From the Editors
Best in Blogs: Are the Dodgers Worth More than The Scream? Plus How Halo 4 Could Sway the Presidential Election
At GamePolitics.com, "Where Politics and Video Games Collide," they must be popping the champagne bottles after a blockbuster story landed in their narrow wheelhouse this week. "How Halo 4 Could Impact the Presidential Election," shouted a midweek headline: "When Microsoft decided to pick November 6, 2012 as the release date for Halo 4, did they take into account that the date is actually pretty damned important to the future direction of the country for the next four years? By choosing that date have they given gamers in the 18 - 34 age group an excuse to be more apathetic about voting than usual?" Wait, so Halo 4 is being released on election day to drive down the youth vote and hurt Obama's re-election bid? MovieBob at The Escapist has assembled a video exploring the origin of the theory and how much there is to it. "Since this is the Internet, the second biggest breeding ground for conspiracy theories outside of isolated well-armed cabins in the Montana wilderness, imaginings of a nefarious conspiracy being at work quickly took shape," the video says. Microsoft already dismissed the conflict as "purely coincidental." It's really possible to buy Halo 4 and vote on the same day. Though as David Their at Forbes blogged: "it doesn't do much to dispel the myth of gamers as clueless and detached when it comes to the real world."
The Blackberry 10 may not sway a national election, but the soon-to-be-released smartphone "comes during really interesting times," says Beta News. Its maker, Research in Motion, "gets one more shot, one last call to battle. It's do or die." The early verdict? "Overall, I am not seeing anything that will save this company, but there are a few nice features in the new OS," says 9 to 5 Mac. With a virtual keyboard, "RIM is putting the last nail in the physical keyboard coffin." There's also a kooky camera feature (video here) that allows you to step back in time when you miss a shot." Huh? "The camera is just taking shots from the time the camera app is open and caching them for later browsing." Mashable explains how that feature could be useful: "The hypothetical situation was when someone...closes their eyes during a shot." That could come I nhandy but also illustrates RIM's ongoing effort to woo consumers when it really should be focusing on corporate users. Mashable says "RIM is fighting the wrong war," by which it does not mean Halo 4. Early feedback from popular app makers is mixed. "Some were completely opposed to making apps for the BlackBerry because of RIM's uncertain future, while others kept an open mind," says Bits.
Two items sold this week at record-smashing prices, the Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.15 billion) and a version of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" ($119.9 million). "The Scream is officially the world's most absurdly overpriced painting," says Gizmodo. "This version of The Scream is unique in a few ways," notes Geekosystem. "This one is said to be the most colorful and vibrant of the four versions of the painting, and is the only version where one of the two people in the background look out toward the cityscape." Baseball teams still cost more. By way of comparison, MTR Media notes that The Scream now "costs about the same as the remainder of Carl Crawford's Red Sox contract."
It's been said that there are two kinds of people: those who think that the different ways in which Rihanna and Beyonce use social media can tell us all about our future, and those who don't. At the Bits blog, Jenna Wortham appears to fall into the first category. Apparently the two divas "sit on opposite sides of the spectrum... I've noticted something intriguing about the way they each use the social Web and what it means about a future where everyone has some sort of presence online," she blogs. So "will you be a Beyonce, and present a carefully groomed version of yourself to the Web? Or will you take Rihanna's road and throw caution to the wind, baring your life, your friends and occasionally, your unmentionables?" Gosh, umm, is there another option? "Of course, there's also a third possibility," The Verge suggests, "that both methods are just as carefully or unconsciously deployed, the one no more "real" than the other."
Or you could have the social media style of "Sarah Phillips," who was hired as a columnist for ESPN.com based on some message board posts, tweets, and fake profile photos that look pretty but aren't really her. A new Deadspin investigation asks: "Is Sarah Phillips for real? Thirteen months ago, she was an unknown message-board participant at Covers.com, a gambling website. Then Covers plucked her from the boards and gave her a weekly column, sight unseen. Five months after that, she was tapped by Lynn Hoppes, an editor for ESPN.com, to write a weekly column for ESPN's Page 2--once the home of writers like David Halberstam, Ralph Wiley, and Hunter S. Thompson...The swiftness of her ascent gave her that weird sort of internet half-celebrity whereby she became moderately famous before anyone really knew who she was." It turns out that Phillips may be behind several Internet scams. Awful Announcing does its own lengthy investigation and determines that "the Sarah Phillips mystery goes way beyond ESPN and into the farthest reaches of the Twitterverse." It also reaches into the lunacy of what qualifies soemoen to become a columnist these days. Asks Buzzfeed: "Will there be legal fallout from all of this, and if so to what extent? Will Aaron Nilsen get his money or his Twitter account back? Was this all secretly a sequel to Catfish?"