It’s a bit like The Pool, for movie studios.

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/11/18/0010208/Amazon-Launches-Online-Movie-Studio

“Amazon.com is getting into the movie business by opening Amazon Studios, with the goal of using the Internet to put fresh movies on the big screen. The new Internet movie studio will allow writers to upload screenplays to its website where the global Internet audience can read them and offer feedback, or producers/directors can use them to make test movies. The test movies, which must be at least 70 minutes in length, can also be uploaded.”

As pointed out by a Slashdot commenter, Max Keiser has another model where script writers could share profits: Pirate My Film.

Keiser, a film-maker, broadcaster and former broker and options trader offers a vision of what this could really be like.

http://www.piratemyfilm.com/pages/how_it_works

“The system automatically creates enough shares to match the funds request and then makes those shares available for PMF members to reserve.” Why just read and offer feedback when you could support a work from day one and perhaps share in some value.

Who knew Processing could be a gateway drug to these hallucinatory animations? The distributor of this open-source library, that’s who.

toxiclibs is an independent, open source library collection for computational design tasks with Java & Processing (and soon other languages). After over 3.5 years of continuous development & refactoring, the collection consists of >25k lines of code, 270+ classes bundled into 8 libraries. The classes are purposefully kept fairly generic in order to maximize re-use in different contexts ranging from generative visuals, data visualization to architecture digital fabrication, use as teaching tool in these fields and more…

toxiclibs showreel 2010 from postspectacular on Vimeo.

High-tech engineering for those who want more privacy for their privates. Will Victoria’s Secret come out with a Kevlar-lined bra in time for the holidays?

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/11/23/150207/Underwear-Invention-Protects-Privacy-At-Airport

Thanks to Jeff Buske you don’t have to be embarrassed while going through the full body scanners at the airport. Buske has invented radiation shielding underwear for the shy traveler. From the article: “Jeff Buske says his invention uses a powdered metal that protects people’s privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings. Buske of Las Vegas, Nev.-Rocky Flats Gear says the underwear’s inserts are thin and conform to the body’s contours, making it difficult to hide anything beneath them. The mix of tungsten and other metals do not set off metal detectors.”

If I were thinking about a new media installation I’d try to get my hands on one of these.

http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/11/another-kinect-hack-thats-vastly-more-interesting-than-the-games/

*I may have to start a whole category for these, because they’re coming thick and fast and it’s only been a week. Looks like Microsoft accidentally invented a primo piece of art-installation hardware.

Sure, it doesn’t address the full meme lifecycle (“Payload -> Circulation -> Direction -> Vector -> Hook -> Payoff” [1]), but it’s a clever distraction meme-within-a-meme.
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UMaine New Media graduate Chris Bagley stepped outside of the box in 2009 when he switched from a Web-based capstone to start a local business premised on building environmentally responsible skis. The do-it-yourselfer built his own ski press in his garage and began turning out prototypes–and turning heads on the slopes. As the Bangor Daily News reports, this will be the first season his skis will be available to the general public, custom-built for both East Coast skiing conditions and to customer specifications.

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  1. Graphic artist wanted for high-profile comic novel
  2. Logo needed for environmental research course
  3. French Web site looking for student artists

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Writing in the Atlantic, Dylan Tweney claims that online publishing is challenging designers to give up the control they were used to in print publications and even in the first decade of the Web. According to Tweney, software like Cascading Style Sheets and JavaScript and platforms like the iPad are enabling the separation of form and content like never before.

At the same time, designers are increasingly in demand to find efficient ways to convey people and information, as some recent remarkable examples of design make clear. So who’s right?

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ElevatorTurns out the placebo effect isn’t just for drugs. It apparently works for elevators, thermostats, and walk buttons at intersections–most of which don’t work and aren’t even intended to! Oh, and turns out in addition to his other firsts, John Cage may have created the first placebo music.

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Nov 072010

On our inner city permaculture farm we find heroin needles in between the broccoli plants. We have a barbed wire fence that wraps around the entire 2.5 acres of our “freeway food forest” — a food forest that is rising from the ruins of a freeway that collapsed and then lay dormant for 20 years. At night there is a pregnant cat that makes the place her own (all the sheet mulching has stirred up the mice and rats). Other folks crawl through the fence at night too. With perhaps one exception, the people that come at night aren’t the same people that come during the day. Often “fresh” needles appear in the morning. The stories we write about here all have to do with the chain link and barbed wire fence that was on site when we arrived. The forces it is meant to keep out, the forces it is meant to contain, the edge it creates around our site, the fact that it is there at all.

please join the chapter fourteen email list to read the rest of the post and the ensuing dialog. join the conversation!

/m

Six-year-olds can be sued, lawyers pirate each other, Apple’s App Store won’t accept GPL’d software, and yet another jury awarded the RIAA huge damages against filesharer Jammie Thomas. But at least the US government no longer thinks genes should be patented.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/30/1435222/New-York-Judge-Rules-6-Year-Old-Can-Be-Sued

“A girl can be sued over accusations she ran over an elderly woman with her training bicycle when she was 4 years old, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled. The ruling by King’s County Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten stems from an incident in April 2009 when Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, both aged four, struck an 87-year-old pedestrian, Claire Menagh, with their training bikes. Menagh underwent surgery for a fractured hip and died three months later. In a ruling made public late Thursday, the judge dismissed arguments by Breitman’s lawyer that the case should be dismissed because of her young age. He ruled that she is old enough to be sued and the case can proceed.”

Meanwhile, the App Store restrictions irk makers of popular video player VLC:

http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/10/31/1351243/VLC-Developer-Takes-a-Stand-Against-DRM-Enforcement

“The GPL gives Apple permission to distribute this software through the App Store. All they would have to do is follow the license’s conditions to help keep the software free. Instead, Apple has decided that they prefer to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and proprietary legal terms on all programs in the App Store, and they’d rather kick out GPLed software than change their own rules.”

And those anti-piracy lawyers turn out to be pirating each other. http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/10/03/2135202/Anti-Piracy-Lawyers-Caught-Pirating-Each-Other

“We would like to think that the lawyers that are prosecuting alleged copyright infringers are practicing what they preach, but it looks like one of the most high profile firms involved in such cases are just as guilty of stealing others’ work as those who are downloading illegal media.” The Obama administration makes a 180 on patenting genes.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/10/30/1140235/US-Says-Genes-Should-Not-Be-Patentable

Geoffrey.landis writes “A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the US Department of Justice says that genes should not be patentable. ‘We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,’ they wrote (PDF). The argument that genes in themselves (as opposed to, say, tests made from genetic information, or drugs that act on proteins made by genes) should be patentable is that ‘genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body’ and therefore are eligible for patents. This argument is, of course, completely silly, and apparently the US government may now actually realize that.”

This may be the most embarrassing technology-related accident since the owner of Segway died by riding one of his company’s scooters off a cliff and into a river.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/11/05/1158254/Nicaragua-Raids-Costa-Rica-Blames-Google-Maps

“An error on Google Maps has caused an international conflict in Central America. A Nicaraguan military commander, relying on Google Maps, moved troops into an area near San Juan Lake along the border between his country and Costa Rica (Google translation of Spanish original). The troops are accused of setting up camp there, taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag, doing work to clean up a nearby river, and dumping the sediment in Costa Rican territory.”

For centuries, the Chinese have been treating disease as an imbalance in the body. The latest research into body-as-ecosystem reminds us that if bacteria outnumber native cells in the human body by 10 to 1, we’d better figure out how to get along with all those neighbors living under our skin.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/10/19/0126252/The-Effect-of-Internal-Bacteria-On-the-Human-Body?from=rss

meckdevil writes with this excerpt from the Miller-McCune magazine: “In a series of recent findings, researchers describe bacteria that communicate in sophisticated ways, take concerted action, influence human physiology, alter human thinking, bioengineer the environment and control their own evolution. … The abilities of bacteria are interesting to understand in their own right, and knowing how bacteria function in the biosphere may lead to new sources of energy or ways to degrade toxic chemicals, for example. But emerging evidence on the role of bacteria in human physiology brings the wonder and promise — and the hazards of misunderstanding them — up close and personal. … Because in a very real sense, bacteria are us. Recent research has shown that gut microbes control or influence nutrient supply to the human host, the development of mature intestinal cells and blood vessels, the stimulation and maturation of the immune system, and blood levels of lipids such as cholesterol. They are, therefore, intimately involved in the bodily functions that tend to be out of kilter in modern society: metabolism, cardiovascular processes and defense against disease. Many researchers are coming to view such diseases as manifestations of imbalance in the ecology of the microbes inhabiting the human body. If further evidence bears this out, medicine is about to undergo a profound paradigm shift, and medical treatment could regularly involve kindness to microbes.”

Meanwhile scientists are beginning to look at bacteria as the appropriate model for complex human behavior rather than the artificial intelligence algorithms of game theory. Perhaps Jeremy Rifkin was right: the 20th century may have culminated in the computer, but the 21st century will focus on cytoplasm over silicon.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/10/12/1759234/Gambling-On-Bacteria

An anonymous reader writes “When it comes to gambling, many people rely on game theory, a branch of applied mathematics that attempts to measure the choices of others to inform their own decisions. It’s used in economics, politics, medicine — and, of course, Las Vegas. But recent findings from a Tel Aviv University researcher suggest that we may put ourselves on the winning side if we look to bacteria instead. According to Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, current game theory can’t account for bacteria’s natural decision-making abilities — it’s just too simplistic. Understanding bacteria’s reactions to stressful and hazardous conditions may improve decision-making processes in any human arena from everyday life to political elections.”

Yes, it’s only Flash video, and then only because a third-party app converts it to HTML5 first. But this could be the first chink in the great Flashwall of Apple.

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Google sent the following email (which serendipitously ended up on NMDnet automatically!) to the effect that it has quickly settled a class-action lawsuit about privacy violations. The same lawsuit targeted Facebook and Zynga.

The bottom line? The lawyers involved take home $2 million and users get nothing, except perhaps for a world in which the dominant Web service provider is a bit more conscious of privacy violations.

Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.

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