posted by Ray on Mon, 1 Jun 2009 12:17am

In my earlier Deception, Misdirection and Natalie Imbruglia post I discussed my interest in how the mind is easily deceived and controlled. This year I've become intrigued by the research of Dan Ariely (wikipedia). It turns out humans are predictably irrational, baring little resemblance to the rational beings standard economists like to think we are. His book Predictably Irrational is a great read.

Here is an entertaining speech Ariely gave in Dec 2008.

see also
Dan Ariely - On Our Buggy Moral Code
Dan Ariely - [email protected]

posted by Ray on Mon, 1 Jun 2009 11:19pm

Apparently local television stations in Canada are on the verge of disappearing, or so they would have us believe based on their propaganda (if you are interested in finding out about the other side of the discussion you can read the contrary propaganda).

To be honest, I haven't spent any time looking into this issue. Perhaps I should, but advances in technology are game changing and media of all types are in a period of chaos while new business models are being developed. And as a result, I am generally wary of businesses claiming that something "isn't fair."

But what if local television stations did disappear? So what? We are told that local television is beneficial. Perhaps it is, but even if local television does disappear, local news and shows won't. Just as journalism is distinct from Newspapers, so it is with local television.

A HighDefinition camcorder or two, a TriCaster and an internet connection is all you need to get in the game. There will alway be people dedicated to bringing us the local news in a visual format and technology is making easier for more people to participate. Local news whether it's visual, audio or print, isn't going anywhere.

posted by Ray on Wed, 3 Jun 2009 12:03am

Here is my list of the Top 3 music videos of all time

3. Hurra Torpedo, Total Eclipse of the Heart

Probably not what Jim Steinman had in mind when he wrote this song. But, for my money, Hurra Torpedo (wikipedia) gives us the best musical performance and video of a Jim Steinman song ever.

2. Chris Isaak, Wicked Game

Great Song + Pretty Girl = Perfect Video

1. Johnny Cash, Hurt

Johnny Cash (wikipedia) has done some great covers over the years, perhaps most notable is the work he did towards the end of his life with Rick Rubin. Cash's fantastic cover of Trent Reznor's (wikipedia) Hurt along with Mark Romanek's (wikipedia) brilliant imagery make this the greatest music video of all time.

Read about the making of the video - Johnny Cash's 'Hurt' Delves Into Life Of Former Hell-Raiser: VMA Lens Recap

Hurt video with commentary by Trent Reznor.

posted by Ray on Thu, 4 Jun 2009 12:04am

Here is a great mashup of the Magnum PI theme and Star Wars. I love how technology and the internet has allowed all sorts of interesting creativity.

Here is a side by side comparison of the original Magnum, PI open with the Han Solo, PI open.

hat tip Gizmodo

posted by Ray on Fri, 5 Jun 2009 12:55am

Kevin Kelly (wikipedia) was curious about how people viewed the internet and their place in it, so he started the Internet Mapping Project. On June 1, 2009 he released the initial results (which can be seen below). Several days later Mara Vanina Oses, Professor of Media at the University of Buenos Aires, posted a preliminary review (pdf) of the data.

This is a subject previously tackled at xkcd



be sure to check out Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools.

hat tip boing boing

posted by Ray on Fri, 5 Jun 2009 9:44pm

While hanging out in a pizzeria late last night, Brad of the band Merchanise mentioned to Andrew Dubber that there was no budget for a second video to support an upcoming album. So Andrew suggested they make a video then and there using his digital camera (it has video capability). This is the result.

Find out more at Andrew Dubber's blog.

posted by Ray on Sat, 6 Jun 2009 11:56pm

Here's a great cover of The Magnetic Fields' (wikipedia) All My Little Words performed by Tom hexachordal Milsom. He performed this song using a Gameboy with LittleSoundDJ (LSDF wiki, wikipedia) software.

hat tip @trent_reznor

posted by Ray on Sun, 7 Jun 2009 11:46pm

Recently a judge threw out a lawsuit by a woman who had believed that Crunch Berries (as in Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries) were a real type of berry only to discover there is no such thing. I won't comment on the actual case because I'm not a lawyer (not that this stops me from commenting on legal issues) and I haven't read much about the case. Rather, I find it interesting that a number of people commenting on the case find the entire notion of the case laughable... because, obviously Crunch Berries don't exist.

At first glance, it is easy to agree with the Judge that any 'reasonable' person would know that Crunch Berries don't actually exist. And if someone is arguing that they thought the colourful, berry shaped cereal were "Crunch Berries" then yes, that's kinda silly.

As an aside, the name "Crunch Berries" suggests to me Cap'n Crunch cereal with berries, in the same way "Raisin Bran" suggests to me Bran Flakes with Raisins. So why aren't there berries in the cereal? And why is Quaker Oats allowed to call their product Crunch Berries when it doesn't contain berries?

Ok, back to the question that interests me. How does the average (presumably reasonable) person determine that Crunch Berries don't actually exist? Is the average person a berry expert? a berry grower? I don't think so. So how do they make this determination? I don't think they really know, they just think they know. They think of all the berries they do know about: Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Cranberry.... hmmm.... Gooseberry... uh... Loganberry... oh, Boysenberry... Nope, no Crunch Berry listed there, so obviously they don't exist. If they existed we would know about them, wouldn't we? However, people don't know what they don't know and unless they think about what they don't know they are going to make some assumptions that might not be right or fair.

When I first heard about the case, I wanted to know more about berries. How many varieties are there? What oddly named berries are there? I couldn't find an answer to the first question, although I did see a reference that there are about 200 different types of berries growing in Canada. However, a quick look at wikipedia - berry yielded a list the following oddly named berries: Bearberry, Crowberry, Sea Grape, Mayberry, Nannyberry, Hackberry, Cloudberry, Salmonberry, Thimbleberry, Wineberry. How many of the reasonable people who know there is no such berry as a Crunch Berry, also know there really are Crowberries, Nannyberries, Wineberries, etc.?

I also discovered that 'berries' is a loosely defined category and not all berries are "True berries," In fact, most of the commonly known berries aren't True berries. And further, I found out that Tomatoes, Eggplants, Chili Peppers, Kiwifruit and Grapes are all True berries. The wikipedia entry has a chart comparing Botanical and Common parlance, and it appears that the general public doesn't really know what is and isn't a berry.

I wonder how many of these allegedly reasonable people knew all (or any) of this?

In my opinion, unless one also knows that Bearberries, Nannyberries, Thimbleberries, Cloudberries, Chili Peppers, Grapes and Tomatoes are all berries (loosely defined) then any claim that one knows that Crunch Berries don't actually exist is little more than a guess.

posted by Ray on Mon, 8 Jun 2009 4:16pm

Here are some of my favorite literal music videos.

Total Eclipse of the Heart makes another appearance on the blog (FITM: Top 3 Music Videos of All Time). Radiohead (wikipedia) also makes another appearance (FITM: Fake Plastic Trees) albeit a different song. Plus a first time appearance for Meatloaf (wikipedia).

see also
Rolling Stone - Rocking Literally: The Story Behind “Take on Me,” “Head Over Heels” Video Parodies
Entertainment Weekly - "Total Eclipse of the Heart": The literal video

hat tip boing boing

Hmmmm, this post contains two outta three Jim Steinman songs...

posted by Ray on Wed, 10 Jun 2009 1:19am

Fire Design is a French company designing some unique looking fire extinguishers.

hat tip

posted by Ray on Thu, 11 Jun 2009 12:27am

avoidantconsumer put together this video mashup using clips from The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Footloose and Mannequin for the song Lisztomania by Phoenix (wikipedia). Phoenix apparently likes the video as they've embedded it on their MySpace page.

The following video was created as a tribute to avoidantconsumer's video. The video was shot on a rooftop in Williamsburg.

The bridge you see in this video is the Williamsburg Bridge, you can find more pictures of the bridge at Concrete Span - Williamsburg Bridge. You can also catch glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge (Concrete Span - Brooklyn Bridge) and the Manhattan Bridge, most notably in the final shot.

see also
Rolling Stone - Flashback: Phoenix’s “Lisztomania” Makes Ringwald And Cryer Feel Like Dancing

hat tip boing boing

posted by Ray on Fri, 12 Jun 2009 1:01am

Heineken created this great commercial.

And then followed it up with this one.

hat tip BuzzFeed

posted by Ray on Fri, 12 Jun 2009 10:16pm

The 2009 24 Heures du Mans takes place June 13-14. NFL Films/Intersport were asked by Audi to produce a documentary about Audi's 2008 24 Heures du Mans. The result is the film Truth In 24 (IMDB, wikipedia) and it is fantastic. Not everyone is a motorsports fan and may not find this type of documentary interesting. However, Truth In 24 is well put together and has just enough history, atmosphere and intrigue to keep most people interested. It is well worth watching. The documentary is available free on iTunes.

Trailer for Truth In 24

Here is a short video from Garage419 on the making of Truth In 24.

posted by Ray on Sun, 14 Jun 2009 12:37am

This video shot recently at the Sasquatch Music Festival demonstrates the idea of the tipping point as Derek Sivers (wikipedia) discusses in How to make a movement. Lessons learned from dancing guy.

see also
Calgary Herald - Calgary's 'Dancing Man' a hit after YouTube video

posted by Ray on Mon, 15 Jun 2009 12:27am

Christine and Justin have found an interesting way to purchase the things they want. They make paintings of the item and offer it for sale for the price of the desired item. Here are some of the things they have purchased through selling their paintings.


photo credit Wants For Sale

Find out more at WantsForSale.

hat tip boing boing

posted by Ray on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 1:07am

To commemorate the start of the RIAA v Thomas-Rasset trail, I'll take a look at an aspect of the band/fan relationship. In particular, the fan reaction to Lar Ulrich's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lars Ulrich is the drummer for Metallica (wikipedia), a band with many devoted fans. After testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2000, many fans reacted negatively to his testimony.

Why the backlash? Clearly people downloading Metallica's music were infringing on the band's copyright. Why would fans react in anger to Lars and Metallica for defending their legal rights? I believe there are a number of things going on here, but today I'll just focus on one, the clash between the "social" and "market" worlds. In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely (whose work I've discussed previously) talks about this in the chapter The Cost of Social Norms. When these two worlds clash problems occur, as Ariely discusses in this video.

Despite the fact that fans do spend money a band's CDs, concerts and merchandise, they don't view their connection with a band as a commercial relationship, they see themselves as FANS of the band not CUSTOMERS. By going before the Senate Judiciary Committee and complaining about Napster and their users, Lars and Metallica were defining the relationship between Metallica and its fans as a commerical relationship.

Canadian writer Cory Doctorow discusses this in his article Macropayments:

"When you take money directly from someone, they become your customer, a relationship that’s fundamentally different from the "writer-reader" relationship that you get when the reader is the publisher’s customer."

Fans reacted negatively, in part, because Lars and Metallica had redefined them as customers not fans.

see also
Larry Lessig discusses what he defines as the commerical and sharing economies (starting at 26:45) in this presentation.

posted by Ray on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 11:47pm

Containing over 400 songs and a 42 page history, Stan Hugill's (wikipedia) Shanties of the Seven Seas is probably the definitive book on sea shanties.

hultonclint has been working his way through Shanties of the Seven Seas, posting his versions of each song, along with commentary, on YouTube.

hultonclint's Shanties of the Seven Seas YouTube playlist

hat tip @RayBeckerman

posted by Ray on Wed, 17 Jun 2009 1:55pm

With current events in Iran demonstrating the impact of social media, it is worthwhile taking a look at what Clay Shirky (wikipedia) has to say about the changes internet social media is bringing. Clay gave this speech in May 2009.

Clay discusses events in Iran in this Q & A

I previously discussed Clay Shirky's thinking in Now We Can Do Big Things For Love.

People wanting to better understand the social and economic impact of internet technology would do well to seek out Shirky's writing and presentations.

hat tip @GuyKawasaki

posted by Ray on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 12:55pm

posted by Ray on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 11:00pm

posted by Ray on Sat, 20 Jun 2009 11:00pm

Perpetuum Jazzile (wikipedia) is a choir from Slovenia that performs pop and jazz music. Here is their fantastic version of Toto's (wikipedia) Africa.

Here they are performing a medley of BeeGees' (wikipedia) songs.

Jimmie Inch has this great version of Africa.

hat tip

posted by Ray on Mon, 22 Jun 2009 1:01am

Although the RIAA, record companies and their apologists complain about the decline in the music industry and many are buying into that notion. This is not true. What is true is that the little plastic disc industry is declining significantly. The rest of the music industry is doing fine (concerts, instrument sales, etc.). In fact, more people are creating more music than ever before.

Despite the significant decline in CD sales, a number of artists are putting out some high-priced CD packages. They realize that in a world of free, perfect copies, selling music only isn't really a great business to be in. So these artists are providing some extra value, they are giving fans a reason to buy their music.

Mike Masnick (wikipedia) has a simple formula for artists to make money in the music industry. CwF + RtB = $$$. Connect with Fans plus Reason to Buy = Profits. In this recent presentation, Masnick discusses this approach to the music industry.

Here are some examples of CD packages that have been recently released. Many of these artists are working with TopSpin, a company that helps artists better connect with fans.

Beck - One Foot In The Grave

Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule

Paul McCartney - Fireman

Eminem - Relapse

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I - IV

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Even capitalist, copyright over-protectionist, paranoid U2 is not merely pushing for laws to protect old business models, they are also realizing they need to give fans a reason to buy.

posted by Ray on Mon, 22 Jun 2009 11:55pm

The Gregory Brothers have created a number of Auto-Tune News videos by editing news clips, adding some music and processing voices with Auto-Tune. Here is their latest video.

Their videos can be found on YouTube - Auto-Tune News.

see also
Time - Auto-Tune the News
FITM - Slap Chop Remix

hat tip Rachel Maddow Show

posted by Ray on Tue, 23 Jun 2009 11:26pm

I'm fascinated by ingenious ideas and this design for a folding UK plug is no exception. I haven't been able to find out any information as to who the designer is. However, it appears that the design is a submission for the James Dyson Awards (UK Folding Plug System).

hat tip boing boing gadgets

posted by Ray on Thu, 25 Jun 2009 12:37am

Two weeks ago I posted FITM - Breakfast Club Mashup, a post about a couple fan created videos for the song Lisztomania by the French band Phoenix (wikipedia). I had a chance to watch the official video recently. The video is fine as far as music videos go. However, I was struck by how much more I enjoyed the fan created videos. With video technology getting cheaper and more widely used, encouraging fan videos is a great way to interact and connect with fans as well as generate cheap and effective promotional material.

see also
FITM - No Budget, No Plan, No Rehearsal, No Problem

posted by Ray on Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:47pm

Just a few of the interesting creations people have made using Lego.


see 21 Amazing Movie Posters Recreated with Lego


see Nathan Sawaya - Brooklyn Bridge

posted by Ray on Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:43pm

Without the internet, YouTube and cheap camcorders we wouldn't have gems like this.

hat tip boing boing

posted by Ray on Sat, 27 Jun 2009 11:53pm

An animatronic Luxo Jr. debuted at Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood studios. The motion capabilities are pretty good. Overall, I found the performance underwhelming. However, they do a great job when they have him hanging his head and sighing.

see also
wikipedia - Pixar

hat tip boing boing gadgets

posted by Ray on Mon, 29 Jun 2009 1:05am

sigur rós (eighteen seconds before sunrise, wikipedia) marks the 10th anniversary of the release of their ágætis byrjun album this month. While ágætis byrjun was not their first album, it was their first important album in their evolution as a band.

nýja lagið from on Vimeo.

see also
sigur rós - ágætis byrjun
memories of making ágætis byrjun

hat tip pampelmoose

posted by Ray on Tue, 30 Jun 2009 12:25am

Josh Freese (wikipedia) recently released his second solo album titled Since 1972. Borrowing from what Trent Reznor has done with recent Nine Inch Nails album releases and adding a bit of humor, Josh created a number of album packages (see the various options here). He isn't expecting to sell the high-priced packages. However, that didn't stop him from creating this ad for the $10,000 package which includes a 1993 Volvo 940.