Monthly archives: July 2012

Daily Blog 07/31/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/29/2012

  • On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. It’s some sage stuff, although there’s nothing here about defending yourself from your childhood toys when they inevitably come to life with murder in their hearts. A truly glaring omission.

    tags: storytelling pixar screenwriting

  • A NY Times op-ed by Richard Muller, BEST’s Founder and Scientific Director, has been published, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic.”
    Here is the money graf:
    CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

    tags: global warming ClimateChange pollution carbon

  • I am very aware that getting cross with Daily Mail articles is like shouting about how the sun can be hot. However, my motivation is not to cry, “How dare they!”, but instead to say, “Please understand that they do.” I still meet many people who do not understand how the Daily Mail is not just another tabloid, not just as bad as the rest of them, but instead something far more despicable and dangerous. It’s one of the most popular papers in Britain, and when we say, “Just ignore it – they’re just trying to get hits,” I shudder. We do not ignore evil – we challenge it and get angry about it. We make more people aware. Some people reading won’t have realised. And others can maybe point someone this way when they ask what they’re getting so worked up about.

    tags: daily mail racism olympic

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/28/2012 1

  • Now that The Hunger Games is a huge hit on the big screen, it’s no surprise that production teams are mining other brutal teen competition properties. We’ve already seen the CW working on an adaptation of Kiera Cass’ The Selection, which has a similar reality TV show theme. But now the network is mulling something even closer to Hunger Games territory: a television series based on Koushun Takami’s kids-killing-kids novel Battle Royale.

    tags: tv

  • This was obviously the instinctively fuckbrained powergasm of a police force that is so far out of control it isn’t even in the same building. Despite what many people have reported, Critical Mass isn’t a protest – it’s a celebration of bike riding – one that last night met with one of the most heavy handed police responses in years, all because the people involved decided that an international celebration of sporting excellence was no reason not to go cycling.

    tags: CriticalMass protest olympic

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/22/2012

  • A Punk Punk genre of Speculative Fiction based on the 1920s – 1950s period, spiced up with retro-futuristic innovations and occult elements. The dieselpunk narrative is characterized by conflict vs the undefeatable (nature, society, cosmic), strong use of technology, and Grey and Gray Morality. The protagonists are often Heroic Neutral and have low social status.
    Generally, dieselpunk can take inspiration from ’20s German Expressionist films, film noir, 1930s pulp magazines and radio dramas, crime and wartime comics, period propaganda films and newsreels, wartime pinups, and other entertainment of the early 20th century. As this covers a broad spectrum, the precise sources of inspiration can vary greatly between dieselpunk works. Like Steam Punk, Dieselpunk is a genre dictated primarily by its aesthetics rather than by its thematic content. Both grime and glamour have their place in dieselpunk.

    tags: fiction sci-fi

  • Welcome to the Fanlore wiki! Fanlore is a collaborative site by, for, and about fans and fan communities that create and consume fanworks. Here, you can read about fan activities, fannish vocabulary, and the histories of fan communities — and add your own voice, memories, and experiences to our collective story.

    tags: fandom reference fanfiction

  • A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

    tags: tax economy rich

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/21/2012

  • If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

    Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.

    tags: global warming climate change environment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/18/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/17/2012

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Daily Blog 07/15/2012

  • Amazon is under fire again, this time for profiting from ebooks on terror, hate and violence. The Muslim Council of Britain has called on Amazon to take “proper responsibility” for the content of books on its site, with one ebook on sale reportedly including images of the Qur’an being burned and a woman being hanged.

    All booksellers make money out of books featuring terror or violence whether it’s Homer’s Iliad or JG Ballard’s Crash – but virtual booksellers appear to present a new threat to public morality. Once upon a time, we could rely on traditional publishers to make sound editorial decisions to publish obscenity and gore, now anyone can do it.

    tags: amazon censorship ebooks

  • Get ready for some earth-shaking dinosaur debauchery — these bizarre scientific illustrations imagine how 30-ton prehistoric behemoths had sex.

    In case you were wondering, paleontologists believe T. Rex and friends mated much like dogs do.

    tags: dinosaurs sex

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Desaturated 1

Everyone else is talking about it, so I thought I’d give Fifty Shades of Grey a chance. Just the free sample you can download to your Kindle, mind, not the whole thing. I wasn’t allowed far enough in to get to the naughty bits, so I can’t judge those*.

The fan fiction roots show- there is a tendency to list what the characters are doing, action by action, and to give location descriptions that don’t conjure up much sense of location- but I’ve read “proper” books that have been worse**.

FSoG is a romance, I guess, though most people are going to work their way through the clunky seduction hoping to get worked up by the kinky rope play. It’s the erotic elements, after all, that have got it all the attention. Because it’s erotica aimed at women it’s earned the description of “Mommy porn” and because it’s been so successful it has attracted a lot of- mostly negative- attention. Some of the bad mouthing has to be down to jealousy (the three book series has sold 20 million copies sfter all) or snobbery, but, as Laurie Penny has pointed out, some of it is because it’s a dirty book aimed at women.

Penny also argues that it doesn’t matter that the Grey books are badly written, because they can be considered porn and it’s okay if porn is a bit crappy. On this I have to disagree with her. There’s no reason why dirty books should have to be bad. We need material we can hold up as high quality smut, and it needs to be supported.

I’m sure there’s a market for naughty tales with interesting stories- I am, after all, writing a sexy ghost story, so I’d best be right. Probably not anything that wants to be called literary erotica- too pretentious to be exciting- but something with the energy and joy of genre fiction, punctuated with sex as often as chases or fights. If you know of any that already exists then please do let me know about it.

*Is it bad that I want to read the naughty bits and see how good/bad/indifferent they really are.

**I’ve made a habit of it, in fact. I forced myself through to the end of The Da Vinci Code because that particular copy had already defeated two other people. And I used to have a bad technothriller habit, though it did provide the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers.

Daily Blog 07/12/2012 1

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/10/2012

  • One of the most irritating things that climate scientists have to put up with these days is the bombardment of what I call “bollockspeak” from scientifically illiterate celebrity deniers and polemicists hiding behind their pulpits in the national press. Ignorance is bliss, or so they say, but it can also be perfidious; especially so when accompanied by the mindless arrogance and puffed-up smugness of the know-it-all who demonstrably does not know it all.

    tags: ClimateChange

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/09/2012

  • The common American opossum produces a protein called Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor (LTNF). This protein does pretty much what the name implies—seeking out potentially deadly poisons and neutralizing them. The benefit: Opossums are all-but immune to the venom of poisonous snakes. (Including the venom of snakes native to continents where the common American opossum does not live.)

    tags: poison animals

  • On the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock, the hardworking Doozers were the foils to the always playful Fraggles. Now the Doozers are headed back to television, where they and their tiny construction hats will be the stars.

    tags: television muppets

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

John Redwood is still wrong

I followed John Redwood’s blog before the last election and found his arguments repetetive and dumb. I haven’t visited much since then, but thought I’d go back and have a look again. He’s still making dumb arguments.

In a post titled Rebalancing the Economy Redwood laments the lack of growth of UK industry. Amongst the reasons he cites for this happening is

Industry needs cheap energy in abundance. The UK is taxing and testing high energy using industries by its dear energy policies, partly required by its consent to EU carbon dioxide policies.

Because Europe’s industrial powerhouse, Germany, didn’t get where it is today by consenting to EU carbon dioxide policies. It did it by exceeding the targets, and building a world leading renewable energy industry to do it.

The Vulcan grinds out his climate change denial nonsense in Open Letter to the new DG of the BBC, pretending to be all high minded and scientific with the non-argument that science is always finding out new stuff so we shouldn’t act on what we already know in case we know other stuff in the future. He also whines that deniers don’t get as much time on air as people who know what they’re talking about. In reality, the “skeptics” probably get more time- relative to their credibility- than they deserve.

If Redwood really cares as much as he claims about energy poverty and rebuilding the country’s industrial base he should put aside the denial dogma and take a leaf out of Germany’s book, or give some support to his deputy leader’s old idea of rejuvenating old shipyards to build wind turbines.

But he won’t do that, will he.

Update And just when I thought Redwood couldn’t make himself look any dumber I found his reply to a comment

There are also problems with Darwin’s theory that need further work. If life came from the primeval slime, why can’t we make it from slime ourselves?

It would appear the Vulcan is a Creationist too, or so stupid he’s swallowed their nonsense. I admit I didn’t have much respect for him before, but if this guy was once held up as the great intellectual of the Tory party you can see how we got this deep in the shit.

Daily Blog 07/08/2012

  • With the Olympics less than a month away, small but noticeable changes are transforming London. Special signs in Olympic pink that guide visitors to venues have appeared, announcements at major London Underground stations have become multilingual and the first of the Olympics traffic lanes have been painted. More immediately disconcerting, however, is the appearance of Royal Military police in London. For those out in Leicester Square last Saturday night the Olympic-prompted mutual aid between the Metropolitan police’s territorial support group and service personnel from the army and Royal Navy police was certainly a startling and confusing sight. It isn’t every day you see patrols by officers in desert camouflage.

    tags: olympic london

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/07/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/06/2012 1

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 07/01/2012

  • Rally car drivers have set a new world record by driving two Hot Wheels cars through a 66ft-tall double loop track.

    Tanner Foust and stuntman Greg Tracy completed the feat at the X Games in Los Angeles on a track the length of two football fields and modelled on Mattel’s Hot Wheels Double Dare Snare toy racetrack set.

    tags: record

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Bloody hell, I thought up Kickstarter 2

I just remembered something I posted in April 2006

In January I was working on a few ideas I had about funding my webcomics and writing. It would be nice to have someone turn up and say “Here’s twenty grand, take a year out to write a novel and learn to paint.” but it’s not going to happen. So how about getting lots of people to give a few pounds each?

Web Patron would be a scheme to support art that was intended to appear initially or exclusively on the Internet, funded by Internet users. The decision on which projects would get funding would be taken by the people supplying the money.

The basic funding model

There would be a pool of projects requiring funding. Applicants would be expected to put up details of their proposal and links to their portfolio for prospective funders to browse.

Every month ten of these would be put onto the shortlist for funding. Each would have to expand on their case on a page on their own site. Here they could convince voters of the artistic merit of their endeavour.

Voting would be a simple enough process. A donation buys the right to choose three of the ten nominees. The minimum is a pound and the maximum is unlimited, but if you want to give a lot you’d be better checking the systems for sponsorship and full blown patronage. Votes might be weighted based upon the amount given, there would have to be some investigation of the effect this had on amounts donated. Unlike other sites where people vote, there will be no Top Scores list. I’ve been reading The Wisdom of Crowds and want each voter to make independent decisions.

At the end of the month votes are tallied and the top five projects get a share of the funding. The losers are free to rejoin the pool at the back of the queue or pull out. The winners, obviously, are removed from the pool, but can apply for funding of other projects in the future. There would, of course, be a section of Web Patron dedicated to succesful projects and press coverage.

Other funding methods

As mentioned, there would be other ways to fund projects. Prospective sponsors or patrons could search through the pool of applicants. When they found a project they wanted to be associated with, they could ask for an introduction. The sponsorship or patronage deal would be between the two parties, with no input from Web Patron, but on agreement the applicant would be removed from the pool.

A sponsorshop variation would see applicants opting in to an ad market, rather than the pool, where sponsors could bidto have their banners seen on the sites they choose. Web Patron would adminiater this and take a cut of the proceeds.

Paying the way

Web Patron isn’t intended to be run just for profit, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t benefit from its actions. And it will have to cover its running costs.

Initially the site will take a cut from the donations to cover expenses. As it grows there will be opportunities for merchandise and a shop selling recipients’ work. Undoubtedly as the brand grew other income streams would present themselves.

There’s no way I could ever do this at the moment. I have neither the time nor the money. However, I have several pages of notes on the idea if someone would like to take me on as a consultant on the project.

That sounds like the sort of idea that Kickstarter could have grown from. I don’t think they stole my idea, but it’s nice to pretend. And shows that I should follow up some of these silly ideas I have, rather than giving them away through the Department of Free Ideas, because you never know.