for authors (at least of non-fiction) to say what they had to say in that space? Perhaps not for all of them. But most of them could, at least after some practice. The possibilities of such a situation are pleasant to contemplate—the cost of books would go down, the number of books we could read would go up. The improvement in the general quality of writing would be significant.”—
Neil Postman (via azspot). I think this might be an unpopular opinion, because it’s easy for people to confuse a desire for concise communication with a distaste for reading long books. I LIKE reading long books, but not when the introduction elucidates the argument just fine, and the rest of the book feels like surplussage.
Or how about this: release two books: one with your argument explained and constructed, and another for those that doubt any of the premises or assertions within the argument. Do a large run of the former and a limited run of the latter. You will make more money, your book will have more chance to cross over into mainstream audiences, and academics and specialists will have plenty to read if they desire.
“Sixty per cent of the data still resides on unprotected laptops and desktops. One out of every 12 laptops is lost or stolen within the first 12 months of purchase. Those USB keys that we find so convenient to use – 66 per cent of us admit to losing them with 60 per cent of those having corporate private data on them”—
This little set of numbers highlights the real threat to privacy and security. Our sensitive information is in danger of being taken from us not because our technology is weak, but because we have the wrong attitudes. See the LulzSec post on the main Stars Blink Out blog for more!