Archive for May, 2009

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Products That Probably Had Strange Boardroom Meetings, Part I

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 21, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Has it ever occurred to you that the people that are most likely to use Viagra are the ones that you’d least want walking around with erections?

In part one, a look at The Handkerchief, Skydiving, Banks, and Viagra.

Do we really need a man that looks like
this running around with an erection?


A friend of mine (who happens to be black) made the joke years ago that “you can bet it weren’t no black man invented viagra“. Probably true; I always picture some lonely balding white man with a PhD in pharmacology who had never even gotten to put his “manhood” to its intended use, and was rapidly entering the age where he might never be able to. The multiple levels of irony and tragedy here are overwhelming – youth is wasted on the young, wealth is wasted on the bald and aging, etc. – but the bottom line is, how, as a man, do you pitch a product that’s intended to give you an erection to a bunch of other men? I can imagine a few awkward moments with the pitch, like “Well, it’s not something I’d use, of course” or “And you see, that’s why we want a bunch of balding old men running around with erections, and Viagra will get the job done.

The Handkerchief

“I’ve gathered you all together today to tell you about a great (ah-choo!) new product idea”. The presenter, who has a glob of mucous hanging from his nose, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a square of high-quality silk. “This, gentleman, is the ‘HANDKERCHIEF’. Never again will we be forced to wipe the disgusting fruits of our proboscises”, he proclaims, as the mucous jiggles at the end of his nose, “on our Read the rest of this entry »

Why I’ll Never Get Paid To Write For Tech Industry Blogs

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 20, 2009 by admin in Technology

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I’m not a failed sports writer Googletard.

Ask stupid sports questions and the little circle will twirl forever…

As someone who has to do a lot of research online for clients, I miss the early days of Google, not because I like Google so much, but because prior to Google’s monopoly on search, it was actually easier to find a broad variety of content, either by using multiple search engines (anybody remember Lycos? Alta Vista? Northern Lights?) or by letting a metasearch tool like Dogpile do it for you. Between blogs, Twitter, and Google’s monopoly, searching for useful content using Google can become quite a boolean chore. That’s why I’m always excited when a new tool like Wolfram|Aplha or Clusty comes along. And why I become so annoyed once again with Google’s dominance; easily half of the tech industry articles in the few days after Wolfram’s launch compared it unfavorably to Google (which is absurd, comparing the two is like comparing the card file at a library with the librarian), and a fair number of writers compounded their ignorance by testing Wolfram on the basis of its ability to spit out obscure sports facts. So knock it off, tech blog Googletards, Wolfram|Alpha isn’t meant to be Google. And keep your eyes peeled for the next search engine that’s doomed to fail because of being called a “Google Killer”, Microsoft’s Kumo (or will it be “Bing”?), which won’t be as much fun as Ms Dewey, but probably will be a little more useful.

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Using Voodoo To Outlive Your Doctor

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 19, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Can a positive mental attitude help you live longer? Can a terminal prognosis kill you?

My Proposal For A New American
Medical Association Logo

Years ago an acquaintance of mine, upon being diagnosed with cancer, made the joke that “no-one’s ever died of undiagnosed cancer”. Meaning, of course, that he was more concerned about the treatment killing him than the illness. He ignored his doctor’s prognosis of impending death, embraced all of the treatments he could learn about – both traditional and alternative – and took on a sort of punk rock attitude of “if all the other things I’ve done haven’t killed me, this won’t either”. Ten years later, he’s still alive and well. I personally hold the belief – in spite of any solid science to back it up – that mental attitude and spiritual discipline have as much impact on health and wellness as medicine. Which is why I found this New Scientist article about Voodoo fascinating. They actually touch on a topic that seems taboo amongst medical professionals – the powerful effect of placebo and nocebo. While there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and popular belief that a good attitude can prolong life, it’s hard to find positive stories (from credible sources, that is) about the topic. This ABC story, for instance, focuses on the fact that support groups don’t seem to help cancer patients live longer, while overlooking the fact that these cancer patients are being treated in the same health care system that inspires movies like Sicko. I’d love to hear your story if you have one, especially one like this story about a man who was told by American doctors in the 70′s that he had just months to live. He’s alive and living happily on a Greek island today; all of his American doctors are dead.

It’s Monday. So Let’s Get On The Ball, Okay?

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on May 18, 2009 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Monday, May 18th, 2009

This week, our Monday morning time-wasters get a new spin. Instead of trying to make you late for work, we’re here to help you get on the ball.

If you’ve come here for our regular monday morning time wasters, get ready, we’re throwing you a little curve ball. Although our intent is usually to prevent you from being on the ball on Monday, today we’ve mustered up the balls to do exactly the opposite. First, do you even know what a curve ball IS? This amazing illusion demonstrates why they appear to break so hard from the batter’s point of view. It also might make you a little dizzy if you haven’t had your coffee yet. As will the game Curve Ball, which is kind of like playing Pong in The Matrix. The game Dyson Ball kind of sucks, but what would you expect from a vaccuum cleaner promo? At least James Dyson had the balls to manufacture a new kind of vaccuum. Avoiding blue balls is the objective of this game, and just to show that we have a pair, here’s Red Ball, a simple physics-based game which, for no reason we can ascertain, “moos” when you fail. Don’t be cowed. We made it to level 11 pretty easily, if you want the password (just hover here). We’ve probably driven most readers away with that last round of puns by now, but please, sphere not. Before you get your balls in a sling with Sling Jumper, you can draw the line with Scriball. And you’ll probably never get to the bottom of things with GyroBall, but if you do, you can bounce back with Bouncy-Ball. See you round!

Danger Mouse – Dark Night Of The Sales

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 17, 2009 by admin in Music

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The new Danger Mouse release Dark Night Of The Soul is being blocked by EMI, so he’s cleverly releasing the package with a blank CD-R inside so you can burn it yourself.

In the record industry’s bizarre ongoing pursuit of its own demise, the release of Dark Night Of The Soul (the new Danger Mouse collaboration with Sparklehorse) has been blocked by EMI. Not to worry though; for the time being NPR is streaming the whole thing, and it’s also pretty easy to find as a bittorrent. The release was originally to include photography by David Lynch, so Danger Mouse is cleverly selling the package as designed, except with a blank CD-R, and the notice “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will“. The obvious implication being that you can download the music for free, buy the retail package, and burn it yourself. We’ll leave that up to you; the book and poster version with blank CD costs fifty bucks and they’re already taking orders prior to the May 29 release date. We’ve only given this a quick first spin, but it sounds promising. No standout singles or dance tracks; instead some well-crafted moodiness, with appearances by an eclectic variety of vocal talent including Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, and others. See the full track list below. Read the rest of this entry »

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