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November 8 to 14, 2004
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"Spin" - then: This movie made of 100% unauthorized satellite TV footage is a fascinating look into how global communications technology was used by the image makers in the 1992 presidential election. It shows how technologically savvy the Clinton campaign was, and how other promising candidates were kept out of the public eye because they were not deemed media-worthy:
"The Persuaders" - now: This show aired on Frontline this week exploring advertising's latest evolution - it's all about narrowcasting and emotional advertising that speaks to your "inner lizard" and not your intellect. Will this have the effect of making us numb to emotional pleas, or giving us everything our id desires at the expense of everything else? Watch the entire series online and see how political marketing technology has progressed in the 12 years since "Spin" was made - from region-specific satellite campaigning in 1992 to highly targeted political videos (on a door-to-door basis) in Ohio in 2004:
"The Persuaders" also featured a short clip of Bob Dylan in his Victoria's Secret commercial. The danger is that kids these days only know Bob Dylan as the "Victoria's Secret" guy. There is hope, however - this week the Secret Service questioned students for singing his powerful song "Masters of War" at a high school talent show. Protest music is only relevant if there are repercussions to singing it. It's relevant now:
Advertisers are also wondering how to reach the "mobile phone generation". They're worried that cell phones are making people more self-centered. I think that the newer generations can be very socially aware, but will be in new ways that won't make sense to older generations and that aren't readily apparent, thanks to social technology that easily transcends physical location and traditional forms of interaction:
Ever need to do a little research yourself on the latest trends? Just go to Google News and search for a few key phrases, sorted by date. Here are four: "international survey", "scientific breakthrough", "environmental disaster", and "health crisis":
New Tech
In 2005 Hawaiian Electric will start a large-scale test of Internet over power lines in Pearl City. It will also offer the ability to read electricity meters remotely:
Ultraviolet laser technology will lead to 500GB optical disks:
Scientists have created the "photocapacitor", a more efficient solar cell/battery combination:
The first 15-minute charger that will recharge any NiMH battery:
The world's smallest PC/keyboard/mouse net connection combo:
Transmit your own TV station via low-power TV broadcasting:
All about the new anti-piracy technology coming to theaters:
Modern Life
Can't We All Just Get Along?
It's said that good fences make good neighbors. Screaming children, however, do not. A detailed Web site describing a painful, protracted war with the neighbors. This makes a nice metaphor for the state of the world:
"Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers" - the film "Tarnation" may have cost $200 to make, but it cost $500,000 to clear the rights for it. Strict enforcement of intellectual property laws will lead to a more restrictive, less expressive culture:
"I want to tell you how much Japanese business man is tired."
This was really popular all over the net this week, perhaps because people need to be reminded of the perils of overworking?
BTW, this site ("MasaManiA") can be hilarious due to the punk attitude and broken English but is also sometimes highly politically incorrect and not worksafe. You've been warned!
The life of Chinese toy factory workers, in pictures:
The story behind the five-year development of Half-Life 2, which could be one of the greatest PC videogames of all time and make over $700 million in revenues worldwide:
Unemployment among IT workers is higher than the overall jobless rate for the first time in over 30 years:
The FCC further deregulates Internet phone services:
A good counterproposal to Creationists that want warning stickers on biology textbooks: put warning stickers on the Bible!
Yes, you can filter cheap vodka to make it taste better than expensive vodka, all with a Brita water filter pitcher and one hour:
Terrorism and You
This Dutch film caused the murder of its director on November 2. The Netherlands is now experiencing attacks on Islamic mosques, churches, and schools. Can fundamentalism ever coexist with world peace?
Some background articles:
Live photos and commentary from the Falluja raid:
Arundhati Roy's Sydney Peace Prize acceptance speech:
"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" - a former respected international banker admits to helping the U.S. cheat poor countries out of trillions, allowing for economic takeover:
So maybe that "who voted by IQ" article last week was a little bogus. But here's a verifiable list of the most charitable states versus how they voted:
But although red states give more in proportion to income, they benefit more from federal spending funded by blue states. This appears to be an inverse relationship and warrants further study:
It would be nice to see evoting receipts that looked like this:
"" spawns "" and "":
This article gives the best "you can see the changes with your own eyes" summary of the "Global Climate Change in the U.S." report:
"Living Outside Inside" - a book on design that integrates interior and exterior space. This reminds me of a story Yoko Ono told about moving to the West from Japan at age 14, where she had lived in a traditional house with sliding doors open to the outside. She was baffled by the way European architecture provided little square peepholes to the outside:
Communities offering "zero-energy homes" are popping up that allow homeowners to cut as much as 90% off their utility bill:
Here's one such community from the developer "Clarium Homes":
"Biodiesel fuel attracts loyal following in Islands":
A movie about the Veggie Van, a biodiesel van that criss-crossed the U.S. for over two years. Apologies for the kitschy yet catchy pseudo-folk music:
Controversial thoughts on energy alternatives. The point is that major changes in energy sources cannot be monolithic - everything affects everything else: "Bio-Diesel: Salvation or Disaster?"
Wind power can cause climate change too:
Eat less, breathe more - the physics of gluttony:
Get your iBook painted - someone should do this locally:
A multimedia account of a trip to Tibet in April 2004:
An interesting interview with a man that has collected over 900,000 mp3 files online, for posterity's sake:
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