Monday, July 30

Late last week there was a lot of talk on Metafilter (via Megnut) about Bush's tax rebate not really being a rebate at all, but rather an advance payment on next year's refund. We told you about this back in June.
A majority of Canadians support restricting car use on smoggy days. Would we ever see support like this in America?

Sunday, July 29

Friday, July 27

Location for Opensewer 9 Cleveland has been announced. Go >>
Good news NYC people! Tiona has just confirmed the New York Opensewer date: Wednesday, August 8. More details >>

Thursday, July 26

Opensewer 9 starts tonight in Columbus. Wes has provided even more reading material with which to arm yourself before the meeting. Pick and choose as you please--there's too much there to read it all!
Corporate sponsorship of cities.
Senator John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina, has introduced to the Senate a bill called the “Location Privacy Protection Act.” This bill, if it were to become law would prevent any entity that gathers location information about you (via cell phone, PDA, vehicle navigation system, etc.) from using it beyond the purposes of the transaction for which it was generated. However, it doesn’t prevent the government from using the information as it pleases.

Wednesday, July 25

Tuesday, July 24

Another update: Thanks to Josh for some additional reading material on the American Dream topic for Opensewer 9. Good stuff!

Monday, July 23

This week there is an excellent article by Nancy Updike in the LA Weekly about the state of artist’s rights in America. Since we at OS deal with indy artists on a regular basis, we see many of these issues in action. According to Updike, many Americans view artists as “…weird, potentially dangerous people who often care less about money than is acceptable…”—and our national policy on copyright reflects this (via Metafilter).
Christopher Phillips has been promoting Socratic thought and organizing informal gatherings of philosophical inquiry for some time now. He first started gaining recognition back in 1998, before Opensewer even started, and since then has toured the country promoting “philosophy for the common man,” and written a book. His cause is similar to (though not exactly the same as) ours, and we greatly admire his efforts. You really must respect someone who decides to uproot himself and do this kind of thing full-time. Opensewer still operates “in the margins”—in the stolen moments that aren’t dedicated to life’s other necessary and unnecessary endeavors.

Whether you join an OS gathering, a Socrates CafĂ©, or delve into the meaning of things on your own, time spent looking inward is time well spent. Take a long, hard look at Christopher’s very well put together website,

Saturday, July 21

Friday, July 20

Trust no one.
Today in Salon: The Napster diaspora. "...the crackdown on Napster is now leading directly to the widespread adoption of alternatives that are less legally and technically vulnerable to the kind of attack that has hamstrung Napster." Grassroots--in action. Most of these alternatives have been out there for a while, and are already in use by people who spend a large percentage of their time on the internet. But now, with Napster down, everyone's learning to exploit peer-to-peer file sharing.

Thursday, July 19

NBC executives defend reality TV shows. Can you say the lowest common denominator?

In other news, after Chris and Luke were derided by the likes of us last year, someone on Metafilter today is actually, in a sense, congratulating them on their first sponsor. Yipes!

They Rule "aims to make some of the relationships of the elite of the US ruling- class visible". Track from a corporation to its board member and on out, to see who is actually ruling the world. Incredibly useful and done with a fabulous interface. And you can add notes and maps of your own. Gotta have flash, sorry. Very worth checking out.

For a quick example of how it works, click on "load map" and then click on the first one, the most popular, "pepsi vs. coke" to see just how snuggly close they are.

Wednesday, July 18

Since the Webby awards will be celebrating the internet today with uproarious glee, it’s probably a good day to remind ourselves of the digital divide:

Contrary to the utopic [sic] vision of the Internet creating markets without barriers, the bite of reality left fairly deep marks this weekend when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the consulting group Accenture presented their report to world leaders, revealing that that the vast majority of the world's population remain cut off from the economic benefits rendered by the Internet (Markets and Exchanges).

In another interesting wrinkle, it seems that the digital divide in America is not so much purely defined in terms of race and privilege—but also by differing levels of physical ability. For example, 74% of people with a walking problem have never used a computer. Sixty-four percent of people with hearing problems have never used a computer. Our spin on this: the internet does not accurately represent America, or the world—and we shouldn’t pretend that it does (because we do). Read the report >>>

Monday, July 16

Yes yes yes yes yes. My hope for humanity restored! Has the revolt against reality television begun?
This is utterly ridiculous.
I agree, Megan. And, if you’ll pardon me for blogging out of turn, I just want to give a little dose of flaming derision to Big Brother 2, the latest infection from the plague of reality television. This People-magazine Weekly-World-News rotten-cotton-candy shallow gossipy-blue-haired-old-lady National-Enquirer Entertainment-Tonight-style crap has—not zero—but negative socially redeeming value. Watching this stuff is like eating your own excrement. It’s like drinking a twelve pack of Colt 45 malt liquor in 10 minutes—ultimate brain cell destruction. It may be time to wage war against reality television. Of course, we’ll lose. In the long run, we’re all just animals. The tawdry, the mindless, the sensational—this stuff always wins. From dust we came and to dust we return. Why bother aspiring to anything great in between?
I am ashamed to live in a country where this just isn't a surprise.

Sunday, July 15

New sculptor Seth Augustine explores the relationship between industrial materials and natural forms.

Saturday, July 14

Did you see this article about traffic in USNews back in May? It’s pretty interesting. So is the New York Times forum where I found it. Username: opensewer. Password: iswatching.

Thursday, July 12

We're talking about banning soft money and we'll continue to talk about it until it's done... a long time from now.

Wednesday, July 11

Today is a day for art.

Here’s something nice: Inspired by this morning’s sale (for around $8.4 million) at Sotheby’s of a recently discovered Michelangelo sketch, the Guardian has produced a yummy bite-sized history of the highlights of the artist’s life, supported by oodles of interesting links. Spend half an hour there, if you can spare it.

FYI: We will be publishing a new artist on Opensewer this coming weekend.

Tuesday, July 10

More details for Opensewer 9 have been posted. Mark your calendars!

Monday, July 9

A study finds that votes of the poor are less likely to be counted. Sigh. (NY Times; Username: opensewer; Password: iswatching)

Friday, July 6

Um...sorry about the down time. We had some DNS problems on Wednesday and Thursday, but now everything is back to normal and happy. Additional details for Opensewer 9 will be posted this weekend, thank-you.

Wednesday, July 4

In a recent poll taken by Gallup, one in four Americans couldn’t correctly identify the country from which we declared our independence 225 years ago. One in six of our citizenry did not recognize the connection between July 4th and the birth of the United States. (Source: The Gallup Organization.)

In the first quarter of 2001, the Home Shopping Network offered an attractively-priced digital camera. They sold more than 20,000 in one day. A few days later, ten percent of these customers returned the camera dissatisfied, saying that they couldn’t find anywhere to load the film. (Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.)

Conclusion? We can rest, assured that Americans are smarter about their shopping habits than their history.

Monday, July 2

I am so glad that my television is watching me, that companies will know so much about me that they can give me only the advertising I need. Such a relief.
It's almost like they're playing a big joke on these wealthy patrons of the arts...and someday the artists are just going to yell, "Gotcha!" and walk away happily with all that cash (via Metafilter).