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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud.


You may remember back in 2003 when Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge recommended a healthy supply of duct tape to ward off terrorist attacks. Little did we all know, the Homeland Security Department also created Ready.gov to teach us how to be "ready" for a terrorist attack as well. Here the government provides the extremely entertaining "Ready Kids" section of the site, featuring a family of Brazilian Jaguars preparing to defend themselves against the impending Al Qaeda threat. The government also provided nervous citizens with a series of pictorial instructions on what to do if disaster strikes.


Unfortunately, the pictures are so ambiguous it's tough to determine just what the right course of action is. Fortunately safenow.org has taken the liberty of explaining these images. Take for example:
The appropriate caption being "If you spot terrorism, blow your anti-terrorism whistle. If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud."

Or try also:
Michael Jackson is a terrorist. If you spot this smooth criminal with scary eyes, run away now.

We are all truly fortunate to have Safenow.org here to protect us from terrorism. Stay Vigilant!

Monday, February 12, 2007

r-re-remix


Though the great Malian guitarist, Ali Farka Touré passed in 2006, his son Vieux Farka Touré is carrying on the torch.

Much like Femi and his father Fela Anikupalo Kuti's relationship, Vieux Farka Touré has updated his father's passion into the 21st century. In fact, from now until March 7th, Creative Commons, Global Beat Fusion, and Modiba Proudctions are holding a remix competition.

Access the files for Vieux Farka Touré's song "Ana" here (you can listen to the album version on his myspace). Then upload your own remix to http://ccmixter.org.

May the best remix win!

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

the digital divide: the internet as rock and roll

Someone had to write this article. The Internet is the new Rock and Roll. This is important, and I'm going to quote extensively from the article to convince you to read it.

"It’s been a long time since there was a true generation gap, perhaps 50 years—you have to go back to the early years of rock and roll," writes Emily Nussbaum in her excellent piece for New York Magazine. She is, of course, discussing the ways in which the current teenage generation interacts with new media, referring primarily to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, and their spin-offs like Flickr. Nussbaum notes:

More young people are putting more personal information out in public than any older person ever would—and yet they seem mysteriously healthy and normal, save for an entirely different definition of privacy. From their perspective, it’s the extreme caution of the earlier generation that’s the narcissistic thing. Or, as Kitty [one of the young, hip subjects of the article] put it to me, “Why not? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Twenty years down the road, someone’s gonna find your picture? Just make sure it’s a great picture.”

The article points three major changes that define the Internet generation. First, they think they have an audience. "In essence, every young person in America has become, in the literal sense, a public figure. And so they have adopted the skills that celebrities learn in order not to go crazy: enjoying the attention instead of fighting it—and doing their own publicity before somebody does it for them."

Second, they have documented every step of their adolescence. Nussbaum interviews one Caitlin Opperman, who is probably getting excited that she just got linked to in yet another blog. Yes, I looked at her website. This high school senior has been blogging, sharing photos, and networking since before age 12. Her digital life is a clear extension (and enhancement) of her flesh-and-blood experiences. On a recent trip to New York City, "Oppermann met dozens of people she already knew, or who knew her, from online. All of which means that her memories of her time in New York are stored both in her memory...and on her site...giving her (and me) an unsettlingly crystalline record of her seventeenth summer."

Finally, Nussbaum points out that today's youth has thicker skin then the old folks who just don't get it. "There’s a difference between being able to absorb embarrassment and not feeling it. But we live in a time in which humiliation and fame are not such easily distinguished quantities. And this generation seems to have a high tolerance for what used to be personal information splashed in the public square."

Wow--so the Internet generation has collectively huge balls. Check it:

Right now the big question for anyone of my generation seems to be, endlessly, “Why would anyone do that?” This is not a meaningful question for a 16-year-old. The benefits are obvious: The public life is fun. It’s creative. It’s where their friends are. It’s theater, but it’s also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends. And, yes, there are all sorts of crappy side effects: the passive-aggressive drama (“you know who you are!”), the shaming outbursts, the chill a person can feel in cyberspace on a particularly bad day. There are lousy side effects of most social changes (see feminism, democracy, the creation of the interstate highway system). But the real question is, as with any revolution, which side are you on?

Well, I write for a blog, so you know which side I'm on. The real beauty of this article is that it totally skips the fear-mongering usually assosciated with stories about the Internet generation and social networking. Instead of the usual "your children are going to get anally raped by a gang of transvestites" crap, Nussbaum provides a deft analysis of a very clear digital divide between generations. Gawker points out, however, that she sort-of kind-of already wrote this article for the New York Times Magazine. Oh well, I've reused one of my better international studies papers for at least three different classes. Oh wait, should I write that? Someone might read it....

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facebook diarrhea

In a hilarious new effort, Comcast will be joining up with Facebook to put together 10 hours of user-generated material that will be entitled Facebook Diaries. The material will be edited by none other than documentary filmmaker, RJ Cutler!!

Remember him?? American High, anyone? that PBS show about none other than my alma mater, Highland Park High School? Check out that China episode, I swear you can see me in the background.

Anyway, I hereby issue a challenge. LET'S GET OUR VIDEOS ON TV!!

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

is anyone else watching tv?

Apparently, this is a real commercial for a new feminine hygiene product. I know, because I actually saw it on TV. Enjoy.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

if you really love me


Couples who are dying to wear a memento of their loved one now can do even better, they can wear their loved one.

A group of off the wall British researchers are seeking out couples who want to participate in their new study. They have found a method of extracting bone tissue and growing in a lab. The tissue is then sent to an artist who fashions the couple a pair of rings.

And bingo, Biojewellery!

Doesn't get much sexier than that, huh? Brings whole new meaning to, "I wanna bone you."

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