Women Who Are Actually Funny – BIG DEAL

It’s not everyday that a link gets sent your way that makes your crack up and shriek like hyena amongst your aggro coworkers, but luckily today was that day. For laughs a-plenty check out this vid.

via Laura Willcox / Emily Axford

For more visit Captain Hippo


Free the Network – 30 Minute Documentary about the Battle to Control the Internet

The doc that I have been working on since September 20th (3 days into the Occupation) is live!!!

Available on MOTHERBOARD & VICE & CNN (excerpt)

What a wild ride.

Here is the text for the piece:

You’re on the Internet. What does that mean?

Most likely, it means one of a handful of telecommunications providers is middlemanning your information from Point A to Point B. Fire off an email or a tweet, broadcast a livestream or upload video to YouTube, and you’re relying on vast networks of fiber optic cables deep underground and undersea, working with satellites high above, to move your data around the world, and to bring the world to your fingertips.

It’s an infrastructure largely out of sight and mind. AT&T, Level 3, Hurricane Electric, Tata Indicom – to most these are simply invisible magicians performing the act of getting one online and kicking. To many open-source advocates, however, these are a few of the big, dirty names responsible for what they see as the Web’s rapid consolidation. The prospect of an irreparably centralized Internet, a physical Internet in the hands of a shrinking core of so-called Tier 1 transit networks, keeps Isaac Wilder up at night.

Wilder is the 21-year-old co-founder of the Free Network Foundation. Motherboard first caught up with Wilder at Zuccotti Park during the fledgling days of Occupy Wall Street. The Kansas City native seemed to be running on little sleep. He’d gone hoarse from chanting relentlessly over the first three days of a populist movement that would soon sweep the country and the world. But there was an undeniable urgency and excitement when Wilder told us about the efforts of the FNF, a non-profit, peer-to-peer communications initiative striving to liberate the global Internet from corporate and governmental interference.

It all sounded lofty and arcane and way, way over our heads. But Wilder seemed committed enough to his drop in the bucket of global revolution, which comes in the form of nine-foot-tall Freedom Towers that beam out free, secure Wi-Fi to occupied sites and underserviced communities, that we wanted to hear more.

If the argument for mesh networking, a sort of pirate radio Internet scheme that allows people to talk to one another online through no middle man, is that a centralized ‘Net lends itself to the sort of surveillance and censorship that, however futile, strokes the Internet kill switch of science fiction, is there a way to circumvent that system altogether? Is there a way to build a new network from the bottom up? To occupy a fresh Internet outside the existing confines of the Web? Or is that all just the stuff of ideological fantasy?

To check the pulse of the Internet – and to get a feel for what life’s like in the digital nerve center of what’s arguably the first fully Web-fueled social movement in America – Motherboard has been following Wilder and Tyrone Greenfield, communications director for the Free Network Foundation, for the past half year. Through the thick of Occupy marches, in squats and test-lab offices, on rooftops and all places in between, we saw Wilder, Greenfield and the FNF building and perfecting their Towers and their humble, cooperatively owned, physical Internet.

We even broke a story that popped off on the Internet in the immediate wake of the New York Police Department’s Nov. 17 raid on Zuccotti Park. We traveled with Wilder to a Department of Sanitation garage shortly after he was released from a 36-hour stint in jail. He was looking for things lost in the early morning sweep of Occupy’s epicenter: cash, his backpack and laptop, Zuccotti’s Freedom Tower.

What he found next to a wet heap of clothing and tents were a number of laptops splayed in rows. They appeared mangled and snarled. One was even stripped of its back casing. Whether Occupy’s laptops were purposefully destroyed, or merely crunched under the hydraulic mash of a Sanitation garbage truck, remains unclear.

To be sure, after the incident we contacted the NYPD, who forwarded us to Sanitation. Sanitation was tasked with hauling away all the abandoned property from Zuccotti to an off-site garage, where demonstrators were later allowed to rummage for their belongings. A Sanitation representative told Motherboard there had been no directive to destroy property, but that he wasn’t surprised to hear that some items, including laptops, had maybe been mishandled or misplaced.

In the end, what we came up with is a short documentary called Free the Network. It’s a story about big dreams and cloudy missions, about complex affiliations and what happens when a DIY hack-tech movement confronts the force of the state.

But beyond that, it’s a story about the incredibly high stakes of living networked in today’s world. We all have skin in this game. Remember: You’re on the Internet.



Free the Network – Trailer

For the past 6 months my colleague Brian Anderson and I have been making a film about Technology. Part occupy, part open source, and all Motherboard we are finally about finished with it. Master Editor (Chris O’Coin) whipped up this trailer for us to send out.


The film premieres March 22 in NYC.

You can read Brian’s copy here.

✞ Motherboard Meets Werner Herzog ✞

Originally written for Motherboard by Alex Pasternack.

Motherboard Meets Werner Herzog (Video)

Werner Herzog only has half an hour. He’s busy with many projects, including a new art installation, and he receives many requests. But he’s also keenly attentive to the value of each moment, to the brief glimpse into someone else’s mind and soul that each encounter affords. These are the kind of things you think about when making a documentary film, especially when the person you are interviewing only has exactly eight days to live.

So Herzog wastes no time. He immediately tells Michael Perry, the death row inmate at the center of his new film “Into the Abyss” that he’s aware of the terrible decisions and circumstances that landed him there, but that “doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to like you.” And for all of Perry’s amiability, it is hard to like him. It’s clear that while Herzog doesn’t begrudge the grim way of life he finds in Texas, he doesn’t approve of the state taking the life of its citizens. But unlike some other death row tales, there is little to redeem or explain these crimes or these punishments. There are no simple answers, no uncovering of injustice, no silver lining. The situation is so grim that when Herzog and his editor began to examine the footage he had made during a whirlwind shoot, they both took up smoking again.

Amidst the chaos and depravity that he exposes in the Texas town of Conroe – just next door to a hamlet aptly called Cut and Shoot – the only comfort the filmmaker can offer comes in the form of these brief, unvarnished encounters with the people who are trying to cope with the difficulty of living and of dying. Because many of these encounters lasted less than an hour, and because there would be no follow-up visits, Herzog excavates the feelings of the people he meets by dispensing with emotion, speaking candidly, asking the questions that aren’t obvious but that get right to the point. “You have to read the person correctly,” he says. “You have to understand, how do you force his chest open and look at his heart.”

When he speaks to the chaplain in charge of administering last rites to death row inmates, a scene that starts the film, Herzog elicits little more than platitudes about the task, about God, and the sanctity of life. But then the director’s voice drops from behind his handheld camera a simple suggestion: “Tell me about an encounter with a squirrel.” It’s droll and strange in that Herzog way, but the question hits him, says Herzog “like lighting.”

In these moments, Herzog’s other asset is his electric voice. His hypnotic accent is as famous to lovers of art films as David Attenborough’s baritone is to lovers of nature films, which is partly why it has become such fertile ground for parody (and self-parody). But by hovering between the two poles of that voice – the intimacy of a philosopher and the distance of a foreign anthropologist – Herzog finds some of the redemption that our strange circumstances often hide. It’s a voice that, inadvertently or not, allows for a bit of light to slip in, a hint of empathy, a smile, a hug, even when time is running out and things look hellishly dark.


The Thorium Dream (Screening)

Yesterday MOTHERBOARD and Co had a screening for the long awaited Thorium Documentary (out tomorrow on Motherboard and next week on Vice.com). Shout out to Hugo Perez, Alex Pasternack and Sean Yeaton. What-a-team!

Afterwards Alex Pasternack stood up for a Q and A session for the audience. He was into it.

Links for the complete piece coming soon!

Motherboard TV: Love And Hate At Comic Con (Full Version)

Originally written for Motherboard.tv

To be sure, Motherboard is proud of the claim it’s staked on the frontier of the nerds; it’s not our fault that a lot of this backcountry is inhabited by just as many questionably inappropriate ne’er-do-wells as it is heroes, kings and queens. That being said, it was without question that we would travel to the nerd equivalent of Mecca, also known as New York Comic Con.


We shot the breeze with devoted fans, dedicated impersonators and enough nuts to make trail mix feel overwhelmed. All in all it felt like going home. When you’re done watching, be sure to check out the photos we shot while we were there for additional gold that didn’t make it into the documentary and watch our footage from Dragon Con if you’re still feeling hungry for more costumed shenanigans.

– Erin Lee Carr

Follow Motherboard on Twitter @MotherboardTV

Drive: 80s Hard Boiled Antihero Electro Music Saga

I encountered Drive in a double header at the AMC in Times Square. I had come for The Skin I Live In and stayed for Drive.

There were countless times when the intended B-movie Drive could have turned into a cheesy, cliché film and yet it remained intact. Pulpy, bloody and undeniably moving Drive took me by surprise. It always impresses me when actors can manage to stay silent and let their bodies speak for themselves. Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan were perfection at physically manifesting their feelings and inner desires.

Carey Mulligan is not my jam, her body and features represent an infantilization that I think Hollywood has run rampant with. To me, she looks like a 14 year old British boy and yet … she has her moments of brilliance. My favorite scene occurs when there is a welcome home party for her husband, who has recently been freed from jail. She relishes  in watching her son and husband reconnect but in the next scene she is sitting on the floor outside her apartment, balloons already deflating. Her character is drawn to Ryan Gosling even if the present circumstances don’t allow for their relationship. “Under Your Spell” by Desire has been playing in the backround but comes to the foreground as they look at each other. There is something about her, about this song, I can’t help but melt.  The song, in any other context would be completely vapid and circular but in this moment, everything about it works.

“Nightcall” by Kavinsky is the standout track of the ost. I am not an electrogirl but this song makes sense to my brain. It’s almost as if an algorithm has been created for the perfect electro song.

“There is something inside you.
 It’s hard to explain,
 They’re talking about you, boy.
 But you’re still the same.”
Nothing new has been uttered here, mysticism should be a part of every relationship. This song, produced by French House artist Kavinsky is the perfect blend of nostalgia, beats and an indefinable source. This song and film has bewitched me and has shown no sign of letting go.

It's hammer time!