Monthly Archives: August 2007

Bullet proof – innovative, mind boggling and terrifying at the same time

I almost wish it were a spoof, but I think it isn’t.

Watch Bullet Proof Baby and shake your head in wonder.


Civil Rights in the Middle East

I came across this site when reading about Facebook being banned in Iran. There are a number of other articles on the site talking about persecution of bloggers and others pursuing free speech and civil rights in the Middle East. See more at
The C.R.I.M.E. Report – August 29, 2007.
As I was click on the links, I came across this clip of dress code enforcement on Iranian women:

and here is a woman beating the crap out of another woman who looks like she was trying to attempt the same thing

Doo Wop / Hip Hop – Lauren Hill / Amy Winehouse

The incredibly beautiful and talented Lauren Hill juxtaposes Doo Wop and Hip Hop wonderfully in “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, and the video drives that point home. (Great tune – great video). See: YouTube – Doo Wop

P.S. It’s not that old a song, but already it is shaping up to be classic, as can be seen in this live version performed by Amy Winehouse:

P.S.S. I know, I post alot on Amy W…..what can I say…she’s great.

How to run all your office functionality off the web

If you think, wouldn’t it be great to do all my work off the web, rather than having to do it from my personal computer, then you want to visit Office 2.0 Database – My Office 2.0 Setup and see how it could be done.

YouTube gets politicians in trouble around the globe…this time in Iran

FP has the story of how YouTube is making life difficult for Iranian politicians. Clearly no politician is safe anywhere these days. And this is not a bad thing. See:

Mohammed Khatami’s macaca moment | FP Passport

P.S. Some of you might think: whoa! what did I miss? Read the article in FP for the details. (It’s all relative.)

Mattel, Toys and China

This could be seen as an crisis for Mattel, but it is just as much a crisis for China. See After Stumbling, Mattel Cracks Down in China – in the New York Times.

Jewcy’s take on Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris

Over at the well named is a good response to the recent lineup of books criticizing religion. See:

What the Angry Atheists Get Wrong |

Making fun on beauty queens, the importance of context and the new propaganda

I have seen this clip on a number of sites recently:


While I agree her answer is poor, I think everything has to do with context. Anyone asked such a question might have a tough time answering it without saying something obvious (and negative) like: the US education system is lacking. Or the people who can the survey did a poor job. Plus you are on stage, you have a set period of time to answer it, and some of the questions you may have been preparing to answer don’t come up.

So why the popularity of the clip? I think it is because of the context. I think it allows people to vent such things as envy or disgust or anger at the Miss USA pageant, and to do so in a simple way: displaying the clip.

One of the dark sides of Web 2.0 is the ability for anyone to create propaganda. Now this clip is a fairly benign example, but it is part of a recent trend of people trying to shape political messages and spread them via YouTube and other means. Just recently it was about using YouTube to expose the truth. Now it will be about using YouTube to shape the truth.

Focus on maximizing your time instead of worrying about the time you waste

Sprint has an interesting site called about fast-forwarding through the boring parts of your life. It’s kinda silly. I mean, I may spend 15 minutes a day doing the dishes, but there’s not much of an alternative.

However, I thought of flipping the site and showing how even a little bit of time spent every day can yield results. For example, if I were to spend 15 minutes / day reading Shakespeare, over the length of my life I could spend over 9 months reading Shakespeare! 15 minutes seems hardly worthwhile, but if you were to add it up, it may not be scholarly, but it is not insignifigant.

Check out: Sprint Waitless

See what the hackers are up to at Hack of the day

Sometimes when I hear of a computer security threat, I think: oh, who would go through all the trouble to do that? Well, lots of people. Now not all hacks are threatening, but most hacks are innovative and go to lengths most people wouldn’t. You can see for yourself by going to Hack a Day

Ecospace – smart, ecological, affordable architecture

I would love one of these spaces myself. Here’s hoping more architects come up with such designs.

Want to know the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun? Of course you do!

So go here and learn the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun!

And if you don’t agree, then at least the site itself is alot of …well, you know.

BTW, it has lovely music from Tchaikovsky in the background, which may be NSFW.

For lovers of cooking and cookbooks

Here’s a great blog by someone who clearly loves cooking and cookbooks. See 101 Cookbooks – Recipe Journal

Have the Internet Nag You!

Need help with something you are putting off? Are your friends, family, co-workers sick of reminding you about it? No problem. Get the
HassleMe to help you do it instead! And if you get mad about being nagged, well, the Internet has heard it all before….so vent away. 🙂

Dante’s Inferno – or how to navigate through hell via the web

The University of Texas has a good interactive guide to Dante’s Inferno, with lots of interactive media. See Dante’s Inferno – Main Page

The 100 Best Novels from Modern Library







What to read next? You could do well to consider the books on the list here. (Well, actually, the list on the left. The list on the right looks like it was put together by teenagers.) See here.

Branch – sustainable design

What is Branch?

Well, I could tell you, or I could brazenly reuse and recycle their own material.

Why we’re doing this (or, a manifesto of sorts) Like a lot of folks, we enjoy shopping. As a social activity, shopping gets us out into the various neighborhoods in our city, allowing us to connect with other people along the way. As a cultural excursion, it gives us a chance to discover what’s new and interesting in the world. And, of course, we derive some joy from finding just the right gift for someone, or for ourselves. At the same time, there’s an element to shopping that we find quite troubling. We buy things that appeal to us—we love a product’s styling, for example—though we may have little idea of where a product comes from. What materials went into its manufacture? Did the wood used to make that chair contribute to deforestation in Asia? Were toxic chemicals used to create the lustrous finish? The people who actually fabricated the product—were they paid a fair wage and provided a safe, comfortable environment in which to do so? How far did the product have to come in order to get to the store, and how much fuel was used in that process? And what of the lifespan of the products we buy? Eventually—sooner or later, but eventually—a product will outlive its useful life. What then? Does it get thrown away? Is it made such that it’ll sit in the landfill for hundreds (or even thousands) of years before it degrades? And in going through that process, will it release toxins into the environment? These are all some pretty heavy thoughts, and they can really sap the joy from a fun day of shopping. The fact is that many people are at least somewhat aware of the sobering factors of our consumptive lifestyle, but that doesn’t keep them (or us, for that matter) from going shopping. As a culture, we’re practically bred to be shoppers—it’s a habit that runs deep and strong. So in looking for a solution to the problems mentioned above, we’re taking a different approach. Instead of asking people to stop shopping (which is, of course, pretty darn impractical), what if we changed the paradigm of shopping itself? What if we could shop in a store that had already done the challenging thinking for us? A place where we could buy products that are wholly appealing—sexy, even—but that are also manufactured and brought to market in such a way that we didn’t have to feel guilty about buying—or, eventually, disposing of—them? This is the basis of the idea for Branch, a new online store based in San Francisco.

I came across it because there is a Daniel Michalik who does design for them.

It’s a great site.

Cool design — computer related and otherswise — at Yanko

Over at Yanko Design, they have a great assortment of well designed products. As an IT guy, I really liked this one. It’s a simple idea: backup your deleted files in case you really don’t want to delete them. This may seem silly to some, but I think I have a tendency to not delete files (and packrat everything) because of the need to insure things not getting lost. My hard disk might be alot cleaner with something like this.

See: Backing Up Your Trash » Yanko Design

How you too can take a picture of the earth from over 22 miles in space

This gorgeous photo was taken using a balloon power camera built by some smart guys in Alberta.

Gizmodo has a summary of it here: Balloon In Space: Ordinary Guys Send Picture-Taking Balloon 22.27 Miles High
or you can get the details from the creators themselves at SABLE-3

Tech 101 from Business Week – this week – what is an RSS feed

For some , the notion of an RSS feed may be new. So check out this on

What’s an RSS Feed?

Once you get used to RSS feeds, you will be glad you did.

P.S. There are lots of other good links there too, including Blogging For Beginners

Andy Warhol, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie all speed up time

Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

If LL or NR were clever enough, they might say that in the future, everyone will go to jail for 15 minutes, too. See: Nicole Richie freed from jail after 82 minutes or Lohan to serve one day in jail

From the (it’s like, but they also have financial stats and stuff.)

Six killers focused on in nytimes. First one: diabetes

The is going to look at leading causes of illness and death in the U.S. (and no doubt Canada and most of the affluent parts of the world): heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

The first article is Looking Past Blood Sugar to Survive With Diabetes

For people who are dealing with these illnesses, it’s worth taking a look.

Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington Take the A Train

Why is YouTube freakin’ great?! Because you can see Billy Strayhorn play his “Take the A Train” with Duke Ellington and his orchestra anytime you please.

Homer Simpson quotes enter new Oxford dictionary. D’oh!

The latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations has seen in their wisdom to include quotes from the OTHER famous Homer, including:

“Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.”

“Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the internet and all.”

And to make it even better, there is a quote from Willie who once said to the French: “Bonjour, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys” .

First Faith Hill, and now Sarkozy’s getting Photoshopped!

From Magazine Retouches Sarkozy’s ‘Love Handles’

We see Paris-Match retouched the French president’s body to look more buff! And they have the proof!


Zoho keeps getting better and better

Zoho is adding new capability all the time. Now with offline features and integration with Facebook. I highly recommend you check it out. See here: Zoho Online Office, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, CRM and more

Google And Microsoft Looking To Change Health Care

Over at Wired, they have a reference to a article on how

both Google and Microsoft may soon be entering the online health care market. Will there be a link to “Google Health” at the top of the company’s home page? According to the Times, the project is still an internal prototype and unlikely to be available even as a beta for some time.

The thought of Google (think “privacy”) and Microsoft (think “security”) makes me wonder just how they would deliver health care that was secure and respected people’s privacy.

See Wired Blogs

Embed your Google My Maps into your blog or website

Google Maps Mania has a good article on it here: Embed your Google My Maps into your blog or website.

Here’s one I’ve done.

View Larger Map

What do you get when you combine WoW with Wikipedia? Wowwiki

Check it out here: WoWWiki, the Warcraft wiki

Adam Gopnik on Philip K. Dick

Adam Gopnik does a superb job of writing about Philip K. Dick in this week’s New Yorker.

Dick is now in the Library of America ($35), under the excellent editorial care of Jonathan Lethem, a passionate devotee, who also provides an abbreviated chronology of Dick’s tormented life. Four of the sixties novels are neatly packed together in the handsome black covers: “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the original of “Blade Runner”), and his masterpiece, “Ubik.”

As Gopnik notes:

Dick has also become for our time what Edgar Allan Poe was for Gilded Age America: the doomed genius who supplies a style of horrors and frissons.

but also he is right about this:

The trouble is that, much as one would like to place Dick above or alongside Pynchon and Vonnegut—or, for that matter, Chesterton or Tolkien—as a poet of the fantastic parable he was a pretty bad writer.

I loved Dick’s novels when I was both younger and not so well read. Years later, going back to read them, I was still impressed by the imagination and ideas. But the writing kept distracting me with its faults.

So, should you ignore the article or the novelist? On the contrary. Either pick up the latest edition at your favourite newsstand, or see it online here: Blows Against the Empire: Books: The New Yorker.

Why critics should not review kids films

Over at the, is an article on the success of High School Musical: Move Over Mickey: A New Franchise at Disney – New York Times

One thing that struck me was this silly comment from their TV critic.

Virginia Heffernan, a television critic for The New York Times, wrote that although the sequel had a haphazard charm, “the movie is mediocre, and should be skipped.” But she added, “I can’t wait to buy the soundtrack and do the karaoke.”

I wonder if the critic watched the show with a preteen in attendance. It may be mediocre from an adult viewpoint, but it is simply magical to a preteen (I know).

Is Foreign Policy telling lies with charts and statistics?

Take a look at this Foreign Policy chart recently published on the “so called surge” and think about it in terms of the questions I have outlined in boxes.

Whatever one things about the surge and FP’s assessment of it, they can do better than just skewing the chart to make the case.

See: Foreign Policy on “The Failing Surge”.

P.S. If you want to see someone better than me take apart such representations, refer to Edward Tufte’s site (for example, here).

P.S.S. I found this at Andrew Sullivan’s site. He has many many good postings on the Surge and the War.

Batman could kill your kids

My son loves these toys, but when I read this, I almost fell out of my chair!

The magnets inside these dolls and accessories can fall out — undetected to parents and caregivers. These magnets can be swallowed or aspirated by young children or placed by a child in their nose or ears. When more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage, which can be fatal. Aspiration to the lungs requires immediate surgery. Magnets placed in the nose or ears can cause swelling and be difficult to remove.

From Mattel Consumer Relations Answer Center – Recall.

I think if Mattel is not careful, this Batman (and other such toys) could be fatal to Mattel as well.

Charlie Rose archives online

You can go and Search Video Archive of Charlie Rose and pull up all sorts of great stuff. Go on…there’s nothing better on TV right now.

Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw dead at 63

Sad news today for people who love opera: Richard Bradshaw dead at 63

A great toy: the Mozart Magic Cube

If you want to get a toy for a baby — and assuming this one isn’t coated in lead — I highly recommend this one that they currently are selling of at Toys “R” Us. It’s the Mozart Magic Cube and it:

inspires creativity and interactive play. Plays 8 Mozart compositions. Mozart Magic Cube teaches how sounds combine to form musical masterpieces. Add and subtract instruments at the touch of a button!

It’s alot of fun, regardless of whether or not you are 6 months or 600 months old. 🙂

Turning (chinese) lead into gold

From the Toys ‘R’ Us pulls vinyl bibs off North American shelves

Toys “R” Us Inc. on Friday said it was removing all vinyl baby bibs from its Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores as a precaution after two bibs made in China for one supplier showed lead levels that exceeded Toys “R” Us standards.

Anyone who can manufacture toys and show they are safe before Christmas has a golden opportunity.

How much is your blog worth?

Go here and find out: How Much is Your Blog Worth?

Get Fuzzy

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Siamese cats. They are beautiful looking, but they aren’t exactly the friendliest, in my limited experience.

There used to be one who lived in the house across from mine, and she used to stand out in the middle of her yard until my dog would see her and chase after her. She had it timed perfectly: she could make it to a crawl space and turn around so that she could scratch my dog when he stuck his nose in the crawl space. (Cat = smart; dog…not so much).

Which leads me to my favourite Siamese cat, Bucky, from Get Fuzzy. Mean cat, great comic.

You can get it here:

Comics and Editorial Cartoons: Get Fuzzy on Yahoo! News

Make cool buttons for your web site

The site has a nice way to make cool buttons for your web site. (Like this one!) So give it a try at Web 2.0 free buttons maker!