Recording artist Will.i.am, as you may know, is something of a self-styled technologist. Besides holding down a sweet gig as Intel’s director of “creative innovation,” he pops up in pro-coding propaganda and once featured a Makerbot in one of his videos, because why not. Now he’s further demonstrating his devotion to technology in the title of his latest track: “#thatpower,” released today.
Teach Me How to Startup
Agitprop about “coding as the new literacy,” lost momentum last year somewhere around the time adults felt compelled to issue public apologies to Codecademy for ignoring their email tutorials. But with President Obama shouting out high tech high schools in the State of the Union–and Chinese hackers inspiring a possible “Sputnik moment“–the cause of educating young minds in the ways of coding seems to have taken on new urgency.
Witness, for example, this video produced by Code.org, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing computer programming education. ”Learn about a new ‘superpower’ that isn’t being taught in in 90% of US schools,” the description advertises. Wait, America still has a chance at staying a superpower? Tell me more!
Life in 3D
When one mulls over the future of manufacturing, naturally the first question that comes to mind is: How we can we as a nation effectively mass produce cornerstone products, like a plastic bust of performer Will.i.am?
Luckily, Mr. Am–who last we heard was hurtling our planet towards a Martian attack–has ushered 3D printing into the mainstream by including it in his newest video, “Scream and Shout,” also featuring the eminently GIF-able Britney Spears. At around 1:38 in the video, a 3D printer sitting on a platform displaying the Makerbot logo is seen printing thin layers of plastic to create a bust of that vital American commodity: Mr. Am’s head.
It’s the news no one in tech has been waiting for with bated breath. Hot on the heels of the announcement that Randi Zuckerberg’s Silicon Valley Start-ups will debut on Bravo next month, a new tech show is rumored to be in the making. Except this time it’s an X Factor-style talent show, featuring ex-American Idol judge Simon Cowell and Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am.
“Singing and performance create a couple of jobs. But this will create lots,” Will.i.am. told The Sun. “It’s about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves — whether that’s in science or mathematics.”
The Final Frontier
When one considers the ultimate symbol of American progress and invention, there is really only one person who comes to mind: Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am. His sartorial savvy? Swoon-worthy. His talented vocal breadth? Impeccable. Will.i.am. is not the hero America needs, but he is the one we deserve.
We can only imagine that this is why, during an educational initiative spearheaded by NASA that launches today at 4 p.m., the Curiosity Rover will broadcast a new single by Will.i.am. called “Reach for the Stars,” natch. (Did we mention what a brilliant lyricist Mr. Am is?)
Airtime, the super stealth video startup from Napster cofounders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, is launching at a press event this morning at Milk Studios in NYC, and celebrities on Twitter are apparently really, really excited about it. It’s perhaps unsurprising, though, considering the company that Shawn & Sean are used to keeping: Airtime’s investors include Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun. But who knew Martha Stewart was so plugged in to the startup scene? Perhaps Nick Bilton was right about tech being the new Hollywood.
We, too, are looking forward to the launch of Airtime, but could Sean & Shawn maybe fix their website first?
UPDATE: Federal Prosecutors Shut Down File Sharing Site Megaupload for Piracy Violations
UPDATE 2: Megaupload Lawyer: Swizz Beatz Was Merely ‘Negotiating to Become the CEO’
With all the blackouts and SOPA? PIPA? NOPA! chanting yesterday, we missed this exquisite gem of a revelation: Swizz Beatz, husband to Alicia Keys and producer-in-residence at NYU, also happens to be the CEO of Megaupload.com. [Ed note: Megaupload's lawyer now says Mr. Beatz was only negotiating to the CEO.]
For the uninitiated, Megaupload is a service that lets users send and share large media files. It also happens to the site Betabeat used just last night to watch a, um, free version of the latest episode of “New Girl” since the ad-supported version was unavailable on Hulu. Under SOPA’s strict guidelines, we believe the punishment for such impudence is being drawn-and-quartered.