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Archive by January, 2008

Lee “Scratch” Perry and Mad Professor: Twisting the dial to twist the music, by Todd Dominey

Image source: Music Club

Text source: Rootsworld

Original publication date: unknown

Popular music has a long history of aural innovators, from Brian Wilson and his downward spiral to Phil Spector’s wall of sound. They are often romanticized as shadowy knob-twiddling visionaries who through mixing boards and miles of cable added new worlds to stereophonic sound. Reggae music, with an admittedly limited rhythm structure, has been propelled forward by it’s own pioneers, with Lee “Scratch” Perry and the Mad Professor holding top rank. In their own unique ways, both have created indelible catalogs of hit reggae albums, sonic experiments, and plenty of wicked bass heavy dub, traditionally the instrumental B-side or “version” of a popular song spliced and diced into a teeth-rattling art form all its own.

The two are from different generations and continents, yet both Professor and Perry walk the same twisted line. Both are passionate for electronics (Professor built his own mixing board as a teenager while Perry pushed four track recorders beyond comprehension), both built their own record company from the ground up (Ariwa / Black Ark), and both have produced music for a surprising range of artists including Massive Attack, U-Roy and the
Orb (Professor) to The Skatalites, The Clash and the Beastie Boys (Perry).

Read the entire article at Rootsworld

Destiny Interviews RU Sirius

Images source: http://www.maybelogic.org/

Text source: Pranks.com

January 28, 2008

Writer, Destiny interviews RU Sirius about the online Pranks course he’ll soon be teaching:

On February 11 (Note new date), countercultural writer and historian RU Sirius is teaching an online course on Pranks, Pranksters, Tricksters, & Tricks for the Maybe Logic Institute, an online academy started by friends and supporters of the late Discordian legend Robert Anton Wilson. Sirius promises to teach trickster mythology and prankster history and to lead the class in planning and making pranks. Prankster legend/Pranks.com Editor Joey Skaggs, and Mark Hosler of Negativland, will both be dropping in on the course. I asked him a few questions about the upcoming class.

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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

Completion of Diary of a Star, by Eduardo Navas


Image of The Andy Warhol Diaries, taken by Eduardo Navas, December 2007

Image source: Diary of a Star

I’ve completed Diary of a Star, a blog project that appropriates the Warhol Diaries. Even though I did not initially contextualize this project as a remix, it certainly is one. Here’s an excerpt of my definition of Remix as a cultural practice:

The remix will always rely on the authority of the original song. When this activity is extended to culture at large, the remix is in the end a re-mix—that is a rearrangement of something already recognizable; it functions at a second level: a meta-level. This implies that the originality of the remix is non-existent, therefore it must acknowledge its source of validation self-reflexively. In brief, the remix when extended as a cultural practice is a second mix of something pre-existent; the material that is mixed at least for a second time must be recognized otherwise it could be misunderstood as something new, and it would become plagiarism. Without a history, the remix cannot be Remix.

Similar to sampling in music remixes, I selected diary entries from Warhol’s Diaries. The way they are recontextualized as a blog allows for the online user to recognize the aura of Warhol, as well as the autonomy of the work as an allegorical piece of art. To accentuate this autonomy, the comments I made are separated from Warhol’s entries, thus the user can come to terms with allegory as a naturalized strategy of the everyday.

Read more about my definitions in this site’s section Remix Defined.

Below is an excerpt of the initial ideas behind the blog:

I use selections of the Andy Warhol Diaries in the form of a blog to comment on diary entries, the private and public, the idea of a celebrity and her life as a public persona, and the activity of web-surfing as part of a new social space. The way the project works is I select an entry from Warhol’s diary and type it verbatim on the blog to the right called “diary.” I create links of people and places that Warhol mentions. I then comment on the people and/or the entry itself on the blog to the left called “meta diary.” What I write always depends on how I relate to Warhol’s entry as well as what I learn while surfing the links his entry provided. The entries correspond by date. I will often take more than half a day to post my own entry, so chances are that when the reader visits this website the “meta-diary” will be a day behind.

Read the entire text at Diary of a Star.

Environmental Activist Questions the Goals of Globalization

VANDANA SHIVA

Image and text source: The News Hour

In the fourth installment in a series of conversations about the impact of globalization, NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman interviews Vandana Shiva, an activist at the forefront of the fight against globalization for nearly three decades.

PAUL SOLMAN: For three decades, physicist Vandana Shiva has been a key activist in the fight against globalization, especially in her native India, where she says it threatens hundreds of millions of peasants still down on the farm.

She’s accused beverage companies of stealing the people’s water in India, this footage by a new documentary by Swedish filmmakers PeA Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian.

Outside the European patent office, Shiva challenged corporate patents of seeds, what she calls the biopiracy of natural resources.

VANDANA SHIVA, Physicist: Our world is not for sale.

Read the entire interview at  The News Hour

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