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Every so often something comes along that changes your life and stays with you forever. For Charlie Jane Anders and me, it was Star Blazers.
Charlie Jane Anders' love letter to Star Blazers is one of my favorite pieces on the Internet this week. I encourage everyone to read it.
I'm in my mid-forties, and I'm squarely in the first Star Wars generation. I was seven when that movie came out, and my friends and I all collected the action figures and played Star Wars in our back yards, pretending we had light sabers. But there was a sci-fi TV series that meant more to me even than Star Wars, and it was Star Blazers.
Anders explains the psychology behind the show — something inferred through characters' actions throughout the series, but never specifically articulated. Something that's stuck with me ever since.
Years later, I lived in Japan and learned Japanese, and became pretty familiar with the concepts of "gambaru" (doing your best, no matter what) and "gaman suru" (remaining strong, in spite of all temptation and suffering). The characters on Star Blazers modeled those qualities for me, even with the sometimes awful dubbing — they seemed both stoic and passionate, and ready to beat the odds over and over.
Star Blazers was a syndicated show broadcast every afternoon out of Boston (just like Anders, I grew up in Boston). In the days before cable TV, when we were relegated to whatever channels the rabbit ears on top of the TV could pick up, Star Blazers came in on a high-number UHF channel, more staticky than some of the other stations we watched, but still viewable.
Star Blazers was incredibly gripping: High melodrama in space, humans trying to save the Earth from destruction at the hands of a callous alien foe. But it was also gorgeous to watch, a resurrected World War II-era battleship recycled as a starship complete with Wave Motion Gun, an energy weapon that occupied the entire bow of the vessel.
When I was four I remember watching Speed Racer raptly, running around the living room to the theme song: "Go Speed Racer goooo!" I was also an avid Battle of the Planets fan.
Star Blazers came along at a very formative time in my life. I gradually began to realize that my other most treasured cartoon series were made in Japan. Thus began my life-long love of Japanese animation, or anime, something my wife and I share and that we've instilled in our kids.
Not sure what new music to listen to? We'll let you know what new tracks and albums dropping this week that are are worth using your bandwidth on. Up this week: Dustin Kensrue, Tame Impala, Heems, and more.
Meerkat, a new live video streaming app, has been hobbled by the ever-frustrating Twitter. It launched just 2 weeks ago and has risen in prominence thanks to exposure at SXSW.
Meerkat works simply: log in with your Twitter account, hit the stream button, and it immediately starts broadcasting video from your iPhone onto the web and posts a link onto Twitter. The stream is only available while it's live — once you stop, it's gone. Ephemeral live video, if you will. It's a straightforward service, and while it's not yet widely used, the exposure it's seen at SXSW Interactive has dramatically raised its profile. While you might question the value of live video streaming from anybody's phone, it's worth noting that the value of 140-character messages was questioned as well, and Twitter gained traction under similar circumstances at SXSW in 2007.
But Twitter didn't rely on another service to propagate it's own. Apparently Twitter's not to keen on Meerkat using their service to vault into the public consciousness, and their taking steps to reign in just how much exposure Meerkat's going to get through Twitter. According to BuzzFeed:
Twitter is cutting off Meerkat's ability to port people's social networks over from Twitter to its own service—the so-called social graph. That means when new users come on board, they will no longer be automatically connected to the other people they are already following on Twitter.
It's not surprising to see Twitter doing this, even if it is disheartening. Twitter recently purchased a different live streaming startup Periscope (only available via invite right now), and has an understandable business interest in protecting their own assets and not offering a service like Meerkat free and unfettered access to everything Twitter APIs have to offer.
That's not likely to significantly hamper Meerkat, however, as the functions to start streaming and send out tweets about your stream are not tied to "social graph" access. If anything, doing so has generated more press for Meerkat — and positive press at that, while Twitter's bearing the brunt of the negative side of the story (just like in this very post). It remains to be seen whether or not Meerkat will see longer term success or be something of a flash in the pan.
Mercedes-Benz is putting the final touches on the next-gen C-Class Coupe. The two-door will feature a sleek design inspired by the S-Class Coupe, and it will be offered with turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines.
The post Brace yourself, BMW, Mercedes’ next C-Class Coupe is right around the corner appeared first on Digital Trends.