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TwitLit, dangerous older women, Pixar comes to town and more...

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  • Back to reading American Gods for #1b1t. Taking time to think about what I'm reading. This is not fastfood but 7-course meal.
  • @1B1T2010 #1b1t related drawings. Bilquis scne from #1b1t_1c coming today. Lemme knw what u think. Keep d requests cmn Follow #1b1t_visuals
  •  RT @dangerkitty713: I'm woefully behind, but I finally got to start reading American Gods last night. Passed out midsentence, but that was from tylenol pm#1b1t

Google: Bravely Defends Families Against Older Women
I’ve written before about the growing domination of Google on the Internet. But Google doesn’t just resemble behemoths like Walmart in size and dominance. The company is now censoring ads based on “family values”, according to the Globe and Mail, much as Walmart has been accused of doing in the past with CDs and DVDs.

Operators of dating websites catering to younger men looking for older women (and vice versa) claim that their ads are being removed from Google’s custom content network that feeds ads to other websites because the ads are “non-family safe”. Yet dating services with the reverse market (young women looking for older men) do not have their ads censored by Google’s Policy Team.

I wonder how a service that links younger men and older women could be considered unsafe for families. Unfortunately, as a private company, Google is not accountable to anyone except its shareholders. What other types of ads are being censored by Google? We hear a lot about government censorship, but corporate censorship by near monopolies (such as Google in the internet ad business) is also something to watch out for.

Facebook Competition?
The growing dissatisfaction with Facebook over its privacy policies has spawned an open source competitor called Diaspora. The fledgling network was started by four young New York University computer science students and hopes to launch in the fall. According to, “We are 140-character ideas. We are the pictures of your cat. We are blog posts about the economy. We are the collective knowledge that is Wikipedia. The internet is a canvas – of which, we paint broad and fine strokes of our lives with. It is a forward extension of our physical lives; a meta-self comprised of ones and zeros. We are all that is digital: If we weren’t, the internet wouldn’t either.”

On the face of it, Diaspora is aiming itself at a techno-savvy crowd, so it remains to be seen whether mainstream Facebook users will flock to it, especially when the Diaspora group is excitedly promising that in a few months, they will offer “ OpenID, Voice-over IP, Distributed Encrypted Backups, Instant Messaging protocol and UDP integration.”

Meet the Sun’s New Photographer: Google Maps
I know that daily newspapers are trying to save money however they can, but did the Vancouver Sun really need to use a Google Maps photo to illustrate a story about a sexual assault in the neighbourhood?  If the Sun had no photographers available, they might have been better off not running a photo at all rather than a lifeless, uninformative Google Maps image. The future of news photography? I hope not.

No Borders Here
Canadian folk-rock legend Jane Sibbery is offering all her music, including classic albums such as No Borders Here and The Speckless Sky free of charge in mp3 format (her site also has links for higher quality aiff format files, but those links don’t appear to be working at present). All Jane asks is that you “pay it forward” by letting others know about the music.

Pixar Animates Vancouver
It didn't take place this week, or even this month, so technically it doesn't belong in this column, but on April 22, animation firm Pixar opened its Vancouver studio with, naturally, an animated video of some of its well-known characters visiting local landmarks. Pixar starts with eight employees locally but eventually plans to have 100 folks working here which is good news for the local tech scene. Other good news is that Silicon Valley venture capital firm Plug and Play is opening up local offices.

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