DRM and the Warumungu tribe

Kim Christen was recently interviewed on the BBC’s Digital Planet. The radio spot is available from Kim’s blog post. She is working with the Warumungu tribe in Australia, and has been developing a very interesting online tool for accessing cultural artifacts from the Warumungu tribe. One interesting thing – discussed in the radio piece – is the model used for managing access rights to the artifacts in the archive. The model is based on the existing traditional rules around who is allowed to see or hear the material in question.

update: here is the BBC article on this story, “Aboriginal archive offers new DRM

Half-Life, by Jen Phang, playing at Sundance

Artwork by Jon Cooney and rotoscoping by Chris Cooney are both appearing in the film, Half-Life, which will start showing this weekend at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Jen Phang wrote and directed Half-Life and Reuben Lim produced it. I hear it is great, and I really look forward to seeing a screening of it.

Set in the idyllic hills of northern California, Jennifer Phang’s marvelously original first feature, Half-Life, is a supernormal tale about self-absorbed and disillusioned suburbanites who live in a futuristic time of natural disasters, suffocating air quality, and accelerating global cataclysms.

Single mom Saura Wu and her two kids, Pam and Timothy, struggle to rebuild their family in the presence of a sinister, but charming, interloper. Pam seeks refuge in her object of desire, a young hipster named Scott who, in turn, attempts to jar his fundamentalist parents out of their denial of his gay identity. Timothy, meanwhile, stumbles upon a way to develop and hone paranormal powers that he summons to alter everyone’s reality.

Modern and philosophical, Half-Life masterfully blends menacing rage with the tenderness and vulnerability of youth to create a tale that injects an empowering and persevering hopefulness into the family’s fatalistic fears of a disintegrating world. A visually ambitious accomplishment filled with gorgeous cinematography, handcrafted animation, and expertly concocted faux news reports, this auspicious directorial debut is without precedent and firmly establishes Jennifer Phang as an exciting talent to watch.

Here are the official screening times for Half-Life (116 mins). It’s a great premier slot but their theaters are not the largest seating capacity. The Egyptian is right in the heart of the festival.

Sat. January 19, 9:15pm, Holiday Village Cinema III, Park City
Tue. January 22, 3:00pm, Egyptian Theatre, Park City
Fri. January 25, 6:30pm, Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City
Sat. January 26, 12:45pm, Broadway Centre Cinemas V, Salt Lake City

You can see the trailer at the Half-Life website.

IMDB entry http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428620/

Prediction markets exposing organizational information flow

NYTimes Freakonomics article/blog post about an interesting study that used prediction markets (futures markets) at Google to measure information flow at Google based on similarity of trading decisions (similar trading implies shared information). Sent by Leanna Gingras to an SI mailing list.

Quote from the article:

I don’t know about your firm, but we academics are too self-important to ever sit in cubicles. Our research suggests that this may be unfortunate, and perhaps many of the best ideas in economics never occur, because the idea is waiting for us at a water cooler conversation at which we never arrive. I would love to see my colleagues brainstorm more often and more freely.

There is criticism of the study in the comments, as well as further ideas.

Some voting direction for our crazy Michigan primary

Here in Michigan, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my vote in tomorrow’s primary. One option was to try to muddy the Republican waters by pushing up Mitt Romney, as suggested in the Daily Kos. I was also thinking of voting for Kucinich, which now sounds all the more appealing, after getting an email from my friend Jeannine Palms:

Hi Friends,

I have heard lots of talk about voting uncommitted or Republican. For me this is an excellent opportunity to vote for the one who I think represents real values of peace and justice. Uncommitted votes could go anywhere in the end and I could not support any Repubican even as a protest. If Kucinich gets enough votes, it will make a difference. I urge a vote in the primary for Kucinich.

Here are other reasons:

*He is the only candidate who has refused corporate donations. He has no strings attached . He is a true people’s candidate and yet so many are being swayed by the elect ability factor.

*Early in the game when in true democracy we should be getting a fair view of each of the possible candidates, we are already being swayed by money interests and exclusion tactics meant to silence the voice of integrity.

*Kucinich is the only democratic candidate whose record shows he has had the courage to go against the statis quo. His record in congress and his innovative proposals demonstrate. He has:

-Voted consistently against the war and proposes a cabinet level Department of peace.

-Voted against the patriot Act and introduced Articles of Impeachment against Dick Chaney for constitution violations.

-Recognizes the humanity of immigrants and addresses the “immigrant problem” as an outgrowth of bad trade agreements such as NAFTA.

-Introduced bills(with Rep. John Conyers) for Universal Not for Profit Health Care, reducing costs and simplifying coverage by getting rid of the middle man: the insurance companies.

-Proposed a Green Works Administration and building trade agreements based on environmental protection and fair employment practices.

*This candidate deserves our support! Even if our votes aren’t counted by the DNC, let’s show them that if they expect our votes in November they better make a commitment to incorporate Kucinich’s ideas.

* Register your protest of the status quo.