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Archive of the category 'News/Media'

Obama Rickrolling a Mashup

Video-still source: YouTube

“Obama Roll” is a video mashup that has been making the rounds these last few days before the U.S. Presidential election.


The video is clever and funny, with a critical edge. It opens with Obama and Ellen Degeneres dancing to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” When Rick Astley begins to sing, clips of Obama from a number of his rallies are carefully edited to show the presidential candidate singing along with Rick Astley.

This video has developed a discourse of its own, as it was mashed up in a video response in which Senator McCain is shown during the Republican Convention presenting to the Republican audience the very same clip of Obama dancing and singing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TiQCJXpbKg

This second mashup appears quite believable and one can argue is even more successful but only because the “Obama Roll” mashup is quite effective to begin with. If not sure why the term “Roll” is included as part of the title, check out the brief definition of rickrolling on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickroll

ReConstitution 2008: a political remix

Image and text source: ReConstitution 2008

Text taken directly from the site:

ReConstitution is a live audiovisual remix of the 2008 Presidential debates. There will be three performances in three cities, each coinciding with a live broadcast of the debates.

We’ve designed software that allows us to sample and analyze the video, audio, and closed captioned text of the television broadcast. Through a series of visual and sonic transformations we reconstitute the material, revealing linguistic patterns, exposing content and structures, and fundamentally altering the way in which you watch the debates.

The transformed broadcast is projected onto a movie screen for a seated audience.

Join us in witnessing these historical television broadcasts and in reshaping the medium that has reshaped politics for the last half century.

The legibility of the underlying debate is maintained throughout the performance—we don’t want you to miss a word of it.

Sosolimited is a Cambridge based crew of audiovisual designers and artists. For more information on their work, visit.

Thanks to Greg Smith for directing me to this work.

Ant Farm’s Cadillac Ranch Remixed

The above image is a photoshop composite by Steve Brown for the New York Times. The background was taken from the Getty Images archive. It is an illustration for the article Putting the Dream Car Out on the Pasture, published on July 27, 2008, which explains how people are coping with the high cost of gas prices.

As many people in the arts would know as well as those who love to take road trips, the above image borrows from Ant Farm’s famous land art piece “Cadillac Ranch,” in which Cadillacs were dumped into the ground at Amarillo, Texas. In 1997 it was moved a couple of miles from its original location. It is a disappointment that there is no reference to Ant Farm’s work. Below are some images of Ant Farm’s public art installation, along with comments by the people who took the pictures.

Image from Flickr

Quote: “The Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo is a famous Route 66 landmark. Built up in 1974 by said to be eccentric but brilliant millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 and The Ant Farm, this line of old Cadillacs are buried nose first into the ground. The angle of the cars are also reputed to be the same as the ancient pyramids at Cheops. The Cadillacs were moved further west in 1997 from its original location due to growth from nearby Amarillo. The Cadillac Ranch is another of the must see sights off the Mother Road.”
-RoadsidePeek.Com Website

Image and text from Treehugger

Quote: Ant farm was a group of artists and architects that, along with Archigram, was hugely influential among architecture students in the seventies, particularly if you were into mobile architecture, alternative technologies and dovetail joints. Many know about their Cadillac Ranch, which remains an iconic statement about the end of oil as it was in the last oil crisis; few, including Regine at Worldchanging know about their other work. However she does now, after seeing an exhibition of their work at the The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo in Seville.

Car Repetition

The above image was taken by Fabrizio Constantini for the New York Times. It was used to illustrate the lack of car sales in the U.S. during the last few months. The title of the article is Car Sales at 10-Year Low. One cannot help but find some beauty in such lack, which is making possible other alternatives for transportation. Like the Zipcar.

Hoping Two Drugs Carry a Side Effect: Longer Life, by Nicholas Wade

Image and text source: NYTimes

Published: July 22, 2008

BOSTON, Mass. — One day last month, clad in white plastic garments from head to toe, Dr. David Sinclair showed a visitor around his germ-free mouse room here at Harvard Medical School.

The mice, subjects in studies of health and longevity, are kept in wire baskets under intensive nursing care. A mouse gym holds a miniature exercise machine that tests the rodents’ ability to balance on a rotating bar. In a nearby water maze, mice must recall visual cues to swim to safety on a hidden platform, a test of their powers of memory. Those that forget their lessons are rescued as they start to submerge and humanely dried out under a heat lamp, Dr. Sinclair assured his visitor.

Dr. Sinclair is a co-founder of Sirtris, a company that itself has been swimming in uncharted waters as it works to develop drugs that may extend the human life span. But it seemed to have found a safe platform last month when it was bought last month by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million.

Sirtris has two drugs in clinical trials. One is being tested against Type 2 diabetes, one of the many diseases of aging that the company’s scientists hope the drugs will avert. With success against just one such disease, the impact on health “could be possibly transformational,” said Dr. Patrick Vallance, head of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline.

Read the entire article at NYTimes

Zinio puts hundreds of digital magazines a click away, by Jon Swartz

Text source: USA TODAY

Originally published on 5/20/08

SAN FRANCISCO — The future of magazine publishing increasingly is appearing on a digital display — not just a newsstand.

Advancements in software and hardware are making it easier for a growing faction of consumers — including coveted younger readers called screen-agers — to read their favorite publications on the Internet or download and read them later offline.

“It’s not Jetsons. It’s real,” says Richard Maggiotto, CEO of Zinio, one of a dozen or so companies that specialize in creating digital editions of magazines and newspapers.

Read the entire Article at USA TODAY

Michael Wesch To Discuss “The Anthropology of YouTube” at Library of Congress on June 23

Text source: Library of Congress

More video material has been uploaded to YouTube in the past six months than has ever been aired on all major networks combined, according to cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch. About 88 percent is new and original content, most of which has been created by people formerly known as “the audience.”

Wesch will discuss the three-year-old video-sharing Web site in a lecture titled “The Anthropology of YouTube” at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 23, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library of Congress’ James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, the event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. The lecture will be available at a later date as a webcast at www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/.


Google Extends Its Reach Into World of Charitable Giving

Image source: Business Week

Text source: The News Hour

Originally aired: January 17, 2008

Google.org, the philanthropic division of Internet giant Google, Inc., announced plans Thursday to distribute $26 million in grants to support initiatives in a variety of fields, ranging from disaster prevention to renewable energy. Larry Brilliant, head of DotOrg, discusses the company’s efforts to expand its charitable giving.

JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, Google’s efforts to become a big player in the world of philanthropy. Ray Suarez has that story.

RAY SUAREZ: With the unofficial corporate slogan “Don’t Be Evil” and a high-flying stock value, search engine giant Google is using its vast wealth to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges: global warming, disease, and poverty.

Just as Google says it strives to be a different kind of company, so, too, is the company’s charitable arm, Google.org, trying to be a different kind of charity.

The company has said it will dedicate 1 percent of its profits annually to its philanthropy, after getting it started with three million Google shares. At the moment, that’s worth nearly $2 billion.

Here to tell us more is Google.org’s executive director, Larry Brilliant, a physician and epidemiologist who worked on the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox. He’s also a co-founder of the online community The Well.

Read or view the entire feature at The News Hour

The Face Behind Facebook Tells 60 Minutes “Beacon” Needs Work, 2008 IPO Highly Unlikely, by Leslie Stahl

Image source: The Equity Kicker

Text source: 60 Minutes

Originally aired January 13, 2008

Note: I saw this on CBS last night and thought it was worth keeping in the archive for possible future reference for several reasons. First, the myth that “the young will lead” in the computer age is promoted eloquently; Facebook’s CEO is only 23 years old. Also, the frenzy that made the WWW so popular before the dot.com bubble burst of 2000 is kept alive with eloquent distance, while excitedly stating that Facebook is perhaps the next “Google”; and to accentuate this point they show Mark Zuckerberg in a large shared office space echoing the early days of the internet boom, particularly in San Francisco; his office is in Palo Alto, not too far from the former dot.com haven. But the most interesting part is to see Zuckerberg struggling to create actual revenue and hitting a wall that other online entities have encountered in the past when they try to make hard cash out of community based sites. Wikia and Shopwiki are two obvious examples. Perhaps Zuckerberg’s most interesting remark is when he explains why Beacon, which was not well received by the Facebook community, did not work. He actually does not know why. And when asked about the role of ads in Facebook, he resorts to a common argument that any business owner uses when asked about the pressure of making money: “I mean there have to be ads either way because we have to make money,” Zuckerberg says. “I mean, we have 400 employees and you know, I mean, we have to support all that and make a profit.”

(CBS) Are you on Facebook yet? The site is up to 60 million users so far, with a projection of 200 million by the end of the year.

If you’re not on Facebook, here’s how it works: you set up a profile page with details about yourself and then decide who gets to see it. Friends use their pages to share personal news, exchange photos, team up on political causes, or just play long-distance Scrabble. It can be a useful tool or an addictive waste of time. Either way, Facebook is having a dramatic impact on the World Wide Web and it’s estimated to be worth $15 billion.

As Lesley Stahl reports, sitting atop this growing company and directing an Internet revolution is a young, geeky computer programmer who created the site only four years ago.

The face of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg, the mogul who’s guiding its extraordinary growth. What everyone wants to know is: Is he old enough to be running a company some people say is the biggest thing since Google?

“I’m 23 right now,” Zuckerberg tells Stahl when asked how old he is.

“And you’re running this huge company,” Stahl remarks.

“It’s not that big,” Zuckerberg says.

During her visit to Facebook’s headquarters, Zuckerberg helped Stahl set up her own Facebook page, with a profile of her likes and dislikes. They added her friends and family, and within a few minutes, she got a friend request.

“Here’s a guy I haven’t talked to in two years and I’m so thrilled to hear from him,” Stahl remarks.

Read the entire feature at 60 Minutes

New Online Advertising Strategies Spark Privacy Worries

Image and text source: The News Hour

Originally Aired: November 6, 2007

Social networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook have started to allow advertisers to access users’ profiles and target the ads they deliver to that user accordingly. A media and technology writer examines the potential impact this marketing may have on individual user privacy.

GWEN IFILL: Judy Woodruff has our Media Unit look at the balance between online information’s financial potential and individual privacy.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s where millions of young people list their favorite hobbies, movies, friends and trends, and now all that information from the two largest social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace, with a combined total of more than 160 million users, will be made increasingly available to advertisers.

Facebook announced today that it will allow companies to show ads to its users, both when they are on and off the site, based on personal information they list online.

Yesterday, MySpace unveiled a self-service advertising tool allowing groups like small businesses, musicians and politicians to post an ad and choose who sees it. They also increased a number of categories that track user preferences by more than tenfold, in order for businesses to better target their products to the much-sought-after 18 to 25-year-old demographic.


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