Digital Culture

More on Religious? Litigious?

Parody is protected

Just a quick follow up…if you’re following this story, here’s the happenings over the last 24 hours:

  • Get thee over to and Digg the story to help get the word out.
  • I get a mention over at Writing Right, and there’s a little discussion going on in her comments.
  • Fantastic writeup of the case over at The Angry Fag.
  • Yet another post in support of Justin over at Smart Kitty.
  • And of course, comments and such both here and at Justinsomnia.
Digital Culture

Religious? Litigious?

Parody is Protected

My good buddy Justin gets served with a Cease and Desist because of the parody billboard he created in photoshop.

Parody is protected

Anyone else want to mirror the image in protest? Or perhaps download a blank photoshop file (right click and save as) and make your own?

As Justin noted, I got my wires crossed on the directionality of my particular parody. Corrected version now in place. Sorry about my initial image, ACLU! I had the best intentions…directing people towards you as a relief mechanism, not a cause.

Digital Culture

David Beckham Chia Head

David Beckham Chia HeadOk….sometimes, I just can’t help myself. I see something for sale, and it’s just weird enough that I must own it. This happened last weekend, when Betsy and I took a trip to the Unclaimed Baggage Center. This is the place where all the stuff that the airlines lose goes to die be sold. My favorite part about this process was seeing the sorts of things people lose/airlines lose/people leave behind on planes. Things like…oh…wheelchairs. What happens when they lose your wheelchair? They had an anatomical model of the lower arm. They had random sporting equipment. They had used underwear. There is seriously anything you can imagine, and a few things you can’t. This is one of them.

Yes, this appears to be a David Beckham Chia Head. I’ll say that one more time for those of you in the back: A David. Beckham. Chia. Head.

While I’m not a huge soccer fan, even I know who he is. Why it is that someone, somewhere felt it necessary to make a model of his head with which to grow vegetation is another question.

Well, I had to own this. Not only that, but I decided that I had to photograph the evidence, and try to actually grow said vegetation. I’ll document this, and post updates and analysis here on my blog. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga of the David Beckham Chia!

Library Issues

Welcome to the Lyceum

A new blog product launched today with less fanfare than I’d imagine: Lyceum, from, a multi-user WordPress fork. It is designed to allow for one installation which supports multiple individual blogs, something that WordPress users have been looking for for a LONG time.

I’m planning on trying it out locally, and seeing if it is suitable for a university installation. I can’t imagine that it is anything short of brilliant, coming from Ibiblio. You can test an installation at their demo site, and see what the backend looks like. It’s pretty much WordPress, for those that use it, with a few administrator tools thrown in.

For those of us at an academic institution, this might be the answer to our blogging prayers…single install, multiple instantiations, all built on the most versitile blogging platform out today.

EDIT: Also seen on BoingBoing! Go Paul!

Digital Culture


I’m currently a beta tester for ClaimID, a new project from some of the brilliant minds that revolve around The “about” page for the project describes it like this:

Imagine that you are applying for a job. You know that your prospective employer is going to search for your name online, and since you’re a rational person, that worries you. How will your employer know what online stuff is actually about you, and not about that other person who shares your name? And what if the good stuff about you online doesn’t mention your full name, or uses a name you no longer go by (such as a maiden name)? How would your prospective employer ever find it? Why do you have to lose out in the eyes of that employer? And the worst part is there’s no way for you to easily influence what search engines say about you.

Enter claimID. ClaimID is a service that lets you claim the information that is about you online. That information is then associated with your name, providing folks an easy way to see what is and isn’t about you online. In doing so, you get to influence the search engines, and provide people more relevant information when they search for you. It’s time to reclaim some power back from the search engines. ClaimID is about letting you have some say in what search engines say about you.

So it’s a method of tracking the various places online where things about me are. Which to me, is a useful thing, but I’ll be interested to see if this is something that the public at large even thinks about, much less will work to track. As well, I’m interested to see how they plan to “influence the search engines.”

If anyone else wants to see/play with this, my beta code is good for 5 more activations. Leave a comment, and I’ll hook you up.

Digital Culture

Inventing a term…

For anyone who has spent any time on the web on discussion boards, there is a particular sort of image that pops up occasionally. As far as I know, there is no descriptive term for this type of image, and I think there should be. The images invariably show up during heated/humorous discussion threads, as either a put down or a humerous comment on the thread or a specific comment on it. The images normally have text, sometimes text that is itself a net-witticism or initialism. Mostly these are used for comic effect. They’ve been around a LONG time.

But as far as I know, there’s no word to describe them. We’ve got “emoticon” as a image that is composed of puncuation used as a reminder of emotion behind words, but nothing for these.

So I ask the Interweb: what should these things be called? You need examples? You asked for it:

bunny with pancake on its head
stop talking
no you can't have a pony
panda on a mower

Again, these are normally posted into a discussion thread as a method of communicating humor/anger/other emotion.

So, Interweb…what should these things be called? Imagesmacks? I need to know how to refer to this group of things!

Digital Culture

Root of All Evil

Here’s a great example of a TV show that will never, and I mean eeeeeeeever, be shown in the US. via BoingBoing

The Root of All Evil, a Channel 4 production in Britain, starring my main man Richard Dawkins. He’s been the loudest critic of religion for many years (the Salon article from April 2005 is a great example of his stances), and it appears that he’s taken his views to the small screen. His point of view is absolutely refreshing in this time of over-reactive religion in the US…it’s a bit like “what the hell is all this?” He’s just incredulous that in our age of better science than ever in the history of the world, and more and more proof for facts of the world like evolution that we’ve got more and more of the US buying into religious ideas. I’m not sure when this may be able to be purchased in the US, so I’ll just mention in passing that if you were to search sites that involved a type of file that rhymes with “RitRorrent”, that you might be able to find a copy now.

Digital Culture


I’ve been paying more and more attention lately to easy-upload video hosting sites like YouTube and Google Video. These two seem to have stood out from the crowd for ease of use and clean design…but I’m just baffled as to how they’re still around. If someone tried this business model (upload your favorites! we’ll host them!) with music, the RIAA would have gone insane. There are dozens of movie trailers up on these sites, which are owned by the studios. Why isn’t the MPAA going apeshit to get these under control? Isn’t it disingenuous of them to allow this, but complain about people sharing movies? Should we apply the legal resources of copyright evaluation evenly?

With all of that said, the point of this post: Democracy kicks ass. It’s a player/browser for video, easy to use, intuitive, and open. If you have a broadband connection, download this now and play with it. It’s addictive. Between the software and their open source hosting service, Broadcast Machine…this is my pick for “gonna be huge this year.”

Digital Culture

A Scanner Darkly

Wow. I can’t wait for this movie….the effects look incredible. Is this the first time that an animation technique has been used as an effect over an entire film? The only thing that I can think comes close is Tron…other examples anyone?


I missed my blogiversary!

As a cow-orker pointed out, I missed celebrating my blogiversary! On Feb 10, this thing has been around for 3 years. Over the course of those years, this is the third software system I’ve used (started in Blogger, moved to Radio Userland, then to WordPress). Since Feb 10, 2003:

Seems really odd to have that many years behind me since I started this. Even more odd? It looks like people actually read it. 🙂 This year, I’ve averaged 161 people per day hitting my RSS feed, and 1100 or so Sessions per day. Raw hits are over 6000 a day, which blows my mind, and has to be hugely because of spambots and such. The rest of the stats are equally interesting, though:


So thanks to everyone who reads, subscribes or just wanders by occasionally. I do this mostly for me, but I certainly appreciate the fact that others think it’s worth their time.