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Friday Five: Nintendo’s copyright clampdown and space oddities

Chris Mayer

Also featuring a new dead drop system and our tribute to Chris Hadfield,

If you’ve managed to pull yourself away from all the Google I/O coverage, here’s our latest look back at the week that was, in tech and beyond. The premise is simple – it’s just five things that we thought were worth bringing to your attention this Friday.

Let’s get to it.

1. Ground Control to Major Chris

This will be Friday Five regular Commander Chris Hadfield’s last appearance in this feature, as he’s now back on Earth after returning from the International Space Station earlier this week.

The Canadian astronaut has become an overnight celebrity for his out of this world videos. Over 12 million people have viewed his cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, (complete with floating acoustic guitar) and if you haven’t seen it, it is truly amazing.

Thanks for the memories, Commander Hadfield.


2. Houston, we’ve got a problem

Let’s stay with the space news. Nasa telescope Kepler, tasked with finding Earth-like planets in the galaxy, has hit a snag. Two of the four reaction wheels used to orient the spacecraft are now broken, leaving it aimlessly floating through space.

Launched in 2009, Kepler’s primary mission is already complete, having identified two distant habitable planets and a further 132 “exoplanets” outside of this solar system.

But Nasa administrator John Grunsfeld says the problem can be resolved. “I wouldn’t call Kepler down and out just yet.” Let’s hope Eclipse’s next release train, dubbed Kepler, comes off without a hitch!

3. Nintendo doesn’t want to play

The Youtube Let’s Play phenomenon, where gamers entertain viewers with their playthroughs of equally good and terrible games, is in danger of being outlawed on Youtube.

Nintendo aren’t particularly happy about gamers riffing on their titles and are now aggressively seeking ad revenue from Let’s Play videos featuring Nintendo characters and copyrighted content.

Ars Technica explain that Let’s Play videos are now getting caught up in Youtube’s Content ID system, with some getting booted off the site altogether. Nintendo’s copyright clout hasn’t gone down well with prominent LPer Zach Scott, who wrote the following on Facebook:

Filing claims against LPers is backwards. Video games aren’t like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience,” said Scott. “When I see a film that someone else is also watching, I don’t need to see it again. When I see a game that someone else is playing, I want to play that game for myself!

Until their claims are straightened out, I won’t be playing their games. I won’t because it jeopardises my channel’s copyright standing and the livelihood of all LPers.

4. Tumblr of the Week – The Worst Room

Having moved to a metropolis just under two years ago, this writer is very much aware of how shoddy and overpriced housing can be in London. But it seems that New York City has us beat for ripoffs, as this Tumblr collects some of the worst accomodation available in the Big Apple.

5. Strongbox

Renowned for its cutting satire, The New Yorker have this week unveiled something a bit different – Strongbox. The dead drop system, which was co-created by Aaron Swartz, allows people to send documents with the magazine’s editorial with a promised greater degree of anonymity. The code behind the project has been open sourced too, it’s well worth a look.

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