Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lights out all over UK

31st October 2007
4pm to 5pm


On the evening of Wednesday 31st October 2007, all over Britain,
offices, shops, public buildings and homes are being asked to turn off
the lights for one precious hour of Climate Calm between 4pm and 5pm.

We hope that people will be playful, but stay safe, during BLACKOUT

Turn off the burn : switch off and unplug things you don't need for an

A Big Switch Off is a beacon of hope.

It's going to be a great collective moment of action on energy, and we
hope everyone can make a contribution. We are all connected together by
the electricity supply, the National Grid, and so its highly symbolic to
turn out the lights. Let's work together on energy waste !

We're not going to get dogmatic or nag, but to those Energy Wasters who
won't join in we say : 'What a waste of energy !'

Responding to Climate Change starts with thinking about the way we use
energy, and we hope that this Lights Out moment will help people to
think about the ways in which they can save energy.

Saving energy is so much cheaper than providing more energy as demand
goes up. We are constructing more clean energy systems, but it is taking
time and money to get this done. Energy conservation is still a very
good idea, that we need to put into practice.

BLACKOUT BRITAIN is not only about individual actions. We also want to
encourage people to think about ways in which their employers and Local
Authorities can save energy.

We also want people to show their support for sensible, practical
policies on the use of Carbon Energy in Britain, by getting involved in
the democratic processes of change.

Climate Change is a serious issue, and some people find it frightening
and depressing. This 31st October, we hope to dispel the inner gloom and
doom, whilst cutting our dependency on Carbon Energy.

For those people who feel unsafe to turn the lights out and unplug
equipment, you can do other things that are equally important.

For the average person, transport energy makes up a third of their use,
and heating energy makes up another third. So travelling less on 31st
October and using less heating and hot water is just as good as turning
the lights out.

And while you're not burning fuel, you don't need to sit alone in the
dark and do nothing. You can be doing other enjoyable things instead.

There are many fun and Carbon-free ways to enjoy the Feast of Playful
Darkness. Here are some of the things that our supporters are planning.
Feel free to join in or do your own thing. And do let us know what
you're up to :-


3 Minute Wonders Adventures in Recycling!

Watch the winning Three Minute Wonders Adventures in Recycling!

Back in March 2007 BRITDOC ran a competition for aspiring filmmakers to direct a "Three Minute Wonder" for Channel 4 on the subject of recycling.

Out of over 300 entries, 4 filmmakers were chosen, who used a range of
storytelling skills, from animation to archive to observational
documentary, to tell 4 very different recycling stories. Three of the
winning films were made by Shooters.

You can now watch the winning films on YouTube, visit

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"

Talk by Naomi Klein author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" given September 27, 2007 at Town Hall Seattle.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Flag animation

Very clever use of Flash animation to morph flags into different messages

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Viro Pop- excellent eco news Podcast

New Film from Big Noise Films

Big Noise will present previously unreleased video about military resistance to the Iraq war followed by a moderated teleconference in which students have the rare opportunity to speak directly with Ryan Johnson and Chris Teske - two former US soldiers who fled to Canada with their families. Ryan and Chris face long prison sentences if they return to the United States. DESERTER brings them home virtually to explain to the country they left behind their reasons for leaving.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pirate bay seeks island

The Pirate Bay is a website which gives access to copyrighted works such as hollywood movies. They have challenged the world ad won in many cases...now they search for their own island!

by Paul Glazowski on October 12, 2007
The Pirate Bay is continuing its search for an island to call its own. You have to hand it to brokep and the rest of the guys.

This is the team behind the most brazen (and arguably most chivalrous) anti-Big-Media effort known and celebrated by millions upon millions across the seven seas.

Not content with juggling raids, location shifts, development plans, and lots else, it is using what little free time it has to converse about such delicious things as its plans to continue searching for a solitary spot that it can call its own. With the help of a good sum of donations, of course.

Sealand Was A No Go

The Pirate Bay’s island shopping adventure seemed to come to a halt earlier this year when, upon inquiring about the possibility of the purchase of a purportedly sovereign piece of faux earth (if you can even call two pylons and a platform “earthly”), called Sealand, was met with staunch opposition by its proprietor(s).

And too bad, because those who had given funds to help pay for the “micro-nation” were promised automatic citizenship and the designation of “nobleman” or “noblewoman”.

Fortunately, however, those invested in the halted sale aren’t going to be seeing their green go to waste, promises brokep. TorrentFreak reports the man as saying: “The money will be spent on an island, but first…we need to focus on the upcoming court cases we have.”

Legal Cases To Win First

The Pirate Bay is currently pitted against the Swedish police, who, despite investigating the website for more than a year’s time, have only managed to keep hold of servers confiscated in a past raid; and they’ve also taken it upon themselves to pin just shy of a dozen media companies with the “attempted sabotage” of its trackers.

Clearly, brokep and clan have quite a bit on their plate right now, and it’s certainly worth getting to the conclusion of its bouts with Swedish authorities and Big Media before they resume their search for solitary bliss.

If all goes as is (supposedly) planned, the hunt for an isle of its own will be launched once again - in the foreseeable future. Apparently TPB is “on top of things, time-wise.”

I suppose it’s worth taking them at their word, too. After all, they are quite transparent for a rebel group, yes? That’s more than can be said of the forces they currently contest.

Paul Glazowski is a contributing author discussing the social networking world, his work can be found on Profy.com

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Surveillance system tracks faces on CCTV

Substitute the word Terrorist for protester and we can imagine what the state wants to monitor demonstrations.

British researchers say they have developed a new technology that will allow police to track suspicious individuals over CCTV more efficiently.

The system, which uses computer software to monitor and break down live television images, is able to track a moving face through a crowd.

Engineers at British defence company BAE Systems, which is working on the technology, claim it is even able to automatically follow a target even if they change their appearance by changing their clothes or hiding beneath a hat.

"Today the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance relies on a small, highly-trained team to identify and track suspicious individuals," said Andrew Cooke, project manager at BAE Systems.

"Automating elements of the system - and employing techniques to prevent suspects from throwing a team off their scent – enables a single operative to track multiple targets with as much, or even greater, precision than before."

The Integrated Surveillance of Crowded Areas for Public Security (Iscaps) project is part of a joint initiative with around Europe to develop security systems for potential deployment around the continent.

The scheme, which is partially funded by the European Commission, started just months before the London bombings in July 2005, which claimed 56 lives. CCTV pictures were crucial in identifying the bombers after the attack had taken place, but proved little help in preventing the actions of the bombers.

A Home Office study in 2005 found that CCTV was largely ineffective at preventing crime, but claimed much of the problems were due to lack of proper monitoring. Only half of surveillance control rooms were staffed for 24 hours a day.

The development comes as law enforcement officials step up their attempts to keep tabs on those suspected of terrorist offences.

The Guardian recently reported that intelligence agencies were using military aircraft to monitor targets and eavesdrop on their conversations. The Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, used by police to trace criminals targets from altitude, are now understood to being deployed in counter-terrorist operations under the command of RAF pilots.

Crystal singing bowl

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Adverts in online videos

We at undercurrents have been trying to work out a way of funding activists to produce videos and ethical adverts is one possibility. Google announced the inevitable recently- the addition of embedded video advertisements to YouTube.

Appropriately called InVideo ads, these will start to appear more and more in any videos you watch from now on.

The blogosphere has mixed results about the new feature; publishers are eager to make money off of their video offerings and users want a clean, uninterrupted experience.

Fortunately YouTube has decided against pre or post-roll ads citing evidence that viewers just don’t respond. Instead, as the name implies, the ads pop up in-video and only take up the bottom 20% of the player screen.

Clicking on the ad will pause the video and open another mini video player inside the one you are watching. Ad metrics are based on the percentage of the ad you get through and if you should leave within the first 15 seconds that doesn’t count as an impression.

There is already a Firefox extension called TubeStop to stop YouTube ads from even showing up, protecting the users patience as they take in all that YouTube has to offer.

There is only a certain amount of aggravation one can take in regards to advertising and InVideo ads certainly cross that threshold. This is why the YouTube ad experiment will ultimately be a failure

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Manufacturing Dissent

Star rating - (2)
Two Canadian documentarians chose the director of 'Farenheit 911' and 'Sicko' as their latest subject. ‘Manufacturing Dissent’ sets out to uncover the real Michael Moore by interviewing his critics, friends and former work colleagues. They find the obese political movie maker to be "a bit megalomaniacal at times, with a paranoid tinge." Rick Caine & Debbie Melnyk, both progressive liberals, have spent the summer promoting 'Manufacturing Dissent’ on Fox Tv and other right wing media across the USA. Their documentary is basically a Michael Moore style film about Michael Moore himself, as the obese movie maker spent months dodging requests to do a formal interview.

Intertwined amongst Caine & Melnyk being turfed out of Moores workshops or being stonewalled by his minders, the film makers highlight how Moore manipulated some scenes in his movies to create a more dramatic impact. In his defence however, by slightly altering reality, Moore has been highly successful in widening the appeal of documentaries to the wider public. Do the ends justify the means is the question the film makers failed to even contemplate let alone explore during their mission to '"separate fact, fiction and legend". The irony seems to be lost on them that by producing the largest grossing documentaries of all time, Moore has paved the way for 'Manufacturinthg Dissent' to be even considered by a distributor.

Manufacturing Dissent’ comes across as downright petty at times - Moore didn't pay his bills. He couldn't be trusted. He was mean to old men, He got rich. He got famous and so on. The movie digs up the (now very dated news) about Moore changing the chronology of some events portrayed in his movies. Now we learn that he has slightly embellished his personal history and are supposed to be shocked to learn that he actually enjoys his new celebratory lifestyle. But every cloud and all that. The success of Moores films has kick-started the Republicans documentary making business, even if mostly to rant against Moores view of the Iraq invasion and the Bush presidency. By the second half of the film the endless nit picking from some of the interviewees becomes sheer nonsense. We are expected to agree that Moore was mentally unhinged because he didn't agree with a chat show host comments that his first dramatic film, 'Canadian Bacon 'wasn't very good'.

The filmmakers go on to score an own goal by using the exact same techniques they criticise Moore for. Changing chronological details, faking events, and putting themselves in front of the camera to gatecrash events. The difference being of course- a fat campaigner in a baseball cap trying to bring down a President is much more entertaining than two middle class progressive liberals seeking 'truth'.

"Manufacturing Dissent" does provoke questions about why political documentaries are produced? Are they to entertain cola swiling audiences? To bolster the morale of campaigners? Produce a particular social change? or to enhance the film makers ego? These are the questions well worth exploring but sadly not none are answered in this movie.

Manufacturing Dissent is released on DVD on October 22nd