Hello! Here’s this week’s roundup of business, tech and creative news from across the Moving World! Many thanks to all who submitted links!
Sochi to me
Coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics have been accompanied by reports of intimate surveillance of guests, including journalists and athletes. This news piece broadcast by NBC, which starts with the ominous intro, “visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” has been viewed well over a million times. This over-sensationalised account relates to an incident which could happen almost anywhere in the world – if you’re the type who likes to click ‘yes’ to unfamiliar software. After the article caused allegations of fraudulent reporting, NBC tweeted “Unfortunately, the editing got the best of the story. Cut a lot of the technical/context details out.” Ah yes, ‘context .‘ It’s always getting in the way of a good story.
Wider reports on the Games have shed light on issues regarding homophobia present in Russia, which has led to many brands and affiliated broadcasters supporting gay rights in loud, proud and on brand ways. Channel 4 rebranded to support gay rights amongst their coverage of the games, Google showed support through their daily doodle and this site shows many other ways brands have shown their support.
Also at the games, despite many hotels and buildings not yet being completed (game of Sochi site or art installation, anyone?), the games are currently the home to the world’s first ‘selfie building’ designed by London based architect Asif Khan. The photo has an area for visitors’ faces to be scanned, before being blown up and realised through 11,000 mechanical actuators onto the facade of the MegaFon sponsored structure. Let’s hope no one gets knocked from their seat by a particularly pouty duckface.
If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. This is an ex-flappy bird.
The controversial bird has flapped its last flap, as the popular app Flappy Bird’s creator, Dong Nguyen, deleted the game he created in only three days, after realising it was an addictive product, stating “I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.” Nguyen stated in an interview (before the announcement) that the app was bringing in around $50,000 a day in advertising revenue – this will continue despite the applications removal.
The apps success is surprising, and Nguyen appears to have won the ‘app lottery’. The game was developed in two or three days and released in May 2013 – with no marketing or fanfare – before going viral in January this year entirely under its own steam. Despite this, Nguyen stated the deletion was due to his inability to ‘take this anymore’ and not due to legal reasons. Reuters, however, have suggested this may not be the case, reporting that two of Nguyen’s friends came to them saying Nintendo had sent him a warning letter, leading him to take it down before things went too far.
Fans of the simple but addictive game have gone into a bit of a flap since its removal. Despite the 50 million copies already in circulation, those without have had to resort to eBay, where phones boasting copies of the now deceased bird are reaching ridiculous sums from $300 to $90,000. Nguyen has also received death threats on Twitter. If you’re one of the flappy-fans that need to calm down, this game-poem version of the app may soothe you, or you could try reading some Flappy Bird Think Pieces. If that doesn’t work, there are a whole legion of clones where you can flap your way to satisfaction through taking on the form of a fish, jellyfish or even ironpants.
The Day We Fought Back
Yesterday, Tuesday 11th February, was the day we fought back against mass internet surveillance conducted by the NSA. More than 6000 sites including Reddit, Tumblr and Upworthy showed their support for the cause, through blacking out their websites and hosting banners to raise awareness of the online demonstration. The UK protested at 11:30 am with a thunderclap, supported by famous Twitter users and organisations such as Graham Linehan, Tom Watson MP, Liberty and Privacy International. By midday US time, it had culminated in over 47,000 calls and 101,000 emails sent to US congress.
Two years ago the largest online demonstration in history included many of the same websites coming together to protest against SOPA. Only two days afterwards, Congress had shelved the bills indefinitely. Activists are hoping ‘The Day We Fight Back’ will have the same effective outcome.
You May Have Missed
Radiohead release new game experience of The King of Limbs (link thanks to Nick)
Big data vs high tides – how open data is helping Venice manage seasonal flooding
NASA’s Curiosity Rover has taken the first picture of Earth and Moon from Mars
Dyson invests in London robotics lab at Imperial College (Link thanks to Mat)
Point Your iPhone at something you like, and Amazon’s new app buys it
Wozniak says cloud technology just isn’t safe from surveillance
Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web
Why Watson and Siri are not real AI
Jimmy Wales in ‘man not a billionaire’ shock
Microsoft’s search engine Bing is censoring Chinese language search results for users in the US
‘Publish rubbish’ or ‘perish’ – is this the year we broke the internet?
Selling products to help the world, all lies in consumer vanity
Bitcoin inflation visualised in Minecraft
“The ‘coffee’ you’re buying is considered the art”… it’s Dumb Starbucks