Monthly Archives: May 2002

The next space tourist could be a member of a boyband, financed by a reality tv production deal.


I know the scientific merit of manned space exploration is debatable, but what about using reality TV to power science forward?

Big Brother 3 has just started here in the UK. People I regard as rational and intelligent individuals are in it’s thrall, anxious to get cable installed specifically to be able to watch the live, uninterrupted feeds of people not doing much of anything all day, everyday.

So, why not live uniterrrupted sponsored coverage of science? 24hr, massively mesmerising feeds of centrifuges spinning, cyclotrons humming, tokamaks and toruses ticking over. It would be great!

Pass the pringles someone, I think i just saw a neutrino flash…

» BBC News | SHOWBIZ | ‘N Sync star ‘fit’ for space

Yes, I think it’s that Alex Cox.

‘MPAA executive Fritz Allaway told Bobbie Johnson, “We have seen our future, and it is terrifying.” I – like a lot of other independent directors and producers – would like to see the future get much more terrifying for Fritz and his pals; with a radical reform of copyright and patent law, and a curbing of behemoths such as AOL/Time/Warner, News International/Fox and Vivendi/ Universal/UIP.

Corporate multinationals, wielding unchecked power, terrify me far more than kids with video cameras. In fact, the latter, such as the Norwegian schoolboy who cracked the DVD code, encourage me greatly: their resourcefulness and creativity – rather than the special pleading and restrictive practices of the MPAA – represent a possible bright future for our industry.’

» Monday May 27, 2002: Media Guardian: But who are the real pirates?

screengrabs of David Frost interviewing Simon Schama and Eric Hobsbawm on the BBC

Historians Simon Schama and Eric Hobsbawm interviewed by David Frost this past Sunday, were asked about the seeming current popularity of History programming and media in the UK.

SIMON SCHAMA: [in response to Frost’s assertion that “history is the newcookery”] It’s long simmered stew, it’s not fast food. I actually think that history has fed off the restlessness of cyber space, of kind of the frantic, segmented nature of the way we lead our lives. People want to be connected. They want to know where we are, who we are, it gives you a bit of moorings. It slows down time just a little bit, connects you to a longer reach of time. It’s like a, you know, I wouldn’t say it has a sedative effect – you don’t want people to go to sleep, it should be exciting as well – but it’s storytelling and argument, storytelling and thought, and it just does give us a longer span than a five minute segment in which we lead, seem to lead a lot of our life.

DAVID FROST: Eric, do you think that’s true? Do you think that history on television speaks to the restless souls?

ERIC HOBSBAWM: Yes I think it’s a protest against forgetting. I mean our society is geared to make us forget. It’s about today when we enjoy what we ought to; it’s about tomorrow when we have more things to buy, which are different; it’s about today when yesterday’s news is in the dustbin. But human beings don’t want to forget. It’s built in to them.

If you want to watch the programme – then it’s streamed for a week (until the next sunday’s programme) from the page below, where there is also a transcript:


Total whacked-out genius.

Let me then put it like this. I remember a political theorist I know in New York, Floyd Weintraub, saying to me, when Bush won in the way he did, that the Republic is strong.

You take the Jedi. They represent the American constitution, the laws of America. This is what Americans have. It is an affirmation of the Republic, and it’s saying, despite the idiocies of our culture and our imperialism, it’s an extraordinary kind of imperial epic.

And Jar-Jar Binks is Abraham Lincoln. I get it all now.

[* Tom Paulin is portrayed as “Tom Tortoise” on the ‘Adam & Joe’ show If you’re not in the UK, try and snaffle some copies of The A&J Show… it’s fantastic]

» BBC: Newsnight:Review: Star Wars Episode II – Attack Of The Clones

Intriguing to think that certain urban forms make certain digital formats more viable.

“For many skeptics, imode-type services will never take off in the U.S, for one simple reason: the car. In Japan, the ubiquitous mass transit system is often cited as a primary reason for imode’s success. The transit system creates a lifestyle full of “microniches” of time. There’s a lot of hanging around nearby bus, subway and train stations, usually waiting for friends or for transport. Imode and its competitors have filled this otherwise empty space with well-received services and cutting-edge handsets…”

» “Will Americans go for mLife?”