Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
While reading the article I kept finding myself caught between finding cool things in their plan and then wondering whether their business model was downright evil. Alright, maybe evil is a bit strong (no doubt fueled by their description of the VP as "a cross between an Andy Warhol mystic and James Bond villain"), but a giggling enthusiasm for charging farmers in India $1 per month for a cell phone internet app that can help them with weather predictions and market prices seems a little sadistic somehow... because I imagine that is a very steep price for them. When I searched for the average income of an Indian farmer I came across this blog post from Devinder Sharma that cited it at 2,115 Rs in 2003 (that would be $43.28 American at current exchange rates). Could it be much more now? I doubt it. While trying to find a good source there were plenty of articles talking about the impoverished conditions of the Indian farmer, including one article that talked about increased suicide rates. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm trying to imagine spending more than a quarter of my income on a cell phone app (I assume the cost of the cell phone and plan is not included in that). Do I think it would be awesome for everyone in the world to have access to everything through the wonder of inexpensive phones and internet access? Yes I do. I'm just not sure that it can always be a profit thing.
Meanwhile, Fast Company is crazy good, so if you haven't read it consider this to be your sign that you should. It's like the Wired for business. If you don't read Wired either then get on that! Sheesh...
God's Country CreameryThen, some entertainment.
An excerpt of their cheese descriptions will leave you with a craving. They open with "our Gouda has a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery texture and a pleasantly mellow flavor." Yes, I will send you all my money please-give-me-some-cheese. And I guess their graphic is pointing out that if happy cows make happy milk, imagine what our cows do since they are snuggled from infancy.
Milk-based product of the gods
"Adam milked God while he was sleeping..." claims the Uncylopedia. "Since then other gods have been milked by daring adventurers called milketeers adding to the variety of god-cheese available." Beware, the article goes downhill from there in terms of good taste...
one of these, but I assume if you're reading this you already own one.
Friday, August 28, 2009
It couldn't be just any old cake, you know. I was young, energetic, and loved to bake. So I made a plan for a giant Table of Elements Cake. Four 13X9 sheet cakes put together, frosted in buttercream, with a colored-gel table of elements in blue and red. It was going to be awesome.
Now, with a plan like that it doesn't matter how you approach it - it's going to take a good bit of time. Going to school full time and working a few mall jobs takes up a lot of time, so of course it pressed into sleeping time to get this done.
Here's the funny bit.
About four in the morning it suddenly occurred to me: I could have used a mix. Yes, I was making all four cakes from scratch as well as the four batches of buttercream frosting. My Mom is an excellent cook/baker and I had learned at her elbow so it had never crossed my mind to use a mix. I looked around the slightly flour-dusted kitchen and realized that this was one time that a mix probably would have been alright. (She had also bred into me a certain snobbiness about the idea of using cake mixes.)
Now I am not quite so young and energetic and I tend to use a mix more often than not (what just went into the oven was Betty Crocker Carrot Cake and some of her Cream Cheese Frosting is ready for when it cools). I can still do some mean scratch baking but tend to do that around the holidays when we have some time off and a good reason to give most of it away.
The good news was that the chemistry professor was old enough (70 or so at that time) to know the difference between mix and scratch, with a preference for the later. Unfortunately, it didn't count towards my grade...
Monday, August 24, 2009
It's the little things like how the Predator holds his snifter and the Alien holds his cigarette that really put these over the top.
Friday, August 21, 2009
As background you should know that I was a huge fan of CNN when it started back in the early 80s. I loved Bernard Shaw's gravitas. I loved keeping up with international events. My only complaint was that eventually the news recycled because at ten years old I was happy to sit down and watch that channel all day long but when they started the cycle over again it harshed my curiosity.
It's possible that the classic purpose of CNN has become outdated - namely 24-hour NEWS. If people are really migrating to FoxNews and MSNBC then they don't want news they want opinion (specifically opinions that support their own and, you know, "An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it." ~Jef Mallett). It's like another era of yellow journalism. Pulitzer vs. Hearst has been replaced with Murdoch vs. well, I guess, Soros.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My conclusion is that Twitter is basically an enormous test of the Infinite Monkey Theorem. I mean, that's not what we each individually THINK we are doing. We are mostly amusing ourselves by posting stray thoughts and becoming a voyeur of other's stray thoughts. But with approximately six million monkeys pounding away at the keyboards - intersecting, overlapping, scaffolding, and weaving - we will sooner or later come up with the 21st century answer to Shakespeare. The question is whether we will recognize it when it happens. Because although we've built a machine of almost infinite potential, each tweeter has a very finite perspective.
You define your Twitter experience based on who you choose to "follow." Mine is defined by comedians, geeks, writers, and liberals. Basically I want to chuckle and see the thoughts of people who agree with me. It's like extending my friendship circle using my Blackberry and recent tweets often drop into my real life conversations. So although Jim Gaffigan didn't know it, he might as well have been standing in the coffee shop with us on Friday when he commented, "Biting into a chocolate chip cookie and realizing it's an oatmeal raisin cookie is kind of like finding out she's a dude."
Now that I'm done with this exploration of the tweetdom I'm going to tweet the link, which will display in the Twitter feed on my blog, thus creating a perfect circle and swallowing the universe. Sorry about that. For more info on Twitter, try checking out the Wiki entry.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Story via J. W. Ocker of O.T.I.S.
Update: amusing review by The Inquisitr.
Friday, August 7, 2009
In person Maggie is delightfully enthusiastic and engaging, so this is definitely an author that I can recommend going out of your way to meet. She will be at Dragon Con if you are headed that way. Or you can check in at her blog for other appearances. We got the CD version to listen to on the way home so you will have to wait a few days for a full review. But the first two chapters were great.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Must be time to shake things up...