They Say the First is the Most Difficult to Make

John Baldessari‘s “The First $100,000 I Ever Made”, the first of three installations in the High Line Billboard art series.

Live and in person on 10th Avenue at West 18th St in Manhattan thru December 30th.

That’s Wilson on the bill, by the way.  …  … Woodrow Wilson.

[Photo by Bill Orcutt via Laughing Squid]

Yes, Affirmative

It’s easy to forget that humanity has been worried about the prospect of robots taking over for a while now.  Below, we have an image from a 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions:

Of course, as we know, the Robotic Uprising of the mid-90’s worked out a little differently…

[Image via Slate; Thanks, Pete!]

A Terabyte of Illegal Downloads

What is this tiny monolith and why is it worth 5 million dollars?

It’s a terabyte drive filled with illegal downloads.  There’s a bunch of software and games on it, but surprisingly(?) the bulk of the monetary value comes from books. By skipping the circus that likely would have followed if it were filled with Hollywood blockbusters, the piece clears the way for us to consider the question of Intellectual Property in an age where $5 million of it can fit on a $99 drive.

The twist here is that “5 Million Dollars 1 Terabyte” is on display at the online portal, Art404.   And since the artist, Manuel Palou, includes a full list of the files on the drive along with download links for them all, what you don’t see in the exhibit is the conceptually lurid cord hanging out the back.

Should money be the measure of who is granted access to tools, knowledge and culture that could be so easily shared?  No one is going to read 76 gigs of science text books, but what if they were all just online coming up in our search results instead of some blog?  Is there a business model that could avoid excluding so many from so much?

With SOPA in Congress, this is timely work inviting sorely needed questions.

[Wired UK via Hacker News]

A Day Without Buses in 1974

Soon after Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the agency recruited a small army of photographers to document the state of the natural environment in the United States.  The DOCUMERICA project collected over 20,000 photographs between 1971-1977  and along the way captured the state of American life itself, driving home the connection between the two.

The National Archives has digitized 15,000 of these images, selections of which can be found on Flickr or in their entirety through the Archival Research Catalog.

Your 70’s time machine awaits you…

(A D.C. parking lot during a bus strike in 1974 – Jim Pickerell/NARA)

[The Atlantic via Boing Boing]

You Can’t Handle the Cover

Time is running a new contest:  Speculate on their choice to run a different December 5th cover in the U.S.

The winner gets nothing.

Ape Con Myth’s entry will use phrases like “New World vs. Old World” and sum things up with something like “that cover will probably sell better in the U.S.”

Feel free to leave your own entries in the comments and we’ll pass them along.  First person to mention Occupy Wall Street also wins nothing.

[Time covers via @suckapants]


The Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park was dismantled last night and this afternoon a judge ruled that the protestors could no longer camp on the site, but the trumpets have been sounded and all parties are being called back to Re-Occupy.

Here’s your live stream of the action:

It might be a long night.  If that stream fails, check out for more.

Meanwhile, this Thursday will mark the two month anniversary of OWS and the recent round of raids is only going to redouble sentiment for November 17th’s International Day of Action.

Find out what’s happening in your neck of the woods and join in before you’ve really got nothing to lose.

No Real Than You Are

Score one for the world where something mysterious and wonderful can still wash up on the shore.
…  No, not oil.

Something wonderful…

Meet Ego Leonard.  Seen here in Sarasota, FL, this is his third appearance on the beaches of the world.  Check out Apt46 for more images and a theory on why he ended up in Florida this time.  Ape Con Myth just wants to stare at his picture a little longer and try to understand the impulse to vote him into public office.

[Image from Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Bonus: The terracotta chalk army that followed a few days later at the Sarasota Chalk Festival, via Prescription Art]

Try Something New: Join a Credit Union

This is just a reminder that tomorrow, the 5th of November, is Bank Transfer Day.

The idea is to drop your commercial bank and transfer your funds to a not-for-profit credit union.

But what is a credit union,  what’s the difference between a bank and a credit union, and why should you bother to change?

Who knows?

The Greatest Show Currently on Earth

This weekend you can go see a movie or go watch a little bit of history play out right in front of your eyes. Actually, there’s plenty of time to do both. You know where the movie theaters are, so here’s a directory of all the places currently being Occupied.  Somewhere in your town, there’s a good chance some people are out camping in tents to protest… the way of the world.

If you’re still wondering what Occupy Wall Street is all about, here’s an incredible cheat sheet…

(click image to get in close)

We work for the economics of scarcity despite living in a time of plenty.  At this point in history, competing for the necessities is unnecessary and, as such, barbaric.  It’s time for corporations to evolve from cyclops with an eye for money to creatures with the depth perception and humanity implied by their personhood.  We can’t all be the 1%, but there’s no reason their profit motive should dictate or endanger the lives and livelihoods of everyone else.

While you might take issue with any or all of OWS, there’s a 99% chance you’re in the same boat.  Go meet some fellow passengers.

[Chart by Rachel Schragis via Hyperallergic]

Corporate Voltron Forms Giant Ironic Bow-Tie

Whether you  think the world is too large and diverse to be controlled by a relatively small group of gigantic companies or assume that it’s not and they do, a small team in Zurich has finally done the work to find out.  The short of it?  It’s not and they do, sort of.  Here’s what it looks like:

What is that?  It’s 1,318 companies in 26 countries and their 12,191 links.  At the core of this network, the study found that 147 transnational corporations (TNCs) form a “super entity” with control over 40% of the economic value of all 43,060 TNCs in the world.

Who would be the tight-knit group at the core of a “giant bow-tie structure” of TNCs?  That’s right, financial institutions. It’s not really a surprise though.  Banks are financing this little tragic comedy we’ve got going on here. The goal of the study, The network of global corporate control (PDF), was not to unearth a conspiracy, but to confirm the existence of such an economic Voltron so that we might further assess it’s nature and potential risk to the global economy.  And considering the banks’ track record, it’s about time.

[via Boing Boing]
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