How I wish you could see the potential… but I should post non-boring stuff as well

I like the internet. It’s a good procrastination tool for when you have things to do which you really ought to do but oh God it’s far too warm for that kind of thing.

In an age a long, long time ago, remixing the words of a politician was a rather laborious affair. So much so that remixes of that sort were a massive novelty, thus the popularity of Pauline Pantsdown‘s ‘Backdoor man’ and ‘I don’t like it’.

Now, anything and everything can be remixed thanks to the wonders of the internerds.

Ever wondered what would happen if you mixed Nine Inch Nails with the Ghostbusters? Wonder no more!

Thought that Jean-Luc Picard’s cry of defiance in Chain of Command (part two, series six, episode eleven) needed to be commemorated with a dance track?

The possibilities are nearly endless, especially with the ability to manipulate the meaning of the words. Shatner on the Mount:

And then you have the ability to turn media incidents into catchy beats. From Bill O’Reilly’s freak out:

We get:

Clare Werbeloff’s encounter with Channel Nine earlier this year became:

But, for me, the zenith of this artform will always be the ungodly love child of Japanese Ronald McDonald with U.N. Owen was Her (Project Shrine Maiden):

This spawned an entire genre of clips:

And then you have a wave of cover versions making crappy songs into significantly less crappy songs. Lady Gaga’s Poker Face as a rock cover doesn’t completely suck:

Then again, since the year 2000, cover versions have generally been superior to the original (as opposed to the cover version before the year 2000 — including Jeff Buckley’s). Consider Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt:

Lilly Allen’s version of Womanizer:

And Elbow’s cover of Independent Woman:

Maybe we’ve just become better at recycling?

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But there were planes to catch and bills to pay… and so we needed a web filter to protect your children

Okay, the title of the post is a lie but it’s a frequently heard lie.

It amazes me that I most often hear this lie from opponents of the web filter. The argument appears to run like this:

1. They’re bringing a web filter to protect the children.

2. The web filter won’t protect the children.

C. Therefore, we shouldn’t have a web filter.

In our insatiable desire to be the United States in the Southern Hemisphere, opponents of the web filter have been screaming incoherently about their rights to access anything and everything through the internet — especially the stuff they don’t want to access. One friend of mine said that the web filter was an incompetent impingement on her rights because the filter could be circumvented. Another friend cited the Sydney Morning Herald which incoherently compared the web filter to speed humps on a highway.

It turns out that — hold on to your hats, folks — there’s a huge trade involved in getting illegal items through Customs. I know. You’re completely shocked that the drug industry imports drugs from overseas. Customs catches a great deal of it but, given that there are imported drugs in Australia, they’re can be evaded.

I don’t think there are too many people around who would argue with a straight face that Customs is an incompetent inpingement on their rights. Yet when we have what is essentially the internet equivalent of Customs, people cry foul.

The filter takes out the huge grey area with issues such as pornography. It might be that I’m a huge misanthrope but I can fairly easily imagine the AFP busting a pornography ring and people using as their defence that they did not know that the stuff they were accessing was illegal.

But if they have to deliberately go out of their way to circumvent a filter to access illegal material, it’s obvious that they know what they’re doing is illegal. They are deliberately setting out to commit a crime. There’s no grey area here and I think that’s a good thing.

This material is already illegal. If you’re caught with this stuff by Customs, it’s game over for you. Continue reading “But there were planes to catch and bills to pay… and so we needed a web filter to protect your children”

Is it in your genes, I don’t know… but if it sells, Hollywood will make more of it

Over on io9, Annalee Newitz accurately comments that Avatar is just CGI white guilt.

Avatar imaginatively revisits the crime scene of white America’s foundational act of genocide, in which entire native tribes and civilizations were wiped out by European immigrants to the American continent. In the film, a group of soldiers and scientists have set up shop on the verdant moon Pandora, whose landscapes look like a cross between Northern California’s redwood cathedrals and Brazil’s tropical rainforest. The moon’s inhabitants, the Na’vi, are blue, catlike versions of native people: They wear feathers in their hair, worship nature gods, paint their faces for war, use bows and arrows, and live in tribes. Watching the movie, there is really no mistake that these are alien versions of stereotypical native peoples that we’ve seen in Hollywood movies for decades.

[…]

[A] few of these humans don’t want to crush the natives with tanks and bombs, so they wire their brains into the bodies of Na’vi avatars and try to win the natives’ trust. Jake is one of the team of avatar pilots, and he discovers to his surprise that he loves his life as a Na’vi warrior far more than he ever did his life as a human marine. [‘When will white people stop making movies like Avatar?’, source]

She then follows up this analysis with a wail that white people keep making movies about white guilt (like Dances with Wolves and District 9). It’s almost as if she’s shocked that Hollywood would keep making profitable films.

And that’s what this is. Left wing whities — who are typically the sort of people who spend vast amounts of cash at the cinematron — love to feel guilty about the past and so they’ll gladly fork out to go see a film which makes them feel better for feeling guilty. Oh, and they’ll also complain that the film is intrinsically racist. Left wing people of all colours feel a sense of unity when they’re randomly calling things racist. It’s a bonding experience.

If white guilt films weren’t so profitable, they wouldn’t get made. As they are profitable, they do get made. It’s your free market at play. Continue reading “Is it in your genes, I don’t know… but if it sells, Hollywood will make more of it”

Licking guitars, a little desperate… and you were unfair, Mark

In yesterday’s post, I rubbished Government 2.0.   A few people seem to think that it’s somehow unfair or irrational to criticise a report just because its content isn’t particularly helpful and that it’s written in faux-hipster English.

Sure, cheap shots are easy.  This is why they’re cheap.  Holidays to Bali are cheap.  Holidays to Bali are easy.  The logic is rock solid.

But you might be the kind of shopper who only likes a wine if it costs more than $15 — regardless of its taste.  Thus, even though the obvious and the easy criticisms have been made, you’re after something a little more elaborate in your vitriol.

In order to placate your neurotic demands, I shall take you now on an adventure which I like to call ‘The Gap between Freedom of Information and Freedom of Interpretation’.

It starts a few weeks ago when the climate change e-mails from East Anglia University were leaked, the cacophony of redneck ranting reached record levels.  ‘Gotcha!’ they screamed.  ‘We yokels never trusted you clever bastards with your research and degrees and studies!  And now we’ve got e-mails which prove that you’ve been doing the dodgy!’

Information had been released into the world, but the people reading it had absolutely no idea how to interpret what they were seeing (that is, nothing much).  A friend of mine — who is usually a fairly sober and thoughtful person despite suffering the noxious brain deterioration known as ‘being a libertarian’ — crowed that the e-mails proved that anthropogenic climate change was a left wing conspiracy against the industrial world.  People imagined a conspiracy because they desperately wanted the conspiracy.  Anything — the scantier the better — would have fed that delusion.  The e-mails were a smorgasboard for the tinfoil hat wearers. Continue reading “Licking guitars, a little desperate… and you were unfair, Mark”

My blood just wants to say hello to you, my soul is so afraid to realize… that public servants probably don’t need Twitter at work

Sighingly, I sighed a big sigh (sightastically so) when I heard about the Government 2.0 taskforce… thingy.

According to the superconfusing, co-trans-communicative blogpage 1.7:

The Government 2.0 Taskforce (‘Taskforce’) will advise and assist the Government to:

  • make government information more accessible and usable — to establish a pro-disclosure culture around non-sensitive public sector information;
  • make government more consultative, participatory and transparent — to maximise the extent to which government utilises the views, knowledge and resources of the general community;
  • build a culture of online innovation within Government — to ensure that government is receptive to the possibilities created by new collaborative technologies and uses them to advance its ambition to continually improve the way it operates;
  • promote collaboration across agencies with respect to online and information initiatives — to ensure that efficiencies, innovations, knowledge and enthusiasm are shared on a platform of open standards; and
  • identify and/or trial initiatives that may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish the above objectives.

The Taskforce will advise Government on structural barriers that prevent, and policies to promote, greater information disclosure, digital innovation and online engagement including the division of responsibilities for, and overall coordination of, these issues within government. [‘About’, Source]

That’s all good and dandy, and very 1980s.  Hooray for fresh new ideas.

This week, they released a multistructured end-user interfaced report, freshly and innovatively pro-titled ‘Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0‘.

Freak me sideways, internets. Freak me sideways. Continue reading “My blood just wants to say hello to you, my soul is so afraid to realize… that public servants probably don’t need Twitter at work”

When I first saw you, I knew that you had a flame in your heart… and were an awesome music video

Vote for us in the rage FIFTY 2009

My top ten for 2009:

Daniel, Bat for Lashes

(embedding disabled)

– Completely messed up video.

Give It Up, Datarock

– Sure, I’m a huge Datarock fan already (hunt down a copy of them doing a cover of Mongoloid).

Papillon, Editors

– It’s people running. I don’t get it… but it’s people running!

Fonz, Eugene McGuinness

– Old concept, but fun.

Drumming Song, Florence and the Machine

(embedding disabled)

– Another creepy one.

Would that I had space for No You Girls, Franz Ferdinand.

Who am I kidding? We all know that Empire of the Sun will win.

Fie on them.

You ask me to enter, then you make me crawl… but the main characters have mismatched power levels

The Sorting Algorithm of Evil is an often criticised concept. Oh, shock. All the easy villains were in the first series, and now — mystery of mysteries — the real villains have shown up. And now the all-powerful puppet masters controlling the real villains have shown up. And now the intergalactic queens of the universe who hired the all-powerful puppet masters controlling the real villains have shown up…

But it exists for a reason.

Shows where one side clearly out matches the other have a habit of being dull unless you can put on your suspenders of disbelief quickly enough. Matches between Awesome Hero and weakling bad dude (see: Batman versus the street gangs) seem like petty bullying. Matches between Awesome Villian and weakling heroes (see: Star Trek: First Contact) seem wildly implausible when they end.

A worse example of the latter were several of the recent season finales of Doctor Who. The Master is completely wiping the floor with everybody, so the Doctor is granted magical powers by the psychic satellites. Davros has stolen the Earth to make a planetary weapon out of planets, so the Doctor learns how to control his regeneration so he can create a clone and a human-Time Lord hybrid clone… or something.

Good drama requires evenly matched combatants, and it’s poor writing if one of the combatants quickly level grinds in order to get a massive advantage over the other.

Enter: Jedi. Continue reading “You ask me to enter, then you make me crawl… but the main characters have mismatched power levels”