Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House, and is moving quickly through Congress. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the internet, in the name of protecting “creativity.” The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites; they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.” The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year. That’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

PROTECT-IP/SOPA Breaks The Internet

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Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s Co-Founder and visionary, who helped usher in the era of personal computers and led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday at the age of 56. Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with cancer, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment. He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. After leaving, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.

I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company in August. “Unfortunately, that day has come.” By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and a wide range of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet.

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

1984 Apple Macintosh Super Bowl Commercial

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A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

Oh my…it’s Super Bowl Sunday again! Football, football, football everywhere. What’s a poor soul to do who’s just not into this locker-room Super Bowl football sort of stuff? Do you have to just slink away into the kitchen and try to hide from all the drunken mister macho clamor? Nope, this one here’s just for you! Now I’m getting educational on you…watch this great little video and learn all about how the Internet came into being and developed. Plus, after watching this, you’ll sound super, super-smart as you dominate the idle chatter at all of this weekend’s After-Super Bowl cocktail parties. Everyone will absolutely marvel at your stunning techno-chic brilliance!!

A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

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Aspen Magazine’s Final Issue: The Asia Issue (1971)

Aspen: The Multimedia Magazine in a Box (10 Issues, 1965-1971)

Aspen: the Multimedia Magazine in a Box

Aspen was conceived by Phyllis Johnson, a former editor for Women’s Wear Daily and Advertising Age. While wintering in Aspen, Colorado, she got the idea for a multimedia magazine, designed by artists, which would showcase “culture along with play.” So in the winter of 1965, she published her first issue. “We wanted to get away from the bound magazine format, which is really quite restrictive,” said Johnson.

Aspen published 10 issues between 1965 and 1971. Most of the issues arrived in a notebook-size box stuffed with articles that had been printed individually rather than stapled together. But it was the nature of its contents that made Aspen magazine stand out like a ski lift in a cornfield. Each issue was as likely to hold postcards, posters and phonograph records as essays. Among the magazine’s 235 contributors were many prominent figures on the 1960’s cultural landscape, including: Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, John Cage, Philip Glass, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Merce Cunningham, John Lennon, Marshall McLuhan, Yoko Ono, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol. Each issue had a new designer and editor. “Aspen,” Johnson said, “should be a time capsule of a certain period, point of view, or person.” The last Aspen, issue number 10, was devoted to Asian art and philosophy.

If Aspen was an art director’s dream, it was also an advertiser’s nightmare. The ads, stashed at the bottom of the box, were easily ignored. And although Aspen was supposed to publish quarterly, in reality the publication date of each issue was as much of a surprise as the contents. “All the artists are such shadowy characters,” publisher Johnson said, “that it takes months to track them down.” After issue 5+6, there were no more ads in the magazine. Perhaps Aspen was a folly, but it was a vastly pleasurable one, with a significant place in art history. The list of contributors included some of the most interesting artists of the 20th Century. And as a paragon of creative publishing, Aspen was a true wonder. Its contents, however, are all but lost; few copies of Aspen have survived.

The Asia Issue contained fifteen numbered items, no advertisements and no editorial credits. It was published in 1971 by Aspen Communications Inc., NYC.

Music Audio: Peter Walker/White Wind:

Aspen Magazine’s Final Issue: The Asia Issue (1971)

Clearing Autumn Skies Over Mountains and Valleys, Kuo Hsi, China 11th Century

A Mountain Village In Clearing Mist, Ying Yu-chien, China, 11th Century

Tagasode (Whose Sleeves?), Anonymous, Japan, 17th Century

Noh and Kyogen Plays, Three-Panels, Anonymous, Japan, 17th Century

Waves, Two-Fold Screen, Ogata Korin, Japan (1658-1716)

Thou art That, Hindu Temple Sculptures, India, 11th Century

Vaishnava Painting, Indian Miniature Paintings, Northwest India, 18th Century

The Yama Tanka, Hanging Scroll, Tibet, 18th Century

Aspen Magazine’s Final Issue: The Asia Issue (Number 10, 1971)

Aspen: A Guided Tour of the Multimedia Magazine in a Box

Kenneth Goldsmith, the founding editor of UbuWeb, gives us an audio guided tour of Aspen Magazine, which is now housed permanently on UbuWeb. The tour includes an in-depth look at the films, recording, sculptures, writings and images that this remarkable publication produced. Published 10 times between 1965 and 1971, Aspen billed itself as the first three-dimensional magazine. Most of the issues arrived in a notebook-size box stuffed with articles that had been printed individually rather than stapled together. However, it was the nature of its contents that made Aspen magazine stand out like a ski lift in a cornfield. Each issue was as likely to hold postcards, posters and phonograph records as essays. And among the magazine’s 235 contributors were many prominent figures on the 60’s cultural landscape, includingAmong the magazine’s 235 contributors were many prominent figures on the 1960’s cultural landscape, who included: Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, John Cage, Philip Glass, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Merce Cunningham, John Lennon, Marshall McLuhan, Yoko Ono, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol.

An Audio Tour by Kenneth Goldsmith:

Aspen Magazine (Artists, Authors, Audio, Movies, Interactive Exhibits and Advertisements): The Complete Index

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Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

Empathy, Mutual Recognition and Feelings of Love

I truly hope that readers won’t mind my writing this message that attempts to convey some sense of tranquility. One of the most wonderful opportunities made available and nurtured by writing on the internet is that there arise moments of inspiration which can beget an artistic container enclosing, and a liminal space that relates to, differing personal and public interests with a variety of perspectives. In my case, the art of blogging or writing on the internet evolved or transmuted into a focus upon creative blog composition. My earlier compositions were somewhat lengthy expressions of my understandings of and perspectives on contemporary psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, art, photography, diversity (including the rights of persons in the GLBTTQSA community and other ethnic/minority groups), politics, multimedia and music.

My current blog compositions tend to be short and condensed, but which at the same time embrace several layers of meaning. For example, this composition simply consists of a photograph, this descriptive and interpretive introductory text and a 60-second short-film. A later post might consist of just a single thoughtfully chosen photograph. Regarding this particular composition, in the midst of our current climate of heatedly divisive national political discourse, worrisome economic stressors, environmental and energy concerns and ongoing involvements in international crises, I thought that it might be helpful to offer readers a small oasis, a few moments of thoughtful calm and, perhaps, serenity.

Empathy is a one-minute short film that was a Regional Winner in the 2008 British Academy Film Awards. It is a film of elegant simplicity, which demonstrates how people of different generations can briefly be united by even small gestures of empathic mutual recognition. Empathy reveals how even very young children are capable of showing their passions from an early age. In this short film, the brilliant young actor is able to convey a deeply touching sense of truly heartfelt empathic compassion from which many of today’s adults could well learn.

Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

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Ms. Olive Riley: The World’s Oldest Blogger Dies at 108

Audio: BBC Interview with Mike Rubbo, Olive Riley’s Assistant

Ms Olive Riley: The World’s Oldest Blogger Dies at 108

Ms. Olive Riley died over the weekend in a nursing home on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia, at the age of 108. Born in Broken Hill in 1899, Ms. Olive returned in 2004 for a filming of the documentary about her life, All About Olive.

Since early last year, she had written about 70 entries on her life experiences and posted them on her blog, All About Riley. Ms. Olive’s blog had a large following of readers from all over the world. In her final post, dated June 26th, an increasingly frail Olive noted that she couldn’t “shake off that bad cough.” She also wrote, “I read a whole swag of email messages and comments from my internet friends today, and I was so pleased to hear from you. Thank you, one and all.”

What follows is an earlier posting, which I wrote upon the occasion of celebrations for Ms. Olive’s 108th birthday:

Miss Olive Riley Makes a Toast!

Miss Olive, will be turning 108 in two days. Over at Miss Olive’s blog, The Life of Riley, they’ve already started the celebration. The home where Olive lives insists that they can hold birthday celebrations only on weekdays. But heck, she’s already live 3,9417 days, so what’s another two, right?

Born in 1899 in Broken Hill, Australia (just outside of Sydney), Miss Olive started her blog, what she calls a “blob,”in February of this year. The entries consist largely of Riley’s transcriptions to her friend Mike, where she talks about her day to day events and also tells stories from her 108 years of life.

The Documentary: All About Olive

Miss Olive’s Birthday Party

ABC News: Miss Olive’s Birthday Party

You can read a much earlier article about Ms. Olive here.

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Jeff Han: The Amazingly Orgasmic Pixel Guy

Jeff Han: The Amazingly Orgasmic Pixel Guy

The Emergence of Multi-Touch Technology

When Steve Jobs first introduced Apple’s iPhone at Macworld last year, the feature that evoked the most excitement was its touch-screen interface, allowing more than one touch at a time. The multi-touch technology added innovative new functions, such as allowing the user to easily zoom in and out of pictures and web pages by pinching the screen with two fingers.

But a more advanced version of the amazing power of multi-touch technology has been unleashed upon screens much larger than those on the iPhones. Over the past few years, Jeff Han, a research scientist at New York University, has developed a relatively inexpensive way to make large multi-touch screens that can accommodate 10, 20, or even more fingers. He foresees applications that range from interactive whiteboards to touch-screen tables and digital walls, any of which can manipulated by more than just one person. Han’s company, Perspective Pixel, is based upon the unique multi-touch technology that he’s pioneered.

The Amazing Perspective Pixel

Han’s touch display is made of clear acrylic with light-emitting diodes that are attached to the edges, which illuminate a six-millimeter-thick acrylic piece with infrared light. Normally, the light from the diodes reflects along predictable paths within the acrylic plate, a physical phenomenon called total internal reflection. However, once a finger or other object touches the acrylic, the internally reflecting light diffuses at the point of contact, scattering outside the surface. Behind the acrylic surface, there is a camera that captures this light and using simple image-processing software, the captured scattering is interpreted in real time as discrete touches and strokes.

Many researchers who’ve been working for decades on touch technology have been extremely excited to see these developments. “For almost two decades, we’ve been trapped by the tyranny of the screen, the mouse, and the keyboard,” observed Don Norman, professor at Northwestern University, in Chicago, and the author of The Design of Future Things. “It’s nice to think we’re breaking away from that and going toward touch-screen manipulation in the real physical world.”

What follows below is a video that presents a fascinating demonstration of Han’s Pespective Pixel, an exhibition that he made of “Perspective Pixel” at the annual TED Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

Jeff Han Presenting Perspective Pixel at TED

You can read more about Jeff Han’s groundbreaking Perspective Pixel in The Technology Review here.

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