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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Muppets: Ringing of the Bells

Is the Internet making us stupid?

Us of the Internet, including texting, e-mail, instant messaging, scanning for articles, scanning articles, choosing video over print and the ability to shift on a dime and be onto something new is fundamentally changing the way our brains operate.

"Neuroscientists and psychologists have discovered that, even as adults, our brains are very plastic," Carr explains. "They're very malleable, they adapt at the cellular level to whatever we happen to be doing. And so the more time we spend surfing, and skimming, and scanning ... the more adept we become at that mode of thinking." that's according to Nicholas Carr is the author of the Atlantic article Is Google Making Us Stupid? which he has expanded into a book: "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains." 

Online reading lowers out attention spans, our ability to connect complex thoughts over an established case study basis, through complex argumentation and rational or logical progression. We want instant response when that is not how the world or truth function. Patience and the ability to stay to a project are fading.

But this all could be a part of a natural curve of evolution. Carr admits he's something of a fatalist when it comes to technology. He views the advent of the Internet as "not just technological progress but a form of human regress."

In an interview with NPR he says our human ancestors had to stay alert and shift their attention all the time; cavemen who got too wrapped up in their cave paintings just didn't survive. Carr acknowledges that prolonged, solitary thought is not the natural human state, but rather "an aberration in the great sweep of intellectual history that really just emerged with [the] technology of the printed page."
The Internet, Carr laments, simply returns us to our "natural state of distractedness."

Kindles, iPads and Movies, Oh My!

Microsoft will use the International CES in January to launch a tablet computer, according to an blog post. CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly will trot out an array of devices from Samsung, Dell and other manufacturers in hopes of tackling the iPad. The news came as Goldman Sachs issued a report predicting tablets will replace PCs at a much faster rate than previously forecast. blog (12/13) , (12/13) , InformationWeek (12/13).

Amazon's Kindle is the company's "most-gifted item," the company said Monday. Consumers bought millions of the e-readers in the first 73 days of this quarter, surpassing all of last year's sales, the company said. The company doesn't reveal exact figures, but one analyst projects that Amazon will sell 5 million Kindles this year and more than 8 million in 2011. Digital Trends (12/13)

U.S. Internet use has grown 121% during the past five years and now is, according to a study by Forrester Research, on par with TV use. Americans spend about 13 hours a week watching broadcast TV and the same amount of time online, the study reported, adding that 33% of those surveyed use the Internet to watch video. blog (12/13) , MediaPost Communications/Online Media Daily (12/13)

Tweet on Golden Globe Rejection

Mickey Rourke
Not receiving a Golden Globe nomination is like not being molested by your stepfather. You feel grateful but yet slightly rejected.

Tired of trashing "Liberals", "the Right", "the Tea Party": JUST SAY NO!

width="120"Yesterday, the “No Labels” movement was launched and then roundly attacked from all sides. Its purpose: to call people back to core American beliefs and productive engagement in public life and politics. Their tagline: “Not Left. Not Right. Forward.” The knee-jerk attacks just go to prove the movement is sorely needed. Here's why.

Over 1,100 people attended the No Labels kick-off yesterday in New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the way. He was joined by a cadre of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. No sooner than the event began, criticisms started to pile up. Some decried No Labels as a “giant, self-parodying prank,” others said, “No Labels = No Ideas,” while still others argued that politics without labels is, well… not politics.

It’s true that labels play an essential role in life as they help us make sense of the world. But they also add to people's dissonance when they become misleading, confusing and fool with people's very reality. That's where we are today. Politics and public life have become a shell game, a house of mirrors, even a freak show at times.

As I see it, the benefit of No Labels is to:

1. Pry open a space in public life for more genuine public discourse and debate. Hyper-partisans have held the public square hostage for far too long, but it's not theirs to own and manipulate.

2. Hold ourselves accountable for articulating real points of view. Hyperbole, posturing, and double-talk have become the coin of the realm. That must change.

3. Be genuinely authentic. The notion of authenticity has become synonymous with attempts to curry favor with voters and demonstrate the extent to which someone is "liked." But authenticity in public life requires something fundamentally different: accurately reflecting people's lives and aspirations. It's about people, not ourselves.

4. Name the enemies of the public good, which include needless divisiveness, acrimony, and self-centeredness, among others – which riddle the political class and public itself. Naming an enemy is half the battle to addressing it; otherwise, it persists as an unchecked corrosive force.

5. Create strange bedfellows. It's not "compromise" we need in the country – merely to "split the difference" on issues, but to generate new ways of seeing and acting on challenges that transcend existing labels.
My decision to write about "No Labels" today is not to promote one group over another. Nor is it to be “Political.” Rather, it is to be on the side of the people I meet each and every day in communities across the country. People who do not live their lives polarized from one another, who do not see others as either Red or Blue, and who are deeply compassionate, and devoted to their country.

It is worth reminding ourselves from time to time that people want to come back into community and public life; to be part of something larger than themselves; to join together to make a difference in the lives of others. We are each called to step forward and turn outward toward one another.

This is worth fighting for.

For the complete unedited blog click here.

Golden Globe Nominees Announced

Director Tom Hooper's film earned Golden Globe nominations for best picture, best actor for Colin Firth, best supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush, supporting actress for Helena Bonham Carter, best director for Tom Hooper, best screenplay and best original score. (Laurie Sparham / The Weinstein Company)

7 Golden Globe nominations for 'The King's Speech'; 5 for 'Glee'

'The Social Network' also is a strong contender. On the TV side, joining 'Glee' are 'Modern Family,' 'Mad Men' and '30 Rock' as top nominees.

Golden Globes! The Golden Globe nominations were announced early Tuesday morning. "The King's  Speech" and "The Social Network" cleaned up on the movie side, while "Glee" and "Modern Family" were tops on television. I'm not Mr. Awards Analysis Guy, but I am surprised by "Black Swan" (but then again, I actually saw it) getting a best picture nomination and Mark Wahlberg getting a best actor nomination (he was good, but overshadowed by Christian Bale and Melissa Leo). On the TV side, I'm a little taken aback by Chris Noth getting a nomination for "The Good Wife" and Elisabeth Moss getting one for "Mad Men," but not Christina Hendricks. Early analysis from the Los Angeles Times,New York TimesUSA Today and Variety.  NBC will air Globes awards from 5-8 p.m. PT on Jan. 16. Ricky Gervais will host for the second consecutive year.

For a list of nominations click on "read more" below.

NBC Universal - Comcast Deal may add to multi-platform future

Viacom makes some noise. Viacom, the media giant whose holdings include Paramount Pictures and cable channels MTV and Comedy Central, has told the Federal Communications Commissionthat it has issues with Comcast's proposed deal to take control of NBC Universal. Although lots of lawmakers, watchdog groups and competitors have complained about the merger, Viacom is the first of the big media firms (Disney, Time Warner, News Corp., CBS) to gripe. Although Viacom didn't say this in its letter about meeting with the FCC, the company has struggled to get Comcast to carry its new pay channel, Epix. In other words, there may be motivations not necessarily related to the deal as much as the company is trying to squeeze a concession out of Comcast while it is vulnerable. The latest on the latest protest from the Los Angeles Times.

Comcast's cord-cutter beater. Comcast Corp., the nation's biggest cable operator (how many times have I written that sentence in the last 12 months?) is testing a new service that combines the Internet and television. The idea behind the small test is to give customers the chance to search the Web for content to watch on their television. The move is seen as Comcast's attempt to take on similar efforts from Google and others in the hopes of slowing consumers from cutting their cable cord and trying to get all their entertainment via the Internet. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

- Both from Company Town Blog, LA Times (click here)

Las Vegas glamour facing change and obsticles

What is the future of the industry in Nevadan

It's a time of change for Las Vegas talent.

Agencies are having to work harder to bring in much needed recession profits. This may mean or it could be that you need to be aware of possible double dipping and other practices used in the past. It also means that marketing savvy and efforts have to be stepped up to a new level.

The recession has taken its toll, making operation difficult for many Las Vegas agencies an causing an exodus from the city or the industry of many talented individuals from both sides of the industry.

Over the years there have many "planned" or "promoted" or "dreamed" full size major studio project for Nevada. We have a few smaller stages and private production companies, but not enough to even show up on the "location filming' map of North America. The recession and the business climate here have shot them down one by one. Too much noise, say the neighbors. Cheaper in Canada or New Mexico led to other major projects abandoning for "back-burning" projects. Now there is yet another major "rumor" seeking concessions from Carson City that the legislature, with out state deficit, seems unlikely to grant. So we lack a major industry permanent presence.

A boom in production incentives in other states (including California) has helped make Las Vegas a popular place to place in a script, and Nevada scenery a desired look, that can be duplicated for less money and far greater government cooperation in New Mexico or other states.

We are seeing the entrance into Nevada by out-of-state agencies (from Arizona, New Mexico, San Diego and Hollywood), the increased marketing of Los Angeles and New York based talent for location and local Las Vegas production jobs, and an increase in talented actors flexible enough in their life schedules (through unemployment or success in another market) actively seeking work over an ever increasing geography and schedule.

Corporate ownership of hotels, studios, production companies and even agencies has led to a shift to the bottom line, and in some was made this more of a commodity and less a glamour industry.

New Technology has led to a serious shifts in local and regional advertising and marketing decision makers.

Technology has also made it possible to put actors into location without ever traveling there, to "build" synthetic background talent, to manipulate images and tell a story without needing large numbers of actors or expensive "location" trips by large crews and production equipment.

All of these, and others you may think of, have led to a shift in the way things are done in Nevada, in ways not seen since the Las Vegas boom years made out-of-state talent believe we had far more work than we ever really had.

What changes have you seen or experienced? What do you see as the future of Las Vegas and Nevada as the self titled "entertainment capital of the world?" Your observations, input and ideas are welcome.

Respond below or send your comments to

Thank you in advance.

-Art Lynch

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