Archive for May, 2006

We take off on Wednesday for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals to be held in Ames, Iowa this week. We’ll be cheering on Tucker’s middle school team and staying in dorms on the Iowa State campus. If you have any advice about Ames or Iowa State or Odyssey, please send it on.

The team’s long term problem will be presented on Friday and their spontaneous problem on Saturday:
27 NC R D EUZELLE SMITH MID SCH #32289 1 II Fri 1:24PM Sat 10:34AM

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David McConville alerts us to two movies.

“Alternative Freedom” takes the Free Culture movement and documents it under a Creative Commons license (at least for their web site) and includes interviews with Larry Lessig, Richard Stallman, Danger Mouse and others.

“Elephant Dreams” web site has been SlashDotted, but then Slashdot describes the movie and it’s creation as the first “Open Movie” this way:

The 3D animated short ‘Elephants Dream’ will today be released as a free and public download. This is the final stage of a successfully completed Open Movie project which has been community-financed, using only Open Source tools, and opening up the movie itself as well as the entire studio database for everyone to re-use and learn from.

UPDATE: Wikinews has an interview with Ton Roosendaal

Davis Guggenheim, whose films “Teach” and “First Year” got our attention earlier on, is hitting it big with the Al Gore driven flick, “An Inconvenient Truth,” about global climate crisis and Gore’s passion to set things straight in the world. The site has a great theatre finder and the film is in wide release.

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Since the Lordi Eurovision VICTORY last night, this blog’s readership from Finland has exceeded that coming from the US or any other country. The count has been varying from 35 t0 23% Finnish in the past say 18 hours with over 80% of the readers coming from Europe in the wee Eastern Daylight Hours.

There are a few whiny Russians who are trying to claim a win even though Dima Bilan is almost 50 points behind the lovely and talented Lordi.

Also the VoteLordi folks explain why they nearly took their support site completely off the net. They mostly removed all links and put up a disclaimer saying that they would explain later — now they have.

See also Mr. Lordi’s short interview after the victory. and the BBC article and interview with the Lordi.

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Greensboro News and Record editor John Robinson has now covered Robin Roger’s thesis in the Sunday paper column. It was on his blog earlier. The column retraces some of the earlier blog entry, but adds references to a few G’boro blogs and has better comments (why?).
Also covered by Ed Cone on Word Up.

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There is a god — of a sort! At least Metal One. BBC just announced that Lordi, representing Finland and all monstermen and monsterwomen, has just won the Eurovision Song Contest besting Russia by 44 points!

According to BBC:

EUROVISION RESULTS
1. Finland – 292 points
2. Russia – 248
3. Bosnia and Herzegovina – 229
4. Romania – 172
5. Sweden – 170
6. Lithuania – 162

According to the Eurovision site:

But if you thought that rocked, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s the turn of Lordi, the monstrous hard rockers from Finland. The eponymous lead singer Mr. Lordi has miniature skulls on his kneecaps whose eyes light up red, his microphone is attached to the handle of a battleaxe and he has devil horns protruding from his head. It’s not exactly Abba. Despite their frightening appearance, there’s something really likeable about the group and the crowd really warm to them… and are warmed by them! There’s so much fire on stage, the temperature in the arena rises several degrees.

Eurovision performance of Lordi

The Lordi Semi-Final performance is on YouTube
(they have great pyrotechs).

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If you are too pure to install Flash or have seen but not quite gotten the story in Lordi’s “Hard Rock Halleluja!” video, let me explain. [see also the Google Video version]

First we see a MetalGoth Girl walking down the halls of her school. Everyone else is pretty much blonde, this being Finland, but she has GothBlackHair and some various GothMetal fashion touches including an mp3 player which just happens it be playing “Hard Rock Halleluja!” which no one can hear but us and our heroine. She softly sings along as she walks. We see she has a drawing pad with pictures of Lordi and the band. We notice American-style football players in the halls. They seem not to notice our MetalGothGirl even though she has obviously stolen their anti-glare eye black and is wearing it.

This is because:
The saints are crippled
On this sinners’ night
Lost are the lambs with no guiding light

As she gets to the gym door, she is pushed into the wall by onrushing cheerleaders. The cheerleader costumes are coordinated with the video and so are black and white including the pompoms. The lead cheerleader is blonder yet and is wearing a tiara. She casts a condescending look at MetalGothGirl.

But then smoke fills the room. A taloned hand appears in the window making a MetalSign. Surprise, it’s Lordi! He and his band complete with instruments and firepots burst through the doors and even the walls. The cheerleaders are struck down (some would say dead) and writhe a little in some basic dance moves.

This is because
The walls come down like thunder
The rocks about to roll
It’s the Arockalypse
Now bare your soul

All we need is lightning
With power and might
Striking down the prophets of false
As the moon is rising
Give us the sign
Now let us rise up in awe

But soon they are brought back to life — some would say as zombies, but they are pretty much the same as before except that they like Lordi’s music and the worship our MetalGothGirl.

This is because
The true believers
Thou shall be saved
Brothers and sisters keep strong in the faith
On the day of Rockoning
It’s who dares, wins
You will see the jokers soon’ll be the new kings

MetalGothGirl now marches down the hallway pumping her fist in the air singing the anthem — what else “Hard Rock Halleluja!”

Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived
Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
In God’s creation supernatural high

Wings on my back
I got horns on my head
My fangs are sharp
And my eyes are red
Not quite an angel
Or the one that fell
Now choose to join us or go straight to Hell

Close on cute and happy MetalGothGirl with fist raised.

You may enjoy this interview with Lordi by Eurovision from the Eurovision Lordi site.

Note: Lyrics (above in italic) and music by Mr. Lordi

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the Lovely and Talented Lordi
The masks, the metal, the giant bat wings, the song “Hard Rock Halleluja!” Yes, the fabulous Finnish Monster Men have made the finals of the otherwise banal Eurovision Song Contest finals.

Metal Temple is on the ground in Athens and posts this report of the Lordi semi-finals and the secret Lordi warm up gig.

Disclaimer: I am not a metalhead, but I’m amused that the completely silly Eurovision might be captured by these daring and darling young men. Yes, I’m pulling for Lordi!

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Beeg Man
Ken returns from Disney World with possibly sad news: Many of the shops at the world famous South of the Border near Dillon, SC looked to be closed. Indeed, reports at various websites since the death of the founding SoB Alan Schafer in 2001 claim that the faux Mexican Mecca has gone to seed.

Frankly SoB was always teetering between magic and mistake. Schafer was constantly trying new shops and killing his losers. A sudden drop in the market price of mariachi dressed dried alligators could cause the entire redesign of a salesfloor to accommodate the wonderful bargins. A guy I once knew worked at one shop as a manager. He was saddled with barrels of odd sized leather purses that wouldn’t move no matter how much he dropped the price. Schafer stepped in personally and tripled the posted price, added a special sale sign in his imagined Mexican-English and put them by the door. Not only did the sales more than double, but so did the shoplifting. My informant insisted that Schafer wrote off the loses to his light fingered visitors at the new high price which gave him an additional large tax savings!

Of course, I don’t know how much of all of that is true, but the shear audacity of Schafer was for me the magic of the place. Not the tacky “heir conditioned” honeymoon suite which catered to folks eloping and to various military guests. Not the large collection of thin beach towels and corny t-shirts. Not the famously slow service in the restaurants or even the uneven, and occassionally very good, cooking. Not even the fabled Sombrero tower — itself a mix of Mexico and Paris in Eastern South Carolina. No, it was the totality of the place. Unfinished and constantly madly reimagined. And would you expect a place which features a Dirty Old Man Shop to attract anyone who isn’t at least seedy in part of their imagined life?

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Robin Roger’s Masters thesis, “Creating community and gaining readers through newspaper blogs,” gets great electrons at the Greensboro News and Record Editor’s Blog by John Robinson and more from Ed Cone on his Word Up blog.

Both note Robin’s conclusion (so I will too):

Findings suggest that the effects of high levels of community are cumulative; therefore, creating a blogging community can draw new readers — great news for newspaper marketers. Results from the study also suggest a virtuous cycle: frequent blog reading seems to lead to a sense of community, and vice versa.

I was lucky to have Robin in my class on blogging, community and citizen journalism last fall and to be on the committee along with Brian Carroll for her thesis which was chaired by Phil Meyer.

Here is Robin’s thesis [in PDF]

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Also just out in Red Hat Magazine is former ibiblian Kelly Jo Garner’s “Nashville by day or night”. She knows of what she speaks.

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Jon Garfunkel of Civilities.net has posted his notes on the Beyond Broadcast conference. Good insights into Day Two especially.

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JJB, Chief Lyceum Architect, has a great article explaining all about Lyceum, “Lyceum: One installation, many (open source) blogs” in the just out Red Hat Magazine

Red Hat Magazine
.

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Next week four teams from Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public Schools will go to the World Final Competitions in Ames, Iowa included will be Tucker’s team from Smith Middle School whose long term problem is the vehicle problem.

The Chapel Hill News just issues their ink and virtual Roses to the teams.

If you know anything about Ames, let us know; we’ll be there a week at Iowa State.

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The cover story in this week’s Independent (just on the stands and online) is Fiona Morgan’s long and good article on Net Neutrality, “Technobarons of the 21st Century”. There is plenty said and explained well. Then there is also a heavy dose of Jones including a pull quote in a large box.

The pull quote which is not pulled on the web is:

“It’s about stopping providers from using their near monopoly of network connections to invisibly prevent you from connecting to a site, or to strong-arm content providers into paying fees.” — Paul Jones

To learn more and to become involved at SaveTheInternet.com and let AskTheNinja explain.

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David Byrne
No telling what I’ve digitized or added amongst the many weeks worth of music I keep in iTunes — until I choose to surprise myself by selecting Party Shuffle. I was suddenly hearing tune after tune that I didn’t recall digitizing when I realized that one day a couple of years back I had added Radio David Byrne to the playlist. Once Shuffle hit that entry, I was captured by a neverending (not reluctantly captured nor reluctantly held, tho) stream of Byrne selected tunes. Right now it’s “A Skewed History: Part III: Latin Rock” Just reading the Byrne intro is a treat — then the music!
You can be captured too. Go here. Rewards await.

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The Free Expression Policy Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law has released a report on the effects of Internet filters used to comply with the “Children’s Internet Protection Act”.

The preamble:

No sooner was the Internet upon us than anxiety arose over the ease of accessing pornography and other controversial content. In response, entrepreneurs soon developed filtering products. By the end of the decade, a new industry had emerged to create and market Internet filters …

Yet filters were highly imprecise from the beginning. The sheer size of the Internet meant that identifying potentially offensive content had to be done mechanically, by matching “key” words and phrases; hence, the blocking of Web sites for “Middlesex County,” or words such as “magna cum laude.

Internet filters are crude and error-prone because they categorize expression without regard to its context, meaning, and value. Yet these sweeping censorship tools are now widely used in companies, homes, schools, and libraries. Internet filters remain a pressing public policy issue to all those concerned about free expression, education, culture, and democracy.

This fully revised and updated report surveys tests and studies of Internet filtering products from the mid-1990s through 2006. It provides an essential resource for the ongoing debate.

All of the documents are in PDF despite saying “Read the entire report online.”
Highlights page [PDF]
Press Release [PDF]
and “Read the entire report online” [PDF]

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Fred blogs that he will be giving a talk on Social Networks this Friday May 19 at 11:30 am in Room 3102 of the Student Union.

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Donald reminds me that I need to visit Manolo the ShoeBlogger more often particularly now during the Eurovision Song Contest. Manolo has the clearest vision of Eurovision out there.
It was well worth the distraction just to learn about the Finnish band, Lordi.

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When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you have to think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgement of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. And I think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. It is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life.

Stanley Kunitz
1905-2006
from The Wild Braid, W.W. Norton, 2005

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ibiblian alum Jesse Wilbur writes to let us know that the Institute for the Future of the Book, where he now works, is subject of the cover article on the current Library Journal, “The Social Life of Books.” A good read after or beside the Kevin Kelly article in Sunday’s NYTimes article.

Jesse also writes:

We’re launching GAM3R 7H30RY very soon, McKenzie Wark’s newest book (he also wrote The Hacker Manifesto). We’re putting it up online before it’s coming out in print. Plus we’ve done some interesting things with the interface to 1) test the form of a networked book, 2) support the unique structure of his book, 3) encourage discussion about Wark’s book and networked books in general.

Institute for the Future of the Book’s authoring tool, Sophie, which is described as “an open-source platform for creating and reading electronic books for the networked environment” is due to be released in July.

The Institute blog, if:book, is a rich resource among the articles are some by Jesse about “digital comics.”

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