Saturday Morning Open Thread: Convergence & Coalescence, xkcd Edition

Click to enlarge. Attribution: xkcd.1

To quote Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program as well as a full Professor of Literature at MIT, on the topic of media convergence:

We are living in an age when changes in communications, storytelling and information technologies are reshaping almost every aspect of contemporary life -- including how we create, consume, learn, and interact with each other. A whole range of new technologies enable consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content and in the process, these technologies have altered the ways that consumers interact with core institutions of government, education, and commerce.

That's a lot of "stuff" all coalescing into new, hopefully synergetic ways of disseminating and assimilating information. We've seen examples of it most recently with regard to the activities of loosely organized anonymous hacking groups as well as with the recent internationally reported riots - the riots in Egypt and London, for example (but by no means the only ones).

Even citizen journalism has taken on new power and meaning as various technologies merge, enabling citizens to report local news and events to the masses like never before.

It's a brave new world of information exchange, security and cyber-warfare - and it's permeating the very fabric of the cultures in many first-world nations.

How do you see this playing out now, in your life? Where do you think it's going to lead us, and what are some of the possible as-yet unforeseen consequences that may arise?

Comments are open - remember, this is an Open Thread.



Only footnote references - and comments - appear over-the-fold.


Unabashed Insanity: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

A 2010 DVD release called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World just came up on my radar this morning: the clip looks suitably insane to actually suggest a pretty fun experience.

If you've seen it, or at least watched the trailer, let us know what you think in the comments below.


Sunday Morning Open Thread: Fractured Fragments - Classical poem meets classic video game mashup, xkcd Edition

Now that was something I never thought I'd do: put the name "Emily Dickinson" in the same tagline as "Grand Theft Auto." Gotta love me some xkcd. He's at least as twisted as I am.

The Carriage
Click to enlarge. Attribution: xkcd.1

Now that's an image that's sure to cause a few folks to think about Emily Dickinson's work a little differently from now on.

Footnote references only over the fold.


Tuesday Open Thread: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, George Harrison with Spanish Subtitles Edition

A little music for your enjoyment:

If you have any news to share, or simply to say hi, comments are open below the fold.

And remember: This is an Open Thread. ("No biting" - this means you, not just the knucklehead to your left. No, your ~other~ left.)


And now for something completely different...an eagle steals a ball during a game of fetch

Yes, an eagle just stole the ball...

That kind of brings the game of "fetch" to a whole new level, doesn't it? (And quite likely either intrigued or annoyed the dog - possibly both.)

Hat-tip Life with Dogs via Facebook.


Sunday Morning Open Thread: Freedom to Read, Baen Books Edition

From the Wikipedia entry:

Baen Books was founded in 1983 out of a negotiated agreement between Jim Baen and Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster was undergoing massive reorganization and wanted to hire Jim Baen to head up and revitalize its science fiction line of its Pocket Books division. Jim Baen, with financial backing from some friends, counter-offered with a proposal to start up a new company named Baen Books and provide Simon & Schuster with a SF line to distribute instead.

Baen Books is "a science fiction and fantasy publishing house that emphasizes space opera, hard science fiction, military science fiction, and fantasy." And they offer up some books online for free.

Yes, free.

There's a good explanation of why at the site from "First Librarian" Eric Flint, but here's the gist:

Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We're calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )

Why are we doing this? Well, for two reasons.

The first is what you might call a "matter of principle."


Earlier, I mentioned "two reasons" we were doing this, and stated that the first was what you might call a demonstration of principle. What's the second?

Common sense, applied to the practical reality of commercial publishing. Or, if you prefer, the care and feeding of authors and publishers. Or, if you insist on a single word, profit.

Effectively, the "word of mouth" advertising that would come from the result of sharing some works for free online would be ten times more effective than paid advertising, and thus the authors as well as publisher would benefit.

I like that idea.

For more information on the reasoning and justification behind the Baen Free Library, check out Eric's explanation.

And while you're there, "check out" a few books for your own personal library & enjoyment.


Hat-tip to Becca of Opinions Unrestrained, a Delphi forum.


Today's Google News

Google announces its new TiSP wireless broadband internet service:

Introducing Google TiSP (BETA), our new FREE in-home wireless broadband service. Sign up today and we'll send you your TiSP self-installation kit, which includes setup guide, fiber-optic cable, spindle, wireless router and installation CD.


TiSP in-home wireless broadband is:

  • Free, fast and highly reliable

  • Easy to install -- takes just minutes

  • Vacuum-sealed to prevent water damage

Interested? You can learn more about TiSP via the links below, or get started now.

Learn More:
Press Release   How TiSP Works   FAQ

Good-hearted Fun, With A Sinister(-esque) Google, By The Vacationeers

If you like a good mental twist on reality, you should check out The Vacationeers on YouTube. They've got a lot of good stuff, including a semi-sinister take on how Google's manifestation into almost every aspect of life could become - well, if not the stuff of nightmares, then the stuff of the Twilight Zone. Or maybe the Outer Limits.

Hat-tip NathanNewman of Daily Kos, whose diary You're Not Google's Customer -- You're the Product brings another, different perspective to the pervasiveness of Google.

Part 1, "The Googling" - Google Maps

Part 2, "The Googling" - Google Moon


Continued after the jump. Three more videos embedded...


Monday Night Open Thread: Elephant Art, Thai Elephant Conservation Center Edition

Good evening. It's Monday, 31 March 2011. There's only about an hour left to this calendar day on the East Coast of the United States as this entry is typed, so it's not a bad time to stop and reflect on the day's events.

What's new in your world?

For this evening's brief bit of "infotainment" here's an elephant - painting elephants on canvas:

In the comments below, share any news or tidbits you might have, or may have learned, from your day. Remember, this is an Open Thread.

Hat-tip to Starshadow of Delphi Forums for the video.

Thursday Night Open Thread: Musical Interludes With Your Favorite Martian, Villains and Zombies Edition

Welcome to Thursday Night at ePM's eclectic Music Hall. Have you ever heard about the group Your Favorite Martian? ...well, I hadn't. And then I ran across these:

Club Villain


Zombie Love Song

From the YouTube channel information:

We're the cartoon band that lives inside Ray's head.

Well, oooookay then: here's to Ray's head, and all the denizens therein.

So...that was fun. Do you have any off-beat, new or different music to share? If so, spill! Comments are open.

And remember, this is an Open Thread.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Unexpected Consequences - "I've got Two new leads...", Red Bull Edition

Once in a while you run across a product ad that strikes you as funny, insightful or just offbeat enough to be entertaining. When I've seen an ad or two that struck my fancy, I'd sometimes repost it here to share it with others. When I came across this Red Bull ad, I thought it was on-target enough to share - it's offbeat, and highlights the potential unexpected consequences of playing the system with regard to standard / traditional confession. Watch:




Heh...two new leads.

Use this as an Open Thread.

Let's Play "Une fausse piste: Sardonic Sweetmeat Edition"

It appears that the influx of new Republican governors and bolstered numbers in both Congress and various state legislatures has led to a merry round of "screw the people" all under the faux auspices of budgetary due-diligence and fiscal responsibility. The biggest, most blatant example of GOP (and teabagger) hypocrisy is currently front-paged on DailyKos, neatly summarized with a side-helping of snark:

With all of the crocodile tears Republicans are shedding over the budget, you'd think they'd be more concerned about publicly wasting the taxpayers' dollars because Fitzgerald heard a rumor.

This, of course, has to do with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) sending Wisconsin State Troopers to the homes of the "missing" 14 Senate Democrats this morning. And it reminds me of a game...

The Immortalization of William "Bill" O'Reilly (SRSLY!)

Yes, folks, it's true: Bill O'Reilly is becoming an immortal. But don't fret -- it's not like he'll become a stalwart bastion of conservative ideology. He's instead gone the way of "stalwart bastion of ridicule" and created an immortal (and hilariously appropriate) new internet meme:

The animated ORLY? You Can't Explain That.

A post over at GeekOSystem tells the story:

Last month, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly stepped into instant Internet infamy when, in a debate with American Atheists president David Silverman, O'Reilly attempted to prove the existence of God by citing the mystery of the tides: "I'll tell you why not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that. You can't explain why the tide goes in." Only one problem: There's this thing called the Moon which might have a little to do with tides.

Bill-O wasn't expecting to actually get an answer, never mind a complete - and polite - utter smackdown. And now, he's achieved the ultimate in unintended consequences: he has, in his arrogance, created a meme that will likely survive him and find its way into a myriad of modern day pop-culture expressions.

Amazingly, I'll bet he can't explain that, either.

h/t Opinions Unrestrained.