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July 17, 2006, 6:29 PM CT

A Different Kind of Al Gore Movie

A Different Kind of Al Gore Movie
Since I brought up Al Gore a few days back, I thought I may as well let you in on a cool little film that is available in Issue #1 of McSweeney's Wholphin DVD. Essentially, it's a short 15 minute movie filmed by Spike Jonze of his day spent with Vice President Al Gore (available below). What's really interesting however is the backdrop to the film.

If you read the Wholphin liner notes, you find out that the film was made for the 1999 election campaign, but was never publically aired. What's intriguing is that the Wholphin editors suggest that this one small film may have given Mr. Gore the precious few votes needed to win that election. In other words, watching the video you really come away with the realization that Mr. Gore seems like a pretty nice warm sort of person - a stark contrast to his media representation courtesy of the always effective Republican spin meisters. Anyway, I think it also beautifully illustrates the potential power and importance of small and sometimes forgotten things.

I wonder what's on his mind nowadays, since he seems to have gotten himself caught up in a very interesting predicament. I'm referring, of course, to his rise as one of the potential Democratic candidates, which could ultimately and tantalizingly lead to arguably the most powerful voice in World politics for climate change. Compared that, however, to the brutal skepticism and punditry arising if he did indeed decide to run, where the danger is that the great advocacy he has clearly provided might disappear altogether tainted by, for better or for worse, political motivation.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 14, 2006, 5:17 AM CT

High-tech Medical Devices

High-tech Medical Devices
The International Modern Hospital Show 2006 is being held from July 12 to 14 in Tokyo (Tokyo Big Sight), where nearly 400 companies have gathered to showcase the latest in healthcare-related technology. The theme of the show is "Reliable Health, Medical Treatment, and Care - Aiming for High Quality Service," a theme whose success evidently depends on high technology. Below are photos (via Impress Watch) and explanations of a few of the devices appearing at the show. Despite appearances, these fellows are here to help.

The first photo shows a patient simulator developed by IMI Corporation and Paramount Bed Co., Ltd., a system consisting of a monitor connected to a sensor-laden mannequin whose physiology changes realistically according to the treatment it receives. Great for training future medical professionals. Great for your haunted house, too.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 14, 2006, 5:06 AM CT

The Pig and the Box

The Pig and the Box
It's finally done. "Finally" is the wrong word, tho, because I only started it a week ago. But it's been a very busy week. And at least partly because of the Pig.

This is a kids' book. I don't know about the mental age of your kids, but mine find it hilarious. Even more so before they found out I made it. Now they just think I'm scary. Scarier. Anyway.

The Pig and the Box is about a pig who finds a magic box that can replicate anything you put into it. The pig becomes so protective of it, and so suspicious of anyone that wants to use it, that he makes people take their copied items home in special buckets that act as. well, they're basically DRM. It's like a fable, except the moral of the story is very modern in tone.

I made the book after hearing how the entertainment industry in Canada is keen on teaching young kids about how to "respect" copyright. That was a bit heavy-handed, I thought, and otherwise despicable. Preying on small kids, brainwashing them so they believe what you're doing is honourable and good. Feh. So I wrote this book partly as a response to that venture, to counter-act the confused ideals that young'ns are being exposed to these days. Also, I wanted to write potty humour.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 11, 2006, 10:38 PM CT

Heineken Beer Bottle Bricks

Heineken Beer Bottle Bricks
Along the lines of our Book Bar, this 1950s design for stackable beer bottles was the brainchild of Alfred Heineken, of beer fame.

As the story goes, Heineken was strolling along by the sea in Jamaica, and was shocked at the number of beer bottles littering the beach. He was also concerned with the lack of cheap building materials, and at the resulting living conditions for the poor. Putting two and two together, he envisioned a "World Bottle" which would be imported for drinking but kept for construction.

A 10' x 10' shack would take approximately 1000 bottles to build, but the Jamaican tourist industry would likely supply plenty. In addition, glass (and air) are good insulators, though the humid and hot Jamaican climate may not require insulation per se. A unique feature was that the short bottle neck would fit into a depression in the bottom of each bottle. Ultimately though, the idea was either (as per different accounts) voted down by the Heineken board, or vetoed by the bottle companies and the customers. Not much information is available on the World Bottle today, but there have been other attempts to make interlocking "bottle bricks", even of plastic.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 11, 2006, 7:49 PM CT

China pressures North Korea to return to talks

China pressures North Korea to return to talks
China's president on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from increasing tensions over its nuclear program and to return to disarmament talks as diplomats worked to forestall U.N. sanctions against the regime.

America's top nuclear envoy made an unscheduled trip to China, saying efforts to resolve the crisis have reached a crucial point. A delegation from North Korea also came to Beijing.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 7, 2006, 6:59 AM CT

Why money doesn't bring happiness?

Why money doesn't bring happiness?
The more money you earn, the more time you are likely to spend working, commuting and doing other compulsory activities that bring little pleasure, as per an article in the June 30 issue of Science that provides a novel explanation for why money doesn't bring happiness.

For the article, titled "Would you be happier if you were richer? A focusing illusion," Princeton University psychology expert Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues, including University of Michigan psychology expert Norbert Schwarz, analyzed the link between money and happiness, presenting new evidence showing that what they call "the focusing illusion" affects how people respond when asked how happy or how satisfied they are with their lives.

"When people consider the impact of any single factor on their well-being-not only income-they are prone to exaggerate its importance," they wrote.

Prior studies have shown, for example, that if people are asked about their marriage or their health before they are asked how happy they are with their life, their answer to the second question is linked more closely with the first question than if the question order is reversed.

"People do not know how happy or satisfied they are with their life in the way they know their height or telephone number," as per the authors. "The answers to global life satisfaction questions are constructed only when asked, and are therefore susceptible to the focusing of attention on different aspects of life".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 9:09 AM CT

Torture teachers

Torture teachers Photo by AP/Brennan Linsley
Military personnel transport a detainee into a building within the grounds of the maximum security prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, on April 5, 2006.
Human rights advocates have long suspected a link between interrogations in the "war on terror" and a secretive military survival school that trains elite U.S. troops to resist torture. Jane Mayer explored the evidence of a connection between the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape school at Fort Bragg, N. C., and real-world interrogators in a July 2005 piece for the New Yorker.

Now Salon has the first hard proof of that connection, via one document buried among 1,000 pages obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through the Freedom of Information Act. A March 22, 2005, sworn statement by the former chief of the Interrogation Control Element at Guantánamo said instructors from SERE also taught their methods to interrogators of the prisoners in Cuba.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 9:03 AM CT

The Imaginary Cult Of Benign Girl

The Imaginary Cult Of Benign Girl
Shopping in Holyoke on Saturday for a birthday present for Mr. Bill Myers I had a crazy and surreal experience. I went looking for the religious artifacts store but in its place was a "for rent" sign and an empty window. Dejected, I drove around Holyoke hoping to find another religious artifacts store but had to settle for the "Plus Dollar" store on High Street.

I was standing near the register looking at the assorted things when all of a sudden I spotted "Non-cancerous Girl" and suddenly I heard the mermaids singing. Two Latina women were looking at Non-cancerous Girl and reaching forward as if to grab it and in a flash I knew this was something extremely precious and rare and that I needed to act fast!........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 8:24 AM CT

Celebimals

Celebimals
Check out this atest issue of this art and lifestyle magazine called ANIMAL. The latest issue includes a series of celebrity-animal hybrids the so called CELEBIMALS.

ROAR. ANIMAL's 7th issue, Wildlife, is ready for release into civlization. Look for it on newsstands or download the whole pdf right now. The magazine is packed with colorful savagery and exotic arts and species. Below are only some of the features to be on the hunt for:........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 30, 2006, 0:08 AM CT

No Link Between Income And Happiness

No Link Between Income And Happiness
While most people believe that having more income would make them happier, Princeton University researchers have found that the link is greatly exaggerated and mostly an illusion.

People surveyed about their own happiness and that of others with varying incomes tended to overstate the impact of income on well-being, according to a new study. Although income is widely assumed to be a good measure of well-being, the researchers found that its role is less significant than predicted and that people with higher incomes do not necessarily spend more time in more enjoyable ways.

Two Princeton professors, economist Alan B. Krueger and psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, collaborated with colleagues from three other universities on the study, being published in the June 30 issue of Science. The new findings build on their efforts to develop alternative methods of gauging the well-being of individuals and of society. The new measures are based on people's ratings of their actual experiences, instead of a judgment of their lives as a whole.

"The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory," the researchers wrote. "People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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