Monthly Archives: October 2009

What if fear turned profits?

What if fear turned profits?

What if a movie filmed on a budget of under $10,000 brought in $100 million?  This is what’s going on with the new hit movie Paranormal Activity—a movie shot in 1 week by an unknown, (Oren Peli) in his house, with non-famous actors and on a shoestring budget.  Not since The Blair Witch project that cost $25,000 and brought in some $25 million, has so much come out of so little!  The plot is simple: a young couple, troubled by strange nighttime noises, decide to put a camera in their house one evening to observe possible paranormal phenomena.  Horror without a single drop of blood!  The movie comes out on December 2nd in France. Check out the very disruptive preview (below): we see the reactions of the first spectators screaming in their seats.   According to lore, Steven Speilberg, having seen the movie before everyone else, was so terrified he threw the DVD into his trashcan!  (source of lore: Le Parisien newspaper).  Hold on to your seats!

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What if we tagged walls without touching them?

What if we tagged walls without touching them?

I discovered this surprising experiment in digital art thanks to Gregory Pouy, (and sent to me by Hedia on Facebook).  This is the brainchild of the multimedia art duo SWEATHSHOPPE who developed an artistic performance platform that mixes video, tags and architecture.  The application allows you to paint “via video” on all types of walls and surfaces.  Here is an example of one of the first virtual works painted by an artist in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.


What if the future of television were paper?

What if the future of television were paper?

Through Internet, and blogs in particular, we have become accustomed to going naturally, with a simple click, from reading a text to watching a video.  The much-ballyhooed launch of Amazon’s Kindle, announces the entry of paper on the screen.  This convergence is like a half empty bottle that we see as being half full—can be seen in the other way: prices of “mini-screens” will lower and will be able to be placed everywhere, including in the paper of your magazine (or your brochure).  Last September, Entertainment Weekly, in partnership with Pepsi, CBS and Americhip, Inc created an event by publishing the first magazine in History with a “full motion” video.  The below video, taken from the channel CBS2 shows the potential of of the technique with many uses…


What if we dared to talk about population control?

This post is a spontaneous contribution by François Momboisse, one of the most astute commentators of my French blog.  François has years of experience in mass consumption marketing (P&G, Benckiser…) before becoming President of the French Federation for E-Commerce and Mail Order Sales (Feyad).  His contribution reminds us, on the eve of Copenhagen, that global warming and population control are closely linked, try as we may to forget this… In all current debates on global warming, the extinction of fossil fuel supply or negative growth of as a means of non pollution are often brought up.  However, one idea is always avoided: population control.  Why is this?
Before going back to Malthus in the 19th century, this concept had its moment in the sun in the 1970’s (the senior readers will remember the Club of Rome and the Meadows Report).  This was the era when controlling births was associated with the rise of birth control and women’s active role in family planning.  Talking about population control, at this point in history, was not seen as taboo, but was 100% politically correct.

40 years later, we are nearly 7 billion on this earth, 1 billion of whom are suffering from malnutrition.  In 2050, the population is projected to grow to 9 billion—as though this figure is completely out of our control.  At the same time, the countries suffering the most from malnutrition like Haiti, Mali and Niger happen to have the highest birth rates per woman.  Common sense, backed up by scientific studies, would suggest that controlling births could be beneficial.

And yet, the subject is taboo, in my opinion, for 2 reasons:

-The problem is present only in developing countries, as developed countries (except for France?!) already have very low birth rates.  Thus, the United Nations and other developed countries would be have to “recommend” a solution uniquely to developing countries.  Something that is not politically correct.

-Religions are against birth control.  What has changed in 40 years is that, at the place of the Pope and the Catholic Church, who have always been regularly mocked for their anti-birth control stance, has arisen an Islam that no one dares to criticize.

So until recently, the subject stayed taboo until the The Lancet Commission courageously and factually, re-ignited the debate, demonstrating that population control was essential in fighting climate change.  If no one talks about this in Copenhagen, then it really will be a killer idea!

What if we dared to express shocking ideas?

Wired has published this month its annual “smart list”, featuring “12 shocking ideas that could change the world”.  This year, priority was given to “dangerous” ideas: anything heretical, radical and subject to controversy.  These ideas include: A prison reformer who wants to empty them; an economist recommending blocking aid to developing countries (due to corruption); a military theorist who recommends launching an immediate preventive cyber attack; Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary who wants to overhaul the Pentagon; abolishing medical privacy; recruiting autistics; and killing Big League sports.  This food for thought really does make you think and when it comes to ideas it’s never a good idea to self-censure and avoid debates.  Can the world move forward without politically incorrect ideas?

I have selected two “killer ideas” (one is truly a killer idea, because it concerns euthanasia) that will be part of future posts.  You will be able to vote on these ideas, and others, for the “Killer Idea of 2009” Contest.  Don’t hesitate to take up one of the ideas suggested by Wire, just send me a post beginning with “What if…” 😉