Archive for August, 2009

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Air Guitar, Karaoke, And Why People Hate Mimes

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 26, 2009 by admin in Music

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

How to get attention for still not doing something you can’t do.

Günther Love Understands That
Sometimes The Package Is
The Only Thing That Matters

As someone who actually likes doing things that I can actually do, I’ve always been a little perplexed by people who can’t do things pretending they are. All the same, I was disappointed that it somehow escaped my attention that the Air Guitar World Championship finals took place the other day, and that they crowned the new champion, French native Sylvain “Günther Love” Quimene. To be perfectly honest, although I had heard of air guitar competitions a few years ago, I had no idea just how big they had become. This year’s winner performed before an audience of more than 5,000 people from 20 countries, and has received international press. If you’re kicking yourself for not having your act together yet again this year, don’t (ahem) fret, learn more about the profession by reading Björn Türoque’s (say that out loud) To Air is Human: One Man’s Quest to Become the World’s Greatest Air Guitarist. Then maybe pick up an Air Guitar Pro to practice. And don’t forget to pick up some strings. You might think that being a world class air guitarist is all about dressing up in an outrageous outfit and flailing around the stage like an idiot, but there’s much more to….oh c’mon. Of course that’s what it’s all about. But apparently it’s become a much more well-defined affair. Contestants are judged on – among other things – something called “airness”, which everyone involved seems a little reluctant to define, but which doesn’t seem to require faithfully reproducing the exact gestures of actually playing a guitar. Which for some reason makes me think of Karaoke. Read the rest of this entry »

Your Facebook & Twitter Activity Is Tracked More Closely Than You Think

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 25, 2009 by admin in Technology

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Sentiment Analysis & Social Media Monitoring are compiling massive amounts of data for trend tracking, but as a side effect, compile massive amounts of data about individuals as well.

Next time you’re Twittering your thoughts, making a status post, or taking a quiz on Facebook, remember that not only are you creating part of an eternal online identity and probably sharing your information with more people than you thought (especially see question 3 in that ACLU quiz), you’re also helping shape marketing and political decisions. We’ve written jokingly about Googlewanking and Googlewashing before, but the two latest big things on the web – Social Media Monitoring and Sentiment Analysis – are making the web a different place. On the abstractly interesting side of this, sentiment analysis sort of renders the typical CNN or Time user poll (typically called a Voodoo Poll) even more absurd than they were. Online polls have always had major shortcomings, but the main one was that of limited demographic diversity, i.e.: only dorks who take CNN polls take CNN polls. A recent classic example of their susceptibility to gaming and inaccuracy was when “moot”, the 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community, became the “World’s Most Influential Person” in a Time user poll. The difference with these newly evolving data mining tools is that they Read the rest of this entry »

Bowling For Bailouts

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 24, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story in theaters October 2, 2009

I’ve been a little hard on Michael Moore in the past, but in my heart of hearts I believe that, much like President Obama (who I think is a good man swimming in a shark tank), his heart is probably in the right place, regardless of where his ego is. My only real criticism of his films – that they seem more geared toward entertainment and profit than action – is pointless. It’s not his fault that Americans won’t watch a serious film about a serious topic, or that no approach seems to motivate them to act on the things that make them angry or unhappy. So I’m pretty excited to see what Moore has put together this time for Capitalism: A Love Story , due for an October 2, 2009 release. I’ve written plenty on topics like corporate vs individual rights, bailout apathy, fictitious capital, and revolution; so I have some hope that although no-one seems to mind that grotesquely wealthy Americans are getting wealthier while other Americans are going hungry and enjoying a 16.5% nationwide unemployment rate, maybe they’ll still want to learn a bit about it while munching on some popcorn. Read the rest of this entry »

Terror Just Doesn’t Terrorize Like It Used To

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 23, 2009 by admin in Politics

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Sometimes I miss the good old days of paranoia, fear, and purely political election year terror alerts. That’s why I’m glad there are plenty of two-faced self-serving jerks like Scott McClellan and Tom Ridge around.

Sometimes I miss the good old days. The good old days when some LED throwies that were part of a viral marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force could paralyze a major American city. Or when an iPod dropped in a toilet would summon a bomb squad. Which is why I’m glad that every so often a book like Tom Ridge’s The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege comes out. Not that I’ll buy the darn thing – or read it – but it’s just so nice to have that tingly sensation of paranoia and distrust of government reinvigorated. I don’t really have the warm fuzzies for the current administration either, but that Bush gang was downright creepy. The height of my anger towards their bald-faced lying and manipulation of public trust was around the time I was contracted by a liberal-leaning commodities trader to do the site because he wanted to sway his moderate Republican business associates right before the 2008 elections. In spite of being a fairly simple, well-documented indictment of the Bush White House that was free of liberal hyperbole, the reaction to the site amongst even my more rabidly Democratic friends was rather ho-hum. Which is where people’s concern about our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the state of the economy, and Guatanamo detainees seems to remain. So keep biting the hands that fed you, Scott McClellan, Tom Ridge, and all you other self-serving bastards. Not only do we expect nothing less of you, we barely notice. Personally, I can’t wait for the Jack Abramoff and Scooter Libby sellouts. They should be pretty juicy. But on a serious note, let us never forget that tragic day of terror when a proud American city was brought to its knees: Read the rest of this entry »

Why Shopping Feels Good

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 21, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Unless of course you’re some kind of shopping addicted, Oniomaniacal mess.

You Have A Problem, And
This Little Box Is The Solution

The Pew Internet & American life project says that about 30% of you are here for no real reason, so I’m here to give your Internet time some purpose. You know that nice feeling you get when you’ve decided you can afford something for yourself, you take a little time comparison shopping, and finally make the purchase? Isn’t it fun to take the item home, and if it’s clothing – try it on again – without the tags, or if it’s a new gizmo, mutter profanities about the bubble pack and maybe draw blood opening it, but then get down to playing with your new toy? It’s really a good feeling isn’t it? It can actually be very calming and gratifying. Well, it may just be the dopamine talking, but who cares? It feels good. And thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you don’t even need to move from exactly where you are right now to get this wonderful set of feelings. That little search tool below? It lets you explore all sorts of products, without leaving this page, and when you see something you like, just click on it, give the invisible Amazon Elves some magic numbers, and within a few days, voila! It’s delivered right to your door. Of course, before you engage in this kind of behavior Read the rest of this entry »

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