Thursday, November 10, 2005


The marvels of the free market, cont’d
From The Smoking Gun: “[A] Los Angeles couple is seeking to market a wine called "Jesus Juice" that bears a label showing a Michael Jackson-like figure appearing to be crucified.”

It’s a merlot. By the way.

And the whole cow on the dorm roof thing? When will scientists take a look at that?
From The Times (UK): “Margo Lillie, a doctor of zoology at the University of British Columbia, and her student Tracy Boechler have conducted a study on the physics of cow-tipping.

“Ms Boechler, now a trainee forensics analyst for the Royal Canadian Mounted Corps, concluded in her initial report that a cow standing with its legs straight would require five people to exert the required force to bowl it over.

“A cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force, equivalent to 4.43 people, she wrote.

“Dr Lillie, Ms Boechler’s supervisor, revised the calculations so that two people could exert the required amount of force to tip a static cow, but only if it did not react.

“’The static physics of the issue say . . . two people might be able to tip a cow,’ she said. ‘But the cow would have to be tipped quickly — the cow’s centre of mass would have to be pushed over its hoof before the cow could react.’”

No elk for oil!
From the Independent (UK): “Plans to drill for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge have been knocked off course after the measure was forced out of a crucial budget bill on Capitol Hill. A plan that would have allowed individual states to lift a ban on drilling for oil on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was also dropped.”

Folks have been trying to get oil from under those poor caribou for years now. Even if they succeed, studies indicate that the oil obtained would be consumed in (approximately) ten minutes. Why not convert to a caribou-based energy system? Put caribou in big cages – like hamster cages, only really really big – hook them up to generators, and watch the output roll in!
What fresh hell is this?
This is from an Amazon review of FAB: THE COMING REVOLUTION ON YOUR DESKTOP--FROM PERSONAL COMPUTERS TO PERSONAL FABRICATION, by Neil Gershenfeld: “A programmable PF [i.e. Personal Fabricator], predicts Gershenfeld, will make it possible for users to design and create their own objects, instead of shopping for existing products. Interest in such cybercrafting became evident in 1998, Gershenfeld says, when an overwhelming number of students took MIT's How to Make (Almost) Anything course, aimed at ‘fulfilling individual desires rather than merely meeting mass-market needs.’”

How is this a convenience? Say I want a pair of shoes. Isn’t it so much easier to go the shoe store and buy a pair than to design and manufacture a pair myself? Wasn’t that the point of the Industrial Revolution? I don’t want to make my own trousers, thank you. And I’ll get my beer over the counter, rather than brew it in the basement.

Certainly, many people like to make their own objects. These people are called “hobbyists.” I hate hobbies.

What fresher hell is this?
From eMoto (text is sic), which provides “enhancements of mobile phone text messages to convey emotional expressivity through 'cues of familarity'. the application extends on both the input & output channels when sending text messages between mobile phones. users use affective gestures to convey the emotional content of their messages which are then translated & communicated in colors, shapes & animations. the graphical expressions are non-symbolic & constructed from what is known about the effects of colors, shapes & animations.”

Affective gestures, my ass. In other words, if you’re sending a sad message, you can change the background of your text message to blue. If you’re angry, it can be red. And you can add little squiggly things, if you want. Why would anybody pay money for this? That’s why we have emoticons, isn’t it? They’re stupid enough, but at least they’re free. :)

What freshest hell is this?
Amp'd Mobile, which makes something or other, is employing as its slogan: "Try not to die. Amp'd Mobile is coming."

Even briefly entertaining the idea that anticipating a product or service as a reason to live - well, it’s so repulsive that it makes me consider suicide as an alternative to shopping. That some company apparently believes that there’s a demographic for which new gadgets are the only obstacle to self-slaughter – well, it makes me long for a stray asteroid to wipe us all out.



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