Saturday, July 17, 2010

the days going by are getting in the way

I agree with Roger Ebert on this one--Governer Bobby Jindal's logic, while accurate, is definitely on the morbid side. Yes, a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf will throw thousands out of work. But I'd rather have that than risk more ecological devastation, until we determine if we can cap the broken well at all.

In related news, Operation Squeegee had a small goal: $5000 US, to send to the National Wildlife Federation. Several days in, they downgraded to $4000 US. And they made it. Our efforts gained recovery areas in Louisiana and Alabama much-needed funds to keep going forward with their efforts.

Now, Operation Squeegee only ran for fifteen days; that was their pledge and their promise. This was a short fundraiser, for all it was intense and a great deal of fun. But don't despair if you missed it--the National Wildlife Federation is still taking donations directly for recovery efforts, and that link will send funds directly to wherever it's most needed at the time, year-round.

This ongoing project is decidedly NSFW, but it's also a fun application of the science of sound. If you don't own a rubber outfit, how do you know what it sounds like? If you've never worn waxed taffeta, would you recognize the sound? That site will help. (It does pop up separate windows for each .mov file, so prepare for some load time.)

With the avalanche of negative responses to RealID's proposed sharing of personal information widely, you'd think that companies would back down from such a unsteady precipice, right? Actually, no. Google introduced Buzz with the same wideband sharing of user information--though admittedly, that was why many of us chose not to use the service. Yahoo, Google and Bing all mine personal data to better target ads to the end consumer of their search services--or the companies to which they sell our personal data, at the least.

Now, there's a bit of hope on the horizon, or at least a bit of consciously applied effort at regulating transparency: Bynamite currently has a plug-in available for download that tracks every time your personal data is tapped, and you can control--to a point--what ads you'll receive based on what's in the plug-in stored folders for information.

It's not a bad idea. (Though right now, it's only available for Chrome and Firefox.)

Like movies? This column offers three invaluable resources for people who want to know which film is worth their time and money. Since most films from major production companies are almost all pitched the same way ("In a world...*explosion!*) these days, it helps to have some advance insight.

The only place I disagree is with independent films. Some films just slip through the cracks, not because their production teams lack confidence, or don't want them out there and reviewed, but simply because the cost of the film reduced their shoestring budgets to nothing. While some of these films are picked up and reviewed at Cannes and Aspen, not all of them are. And some amazing filmmaking is coming out of the L$3.99 houses these days.

I'd also add that the article's link for James Berardinelli is wrong--so here's the right one.

I'm fascinated on occasion by what The Virtual Whirl column chooses to report, but this time around, scan quickly through the Whirl itself, and go directly to the comments. Some fascinating ones there: many people took offense at perceived "attacks" against sparkle ponies in WoW; whereas another resident pointed the conflict out in no uncertain terms, labeling sex Second Life's only market of value.

I wouldn't precisely agree; other virtual items sell as well, from some merchants. But I will say it is the largest market on SL; that, in fact, if you subtract the camgirls, the voice workers, the escorts, the BDSM clubs, the S/m islands, nearly the entirety of Gor, all the silk makers, the fetish fashion designers, and the whole sex furniture/sex tech industry--there's not a lot left.

In fact, if we move that one step further and remove everything which has a short skirt, expansive cleavage, or involves 'sensual' poses or dances...well, not even Caledon is untouched on that one, that goes everywhere, mainland and island estates alike. How often have we seen hair, shoes, stockings, frocks, described as 'sexy', 'flirty', or even 'fun'? And yes, I think they're right when they say the residents of SL are being hypocritical if they're denying the pervasiveness of the sex industry because "SL isn't all about sex!"

No, of course it's not--but it's still mostly about sex, as Zindra proves out--and as much as the Labs change search to cut down on Adult-rated items showing up, as much harm as the Labs try to do to that sex industry, it's still there. Second Life isn't all about sex...but SL sex is what sells, and what keeps selling. And we are being hypocritical if we don't understand that.


Lalo Telling said...

I think, wryly, that the comment to Virtual Whirl you mentioned is put in perspective by its author's confession to being "a diagnosed erotophobe" ;)

Emilly Orr said...

Fair enough, but that's not the only story. Flea Bussy developed a reputation for making cheap, imaginative avatars, but for the first several years of her operation, neither she--nor any artist in her employ--made any sexualized avatars, because she had such a strong position against them.

Late last year, she developed a partnership with Sensual Stoneworks, and now makes avatars capable of using sex menus, some with poses and added bits. They're still on the unusual side, but they are built for sexual interactions with other avatars.

What does it say when someone who refused--on principle--to engage in any form of avatar creation involving adult activities for several years, suddenly switches that position? Money's never been a large concern for Flea, so why would she do this?

My bet is marketing. Maketing, and tying in with the outcast population of Zindra. It may never be a large part of her business, but they do sell, and fairly well by everything I've heard.