Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SoR concert tonight!

Society of Rockets at Bottom of the Hill

Saturday, February 24, 2007

James Cameron to debunk Christianity

Oh man...
In a new documentary, producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.


Friday, February 23, 2007

iTunes plugin tells you when bands in your library are playing near you

Great idea!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Who fucking cares about Britney's stupid haircut?

My definition of a news story involves something happening. If nothing happens, then you can't have "news," because nothing has changed since the day before. Britney Spears was an idiot last Thursday, an idiot on Friday, and an idiot on both Saturday and Sunday. She was, shockingly, also an idiot on Monday. It will be news when she stops being an idiot, and we'll know when that happens, because she'll have shot herself for the good of the planet. Britney Spears cutting her hair off is the least-worthy front page news story in the history of humanity.

Apparently, from now on, every time a jackass sticks a pencil in his own eye, we'll have to wait an extra ten minutes to hear what happened on the battlefield or in Congress or any other place that actually matters.

On the same day that Britney was shaving her head, a guy I know who works in the office of Senator Bernie Sanders sent me an email. He was trying very hard to get news organizations interested in some research his office had done about George Bush's proposed 2008 budget, which was unveiled two weeks ago and received relatively little press, mainly because of the controversy over the Iraq war resolution. All the same, the Bush budget is an amazing document. It would be hard to imagine a document that more clearly articulates the priorities of our current political elite.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Slate believes the Hyph

A nice-and-square look at my new favorite type of music.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

How long can you take this?

I was literally crying with laughter by minute three.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lethem ponders plagiarism and copyright

A little crit-theory-y. but great.
The idea that culture can be property—intellectual property—is used to justify everything from attempts to force the Girl Scouts to pay royalties for singing songs around campfires to the infringement suit brought by the estate of Margaret Mitchell against the publishers of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone. Corporations like Celera Genomics have filed for patents for human genes, while the Recording Industry Association of America has sued music downloaders for copyright infringement, reaching out-of-court settlements for thousands of dollars with defendants as young as twelve. ASCAP bleeds fees from shop owners who play background music in their stores; students and scholars are shamed from placing texts facedown on photocopy machines. At the same time, copyright is revered by most established writers and artists as a birthright and bulwark, the source of nurture for their infinitely fragile practices in a rapacious world. Plagiarism and piracy, after all, are the monsters we working artists are taught to dread, as they roam the woods surrounding our tiny preserves of regard and remuneration.


Also, Lethem, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Mark Hosler, and Mike Doughty will be discussing these issues tonight on NPR.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Steve Jobs on DRM

An extremely interesting "blog entry" on DRM from Steve Jobs.
Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.


Monday, February 05, 2007

The story of General Tso's Chicken

When I met Peng Chang-kuei, a tall, dignified man in his 80s, during a visit to Taipei in 2004, he could no longer remember exactly when he first cooked General Tso’s chicken, although he says it was sometime in the 1950s. “Originally the flavors of the dish were typically Hunanese — heavy, sour, hot and salty,” he said.

In 1973, Peng went to New York, where he opened his first eponymous restaurant on 44th Street. At that time, Hunanese food was unknown in the United States, and it wasn’t until his cooking attracted the attention of officials at the nearby United Nations, and especially of the American secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, that he began to make his reputation. “Kissinger visited us every time he was in New York,” Peng said, “and we became great friends. It was he who brought Hunanese food to public notice.” In his office in Taipei, Peng still displays a photograph of Kissinger and himself raising wineglasses at the restaurant.

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