So long, Steve...

A stingray tail piercing his heart? Wow. Steve, you will be missed.

While other National Geographic type animal shows had boring announcers talking over 300x zoom cameras watching lions wagging their tails in the heat from a distance, Steve actually got close to the animals and made it exciting and interesting to watch. While his personality could have come off as forced, faked, cheap, or showboating, personally he struck me as genuinely excited and passionate about whatever he was talking about (even if it was about to bite him in the face). I always liked how Steve was able to gain so much popularity while retaining his overall message about preservation and conservation of wildlife. Hopefully others will be able to continue the work that he started...

In Brooklyn!

Ahhhh the sweet smell of Brooklyn. What terrible traffic though! Ah well. Too bad I have to leave tomorrow morning. :/

Man, I always forget how much this place rules.

I hope I get to see Asif/Dave/Ben while I'm here!

Snoop Froggy Frog

I was very sad when I searched for "snoop froggy frog" online and found no interesting results. So, I am making my contribution to society. Shout out to Ben Wilkinson, circa 1994, Mr. Calhoun's science class.

Hm. What's that smell?

On the plane today I had the unfortunate luck of sitting next to someone who I believe was emitting some strange odors. I'm not sure how or from where, but I knew that at certain moments in time I'd get a whiff of something odd. It wasn't anything repulsive, just a little uncomfortable. Towards the end of the flight, however, I was jostled awake by (what I thought was) a strange noise coming from the engine. In doing so, I got a whiff of another scent, this time extremely foul smelling and pungent. I immediately covered my nose to prevent myself from gagging. I slowly rotate my eyeballs to the person next to me to see if her armpit wasn't accidentally in my face. Just past her I see a young 13 year old boy sitting hunched over, attempting (and failing) to make use of an air sickness bag. Upon missing his target, he succesfully launched projectile vomit clear across our aisle and into the next, covering the entire floor in the process. The flight crew didn't know what to do - they just laid a blanket over it and announced to the passengers to be wary of the slippery conditions on the runway.

Oh shit! I almost forgot again.

Yikes! Stripes! Mike just called me and reminded me I have to post. Here is the post. Hi.

Ponderings on the future of music

Universal is offering a new free music download service. The service will provide free commercial music downloads and will make money through advertisements.

Congratulations, Universal. You are about to make a shitload of cash... Too bad it took years of lawsuits, accusations, and nasty RIAA litigation for a major company to realize that instead of bitching that they were losing money, they could just innovate to capitalize on the new economy.

What I like about this is that it shifts the conversation away from the rights of the recording companies back to the rights of musicians. How does a website that offers free music downloads fairly distribute the money generated from advertisements back to the musicians?

If there is a way to track the number of downloads or page visits, perhaps the money could be directly split proportionally by popularity. For every visitor that clicks on an advertisement on the band's page, the distributor receives 3 cents and the band receives 2 cents. Something like that.

Alternatively, much like television, musicians could strike up deals with the distributors. The distributors, who distribute the free music downloads, agree to pay the artist a sum of money in exchange for the rights to distribute that artist's music. This contract could be non-exclusive, which would mean musicians could also sign contracts with other distributors. If they sign an exclusive contract, the sole distributor could redistribute to make even more profit down the pipeline. Of course this means the artist loses more rights.

My guess is that for smaller artists, the first option makes more sense. For bigger name artists and distributors, the second option provides more "control" by both parties, at least in terms of traditional contract negotiation.

"What about file sharing? Won't that mean people won't visit those sites as much?" No. Think about it. Sharing and word-to-mouth advertising is one of the best ways to advertise to niche audiences. There is money to be made even if the media is free. If you don't believe me, ask any popular television actor how they pay the bills.

So let this be a lesson to the recording industry: innovate or die. As enablers of media distribution, recording companies need to realize their physical media market is dying. They need to shift to become more like distribution and production companies if they want to survive.

The really exciting part of this is that since the internet is a low-cost high-volume medium, the possibilities for smaller distributors and musicians to compete with majors is greater.

Some interesting links.

Doruk just sent me two interesting links:

Like Better: Choose between two images as the computer tries to figure out your personality.

All Look Same: Can you tell if a person is Chinese, Japanese, or Korean by their facial features?

Angela Davis

So after my sister posted her remix project on her site, I've been reading up on Angela Davis some more and been pretty intrigued. She was a Black Panther who was a member of the communist party and who was put on the FBI's most wanted list for conspiracy and kidnapping:

On August 18, 1970, Davis became the third woman and the 309th individual to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List when she was charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide, due to her alleged participation in an escape attempt from Marin County Hall of Justice.

That episode at the Marin County Hall of Justice is detailed more here, from the perspective of a crazy photographer. Wow. If you get a chance, read a bit from this, it's pretty astounding. I can't believe how insane the 60s and 70s must have been. It makes me think though. Where's the passion, the outrage, the revolution in our generation? Is it really that uncool to care about anything these days?

Short Entry

It's 9 minutes to the deadline and I just remembered that I had to post today! So Griselda is in the passenger seat of my car as we "borrow" some wifi from a friend to post this entry with the screen dimmed down all the way so as to not arouse suspicion of passerbys. Ok well wish I could write more, but I'm running out of time. Tomorrow I should get my internet back so this wardriving insanity can stop...