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Another great Rube Goldberg Machine via Honda March 3, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing, Just for Fun.
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In the comments to the OK Go video posted yesterday, we were reminded of this Honda Car commercial from a few years ago. Verified by Snopes.com, the commercial took months to produce, and 606 takes to film. Impressive. (See the Snopes entry here for some interesting factoids and references.)

OKGo: Rube Goldberg style March 2, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing, Just for Fun.
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This is the greatest Rube Goldberg Machine I’ve ever seen. And even better – it’s the new music video by OKGO, for This Too Shall Pass. Enjoy!

There is hope for a lost generation. February 3, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Beauty.
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I got this in an email, and had to share: enjoy:

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite.

This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure you read as well as listen…forward and backward.

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled “u @ 50” by AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So
simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

The (Possible) Effect of Social Media on Democracy January 27, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Read Write Web’s article on the superficiality of Obama accepting public questions via platforms like YouTube on today’s State of the Union address made me wonder, not for the first time, if technology will once and for all engender the birth of a true democracy. Semantically, America is not a democracy, it is a republic. We elect officials to speak for us. The opinion of each and every citizen is not taken into account. Logistically, a true democracy has always been impossible. Let’s pretend for a moment that the “digital divide” doesn’t exist; that each and every citizen has access to the internet (which hopefully most do in some form or another, via the public library).  Will the use of social media sites enable us to take a step closer to becoming a true democracy, to having the opinions of every single person heard? Is that something we would even want? Will social media really be able to accomplish such a feat?

Obama is notorious for using Web 2.0 technologies and the internet to gain popular support for his platforms (most notable now, health care reform). And today’s user-interaction with the State of the Union address is just another example of his innovation. Read Write Web asks if these attempts are mostly an illusion, as user questions can easily be ignored or filtered without the knowledge of the public (and within YouTube’s restrictions). Participants will also be using Google Moderator to vote which questions are most important to them. While I agree that this type of interaction is not the same as Obama “holding court”, it is important both in its symbolism and its utility.

From Vanity Fair, click on image for the full article.

It is symbolically important in that it shows the White House to be an entity that cares for the opinion of each and every citizen. It also shows that the White House is not a dinosaur and has embraced technological change. (But we already knew that with our young, charismatic Blackberry-addicted president, right?) And while queries can be easily ignored, if a topic comes up repeatedly enough and with enough force, the White House will become aware of it, whether they acknowledge it or not.

This method of communication is useful quite simply because it is easy and immediate. Using the web is clearly less time consuming than writing letters. The White House, with the help of YouTube and Google, can easily quantify the information, something that would be quite laborious with previous methods of data-mining. The novelty and possible anonymity of the platform will also likely involve citizens who might not otherwise be so vociferous.

Read Write Web further criticizes this method of interaction by arguing that large groups can come together to sway the numbers. But is this really a detriment? Isn’t this what groups have been doing for years in the form of petitions, walk-outs, strikes, and protests? While the concerns of a few may be buried by the concerns of larger, more organized groups, at least this platform will give them a reason, and a way to organize for such future occurrences.

What do you foresee as the possible implications of the confluence of social media and government?

Augmented Reality: Enlightening or Aesthetic? January 25, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Though I’ve been living an augmented reality most of my life, turns out you can download augmented reality apps for use on mobile devices as well. So what’s all the hype about? And are these apps really providing information that we couldn’t already obtain with other apps and reformatting them in more aesthetically pleasing ways? Tell me what you think after you watch the video below.

Treating Viral Videos Like a Virus January 21, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in InformationIssues.
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When the music industry and the free internet collide there is bound to be problems. Back in October, we discussed Radiohead’s decision to release their 2007 album In Rainbows, solely online (at first) for a consumer-named price. How they got around the contract with their record label or convinced label execs that this was a good idea, we’ll never know. We also noted that this unprecedented strategy did not hurt record sales in the least. Of course, Radiohead is a chart topping, well established band. But what about Ok Go – a band formed in 1998 who credits its success on the viral nature of its offbeat music videos? Frontman Damian Kulash notes that upon presenting the “A Million Ways” video (a video that received 10 million hits), “the head of the digital department said, ‘If this gets out, you’re sunk.'” (Mashable.com). But Wikipedia notes that, “Oh No gained popularity for its first single, ‘A Million Ways’, thanks to its video, which proved to be a viral Internet phenomenon in the fall of 2005.”

By now we all know what “viral” means –that a video/meme/song/article etc. gains vast popularity by being posted to social networking sites, reposted and discussed on blogs, and forwarded via email. By what are the keys that lead to viral status? While I can’t name the je ne sais quoi that led millions of people to repost “David After Dentist”, “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” or “Charlie Bit My Finger”, I can tell you the one factor these all share is that they are free to distribute. So what happens when you can’t spread these videos anymore? What happens when studio execs decide to lose the “embed” button on YouTube? Well, this is exactly what happened to Ok Go and Damian Kulash (via an interview with Mashable) has a lot to say on the matter, most of it, calmly.

Kulash points out that, “it’s just a redistribution of numbers and that’s the kind of stuff that basically matters to the marketers, and to a certain degree it affects our careers, because…it is better for us to have 40 million hits on one site than one million hits on 40 sites.” But is that what will happen? Isn’t the nature of viral memes to spread across the internet so that, for instance, someone who does not frequent YouTube, might serendipitously stumble across the video via Digg or Buzzfeed? If the video is still free, but limited, why are the suits limiting it to one site? Are they being paid by YouTube (or the ads on YouTube)?

Kulash’s calm acceptance of changes to YouTube is a fast departure from his stance earlier in the article, particularly when he notes that, “The thrill…was that there was no middleman, and now we’re dealing with exactly the fact that there’s somebody stopping us from having the video embedded the way we want it to — the middlemen have returned.” Still, Kulash is a working man and realizes that if he wants to make money there must be some concessions.  He notes that, “the line between owning music or streaming music or hearing music has gotten so blurred, and is only going to get more so, operating on a system that basically looks at music as discrete units that people individually own is just getting silly.” His solution? “Larger rights organizations” and a “legitimate marketplace for music online”.  But how, Kulash, how? While there might not be any clear answers now, more questions are sure to arise if the rumors are true that Apple will be creating a free live music streaming service based on their acquisition of Lala.

The New York Times has made their stance public. What’s yours?

Read the full interview by Mashable here.

ALA Mid-Winter Parody January 18, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
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I just remembered a great video that I had to share after my recent trek to the ALA mid-winter meeting. This video parodies 2007’s mid-winter meeting in Seattle, narrating the action ala “March of the Penguins.” It’s hysterical!

United State of Pop 2009: Blame it on the Pop December 31, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing, Just for Fun.
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The video below is a Mash-Up of Billboard’s Top 25 pop hits of 2009, put together by DJ Earworm. I don’t care what you think of the songs or the artists, there is no denying that this mash-up is one of the absolutely coolest mixes ever, and this DJ Earworm guy is incredibly talented.

Complete song list:

* The Black Eyed Peas – BOOM BOOM POW
* Lady Gaga – POKER FACE
* Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O’Donis – JUST DANCE
* The Black Eyed Peas – I GOTTA FEELING
* Taylor Swift – LOVE STORY
* Flo Rida – RIGHT ROUND
* Jason Mraz – I’M YOURS
* Kanye West – HEARTLESS
* The All-American Rejects – GIVES YOU HELL
* Taylor Swift – YOU BELONG WITH ME
* T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake – DEAD AND GONE
* The Fray – YOU FOUND ME
* Kings Of Leon – USE SOMEBODY
* Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo – KNOCK YOU DOWN
* Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain – BLAME IT
* T.I. Featuring Rihanna – LIVE YOUR LIFE
* Soulja Boy Tell ‘em Featuring Sammie – KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
* Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne – DOWN
* Miley Cyrus – THE CLIMB
* Beyonce – HALO
* Katy Perry – HOT N COLD

(via thebooreport)

Music for the New World December 18, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Amazing.
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Everyday I seem to find another amazing use of social media. This particularly fantastic project, Bb 2.0, is “a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls, and developed with contributions from users.” Click on the link and then begin the videos one by one. Be sure to read the FAQs as well. It’s refreshing to know that there is no end to creativity even as the art form continues to change.

Book Binding in 3000 Shots November 28, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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This stop motion video shows the process of binding a book from start to finish: its a fascinating process, with lots of steps!

(via Craft)