Stinking badges

Lessig has written books, fought court battles, and given talks that hinge on the idea that creativity always builds on the past. It makes for a good soundbite and anyone that’s had an art class has probably agreed, but I don’t know if most people buy the argument at its core.

While this is a somewhat silly example, the Stinking Badges Home Page shows you how far a throwaway line in an old book can go. It seems like a reoccurring joke in every western and cop show and it’s still going strong.

Fixing the wheel all over again

Michael’s idea for social network software the allows you to privately message strangers in your proximity sounds like a useful application of future technology. Imagine a super bluetooth that could beam messages to people hundreds of feet away, in moving vehicles for later retrieval. When you think about it, it sounds like we’re only a few years from this being common, if that long.

Then I thought about it some more, and it seems like we’d have to address all the problems we haven’t solved in years of online communites. The potential problems in this offline networking would be similar to public comments on movable type blogs or postings on public telephone poles.

There’d definitely be a spam problem if every pyramid scheming neighbor could drop a note in your virtual inbox as you drove past. Heck, legit businesses would love this, imagine every time you passed a McDonalds and they tried to beam you a 50 cent off coupon. You might even have people paid to drive around and flood everyone’s inbox with advertising. Then you’d get white listing like, with perhaps a challenge/response system to let normal folks leave you a virtual note. Driving your car might become the new friendster as everyone around you starts getting inundated with pickup lines from creepy drivers.

It seems like every cool new technology idea has to overcome what drags down older forms. Or maybe we just move on to new ideas hoping the old problems won’t catch up with us.

Recently consumed media

Some stuff I’ve been enjoying lately:

Nellie McKay – I don’t know how to describe this. It’s kind of like if Ani DiFranco was a nightclub singer. A mixture of piano and witty, biting vocals from a 19 year-old mixed into lounge songs that defy current music. I doubt there’s a radio station out there tailored to this kind of stuff (aside from NPR), so I guess buy her stuff and see her live. I don’t know if I love this because it’s really amazing or if it’s just because it’s so different. Call it Piano Bar-core, Alterna-jazz, or just plain good stuff.

Citizens Here and Abroad – One of the few CDs that contains music I was familiar with before it became a released CD. After hearing all these songs 4-5 times live over the past year, I kinda liked the final mix that ended up on the disc, the vocals and xylophone are up, the drums are down. I kinda miss Chris‘ hard hitting percussion, but then that’s why you see bands live in the first place. Be sure to catch them on their upcoming tour.

Fog of War – Saw this the other day for the first time. After hearing so much about it, I thought McNamara would be more candid and open than he was, but he was open about his mistakes and lessons if you compare him to most people in the political spotlight. Though in all his admissions of wrongdoing it felt like he was still hiding quite a bit. The lessons in the movie are pretty timeless and I’d say the Clinton White House missed just as many of these as the Bush White Houses, but hopefully the lessons are learned by the powers that be going forward.

The new Get Up Kids album is being pimped on the iTunes music store, but you can buy it for ten bucks without any DRM of any kind at audiolunchbox (as MP3 or ogg, your choice). I also picked up the Wrens there for nine bucks. Damn, they have a lot of labels at audiolunchbox. Even Citizens is there if you want it instantly.