Posted by: Osmyn | May 16, 2008

What Happened Now – May 16, 2008


<<video of cup stacking>>Here’s World Cup-Stacking champ Steven Purugganan performing the difficult Cycle Stack<//video>>

Welcome to this week’s edition of What Happened Now, I’m your host, Osmyn, and today is May 16, 2008. 

Today we’ll talk about the new book Little Brother that just made the New York Times Kid’s Best Seller List, an underground graffiti trend called throwies, and some highlights from this year’s Webby Awards.

Cory Doctorow’s new book titled Little Brother is a young adult novel about a group of teenagers who are fed up with America’s post 9/11 infringements on civil liberties and decide to strike back to take down the Department of Homeland Security.

It has already become a best seller thanks in part to Corey’s involvement with the popular blog and ironically to the fact that the book available for free.

<<cut to website>>Cory has licensed the book under a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to download a pdf of the book, share it, and remix it.  There is also an unabridged audio book available for $20.  He says that obscurity is a bigger problem for an author than piracy, so it makes sense to create a viral marketing campaign to get more exposure for a book.  If people like what they skim from the ebook form, chances are they will buy the paper copy to read.<</cut>>

The book addresses current trends in America and around the world for the increasing police state growing under the banner of terrorism. Trends that include the growth in surveillance cameras taking pictures of people and ironically, the restrictions on people taking pictures of those same cameras or any public building.

<<cut to web>>The book has spawned a weekly HOW-TO series for resisting the current police state.  Recent topics include how to anonymize a digital photo – every camera has a noise signature that can tie all of its pictures to the camera and back to you – and how to encrypt a GMail.<</cut>>

Although I haven’t read the book yet, I have downloaded the eBook and intend to browse it soon.  Does all this talk about counter-culture make you want to go out and do some graffiti?  Well, if you do, do something cool and not permanent, like some Throwies.

LED Throwies were invented by Graffiti Research Labs back in 2006 and made the rounds at this year’s Maker faires.

<<web clip of using throwie>>They’re made from an LED, a 3v battery, and usually a rare-earth magnet all wrapped up in tape.  <</clip>>

A blog post on Dan’s Data has an interesting mash-up of throwies and networking – he envisions small solar powered Wi-Fi repeaters that could be thrown on roofs or attached to trees in the neighborhood to create a pirate Wi-Fi network.

Unfortunately the components are available yet for Dan’s idea, but we’ll be keeping it in mind.

Finally, the 12th annual Webby award’s were recently announced.  The award honors excellence on the internet and has over 100 categories.  Some of this year’s nominees:
• National Geographic Online with their wonderful photographs
• Post Secret with funny and disturbing anonymous revelations
• Ted.Com with inspired talks by the worlds greatest thinkers and dowers

I’m Osmyn, and thanks for … what’s that say?  Bill O’Reilly is going to play us out today?  What does that mean?




  1. Speaking of graffiti:

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