Thursday, January 29, 2009

Location-Aware Phones are Scary and Amazing

Just read a Wired article recently about location-aware phones - and the crazy apps that tell you crazy CRAZY things about your environment! Like what constellations are over your head - just wave you iphone towards the heavens - or what supermarket sells the lowest price skim milk in a five mile radius - just snap a picture of the barcode. IN-SANE. Here's a link to the Wired Article on these creepy location-aware phone apps.

Here's an excerpt from the app list if you're lazy:

Dark Alley? Call for Help.
Application: SafetyNet
Platform: Android
Price: FREE!

"Finally, a right way to venture to the wrong side of the tracks. Use SafetyNet's map to select bad neighborhoods. Then, if you end up in a sketchy area, your mobile will switch into watchdog mode. If trouble arises, all you have to do is shake the handset and your phone will set off an alarm, start sending your location to friends and family every 30 seconds via Google Talk, take a picture, turn on its speaker, and dial 911 (or another emergency number) . The app announces each of these steps out loud so a would-be assailant can hear what's happening and give up. At the very least, they won't want to steal a cell phone that's shrieking about calling the cops."

- from Inside the GPS Revolution: 10 Applications That Make the Most of Location, by Erin Biba for Wired

Thursday, January 22, 2009

La Vache Qui Rit = sounds kinda like "valkyrie"

The Encyclopedia of the Cat is a reference book recommended for small-to-medium academic libraries. I find it humorous that - perhaps due to space concerns - the Encyclopedia of the Dog is NOT a similarly recommended book! Librarian humor. I guffaw. And my sources are probably out of date, but I enjoy it anyway.

Have I started using proper capitalization in this blog? Oh fine. I'll try it in this post, see how it goes.

You know how excited I am about coelacanths (see-luh-canths), those swimming fossil fish blithely going about their prehistoric business while we build skyscrapers and walk our cockapoos to the corner store...there's a book called A Fish Caught In Time: The Search for the Coelacanth. I'm excited to read that sucker. Check it out at your local library, or buy the book, heck.

Here's some cool stuff gleaned from Neatorama:

Stories behind 10 Famous Food Logos (including the metamorphosis of the Morton Salt Girl). I love the development of the Laughing Cow logo - it's a pun on "Valkyrie" = "vache qui rit", or the cow who laughs. Oh my god, the first laughing cow drawing makes me die a little bit. The cow is really losing it. Also included: the fictitious Aunt Jemima, the fictitious Betty Crocker (with creepy composite portrait gallery), and the fictitious Sara Lee!

At the website Energy Fiend, you can find out how many cups of coffee it would really take to kill you. Really! (The website is not liable if they are, say, two cups off in their arithmetic.) Actually, you can calculate the toxic dose of pretty much any commercially available stimulant and/or beverage on the market! Just enter your weight, your "poison" of choice...and there's even a Facebook app. Lord have mercy.

It would take approximately 130 shots of espresso to kill me, bitches! Try brewing that on your expensive yuppie-toy WHILE I WAIT.

And from Geekologie: how to program those Road Work construction signs to say things like "Zombies Ahead" and "Your face is ugly"! Nice.

From Gizmodo and Geekologie: a $5000 paper house for poor people - ostensibly as an alternative to a shantytown shack. (But if I had $5000, I wouldn't be living in a shantytown!) Anyway, it's a paper house that has insulation, and built-in ways to easily slaughter the yard pig and rinse its carcass in the shower stall. Integrated clothesline, and space for a family of eight. I guess it would be more of a gift from some kind of humanitarian organization: "Have fun drying your fish on the clotheslines, hang in there! This refugee camp is looking really ship-shape! Next we'll be handing out Ikea pillows that also function as plates and bowls..."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

News Anchors on commercial break

Have you ever wondered what the news anchors talk about during commercial breaks? (Being a pessimist, I wonder if they secretly hate each other, but are forced to make polite small-talk for the camera), but this video from the Chicago Tribune blog HeadCandy proves me wrong. Watch the vid - they are both a little too fabulous.

This may be the best thing I've seen on the internet all week.

Kingfisher feathers as jewelry

The WearableArt blog kicks a$$! So much to love. Artist Tzu-Ju Chen creates jewelry using traditional Chinese techniques, like kingfisher feather inlay. But she also uses Chinese paper money - an offering for the dead - as the base for all this amazing jewelry. Take a look at some of the pieces on her website!

Here's the link from Wearable Art to Tzu-Ju Chen, too.

When venison is too bothersome

This is an article from the NY Times, pertaining to the trendy human consumption of grey squirrels in Britain. See, the native red squirrels are being decimated by the robust, disease-carrying grey squirrels from the New World. So, the locals have taken to eating squirrel - apparently much like rabbit, though dependent on time of year - fat or lean? - and the diet of each squirrel. Nuts and mushrooms sounds a little better than dumpster garbage and peanuts, in other words...

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Let's not forget that. Put down the Big Mac, pick up an organic free-range acorn-fed squirrel, supplemented with morel mushrooms, pecans, beetle grubs, quail eggs, and pea shoots.

Braised and served with...roasted acorns and grubs, toasted pecans, sauteed morel mushrooms, quail eggs and fresh pea shoots. Just kidding.

I'd have a hard time eating squirrel, because they're adorable little monsters. But if there was a squirrel problem, I guess I would try it. Shoot for the head, don't eat the brains! I'd want summer squirrel, not winter squirrel - unless I was starving and needed to eat pure blubber. Like they do in the arctic - arctic squirrel! Sqwerl.