IGN has a compelling interview with Ron Moore about the writer’s strike and how it affects BSG. It’s an eye-opening piece, to me at least. Suddenly it’s very clear why this is such an important issue for writers:
“I had a situation last year on Battlestar Galactica where we were asked by Universal to do webisodes [Note: Moore is referring to The Resistance webisodes which ran before Season 3 premiered], which at that point were very new and ‘Oooh, webisodes! What does that mean?’ It was all very new stuff. And it was very eye opening, because the studio’s position was ‘Oh, we’re not going to pay anybody to do this. You have to do this, because you work on the show. And we’re not going to pay you to write it. We’re not going to pay the director, and we’re not going to pay the actors.’ At which point we said ‘No thanks, we won’t do it.’”
“We got in this long, protracted thing and eventually they agreed to pay everybody involved. But then, as we got deeper into it, they said ‘But we’re not going to put any credits on it. You’re not going to be credited for this work. And we can use it later, in any fashion that we want.’ At which point I said ‘Well, then we’re done and I’m not going to deliver the webisodes to you.’ And they came and they took them out of the editing room anyway — which they have every right to do. They own the material — But it was that experience that really showed me that that’s what this is all about. If there’s not an agreement with the studios about the internet, that specifically says ‘This is covered material, you have to pay us a formula – whatever that formula turns out to be – for use of the material and how it’s all done,’ the studios will simply rape and pillage.”
There’s a lot more along those lines, so be sure to read the whole article if you get a chance. Moore makes an excellent point: TV is rapidly moving toward being just another Internet service. The studios are trying their best to get paid for Internet distribution, while trying even harder not to pay anyone down the line for it.
I was talking to my brother John the other day about how it’s commonly assumed that we know almost everything about science, so there isn’t much left to discover. Specifically, there’s this notion that new discoveries aren’t likely to overturn older ideas, because if so someone would have done so by now. I personally think that’s complete hogwash; my favorite saying about the scientific method is, ” Progress consists of replacing a theory that is wrong with one more subtly wrong.” Ideas derived scientifically are certainly useful, but they shouldn’t be considered inviolate.
In that vein, it’s nice to see scientists continue to push the boundaries of what we assume, as in this article by Derek Lowe about DNA sequences that are identical in humans and mice:
Even important enzyme sequences vary a bit among the three species, so what could these pristine stretches (some of which are hundreds of base pairs long) be used for? The assumption, naturally, has been that whatever it is, it must be mighty important, but if we’re going to be scientists, we can’t just go around assuming that what we think must be right. A team at Lawrence Berkeley and the DOE put things to the test recently by identifying four of the ultraconserved elements that all seem to be located next to critical genes – and deleting them.
The result? No detected difference in the mice, and a whole lot of speculation as to how that’s even possible. The results can be (and are being) debated furiously, but the point is that there’s something completely unexplained that, when tested against prevailing knowledge, doesn’t match up. To me that’s not just noteworthy, it’s exciting! It means there’s a lot more exploring to do, a lot more science for all of us.
 I’ve seen this one around the tubes, generally attributed to Dr. David Hawkins. If you know of a linkable source, post it in the comments.
Just a note to brag that the November 2007 issue of the British Interplanetary Society’s magazine Spaceflight: The Magazine of Astronautics and Outer Space features an article called “Grumman’s ambitious spider” about how Grumman tried to modify the Lunar Module to give it more flexibility and utility. The authors of this interesting article (which features cool illustrations) are Dwayne A. Day and some other guy named Glen Swanson. That second name sounds familiar…darn…can’t think of who he is.
OK, this time I’m the one who’s out of the loop. :) This weekend (Nov 10-11), San Diego revisits its very own BarCamp, and it’s shaping up to be even better than the last. (Better except in one regard: I can’t attend this time around.)
Topics so far include Rails, Twitter, college, marketing 2.0, online storytelling, and blackjack. There’s even a Wii Bowling Tournament planned, so be sure to stop by. You won’t be disappointed.
As you can probably tell from the dearth of new material here, I’ve been a bit busy lately. I’d love to say I’m working on some exciting new project, but the truth is I’ve been sick, traveling, working, or combinations of the above. It has succeeded in making Jack a dull boy, so I’m going to take it a bit easier this November than I originally planned.
That’s right, no NaNoWriMo for me this year. Karen is still participating, and hopefully she’ll take some time to post occasional updates here (nudge nudge). I won’t be completely out of it, though. I’d like to edit a first (and possibly second) draft of my entry from last year and present it here for you to read by November 30th, a kind of NaNoEdMo if you will. We’ll see how that goes.