December 22, 2009

Five turning points of the decade



Editor’s note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security — From World War II to the War on Terrorism” published by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely about current events.

The first decade of the 21st century in the United States was defined by terrorism, crisis and uncertainty. The exuberance of the 1990s, with its strong economic growth and the sense of American military omnipotence, came to an end.

Most Americans have been left reeling from nine very difficult years, even though the decade neared its close with a presidential election that spoke to the promise and potential of the nation.

We must remember that any “most important” list should be seen as the beginning of a conversation, not a definitive judgment.

Historians learn that it is extraordinarily difficult to discern exactly which events will be transitory and which will have the most long-lasting effects.

Some moments that seem to be turning points shortly after they happen, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, seem less important over time. Others that we don’t pay as much attention to, such as the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, look much more consequential with the passage of time.

September 11, 2001

The tragic moment when terror struck in New York and at the Pentagon will be at the top of everyone’s “most important” list. When terrorism caused such devastating damage, the perpetrators defined the central national security challenge confronting the United States and much of the world: Stateless terrorism.

Even though the nation had faced terrorism for several decades, including the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, nothing compares to 9/11 in scale and scope.

The event shattered the sense of confidence that many Americans had about being able to avoid the kinds of attacks on civilians that had become commonplace in the Middle East. American national security policy was reconfigured as a result.

The federal government vastly expanded and reorganized its homeland defense system. It instituted an aggressive program of interrogation and surveillance to combat terrorist threats and refocused foreign policy to concentrate on destroying these networks and the states that support them, including the invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime. Eight years later, we are still fighting.

Iraq War

The war with Iraq quickly became one of the most controversial aspects of the war on terrorism. The difficulties that the United States encountered in the reconstruction period, and the falsity of the Bush administration’s claims in the build up to war that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, opened up the administration to intensified attacks from the left and the right.

The war eroded Bush’s political capital and constrained his ability to achieve other objectives, including domestic proposals such as Social Security privatization. Equally important, the difficulties the nation encountered in achieving its goal of creating a stable democracy and combating insurgents has raised serious doubts — domestically and internationally — about the capacity of American military power in conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan.

Hurricane Katrina

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, it revealed the horrible conditions under which many inner-city Americas were living after decades of neglect. The failure of so many levels of government to properly respond to the hurricane and its aftermath also exposed the limited interest of the government — and the public — in protecting these African-American communities even after a tragedy this severe.

The unwillingness of the federal government to commit substantial resources to the reconstruction effort confirmed that urban America was not central to the national agenda.

Financial crisis of 2008

The financial crisis constituted a huge shock to the economic system. As September 11 ended a false sense of physical security within our borders, the financial crisis shattered the economic confidence which had emerged in the 1990s and established the parameters for President Obama’s administration.

The plummeting market fundamentally challenged decades of policies that centered on deregulation and market-based solutions. The fact that President Bush’s administration put forth a hugely expansive financial bailout package revealed how Americans have come to expect federal intervention in times of economic crisis and showed that there were limits to the Reagan Revolution.

Election of 2008

The 2008 election is the one defining event that spoke to America’s potential. Even though the United States clearly has not entered any kind of post-racial period, as Hurricane Katrina revealed, the election of an African-American to the presidency in a country whose economy once revolved around slavery was historic.

Combined with other developments — such as the growing acceptance of gay rights, despite the setbacks to same-sex marriage — the election signaled a movement away from discriminatory attitudes that have been so deeply rooted in the American psyche.

Any most important list is inherently incomplete, and only captures a small part of what the nation experienced. Should Congress pass health care reform, which seems likely, that could become a crucial moment in the history of our government. Nonetheless, these five events will certainly be ones that historians will look back to for years to come.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Julian Zelizer.


ScienceDecember 19, 2009

NASA reveals first-ever photo of liquid on another world

NASA scientists revealed Friday a first-of-its-kind image from space showing reflecting sunlight from a lake on Saturn‘s largest moon, Titan.

It’s the first visual “smoking gun” evidence of liquid on the northern hemisphere of the moon, scientists said, and the first-ever photo from another world showing a “specular reflection” — which is reflection of light from an extremely smooth surface and in this case, a liquid one.

“This is the first time outside Earth we’ve seen specular reflection from another liquid from another body,” said Ralf Jaumann, a scientist analyzing data from the Cassini unmanned space probe.

Jaumann said he was surprised when he first saw the photos transmitting from Cassini, orbiting Saturn about a billion miles from Earth.

“It was great because if you look at photos of planets, you mostly see nothing is happening. But in two hours we saw a glint of light getting brighter.”

Titan’s similarities to Earth have attracted NASA‘s attention for decades. It’s the only body besides our own in the solar system that is believed to have liquid on its surface. Like Earth, Titan has an atmosphere which is mostly nitrogen.

Experts believe the presence of liquid on a planet or moon improves the chances that some kind of life could develop there.

The photo comes from the spacecraft Cassini, which has been searching for this kind of reflection since it began circling Saturn in 2004.

Scientists with the University of Arizona were able to use previous data from Cassini to learn details about the reflection’s location on Titan.

The glint appears to be coming from the southern edge of a lake called Kraken Mare — a massive body of methane that covers about 150,000 square miles (400,000 square kilometers). That’s larger than the Caspian Sea, which is the largest lake on Earth.

The hunt for the specular reflection took five years, NASA said, because the moon’s northern half had been shrouded in winter darkness.

“Next, we want to find out more about Titan‘s liquid,” said Jaumann. “Do we have some kind of weather there? Do we have changes with seasons? Does it rain? How does the liquid methane run across the surface?”

But Jaumann sounded a note of caution regarding the prospect of life in this case.

“The temperature on Titan‘s surface is something like minus-180 degrees Celsius,” he said. “That means it’s very cold. But you never know.”

The project is based out of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This is not the first evidence of liquid on Titan. In 2008, project members used infrared technology to discover a large lake in the moon’s southern hemisphere.

But this recent discovery is a sure sign that liquid exists on the moon’s northern half. That region is believed to include larger basins that could hold more liquid.


December 10, 2009

VEVO test 1 (300×255)

Vevo is an online music venture, which YouTube and Vivendi SA‘s Universal Music Group are launching later this year.

Recording company Sony Music Entertainment has joined Vevo, backed by Universal Music Group and YouTube. The music unit of Sony Corp. will take an equity stake in the venture. The other two major recording companies, Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group PLC, are also in talks on joining.

Vevo is music industry’s version of Hulu. Now, it has its own version of Providence Equity. Abu Dhabi Media Company(ADMC) has purchased a stake in the company from owners Universal Music and Sony (SNE).The announcement was made today by Doug Morris, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group and Co-Chairman/Founder of VEVO, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music Entertainment & Co-Chairman of VEVO, Rio Caraeff, President & Chief Executive Officer of VEVO, H.E. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazroui, Chairman of ADMC, and Edward Borgerding, Chief Executive Officer of ADMC.

Though the terms of the deal haven’t been made public, sources indicate that the joint venture is now valued at about $300 million.

google-music

google music’s (GOOG) YouTube isn’t an owner in the JV but will share revenue in exchange for lending Vevo its massive distribution platform. The site, which will exist both outside YouTube and within YouTube as a branded channel with its own player, is scheduled to launch later this year.

The service will operate at Vevo.com and have its own channel on google music’s YouTube, which will share ad revenue with the music labels. Incidentally google music Inc., now has partnerships will all four major recording labels – Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI and their publishing divisions.So,plans are in the works to offer song downloads, merchandise and concert tickets.

With the rising problem of declining sales of CD’s, major recording companies are experimenting with new innovative ways of distributing their music online so that it can generate sufficient revenue.Funding from the shareholders will enable VEVO to come to market with an attractive premium music offering for consumers and advertisers alike.

Consumer demand for music video entertainment is growing significantly today and is transforming the digital entertainment market and the music industry by fuelling new media business models. VEVO fits our vision and goals perfectly, as we are expanding our capabilities and continue to build the market for digital entertainment around the world.

said Edward Borgerding, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Media Company.

Vevo will be launched in the United States and Canada later this year with a further international roadmap . VEVO will be a premium destination and enormous distribution network for the very best in top-notch music video content that will unleash the massive existing traffic of YouTube.

Speculation about Vevo:

speculation is that Vevo is a service that will let users watch videos online. Now if Google combines Vevo and Google Music with the Droid, the collaboration could send down some shivers to Cupertino. We hope the picture will get clearer in a couple of days .

What people think about Vevo:

Now, with Vevo, we can create the content, sell the ads, and even use the data to market new music to people alongside things they already like. When Vevo launches in December, it will be a great boon to the music industry – one of the web savy comments.

conclusion:

Vevo is a giant step forward for the music industry. Launching of Vevo opens a new door for the digital media industry . It ensures incredible growth for brand advertisers as well as for the consumers, desperately waiting for new premium video experiences online.

VEVO logp

© 2009 VEVO

WP Dominic Stoughton's Blog 256'4

© 2009 Dominic Stoughton


December 08, 2009

First Vevo Review

December 9th, 2009

VEVO logp

Vevo is an online music video website owned by Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Abu Dhabi Music Company, that is developed and hosted by YouTube, Sony, and Google, with content being initially provided by Universal Music Group. It has begun operations from the midnight of 8th December, 2009. Google and Universal will split ad revenues. Google’s YouTube video service will host Universal content on the satellite website, making this the first time that YouTube hosts content off its main website. Through this partnership, Google and Universal will split ad revenues. It is expected to become the largest music oriented website on the Internet. Vevo is not designed to be exclusive to Universal, but currently only Universal is signed up to offer its content. Universal CEO Doug Morris claims it plans to work with other record companies to host content from elsewhere.

A possible major reason behind the project is the competition that music videos have on YouTube. Warner Music Group apparently removed its content from YouTube in March 2009 for just this reason, but is said to be considering hosting its content on this new service. The concept for the site is described as being a Hulu for music videos and the plan may have arisen from the goal of attracting more high-end advertisers. Currently, it is believed that many advertisers are ambivalent to hosting advertising on YouTube’s site alongside user-generated video. In the future, the site could host more than just music videos, such as editorials, other types of videos, and user-generated content.

Universal registered the domain name vevo.com on 20 November 2008. As of 4 June, 2009 , the website is in operation, and updates are provided to those who enter their email address, or who follow the site’s Twitter page, which is linked from the Vevo homepage. On 18 November 2009, Vevo announced via email that the service would be launched at a party in New York on 8 December.

Availability

First of all, Vevo is not available world wide, it currently is only available in the US. People from other countries get message that Vevo is currently not available in their country. They can leave their email address to be informed when Vevo will be available in their region.

notavailable

Vevo Not Available in all Countries

The main page

On the Vevo mainpage you can search for music videos by artist, song or playlist. There are also links to Videos, Artists, Genres, Channels and Playlists as well as a Login and Signup link. Below that you will see the most popular searches on the Vevo site for today (which are clickable links which bring you right to the result page for those searches). Below that is a big slideshow that promotes some of Vevos exclusive videos and content.

In the center of the main page you can find an overview of the Top Videos, Top Playlists and Popular Artists.

At the bottom of the page is your personal playlist. You can load your own videos in it or select a pre-defined playlist (more about this below). The playlist can be minimized.

main

The Vevo Main Page

Sponsors / Ads

The first thing you notice when you watch a video on the Vevo site is that the first Video you watch starts with short advertisement (commercial) before the video starts playing. The page itself is also themed by the sponsor.

sponsored

Vevo Sponsored Video

The Vevo Video Player

The Video Player is pretty decent. It’s a Flash player (just like YouTube) that plays the videos at 850×480 (850 pixels width and 480 pixels height). The video quality is great. In the player you will find a sidebar with buttons to add the video to your playlist,  get a direct video link, get the code to embed the video on your website and to purchase the song you are watching on Itunes or Amazon. Below the video users can comment and there is also a Credits tab. There are also some recommendations listed for other videos and playlists you might like.

Vevo Video Player Sidebar

Vevo Video Player Sidebar

The Playlist

This is a great feature of Vevo. With one click you can add and remove videos from your playlist. The Playlist stays available at the bottom of the site while you browse trough the website. It can be minimized and maximized. You can easily skip between tracks in your playlist and you can save the playlist so you can access it again the next time you enter the Vevo site. There are also predefined playlists which you can watch, for example “Rock Favorites”, “Hits”, etc.

The Vevo Playlist

The Vevo Playlist

The Artists Page

When you click on an Artist’s name you will get a page that shows all available videos from that artist as well as playlists featuring that artist. It also lists the tweets about the artist from twitter.

The Vevo Artist Page

The Vevo Artist Page

Vevo Channels

Video channels feature videos by Genre or theme. For example there is a Michal Jackson Legacy channel, a Hit List Channel, A country Channel, A Latino Channel, Old School Hip Hop Channel a channel with Vevo Shows.

Vevo channels

Vevo channels page

Vevo Genres

On the Genres page you can find videos by genre such as Blues, Alternative, Children’s Music, Gospel, Classical, Humor, Country, Easy Listening, Electronic/Dance, Jazz, Holiday, etc.

genres

Vevo Genres

Vevo Launch Problems
December 9th, 2009

Vevo was just launched, but it seems they didn’t do their capacity planning very well as the site is very unstable. It is currently hard to connect to the Vevo site and when you manage to connect the pages load very slow and most videos won’t play. Some page’s won’t load at all, like the signup page to create an account. Another thing is that Vevo is not available worldwide. Just like Hulu it only works in the US. People from other countries get a message that Vevo is not available in their country.

Vevo announces Agreement with EMI
December 8th, 2009

Vevo announced an agreement with EMI yesterday, which means that Vevo will now feature content from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music. As part of the EMI agreement, music fans will be able to view video content from artists on EMI’s labels including Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol and Virgin, as well as the independent artists and labels represented by EMI Label Services and EMI’s Caroline Distribution unit. Across the Vevo network, users will now enjoy the largest selection of premium music content featuring the broadest array of chart-topping artists found anywhere on the Web. Don’t forget that tonight (December 8 at 11.59pm) Vevo will go live! A few days ago Vevo also published their official blog at blog.vevo.com.

Vevo Launch Date set to December 8 2009
November 26th, 2009

The official launch date for the Vevo site is December 8 2009 at 12 midnight. The site will go open to anyone, so there won’t be any invite only beta test first. We don’t have any more details about the Vevo site yet and how it will look when it launches. It could just be a collection of all licensed music videos that are available on Youtube with a top 10 and  stuff like that, combined with exclusive Vevo only content. We expect the site to be integrated a lot within YouTube as all videos will be available on both platforms. As soon as we have any more news regarding the Vevo launch or the Vevo site we will post it.

Vevo Teams up with AT&T
October 27th, 2009

Vevo announced today that they have created a unique branding and marketing partnership with AT&T to support VEVO across a variety of connected platforms. The announcement was made today by Rio Caraeff, president and CEO of VEVO, and Chris Schembri, vice president of media services for AT&T.  AT&T’s decision to join Vevo at such an early stage is another milestone on the path to the launch of  VEVO.com and VEVO at YouTube in December.

Abu Dhabi Media Company invests in Vevo
October 20th, 2009

Today Vevo announced an investment from the Abu Dhabi Media Company, who now joins Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group as founding shareholders in VEVO.  According to Vevo “It’s an honor to bring in such a solid investment partner”.  Vevo is confident that ADMC has the vision and experience to help guide them through the many opportunities that lay ahead of Vevo. Vevo’s President & CEO Rio Caraeff said “It’s a credit to the music community, and to the global opportunity that VEVO represents, that we have been able to attract such a solid investment partner with the vision and track record of Abu Dhabi Media Company.”

Vevo is a Giant Step Forward for the Music industry
October 19th, 2009

According to Jimmy Iovine (Interscope’s chariman) Vevo is going to be a giant step forward for the music industry. He mentioned Vevo several times in an interview he did about the future of online music distribution. Interscope has plans to launch an online music distribution platform code-named “Timberland,” which vision can be compared to Vevo “It’s similar in vision to Vevo—which for the first time, will give labels the ability to push out our product without having to go through radio or TV stations. Before, we had to make it, ship it and pray for a hit. Now, with Vevo, we can create the content, sell the ads, and even use the data to market new music to people alongside things they already like. When Vevo launches in December, it will be a giant step forward for the industry. And Interscope is trying to create something similar with our Timberland project.” You can read the full article at paidcontent.org.

Warner music videos back to Youtube
September 30th, 2009

Good news, Warner Music Group and Youtube have come to an agreement about their music videos. This means the Warner music videos will return to Youtube. With Warner on board, YouTube now features artists from all four of the major music labels along with hundreds of independent labels. But this is probably also good news for Vevo, as it’s very likely now that Warner will also be part of Vevo and have all Warner Music Group’s artists videos included in the Vevo website. Unfortunately the specific launch date for Vevo is still unknown, but as soon as there is any news you will read it here first.

VEVO logp

© 2009 VEVO

WP Dominic Stoughton's Blog 256'4

© 2009 Dominic Stoughton

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