The Lists of 2011


The end of the year comes with the customary lists of the best and the worst that has happened over the course of the year. A selection of 2011…

Al Jazeera English: Al Jazeera top 10 2011
Android Police: All Android Police App Roundups From 2011 + Bonus: Tablet Apps
Big Think: 2011, The Year in Ideas
Bing: The Top 2011 Searches from Bing: A Year of Breakthroughs and Heartbreaks
CBC News: YouTube taps Maria Aragon, talking dog as top 2011 videos
Discover: Top 100 Stories of 2011
The Daily Climate: Climate coverage down again in 2011
Forbes: MF Global, American Airlines Top 2011’s Biggest Bankruptcies
Forbes/David DiSalvo: Ten Brain Science Studies from 2011 Worth Talking Abouts
ghacks: The Best Windows Software of 2011
The Globe and Mail: The Globe 100: The very best books of 2011
The Guardian/Charlie Brooker: A guide to the buzzwords of 2011
The Guardian: 2011: the year in data, journalism (and charts)
The Guardian: A dictionary of 2011
The Guardian: Bestselling books of 2011
IMDB: Most Popular Feature Films Released In 2011
Inside Social Games: Facebook Announces “Top” 2011 Games
MetaCritic: 25 Best PC Games
NatGeo: Ten Weirdest Life-forms of 2011: Editors’ Picks
TheNextWeb: Nielsen Reveals Top Digital Brands of 2011
NME: 2011 Reviewed – The Best Of Everything
NPR: Music And The Big Idea: The Top 5 Concept Albums Of 2011
NPR Music: Favorite New Artists Of 2011 with tracks to download
Paste Music: The 20 Best Cover Songs of 2011
Popular Science/MSNBC: 10 top inventions for 2011
Psychology Today/David DiSalvo: Ten Impressive Psychology Studies from 2011
Reuters: Whale sperm, orgasmic feet top 2011 bad science list
SciAm: The Top 10 Science Stories of 2011
SciAm: Duh! 11 Obvious Science Findings of 2011
Space.com: Year in Review: 2011 in Space Exploration
SPIN: SPIN’s 50 Best Albums of 2011
TheStar: The ABCs of 2011’s natural disasters
TheStar: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga top 2011 Twitter trends
Vancouver Sun: Layton’s death, Stanley cup riot among top 2011 Canadian news stories
Wikipedia: 2011 in film
Wired: Best of 2011: Pop Culture’s Tastiest Bits

More to follow through updates…

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (album cover)To commemorate the 2011 International Day of Peace, I thought it would be a nice idea to create a playlist that features all the songs of PJ Harvey‘s latest album Let England Shake. Its theme is war, so that makes it quite apposite for this day.

The album has generally garnered critical acclaim as well as PJ Harvey’s second Mercury Prize. Recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset with long time collaborator Flood who co-produced the album with PJ Harvey, John Parish and Mick Harvey. Let England Shake was also mixed by Flood.

It was also accompanied by twelve videos for all the songs which were made by photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy. The playlist below contains all those videos in the order in which the songs appear on the album.

The songs are, in order (the links open up the lyrics for each song from pjharvey.net):

Let England Shake
The Last Living Rose
The Glorious Land
The Words That Maketh Murder
All And Everyone
On Battleship Hill
England
In The Dark Places
Bitter Branches
Hanging In The Wire
Written On The Forehead
The Colour Of The Earth

The titles in bold above were released as singles and contained the ‘B-sides’ The Nightingale and The Guns Called Me Back Again respectively.

More: Interview video (The Guardian)

Edge: Jaron Lanier – The Local-Global Flip

Via Edge:

We used to think that information is power and that the personal computer enabled lives. But, according to Jaron Lanier, things changed about ten years ago. He cites Apple, Google, and Walmart as some of the reasons.

In a freewheeling hour-long conversation, Lanier touches on, and goes beyond the themes he launched in his influential 2006 Edge essay “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism.” What he terms “The Local-Global Flip” might be better expressed as “The Lanier Effect“.

Some excerpts from the transcript:

“The Apple idea is that instead of the personal computer model where people own their own information, and everybody can be a creator as well as a consumer, we’re moving towards this iPad, iPhone model where it’s not as adequate for media creation as the real media creation tools, and even though you can become a seller over the network, you have to pass through Apple’s gate to accept what you do, and your chances of doing well are very small, and it’s not a person to person thing, it’s a business through a hub, through Apple to others, and it doesn’t create a middle class, it creates a new kind of upper class. … Google has done something that might even be more destructive of the middle class, which is they’ve said, “Well, since Moore’s law makes computation really cheap, let’s just give away the computation, but keep the data.” And that’s a disaster.

… If we enter into the kind of world that Google likes, the world that Google wants, it’s a world where information is copied so much on the Internet that nobody knows where it came from anymore, so there can’t be any rights of authorship. However, you need a big search engine to even figure out what it is or find it. They want a lot of chaos that they can have an ability to undo. … when you have copying on a network, you throw out information because you lose the provenance, and then you need a search engine to figure it out again. That’s part of why Google can exist. Ah, the perversity of it all just gets to me.

… What Wal-Mart recognized is that information is power, and by using network information, you could consolidate extraordinary power, and so have information about what could be made where, when, what could be moved where, when, who would buy what, when for how much? By coalescing all of that, and reducing the unknowns, they were able to globalize their point of view so they were no longer a local player, but they essentially became their own market, and that’s what information can do. The use of networks can turn you from a local player in a larger system into your own global system.

… The reason this breaks is that there’s a local-global flip that happens. When you start to use an information network to concentrate information and therefore power, you benefit from a first arrival effect, and from some other common network effects that make it very hard for other people to come and grab your position. And this gets a little detailed, but it was very hard for somebody else to copy Wal-Mart once Wal-Mart had gathered all the information, because once they have the whole world aligned by the information in their server, they created essentially an expense or a risk for anybody to jump out of that system. That was very hard. … In a similar way, once you are a customer of Google’s ad network, the moment that you stop bidding for your keyword, you’re guaranteeing that your closest competitor will get it. It’s no longer just, “Well, I don’t know if I want this slot in the abstract, and who knows if a competitor or some entirely unrelated party will get it.” Instead, you have to hold on to your ground because suddenly every decision becomes strategic for you, and immediately. It creates a new kind of glue, or a new kind of stickiness achat cialis ordonnance.

… It can become such a bizarre system. What you have now is a system in which the Internet user becomes the product that is being sold to others, and what the product is, is the ability to be manipulated. It’s an anti-liberty system, and I know that the rhetoric around it is very contrary to that.

Visit the Edge site to read a response by Douglas Rushkoff.
Rushkoff also has a related piece at CNN: Are jobs obsolete?

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