now listening
shared items
...more shared items

11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003

12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004

02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004

03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004

04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004

05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004

06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004

07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004

08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004

09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004

10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004

11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004

12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005

01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005

02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005

03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005

04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005

05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005

06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005

07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005

08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005

09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005

10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005

11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005

12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006

01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006

02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006

03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006

04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006

05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006

06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006

07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006

08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006

09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006

10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006

11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006

12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007

01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007

02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007

03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007

04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007

05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007

06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007

07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007

09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007

10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007

11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007

12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008

01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008

02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008

03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008

04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008

05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008

06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008

07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008

08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008

09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008

10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008

11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008

12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009

01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009

02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009

03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009

04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009

05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009

06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009

07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009

08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009

09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009

10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009

11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009

12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010

01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010

03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010

Thursday, May 26, 2005 
i'm on vacation starting tomorrow for about a week. during that time i will only have sporadic internet access; i'll be able to check email occasionally, but i definitely won't have time for bloggin'.

so that's that. see ya next week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 
the indianapolis smoking ban has passed:

Put it out: Starting March 1, 2006, smoking would be banned in workplaces, Laundromats, lobbies, restrooms and other public areas. Restaurants and bars are covered by the ban unless they prohibit customers younger than 18, in which case they are exempted.

Go ahead, light up: Excused from the ban: bowling alleys, private clubs, cigar bars, retail tobacco stores, designated hotel smoking rooms, and family-owned businesses in which all employees are related and the business is closed to the public.

the obvious argument about smoking bans is that they aren't--or shouldn't be--truly necessary. if the general public is really that upset about public smoking, then those people will (or logically should) naturally try to frequent places that are non-smoking. we have a few non-smoking bars, and it already seems like most of the best restaurants (the smaller, neighborhood-type ethnic restaurants, etc) are already non-smoking. that way the nonsmokers have places they can go to hang out and avoid smokers; the smokers have places they can go to smoke; everyone in theory should be happy. but of course, the nonsmoking lobby doesn't seem to want people to be allowed to smoke anywhere. that "i should be able to go anywhere i want and not deal with any smokers" attitude that a lot of them seem to have really bugs me.

but a ban in restaurants doesn't bother me too much. as i said, most of the best restaurants are already non-smoking, so i'm not sure how much i'd really notice the difference.

but banning smoking in bars doesn't make any sense to me. drinking makes you smoke! smoking and drinking go hand in hand; if you're a smoker, it's virtually impossible to drink any significant amount of alcohol without smoking. you just can't do it. so on that level at least, passing a smoking ban in bars makes about as much sense as passing a law barring drunken people from fucking each other. it's not like bars are otherwise clean and wholesome: everyone knows that they are essentially dirty, sinful places, so the argument that bar patrons require clean air rings false. (and laws that ban smoking outdoors strike me as ludicrous... if people can't smoke outside, where there is a naturally-occurring air current known as "wind" to keep smoke out of people's faces, then where the hell can people smoke?)

this law exempts normal bars that don't allow patrons under the age of 18. so "true" bars can keep on smokin', and restaurant bars etc go smoke-free. on one level it sounds like the perfect compromise: the smokers can still smoke in their bars, and the nonsmokers have hundreds of restaurant bars where they can indulge their alcholism in a smoke-free environment. but a lot of restaurant owners are pissed over this, convinced they will lose business (and i have yet to see any actual evidence that they won't... anecdotal tales about people standing outside bars in california are insufficient).

another complaint i've heard relates to underage musicians. frankly, there are very few all-age performance venues for musicians in indy. there are a few all-ages places, but generally, if you want to perform in front of an audience in indy, you probably need to play in a bar. currently, the bars can make exceptions for underage performers: they shouldn't hang out in the bar, but they can wait outside and come in when it's time to set up and play. under the new law, bars that permit smoking cannot allow people under 18 to enter at all, no exceptions. so effectively musicians under 18 years old will not be able to perform in bars that allow smoking.

this is definitely a valid criticism. having a set-in-stone no-under-18 rule does seem a little excessive, for that and other reasons. but let's be honest: this is really a problem with the music scene (and the city's support for the music scene), not with the smoking ban per se. if we had a bunch of decent all-ages venues available, it wouldn't really matter. the new law will tangibly hurt underage performers, but those performers still lack a place to play where kids their own age can attend. and honestly, now many musicians that young are really worth hearing?

how to deal
seemingly at the last minute, yesterday 14 senators announced that they had made a deal on the "nuclear option" in the senate. three appointments (including brown and owen, possibly two of the worst nominees) will go through to the floor of the senate for up-or-down vote. some other appointments will not go through. democrats agreed only to filibuster nominations "in extreme circumstances" and republicans have agreed, at least for the moment, not to set off the nuclear option.

some democrats/liberals/progressives are understandably upset about the compromise. but the right wing is going totally insane with rage! they would not have been satisfied with anything less than the nuclear option. their mantra that "every nominee deserves an up-or-down vote" was complete bullshit, an argument full of lies and demonstrably false statements. but they didn't want to settle for anything less... and now that the party has indeed settled for something less, they are pissed off!

this dailykos thread has all the pertinent info: a pdf of the deal, and links to right-wingers who are totally freaking out. and if you go to the dkos front page, you'll find other "deal" threads such as this, this, that, and t'other.

freedom of speech...just watch what you say
these days, it seems like you can judge how true bill maher's statements are by how many people demand that his show be taken off the year.

a couple years ago, shortly after 9/11, maher lost his cushy job on abc's politically incorrect (which abc had snatched away from comedy central) for making a comment that was too true for some people to handle. when someone made a comment that the 9/11 hijackers were "cowards", maher put them in their place by saying "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

some americans (generally right-wingers) did not like bill pointing out that their war machine is bullshit, and the show was quickly canceled.

now, three years later, people are again calling for bill maher to be pulled off the air, so clearly he must've said something a little too "correct" for right-wingers to handle.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., takes issue with remarks on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, first aired May 13, in which Maher points out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42 percent in April.

"More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club," Maher said. "We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

Army Reserve Pfc. England was accused of abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"I think it borders on treason," Bachus said. "In treason, one definition is to undermine the effort or national security of our country."

so bill maher, who is a tv comedian made a smart, informed comment, pointing out that recruitment is in shambles and that our military needs qualified people, not the kinds of "bad apples" that have been responsible for torturing people in places like abu ghraib, afghanistan, guantanamo, or anyplace else we keep prisoners in the "war on terror" (because wherever we put 'em, we end up torturin' 'em). it's hard to argue with that.

and then rep. bachus, a congressman who's named after the roman god of getting drunk and acting stupid, takes a page from ann coulter's book (literally; he could practically be reading aloud from her book treason) and demands for maher to be pulled off the air. which is more than a little ironic, considering that maher and coulter are supposedly close friends.

i'm sure that if/when bill goes back to cheerleading for bush's "war on terra", the calls for his cancelation will subside.

Sunday, May 22, 2005 
the bollywood bends
it's the hot new sensation! everyone is bending the bollywood vanilla coke ad!

syntax provides us with these four new bends. some pretty cool effects here. sez syntax: "everything was done using cool edit pro 2, using random copying, pasting, and effecting of single frames (interpreted as 16-bit mono 44100 sample rate)."

update: these are the actual bent files. they look different on different systems, or when using different applications. syntax has posted some side-by-side comparisons here


mp3s ofs thes weeks
since i won't be around next sunday/monday to post an mp3, this week i'm giving you two mp3s! just pace them out and don't overdose!

this week's mp3s are "arcology" and "wrong of way", from perpetual emotion machine, two of the last tracks i ever composed with a tracker program. enjoy!

and now for something tangential
this has nothing really to do with the image-bending experiment, except that the same source material was used... but faithful reader/awia member rizzia has either bent or rebent the bollywood coke ad into this

i believe he used wordpad to bend it. not bad.

results of the image-bending experiment
remember that image-bending experiment i posted last week? application-sensitive image-bending was the post title. well the results are up. thanks to everyone who sent in your results, and extra big thanks to those who sent in screenshots.

the results document is pretty long (by web standards, anyway) and just repeats all ten of the images that were involved in the experiment, so in the interest of reducing blog clutter, i thought it would be better to post it to a separate file rather than the blog. also, as a separate file it's easier to link to:

rather than that yyyy_mm_dd_archive.html#bigbunchanumericalcrap format necessary for linking directly to blog posts. you're welcome to post comments here, though. or feel free to email me any comments or screenshots.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 
detritus blog!
as of today, i am officially a contributor to the detritus blog. i just finished my first post, about how companies such as lucasarts engage fans and fan-generated art (fan fiction, fan films, etc). is an old-school site "about making new creative works out of old ones, whether it be fine art or pop culture." in addition to hosting the rumori mailing list, detritus also hosts the websites of illegal art and great "plunderphonic" artists such as the evolution control committee, people like us, and wobbly. so it's legit.

the blog is still in beta stage, and there hasn't been a ton of discussion there (my post was the first in a couple months), but as the blog evolves hopefully it'll turn into something pretty special. it's a great site that has probably been floundering a bit, as founder steev hise has been traveling extensively and just doesn't have the time to do it all himself. he wants to transform the site into something more community-based and -oriented, and the blog is perhaps the first major step there (as well as adding new contributing bloggers like me).

my posts there probably won't have as much snark as some of my posts here (or at least as not as much obscenity!), but if you're interested in intellectual property issues and "making new creative works out of old ones", check it out... i likely won't post about that stuff as often here on my blog in the future, but that doesn't mean i'll be blogging about those less in general (it'll probably be more, just over at the detritus blog instead).

Monday, May 16, 2005 
start the riot
there was rioting all over the middle east this weekend... massive riots with people dead and more people injured. things pretty much suck in afghanistan... remember them, that place we "freed" a couple years ago and promptly forgot about when it was time to bomb iraq?

well certain people in the right wing, even a few in the us govt, want to blame all those riots on newsweek, for mentioning in one sentence in a recent story that interrogators in guantanamo bay had desecrated copies of the koran, even attempting to throw korans into a toilet.

now, even the US state dept has said this is probably not true, and that "rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else." but that sure won't stop the smear, as the right wing starts tripping over itself in an attempt to demonize newsweek for daring to publish what is most likely a true fact simply because it's an inconvenient one.

the very idea seems absurd on its face: tens of thousands of people in multiple countries are violently rioting... because of one sentence printed by newsweek? as though newsweek is popular reading in the middle east.

it all seems so ridiculous that you would think nobody would accept such a silly proposition without demanding some kind of evidence, but if you thought that then you probably haven't been paying attention to how the corporate media works these days. right-wing pundits, bloggers, and even major media media outlets bought the lie without hesitation, and now the meme is out there that newsweek now has blood on its hands.

newsweek a non-retraction retraction, where they apologize for the possibility of a mistake, though no actual mistake appears to have been made. allegations about koran-flushing have been all over the place for many months. all newsweek did was repeat an already-public allegation. if any "error" was made at all, it was simply that newsweek's source can no longer verify exactly where he read about all that koran-flushing.

update: talkleft has lots more past citations of koran-flushing. tons of 'em.

and sploid points out that the protests actually started three weeks ago when US forces accidentally killed 7 afghans and wounded 8. the newsweek nonstory, at worst, simply fueled protests that were already raging.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 
new mp3 and stuff
this week's mp3 of the week is "stuff (dizzy mix 96)" and it's a stereo extravaganza from my earliest days of computer music production, way back in 1996.

out of africa
the country has been abuzz about dave chappelle's disappearance, and the recent rumors that he had checked himself into a mental institution in south africa.

according to time magazine, which claims to have caught up with him, he is in south africa, but he's not in any kind of institution.

the article is long (that is, if you know how to get in)... i won't quote the whole thing, but here is a good chunk of it:

Chappelle's hasty hiatus was an unexpected turn in a success story that TIME started following last November. I introduced myself to the notoriously press-shy Chappelle through a shared connection (my wife's brother-in-law is a childhood friend of his), and as the conversations unfolded, Chappelle decided to give TIME extensive access to the production of his new season. He even stopped by TIME's offices in New York City several times, always coming off as approachable, engaging and irreverent. (At one encounter, he tweaked TIME's editors by saying he was reporting a story for Newsweek.) But in conversations before he skated for South Africa, the tension was showing. "Later today I gotta call the head of the network [Comedy Central chief Doug Herzog], and I gotta face the music," Chappelle said on April 19. "I gotta tell this dude either I'm doing it or not. Or if I do it, this is how I gotta do it. But what if he says no?

Then I gotta muster up all the balls I got just to say, 'Well, then, I'm walking away.'" Chappelle's words didn't sound that serious at the time—he is a comedian, after all. Just over a week later, he left the country. Our conversations, however, continued by phone after he reached Durban:
TIME Are you on drugs?

CHAPPELLE I haven't smoked marijuana in months. My drugs these days are nicotine and coffee.

TIME Are you in a mental facility?

CHAPPELLE No, no, I'm not in a mental facility. I'm actually staying with some friends [at the home of a man named Salim], although I did consult a doctor when I was here.

TIME A psychiatrist?

CHAPPELLE It was a 40-minute session. I guess he was a psychiatrist.

We just chewed it up, and that was the extent of it.

TIME Why did you take a break?

CHAPPELLE My personal feeling is I didn't like the direction of the show. I was trying to explain it to people, and no one was feeling me. There's a lot of resistance to my opinions, so I decided, Let me remove myself from this situation. You hear so many voices jockeying for position in your mind that you want to make sure that you hear your own voice. So I figured, Let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone—stop a speeding car by using my bare feet as the brakes.

says Herzog, it was ultimately up to the show's namesake: "He absolutely has complete creative freedom.

There's no one from the network sitting on his head. Dave is in charge of his own world." Chappelle's writing partner, Neal Brennan, agrees. He tells TIME that Chappelle had "literally absolute, complete, creative freedom" and plenty of time to work. To some extent, his colleagues profess bafflement about Chappelle's reaction to what seemed to be garden-variety creative differences. "There were 1,000 ways to deal with this," says Brennan. "By the numbers, this was the worst way to have done it. He couldn't think straight. It was fight or flight—and he chose flight."

And then there are those voices in his mind that Chappelle speaks of.

While no one in his circle will talk publicly of it, some describe him as exhibiting increasingly paranoid and erratic behavior. At one point, Brennan says, "I told him, 'You're not well.' He didn't answer." Brennan won't speculate on Chappelle's health but argues that something about his pal of 14 years is different: "Has he made changes in his life? He's 140 degrees different than he was a year ago."

According to Chappelle, it's the people around him who have changed.

His wife Elaine and two children live on a farm in Ohio. Except for a cutting-edge hip-hop concert he sponsored last September in Brooklyn, N.Y.—among the acts were the reunited Fugees—he says he doesn't go out much: "I didn't buy a farm in Ohio to support my party habits. I drive a Toyota. My lifestyle hasn't changed at all."

As Chappelle sees it, his flight to South Africa was an extreme version of his efforts to keep his feet on the ground. He met in Durban late last week with TIME's Johannesburg bureau chief Simon Robinson, although he declined to meet at the place where he was staying, choosing instead the uShaka Marine World on Durban's shore.

As Chappelle walked along the beach, he painted a picture of someone struggling to come to terms with his position and power as well as with the people around him and the way they were reacting to that $50 million deal. Without naming specific people--"Out of respect, I'd rather say those things directly to the people involved than through the press"—he seems to blame some of his inner circle and himself (but not his family) for the stresses created by last year's contract. "If you don't have the right people around you, and you're moving at a million miles an hour, you can lose yourself," he says.

"Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius!'; 'You're great!'; 'That's your voice!' But I'm not sure that they're right." Among those close colleagues, Chappelle's growing distrust has apparently set off no small amount of anxiety. His publicist, Matt Labov, called TIME as this story was being edited, demanding to know if Chappelle had said anything inflammatory about his agent or manager.

Chappelle accepts some blame as well for the stalled third season.

"I'm admittedly a human being," he says. "I'm a difficult kind of dude." His first walkout during shooting "had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn't dig. It's like when I brought a girl home to my mom, and it looked as if my mom really didn't like this girl. And she told me, 'I like her just fine. I just don't like you around her.' That's how I feel in this situation. There were some things about myself that I didn't like. People got to take inventory from time to time."

But as the late rapper biggie smalls once observed, mo' money, mo' problems. In August 2004, after Chappelle's big deal was announced, people started calling him a genius a lot more. They started laughing at the wrong jokes for the wrong reasons at the wrong times. And to his mind, the show became more like working at Wal-Mart, although for a much higher salary. But he kept on with it. Says Chappelle: "Fifty million dollars is a lot of money. And what I'm learning is I am surprised at what I would do for $50 million. I am surprised at what people around me would do for me to have $50 million." Although news of the deal was heavily reported, the conflicted Chappelle didn't actually put his name on the pact until last March. Says Chappelle: "I was thinking for the longest—I'm not even gonna sign this s___."

Chappelle's misgivings about his success kept growing. Increasingly, when he walked down the street or slipped offstage at comedy clubs, people would approach him—black and white and Hispanic and Asian and other—and say things like, "I love your show, I don't care what anybody says. Don't let them change you." The phrase echoed in his head: Don't let them change you. Chappelle used to work Washington Square Park with a stand-up named Charlie Barnett, a brilliant jokester and crack addict who died of AIDS. Barnett, who co-starred in the movie D.C. Cab in 1983 and later fell on hard times and slept in the streets, used to tell Chappelle, "If you fight change, you'll end up f_____ up like me." Chappelle realized he was caught in a paradox: he had always embraced change. Now he was resisting change.

And resisting it was having its effects.

The third season hit a big speed bump in November 2004. He was taping a sketch about magic pixies that embody stereotypes about the races.

The black pixie—played by Chappelle—wears blackface and tries to convince blacks to act in stereotypical ways. Chappelle thought the sketch was funny, the kind of thing his friends would laugh at. But at the taping, one spectator, a white man, laughed particularly loud and long. His laughter struck Chappelle as wrong, and he wondered if the new season of his show had gone from sending up stereotypes to merely reinforcing them. "When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable," says Chappelle. "As a matter of fact, that was the last thing I shot before I told myself I gotta take f______ time out after this. Because my head almost exploded."

Herzog says he has told advertisers and staff that he believes there will be no Chappelle's Show in 2005: "I don't know what the guy's thinking. This is a guy who walked off his own show and kind of left everybody bewildered." But he also leaves the door open—wide open—for the comic's possible return. "Do we still want to be in business with Dave Chappelle? Of course. Dave's an enormous, enormous talent. We're in the comedy business, and Dave's a comedy genius." As for Chappelle, last week he sounded raring to go but not sure he had a place to go to.

TIME Do you plan to start up the show when you return to the U.S.?

CHAPPELLE Hopefully, yeah. Since I've been gone, I haven't really talked to anybody. I've only talked to my family. So when I get back, [I hope] everything will be up and running, or we'll make other arrangements. I don't know what the lay of the land is.

things that hip and hop
samurai champloo

from the people who brought you cowboy bebop, one of the hippest, stylish anime on american tv, samurai champloo merges hip-hop culture with badass samurai swordfighting. it's ostensibly set in the japanese edo era (when japan was transitioning from feudal to modern ways), but stylistically it's total hip-hop, from mugin's breakin'esque fighting technique down to the editing, which is full of scratching and video "remix"-type transitions.

adult swim just premiered this series tonight (you can still catch the premiere at 2:30edt or again on thurs night)... it's pretty cool. i might as well join the adult swim street team considering how much i like their action lineup these days (though i've yet to see any advertising for paranoia agent or s-cry-ed, which start at the end of may, and metropolis, which is on right now, isn't really holding my attention).

so yeah, the premiere episode really grabbed me. it has all the style and slick design and iconic characters that bebop had, but totally distinctive. i've sure never seen hip-hop and samurai swordplay blended in this fashion, and it really works quite well. at first i was just going to email drbmd about it, but shit, i've already endorsed a few other shows on here, so there it is.

i just wish adult swim's comedy lineup was as consistent... they canceled sealab 2021, which i don't mind because it had jumped the shark long ago. and robot chicken... i don't care how good its ratings are; in between its occasional moments of brilliance, most of it's pretty lame. it's like they have all these toys and cameras set up, and 75% of the time they can't think of anything more creative to do with them is have the dolls fart or kick each other in the balls. american dad is good, but fox is running the new episodes two weeks before adult swim. and tom goes to the mayor has good guests and some good ideas, but its slow-paced ironic style can grow boring.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 
application-sensitive image-bending
update: go to my new image databending gallery, the new home for all my databent image work!

i touched upon this briefly in my previous post, as well as back in march, but i definitely think this demands further study.

if you don't want to read a bunch of technical databending crap, please scroll down because i have an experiment for you.

different image formats behave differently when they are "databent" (that is, when they are edited or manipulated in an "incorrect" environment), depending on the level of complexity of the image data and how it's stored. in my image editing experience (which is far more limited than i'd like), i can classify the image formats i've worked with into two general categories: simple formats, which are very resilient to bending (so long as you don't damage the header, which tends to be very short) and yield fairly predictable results, and volatile formats, which tend to be fairly fragile but produce peculiar results if you manage to bend them without completely breaking them.

BMP and TIF are simple formats, and their general structure quickly becomes obvious after a few bending experiments. files are structured with a short header and a data block, and that's about it. there might be a footer, but if so then altering it doesn't seem to corrupt the file. the data block for these formats is a basic stream of pixel data, which is read left-to-right, top-down. there is no equivalent to a "line break"; the size of the image is established in the header and the pixels simply load in, in order. each pixel is defined as an RGB (red-green-blue) color value, so the basic structure looks something like this:


if you were to move or delete the first byte of the data block (the first "R"), the entire image would "color shift" to green (because every pixel's G value would be interpreted as R, etc). this effect can be clearly seen in bends such as this one:

similarly, if you were to run some kind of algorhythmic processing on the data block (i'm thinking audio FX because i prefer to bend in an audio editing environment, but the same principles would apply to other environments), you would simply "corrupt" or alter the color values of the pixel data itself. for example, here is the bollywood vanilla coke ad, converted to BMP, with sound forge's "fuzz 1" distortion preset effect run on the pixel data:

(i haven't experimented much with using FX on simple formats, but others have... sorry, i don't have any links right this second)

PSD and JPG are both volatile formats. they don't behave anything like simple formats. it's very easy to alter the wrong byte of data and corrupt the whole file. pixel data is definitely not stored in a simple stream; it appears to be stored in two- or three-dimensional arrays (how many arrays are used varies depending on options used). the structure or even the location of these arrays is not transparent to the databender: after dozens of times editing PSD files in a wav editor, i have a good idea of which areas not to edit, but locating the exact boundaries of those areas is beyond me).

editing the data in these arrays corrupts the pixels in a structural sense rather than simply color and location. bizarre horizontal banding effects are common (as seen in the wallpaper i posted on sunday and the bulk of my image bends).

anyway, on to the inspiration for this post:

it has become increasingly apparent that when bending volatile image files, the end result varies substantially depending on the end application and OS used to open the bent file. i suspected it was true back in march, and now i'm dead certain.

the proof came today when i posted an actual bent jpg file. i bent the file using goldwave, then opened it in mspaint to verify that it would open. it did, so i posted it, only to realize that the same file looked different when i viewed it in firefox (using win2k). so i opened it again in paint and copied the image to a new file, to create a permanent version of how paint interpreted the image, and posted that as well. i also tried to capture a version of how it looked in firefox, but while taking the screenshot was easy i didn't have any good cropping tools, so i didn't end up posting it (i should've emailed myself the screenshot... stupid).

later browser testing revealed that the image wouldn't even open in internet explorer. and when i got home and checked on my computer at home (again using firefox, using xp sp1), the image looked different still!

this is a powerful reminder of one of the core concepts of databending: you never really working directly with data; you work with the data as interpreted by the editing environment you use to access that data. there is at least one built-in layer of abstraction present at all times. with image-bending, you could say that the "real" bending happens not when you edit the data, but when that data is reinterpreted back into its original format. the same exact file will bend differently when opened in different applications on the same computer/OS, and will also look different when viewed in the same application but on a different computer/OS.

this raises some fundamental questions: just how important is the "computer" part of the equation? will two machines running the same OS and application versions interpret a file in the same way? or do hardware variations, etc factor in? could it be that a bent volatile file will render differently on every computer you open it in? or does OS even factor in at all?

maybe i'm giving away too many of my "trade secrets" in this post (as if anyone other than syntax is reading by this point), but i desperately want your participation in the following experiment:

stop scrolling now. here's the experiment:

look at this image:

if you don't see an image at all (just a red X or whatever), that's fine. you probably won't see one if you're using internet explorer (though if you're using some other browser and can't see it, i'd like to know).

if you can see an image above, compare it to the following images:

if the image above looks like one of those images, please tell me which one it looks like, and what OS and browser you're using, including browser version (you can generally find this in any application's help menu under "about [application]").

if the image above looks different than any of these, please email me a screen capture of what it looks like. this is extremely important for the experiment to yield any useful results: it will only take at most a couple minutes and i would really appreciate your help. i will post your submitted image, your name/handle, and maybe even a shout-out or two if you like. if you are comfortable with cropping and want to crop it, great, but you sure don't have to. (if you don't know how to take a screenshot, see "tech help" below)

extra credit: if you really want to go above and beyond to help out the experiment and get major brownie points too, here's what else you can do: save the bent image (the one above) to your hard drive, and open it up in microsoft paint (or other image editors; i can't open it in photoshop, but maybe someone could on a mac, not to mention other application on other platforms). if it also looks different than any of these, select all, copy to the clipboard, and paste it to a new document (should be 333x485 pixels), then email me the document.

edits/updates: much thanks everyone for responding, and especially syntax, erroneousrex, ian page-echols, jack smiley, and ken goudswaard for sending in their screenshots (the fifth image is syntax's; the 6th, 7th, & 8th are rex, ian, and jack's mac os x submissions, respectively; and the 9th is ken's). i'll print a full list of everyone who responded (who i have names for) when i post all the results, probably in a few days.

tech help: if you know how to take a screenshot, you can stop reading now.

how to take a basic screen capture (windows): view the image and try to make sure you have the whole image visible. then press the print screen key on your keyboard (it might be abbreviated "prt scr" or similar). this will take a "screen shot" of whatever is visible on your monitor, and place it on your windows clipboard. then you simply need to go into an image editor, create a new document that's sufficiently large, and the "paste" the screenshot from the clipboard into a new document. save the file, email it to me, and i'll love you forever.

if you've never used an image editor (or don't think you have one): go to your start menu, choose the "accessories" menu, and then choose "paint". the microsoft paint application will open. in paint, go to the "image" menu and select "attributes". set the "units" to "pixels" and make sure the image size is at least as big as your screen (800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960, etc). now you're ready to paste in your screenshot. go to the "edit" menu and select "paste". then save it up and email it to me. JPG format is better than BMP, etc.

mac users: i'm not really qualified on this subject, but in mac os x, you can create a pdf screenshot by pressing Command+Shift+3. i will gladly accept these pdf files, though i would prefer something like jpg if you are a screenshot wiz.


Friday, May 13, 2005 
we didn't start the fire
so there's this thread on the exbe board... it started off pretty innocuously as a simple thread about a recent noise-friendly "open mic" night at a cleveland venue called "the capsule". but it quickly went sour when a troll showed up and started posting stuff calling some of the unnamed performers (who he hadn't seen) "hacks" and "losers" and the like. (i got in on the flamewar a bit late, starting on page 3, as i didn't find out about it right away.

things got pretty ugly, as they tend to do during such arguments, and the inevitable calls for peace started coming in. one such post petitioned everyone to "drink a vanilla coke" and "hug a puppy"... i went searching for a funny vanilla coke picture to post, and found this one:

before i knew it, kyle (of etherial transmission, colorforms, and press the button) asked me to databend the picture! i didn't really have the software to do so properly, but i gave it the old college try and soon downloaded goldwave so i could bend better. here were my results (all edits are simple cut-and-paste edits):

BMP edited in word.

BMP edited in goldwave.

JPG edited in goldwave.

now this one is weird... the previous image is the actual JPG file that i edited. but this image is what that exact same file looked like in mspaint. opening the bent file in different applicatioons made it look different, apparently. that's weird. maybe they don't look different to you! or the first one looks different on your computer than it does on mine!

so the thread took up a bunch of my time today, but at least i made something kinda cool out of something ugly (the flamewar, not the original image).

i wouldn't recommend reading the thread unless you like flamewars and messageboard drama (or you want to read someone call me names like "dick", "prick", "asshole", and "hack-job", in which case you should start reading around the end of page 6).

so that's what i did today when i wasn't on my job: argued on the net and bent a few pictures. connie, i wanted to email you, but when people are talking about how much they hate you, it gets a bit distracting. sorry 'bout that.

tonight drbmd & i are getting together to watch a nin-ja movie! someday, i really need to write a nice long post about nin-ja movies and other crappy cut-and-paste cinema...

i missed one
courtesy of atrios and others:

Sex was always a source of conflict in the marriage. Though it wasn't emotionally satisfying for her, Davis says she soon learned that sex could "buy" peace with Hager after a long day of arguing, or insure his forgiveness after she spent too much money. "Sex was coinage; it was a commodity," she said. Sometimes Hager would blithely shift from vaginal to anal sex. Davis protested. "He would say, 'Oh, I didn't mean to have anal sex with you; I can't feel the difference,'" Davis recalls incredulously. "And I would say, 'Well then, you're in the wrong business.'"

sounds like a case study in domestic abuse, eh? something you'd read in a psychology journal? so who is she talking about, and what does that crack about being "in the wrong business" mean?

Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books--which include such titles as Stress and the Woman's Body and As Jesus Cared for Women, self-help tomes that interweave syrupy Christian spirituality with paternalistic advice on women's health and relationships--he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality.

let me emphasize that. the guy is an obgyn and he allegedly tells his wife that he can't differentiate between his wife's vagina and her anus.

By 1995, according to Davis's account, Hager's treatment of his wife had moved beyond morally reprehensible to potentially felonious. It was a uniquely stressful year for Davis. Her mother, dying of cancer, had moved in with the family and was in need of constant care. At the same time, Davis was suffering from a seemingly inexplicable exhaustion during the day. She began exhibiting a series of strange behaviors, like falling asleep in such curious places as the mall and her closet. Occasionally she would--as she describes it--"zone out" in midsentence in a conversation, and her legs would buckle. Eventually, Davis was diagnosed as having narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to regulate normal sleep-wake cycles.

For Davis, the diagnosis spelled relief, and a physician placed her on several medications to attain "sleep hygiene," or a consistent sleep pattern. But Davis says it was after the diagnosis that the period of the most severe abuse began. For the next seven years Hager sodomized Davis without her consent while she slept roughly once a month until their divorce in 2002, she claims. "My sense is that he saw [my narcolepsy] as an opportunity," Davis surmises. Sometimes she fought Hager off and he would quit for a while, only to circle back later that same night; at other times, "the most expedient thing was to try and somehow get it [over with]. In order to keep any peace, I had to maintain the illusion of being available to him." At still other moments, she says, she attempted to avoid Hager's predatory advances in various ways--for example, by sleeping in other rooms in the house, or by struggling to stay awake until Hager was in a deep sleep himself. But, she says, nothing worked. One of Davis's lifelong confidantes remembers when Davis first told her about the abuse. "[Linda] was very angry and shaken," she recalled.

hager is also suspected of playing a major in getting the FDA not to approve the "plan B" emergency contraceptive for over-the-counter use. you don't need "plan B" if your "plan A" is Anal sex.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 
a good night's sleep will do wonders... i went to bed early last night (around 11:30! that's early!) and virtually slept through the night without problems. i think i woke up once or twice, but that's not unusual... and no waking up simply to cough!

i'm not back to 100% yet, but i'm clearly improved over yesterday or the day before. i've only coughed a few times this morning, and they were quick: a couple coughs, some phlegm, and it's over. not like the 30-second hacking fits i was prone to yesterday.

so i was "sick" just long enough to miss the INS show... not a big deal, really, since i've seen them play several times and wasn't particularly interested in the other bands on the bill. but still... i feel a little bit bad for not going out to support my friends, who even booked me for a show in cleveland a couple months back. i wanted to be there for them.

oh well... if they are selected to play MMS again this year, i'll definitely go see them then if possible. (the deadline for MMS submissions is tomorrow... i mailed mine tuesday. in theory, we should know in 3 weeks who's been selected, though it might take a bit longer than that.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 
not enough energy for analysis, but some crazy stuff is going on recently... if you were to hold a "hypocrite of the week" contest, you would have some serious competition on your hands.

maybe you would want to pick spokane mayor jim west, who has made a career of anti-gay legislation, and who is now wrapped up in a huge sex scandal. west spent a lot of time in gay chatrooms like, gave jobs to young men he hoped to seduce, and was caught having cybersex with someone he thought was a high-school-aged boy (which is a crime even though it was not in fact a teenager). americablog has lots more coverage.

on a normal news week, he'd be a shoe-in. but syntax has found more. how about the anti-abortion extremist who recently admitted to practicing bestiality in his youth? (syntax even found the audio)

or how about hilary rosen, former head of the RIAA and die-hard advocate of DRM, copyright protections, lawsuits against file-sharers, etc... who has a post on the huffington post lamenting the ipod's DRM. can it be that hilary finally realized that the crusade she led to lock down content actually harms consumers?

who would you vote for?

an infinite number of coughs
i was hoping to go to the infinite number of sounds show tonight at bubba's, but that's not going to happen. i feel too sick... i probably shouldn't be at work right now either. but due to weird timing, i can't tell for sure whether i'm suffering an allergy attack or some kind of infection. we had a significant climate shift the other day, as it suddenly got very warm after a cool and rainy spell. so it's quite plausible that a bunch of pollen was released recently and hit me yesterday. but at the same time, barry and ian have been sick for the past few days, so it's likely i caught whatever they have. i never used to get sick before i lived with a small child. they're like germ magnets, i tell ya.

my symptoms are primarily restricted to the tiny area between my sinuses and my adam's apple: congestion and periodic coughing fits. but today i also feel very tired and lethargic, which could be a symptom of my sickness or just a result of the fact that i woke up a good 4-5x in the middle of the night last night so i could cough for a minute.

i also had a dentist appt this morning... just a routine cleaning. but they charge you if you try to cancel less than 24 hours in advance, which is at least part of why i bothered to come in today. but it also means i have to work later than usual tonight, and probably for the rest of the week, to make up the extra hours.

so no INS for me, and not much energy for blogging or writing emails or the like. feh. i'd really like a nap, but that's not going to happen this afternoon unless i go home sick.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 
recycle your face
i really like this wallpaper, but i don't want to actually use it myself because it seems really vain (you could even say "humachine") to put a wallpaper of yourself on your computer...

mp3s and things
the new mp3 of the week is up! it's called "things (supah stereo mix)" and it's a very early piece of computer music from way back in 1996! check it out!

Saturday, May 07, 2005 
my first wallpaper
there's a brand new awia downloads section for wallpapers and the like. check it out:

the smoking memo
british elections were thursday. blair and the labour party held on to their majority, but with significant losses. the british people have grown to accept that the semiliberal labour party is the default majority party; it's not like here where millions of poor people vote against their own interests by voting conservative. but they're sick of blair. he's still in office, because the only real way for the voters to kick him out would be to vote labour out of parliament, and they're not willing to go quite that far, but this was a clear sign of blair's anti-mandate.

one of blair's biggest problems is the unpopularity of the war, and the perception that he is bush's lapdog. this perception was not improved when an explosive memo was leaked last week, one that proves that bush had agreed to go to war with iraq as far back as july 2002, and that intelligence was "being fixed around the policy".

the story made huge waves in the british press and the lefty blogs, but stateside, the mainstream media is unwilling to acknowledge the story, other than salon and maybe the AP wire:

But for Americans, the most important lines in the July 23 minutes are those attributed to Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, who in spy jargon is to be referred to only as "C." The minutes indicate that Sir Richard had discovered certain harsh realities during a visit to the United States that summer:

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route ... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

At the same meeting, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed Sir Richard's assessment:

"The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

we don't want your stinking flag
a federal appeals court has struck down the fcc's broadcast flag rules:

The rule at issue in Friday's decision would have required manufacturers to install special technology in new computers and televisions that would enable them to recognize a "broadcast flag" - specially embedded computer bits in the programs created by the studios and the networks. The new equipment would then restrict redistribution and reuse of the programs.

For years, the movie studios and television networks urged the commission to adopt the rule, citing the recording industry's experience with companies like Napster and saying restrictions on copying and distributing programs by consumers were essential to the transition from analog to digital television. They maintained that without the imposition of the broadcast flag, shows would be copied and then transmitted limitlessly through the Internet, much the way music is.

But the critics said that the studios and networks were unduly alarmist and that the new rule, which was to have taken effect July 1, would prevent consumers from copying and using programs for legitimate reasons.

Research librarians submitted affidavits in the case contending that the broadcast flag rule would make it impossible to distribute broadcast clips and other research material over the Internet to researchers and students.

Critics also maintained that the commission had overreached and had moved to regulate the Internet more tightly, ridiculing the agency in the aftermath of the rulemaking as the "federal computer commission."

hollywood wants to force DRM and copyright protections into broadcast television. we know that DRM never really works (someone always breaks it almost immediately), and merely places a burden on ordinary citizens' fair use rights. the court wisely struck down the rules, but not because broadcast flags suck: they did it because the fcc's jurisdiction is simply not that broad:

"You've gone too far," said Judge Harry T. Edwards during the oral arguments, as he pressed a government lawyer to justify how the agency could possibly set standards governing computers and the Internet. "Are washing machines next?"

But the breadth of Judge Edwards's opinion was more than many lawyers had expected.

"In this case, all relevant materials concerning the F.C.C.'s jurisdiction - including the words of the Communications Act of 1934, its legislative history, subsequent legislation, relevant case law, and commission practice - confirm that the F.C.C. has no authority to regulate consumer electronic devices that can be used for receipt of wire or radio communication when those devices are not engaged in the process of radio or wire transmission," Judge Edwards wrote.

"And the agency's strained and implausible interpretations of the definitional provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 do not lend credence to its position. As the Supreme Court has reminded us, Congress 'does not ... hide elephants in mouse holes.' "His opinion, in American Library Association v. Federal Communications Commission, was joined by Judges David B. Sentelle and Judith W. Rogers.

you probably noticed i've been using boldface pretty heavily since the last redesign. yeah, yeah, i generally wouldn't let any of my authors get away with using bold for emphasis. (of course, i also make my authors capitalize the first words of sentences, etc.) italics is the standard for non-plaintext emphasism, and it was totally sufficient for me for many months.

the fact is that i'm still in love with my new color scheme. i particularly like my new contrast color (#ccccff), which is used for headings and right-column (or blockquote) hyperlink mouseovers. i also applied it to the <b> tag, so that all bold text would have the second color, and it turned out fantastic. why would i want to use crappy ass italics when i can use badass second-color bold?

content and form are interdependent. content should dictate form (otherwise you get crappy form that doesn't match the content). and form should to at least some degree affect content as well. i also like the strikethrough convention some blogs use for corrections (atrios uses this to very good effect); i might add strikethrough to my own stylesheet someday. (the <s> tag is deprecated so i won't use it.)

i didn't really think i needed to post to explain a minor style issue, but i just love me some #ccccff.

the old switcheroo 2: electric switcheroogalloo
the new server is back up and we're back on it! hopefully that will be the end of it.

Friday, May 06, 2005 
not every sperm is sacred
only hetero sperm is. we don't want no homo sperm.

the FDA is issuing new guidelines for sperm donors that say any man who has had sex with another man (protected or not) in the past 5 years cannot donate sperm. in contrast, the rules for men who claim not to have had any recent gay men are much more flexible: only one year after your last risky encounter (risky being unprotected and with someone of unknown or questionable HIV status).

to elaborate on an argument quoted in the article, a gay man who has never had his dick touched without a condom on it must go celibate for five years before being allowed to donate. but as someone who identifies as heterosexual (because there's no way for them to really know other than simply asking the donors), i could get nasty with as many HIV+ women as i want... hell, i could fuck half of africa if i felt like it... and then donate just one year later.

the guidelines for blood donorship are even worse (and have been for years)... if you've had sex with another man anytime since 1979, even once, even protected, you can't donate blood. (seriously, these are in-depth, though it could be argued that protecting the blood supply is pretty important, something you can't really say about frozen sperm: nobody needs sperm to survive (and if there is such a person out there, i want to meet them).

maybe someone should set up a sort of "big brothers for sperm", matching up gay sperm donors with lesbians who want one, because that's about the only way gays will ever get to under the new guidelines:

The FDA rules do not prohibit gay men from serving as “directed” sperm donors. If a woman wishing to become pregnant knows a gay man and asks that he provide sperm for artificial insemination, a clinic could provide that service even if the man had engaged in sex with other men within five years.

However, Traiman said some lesbian couples do not have a gay friend they know and trust well enough to be the biological father of their child, and would thus prefer an anonymous donor.

Dr. Deborah Cohan, an obstetrics and gynecology instructor at the University of California, San Francisco, said some lesbians prefer to receive sperm from a gay donor because they feel such a man would be more receptive to the concept of a family headed by a same-sex couple.

“This rule will make things legally more difficult for them,” she said. “I can’t think of a scientifically valid reason — it has to be an issue of discrimination.”

intolerance 101
high school is not the place to learn. at least not about homosexuality.

A federal judge has blocked a county school system from instituting a new health curriculum that includes discussions of homosexuality and religion and a demonstration on how to use condoms.

the new pilot program was to begin on monday in six schools outside DC. but the judge issued a 10-day restraining order. and the superintendant announced that the program would not go into effect until at least next year, pending further study.

[judge] Williams agreed with two groups that filed a lawsuit claiming the curriculum's discussion of homosexuality amounted to preferential treatment for religions that preach tolerance of homosexuality over those that reject it.

For example, the curriculum juxtaposes faiths such as Quakers and Unitarians that support full rights for homosexuals with groups such as Baptists, who are painted as "intolerant and biblically misguided," the judge wrote in his opinion.

it's saddening to see a judge give legal credence to the "right to hate" argument, which goes "by preaching tolerance, you are being intolerant of my intolerance."

"I don't think it is right that we have 13-year-olds learning to think whether they are gay or straight," said Laura Quigley, who has three children in the school system. "We just need to let them be kids."

The new curriculum was to be used in eighth and 10th grades. The county planned to use it in all schools after testing it this spring.

Previously, health teachers could only discuss homosexuality in response to questions. Under the new program, they could bring up the issue on their own. The 10th-grade class would include a seven-minute video that discusses abstinence and includes a segment where a woman puts a condom on a cucumber to demonstrate its use.

god forbid (literally) that a 13-year-old, beginning if not well into the deep hormonal changes of puberty, should actually think about hisr sexuality. if that happened, they might actually realize that they're gay, saving them from years of self-doubt, denial, identity problems, socialization problems, and what have you.

13 is exactly when kids need to start thinking seriously about this stuff; in fact it's probably too late. puberty is an extremely tumultuous time, emotionally, physically, and socially. the earlier kids are able to start figuring themselves out, the better off they'll be.

there was already an exemption option for those who are members of the various denominations of discriminism. kids (or their parents) could opt out, with other options "that include abstinence-only programs" (which have been pretty much proven not to work, but never mind that). but that wasn't good enough: the haters don't want any kids to learn.

Thursday, May 05, 2005 
the USA is the new china
alert reader paul sends us this usa today column, which actually uses a lot of common sense while discussing music piracy. the thrust of the article is that "piracy" isn't really that bad; even in china where pirated cds are the norm (the chinese would never pay $15-$20 for a cd), artists still get paid, just not for cd sales: they make their money playing shows, selling merch, getting sponsors, and the like. and this is exactly how 99.9% of musicians in the US get their money, too. under the system established by the majors, artists never really make any money off record sales until they go gold (if not platinum). because the current western system makes artists recoup their expenses.

this was the passage i found most intriguing:

Music pirating is so rampant and so entrenched in China that it's unlikely to ever be eradicated. Chinese consumers have come to believe that music is worth, at most, a few cents a song, and that copying and sharing music are totally acceptable. In all probability, no company will ever be able to sell $15 CDs or 99 cents-a-song downloads in the world's most populous nation.

The International Federation of Phonographic Industry, which tracks music copyright issues worldwide, agrees. It figures 95% of music sales in China are of pirated copies. Instead of predicting that China will change as it engages with the global economy, the federation warns that China is, in fact, the leader. The federation's chairman, Jay Berman, has been quoted as saying, "The business model for the record industry worldwide is moving toward resembling what we see in China today."

In the USA, free downloads of copyrighted music are driving the recording industry to sue teenagers and holler about the morality of obtaining songs for free. But if China is the future, that's all in vain. The genie is out of the bottle. Eventually, recorded music will no longer make money.

emphasis mine, of course. that quote in particular struck me, and i wondered... who the hell are the intl federation of phonographic industry?

naturally, they're an international antipiracy group. their priorities are

  • Fighting music piracy
  • Promoting fair market access and adequate copyright laws
  • Helping develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era
  • Promoting the value of music in the development of economies, as well as in social and cultural life

so i'm pretty curious to see the context of the quote maney uses in his usa today piece, because i have a feeling they're not as chipper about it as he is.

i'm about to leave so i don't have time right now to really browse through the site but i did find this story on the front page of their site:

World's biggest-ever haul of blank CD-Rs is seized in Mexico

Over 15 million blanks destined for pirate music trade are removed from circulation

Almost 16 million blank CD-Recordable discs � a worldwide record � have been seized in raids in Mexico. The bulk of the discs are believed to have been destined for the country�s piracy-ridden markets. The raids mark recent stepped-up enforcement efforts by the Mexican authorities to try and stem the overwhelming pirate music trade in the country.

Customs agents, with the support of federal investigation agents initially seized ten million blank CD-Rs in raids on two warehouse facilities in the municipalities of Morales and Tacubaya within metropolitan Mexico City. The raids followed eight months of intensive investigation. At the same time, customs authorities, assisted by federal fiscal agents, stopped and appropriated two shipments containing 5.8 million additional blank CD-Rs at the ports of Ciudad Juarez and Manzanillo. The shipments were apparently entering the country without proper documentation.

so antipiracy forces don't have anything better to do than to raid people who have blank cdrs? blank cdrs are perfectly legal to own. and while it could be argued that the sheer numbers are suspicious, i call bullshit. is the IFPI going to raid the warehouses of best buy or fry's or maxell or sony or tdk or memorex or any of the countless legitimate businesses that manufacture or sell blank cdrs?

if they raided and seized millions of pirated cds with the music already on them, or with pirated packaging, then they might have a case. but raiding and seizing blank cdrs is absurd, and going way way too far.

why does lizzy dole hate women?
not only does she apparently hate women, but she and 32 other senators (all male) are co-sponsoring a bill that says she is not a woman.

the bill is senate bill 51 (S51), and is called the "unborn child pain awareness act". it states that congress believes (yes, it says "congress has determined, not "science has determined") that fetuses feel pain, and that women who want abortions must have a statement read to them stating that they may choose anesthesia for the fetus. then she must explicitly choose to accept or decline said anesthesia. abortion providers would be required to keep an anesthesiologist around at all times in case someone opts for this.

now that's pretty weird in itself (i'm sure abortion providers do have someone on staff who can administer anesthesia to the woman, but how do you anesthetize a fetus? and how on earth can you do that without endangering the mother?), but the creepiest part can be found in the "definitions" section:

The term woman means a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant, whether or not she has reached the age of majority.

pretty simple. if you can get knocked up, you're a woman. if you can't, you aren't.

so elizabeth dole, one of the bill's sponsors, who is clearly way too old to get pregnant no matter how much viagra bob eats, is not a woman under this definition. my 59-year-old mother is probably no longer a woman either (though she used to be at some point). any female of any age who has had her tubes tied, or worse yet, had a hysterectomy or similar procedure, is not a woman. but your neighbor's 13-year-old daughter... now that's a woman.

the bill doesn't say what these non-women females actually are; jeff at have coffee will travel suggests the term "unwoman" as coined by the handmaid's tale, but you could probably use any term you want, depending on just how dehumanized you want these ex-women to be: bitch, neuter, thing, dyke, it, skank, ho, fuck-toy, hey you get over here... of course i'm being intentionally offensive, but it's a valid question: since this bill would define these persons as less-than-woman, obviously we'll need to call them something.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 
are you now or have you ever been a member of the public broadcasting system?
digby has an explosive revelation regarding the new GOP effort to republicanize public broadcasting, which i posted about yesterday.

this story gets more outrageous the more you learn about it. i thought it was bad when i read the times article about tomlinson and how he plans to eliminate liberal bias by replacing it with conservative bias. when i read the mediamatters article pointing out that both of pbs's new ombudsmen were anything but the unbiased types you would want as ombudsmen, i realized it was even worse.

now we learn just how non-unbiased these ombudsmen are: one of them, william schulz, has ties to mccarthyism!

turns out that schulz, that paragon of objectivity, used to ghost-write a newspaper column for fulton lewis, jr, a mccarthy sympathizer/enabler/conspirator/apologist.

they appointed an ex-mccarthyite as a "designated neutral" who "strives for objectivity and impartiality." that's sure to clean that liberal bias right up!

hotel rwanda
i watched this movie on dvd last night.

this is a powerful, important film. if you're not aware, it's based on the true story of paul rusesabagina, a hotel manager in rwanda whose brave, selfless actions during the rwandan genocide of 1994 saved more than a thousand lives.

some seriously messed-up shit happens in this movie, made all the more disturbing by the fact that it all really happened. just when you think the worst is over and help will be there soon, something even worse happens, and this cycle repeats over and over again.

nearly a million people died in the conflict, and the united nations did nothing about it. sure, they had peacekeeper troops on the ground, but those troops were powerful, not allowed to even fire their weapons. then they scaled back their troops and evacuated all the foreigners, essentially abandoning the rwandans in their time of need.

one thing really drove home the sheer senselessness of it all: the fact that there isn't much difference at all between the hutu and tutsi, the two "peoples" in the conflict. in one early scene, a foreign journalist asks exactly what the difference is: the answer he's given is that the belgians (who took control of rwanda for a time after wwii) essentially invented the different clans. they picked the africans who were taller, lighter skinned, and had narrower noses, and decided "you are tutsi." the tutsi minority then helped the belgians run the country, angering the majority hutu. when you hear about genocide in places like bosnia or the darfur region of the sudan (or even nazi germany), you at least know that these are ethnically different tribes, with different religious beliefs. it's senseless and horrifying, but at least makes sense on that one level.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 
how to republicanize public broadcasting
republicans like to say that public broadcasting has a liberal bias. well... they say that about the media in general (which is demonstrably false), but they claim that pbs and npr are extra liberal. this isn't really true either (unless you define "liberal" as "educated art-lovers"), as there is just as much republican hackery in public broadcasting as there is liberalism (as the "buster" incident and others prove).

if the republicans had their way, they'd turn pbs into fox news II. the gop chairman of the corporation for public broadcasting is leading a crusade against what he calls "bias" in public broadcasting. and he wants to start his crusade by appointing a former chair of the republican national committee as cpb's new ceo and president.

...because the best way to eliminate bias in reporting is to put a former head of a political party in charge.

this nytimes article is crazy. just about everything tomlinson (the aforementioned republican cpb chair) says is directly contradicted by something else in the article. so let's go on an adventure in doublethink.

for example, this:

Mr. Tomlinson said that he was striving for balance and had no desire to impose a political point of view on programming, explaining that his efforts are intended to help public broadcasting distinguish itself in a 500-channel universe and gain financial and political support.

"My goal here is to see programming that satisfies a broad constituency," he said, adding, "I'm not after removing shows or tampering internally with shows."

directly contradicts this:

In December 2003, three months after he was elected chairman, Mr. Tomlinson sent Ms. Mitchell of PBS a letter outlining his concerns. " 'Now With Bill Moyers' does not contain anything approaching the balance the law requires for public broadcasting," he wrote.

this guy tampered with now as much as possible, even undertaking secret audits of the program's content.

and this paragraph seems to contradict itself:

Mr. Tomlinson said that it was his concerns about "objectivity and balance" that led to the creation of a new office of the ombudsman at the corporation to issue reports about public television and radio broadcasts. But the role of a White House official in setting up the office has raised questions among some public broadcasting executives about its independence. In March, after she had been hired by the corporation but was still at the White House as director of the Office of Global Communications, Mary Catherine Andrews helped draft the office's guiding principles, set up a Web page and prepare a news release about the appointment of the new ombudsmen, officials said.

how can a media outlet pretend to be "objective" while high-ranking white house officials working hand-in-hand with management, even being on both payrolls at the same time? that doesn't pass the laugh test, nor the armstrong williams test. it doesn't even pass the falling-over-as-my-brain-collapses-from-all-the-cognitive-dissonance test.

the end of the article really says it all:

Mr. Tomlinson said he understood the need to reassure liberals that the traditions of public broadcasting, including public affairs programs, were not changing, "that we're not trying to put a wet blanket on this type of programming."

But his efforts to sow goodwill have shown that what he says he tries to project is sometimes read in a different way. Last November, members of the Association of Public Television Stations met in Baltimore along with officials from the corporation and PBS. Mr. Tomlinson told them they should make sure their programming better reflected the Republican mandate.

Mr. Tomlinson said that his comment was in jest and that he couldn't imagine how remarks at "a fun occasion" were taken the wrong way. Others, though, were not amused.

"I was in that room," said Ms. Mitchell. "I was surprised by the comment. I thought it was inappropriate."

ah, the ann coulter defense. i was just kidding when i said i wanted terrorists to kill all the journalists! i don't really think we should become a bush administration mouthpiece! it's just a coincidence that i want to appoint a republican political operative as ceo!

there's a lot more. read the full article. (registration required: bugmenot is your friend)

and if that wasn't bad enough, now read all the stuff that the times left out:

In a May 2 article on efforts by Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), "to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias" at CPB, New York Times reporters Stephen Labaton, Lorne Manley, and Elizabeth Jensen noted that CPB recently appointed two ombudsmen "to review the content of public radio and television broadcasts." But the article failed to note that one of the ombudsmen, William Schulz, is an avowed conservative with close ties to Tomlinson, while the other, Ken Bode, is a former journalist and a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute who last year endorsed Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels. In addition, the Times story made no mention that CPB's new chief operating officer and acting president is a former Bush administration official.

so both the ombudsmen--whose job is to be neutral and impartial--are hardline conservatives? that will surely fix any "bias" problems! and the "new chief operating officer" mentioned here is not the former rnc chair that tomlinson wants to appoint, but the current interim prez, who "played a significant role in the failed effort to loosen rules to make it easier for media companies to expand into new businesses and geographic areas."

more juicy details if you follow the link... and mediamatters continues pointing out flaws in the times article here, where they highlight all the prominent conservatives who have shows on pbs.

palast in the balance
greg palast is in trouble. maybe you haven't heard of him: he's a hard-hitting, muckraking journalist in the old-school style. he has broken some major stories, most notably the scandal involving how florida republicans illegitimately expunged thousands of blacks from florida's voter registration rolls.

because his investigative journalism routinely looks into controversial issues and upsets some powerful factions--he has investigted US election fraud, the bush administration, and the oil industry--he has effectively been exiled to england. nobody in the states (save harper's magazine) will hire him because he pisses off the wrong people. so for years he has worked at bbc, where his explosive stories continue to expose truths and win awards. he's also written a few books, and even put out a dvd movie about bush and a spoken-word cd.

but those powerful men and corporations are now suing him... in the UK, where there is no presumption of innocence and where libel cases are even trickier than in the states. money is needed to cover legal fees.

when i found out, i promptly went to his store and made a donation. for $40 or more, you get free signed palast books or merch with your donation. i donated $50 to get the bush family fortunes dvd. it should be good.

Monday, May 02, 2005 
get jiggy to this mp3
the new mp3 of the week is called "jiggy in a war", is made of unintelligble metallica samples, and features an unrecognizable cameo by your girlfriend. check it out!

Sunday, May 01, 2005 
drbmd & i took half days on friday and met up at my house in the afternoon. we knew the show wouldn't start until after 9pm so we weren't in a hurry to leave. we watched kickboxer from hell, then packed up and headed to cincinnati.

we arrived at dj empirical's apt around 8pm local time. the three of us piled into my car and went to a nearby indian restaurant. apparently dje goes there a lot. it was pretty good but not outstanding. drbmd really enjoyed it, as it'd been some time since he'd had indian food. i don't remember what the place is called.

after that we stopped to get coffee at a place called sitwell's. it was supposed to be a brief stop but service was so slow that it probably took 10 minutes or more despite there not being any real line. then off again, winding through the confusingly knotlike cincinnati roads to the mockbee.

the mockbee is a really cool space, with that "italian restaurant" walls-falling-apart look and huge arched ceilings. there was art all over the place. i would have liked it without qualification if i had roadies. but the performance space was on the second floor and we had to park half a block away, so that wasn't too cool. it was in fact the worst load-in/load-out i've had in some time.

there was some antiwar meeting, then some guy who played a lute or something like that (then unfortunately switched to guitar later on). then it was time for the bad taste crew. the show had to end by midnight (i don't know why; it just did), so we only had 90 minutes or so for all of us (unszene, bobby vomit, me, dr. butcher m.d., and realicide), so everyone's sets were pretty short.

unszene played with his usual array of electronics, pedals, tape decks, and samplers. it was loud and hard. one of his tape decks wasn't cooperating so he threw it to the floor and it pieces of it flew off. smash smash.

bobby vomit played next. in addition to old modified turntables, he also used his numark ttx1 (high-end digital turntable), which was new to me. very short set; he wore an army helmet and when he finished his set he made a statement about dead soldiers and threw it to the ground. it made a clanking sound.

i played next. the PA was very loud, and i tried to turn my stuff down but it was still loud, so i just played. i had compiled a bunch of antiwar material, most of which was pretty harsh, and the whole set came out sounding very harsh and skittery. i struggled to find grooves or moments of clarity but it was difficult. later, while listening to drbmd's set, i realized that the PA was fairly distorted, which definitely impacted my performance. then i mixed in a recording of bush's press conference from the previous night, which was the only clean-sounding stuff in my whole set. (later, bobby vomit mentioned that he had also recorded the press conference.) i didn't think it was a particularly good performance, but apparently bobby got a recording, so maybe i'll have a different opinion when i hear that. it sounded very harsh, and it was hard to tell what i was doing, but maybe it wasn't as bad as i thought.

then drbmd played, and like i said, the PA was obviously distorted. but it was cool; spastic noise that gradually evolved into beats. those who weren't familiar with the material probably wouldn't have noticed that it was distorted. it still sounded good, just not how it was supposed to sound.

finally came robert inhuman, as realicide (i thought the group had other members; i don't know where they were). his set involves several microphones, an old speaker, screaming, and tons of feedback. it was very loud and abrasive, as you might expect. at one point he somehow mic'ed the speaker and was getting quite a broad palette of sound out of it. later he even crawled up inside the speaker, to the great excitement of the crowd.

then it was over; we loaded out and drove back to indy. the dr crashed in the guest room at my house. unszene and bobby vomit drove back separately: see bobby vomit's post for another perspective.

the next day, drbmd discovered that he had no other obligations, which is somewhat rare for a weekend. i suggested we could go to the movies, and soon enough we had decided to go to the key and see in the realms of the unreal, and to eat at the mexican restaurant nearby.

the restaurant, mi pueblito, was pretty good. we were the only customers in there, and i suspect there was only one guy working, who both served us and cooked our food. but it was pretty good: everything was fresh and tasty down to the tortillas and salsa. i'd be happy to go back some time.

in the realms of the unreal is a documentary about outsider artist henry darger. darger was a quiet man who worked as a janitor at various hospitals, not really talking to anyone aside from his coworkers or immediate neighbors. not until he was on his death bed did anyone discover the work: countless paintings, some immense, and thousands of pages of writing, including possibly the world's longest novel at 15,000+ pages. he left behind only three photos of himself, and was known by precious few, so the bulk of the movie is told through his work: narrators reading from his autobiography and the novel, while the paintings come to life on the screen. it was pretty interesting, and very different.

finally, we briefly stopped at the thrift store there by the key. i grabbed a couple records (they appear to be books from the bible on vinyl, two discs out of a box set; the rest of the set was not to be found) and a framed cardboard picture of billy ray cyrus. it was $1.21 and i figured it would be easy enough to alter artistically. the woman at the register seemed concerned: "you don't look like a billy ray cyrus fan." apparently the thing had been back there for a long time. then we were off back home and soon drbmd was on his way back to anderson.

Powered by Blogger hosted by Sensory Research