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Here's a fascinating exploration from Danah Boyd (one of the better thinkers about the Internet and society), about the ways in which the current tribal mess we're in can be traced to the way American culture works, and the way that media literacy programs of the past couple of decades played into some peculiarly American habits.

Not too long, and highly recommended, both to read and think about.  The upshot is that combating the "fake news" problem is probably a lot harder than most folks are thinking...
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[I'm mostly just posting links over in Facebook, but my more technical friends tend to be over here.]

Here is a really excellent collection of ideas about how to fight the Fake News problem -- the way that services like Facebook and Google have been used as propaganda tools by the people (on all sides) who are muddying truth by propagating bullshit. The article suggests a bunch of relatively plausible approaches, both technical and organizational, that these companies could use to ameliorate the problem without undermining their core missions.

It's explicitly not trying to present a comprehensive solution, just some possibilities. But it's a fine rebuttal to the usual line that these services are nothing but pipes, and can't do anything about it. I commend it to everyone, but especially my friends *at* the various big tech companies, who should consider passing this link around as useful food for thought...
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Thanks to Aaron for the link to this list of "19 Best Ads I Have Ever Seen". Unlike the usual TV-ad lists, this is more focused on brilliant uses of static media -- posters and sculptures and the like. Really quite an extraordinary collection: innovative, eye-catching, occasionally rather disturbing (eg, the Sopranos and Finding Nemo 2 ads). Worth looking through for sheer entertainment value...
jducoeur: (Default)
Thanks to Aaron for the link to this list of "19 Best Ads I Have Ever Seen". Unlike the usual TV-ad lists, this is more focused on brilliant uses of static media -- posters and sculptures and the like. Really quite an extraordinary collection: innovative, eye-catching, occasionally rather disturbing (eg, the Sopranos and Finding Nemo 2 ads). Worth looking through for sheer entertainment value...
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I'm going to have to remember that, for events that they cover, they're sometimes a really fine choice. I watched the Inauguration there (I still have it on now -- they were just showing the speeches at the luncheon), and their "just the facts" approach is delightful. Where all the other TV networks are vying with each other to provide ever more talking heads giving opinions, C-Span covered the whole thing the way they do Congress: with lots of cameras and nary a commentator.

Really: I understand that the networks try to use the commentators to distinguish them from each other. But this allows C-Span a fine niche, distinguishing itself mainly by not playing that game. And for me, that's a big win...
jducoeur: (Default)
I'm going to have to remember that, for events that they cover, they're sometimes a really fine choice. I watched the Inauguration there (I still have it on now -- they were just showing the speeches at the luncheon), and their "just the facts" approach is delightful. Where all the other TV networks are vying with each other to provide ever more talking heads giving opinions, C-Span covered the whole thing the way they do Congress: with lots of cameras and nary a commentator.

Really: I understand that the networks try to use the commentators to distinguish them from each other. But this allows C-Span a fine niche, distinguishing itself mainly by not playing that game. And for me, that's a big win...
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Thanks to TechCrunch for pointing out this remarkably odd Danish commercial. Warning: thoroughly NSFW, as nudity is central to it. And personally, I find the ending a tad disturbing, not least because the filmmakers apparently don't.

Suffice it to say, though, this is certainly the first time I've ever associated the phrases "topless skydiving" and "washing machine"...
jducoeur: (Default)
Thanks to TechCrunch for pointing out this remarkably odd Danish commercial. Warning: thoroughly NSFW, as nudity is central to it. And personally, I find the ending a tad disturbing, not least because the filmmakers apparently don't.

Suffice it to say, though, this is certainly the first time I've ever associated the phrases "topless skydiving" and "washing machine"...
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There's an interesting article in Ars Technica today about the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Apparently, there was a panel discussion at Caltech last week, including the star and director of the movie, to talk about some of the movie's points -- the article makes it sound like Keanu Reeves was pretty out of his depth (shocking), but the director actually had a clue and was pretty respectful of the subject.

Towards the end, they do a brief review of the movie itself, and their conclusion seems to be that it's pretty good. It sounds like the reviewers were deliberately comparing it with the original, and find it a good updating of the same core concepts to the current times. Mind, it also sounds like they don't have quite the reverence for the original that some of us do (it's regarded by many folks as one of the greatest SF films of all time), but if the remake is good on its own terms, I might give it a chance. We'll see what further reviews have to say...
jducoeur: (Default)
There's an interesting article in Ars Technica today about the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Apparently, there was a panel discussion at Caltech last week, including the star and director of the movie, to talk about some of the movie's points -- the article makes it sound like Keanu Reeves was pretty out of his depth (shocking), but the director actually had a clue and was pretty respectful of the subject.

Towards the end, they do a brief review of the movie itself, and their conclusion seems to be that it's pretty good. It sounds like the reviewers were deliberately comparing it with the original, and find it a good updating of the same core concepts to the current times. Mind, it also sounds like they don't have quite the reverence for the original that some of us do (it's regarded by many folks as one of the greatest SF films of all time), but if the remake is good on its own terms, I might give it a chance. We'll see what further reviews have to say...
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A couple of days ago, Microsoft threw in the towel and pulled the cryptic Seinfeld / Gates ad campaign. It was a tacit admission that leaving the viewing audience with a collective "WTF?" wasn't exactly the image they needed to project. (Oh, they're claiming that they planned it this way all along, but pretty much nobody believes it.)

Yesterday, they unveiled the new ads replacing them, and they're surprisingly well-done. They hit exactly the right note, not even talking about Apple but going headfirst against the PC stereotype that the Mac ads have so brilliantly set up. The implicit message is that most people are "PCs", not "Macs" -- a very smart tactic to use against the cooler-than-thou Mac image that was already starting to get some backlash. They're also genuinely down-to-earth in a way that the head-scratchingly too-clever-by-half Seinfeld campaign wasn't.

All of which seems to show that, in advertising as in everything else, Microsoft *never* produces a decent 1.0 release. But they do tend to eventually get a clue...
jducoeur: (Default)
A couple of days ago, Microsoft threw in the towel and pulled the cryptic Seinfeld / Gates ad campaign. It was a tacit admission that leaving the viewing audience with a collective "WTF?" wasn't exactly the image they needed to project. (Oh, they're claiming that they planned it this way all along, but pretty much nobody believes it.)

Yesterday, they unveiled the new ads replacing them, and they're surprisingly well-done. They hit exactly the right note, not even talking about Apple but going headfirst against the PC stereotype that the Mac ads have so brilliantly set up. The implicit message is that most people are "PCs", not "Macs" -- a very smart tactic to use against the cooler-than-thou Mac image that was already starting to get some backlash. They're also genuinely down-to-earth in a way that the head-scratchingly too-clever-by-half Seinfeld campaign wasn't.

All of which seems to show that, in advertising as in everything else, Microsoft *never* produces a decent 1.0 release. But they do tend to eventually get a clue...
jducoeur: (Default)
So there's this Hannaford's ad that has been in heavy rotation lately. I've never bothered to actually *look* at it, but it starts out,

"Good news for the people... (beat) (beat) who feed the people... (beat) (beat) who eat... (beat) (beat)"

It then continues with, "and eat", since it's *supposed* to be aimed at mothers with a brood to feed. But my brain absolutely *insists*, every single time, on completing the sentence with "people"...
jducoeur: (Default)
So there's this Hannaford's ad that has been in heavy rotation lately. I've never bothered to actually *look* at it, but it starts out,

"Good news for the people... (beat) (beat) who feed the people... (beat) (beat) who eat... (beat) (beat)"

It then continues with, "and eat", since it's *supposed* to be aimed at mothers with a brood to feed. But my brain absolutely *insists*, every single time, on completing the sentence with "people"...
jducoeur: (Default)
It was occurring to me this morning, as I reflected on the rash of (mostly surprisingly good) comic-book movies coming out this summer, that there were some I've always wanted to see. And that seems like a good topic for a conversation.

So: what comic book(s) do *you* think would make a good movie? Feel free to assume that it's a competent adaptation, not a hatchet job, but assume that it has to fit into the usual constraints of a movie: about two hours, and has to be able to make enough money to be worth its budget. (If it doesn't require as many special-effects, it doesn't have to make as much money.) Obscure is fine -- some great blockbusters have been made from little-known comics.

I've got a couple of favorites, but I'll provide my own answers in comments, so as not to bias things too much upfront...
jducoeur: (Default)
It was occurring to me this morning, as I reflected on the rash of (mostly surprisingly good) comic-book movies coming out this summer, that there were some I've always wanted to see. And that seems like a good topic for a conversation.

So: what comic book(s) do *you* think would make a good movie? Feel free to assume that it's a competent adaptation, not a hatchet job, but assume that it has to fit into the usual constraints of a movie: about two hours, and has to be able to make enough money to be worth its budget. (If it doesn't require as many special-effects, it doesn't have to make as much money.) Obscure is fine -- some great blockbusters have been made from little-known comics.

I've got a couple of favorites, but I'll provide my own answers in comments, so as not to bias things too much upfront...
jducoeur: (Default)
Aaron just pointed me at this rather clever video, which -- well, it makes a novel use of censorship. Note that it is *extremely* debateable whether the video is worksafe or not, but it's pretty damned amusing. (And the music, by Fat Boy Slim and David Byrne, isn't terrible...)
jducoeur: (Default)
Aaron just pointed me at this rather clever video, which -- well, it makes a novel use of censorship. Note that it is *extremely* debateable whether the video is worksafe or not, but it's pretty damned amusing. (And the music, by Fat Boy Slim and David Byrne, isn't terrible...)
jducoeur: (Default)
[Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] herooftheage!]

Just saw the first ad for the new vampire movie 30 Days of Night, based on the comic of the same name. As with the comic, the movie has no appeal at all to me, which occasions a little musing. On the one hand, I do consider myself a devotee of the vampire genre; OTOH, I really dislike most of its modern incarnations.

It occurs to me that this is because there isn't really any such thing as a "vampire genre", any more than there is really a "superhero genre". Both are really tropes that get other genres layered onto them. When I think of myself as a vampire fan, it's very much of the gothic-romance variety: I got hooked on the stuff originally through the various European incarnations, from the delightful silliness of the Hammer movies to the psychodelia of Jean Rollin. But I have absolutely no interest in blood-and-guts horror, which is what so much of the modern American vampire form is. (Looking at it another way: the vampire stories I love are very much tales of seduction and sex, at least metaphorically; the ones I *don't* like are fundamentally stories of violence and death.)

I wonder if there is any such thing as a "genre", really. That word is used for so many things that are really just blank boards to paint upon...
jducoeur: (Default)
[Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] herooftheage!]

Just saw the first ad for the new vampire movie 30 Days of Night, based on the comic of the same name. As with the comic, the movie has no appeal at all to me, which occasions a little musing. On the one hand, I do consider myself a devotee of the vampire genre; OTOH, I really dislike most of its modern incarnations.

It occurs to me that this is because there isn't really any such thing as a "vampire genre", any more than there is really a "superhero genre". Both are really tropes that get other genres layered onto them. When I think of myself as a vampire fan, it's very much of the gothic-romance variety: I got hooked on the stuff originally through the various European incarnations, from the delightful silliness of the Hammer movies to the psychodelia of Jean Rollin. But I have absolutely no interest in blood-and-guts horror, which is what so much of the modern American vampire form is. (Looking at it another way: the vampire stories I love are very much tales of seduction and sex, at least metaphorically; the ones I *don't* like are fundamentally stories of violence and death.)

I wonder if there is any such thing as a "genre", really. That word is used for so many things that are really just blank boards to paint upon...

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