Movies

Men's Rights Activists Call For Boycott of Mad Max: Fury Road 776

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-much-time-on-your-hands dept.
ideonexus writes: Aaron Clarey, author of the blog Return of Kings and prominent figure in the Men's Rights Movement, is calling for a boycott of George Miller's new edition to the Mad Max franchise "Mad Max: Fury Road," calling the film a "Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things..." and citing the fact that "Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler was brought in to coach the actresses on playing sex slaves who escape a warlord's possession. Critics have been applauding the film, which currently scores 98% on RottenTomatoes.
Sci-Fi

On the Taxonomy of Sci-Fi Spaceships 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-classy dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Jeff Venancio has done some research that's perfect reading for a lazy Saturday afternoon: figuring out a coherent taxonomy for sci-fi spaceships. If you're a sci-fi fan, you've doubtless heard or read references to a particular starship's "class" fairly often. There are flagships and capital ships, cruisers and corvettes, battleships and destroyers. But what does that all mean? Well, there's not always consistency, but a lot of it comes from Earth's naval history. "The word 'corvette' comes from the Dutch word corf, which means 'small ship,' and indeed corvettes are historically the smallest class of rated warship (a rating system used by the British Royal Navy in the sailing age, basically referring to the amount of men/guns on the vessel and its relative size; corvettes were of the sixth and smallest rate). ... They were usually used for escorting convoys and patrolling waters, especially in places where larger ships would be unnecessary."

Venancio takes the historical context for each ship type and then explains how it's been adapted for a sci-context. "Corvettes might be outfitted to have some sort of stealth or cloaking system for reconnaissance or spec ops missions; naturally it would be easier to cloak a smaller ship than a larger one (though plenty of examples of large stealth ships exist). In some series they are likely to be diplomatic vessels due to their small size and speed, particularly seen in Star Wars, and can commonly act as blockade runners (again; their small size and speed makes them ideal for slipping through a blockade, where a larger ship presents more of a target)."
Canada

Canadian Prime Minister To Music Lobby: Here's Your Copyright Term Extension 121

Posted by timothy
from the plenty-more-where-that-came-from dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government's decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings in the budget may have taken most copyright observers by surprise, but not the music industry. The extension will reduce competition, increase costs for consumers, and harm access to Canadian Heritage, but apparently all it took was a letter from the music industry lobby to the Prime Minister of Canada. Michael Geist reports on a letter sent by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the music lobby on the day the change was announced confirming that industry lobbying convinced him to extend the term of copyright without any public consultation or discussion.
Stats

How MMO Design Has Improved Bar Trivia 22

Posted by timothy
from the want-to-double-down-on-greasy-bar-food? dept.
Polygon.com features a look at how (very) different computer game worlds can meet, in the form of game designer Ralph Koster's Kitchen Disasters-style rescue effort to revive a game quite unlike the ones he's famous for designing, like Ultima Online. Bar-trivia provider Buzztime has been putting electronic trivia games into bars for three decades -- and in that time, the number of options available to potential players has jumped. Bar trivia has crept into the domain of things like vinyl-based juke-boxes: not without appeal, but not exactly modern. Koster has tried to apply modern game design paradigms and objectives, and revamped the game: Koster's Jackpot Trivia is now being introduced in a few hundred locations. Buzztime operates in around 4,000 bars and restaurants, but already the new addition has increased game usage by 15 percent. Much of the improvements came from Koster's experiences of making and playing MMOs, and on the MMO's influence on all games. "These days, a lot of the qualities of MMOs are popping up on everything from social media to systems that sit outside and on top of games, like everything around Xbox Live and Steam," he says. The re-vamp means, for Buzztime, better matching of opponents, as part of an overall redesign of incentives and risks: players have also gotten finer-grained control over their plays, by being able to assign weight to their answers: that means they can guess with less penalty when answers are tough, or take advantage of confidence in knowledge about a category in which they're strong.
Music

What Happens To Our Musical Taste As We Age? 361

Posted by timothy
from the it-gets-righter-of-course dept.
An anonymous reader writes: New research from Spotify and Echo Nest reveals that people start off listening to chart-topping pop music and branch off into all kinds of territory in their teens and early 20s, before their musical tastes start to calcify and become more rigid by their mid-30s. "Men, it turns out, give up popular music much more quickly than women. Men and women have similar musical listening tendencies through their teens, but men start shunning mainstream artists much sooner than women and to a greater degree."
Television

Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million 214

Posted by timothy
from the folding-up-money dept.
Actor Harry Shearer, perhaps best known as the voice of several characters on The Simpsons, including that of Montgomery Burns, will be leaving the show's cast, according to CNN. Showrunner Al Jean said Shearer was "offered the same deal as the rest of the cast, but turned it down." ... Shearer is not just walking away from Springfield, but also a large sum of money. The actor was offered a guaranteed $14 million for two years of work, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter. The proposed deal also allowed for him to do other projects if he wished." That last part, though, seems to be in dispute, and central to Shearer's decision to leave; Shearer tweeted that it's because he "wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."
Star Wars Prequels

Rediscovered Lucas-Commissioned Short "Black Angel" Released On YouTube 121

Posted by timothy
from the low-budget-high-value dept.
eldavojohn writes: Youtube now offers Black Angel, a short film shown in UK theaters before ESB. What was once thought lost is now found; enjoy. This may be the best half-hour you spend today, even if you must "set your clocks back 34 years," as writer and director Roger Christian advises. (Christian is also known for directing 2000's Battlefield Earth .)
Piracy

Film Consortium Urges ISPs To Dump Ineffective "Six Strikes" Policy For Pirates 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the pluggin-the-sieve dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Internet Security Task Force, a group of businesses working to protect content creators and consumers from the negative effects of piracy, has called for an end to the Copyright Alert System, saying the anti-piracy initiative is not only ineffective but actually makes things worse. The group suggest that it be replaced with a new system based on Canada's Copyright Modernization Act. Mark Gill, ISTF chairman and President of member company Millennium films, says "We've always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective, as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it's a sham." The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is set to expire early July.
Music

The Music Industry's Latest Shortsighted Plan: Killing Freemium Services 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-we-get-rid-of-all-the-cars-and-bikes,-our-catapult-business-will-take-off dept.
An anonymous reader notes that there have been rumblings in the music industry of trying to shut down freemium services like Spotify's free tier and YouTube's swath of free music. The record labels have realized that music downloads are gradually giving way to streaming, and they're angling for as a big a slice of that revenue as they can manage. The article argues that they're making the same mistake they always make: that converting freemium site listeners (in the past, music pirates) to subscription services will be a 1:1 transfer, and no listeners will be lost in the process. Of course, that's no more true now than it was a decade ago. But in doing trying to do so, the labels will do harm to the artists they represent, and shoot themselves in the foot for acquiring future customers by getting rid of several major sources of music discovery.
DRM

Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371

Posted by timothy
from the chinese-finger-trap dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.
Businesses

How Spotify Can Become Profitable 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-cash dept.
journovampire writes: Spotify just posted another big net loss, but it can become profitable with some specific changes according to one analyst. He suggests the following three options: Cut royalty costs to the music industry, freeze expenditure year-on-year, and what seems like the least likely option, somehow make free users pay $1 every three months. He points out: "if Spotify’s current free user base just paid €1/£1/$1 every three months, it would be a profitable company."
Windows

What Might Have Happened To Windows Media Center 198

Posted by timothy
from the does-both-more-and-less-than-I-realized dept.
Phopojijo writes: Microsoft has officially dropped Windows Media Center but, for a time, it looked like Microsoft was designing both Windows and the Xbox around it. That changed when Vista imploded and the new leadership took Windows in a different direction. Meanwhile, Valve Software and others appear to be tiptoeing into the space that Microsoft sprinted away from.
Businesses

Counter-Strike Finally Gets the League It Deserves 113

Posted by timothy
from the your-boy-zoolander's-on-the-move dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Counter-Strike is the oldest eSport in the world today, with its roots stretching back to the dawn of the millennium. But unlike rival games like League of Legends or StarCraft 2, its pro scene has been mostly reliant on sporadic tournaments instead of a regularised league. That's changed with the announcement of the ESL ESEA Pro League, the first Counter-Strike Global Offensive league with a seven-figure prize pot. As one writer points out, this is a huge boost for the pro scene even without developer Valve's involvement: everything from paid travel expenses to regular viewing schedules will help the scene, and let the top players play even better than before: "it has taken over 15 years to happen, but now Counter-Strike has a tournament that can potentially elevate it to become one of the biggest eSports in the world."
Piracy

Grooveshark Resurrected Out of US Jurisdiction 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-for-another-listen dept.
New submitter khoonirobo writes: Less than a week after music streaming service Grooveshark was shut down, it seems to have been brought back to life by an unknown person "connected to the original grooveshark" according to this BGR report. Seemingly, the plan is to get away with it by registering and hosting it outside of U.S. jurisdiction. From the article: "It’s still in the early stages of development, but the team hopes to reproduce the old Grooveshark UI in its entirety, including playlists and favorites."
Businesses

Apple Gets Antitrust Scrutiny Over Music Deals 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the apple-a-day-keeps-the-competition-at-bay dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is probing Apple after its acquisition of Beats Electronics, and its various deals with record labels to sell music through the iTunes store. As part of the acquisition, Apple now owns the music streaming service created by Beats, and they're planning to release a new version sometime soon. This makes their ties to the record labels, already deep because of iTunes, even stronger — and could affect the labels' relationships with other streaming services, like Spotify. Investigators want to know if Apple is using these business deals as leverage for "curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates."