I’m at ScienceOnline Climate but have to take a quick moment to express my adoration for John Oliver. Again.

Please don’t leave us, John.

John Oliver on Elon Musk’s Hyperloop:

It is way too early in the morning for me to figure out why this is not embedding properly but you can click through to the Comedy Central site if you need to. Totally worth it.

Juri Gagarins Raumkapsel "Wostok 1", originally uploaded by astirn.

It’s Yuri’s Night, the annual celebration of the 1st manned space flight . This year marks the 50th anniversary of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight.

You can learn more about Yuri Gagarin here. You can also find a local Yuri’s Night party – there are more than 400 official parties happening worldwide this year.

If you’re in the DC area, the party’s at Science Club this year instead of out at NASA.

There was a shindig at Artisphere on Saturday, but if you’re just reading about it here, you missed it. Producer Jared Davis described this year’s featured burlesque show as “Star Trek meets Love Boat. I missed it this year despite peer-pressure from many of the participants, so I can’t really comment on whether they succeeded in achieving that lofty goal.

NASA’s Starchild webpage about Yuri Gagarin is so filled with awesome 90s web-design wonder I just have to link to it. Fortunately, there’s an even swankier update still online.

By now you’ve probably heard that Apple made a big fucking deal over their “unveiling” of an authorized Beatles catalog available as digital downloads.

I try not to fawn in obsessively creepy ways when he attends a pho dinner, but I think the Washington Post’s Faster Forward columnist Rob Pegoraro is an excellent tech journalist. His post about this topic was especially good:

The Beatles, their surviving heirs and their misguided management finally turned in their Flat Earth Society membership cards today, allowing the sale of their music as digital downloads on Apple’s iTunes Store. La-dee-freakin’-da.

I’m sorry, were you expecting congratulations here?

Pegoraro then outlines all of the mis-steps that the Beatles management made along the way to this allegedly historic moment.

If you can’t be bothered to go read that post, I think this tweet sums the whole absurd announcement pretty well:

FMC Policy Summit 2010

It’s time for the 10th Anniversary Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit.

TENTH? This event is 10 years old? No way. I was still in Grad School when this event started and that was just…nevermind. Let’s move on.

Musicians can still apply for scholarships to the Summit and anyone who wants to engage or learn more about public policy, music technology, and technology can still buy a ticket.

Come on, get your music & tech policy fix where all the cool kids hang out! The event starts Sunday (the 3rd) and runs through Tuesday (the 5th) – check the website for programming details and panelist bios.

Monday night, there’s a rock show. And not just any rock show, this is a benefit for Dear New Orleans presented by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition.

The show is at the Black Cat and tickets (regular and VIP packages) are still available. Check out this partial line-up:

Bonerama with
Damian Kulash of OK Go
Jenny Toomey and Franklin Bruno
Hank Shocklee (of The Bomb Squad, Public Enemy)
Jonny 5 of Flobots
Wonderlick (and half of Too Much Joy!)
Rebecca Gates
Crossover Clarinetist Mariam Adam
plus special guests!

And, of course, I’ll be there (in the audience). How can you possibly resist?

Still need a push? Don’t know who Bonerama are? Here’s video I found (on their website) of them covering “War Pigs” last year in San Francisco.

I tried harder to find video of them covering “When the Levee Breaks” on youtube because that’s more appropriate but all the videos I found sucked so you get this instead. (I did find video from last year’s FMC rockshow but the quality was not so high – a hazzard of recording trombones with a portable cam and then compounding the loss of low-frequency content by playing it back on computer speaker. You can watch it anyway if you want).

I bet you could see them cover it live if you bought a ticket and showed up at the Black Cat Monday night.

If there’s a way to embed the CSPAN video player, I’m not smart enough to figure it out. The first video is the only one to feature Chaiman Genachowski being played onto the stage by a New Orleans brass funk band (at approximately 41:30:00)

Monday, October 5, 2009
Georgetown University

Senator Al Franken and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered keynote addresses at the 2009 Music Policy Summit at Georgetown University. Among the topics they addressed were use of the Internet as a distribution mechanism for music, censorship and access issues, market competition, and the role of the FCC in regulating the Internet in a fair manner.

Washington, DC : 54 min.

Also available, from today:


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met and voted to move forward on Chairman Julius Genachowski’s open internet proposal. The net neutrality rules, if passed, would prohibit internet providers from favoring or discriminating against online applications. The FCC will have a period of hearings and comments on the proposal before a final vote is taken.
Washington, DC : 1 hr. 38 min.

Thanks to the ubiquity of cellphones, horror and suspense writers have a new set of cliches to work with when stranding or isolating a character. Unless that character is like me and owns an iphone, then the act of getting a signal and making a successful call becomes a far-fetched plot-point. But my point isn’t to rant about how, as a phone, my iphone sucks. Although it does. It sucks, a lot. It sucks so much it should be investigated as a public safety issue. My phone rarely works in my house. I’ve had perfect service on my AT&T blackberry in my house for years, but I switched to an iphone and now, nothing. Which means I have to keep paying for a landline, which aggravates me.

My point is just to post this, because it’s funny:

Feminism2.0 breakout session: “bloggers and activists: an intimate and frank conversation”

Moderator: Gloria Pan, VP Internet Communications, Turner Strategies

Kim Gandy, President, National Organization for Women
Liza Sabater, Blogger, Culturekitchen
Tedra Osell, Blogger, Bitch Ph.D.

The online world is loud and chaotic, with many and different voices rising at different times to add insights, disagree, argue or just piss people off. Effective activism requires cooperation and organization to create momentum for change. In this session, two of the loudest voices in the women’s blogosphere and the leader of a major women’s advocacy organization will learn about each other’s worlds — what makes them different… and what they have in common.

Kim Gandy: Active with NOW since 1973. Spurred to action when she discovered she needed her husband’s permission to sign up for 401k at her own place of employment. Got active, stayed active. Has 2 teenage daughters, serve as constant reminder that feminist work is ongoing (impact of pop culture)

Liza Sabatar: Blogdive on twitter. Culture Kitchen and Daily Gotham publisher. Blogger since 2001. Homeschooler. Child of civil rights workers. September 11th catalyst for adding her voice to the political and social blogosphere. Got really politically involved locally (NYC).

Tedra Osell: perviously a moderator on HipMama. Got PhD. Left academia, now housewife. Exploring sphere of housewives/soccer moms/non-traditionals as feminists.

Gloria: throws out idea that bloggers start out more introverted; those in public advocacy start from place of extraversion.

Kim: agrees – advocacy has pressures to get audience to agree and empathize; bloggers get to say what they want.

Liza: paucity of women at media/tech conferences & new media events. Her life partner created Barbie parody-site, he got sued by Mattel. First IP lawsuit over Internet art, hard to find lawyer. Liza became incensed by prospect that Mattel was about to destroy their lives – found she could engage worldwide network of activists and artists to spread the word.

Tedra: Problem organizations have is that they want to use the Internet, they just don’t understand how or why. They don’t understand that the thing that keeps people clicking late into the night are the shitstorms and the flamewars. Organizations hire bloggers with controversial posts in their past and they come back to haunt them. (see also: Edwards campaign).

Liza: Organizations have to decide how to get fresh faces out front really speaking to the issues.

Circulation of Ms. Magazine is rising, not falling. Counter to trends in MSM.

Gloria: have organizations adjusted the language that they use in response to expectations of new media focused readers?

Kim: Language choices? No, haven’t changed. Length and depth of reporting has changed though. Regrets that stories aren’t as long and juicy (3000 word stories w loads of background) but web doesn’t lend itself to that form.

Tedra: Thinks long-form journalism isn’t DOA, we’re learning how to make it attractive even on the web. However, long-form journalism is expensive to produce and support and indie websites can’t do that.

Liza: Surprised how often advocacy groups still send pitches and press releases and ask that she publish them for them as a story. Online world doesn’t function based on full-narratives, web-based existence fractured and based on keywords and developing thoughts and fragments. Eventually it coalesces into a whole.

Suzanne Turner (turner strategies) broke in to pose question to panel about the role of advocacy groups as mainstream media loses strength. Who fills the void left by extinction of in-depth nightly news stories a la Edward R Murrow.

Discussion of long-form versus shallow content as false dichotomy.

Kim: Example: Controversy over family planning funding being pulled from stimulus bill became rallying cry for activists and advocates. BUT: Talking points over-simplified the issue and told misleading story. Lots of behind the scenes back and forth about how to distill a complicated issue and guide the story. Medicade/birth control legislation was pre-existing and not a new piece of stimulus, but that part of the story got lost.

Liza suggests that better strategy would have been to go straight to most prominent feminist bloggers and work with them to really move the message.

Audience member: with new administration, how do we challenge status quo

Panel: Tedra: maybe we don’t. Maybe answer is to work to shape conversation through participation rather than just rail against established members of Congress, etc. Liza: Organizations need to empower bloggers to be the bad cops and speak out and be assertive.

Audience question: flip side – how do organizations minimize vulnerabilities and liabilities of blogger’s opinions being held against organizations.

Liza: Working in cooperation (not as employee) with organizations and being really vocal and outfront about issues builds good relationships and provides validation for your blog. Validation is social capitol for bloggers.

Audience question: is there an actual positive measurable impact for organizations to have bloggers actually blogging through their websites? Where does convergence take us (as opposed to co-promoting and developing independently)?

(I suspect that discussants are talking apples and oranges – some advocating orgs create an alternative to blogspot versus organizations letting bloggers blog in an official capacity but conversation is ranging away from the topic so I haven’t interjected a clarification question yet)

Panel discussing value of diversity of voices. Organizations giving bloggers a place to voice their opinions and feel a sense of ownership and inclusion in the organization. Audience and focus of Bitch Mag versus Bust versus Ms.

Gloria: wrap-up question – how do bloggers handle situation of advocacy organizations not communicating with them?

(Kim notes she’s here and interacting with the membership)

Liza: Feels like organizations feel like they have something to lose from relationship with bloggers due to blogger rep for jumping gun on stories, etc. We’ve got to keep having conversations and looking for ways to work together to build trust.

I have the ability to apply a mental filter that enables me to not only tune out, but deny the actual existence, of certain things – Grateful Dead songs and Microsoft commercials being the most critical. Consequently, I missed a profoundly inane Microsoft video promoting a product called Songsmith until I saw a post about it on the Contrarian’s blog. Like Casey, I can’t decide if this is a hamfisted attempt at being ironic, or if it’s just hamfisted. I do know it’s way too long. And stupid. Also, that anyone who showed up in a coffee shop and sang into their laptop would probably be beaten to a pulp.

After I started this post I was catching up on some mailing-list mail and saw this being discussed on a music industry list, which led me to some pretty amusing videos of popular songs put through Songsmith. There are a lot of them (where have I been?) but in a quick survey (read: I listened to the first 30 seconds of 2 or 3 of them) I found Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil” to be rather amusing.

Not nearly as amusing, however, as Husband’s highschool friends, the Legion of Rockstars, whose YouTube contributions once made me laugh so hard I almost died from the hiccups I got. Er, that might not be much of an endorsement. According to a previous post I made about them, “…their performance of Van Halen’s “Jump” is also very, very funny. Maybe even funnier than Journey. Stick with it to the guitar and keyboard “solos” at the end. That’s quality.” So there you have it. I don’t know what you have, but that’s not really my problem.

On a related note, it doesn’t look like I can declare victory in my quest to restore my archives just yet – a search just revealed that all of the Microsoft Bob posts (circa 2003) are MIA. So close…