PopSci's official contributing troubadour and podcaster Jonathan Coulton got some major love in the Sunday New York Times Magazine this week as the centerpiece of a story on how musicians are using the Internet to interact directly with their fans in ways that were previously not possible. When he's not interviewing the best and brightest minds of the science world from his PopSci office on the moon or performing at our swanky Future Lounge in Second Life, Jonathan is a full-time, self-supported singer-songwriter. We're all crazy about his tracks here at PopSci (if you haven't heard "Code Monkey" yet, do so at your earliest convenience) and thrilled that Jonathan will probably have an even larger audience to interact with online after this week's piece.
Code Monkey like hot chicks more than he like you.
A really neat thing about PopSci: Not only do we have contributing writers and editors but also a contributing troubador. Seriously: Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton is listed right there on our masthead, and his services—which have included creating an entire soundtrack for last year's Future of the Body issue and reporting live from the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show with comedian John Hodgman (of Daily Show fame)—are indispensible. They're about to be even more indispensible beginning this Monday, when we launch a series of podcasts in which Coulton interviews the movers and shakers of sci-tech...from the moon. Stay tuned for that.
Meanwhile, one of Coulton's coolest songs, "Code Monkey," a catchy ditty about a computer guy with an unrequited crush, has recently been turned into a most excellent machinima video by the whiz kids at Tra5h Ta1k. But doesn't making a video out of someone else's song violate copyright laws? Why, no, not in this case—and we're so glad you asked—because Coulton licensed his song as "some rights reserved" through Creative Commons, the alternative copyrighting nonprofit started by Stanford genius Lawrence Lessig.
But get this: Just days after the "Code Monkey" video went live, an opportunistic capitalist started selling T-shirts and mousepads emblazoned with the song's refrain, "Code Monkey Like Fritos." This was flattering but not kosher, since the song was licensed for noncommercial sharing only, and Coulton had to nicely ask the T-shirt seller to stop. And then he started selling his own "Code Monkey" gear, which is now available at Cafepress. I should probably get one for free after all the href-ing and Coulton-hyping I just did. Ahem. —Megan Miller
What's a podcast? Simply put, a podcast is a multimedia file that can be downloaded to your MP3 player or computer. PopSci's podcasts are like little variety shows, complete with music, informative interviews, and sometimes even photos and video. Each week, we'll talk to experts about the stories shaping the future of technology, from the frontlines of the "wired" war in Iraq to San Francisco's plan to turn dog droppings into electricityand everything in between.