Coulton's avatar (Yonatan Coalcliff) warms up at a recent in-world sound check
The time has almost come, all ye anxious avatars. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST, PopSci's contributing troubadour/podcaster/all-around pop genius Jonathan Coulton will take to the virtual stage for a concert in the online world of Second Life, brought to you by PopSci.com and our good friends at Creative Commons.
If you haven't already heard, Coulton is a funny dude, whether he's interviewing the movers and shakers of sci-tech from PopSci's Lunar Base One or penning touching tributes to overburdened programmers. So what are you waiting for? All the information you need to attend the show can be found on the Creative Commons wiki (if you don't have a Second Life, you can also stream the concert live via Mad Muse Radio). Let it be known, however, that the in-world show will be full of surprises. Surprises involving squids and zombies. So get an avatar today and join us! Look for me there—I'll be the dude with the green hair and the sweet PopSci STAFF jacket.
Also, for more on the event and an interview with Coulton, check Second Life man-about-town Wagner James Au's blog. And if you're still confused about this whole Second Life thing, see our recent feature, "Your Second Life is Ready." —John Mahoney
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