Thursday, May 28, 2009

15 Sexist Vintage Ads

I really can't believe that some of these are real. Here are just 3 from the post on Oddee. Click here to be fully shocked and offended.

Thanks for the link Kathleen.

There have been a few stunners in recent years, usually from the UK and Europe. The controversial ads and banned add tags at the bottom of this post link to what I've posted about in the past. The ads from the past were blindly chauvinistic what is noticeable in more recent "banned" ads is the level of sexual violence.

The Vendor Client relationship - in real world situations

Eternal thanks to Kathleen for all the fun stuff she sends me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday May 27

I've been working on music again, first time in a long while and as a result I'm writing fewer words. In the past year I've tried to keep the blog more focused on essay writing and observations about culture and a repository of reposted stuff I find interesting. I'm still mulling it over as I decide how the bulk of my "spare" time gets allocated.

In the meantime, here is a very cool video. Magic & Fur, "Christine" directed by Duckeye.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Ford Fiesta Road Test

This may be the best Top Gear automotive review I've seen yet (and there are some great ones).

In a letter to the show a fan complained that the don't properly review cars anymore. Jeremy responds with a thorough review that includes a chase inside a shopping mall and a beach assault with the Royal Marine. Just goes to show you that anything can be exciting, if you handle it proper.

Mad props to Kid Cobra for flippin the switch.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Sherman Foundation Blog Celebrates its 3rd Anniversary

The Sherman Foundation blog was started on Memorial Day Weekend in 2006. I had decided to stay in the city (NYC) an relax by myself. I spent the entire weekend watching conspiracy theory documentaries online. By the end of the weekend, after seeing how much truly unique, brilliant, wacked-out stuff was out there, was convinced that I needed to add mine to the mix.

I would like to thank all of the people that have visited and read, particularly the people that have returned.

My favorite posts are listed in the sidebar under "the best of". The most read and commented-on posts are included below.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

The most viewed (listened to actually) and commented on post is Some loser douchbag's phone messages to a girl, an audio file of a guys voicemail messages to some girl. I believe these turned out to be staged.

The second most commented on post is One, the cover of u2's song. For leaking this I made #2 on Adweek's top viral video of 2006. I also recieved cease and desist papers from U2s record label, Universal. Original post: One... bank?

The third most read post is,
Eating Snickers may make you nuts, a 2006 post pointing out how shortsighted Snickers and their agency were for running a word based campaign ("Hungerectomy", "Substantialiscious" etc) and not doing SEO, keyword and url purchases.

Another widely circulated post was the Starbucks Caffeine Inhaler

Friday, May 22, 2009

10 things you didn't know about orgasm

Heather turned me on to this. Thanks for sending this along, I'm honored that the subject of orgasm makes you think of me. :)

From this years TED conference: "Bonk" author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious.

Happy Friday!

Past posts on the subject of sex.

Shermanism: Unmet Needs

I give great txt (Courtship Revisited)

Sunday is Unmet Needs Day

Unmet Needs: The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox

Dating and Disillusionment

Sleep is the New Sex

Scent, Birth Control and Women's Taste in Men

The Sexual Retrolution (Sponsored by Facebook)

Creativity and Sexual Selection

Non-Verbals: Love, Lust and Facial Expressions

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baby, Baby, Baby

Some things just compel you to watch. Props to my boy Tom M in Detroit.

Police Slog Through 40,000 Insipid Party Pics To Find Cause Of Dorm Fire

All hail King Friday for sending me the Onion video. What's odd is that, in addition to being a brilliant piece of social commentary, it isn't far off from some things that are being developed. From the TED conference, a demo of Photosynth.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Social Collider

Social Collider is a site that visualizes connections between twitter users and tweets by user name, phrase or trends.

About: The Social Collider reveals cross-connections between conversations on Twitter. With the Internet's promise of instant and absolute connectedness, two things appear to be curiously underrepresented: both temporal and lateral perspective of our data-trails. Yet the amount of data we are constantly producing provides a whole world of contexts, many of which can reveal astonishing relationships if only looked at through time.

Fuck you! Web2.0

My man, the legend, the Monkey Dawg, the HMS, Kerry Quinn had this posted on his Facebook page.

A great rant against Web 2.0 written in the style of the "fuck you" scene in the 25th Hour (starring Ed Norton). Whoever wrote this should have really recorded a video for this.

Well, fuck you, too. Fuck me, fuck you, fuck this whole Web2.0 sphere and everyone in it. Fuck the gazillion of blogs out there, ripping each other off and fighting for credit, while they write 10 bullshit posts a day, jamming up my feed reader with stuff that nobody wants to read and making pennies from Adsense advertisements. Fuck the “How to Blog” blogs and fuck all the “Top 10” posts. Fuck live blogging events, writing EVERYTHING that goes on stage and then have the guts to call it reporting. Fuck the Vlogs with the celebrity wannabes and their 15 minutes of fame needs. You are not fooling anyone!
Fuck the social media power users with their thousands and thousands of friends and fuck the self proclaimed social experts who charge you hundred of dollars for creating a linkbait article and posting it to digg, StumbleUpon, reddit or Mixx. Fuck all the bookmarking services and the social media news sites, with their attention deficit disorder users who can’t stay on one page for more than 30 seconds, and then claiming to be multitaskers living in a never ending developing era of the information superhighway age. Oh yeah, fuck the commenters on digg.

Fuck the social media power users with their thousands and thousands of friends and fuck the self proclaimed social experts who charge you hundred of dollars for creating a linkbait article and posting it to digg, StumbleUpon, reddit or Mixx. Fuck all the bookmarking services and the social media news sites, with their attention deficit disorder users who can’t stay on one page for more than 30 seconds, and then claiming to be multitaskers living in a never ending developing era of the information superhighway age. Oh yeah, fuck the commenters on digg.

Fuck the websites that call themselves social, just because users can post comments on their site, and fuck all the major brands that think they understand viral advertising, after they watched the 50 most viewed videos on YouTube. Just create good products, you morons! Fuck YouTube, vimeo, veoh, DailyMotion and MetaCafe. Fuck you all with your homemade bloopers, the how-to guides, the mashups to famous pieces, the funny pranks you did to your friends. Fuck all the lip-syncs to songs I never wanted to hear in the first place. It has no real meaning, it has no real value! Fuck Mentos and Diet Coke, fuck ninjas and pirates, fuck Numa Numa and OK GO, fuck Chuck Norris and Lolcats. I don’t wanna fucking have cheezburger! Fuck Internet memes. You are the real virus of our civilization.

This goes on for several more paragraphs. You can read it in its entirety here: Fuck you, Web2.0

Friday, May 08, 2009

Let's Play Lord of the Flies! (Participation = Destruction #3)

Recently a student intentionally placed a false quote in the Wikipedia bio of a composer who had just died to test whether mainstream journalists would use it as a primary source without fact checking its veracity. They did. Slashdot: Phony Wikipedia Entry Used By Worldwide Press)

A friend, Ollie, pointed me to some interesting comments made by a reader on slashdot comparing this failure to what took place with the mortgage bubble.
Note that this is the same type of failure as what happened in the mortgage bubble. Realtors and buyers and auditors were not actually determining the real value of the houses they were trading, but were merely checking to see what everyone else thought the value was. Most of the players (at least those with the most control) had an incentive to inflate the value. So the result was a spiral of home prices that rose far beyond the true value.

Now that the market has corrected and prices are closer to the actual value, all parties are crying foul and saying they don't want to have to "mark to market" or face foreclosure or bankruptcy for their inability to correctly determine the true value of their investments.

The increasingly ubiquitous network connectedness of people and the collapse of topdown structures of authority and credibility are related. The failures of leadership in government, media, journal and business (esp in the financial sector) have been visible abandonments of the responsibility of maintaining those social functions. Rules can only be cheated and violated so much before any game or agreed upon structure for interaction collapses into chaos. We've moved beyond cynicism to a widely recognized acceptance that there is no social or moral authority that structures and governs our lives. Everything is in play and up for grabs. There are no accepted legal and ethical certainties, only victories won with lobbyists, lawyers and handlers in the courts of law and public opinion.

The metaphor of laws as timeless principals written in stone seems so quaint and antiquated in this digital age where knowledge and data are constantly revised and the outcome for any situation or event comes from the unpredictable group dynamic generated by the power the individuals involved.

Look at rise in 'Lord of the Flies" tribal primitivism in the last decade. Reality shows that pit contestants against one another or are "last man standing" popularity contests. The obsessive drive to poll, judge and evaluate all things: what's in? who's hot? where are they now? The recent "Grading of the President" features on CNN is a good example. Look at how much consensus mechanics drive daily experiences and how much time and attention is given to "taking the pulse" and surveying opinion.

I am starting to wonder whether we might be getting too connected? Overexposed to the constant presence of the words, sounds and images of other people? Could adjustment issues be arising from this interconnectedness? A collective hypersensitivity that is resulting in anxieties over status, social heirarchy and pecking order?

The famous experiments by Dr. Calhoun on population density showed that the stress of overcrowding leads to violence, behavioral disturbances and even cannibalism in rat populations. Are we experiencing the psychic equivalent?

I'm not alone in my conjectures. Marshal Mcluhan's predictions on social behavior in the global village present a similar perspective.

Participation = Destruction (1 Billion Internet Users, The Tyranny of the Masses and the Death of Digital Culture)

Creative Surplus & Virtual Unemployment (Participation = Destruction)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Creative Surplus & Virtual Unemployment (Participation = Destruction)

Yesterday I watched The Hunt For Gollum a 40 minute prequel to the Lord of the Ring Trilogy. The film was made as a not-for-profit collaborative project by 150 volunteer enthusiasts. Fan films are nothing new but this is one of the most striking examples of non-monetized enthusiast creation to date. Although the film is being released for free on the internet, given the popularity and profile of the source material, Tolkien's books as well as the New Line Cinema films directed by Peter Jackson, this is sure to call attention to these kinds of increasingly complicated legal issues. The casting, costumes, sets and effects are remarkably spot on to the film trilogy. It looks and hence is experienced as part and in relation to those commercially released products.

One of the most fascinating and problematic things to emerge in the digital era is the enormous amount of unincentivized content production. There is a lively entrepreneurial spirit in the tech/media digital space but most of the content shared online is created out of pleasure, at people’s leisure and are labors of love.

The most common observation made about this is the awe-filled recognition of the enormous amount of passion on the part of so many people engaged in so much creative activity — blogging, fan videos, music mash-ups, digital photography — and sharing it without incentive or compensation.

What strikes me is how all of this creative work and potential represents a kind of unemployment (economically unutilized individual and social capacity). There is obviously a massive surplus of time, advanced skills and intelligence that is detached, unutilized and economically non-contributing. It's the digital/information age's version of unemployed youth wandering streets and burning off energy by vandelizing. It's energy and capacity that isn't directed in ways that have tangible shared value. I'm not saying those things don't have value, they massive intrinsic and shared value for a large number of people.

Here is the heart of this destructive paradox (the point at which participation = destruction). We have all these incredibly smart, tech savvy people that don't have a way to directly contribute towards the construction of shared, socially beneficial forms of value, the meeting of survival needs, the big heavy ones on the bottom of Maslow's Pyramid. At the same time they are engaged in creative, non-monetized efforts that are undermining existing business models and industries. Big ones. They've drawn audiences, undermined revenue models, drove down the value of content and reset expectations about what should and shouldn't be paid for. It wasn't as if rival industries sprung up, its simply an emergent effect of technology and people going about their lives and doing what they enjoy. But what's emerged are platforms of interaction that are off the grid economically, that suck juice and jobs from preexisting industries and economic structures.

The hope is that new economic structures, industries and jobs will emerge but in the meantime we live in this chaotic paradoxical world in which creativity runs wild against a backdrop of rising unemployment, foreclosures and economic collapse.

The Sherman Foundation "Our Side is Winning"

Participation = Destruction (1 Billion Internet Users, The Tyranny of the Masses and the Death of Digital Culture)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Participation = Destruction (1 Billion Internet Users, The Tyranny of the Masses and the Death of Digital Culture)

This week the internet surpassed 1 billion users worldwide. The passing of that milestone is a good place to mark something that has been on my mind. We can no longer think about digital culture as being something outside and apart from the mainstream. It has ceased to be an alternate to mainstream modes. Worse, it's culture is no longer defined by the quirky personalities of entrepreneurs, early adopters, geeks and tech enthusiasts. Even a year ago, it was still somewhat useful to think of people that lived a digital lifestyle. People that, through technology absorbed content differently and connected with others in different ways. The content and the conversations there were also very different. With smart mobile devices, laptops and connectivity becoming widespread and commonplace parts of our daily live those differences have dissolved.

Traditional media channels, mainstream brands and popular culture are now eagerly embracing digital technology and social media. Some, like the NYTimes have done a great job of integrating it with their traditional offering (although they continue to bleed cash) while CNN's obnoxious and clumsy use and references to iReporters, Twitter and blogging add to the combative opinion sharing that has come to replace reporting and journalism.

With the masses come many things. Foremost is a shift in tone, character and content from that of a niche subculture to one dominated and defined by the personalities, tastes interests of the collective mainstream. For people who have not yet participated in social media their point of introduction is very likely to be a traditional channel or brand like CNN, Ashton Kushner or Oprah. An emergent property of mass participation is the gravitational shift towards populist interests, values and preoccupations. Social media is turning out to be a channel ideally suited for the further ubiquitous spread of celebrity and tabloid culture. The ultimate direction and social function of these technologies is now out of the hands of a small community and is being driven by the unconscious motives and behavior of the masses.

The greatest impact will continue to be the failure of old models of media and communication that become increasingly less profitable and viable. The ones that do not fail outright are forced to become more sensationalistic to maintain audiences and stray from what it is that they are supposed to be doing in the first place. Television programming is a good example of this. Particularly news. Unfortunately the new technology and interaction modes aren't offering up very many viable new models, they're just destroying the old ones with more and more efficacy.

Historically, technology has come with utopian promises of change that it has failed to deliver in the hoped for or predicted way. Industrialization and automation were supposed to create abundance and leisure but today some of our greatest social challenges involve scarcity. Our personal lives are marked by over-work, "time famine" and sleep deprivation. In America, many people working full-time or multiple jobs are unable to provide for their family's basic needs.

The common championed belief is that digital tools and technology will democratize creativity, give voice and presence to individuals and enable the formation of communities around niche interests and points of view. The only indisputable observation one can make is how powerfully destructive these new technologies have been to traditional industries and social structures. Any claim to their ability to construct new and better alternatives would be premature. I am being to question, particularly as populist participation grows, whether modes of digital and virtual interaction tend toward a spirit of sharing and cooperation or are better suiting to pursuing self-interest and a tendency to devolve into squabble and antagonism. The biggest problems with comment threads is that they quickly stray off topic and devolve in precisely this manner.

Social media is stuck in a mode who's primary function is trying to manage the communications chaos that these news technologies have created and as a way to stage protest for disgruntled consumers who are now empowered to shoot back.

When it comes to the creation of new business models that support and sustain physical society we are failing. The ubiquity of communications and information technologies only seems to make this worse. The more powerful technology becomes, the less and fewer people are needed. The world's growing population is increasing the need for new roles of participation. Participation via communication doesn't count.

The interest in and embracing of digital and social media continues to be strong, which makes sense, who doesn't want to be on the side of inevitable change as we barrel towards and uncertain future. Whether or not change is on anyone's side can't be assured. What the preoccupation with popularity, status and influence — mass media and mainstream values — demonstrates to me is that there is a naive belief that it may be possible to attain the kind of glory that was once bestowed by traditional media and culture using the tools that are bringing about the destruction of the machinery that made that kind of glory possible in the first place.

I can't help but think of the sacking of Rome by barbarians. As violent as Rome's rule was, it provided structure and order. It organized the agricultural production and shipping lanes that feed much of the world. When Rome fell that order was destroyed and much of civilization fell into chaos, starvation and disease.

The invention of the printing press created disruptions that lasted well into the 1600s. Don't expect the chaos created from the changes happening in communications technology to stabilize anytime soon.

The deafening roar of the masses coming online might as well be the horns of Jericho bring down the walls. Right here, right now: Participation = Destruction.