The Professor is Dead. Long Live Netflix! As Netflix rebrands itself as a cable TV alternative rather than a by-mail video rental service, it's killing off its user community and anonymizing reviews. Top reviewer The Professor is philosophical about the change (see main link), others less so.
The A. V. Club has an exhaustive and revealing four-part interview with Dan Harmon, creator of Community, in which he discusses the conception and production behind every episode of the show's ambitious and flawed second season.
There is an inspiring mural on the back of the Micro Center building in Cambridge, MA. It commemorates the freeway revolt against the proposed I-695 Inner Belt. There are usually cars parked in front of it, but some have managed to get good photos.
NationStates is a free political simulation game founded by author Max Barry back in 2002 (previously). Loosely based on his dystopian corporate thriller Jennifer Government, the game starts by asking players to provide some national trappings and answer a few civics questions, then generates a virtual country with a matching political outlook. Periodic policy decisions like mining rights and compulsory voting allow players to further modify their country along axes of social, political, and economic freedom, arriving at one of twenty-seven colorful government types like Tyranny By Majority or Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. There's also a healthy roleplaying community -- players can discuss current events in the General forum, practice wargaming in International Incidents, form cooperative Regions to debate internal affairs (many of which form their own communities), and elect Delegates to send to the World Assembly (so renamed after an amusing cease-and-desist from the real-world U.N.). Their collective history is thoroughly recorded in the 35,000-article NSWiki, which provides a detailed legislative record, gameplay guide, and profiles on many of the 90,000 active nations, 8,000 player regions, and countless characters that currently make up the game world.
TheFix.com is a new site targeting the more than 40 million Americans who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. It features Ask-An-Expert videos, news, editorials and thorough reviews of rehab facilities based on Zagat's system. Founded by Maer Roshan, one of the founders of Radar Magazine. (Via) [more inside]
Was the latest episode of Community making fun of its fans? (spoilers in this link and others) [more inside]
Pictory is a showcase for people around the world to document their lives and cultures. Anyone can submit one large, captioned image to each of Pictory’s editorial themes. The recent theme was Infrastructure, where Japan’s near-simultaneous earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis has provided a graphic reminder about the centrality of infrastructure in our lives. Another theme was Platonic Love Stories, about the folks who laugh at the same dumb jokes you do, have been there for you through thick and thin, and are still friends with you despite it all. Pictory of the Day photo blog. The Pictory Feature Archive. Here are the presently open themes. [more inside]
Romantically Apocalyptic is a morbidly funny webcomic from Russo-Canadian digital artist Vitaly Alexius (interview, gallery). Set in the starkly diaphanous wreckage of post-nuclear Manhattan, it follows an eccentric contingent of Soviet soldiers as they poke through the detritus of the past and contend with the mutants, cultists, aliens, and other horrors that inhabit the ruins. The comic's striking art style is the result of an arduous process, using "Photoshop, live actors, dead actors, sexy assistants, greenscreen, a camera, and a Wacom tablet" to composite "6 years worth of textures: 1 terabyte of stock footage, shot in real abandoned, forgotten places of our world." This multimedia ambition has burgeoned into plans for a community-powered animated/live-action web series (teaser video, animatic, fanart). While waiting for that to come together, be sure to spend some time on Kimmo Lemetti's excellent Gone With the Blastwave (previously), a very similar webcomic project with a more subdued palette that turned out nearly fifty pages of richly-illustrated post-apocalyptic humor before going on indefinite hiatus.
Vimeo pros and seasoned amateurs are developing the ongoing and rapidly growing project Quick Tüts, short video tutorials that usually focus on one specific skill or technique and last no more than a minute. Oftentimes Quick Tüts show you how to use readily available items in lieu of more expensive equipment, so for video creators operating on a low budget, they are especially useful. A good way to think of them is as little tricks of the trade.
Dan Harmon is the creator of the brilliant NBC comedy Community. He recorded a bunch of videos promoting the show on this brilliant promotional site (playing Patrick Isakson, Dean of Admissions). He was not happy when Community moved to 8PM Thursdays. (He talks to himself a lot.) Community's Dungeons and Dragons episode last week (warning: Hulu link) was pretty great, but did you know that Harmon was a member of the Dead Alewives, and wrote and voiced characters in this classic D&D sketch? Here's that sketch's lesser-known second part.
The Mindful Eye is a photography community: "We are here to help and inspire each other in the pursuit of our passions, happiness and the unlimited potential of our dreams as photographers and as human beings. We believe that the simple act of sharing your joy with your camera can change the world for the better." It developed from its previous incarnation as Radiant Vista into a fuller, richer site including useful teaching tools such as the Daily Critique, Photo of the Week, Digital Darkroom, Foundation Concepts, and much more. I visit the site daily for new content and recommend it to all my photography students as a positive support system as they develop their skills. [more inside]
Labyrinths – not to be confused with mazes – are being rediscovered as tools for contemplation, meditation, reflection, and community well-being, as well as inspiration for architecture, music, dance, ritual, business, and visual art. [more inside]
Though it was eclipsed in press coverage by the repealing of DADT, congress congruently relaxed regulations on community based, Low Power FM radio stations. [more inside]
Better Than the Van - free places to stay for bands on tour. Sorta like Couchsurfing, but for travelling musicians.
bolo`bolo is a book about an anarchist utopia, the name of the utopia itself and the plural of that utopia's organizational unit - the bolo. ... Bolo`bolo is also a plan for a transformation from our current state, the planetary work-machine, to another social organization mode based on local organization and a microclimate of cultures that form the unit of social cohesion.
Tweets of Anarchy and Replying with the Enemy: A look at television showrunners' Twitter feeds by Myles McNutt.
The Birth of Sharing Law and the Rise of Co-ops - "A new sharing economy is emerging — but how does it fit within our legal system? Time for a whole new field of cooperation law." (via wc)
plsr. — an international photography showcase with dozens of options for filtering, or sorting by photographer, country, best rated, or most viewed. With links to the photographer's personal sites.
Every day, our world gets a little bit smaller and a lot more complex. So much so that even minor decisions can have major consequences. Not just for trees or frogs or polar bears, but for human lives, and livelihoods. At its core, sustainability is about people. The Living Principles for Design aim to guide purposeful action. It is a place to co-create, share and showcase best practices, tools, stories and ideas for enabling sustainable action across all design disciplines. [more inside]
Fifteen years ago this week, programmer Ron Britvich launched version 1.0 of Active Worlds. Started as an autonomous project of Worlds, Inc. (a spinoff of educational gamesmaker Knowledge Adventure), Active Worlds was one of the first and most ambitious attempts to create a 3D virtual community on the web. Built on the architecture of Britvich's Worlds Chat beta, Active Worlds debuted in the form of Alphaworld, a sunny green infinite plane open to public building. In its opening years Alphaworld experienced a land rush of construction, resulting in an anarchic starfish sprawl larger than the state of California. A sister company, Circle of Fire, was soon founded to craft additional themed hubs, and once individual ownership of worlds became possible the AW community spawned a veritable universe of hundreds of worlds. Although the company has seen its ups and downs since those heady times and its fortunes have slowly dwindled, the Active Worlds platform survives to this day. Look inside for a simple guide on how to log in to the (free) service, rundowns of the best worlds, links to essays analyzing the program's legacy, and other content summing up its venerable community. [more inside]
What if our economy was not built on competition? Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. [more inside]
The World's Strangest Housing Communities. Brazilian dystopia, mysterious Midgetville, mock California in China, deserted Taiwan futureland and Indian utopia [also Paulville - 100% Ron Paul Supporters].
As part of his Masters project at Ohio University, Francis Gardler created a series of ten video clips about photographer and teacher Dave LaBelle. In clip 5, Dave talks about the empathy and compassion needed to photograph other human beings. The title of the first clip: “Connecting The Eye With The Heart” sums up the series perfectly. [via] [more inside]
Michael Surtees latest photo experiment is called #walkingtoworktoday. The rules are simple and open to anyone—while walking to work take a photo. From there the photo needs to be pushed to Twitter via Flickr while containing the hashtag #walkingtoworktoday somewhere in the tile. But there wasn’t one dedicated space outside of Flickr to see the photos, and even then it was only seeing it through one medium—you didn’t get to see the tweets. So that’s why he decided there needed to be a site. Surtees created #walkingtoworktoday using Daylife tools that contained Flickr and Twitter moduals. The main modual streams photos from Flickr while the right rail shows the tweets. It’s an interesting redundancy that works.
Your new veggie garden. Early Saturday morning, you and about fifteen others turn up at a strangers home and get to work setting up a veggie garden using permaculture design principles. Once you've done this three times you can put your name on the list to have the horde come to your place. Permablitz began helping people create home food gardens in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, and the meme is spreading, first to other Australian cities, then to France, Uganda and the Netherlands. The veggie gardens are great, but perhaps even better is the way it is rebuilding the community relationships of mutual support that modern urban dwellers could be forgiven for thinking were gone 19th Century practise of barn raising.
"...for the scientific community, the most critical organ of the incentive system is the cycle of credit."
Just how credible is Wikipedia? While some have tested this empirically, others have chosen more dubious methodology. For a site that gives no credit to its post authors, one wonders, why even bother?
The Revolving Floor is a curated community of writers and artists, focused on finding creative ways to share diverse perspectives through creating content around shared topics. Every month, a new topic. Several times per week, a new post, each time by a different author. [via mefi projects]
Spacehack "A directory of ways to participate in space exploration. Interact and connect with the space community."
highDEAS: Unique ideas or insights generated while one is under the influence of cannabis that wouldn't have existed otherwise (like the one for this link)
Dude, wouldn't it be totally cool if there was an opposite microwave to cool tasty canned beverages in seconds? What if underwear had pockets? They'd be called Underawesomes! And don't you think ketchup packets should be bigger? Oh man, speaking of munchies, what if you had see-through fudge? You could see right through it! Dang, it would be rad if there was smokable tape you could use to repair your busted spliff, huh? But I mean, dude, there should like really be a website where stoners could post and discuss the ideas they get when they're super high. I'd call it highDEAS.
Rebuilding Something Better by Barack Obama: "this week, I'll be talking about how we give our workers the skills they need to compete... Part of this goal will be met by helping Americans better afford a college education. But part of it will also be strengthening our network of community colleges..." [more inside]
Touch screen. Awesome graphics. Online community. No, I'm not talking about the latest handheld device to hit the market, I'm talking about Control Data's PLATO system. [more inside]
Design You Trust is a design blog and community that allows public posting like MetaFilter. Recent posts that I found interesting include Diz Decor Vinyl Stickers and Tetris Furniture and A Man Among Bears. This is an active community with several daily posts to choose from. [some posts nsfw]
Communities of and for foodies. Foodbuzz is about dining out, cooking at home, discovering a new flavor, drooling over a food blog, or swapping recipes. Check out Today's Top 9, a daily feature. Chowhound is the community for Chow.com. Dozens of boards enable you to drill down to local favorites, like this request for live crawfish in Virginia. Both communities have very active memberships.
Like iScribble and Oekaki before it, DoInk.com is a place for people to create collaborative artwork online. The difference? It's for animation. [more inside]
New music service We Are Hunted aims to create charts of emerging music tracks. They aggregate the buzz from social networks, forums, music blogs, torrents, P2P networks and Twitter. In the artists section you can comment about what you're hearing.
Stories that Fly is a citizen media project that features a growing collection of digital stories about general aviation. The stories are contributed by student journalists, aviators, and interested community members and cover regional airports, events, and people in the Ohio aviation community.
Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to "the art" of rationality. It revolves around discussion of short essays. Less Wrong is a project of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute and a companion site to Overcoming Bias (previously; how to read). [more inside]
Behind The Rent Strike [YouTube playlist; six parts of 50ish min. documentary] Nick Broomfield's graduation piece, a documentary on the 14-month rent strike by the people of Kirkby New Town, near Liverpool, which began in late 1973 in response (it wasn't the only one) to the Heath government's Housing Finance Act. Broomfield gets plenty of insight from local people and examines the social conditions behind the events. Great viewing of good film-making and an opportunity for a bit of nostalgia if you're a viewer from round that way.
First libraries started loaning records, then toys, then films and games - now they're loaning out people. The Living Library Project allows members to hear people's stories not on the page, but in person.
The Photographic Dictionary defines words through the personal meaning found in each picture. M is for mask, E is for ephemeral, T is for twin, A if for alone.
Ernest Kirschner, a 61-year-old business owner from East Haddam, is among thousands of Connecticut residents who may become the new voice of Walmart. When the Benton, Ark.-based retailer formed its own "support group," the New England Customer Action Network, Kirschner signed up eagerly. "I would stick up for Wal-Mart as strong as I can," said Kirschner, a frequent shopper. "I really think they've gotten an unfair shake." Wal-Mart Forms Customer 'Support Group' To Counter Opponents [more inside]
Portland's got white ones, Austin has yellow ones, Vassar has them in pink. What are they? Community bikes. Colleges, universities, even whole cities are seeing the benefits of offering their students and citizens an alternative to cars, fossil fuels, and parking lots. Want to start a shared bike program in your community? Here's how. (previously)
"The amount of time it would take for the community to self-regulate -- I don't think it could sustain itself in the meantime. Anyway, I can't think of any successful online community where the nice, quiet, reasonable voices defeat the loud, angry ones on their own." —Ruling the global masses, one image at a time. The art of moderation as practiced by Heather Champ, Director of Community at Flickr. [more inside]
Blogs about India (from an expats perspective): Welcome to India! Namaste, Namaste... please come in and enjoy yourselves... you must've heard a lot about us, but you ain't seen nothing yet. [more inside]