Friday, April 30, 2010

Were you thinking newspaper folks were starting to wise up?

Narrative Science automates the creation of editorial narratives across a wide range of content verticals. Their technology application requires no human authoring or editing and can be used to generate narratives about any event that produces significant quantitative data (think sports, financial, health, community data).  Saridakis saying kthxbye to Gannett

Content automated like your ILECs and ISPs always imagined it: Are Sportswriters Really Necessary?

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Title this

Suggest a name for the list of which Kennesaw, GA is the #1 item:
In 1982 the city passed an ordinance [Sec 34-1a] requiring every head of household to maintain a firearm together with ammunition. It was passed partly in response to a 1981 handgun ban in Morton Grove, Illinois. Kennesaw's law was amended in 1983 to exempt those who conscientiously object to owning a firearm, convicted felons, those who cannot afford a firearm, and those with a mental or physical disability that would prevent them from owning a firearm. WP

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Class Consciousness arrives by train

There's an extraordinary moment in Possessed (1931) when Joan Crawford has just dumped her ambitious but dull suitor, informing him that she's not about to become the distaff side of him in their small town featuring careers at the Acme Paper Box factory.

Crawford is walking away from him when a large dark train pulls in, slowly moving across her path.

Every train window unveils a scene. We are voyeurs over her shoulder as she steals a look at labor and its fruits: Black bartenders in one:

 a black maid ironing in another:

a waiter:

A woman in lingerie:

A couple in evening clothes dancing.

At the caboose is Skeets Gallagher, a St. John-like spirit of the train in a tux, drinking champagne. He pours her a glass and tells her, "Only two kinds of people: the ones in and the ones out."

He expresses no interest in her -- he's a boozy, gay or asexual device for getting Crawford from Paperboxville to New York, where she meets Clark Gable and undergoes a metropolitan paideia of the 20th Century USian female. In a wonderful cut, she goes from puzzlement at the menu in a French restaurant to ordering wines in French for a dinner party she and Gable are throwing. Four years have passed: 1928-31.

The marked irreality of the train is very fine. It's all media in one: film, radio, newspapers, television, web, twitter. It is the unveiling of class, romance, and access to power. It's also the locomotive means of moving to the city. Might as well have eyes on its wheels.

I don't know whose idea the train was --  the screenplay was by Lenore J. Coffee and Edgar Selwyn; the film was directed by Clarence Brown, produced by Harry Rapf, Brown and Thalberg.  if anyone knows, I'd be curious, tho' it's not hugely important -- no IP rights on allegorical images.

Skeets tells her the only way for a woman to make it in the big city is to "find a rich man to help her, keep a cool head, peek at his pocketbook, and never tell him anything." "Men like to think they're Christopher Columbus discovering America."

True to the traditional bumpkin peasant type, Crawford is disarmingly blunt, telling Gable that it's important that he's rich, because she wouldn't waste her time with him if he weren't.

For a splendid contrast to this MGM heroine, see Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face, Warner Bros.' 1933 study in female ascendance. There Stanwyck is living in a nightmare; when it goes up in flames thanks to her drunken father, she hops a train to New York with a black girlfriend, sleeping with a railroad worker to avoid getting thrown off.

Her education had begun at her father's bar, where one of the customers introduced her to the works of Nietzsche, featuring a large screen shot of the cover of The Will to Power. Neither the seduction of the worker nor Nietzsche made it past the censors even in that pre-code era.

In Possessed, Crawford ultimately saves Gable's political viability (he's a Union League man) by being silent, then by speaking out. In Baby Face, Stanwyck has no mercy on the series of males whom she rides to the top. They pine, lose all compass, and a few of them kill themselves. George Brent's failed suicide brings her around in the end. Darryl F. Zanuck was a writer and producer.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

How to make a movie in Florida

 And doing this with no money, I just had a camera, puts you in some pretty interesting situations. I was looking at some footage the other day of when I went to go interview Iggy Pop, and it was pretty funny because I didn’t have a camera person and I was down in Miami and didn’t know anyone. So, I talked to my friend and she said, “Yeah, I know someone who shoots porn, she can do it.” But in the end she couldn’t do it because she was also a repo man and had to repo some cars. She hooked me up with someone else and after he shot it we were driving back in his fancy Mercedes Benz, and he told me I had to give him all my money and my wallet before he gave me my equipment back and let me out of his car. - Yony Leyser.
A pretty good movie at that, screened last night in Sarasota.

ubu Burroughs

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

More socialism

Congress takes another stride toward public access to researchApr 15, 2010

Fueling the growing momentum toward openness, transparency, and accessibility to publicly funded information, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010 (FRPAA) has been introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and a bi-partisan host of co-sponsors. The proposed bill would. . . require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

And Project Muse and JSTOR?

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The irrevolution will be televised

The Colbert - Assange "interview" is remarkable for its confluence of horror and televisible humor. It offers suppressed information about an apparent war crime, which, moved into the open, is discussed with comedic flair. The revelation involves the deaths of Iraqi citizens, harmed children, chuckling US soldiers. Assange of Wikileaks is allegedly concerned for his personal welfare.

Something seems shared here, in the provocative binding of the release of forbidden knowledge with comedy. At the very least, there's a trust, both in emancipators of repressed realities and in comedy's preference for the vernacular, that bringing something out into the public light of day will be better than keeping it secret. Indeed Colbert riffs on that theme in the segment. For Freud, jokes find socially performable ways to liberate the hostile and the obscene.

One common element between intelligence leaks and laughter is surrender of control. As forbidden speech is uttered, those who wished it to remain unspoken lose their power over it, and over the conditions of ignorance enabled by its suppression. When a comedian climbing a ladder suddenly finds the ladder heading backward to the floor, his situation is similar -- the crash is the explosion of the unforeseeable surprise, the force of the punch line.

Though here, the force derives from the detonation of an artificial stranglehold on what is true. As Zizek has noted:
Truth has the structure of a fiction: what appears in the guise of dreaming, or even daydreaming, is sometimes the truth on whose repression social reality itself is founded.  

The rhetorical features of parody -- sober, straight-faced presentation of something too absurd to be real -- are pressed into the service of its inverse: This time, the truth is not a hoax, the tongue-in-cheek presentation strangely melds with the horror of war that is always unfamiliar to the public whose soldiers are waging it somewhere else. In all comic seriousness, it's not unlike an April Fool's jape coming home to roost.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Associative reasoning

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

the hazards of incalculable hazards

Sunday, April 04, 2010

News from JSTOR

JSTOR gets current, almost, not quite yet, a bit. Is the model changing? If so, why?

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