Monday, January 6, 2014

when I grow up I want to live near the sea

So, so so so, so many things. Let's make this one march.

Making street art more surreal? Apparently we can do that. Technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds.

Have some incredibly well-done planet cakes, hand-carved pearl skulls, and read why cats purring can be so healing. Enjoy Hanavo Jackova's mermaids in real life, the next brilliant move from the Alamo Drafthouse to stop texting and talking, and Matthieu Bourel's beautiful, and unnervingly disturbing, digital overlay art.

If you, like me, are frequently unaware when Google makes weird and sweeping changes to how their service behaves, don't worry, we're in luck: someone else is watching. While not all of us can do everything on that list (as a YouTube content creator, even if I create very limited amounts of content, I am apparently required now by YouTube law to have a Google+ account), at least we'll know where the changes are.

It's been moved now, to a permanent installation site, but for two years there was a giant aluminum snake skeleton coiling out of the river just outside Nantes, France. At one hundred and thirty meters long, Huang Yong Ping's sinuous creation seemed to match the curves of the Saint-Nazaire bridge and looked pretty darned impressive year-round. See pictures here; they're phenomenal.

What a time for your superpowers to kick in. I hope they weren't seriously injured.

In Indonesia, there are sulfur mines. And the miners who work there engage in brutal, backbreaking work to mine out sulfur by hand, to assuage our need for components and medical ingredients. It's harrowing enough work on its own, but as photographer Olivier Grunewald discovered, there can be a horrifying beauty to the process. When these miners drop their torches--the only sources of light in the deep caves and caverns--the sulfur can light on fire in incredible displays of glowing blue.

Did you know scientists have developed glowing plants? Currently the bioluminescent broadleaves are very fragile, and have a total life expectancy of three months, even if given immaculate care, but it's a start. Next: biolamps, bioluminescent fashions, and bioluminescent jewelry and adornments, bet me,

Radionomy has extended an offer to both WinAmp and Shoutcast to purchase the companies, and that offer's been accepted. I don't so much miss WinAmp--I literally haven't used it in over five years--but Shoutcast, I would miss. Not the least of which because so much SL DJ traffic goes over Shoutcast, so the loss of that service was potentially devastating to many performers on SL. Now, folks don't have to worry: Shoutcast (and WinAmp) will be sticking around.

In net neutrality news, the outlook is not so favorable. A DC appeals court has struck down the FCC's Open Internet rules for controlling how companies behave with their client tiers. The court rules that the FCC has no authority to compel Verizon (and thus, by extension, other telecommunication companies) to treat all net traffic over their networks the same.

What this means is that, because the FCC has never needed these powers before, they shouldn't thus be granted them now. Even though the world in which the original FCC rules were written is substantially changed from the world we have now, the appeals court still decided in favor of the ISPs, and not the end consumer. It's a blow.

More when I track down more!

Friday, January 3, 2014

I know the world's a broken bone

George Orwell once wrote eleven ways to brew a perfect cup of tea. There are indeed some very controversial points--one I particularly disagree with is that tea should be bitter, though I will agree that for some teas, strong is preferred over weak.

In the meantime, why aren't more women employed in the gaming industry? This article goes a fair way towards explaining why.

In a bizarre turn of events, in hunting down various online avatar generators (having net access only on a wee netbook, as the fans on my main comp are still dead), I discovered Linkin Park has a generator online. Yes, that Linkin Park. It's kind of cute, actually, though there aren't a ton of options. Still, it stands out from most of the other generators, due to its utter simplicity.

So what exactly is "clickbait"? It's pretty much the online equivalent of Fox News (only less malicious and political, for the most part). It's essentially any online headline designed to draw people in to a link that will generate ad revenue; not coincidentally, they're largely written by staff writers hired by the ad companies in question. They're anything from video links to cute cat photos to top ten lists to presumably "shocking" things, right or wrong, they're going to make you think you need to know.

Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are the best examples of this trend, mostly because they've hired writers and researchers who do their best to surf for interesting content to pass on, for the most part. But there are far more unscrupulous sites out there, who toss an attention-grabbing photo and some chosen words of hype into a pre-generated template in the hopes that it will fool people long enough to get those ad revenue coins into the site owner's pockets.

The creators of Headlines Against Humanity are beyond fed up with this practice, so--based on the popular game Cards Against Humanity--they've created an online web site to address this growing issue. Can you identify the real clickbait headlines from the fakes? (Sadly, there are many, many occasions where both choices are true.)