Powers of Ten: 1977 Short Film by Designers Ray & Charles Eames Gives Brilliant Tour of Universe

In 1977, Ray and Charles Eames, the famous LA designers, produced the short film Powers of Ten. The movie starts with a fixed point in Chicago, then zooms out into the universe by factors of ten. And, before too long, you find yourself 100 million light years away. Based on Kees Boeke's 1957 book, Cosmic View, the 10-minute film offers what amounts to a breathtaking tour of the universe. This clip was sent our way by Helena, who will get a free copy of the new Rolling Stones documentary, Stones in Exile.

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Mike Wallace and Bennett Cerf (Founder of Random House) Talk Censorship

Long before 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace hosted his own talk show, The Mike Wallace Interview (1957 - 1960), where he asked probing questions to celebrities of the day. The complete archive – now available via the University of Texas (access it here) – features interviews with Frank Lloyd WrightEleanor RooseveltSalvador DaliReinhold NiebuhrAldous Huxley, and Henry Kissinger, to name a few. In another notable interview, Wallace talked with Bennett Cerf (watch here), co-founder of the publishing giant Random House, and eventually the conversation turned to censorship. Cerf's comments date back more than 50 years, but the issue never really goes away. File under: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

WALLACE: Well, yet you say, one of the greatest threats facing book publishing and the entire country is censorship.

CERF: That's right.

WALLACE: What is the... Who does the censoring, and what is the motive of those who censor?

CERF: Well, now that would take a lot of exploration Mike. I think there are an awful lot of people in this country, who are not satisfied to govern themselves and their own families. Or the people who belong to the same cult that they do, but who have taken upon themselves, to tell everybody else what they should read, what they should see, and what they should think.

WALLACE: For what reason do they do it?

CERF: I guess, they think it will make them more sure of getting to heaven. I don't know why they do it. I think they're selling short, the good taste of the American public.

WALLACE: Who are these people, who would like to inflict this kind of censorship upon the American public? What are the groups?

CERF: Self-appointed snoop hounds.

WALLACE: Such as... such as...

CERF: They come from all... walks of life, er... in all the way back to colonial days, and in times of the Puritans. There were people who were telling others, what they most think, how they must behave, and what their morals must be. These people cannot resist butting in.

via Richard S.

US Government Opens Tech/Culture

Today's ruling is bound to get a lot of buzz, but probably for the wrong reasons. According to new rules set forth by The Library of Congress (which oversees the Copyright Office), iPhone owners can now legally "jailbreak" their device and download software that Apple/AT&T disapproves of. That will get the headlines. But we shouldn't lose sight of this: This far-reaching ruling goes well beyond the iPhone itself and also allows (among other things) "college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos." (The quoted material comes from the AP, not the ruling itself). In short, these new guidelines give consumers greater latitude to decide how they want to use computers, gadgets and media they've purchased.  And they clear up some legal murkiness that has surrounded these issues, particularly within universities, for some time. A good day for government ... and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which pushed for these protections.

PS Does this still mean that Apple can void your warranty if you jailbreak your iPhone? I'm not sure whether that goes away or not...

What is WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks has done it again. This weekend, the whistle-blowing website released 92,000 military documents that vividly illustrate why the US military campaign in Afghanistan has achieved so little success. Among other things, the release shines a light on Pakistan's intelligence apparatus, which has provided strategic support to the Taliban, helping it coordinate attacks against US troops and assassinate Afghani leaders. (Meanwhile, Pakistan officially claims to be an ally of the US.) The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, called this release "the nearest analogue to the Pentagon Papers" published during the Vietnam War. "It provides a whole map, if you like, through time, of what has happened during this war."

This is not the first time that WikiLeaks has made news lately. In April, the site released footage showing US troops launching a seemingly unjustified air strike in Iraq, killing 12 people, including 2 Reuters journalists. (Click here and scroll to bottom for video.) And last year, WikiLeaks helped get "Climategate" rolling when it published memos from climate scientists – memos that gave conservatives ammo to argue that global warming is a fiction.

So what is WikiLeaks all about? On July 14, NPR's Fresh Air interviewed Philip Shenon, an investigative reporter previously at the New York Times, and now contributing to The Daily Beast. During the 35 minute conversation, they enter the secret world of WikiLeaks and answer your questions. You can stream the interview here, grab it on iTunes, or listen below.

[gplayer href="http://public.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/fa/2010/07/20100714_fa_01.mp3" ] [/gplayer]

Sources for this post: The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian

The Rolling Stones in Exile (Win a Free DVD)


In 1971, The Rolling Stones went into voluntary exile. They left Britain and its 93% taxes (applied to the super wealthy) and headed to a big villa on the French Riviera, where they hunkered down with family, friends and intoxicants and began recording their 10th studio album, Exile on Main Street. (Keith Richards talks more about that stint here.) Critics were initially cool to the album. But, with 40 years' hindsight, it's now widely considered their masterpiece.

This past spring, the band issued a remastered version of Exile on Main Street (CD - MP3), and, along with it, came a new documentary Stones in Exile, which uses archival material and interviews with band members to revisit the band's sojourn in France and the making of their landmark album. Stones in Exile is now available on DVD, and happily I have one review copy to give away. It will go to the first reader who sends us a piece of open/intelligent media that we post on the site. If you spot some great audio or video (they type of thing we usually post here) send it our way with this form. We'll announce the winner when we share your great find.

(Note: this DVD probably doesn't work on DVD players outside of North America.)

Daniel Schorr’s Introduction to Twitter

Daniel Schorr, a legendary journalist who made his mark during the Watergate era, died today at age 93. Throughout the past several decades, Schorr never learned to use computers or word processors. Rather, he stuck with his trusty typewriter. But, when Twitter took off last year, he wasn't averse to giving it a try. Above, Schorr gets his introduction to Twitter and starts his account.

Let me also flag two items for you: You can read Schorr's very first article as a reporter, which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor way back in May 1948. Also, NPR (where Schorr reported during his final years), has dug up an unexpected piece: Frank Zappa inviting Schorr on stage to deliver a political message and sing a few lines. Good stuff. RIP Mr. Schorr.

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BBC Launches World Music Archive

Today, the BBC has unveiled a new archive of world music, allowing you to sample the musical traditions of more than 40 countries. India, Corsica, China, CubaIranBrazil, Mozambique, Turkey – they're all represented in this eclectic collection of indigenous music. Often assuming a fair amount of risk, BBC 3 traveled to each country (including several conflict zones) to record the music. But it pays off when you get to hear the little known music coming out of North Korea, for example. Featuring 100s of hours of free recordings, this archive is now available to a global audience. You can start exploring right here, right now.

Related Content:

Introducing the Free Music Archive

via NZHerald and @freemusicarchiv

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