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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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Internet as Art

A new report from the good people at Pew puts some numbers around the general trend of the internet being a place for pop art. I think this is one of those incredibly simple statements (blogs are art, flickr is art, links are art, and compendiums of these things are derivative works) that don't seem 100% obvious yet, but will.

The report is called, "Home Broadband Adoption 2006: Home broadband
adoption is going mainstream and that means user-generated content is
coming from all kinds of internet users".

Here's a snip from a news story about it:

Pew: Nearly 50 MM Americans Create Web Content

"There is an element of the Internet being the medium for creativity and the Internet being an outlet for creativity people bring to the Worldwide Web," according to the report. It considers blogging, Web site creation, contribution of work on Web pages or blogs and submissions of artwork, photos, stories or videos as user-generated online content.

Chicago Fingernail Graffitti

  Chicago Fingernail Graffitti 
  Originally uploaded by juggernautco.

California and Milwaukee

Cameraman Paul Douglas is my Final Straw

I really can't stop thinking about Paul Douglas, the CBS cameraman killed on Memorial Day in Iraq. He is a horribly typical victim of this worthless war.

Paul Douglas "had the broad shoulders and thick legs of an American football tight-end or British rugby lineman. But he was quick and agile, and could (and often did) run fast for long distances carrying heavy equipment", says Dan Rather. These are the best of us, our cream being taken.

Not An American

Paul was a tall, strapping Brit of African heritage, a great bear of a man with a smile as wide as the Thames. He looked like an athlete, and moved like one.

We started this war, and plenty of us are dying in it, but we're dragging regular Iraqis and a whole host of others down with us.

Paul Douglas died while he was making money. It seems all our modern diers seem to go that way, whether selling pizza in Israel or serving coffee at the top of the WTC or a marketplace bombing, killing is always economic.

God bless us all.

Dan Rather on His Colleagues Who are Dead and Injured

Dan Rather, a completely unappreciated newsman, recounts his work with two people who died and one who lay in critical condition. This war is taking many.

Remembering, With Respect

On the outskirts of the city, we had made our way through a maze of trenches, then through dense woods and finally to an overlook to record some heavy fighting. On the way back in, an opening along the backside of the hill, we heard the eerie, slight "woosh" of an arching, incoming shell.

We stopped, dropped and rolled trying for cover. There was none. The incoming ordinance hit the ground right in the midst of us, within a few feet of us. It hit with a thud and a sizzling, fizzling sound. Paul, with his sound gear still hanging on his neck and chest, rolled over and tried to cover me with his body as the weapon sizzled.

Lucky for all of us, it never exploded . For whatever reason, it turned out to be a dud.

We didn't stick around to find out why. Back at our partially bombed-out old downtown hotel, Paul and I shared an adult beverage and talked about what had happened. I asked him why he had done it.

826 CHI Prom: One Night of Magic

  826 CHI Prom: One Night of Magic 
  Originally uploaded by Admiral Moody.

Me & my baby @ yon prom.

Create a website for your small business

I will be teaching a class called "Create a website for your small business" at DevCorp North next month:

Learn how to create & maintain a professional website for yourself or your small business at DevCorp North, 1557 W. Howard Street.

This is a hands-on class where you will learn and do at the same time! This is an intensive course spread over 3 three hour classes. At the end, you will have your own website, webhost, email, and other web-based tools for growing your business. Learn tips & tricks for making a professional website for your business. All of the tools you will use in this class are web-based and inexpensive. Unlock the power of the internet for you and your business.
Course begins Wednesday May 31st, 6 – 9pm, and last for three weeks.
Computer lab, located at 1557 W. Howard Street, is available for practice most weekdays.
Registration only $40 for all 3 weeks.

Baghdad ER Dialogue

Excellent show.

Dialogue snippet:

Doctor: He shot you right there?
Wounded soldier: Yeah, and there was a kid two feet away from me.
Doctor (tending to wounds): You didn't shoot him back?
Wounded soldier (wincing): No. I was busy. I was laying on the ground, crying like a bitch.

Little People and Their Tools

It's been a great week for Science in the NYT. My favorite science writer, John Noble Wilford, and his colleagues have been filing tons of reports. Today was a look at the debate over the little people of the Indonesian island of Flores, who may or may not be a different species than home sapiens.
Quoted was my former antropology teacher:

Moreover, James L. Phillips, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a co-author of the new journal article, said the style and workmanship of tools found with the fossils were so advanced "that there is no way they were made by anyone other than Homo sapiens."

Brought me back to a large brick and concrete lecture hall where Dr. Phillips (who is not exactly tall himself) showed us how homo habilus made tools. He struck two stones against each other swiftly, flaking off the objects of great technological advance-- little blades of stone.

God bless us all.

Male Fear and Monkey Cuckolding: "Two Splits Between Human and Chimp Lines Suggested" (NYT)

There's an amazing story in the NYT this morning about new evidence in molecular biology supporting the idea that there was a hybrid species that rose after the split between chimp and human lineages. The  idea is that females of this hybrid species (which eventually led to humans) mated with males from the  chimp world since all the hybrid-style males were sterile.

Hybrid populations often go extinct because the males are sterile, Dr. Reich pointed out, so hybrid females may have mated with male chimps to produce viable offspring. The human lineage finally re-emerged from this hybrid population, Dr. Reich suggests, explaining the younger genetic dates, while the very early fossils with humanlike features may come from the earlier period before the hybridization.

David Page, a human geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the design of the new analysis was "really beautiful, with all the pieces of the puzzle laid out." Whether the hybridization will turn out to be the right solution to the puzzle remains to be seen, "but for the moment I can't think of a better explanation," he said.

These crucial events in early human evolution are hard to judge dispassionately, Dr. Page noted. "We'd like to have a more Victorian view of our genome," he said, "and this reminds us that we are really animals and gives us a glimpse of our past and of a story that we might like to have told in a different way."

Just wait til the neurological psychiatrists get a hold of this. It seems useful in explaining all sorts of irrational male fear.

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How I Use: NYT Anonymity Project

nytUPDATE, January 16, 2009: This post is good for finding out *why* I'm doing the NYT Anonymity Project, but it has the wrong methodology. See the NYT Anonymity Feed post for current method and NYT Anonymity Feed Yahoo! Pipe for current relevant excerpts from and links to articles that have information from an anonymous source.

Ever since the Jayson Blair fiasco at the New York Times, they changed their policy on granting anonymity to sources and explaining the reasons for that anonymity to readers. For a while now, readers have been routinely told why the Times believes a source is entitled to anonymity.

For a decades-long Times watcher like myself, I get a kick out of these subtle changes in the nature of my paper. Now, instead of just a plain-old "speaking on condition of anonymity" it is always followed up with a "because clause". Some of the because's are pretty lame (because they're scared of the person their talking about) and some are pretty funny (because it's illegal to talk about it) and others are personally treacherous (because the person they're talking about explicitly asked them not to).

So I decided to collect the more interesting reasons for extending anonymity at the NYT. I use two of my favorite, underutilized technologies. the first is NYT TimeSelect search, where I can get the complete text of everything published since 1981 for free just because I get home delivery. The other is Yahoo! My Web 2.0, where I can save and tag the pages with anonymity clauses for my own use and also annotate them with the text of the reason. The last thing I use is FeebBurner's BuzzBoost to automatically display the links, with the because clause, here on my weblog.

Here's some just from today:

God, I love the internet.

UPDATE: Get the nyt-anonymity rss feed here.


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.