How NFTs Will Kill Netflix
we all predicted back in the 1990s, the net has spawned new opportunities for independent creators and consumers of all sorts. Blogs, YouTube, print-on-demand, 3D printing, Etsy, eBay, 99designs, Upwork, SoundCloud, Substack, and many many other platforms give creators the ability to make things and sell (or at least distribute) them pretty directly to wide audiences, without signing a contract or getting a job with a movie studio, magazine, publisher, record company, or advertising agency.
The problem is, all this activity was subsumed by a few monopolist platforms that take way more of a share of the profits than they deserve. YouTube and Spotify aren’t much better for the typical artist than Uber and DoorDash are for the typical gig worker. But the decentralized web — that blockchain stuff — could change this. At least for a while.Read more
Aaron Sorkin Talks Going Beyond Impersonation in ‘Being the Ricardos’: “A Painting and Not a Photograph”
Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem and writer-director Aaron Sorkin (SHS 1979) made one of their first public appearances in support of their new film Being the Ricardos on Saturday night, hosting a screening and Q&A at the Bruin Theater in Westwood.
The trio were also joined by costars J.K. Simmons, Tony Hale and Nina Arianda as they reflected on the film, which looks inside the world of I Love Lucy and Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Kidman, who takes on the role of Ball, admitted she had “massive trepidation about a month prior and Aaron had to get on the phone and send me some emails saying, ‘You got this’ and he had to champion me through,” adding that the whole cast was “really championing each other through the whole show because it was frightening, but incredibly exciting.”Read more
The Films That Could Shake Up the Oscar Race
While the traditional fall festival circuits have produced a number of strong contenders for the next Academy Awards, there are more question marks than usual for this time of year. Part of this is due to the pandemic, which forced many high-end films to delay in 2020 and early 2021 as most theaters were closed for safety concerns, leading to a backlog of titles arriving in November and, most notably, in December.
Before we get there, where does the Academy Award race for Best Picture stand? Heading that list for now is “Belfast,” given that director/writer/producer Kenneth Branagh’s ode to his childhood that was disrupted by the “troubles” in Northern Ireland won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The nine previous winners of the prize have gone on to secure a spot on the list of titles competing for Oscar’s top prizeRead more
Supreme Court conservatives are skeptical on spiritual advisers in death chamber
The U.S. Supreme Court returned to the subject of religious rights today, this time in the context of death row inmates who have asked that their spiritual adviser in the death chamber be able to pray and touch the condemned. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.
NINA TOTENBERG (SHS 1962), BYLINE: The subject of spiritual advisers in the death chamber has at times divided the court's conservative supermajority. And it's also at times embarrassed the court as minority religious advisers turned out to sometimes have been excluded from the death chamber.
Today's case involved John Ramirez, sentenced to die for stabbing to death a father of nine during a convenience store robbery while on a drug binge. Four years ago, he claims, he got religion. And since then, his execution date has been postponed four times as the courts and the state of Texas have wrestled with his desire to have his Baptist pastor with him in the death chamber and able to pray and touch his foot.Read more
Satellites Could Help Track if Nations Keep Their Carbon Pledges
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming, nations must measure and report progress toward their pledged reductions in emissions. They regularly submit greenhouse gas inventories, detailing emission sources as well as removals, or sinks, of the gases within their borders. These are then reviewed by technical experts.
The accounting process is intended to ensure transparency and build trust, but it takes time and the numbers can be far from precise.
But what if changes in emissions of the main planet-warming gas, carbon dioxide, could be reported more accurately and rapidly? That could be extremely useful as the world seeks to limit warming.Read more
The American Folk Art Museum to Launch Online Benefit Auction of Contemporary Art
The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced today the forthcoming launch of an online benefit auction presented in partnership with Artsy. The auction opens at 5:00 p.m. ET on November 3, 2021.
Over 50 artists have contributed artworks to this important initiative, including Cindy Sherman, Sanford Biggers, KAWS, Trenton Doyle Hancock, LeRone Wilson, Nicole Eisenman, Nicolas Party, Amy Hill, Marcel Dzama, Jenny Holzer, Karla Knight, James Siena, Polly Apfelbaum, and Betty Tompkins.Read more
Altercation: Networks of Paranoia
Regular Altercation readers will have noticed by now that one of this newsletter’s hobbyhorses is the manner in which the dangerous lunacy that currently rules the conservative movement has long been normalized as just one side in a “both sides” political debate in which truth (or even sanity) has no intrinsic value. I read a few MSM pieces this past week that offer some insight as to how we arrived at this benighted political moment.Read more
2021-22 USC Women's Basketball Season Outlook: Lindsay Gottlieb (SHS 1995) Era Begins
The science of success is a complex field. Fortunately, the USC women's basketball program has a special kind of scientist hard at work concocting a working formula for a new realm at Troy. The 2021-22 USC roster, helmed by new head coach and basketball scientist extraordinaire Lindsay Gottlieb, is teeming with talent and balance — ingredients that Gottlieb is eager to formulate into a competitive and successful program.
"We have depth and versatility in ways that are exciting to me," Gottlieb said. "I have to go into my mad scientist mode to figure out how to use everyone effectively and turn what we have into a winning basketball team. I'm also excited that they are so bought in and willing to be pushed to reach a level we haven't reached yet."
Exponential Tech Doesn’t Serve Social Good- Douglas Rushkoff (SHS 1979)
We all want to do good. Well, a great many of us want to do good. We recognize that the climate is in peril, corporations are dangerously extractive, wealth disparity is at all-time highs, our kids are self-destructively addicted to social media, politics has descended into a reality TV show with paranoid features, and that civilization itself has only about another 20 years before some combination of the above threats makes life unrecognizable or even unsustainable.
The good news, at least according to the majority of invitations I get to participate in conferences and with organizations, is that there’s an app or technology or network or platform or, most often these days, a token that can fix some or all of this. The latest frame around the technosolutionist frenzy is called web 3.0, which has come to mean the decentralized sort of internet characterized by TOR networks (basically, Napster and BitTorrent where everything is hosted everywhere) and the blockchain (a new form of automated ledger).Read more
University Teams Demonstrate ‘Cool’ New Technologies for the Moon, Mars
Ten university teams designed and built systems intended to harvest water frozen below the surface of the Moon and Mars. The teams put their prototypes to the test during the 2021 Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge held September 23-25 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Taking top prize of $6,000 was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team from Cambridge with HYDRATION III: High Yield Dihydrogen-monoxide Retrieval And Terrain Identification On New worlds.
"I think one of the determining factors in the MIT’s excellent performance was the test program they set up," said Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, MIT team faculty advisor and former NASA astronaut. "They tried to duplicate as closely as possible the conditions they would face in the actual competition, and that allowed them to refine the hardware, software, and procedures. They followed the famous advice we give to anyone working on a space project, test like you are going to fly, and fly like you tested!"Read more