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September 18, 2009

Studios tell FCC more movies come at the price of consumer device control

Cable: Let us lock down your TV (we'll offer movies sooner) - Ars Technica
The movie studio crusade to take over your home theater system just got an endorsement from Time Warner Cable, whose top staff visited the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last Wednesday to ask, yet again, for permission to let cable operators limit video streams to HDTVs and DVRs. At the meeting, representatives of TWC and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) backed the scheme being pushed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA): Hollywood would send movies to cable before they appear on DVD, but the cable operators would clamp down on some of the features found in their subscribers' TV systems. Specifically, consumers wouldn't be able to receive these flicks from an analog connection, which the studios say is more susceptible to piracy than a digital stream. The overall scheme is called Selectable Output Control (SOC), a practice currently prohibited by the FCC.
Personally, I'm in favor of owning equipment that permits line in and line out. I'm funny that way.

September 13, 2009

New documentary looks at the perils of privatized water in Detroit's Highland Park

The WIP Contributors: The Water Front: Fighting to Keep the Tap On
The saga begins with the once booming bedroom community of Detroit falling into economic peril. At its height, the city was 60,000 residents strong with a tax base to match; as the American auto industry declined, manufacturing jobs disappeared and the population suffered. By 2000, entire streets are lined with abandoned houses, trash collects on desolate curbs and prosperity is nowhere in sight. When director Liz Miller begins filming her documentary, Highland Park is on the verge of bankruptcy with a population of 16,000. The local government can’t maintain the city’s infrastructure and the tax base has declined to the point where levying enough money to continue city services seems impossible. The governor appoints Emergency Financial Manager Ramona Pearson Henderson to fix the city’s financial woes. With her team of well-compensated consultants, Henderson proceeds to cut city services, including closing libraries and laying off all but the most essential city employees. Yet Highland Park is still broke. Henderson then decides to capitalize on the city’s one asset: the water treatment plant. Built in 1917 by the Ford Motor Company, the water plant provides clean water to the city’s residents at affordable rates. But the city needs money, and fast. So water rates are increased and expensive penalties are affixed to delinquent bills. The absurdity of fixing a rundown city by bankrupting its already downtrodden residents and jeopardizing access to an essential resource is prevalent throughout the film.

Darwin movie considered "too controversial" to show to Americans

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America' - Telegraph America, you disappoint me.
Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie. The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia. However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution. Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.

September 04, 2009

Star Trek TOS on YouTube

Call me slowpoke, but I had no idea they were all on YouTube. No embedding. YouTube - The Man Trap

Oderus Urungus of GWAR spends an hour on Fox News chat show

The Raw Story | Gwar lead singer Oderus Urungus co-hosts Fox News show
Irreverent, occasionally vulgar Fox News late night show Red Eye stepped up the shock value Wednesday night, letting Gwar lead singer Oderus Urungus co-host the program. Urungus, a demon-like character who's headlined the shock-rock troupe for approaching 25 years, told Road Runner Records' Blabbermouth blog:
"The media juggernaut that is the mighty GWAR marches relentlessly forward! I, Oderus Urungus, shall be appearing on Fox News 'Red Eye' for the sixth freaking time, on Wednesday, September 2! And what's even better — I shall be on the show for the entire hour-long episode, or until I eat the other guests, whatever comes first. And they say Fox is a conservative network... if it took a conservative network to get Oderus on TV, then I say we need more conservative networks!"