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Drone Attacks Woman During Seattle Pride Parade

from The Seattle Times

Woman knocked unconscious by falling drone during Seattle’s Pride parade


Parade viewers cheer at the 41st annual Pride Parade Sunday. (Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

A drone weighing about 2 pounds struck a woman during Seattle’s Pride parade.

Update at 2:55 p.m. Tuesday: Seattle police say the drone’s pilot has come forward and contacted police.

Detectives continue to investigate the case.

Original post: A woman was knocked unconscious Sunday when she was struck by a small drone during the Pride parade in downtown Seattle.

The 25-year-old woman was standing near Fourth Avenue and Madison Street when the 18-inch-by-18-inch drone crashed into a building and fell into the crowd, striking the woman in the head, according to Seattle police. The woman’s boyfriend caught her as she fell to the ground.

[ click to continue reading at The Seattle Times ]

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Editor

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Richard W. Matt, Artist-of-the-Stars and Vicious Gin-soaked Sociopath, Gone

from artnet

Police Shoot and Kill Celebrity Portrait Painter-Convict Who Escaped Prison

by Christie Chu

Richard W. Matt Julia Roberts Photo: heavymetal.comRichard W. Matt Julia Roberts

A nation-wide manhunt for the prisoner escapees from Dannemora Correctional Facility has come to an abrupt end, as the pair were both shot this weekend on separate occasions.

Although David Sweat remained in critical condition, the other, Richard W. Matt, a convicted murderer, died last Friday due to three gunshots to his head, NBC News reports.

Besides being a skilled escapee, whose feats have been compared to those demonstrated by characters in the film Shawshank Redemption, Matt was also regarded as a highly skilled painter.

In an article from the New York Times, Matt was described by a fellow prisoner, John Mulligan, as “the best in the system that anyone could recall.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Editor

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This Is A Tutorial Not A Cheatcode

Posted on June 28, 2015 by Editor

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Man-made Meteors

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Wishing on a shooting star in Japan with man-made meteors

by Miwa Suzuki

Fancy a meteor shower racing across the night sky to mark your birthday? One Japanese start-up is hoping to deliver shooting stars on demand and choreograph the cosmos.

And, say scientists, it’s not just about painting huge pictures on the night-sky that would be visible to millions of people; artificial meteors could help us to understand a lot more about Earth’s atmosphere.

Lena Okajima, who holds a doctorate in astronomy, says her company — ALE — is intending to launch a micro satellite that can eject shooting stars at exactly the right time and place to put on a celestial show.

“I’m thinking of streams of meteors that are rare in nature,” Okajima told AFP in an interview.

“It is artificial but I want to make really beautiful ones that can impress viewers,” she said.

In collaboration with scientists and engineers at Japanese universities, the ALE team is developing a satellite that will orbit the Earth and eject dozens of balls, a few centimetres (an inch) in diameter, at a time.

These balls — whose chemical formula is a closely-guarded secret — will race through the atmosphere at around 7-8 kilometres (up to five miles) a second, glowing brightly from the friction created by smashing into the air.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on June 27, 2015 by Editor

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Grateful Mess

from The New Yorker

The Glorious Inconsistency of the Grateful Dead


Photograph by Michael Putland/Getty

A few of us here at The New Yorker recently recorded a podcast about the Grateful Dead, on the occasion of a series of five farewell performances (this weekend in Santa Clara, California, and next weekend in Chicago) by the band’s four surviving members. Afterwards, the segment’s producer, hoping to amplify a remark one of us had made about the Dead’s infamous inconsistency, asked if I could point him toward any performances that were “particularly terrible.” Could I ever. With relish! Any Deadhead worth his stash is a connoisseur not just of the good stuff but also of the bad—blown choruses, mangled leads, laryngitis, amnesia. Their improvisational approach to live performance had something to do with this. If you play by the seat of your pants, you are occasionally going to fall on your face. Toss in copious drug use, an aversion to rehearsal, and a genuine anarchic streak, and you have a band that may have stumbled as often as it soared. (If you’re one of the millions who believe that the Dead only ever stumbled, so be it. I’ll spare you the special pleading. If you believe that they only ever soared, well . . . de gustibus.)

We enthusiasts, apologists all, maintain that the uncertainty—the chance at musical transcendence amid a tendency toward something less—was what kept us coming back. This argument is a little like the East Coaster’s on behalf of his weather: the nice days are nicer when there are crappy ones in between. And you come to savor the misty mornings, the squalls, the blizzards, and the cold snaps that freeze the ponds. Transcendence, though, was always heavily contingent on the performance of Jerry Garcia, who, in addition to being the Dead’s (quoting myself here) “most accomplished songwriter, most soulful singer, most charismatic figure, most eloquent interviewee, most recognizable icon, most splendid thaumaturge,” was the one who provided the iridescent guitar leads that transported the band’s fans. When he had a bad night, you knew it. The others, when they were off, could sort of hide. The waning of Garcia’s health, technique, and enthusiasm was a kind of meta-performance. In some respects, listening through the band’s thirty-year touring career is a study in decline. By the end, you hardly ever saw the sun.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on June 26, 2015 by Editor

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Platonic Fun With Bananas

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Editor

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Spotify Will Save The Music Industry

from The Guardian

Daniel Ek: Spotify and free music will save the industry, not kill it

Taylor Swift has been a vocal critic of Spotify. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS

The chief executive of Spotify, Daniel Ek, has predicted that the free online music service will help the industry grow to as much as 10 times its current size, in a future where old distinctions between providers break down.

Having paid out $3bn to music rights holders so far, Spotify is pitching itself as a competitor to traditional broadcasting, having recently added news, weather, podcasts and videos to its service. “The old-world paradigms we used to have are no longer true. When I think about music in the future, I don’t make a distinction between what’s radio, what used to be the music library, and so on,” Ek told the Observer in a rare interview. “It’s only going to be listening – and, as that goes forward, this old notion of these different industries or different competitors will collapse and merge together.”

Spotify is stepping up its efforts to appeal to mainstream radio listeners by emphasising its collection of playlists “programmed” by an in-house editorial team and suggested to users based on the time of day, popular activities and their listening habits. “We’re getting better and better at giving upcoming artists exposure on the service and creating tools to give those new artists a way to market themselves. In the future, people will listen to more music from a bigger variety of artists,” said Ek. “And if we build the revenue model around ‘freemium’ [a business model that gives basic products away for free], the music industry will be much larger than it’s ever been before, more artists will be able to make a living by being artists and more people will listen in turn.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Editor

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Day Chip by Jillian Mayer

Posted on June 23, 2015 by Editor

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Porn Stars Without All That Stuff On Their Faces


Adult Film Stars Reveal What They Really Look Like

[ click to view more at ]

Posted on June 19, 2015 by Editor

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I Love Milo Moiré

from artnet

Naked Selfie Artist Milo Moiré Strikes Again at Art Basel With Unauthorized Performance

by Brian Boucher

Milo Moire stands with a viewer of her latest piece, Naked Selfie.Photo: Brian Boucher.

Milo Moiré brought her naked performance art to the people in Basel Wednesday.

In a public square a few minutes from the Art Basel fair during the second day of VIP previews, posing in just sneakers with smiling locals, Moiré performed her latest piece, Naked Selfie. The performance artist was previously known for a piece in which she dropped paint-filled eggs from her vagina.

“This isn’t just for the elite,” the artist’s associate, Peter, explained to artnet News. “That’s why we’re doing it here.”

It might also have had something to do with last year, when a denuded Moiré, with the names of items of clothing written on her exposed skin, was turned away from the convention center (see Art Basel Turns Away Nude Performance Artist).

“The fair was too crowded!” Moiré, wearing only pink running shoes, told artnet News on the Barfüsserplatz (Barefoot Square), outside Basel’s History Museum, in between photo shoots. She had visited the previous day—fully clothed—but bailed out after a couple of hours.

Locals shopped and ate lunch at restaurants on the place as the artist set her camera on a tripod, still wearing a white tank top and cutoff shorts, under the watchful eye of a gaggle of cameramen and video crews. When she had the camera ready, she casually stripped down to her sneakers.

“Who wants to pose for a selfie with me?” she asked the crowd after a few wolf whistles while she disrobed. After an awkward moment, she asked, “What, is everyone shy now?”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on June 18, 2015 by Editor

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Be Your Own Boss

Posted on June 17, 2015 by Editor

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“The kilometre-long spacerock named after the Greek mythological character that flew too close to the sun…”

from The Independent

Asteroid Icarus to skim past the Earth in rare ‘distant pass’

by Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Icarus will not make a closer approach to the Earth until 2090

Asteroid Icarus, the kilometre-long spacerock named after the Greek mythological character that flew too close to the sun, will skim past the Earth on Tuesday night making a rare “distant pass” of five million miles.

According to Nasa, the asteroid 1566 Icarus will safely pass by the Earth at more than 21 lunar distances, which is 21 times the distance between form the Earth to the moon.

The next time the rock is set to approach the Earth at this kind of close distance will not be until 2090, when it will skim past marginally closer at 17 lunar distances.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Editor

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A transport contract for confiscated camels…

from THE LOCAL ch

Ancient papyrus texts found in Basel uni library

Ancient papyrus texts found in Basel uni libraryPhoto: University of Basel

A valuable collection of ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts has been discovered in the University of Basel’s library after being forgotten for more than a century.

The 2,000-year-old texts, written in Greek, Latin, Coptic Egyptian and hieratic, were acquired by the university 115 years ago but were subsequently overlooked.

Sabine Huebner, professor of ancient history, recently found them in two drawers in the library’s manuscripts section, the university said on its website.

She began searching for them after responding to a request from a papyrologist (a scholar studying ancient papyrus manuscripts) who wanted to know if the Basel university had a papyrus collection.

The 65 manuscripts are “mostly everyday documents”, such as contracts, letters receipts and petitions, Huebner said in an interview published by the university.

But one of the most interesting ones is a private letter written by a Christian that dates from the first half of the third century, she said.

Other manuscripts include a transport contract for confiscated camels, a purchase agreement for a donkey, a loan, tax receipts and invoices, as well as other personal letters.

[ click to continue reading at THE LOCAL ch ]

Posted on June 14, 2015 by Editor

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Frank Zachary Gone

from Town & Country

Remembering a Meeting with Frank Zachary

A tribute from Town & Country editor in chief Jay Fielden.

Jonathan Becker

A few weeks after I started editing Town & Country, I took a flight down to Florida to see a very important person—Frank Zachary, who edited Town & Country from 1972 to 1991. Under his bowtied command the magazine became a handbook for the way to live it up in America that was chronicled with documentary-like detail by the snapshot virtuoso Slim Aarons. Zachary, 97 and living in a retirement home in Delray Beach, generously shared memories and advice—”Don’t lose your nerve!”—from his two-decade tenure, while we sat on a back porch that overlooked a grassy yard encircled by a chirping mass of Florida jungle.

In the weeks since that visit Frank’s voice sometimes echoed back in the heat of things. One of the most memorable understatements he muttered that afternoon was, “Life’s a little lonely without deadlines.” Whenever I remembered that, the oft-occurring how-will-we-get-it-all-done-in-time chest-tightening moments immediately melted away.

[ click to continue reading at Town & Country ]

Posted on June 13, 2015 by Editor

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The Most Prominent Member In King James’ Court Revealed


ABC Accidentally Shows LeBron James’ Penis During NBA Finals

LeBron James' Penis Accidentally Shown onCourtesy of ABC

ABC got a little too close to LeBron James on Thursday night. Prior to the start of Game 4 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, James adjusted his shorts during a team huddle, briefly exposing his penis on live television.

Viewers quickly took to Twitter to talk about the incident.

Ten years ago, nearly 90 million people watched Justin Timberlake briefly expose Janet Jackson’s breast during a halftime performance. The FCC fined CBS a record $550,000 for the flashing, which was later voided by the Supreme Court in a long and very public indecency battle.

Watch the video (NSFW):

[ click to continue ]

Posted on June 12, 2015 by Editor

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Christopher Lee Gone

from CNN

Christopher Lee, horror master and renowned film villain, dies at 93

He played Dracula, the bad guy in the James Bond thriller “The Man with the Golden Gun,” the deliciously evil wizard Saruman in the “Lord of the Ring” films, and the dude who fought Yoda with a lightsaber in “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.”

But Sir Christopher Lee, the man, who died this week at the age of 93? Not an ounce of villain to be found, fans and fellow actors alike said Thursday.

“You were an icon, and a towering human being with stories for days,” “Lord of the Rings” co-star Elijah Wood tweeted Thursday. “We’ll miss you.”

In 2011, Lee said that he always wanted to bring something unexpected to his roles.

“One thing to me is very important, if you’re playing somebody that the audience regards as, let’s say evil, try to do something they don’t expect, something that surprises the audience,” he said.

In his last few years, he did just that for many fans: he turned to a heavy metal career, releasing the holiday albums “A Heavy Metal Christmas” and “A Heavy Metal Christmas Too” in 2012 and 2013 — endearing himself to yet another group of fans, many of whom reacted to the news of his death with an outpouring of celebration and sadness.

“The great, always criminally underrated Sir Christopher Lee has left us,” actor Mark Gatiss wrote on Twitter. “A Titan of Cinema and a huge part of my youth. Farewell.”

[ click to read complete obit at ]

Posted on June 11, 2015 by Editor

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By The Bod of Grace Go I

from The Daily Mail

Topless Grace Jones, 67, covers her age-defying figure in tribal body paint and a corset as she puts on a typically unique performance at Parklife festival

By Jenny Awford for MailOnline

A titillating performance: Grace Jones sang topless on stage at Parklife in Manchester on SundayA titillating performance: Grace Jones sang topless on stage at Parklife in Manchester on Sunday

She may have reached retirement age, but Grace Jones clearly has no intention of slowing down.

The 67-year-old flamboyant singer wowed fans when she performed topless and covered in tribal body paint in front of a crowd of thousands at Parklife on Sunday.

Grace leapt energetically around the stage in a revealing black corset and a show-stopping grass skirt as she performed hits including Slave to the Rhythm and Nightclubbing.

The Jamaican-born star smothered her face, chest, arms and legs in white tribal body paint and capped her unusual look with a bright yellow head-piece.

She added to her dramatic look with dark lipstick, bright-red eyeshadow and statement jewellery.

Grace made her entrance on the main stage on the second day of the Manchester festival in a chilling gold skull mask which also featured a black feathered head piece.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Mail ]

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Editor

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Go to the Spa, Turn into a Monkey


Float spa fans say isolation tanks buoy bodies and minds

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Allen Hughes said the concept of floatation therapy took a long time to sink in.

The management consultant, a self-described “high strung” type who’s always looking for new ways to relieve stress, said he didn’t think floating in water could bring him that much relaxation.

“This is something crazy people do,” he recalled thinking.

But after trying it for the first time in March, Hughes has become a regular at East Coast Float Spa in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, Pennsylvania. There, immersed in darkness and silence, he floats effortlessly in a private, shallow saltwater pool and just … lets … go.

Floating is enjoying a renaissance after virtually disappearing for decades. Its current popularity stems in part from high-profile enthusiasts like comedian/UFC commentator Joe Rogan and some professional athletes, who tout the practice as a way to clear their minds, relieve muscle aches and temporarily unplug from the world.

“We are at the tipping point,” said Tom Bazis, owner of Float in Marlton, New Jersey. “We’re about to see a landslide, I think, in terms of awareness and openness and acceptance.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on June 9, 2015 by Editor

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Artists Really Are Crazy

from  AFP via YAHOO! News India

Creativity and psychosis share a genetic source: study

Artistic creativity may share genetic roots with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to a study published on Monday.

The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, delves into a well-known genetic database — the deCODE library of DNA codes derived from samples provided by the population of Iceland.

The authors first compared genetic and medical data from 86,000 Icelanders, establishing a DNA signature that pointed to a doubled risk for schizophrenia and an increase of a third for bipolar disorder.

The next step was to look at the genomes of people engaged in artistic work.

“The results of this study should not have come as a surprise because to be creative, you have to think differently from the crowd, and we had previously shown that carriers of genetic factors that predispose to schizophrenia do so,” [Kari Stefansson] said in a news release.

[ click to read complete article at YAHOO! News India ]

Posted on June 8, 2015 by Editor

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Sticky Fingers’ Fingers

from The New York Times

Art of the Rolling Stones: Behind That Zipper and That Tongue

Image from Digital Arts

As the Rolling Stones prepared recently to rerelease “Sticky Fingers,” their classic 1971 album featuring hits like “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar,” the manufacturing process hit a snag: The functional zipper from Andy Warhol’s bulging blue jean album cover, recreated for some new deluxe editions, was taking longer than expected to produce, Universal Music announced, pushing back the release to Tuesday.

They might have asked Craig Braun for help.

As the owner and creative director of the Sound Packaging Corporation, Mr. Braun became known in the ’60s and ’70s as the go-to inventor of elaborate album covers, making his name with projects like the peelable banana on the cover of 1967’s “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” another over-the-top phallic concept by Mr. Warhol.

Now, with the Stones’ revisiting “Sticky Fingers” on the aptly named “ZIP Code” tour, which takes them across North America through July 15, Mr. Braun is eager to share the story behind what VH1 called the best album cover ever. “Sticky Fingers” also included the debut of the Stones’ iconic lips and tongue logo, another piece of rock history with a tangled origin story — once again involving Mr. Braun.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on June 7, 2015 by Editor

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The Poet Who Died For Your Phone

from TIME

The Poet Who Died For Your Phone

By Emily Rauhala / Shenzhen and Jieyang

Hundreds of thousands of people travel from China’s countryside to its cities to work in factories, building devices for international consumers and trying to assemble better lives for themselves. Xu Lizhi left behind a haunting record of that life.

He dreamed about it, wrote about it. He rolled it around in the palm of his hand. Working through the “dark night of overtime” in January 2014, the 23-year-old Xu Lizhi imagined himself like a misplaced screw, “plunging vertically, lightly clinking,” lost to the factory floor. “It won’t attract anyone’s attention,” he wrote. “Just like the last time/ On a night like this/ When someone plunged to the ground.”

A village boy with clothes-hanger shoulders and a high school education, Xu moved to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in 2011. He was looking for a way out of rural life; he hoped to find a way to use his mind. Like hundreds of thousands before him, he settled, to start, for a spot on the assembly line at Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwan manufacturing giant linked to just about every other name in electronics, from Apple to Acer and Microsoft. To make sense of what he saw there, he started to write, his evocative work earning him a modest following in the city’s small community of dagong shiren, or migrant poets.

In his 3½ years in Shenzhen, Xu captured life there in brutal, beautiful detail. In the city, the country kid found a voice that roared, publishing poems in company newspaper Foxconn People and sharing his work online. Factory workers are often treated as interchangeable, anonymous. To readers, his words were a reminder that every laborer has a mind and heart; for him, writing was a way out. “Writing poems gives me another way of life,” he told a Chinese journalist in an unpublished interview that TIME has seen. “When you’re writing poems, you’re not confined to the real world.” For the first time, Xu’s brother and close friends shared his story with the foreign press.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on June 6, 2015 by Editor

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Favela Funk

from National Geographic

A Photographer Infiltrates the Rio Funk Scene

by Edward Benfield

Funk carioca, also called baile funk, is a musical style that’s been around for more than 25 years, but in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, a new culture of funkeiros has emerged. These are people whose identity, lifestyle, fashion, and body language are defined by funk.

Photographer Vincent Rosenblatt spent ten years documenting the funk scene in Rio, and his work was recently featured in the March issue of National Geographic in Brazil.

Here, photo coordinator Edward Benfield interviews Rosenblatt about his project Rio Baile Funk! Favela Rap (2005-2014).

[ click to continue and view all photos at Nat Geo ]

Posted on June 5, 2015 by Editor

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How Beer Caused Global Climate Change


Beer Domesticated Man

Early man chose pints over pastry. Wouldn’t you?

By Gloria Dawson /  Illustration by Daniel Fishel

The domestication of wild grains has played a major role in human evolution, facilitating the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture. You might think that the grains were used for bread, which today represents a basic staple. But some scientists argue that it wasn’t bread that motivated our ancestors to start grain farming. It was beer. Man, they say, chose pints over pastry.

Beer has plenty to recommend it over bread. First, and most obviously, it is pleasant to drink. “Beer had all the same nutrients as bread, and it had one additional advantage,” argues Solomon H. Katz, an anthropology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Namely, it gave early humans the same pleasant buzz it gives us. Patrick E. McGovern, the director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania, goes even further. Beer, he says, was more nutritious than bread. It contains “more B vitamins and [more of the] essential amino acid lysine,” McGovern writes in his book, Uncorking the Past: the Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. It was also safer to drink than water, because the fermentation process killed pathogenic microorganisms. “With a four to five percent alcohol content, beer is a potent mind-altering and medicinal substance,” McGovern says, adding that ancient brewers acted as medicine men.

In fact, McGovern has found that the ancients used beer as medicine. Working with the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, McGovern discovered traces of sage and thyme in ancient Egyptian jars. Luteolin, which is in sage, and ursolic acid, which is in thyme, both have anti-cancer properties. Similarly, artemisinin and isoscopolein from wormwood fight cancer, and were found in ancient Chinese rice wine. “The ancient fermented beverages constituted the universal medicine of humankind before the advent of synthetic medicines,” McGovern says.

[ click to continue reading at NAUTILUS ]

Posted on June 4, 2015 by Editor

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Full Fathom Five Digital’s Samantha Streger on “Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions”

from Digital Book World

Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions


SSF3The growth of ebook publishing has heralded the growth of genre publishing—and it’s no wonder: Readers gravitate toward online communities that mirror their interests. By publishing genre-oriented ebooks, publishers and authors can cater to established communities of readers.

And since ebooks can often be produced inexpensively and sold at lower prices than many of their print counterparts, they’re perfect for those communities of voracious readers. At the height of the ebook boom, a low-priced, commercial genre title could find amazing traction. The author Amanda Hocking is one famous example of this type of success. Between 2010 and 2011, her self-published, $2.99 paranormal romance ebooks sold over a million units.

But the boom years are over, and many of the hit-making formulas acquiring editors and indie authors developed just a few years ago are bringing diminishing returns. Facing a much more competitive market than ever before, digital fiction publishers need to rethink their acquisition strategies.

Today, a paranormal romance ebook priced at $2.99 is just one of many thousands of paranormal romance ebooks priced at $2.99 or less. And that’s to say nothing of the huge number of ebooks that are available for free. Many publishers have found that the value of giving away free ebooks in order to build up reviews has all but disappeared.

Genre fiction in particular risks becoming a victim of its own success. Because it’s become an established winner in the digital space, the marketplace is now so over-saturated that digital publishers can’t afford not to think more creatively about how they acquire new content.

That was our guiding principle in October 2014 when we launched Full Fathom Five Digital. We planned to release commercial fantasy, romance, horror and thriller ebooks—but how to stand out in a sea of these genres? The experiment is still in its early days, but we’ve already learned a lot about what seems to work and what doesn’t when it comes to digital acquisitions. Here are five of them:

[ click to continue reading at Digital Book World ]

Posted on June 3, 2015 by Editor

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Thank you Thank you iKrimson

from Deviant Art

[ click to view at ]

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Editor

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The Ultimate Science Fiction Game

from WIRED

Fans Have Dropped $77M on This Guy’s Buggy, Half-Built Game

ff_crowdcommander_fStar Citizen creator Chris Roberts. photo by Zachary Scott

The United Empire of Earth Navy caused quite a stir last November when it announced that it would be putting 200 decommissioned Javelin Destroyers up for sale. Each 1,132-foot-long spaceship has the sort of amenities that your average interstellar mercenary finds hard to resist: four primary thrusters, 12 maneuvering thrusters, a heavily armored bridge, private quarters for a captain and an executive officer, six cargo rooms, general quarters for a minimum of 23 crew members, and a hangar big enough to accommodate a gunship. There’s even a lifetime insurance policy.

The document that announced the Javelins’ impending sale took pains to stress that these warships were fixer-uppers. “They are battle-hardened and somewhat worse for wear,” it read, “and have been stripped of the weapons systems.” Thus, any would-be buyer would eventually have to shell out extra to equip the 20 gun turrets and the two torpedo launchers. The asking price for each ship: $2,500. And that wasn’t some form of fictional futuristic space bucks; it was 2,500 real dollars. Actual, real, present-day American Earth dollars.

Despite those caveats, all 200 Javelins sold out. In less than a minute.

The sale brought in half a million dollars for Cloud Imperium Games, the company behind the space-exploration and combat videogame Star Citizen. Cloud Imperium has hit upon a truly futuristic business model. There’s nothing new about inviting players to spend real money for virtual goods—a vehicle or weapon or article of clothing that can only be used inside a virtual gameworld. What’s new about Star Citizen is that most of its goods are doubly virtual—they can only be used inside the gameworld, and the gameworld doesn’t actually exist yet. In fact, its massively multiplayer universe may not be up and running for several more months. Or several more years. Or … longer.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on June 1, 2015 by Editor

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