TagNew York

NY Times Considering Building Its Own Wikileaks-esque Leaking System, Al Jazeera Alerady Has One

This is slightly old news, especially considering the launch of Local Leaks, but I wanted to make note of it here anyway:

The New York Times is considering options to create an in-house submission system that could make it easier for would-be leakers to provide large files to the paper.

Executive editor Bill Keller told The Cutline that he couldn’t go into details, “especially since nothing is nailed down.” But when asked if he could envision a system like Al Jazeera’s  Transparency Unit, Keller said the paper has been “looking at something along those lines.”

Yahoo News: NY Times considers creating an ‘EZ Pass lane for leakers

How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free

Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I’ve begun to call “the T-shirt economy”—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today’s smart artists are simply adapting to it.

Their algorithm is simple: First, don’t limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans’ desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you.

We’re talking about a surprisingly big market. According to Impressions, a clothing industry trade publication, Americans spend around $40 billion a year on decorated apparel. At CafePress, a Web site that lets anyone customize and sell merchandise, users sold more than $100 million in goods in 2007—pocketing $20 million in profits—and overall sales are growing an average of 60 percent a year.

As you might expect, the T-shirt economy is a long tail phenomenon, with comparatively few people making a full-time living while millions earn only a few hundred or thousand bucks a year. On the high revenue end, you’ve got companies like BustedTees—an offshoot of the funny-video portal CollegeHumor—which, with a staff of eight, expects to clear a 20 percent profit on sales of 350,000-plus shirts for 2008. In the middle are outfits like RightWingStuff, which hawks T-shirts mocking the left. And on the far end of the tail are people like David Friedman, a New York photographer who cooks up three or four witty ideas a year—like his series of T-shirts adorned with fictional corporate logos that are blurrily “pixelated,” as if on reality TV—and makes just enough money to cover his hosting fees, plus a bit of pocket change.

Full Story: Wired

Christians and Fox exploit Colorado Church Shootings

Someone at Daily Kos takes a look at media coverage of the church shooting and digs up some interesting details about the Christian group that Murray was most involved with, Youth with a Mission:

The Cult Awareness Network national office in Chicago had several letters on file concerning YWAM. One such letter by Nancy Brown dated March of 1984 from Itheca, New York stated “that Ywam has many elements of a destructive cult”. A major issue cited was “the authoritarian control by the elders”. Allegedly YWAM depicted the “world” as “Satanic”. Members were told that “Satan comes into an idle mind” and were advised “Whenever you have a spare moment memorize. Elders gave out cards with Bible verses to carry and use”.

And:

Denver station KMGH reports that many people at the Colorado Springs church have similar connections: “There is a Youth With A Mission office on the New Life Church campus, and many members of New Life have completed the YWAM’s school and discipleship programs. They have also worked together in local evangelical outreach programs.”

So here’s what seems to have happened: a particularly loony Christian group filled a mentally ill kid’s head with terrifying non-sense and he ended up killing some people, and now the conservative media want blame secularism for it. Well, it makes as much sense as Christianity does in the first place, I suppose.

Full Story: Daily Kos.

The Hypersonic Soundbeam

“After years of reading puff pieces about the coming of the “Hypersonic Soundbeam,” a device designed to send targeted blasts of sound waves that can be heard only be selected recipients in an audio environment, it has apparently made its debut in the public sphere, right here in New York. As part of a billboard marketing campaign for a television show. A&E has placed a billboard (on Prince St. between Mulberry and Mott) that shoots sound waves designed to resonate against your head, giving the passerby a distinct feeling that the advertisement is arising from within their skull. The television show is is about ghosts, so that means this is a witty kind of progressive marketing stunt and not just totally fucking creepy, right?Aminuts_3IRI Technologies, one of the many companies vending this device to the industry, highlights the invention’s utility like so: “The Hypersonic Sound Waves travel silently through space, up to 300 feet away, then convert into an instant sound source whatever surface [including your skull! -ed.] they impact. Amazingly, if you aim this magical device at a person, their head will become a speaker, and they will hear your message “inside” their head.”

The patent owner of this little baby is an American Solo Maverick Inventor in the old model – he cooked this idea up and built a prototype without the help of a corporate research team. Woody Norris is, as an interview posted to his website will have you know, “no techno nerd.” And he’s humble about the source of his inspirations, observing that, “I didn’t invent that [medical sonar imaging device]. It happens and I observed it. And so I claimed it. You know what inventing is — I heard this from somebody else — ‘It’s an accident observed.”

(via WFMU’s Beware of the Blog)

(WSJ Article on Woody Norris via Woody Norris’ blog)

Brother Theodore documentary in production

brother theodore

A documentary about Brother Theodore is in production, directed by Jeff Sumerel. According to the official web site: “over 15 hours of interviews have been shot, with additional interviews scheduled in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin. A brief sample of interviews has been compiled and will be presented to potential executive producers.”

View trailer here.

See also:

Clips of Brother Theodore on YouTube.

Torrent collection of Brother Theodore material.

Brother Theodore is Dead by Nick Mamatus.

WWIV: Giuliani wants to go to war with Iran “soon,” says advisor

Norman Podhoretz believes that America needs to go to war soon with Iran. As far as he knows, Rudy Giuliani thinks the same thing.

‘I was asked to come in and give him a briefing on the war, World War IV,’ said Mr. Podhoretz, a founding father of neoconservatism and leading foreign policy adviser to Mr. Giuliani. ‘As far as I can tell there is very little difference in how he sees the war and how I see it.’

During a long interview this week in his bookcase-lined East 81st Street home, Mr. Podhoretz, 77, explained the very straightforward proposition he has been proposing to Mr. Giuliani from the start of the campaign: ‘The choice before us is either bomb those nuclear facilities or let them get the bomb.’

Full Story: The New York Observer.

More about Giuliani here.

More about the impending war with Iran:

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn’t Want You to Know.

The Iran Plan.

Hipsters worship Mayan saint of vice

maximon alter

A Kansas City, Missouri, artist well-known for his political public performances, Ford flew 24 members of his entourage to New York last weekend to participate in Maximon, a “public audience” with the aforementioned deity. Also known as Hermano San Simon, the spirit is traditionally maintained throughout the year with offerings of tobacco, liquor, music, flowers, and incense, and is said to serve as a redemptive or protective source for the prostitutes and gang members of Guatemala. (He’s also said to symbolize male sexual power-his darker aspects lead devotees to carefully guard his visage from public view for fear that his sexuality may run rampant. Um, bring it!) Participants in Friday night’s Williamsburg show-the first here after years of the celebration in KC-were instructed to bring evidence of their vices: These gifts to Maximon supposedly “guaranteed redemption for the artists and musicians of New York.” I brought vodka. Also: receipts from Anthropologie.

Full Story: Village Voice.

(via Robot Wisdom).

Wikipedia entry for Maximon.

Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge R.I.P

lady jaye

Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, wife of Genesis P. Orridge, has passed away.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and her reactivated Psychic TV aka PTV3 are terribly sad to announce the cancellation of their November North American tour dates. This decision is entirely due to the unexpected passing of band member Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge.

Lady Jaye died suddenly on Tuesday 9th October 2007 at home in Brooklyn, New York from a previously undiagnosed heart condition which is thought to have been connected with her long-term battle with stomach cancer. Lady Jaye collapsed and died in the arms of her heartbroken “other half” Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

Being overwhelmed by the enormity of their loss, Genesis and the other surviving band members of Psychic TV/PTV3 are not able to properly meet the demands of touring and performance. Obviously, her absence onstage , the conspicuous loss of her unique charisma, music and humour would be an unbearable emotional reality to confront night after night.

The group, who have been touring to promote their first studio album in 12 years, will announce future plans after an appropriate period of mourning.

From: Genesis P. Orridge – News.

We had a toast to her memory at PDX0 tonight. My deepest condolences to her loved ones.

M.I.A: remixing the future

I have a piece up on Alterati today about M.I.A and her new album Kala:

M.I.A’s new album Kala whips listeners through the poorest corners of the world, moving too quickly to quite distinguish between the various locales. Is this Rio or Trinidad? Calcutta or London? Wait, the Australian outback? It’s all blurred, mashed-up.

M.I.A brings us straight to the bleeding edge of modern culture. While indie rock endlessly recycles the past, M.I.A is busy remixing the future. In his essay The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World City’ Rana Dasgupta wrote ‘Is it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris? Our fast-moving media culture, groping always for any image of the ?new’ that can be used to produce more astonishment, operates in a zone slightly ahead of knowledge.’ In other words, westerners are increasingly looking to the Third-World to catch a glimpse of our own future.

Full Story: Alterati.

George Bush I (1796?1859)

Found this article yesterday while reading the print edition of The New York Times Magazine (link to article). Fortunately, it’s online (for the time being), but I’ll copy n paste it in its entirety for your reading pleasure:-

By TED WIDMER
Published: July 22, 2007

None of us can control our ancestors. Like our children, they have minds of their own and invariably refuse to do our bidding. Presidential ancestors are especially unruly – they are numerous and easily discovered, and they often act in ways unbecoming to the high station of their descendants.

Take George Bush. By whom I mean George Bush (1796-1859), first cousin of the president’s great-great-great-grandfather. It would be hard to find a more unlikely forebear. G.B. No. 1 was not exactly the black sheep of the family, to use a phrase the president likes to apply to himself. In fact, he was extremely distinguished, just not in ways that you might expect. Prof. George Bush was a bona fide New York intellectual: a dabbler in esoteric religions whose opinions were described as, yes, ‘liberal’; a journalist and an academic who was deeply conversant with the traditions of the Middle East.

There was a time when the W-less George Bush was the most prominent member of the family (he is the only Bush who made it into the mid-20th-century Dictionary of American Biography). A bookish child, he read so much that he frightened his parents. Later he entered the ministry, but his taste for arcane controversy shortened his career, and no church could really contain him. Ultimately, he became a specialist at predicting the Second Coming, an unrewarding profession for most, but he thrived on it.

In 1831 he drifted to New York City, just beginning to earn its reputation as a sinkhole of iniquity, and found a job as professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at what is now New York University. That same year, he published his first book, ‘The Life of Mohammed.’ It was the first American biography of Islam’s founder.

For that reason alone, the book would be noteworthy. But the work is also full of passionate opinions about the prophet and his times. Many of these opinions are negative – as are his comments on all religions. Bush often calls Muhammad ‘the impostor’ and likens him to a successful charlatan who has foisted an ‘arch delusion’ on his fellow believers. But he is no less critical of the ‘disastrous’ state of Christianity in Muhammad’s day. And throughout the book, Bush reveals a passionate knowledge of the Middle East: its geography, its people and its theological intensity, which fit him like a glove. For all his criticism of Muhammad, he returns with fascination to the story of ‘this remarkable man,’ who was ‘irresistibly attractive,’ and the power of his vision.

‘The Life of Mohammed’ went out of print a century ago, and there it was expected to remain, in perpetuity. But in the early 21st century, it was reissued by a tiny publisher simply because of the historical rhyme that a man with the same name occupied the White House. The first George Bush never witnessed the Second Coming, but now his book was enjoying an unexpected afterlife.

Predictably, it enraged some readers in the Middle East, where rage is an abundant commodity. In 2004, Egyptian censors at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy denounced the book by President Bush’s ‘grandfather’ as a slander on the prophet, and the State Department was forced to issue a document clarifying the family relationship. That document may have unintentionally fanned the flames when it pointed out that ‘The Life of Mohammed’ never compares Muslims to insects, rats or snakes, though it does, on occasion, liken them to locusts.

The stage was set for conspiracy theories to spread across the Middle East like sandstorms. But then something really strange happened. The same censors read carefully through the book and in 2005 issued an edict that reversed their earlier ruling, admitting that it was O.K. Bush’s theological intensity might kill him with an American audience, but in the Middle East it seems to have allowed him to pass muster. Clearly this passionate religious scholar was no enemy of Islam. You could almost say that he was part of the family.

Perhaps the Egyptians could sense something honorable about this distant life, which dedicated itself to the search for knowledge. After George Bush died, a friend remembered the feeling of walking into his apartment, a third-story walk-up on Nassau Street, ‘a kind of literary Gibraltar,’ where he would find the professor surrounded by his piles of rare and ancient volumes.

It all seems so improbable. George Bush? A bookworm? In a crummy apartment? A mystic might look at this history and find evidence that God is indeed inscrutable. But as the first George Bush knew, religions, like families, contain plentiful contradictions. As the current George Bush has discovered, no place can tease them out like the Holy Land.

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