As reported by, McDonald’s franchise owner Paul Siegfriend packaged a letter in his employee’s paychecks suggesting they vote for the local Republican candidates.  His rational? It would help the business grow and therefore raise employee benefits.

While we wait for irony to pass, or any examples of a bottom-line-dependet company converting their cheap labor into costly labor, let’s hope Ohio prosecutes this clear violation of election law.

Full report at

I’ve previously come out in support of Windows 7.  I’ve also mentioned airport runway lights on a golf course, but I’m sure these are totally unrelated.  Either way, Windows Phone 7 has launched, but Microsoft seems careful not to group it with Windows 7 too closely.  Confused?  So am I, but here’s a couple not-confusing takes on its interface to stir some confusion, timed to coincide for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
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Young people in their 20s and 30s seem increasingly uninterested in starting the long climb up the ladder of economic respectability. So they’re foregoing employment in favor of staying at home with their parents, moving to India, or robbing convenience stores dressed as Darth Vader.

This New York Times article reminds me of a recent story that the Italian finance minister was willing to offer cold cash to 30-something men who left their mother’s house (and so presumably contributed to the Italian economy, not to mention global overconsumption).

They move back in with their parents. They delay beginning careers. Why are so many young people taking so long to grow up?

For those who’ve worn out their welcome on mom’s couch, India’s looking pretty good these days.

“It was a bit of a shock, losing all expectations. For years—all my life, really—parents, teachers, and guidance counselors had told me that if I went to a good college and did well, I would be able to find a job after graduation that would, with a little ladder-climbing, keep me comfortable and financially secure. After I graduated in May 2009, in political science, I moved back home to St. Louis to start my career, but there simply were no jobs to be found.

“Over several months, I sent out more than 500 résumés for all sorts of jobs all over the country, but I got only two interviews and no offers.

“I couldn’t find a job, but neither could anyone I knew. Now, more than a year after graduation, most of my college friends still live at home, and many of those who have moved out are borrowing money from their parents to eat and pay rent. A few have internships, but most of those are unpaid, and few are likely to lead to jobs. Two friends who studied psychology for four years now work off the books at a sandwich shop. Another, who got her master’s in development studies from Cambridge, became a barista at Starbucks.

“Some are applying to grad school just to have something to do, but the prospect of racking up thousands more dollars in student debt is crushing. The rest are still looking, sending out résumés, going to career fairs, volunteering for experience, and networking. Some have given up. We are a whole generation graduating into a job market that has no room for us.

“So I moved to India.

“Two years earlier, I had spent a semester abroad in the Nepali-speaking regions of northeastern India, learning the language and culture through a fantastic study-abroad program at Pitzer College. In India, I met Pema Wangchuk, editor and publisher of Sikkim NOW, the most popular local English-language daily newspaper in the state of Sikkim. A couple months into my job hunt, I sent Pema an e-mail asking if he knew anyone who might be interested in hiring a young, enthusiastic American college graduate. “We’d be quite keen to have you here,” he wrote back.

“After lots of e-mails and late-night international phone calls, I got on a plane and went. I had been unemployed for eight months.

“My arrangement with NOW is informal. I help out doing a little photography, a little feature writing, and a lot of copy editing. Native-level English proficiency is a rare skill in much of the developing world. I take garbled press releases from local nongovernmental organizations and government departments, and equally garbled correspondent reports from remote districts of the state, and fix the punctuation, syntax, usage, and spelling to turn them into real news stories.

“I also write feature pieces for our `Sunday edition, interviewing NGO’s about their projects and local experts about social trends. I’m learning a lot about reporting, writing, and running a small newspaper, not to mention life and politics in northeast India and Asia in general. I suspect I am getting more intimate and comprehensive journalism experience here than I would in almost any internship, temp position, or entry-level job that I could have found back in the States.

“In exchange for my work, Pema found me a flat to stay in and arranged for my meals. The cost of living here is so cheap that, with my room and board taken care of, I can live comfortably on around $10 a week. If I were back in the United States, even with the most austere lifestyle, I would be costing my family far more than that by just eating their groceries, running their utilities, and burning their gas….”

And if India doesn’t pan out, there’s always a trusty light saber. via Byline Apparently the destruction of the second Death Star has stretched the Galactic Empire’s coffers so thin that Lord Vader himself is robbing banks. From the article: “Impotent Rebel Alliance security forces tell Newsday (paywall) that Vader marched into a Chase bank in Setauket around 11:30 a.m. today. Brandishing a completely unnecessary handgun—as he had the power to choke the oxygen out every teller’s throat—the fallen Jedi demanded cash.”

And it’ll blow your wallet too, to judge from the pricetag. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want one of these crazy electronic saxiPhones that look like something out of the cantina scene from Star Wars.

It’s nerdier than a theramin and even harder to play. Meet the Eigenharp Pico….

A plastic breath pipe with a reed curves from the top of the Pico. Two columns of nine keys each run parallel down its body, flanked by a touch-sensitive “ribbon” controller used primarily for pitch-bending and for bowing a software-modeled cello.

Each LED-decked, pressure-sensitive key of the Eigenharp is actually three keys in one: The concave center triggers a standard note, while the upper edge triggers a sharp and the lower edge a flat. Octaves can be raised or lowered by tapping on two smaller, circular buttons below the keyboard.

Two identical buttons above the keyboard serve different purposes. One turns the drum loop on and off, and the other — when held down — turns the keyboard into “main mode”: cycle through instruments, change scales, record and edit loops, add or subtract to the percussive beat, and manipulate a slew of other parameters.

Feed Will Gorman’s MakerLegoBot your Lego CAD drawing and it will print the structure out in Legos. Did I mention Will’s machine is also made of Legos? So once Will figures out how to feed a MakerLegoBot its own blueprint and it starts to make copies of itself, he will have given birth to the first Lego life-form. I for one welcome our new multicolored brick overloads.

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We’ve probably all heard about this already, but it’s certainly apt, so here it is.  Facebook apps (such as Farmville) have been giving (inadvertently or not) non-anonymous personal information to advertisers, a violation of Facebook’s privacy policy.  So basically, you could have chosen the most restrictive privacy settings on Facebook, but if you used Farmville (or if one of your “friends” used Farmville) or one of the other offending apps, your info (your Facebook ID) could have been leaked.  I think it’s kind of vague right now as to exactly what was leaked and why it happened, but any way you slice it, privacy was violated; and that’s another strike for Mr. Zuckerberg, the first being the leaked ims from 2004.  Good thing none of us would be caught dead using as passe a piece of software as Facebook.  Right?  Metaphor:  Facebook is to the year 2010, as AOL was to the year 2001.

Lewiston/Auburn is hosting it’s first ever film festival sponsored by various local establishments as well as MPBN. This is a great opportunity for students to get their work shown and be apart of bringing exposure and culture to a part of Maine that is definitely on the raise as far as the arts go. Being a past student of the Camden film fest I can attest that there are some very talented filmmakers in the UMaine community, here is your chance to get your film shown and maybe open up some future opportunities.

Check it out here:

NewsCorp is in a dispute with CableVision right now over broadcast rights on their cable network, and so they made Hulu block all CableVision Internet customers from accessing their shows on Hulu.

This is ridiculous…going at net neutrality from a different angle, but it’s still a gross violation.

Fairly awesome music video for Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “Heaven Can Wait” featuring Beck.  Definitely surreal, in the full-on, Rene Magritte sense of the word.  The director, Keith Schofield, has some other, similarly good vids out there, such as this one for Chromeo’s “Don’t Turn the Lights On”.

Sometimes less is more, even in Augmented Reality. These two examples of “diminished reality” are like Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill acting on real-time video. Imagine if Harry Houdini had gotten ahold of this, or Pravda.

Smoothly interpolating away objects in still pictures is impressive enough, but reader geoffbrecker writes with a stunning demonstration from Germany’s Technical University of Ilmenau of on-the-fly erasure of selected objects in video. Quoting: “The effect is achieved by an image synthesizer that reduces the image quality, removes the object, and then increases the image quality back up. This all happens within 40 milliseconds, fast enough that the viewer doesn’t notice any delay.”

Here’s the “ordinary” AR version:

William Gibson’s last three novels (starting with Pattern Recognition back in 2003) are essential reading, in my opinion, for anybody who’s into New Media these days.  They’re all set in the modern day, though the characters are decidedly sci-fi– hackers, marketing execs (hackers of a sort), graphic designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, and so on–generally controllers and creators of information.

So, on one level these books (and I sincerely recommend you start with Pattern Recognition) serve as commentary on our jacked-in, post 9/11, etc., society, but on quite another, more immediate–and I think gratifying–level Gibson just uses these themes as an occasion to produce some incredibly focused, almost morbidly precise writing.  The density of his prose can be a little daunting at first, but once you get into the swing of things it’s quite good.  A little vacuous at times, definitely show-offish at others, but on the whole simply delightful.

A bit like wine-tasting perhaps–the kind where you have to spit out the wine after a few seconds.  It’s ridiculously good sometimes–the prose seems almost calibrated to induce a kind of lyrical hypersensitivity in the reader–but on the whole it lacks heart, and leaves one feeling not a little empty.


Av Club


P.S. If you’re into fashion, Gibson’s descriptions are basically candy.  Finely textured, gunmetal-black candy.

My name is Dennis St. Pierre, I am an MFA student in the Intermedia Program here at the University of Maine.

I am announcing a new light hearted, humorous and informative voice opposed to the Tea Party Movement. Everything is explained below in a press release I wrote.

We are still adding content on a daily basis to our site, especially the intelligence, (aren’t we all) and there are lot’s of products that are not in our online store yet.

Hopefully everything will be completed soon. None the less, it is time to announce.

So please visit our site, purchase goods in our effort to stand up to the Tea Baggers and fight for our country while at the same time raising money and awareness for important causes. Help us go viral and spread the call.
Any advice, feedback, links to great information and content you think would be appropriate to add to our site, would be greatly appreciated.

I hope life finds you all well. I wish you all great happiness.

Dennis St.Pierre

Hello Everyone,
I am Dennis St. Pierre, an ordinary worker, a student, an artist and most important a citizen! I am a Perturbed Passionate Patriotic Pacifist (say that 4 x fast) who is tired of the high jacking of our Democratic Republic by the Tea Party and feel it’s time to do something about it. So I and some Friends, have created the NOT TEA (yes naughty) Party. We have decided to fight back using humor, intelligence and common sense.

Like most of you, we have little time to go to meetings and assemblies, coffee party’s etc. We are so busy just staying afloat. But that doesn’t mean we have nothing to say and the time to speak up is passing us by.

By not voicing our opposition, by remaining silent and complacent, we are allowing a possible takeover of our government and ultimately our country. This is the work of the ultra wealthy and the extremely misinformed in the guise of “Patriots”, who call themselves the “Tea Party”.

It is through simple acts of defiance that we can defeat this opposition. We all know the power of marketing; we all know how powerful a few words can be. We all can defeat this rhetoric filled and misinformed group and take our country back.

How? We fight back without malice, but instead armed with humor, common sense and strong intelligence as our weapons, We take simple actions like that of wearing a T-shirt, placing a bumper sticker on our car, placing a sign on our lawn to be our voice when we don’t feel like direct confrontation. We take time to gain knowledge by reading and debate. Suddenly, you gain strength, armed with the knowledge of being one of many. Suddenly you feel strong enough to stand up and confront the bullies directly.

We believe as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. believed that it is through many little acts of non violence and intelligent defiance that true power prevails. These acts include the use of Humor, Knowledge and Good Will.

That being said; we are attempting to give you the means to defeat this takeover. We have created a website or . It is being updated constantly with News, A Library, Links, Cartoons, Humorous Videos, a place to exchange knowledge, as well as a Mercantile where you can buy products to voice your displeasure of the Tea Party. Products with humorous double entendre rally cries! “I’m NOT TEA”, “Sooooo NOT TEA”, “NOT TEA & NICE”, “It’s Nice 2 B Naugh-Tea” and many others that support the “NOT TEA PARTY” idea. We will soon have “Wicked Not Tea Coffee” as well. 15% of all profits go to NON PROFITS.

So, I hope you will go to our website and our store and become part of a “Wicked Not Tea Party”. So laugh, be informed and perform acts of Good Will all while being NOT TEA!!!


Dennis St. Pierre

For more info please contact me via email at [email protected]

“Remember…… try to be good and if that’s impossible, Be reeeaaalllly bad and tell me how good it was!!!! :-)

“Imagine” john lennon has launched a glocal event–locally engaged, globally networked–to send a message to our political leaders that we want to work for positive life-affirming goals for our communities and families.

You can see two local Orono events as well as nearby events on the map
9 October 2010 – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Learn sheet mulching techniques for both Apple Orchard guilds, and raised beds.

Giga Pudding – Cannibalized from Boingboing, natch.  I thought this a rather awesome example of advertising as art.  And btw, does this pudding come in a bucket or something?

Mmm… Bucket of pudding… [Homer Simpson salivating noises]…

Hey all,

I’m writing from San Francisco, my home these days. San Francisco is at the forefront of an amazing urban gardening movement, and it is very exciting! I’ve been working very closely with one urban farm in particular, called Hayes Valley Farm. It’s a 2.3 acre food forest rising from a freeway that collapsed during the ’89 earthquake. I hold the title of Lead Researcher on the Biodiversity Team. Most recently for’s 10-10-10 global day of action to prevent climate change, we began an effort to research and steward what edible and medicinal plants do well in the multiple microclimates within the city. We gave away 150 permaculture kits to initiate healthy ecosystems in folks’ backyards, front yards, planter pots, or vertical wall gardens (we get creative in the city). Our ultimate question is “how many people can you feed on how little urban land?” I like to think it is possible to have sustainable cities, but I wonder too if they stay cities or become something new…. This teeters on an artistic and pedagogical piece I recently did for Mary Walling Blackburn’s Radical Citizenship: the Tutorials, called Root, City, Thorn.

Anyway, I’m also very involved in thinking about the human organizational models that encourage healthy ecosystems and healthy people. We are facing some very juicy challenges on the farm and are seeking answers from lots of different sources. To this end, and in the spirit of exchanging insight, I’ve just launched an email list called Chapter Fourteen. I hope all you UMaine alumns involved in permaculture and/or participatory models of communication will join this list and share what you’ve learned from your own communities, as well as stories about where you’re stuck.

Please join! Beginning on the new moon November 5th we’ll have roughly 2 week discussions around the topic a moderator initiates. Please let me know if you’re interested in facilitating a discussion, and I’ll sign you up!

Thanks Jon for getting NMDnet going!


Animators using open-source 3D software have begun sharing the code, data, and even tutorials on how to make technically accomplished shorts. But meanwhile, musicians wanting to share their work suffered a setback in Canada when it was revealed that industry lobbyists pressured the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (a public utility) into agreeing not to play Creative Commons-licensed music over their podcasts. Will Hollywood someday pressure theaters not to show movies made with Blender?

A short film entitled Sintel was released by the Blender Foundation under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (YouTube link). It was created by an international team of artists working collaboratively using a free, open source piece of 3D rendering software called Blender. No Hollywood studio was involved in its making….

“Next on our todo is wrapping up the 4-dvd box release, NTSC/PAL discs with extras and documentary, and 2 DVD-ROMs with tutorials,and all the data to reproduce the film entirely.”

Here’s a link to the CBC story:

Sure, you can sign up for courses at the online Khan Academy like Bill Gates says you should. But Khan just teaches stuff you can already find at college–he’s not going to help you remix a song or write a great tweet. Enter Wired University’s “21st-century course catalog full of tools you need now.” Well, it’s more a curriculum in search of a forward-thinking provost to implement it.

It’s the 21st century. Knowing how to read a novel, craft an essay, and derive the slope of a tangent isn’t enough anymore. You need to know how to swim through the data deluge, optimize your prose for Twitter, and expose statistics that lie. In the following pages, you’ll find our updated core curriculum, which fills in the gaps of your 20th-century education with the tools you need now. Call it the neoliberal arts: higher learning for highly evolved humans.

COURSE LISTINGS 1. Statistical Literacy Making sense of today’s data-driven world. 2. Post-State Diplomacy Power and politics, sans government. 3. Remix Culture Samples, mashups, and mixes. 4. Applied Cognition The neuroscience you need. 5. Writing for New Forms Self-expression in 140 characters. 6. Waste Studies Understanding end-to-end economics. 7. Domestic Tech How to use the world as your lab.

And then there’s Sal Khan’s Academy. Good thing he doesn’t give grades or notice if you’re late to class–I’d hate to earn the Wrath of Khan. via Byline theodp writes “At some schools, a teaching load of five courses every academic year is considered excessive. But Sal Khan, as an earlier Slashdot post noted, manages to deliver his mini-lectures an average of 70,000 times a day. BusinessWeek reports that Khan Academy has a new fan in Bill Gates, who’s been singing and tweeting the praises of the free-as-in-beer website. ‘This guy is amazing,’ Gates wrote. ‘It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources.’ Gates and his 11-year-old son have been soaking up videos, from algebra to biology. And at the Aspen Ideas Festival in front of 2,000 people, Gates gave Khan a shout-out, touting the ‘unbelievable’ Khan Academy tutorials that ‘I’ve been using with my kids.’”

With more and more states introducing restrictions on cell phone use while driving it only make sense that someone would recognize that human beings are creatures of habit and will multi-task at high speeds despite the laws then develop a tool so that users can safely multitask.  As always, the media juggernaut Google saw this as an opportunity of expansion, but rather then develop has free texting, (they know how attached you are to your precious little pocket jockey) Google is looking to the future, going above and beyond to create a hands-free car.  I just ask, is it overkill?

Read more about it on Google’s blog

CSS cheat sheetIf cheating is the pedagogy of the Internet, this could be the textbook. In addition to the usual suspects like CSS and PHP, this compilation includes some popular frameworks like jQuery and Ruby on Rails. (via Amy Pierce)

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You gotta feel for corporate polluters like BP. First people stop buying their stuff. Now banks aren’t giving them loans. But not to worry: the Department of Homeland Security has them covered. via Byline Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak is coming to an end.

Even banks are smelling a change in attitude: via Byline Some lenders are taking a stand on practices like mining and deforestation that may be risky to their reputations.

But don’t worry, Homeland Security to the rescue! (At least Nixon had the decency to keep his blacklists to himself.) via Byline Western Pennsylvania’s shale oil deposits have lately attracted interest not only from companies who have been extracting some of that oil, but from locals who object to what they perceive as sharp dealing by the companies involved, favorable treatment by the state government, and environmental degradation as a result of the extraction. Some of the most visible of those protesters, it turns out, have been tracked (including “Web traffic”) by Pennsylvania’s own Homeland Security department, and that information about them has been shared not only within the department, but with the oil companies themselves. Homeland Security director James Powers defended the information shared with the oil companies as part of a triweekly bulletin, saying “We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.”

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