Archive for August, 2009

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Cool To Be Kind

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on August 31, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I’m making a little investment in the Kindness Economy today.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you’d pretty quickly realize that I’m one of the more laid back people you’ll ever meet. The other day though, I caught myself being the kind of person I sometimes laugh at: the person who almost runs over pedestrians to get to the next red light, that visibly snorts when a register clerk takes longer than they’d like, that avoids eye contact when they cut you off slightly to be the next in line. I don’t remember exactly how it happened that I got in that frame of mind, but I pretty quickly decided to do something about it. Coincidentally, a friend had just loaned me a copy of The Power of Nice. I decided to breeze through it; it’s a pretty light read. I’m glad I did. It was a great set of inspiring reminders of something I’m always working on anyway, something I call the “Kindness Economy™”. Kindness is a powerful currency. There’s an almost limitless supply of it, and you find that when you spend it, you end up with more of it than before you started. It’s like every purchase you make is a winning lotto ticket. So with a little nudge from my own grumpiness and the book, I decided it was time to re-invest. I want to share my profits with you, so let’s see if in the next several days we can’t create a little Kindness Stimulus Package out there. Here are some ideas, feel free to share if you have any of your own. Read the rest of this entry »

Placebo Effect Almost As Effective As Actual Drugs

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 30, 2009 by admin in Health & Wellness

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

But what fun would getting well be without long lists of bizarre side effects like explosive diarrhea, sleepwaling, and compulsive gambling?

This ad for the antidepressant Epiphanix has
one of the longer lists of side effects we’ve seen

In spite of the fact that I’m in retirement from a long and illustrious career of recreational drug use, when it comes to medicinal drug use, it’s almost impossible, for instance, to get me to take so much as an aspirin for a headache. I’m convinced that 90% of what ails us will fix itself, and that popping a pill every time we feel a little discomfort actually impairs our body’s ability to do its own repair work. Which is why I find it fascinating that research is showing that the placebo effect is mysteriously becoming more effective in clinical trials. Something we hear little about is the fact that drugs that go to market have, on occasion, barely beaten the placebo effect to get approved. This fairly recent development is inspiring new research into the mechanism behind the placebo effect, and how it might be put to work in place of drugs. Imagine a world without the common prescription drugs with the bizarre side-effects listed here. TV advertising would never be the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Want To Know Where Your Bailout Dollars Are Going? Too Bad.

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 29, 2009 by admin in Politics

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

The Federal Reserve insists it’s none of your business which banks your tax dollars are bailing out.

Would you like to know which banks are getting the $23 Trillion bailouts you and your grandkids are paying for? TOO BAD. The Federal Reserve has insisted that Manhattan U.S. District Court Chief Judge Loretta Preska’s ruling in favor of Bloomberg News in a recent FOIA case would “would threaten the companies and the economy” adding that revealing the information “would stigmatize the banks and result in imminent competitive harm”. This is the second such case recently; Fox News lost one in July. Bet you didn’t know Fox cared so much about the common man, did you? Well, they apparently want to protect us from the evils of the BBC too. If you’ve been feeling better about the economy, we don’t want to dent your enthusiasm, but be aware that as of this writing, 81 more banks have failed this year, and from March to June the number of banks on the “Problem List” rose from 305 to 416. And all of this while banks repackage the same toxic investments that caused it all.

Finding Reality Boring? Augment It.

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 28, 2009 by admin in Technology

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Reality is much more interesting when it’s all commented on and tagged like a Facebook status post or Flickr set.

Check Out The iPhone “Stalk Her” App

We looked at the future of augmented reality back in April, but had no idea at the time that so many developers were on the verge of launching apps so soon. Acrossair has a cool app that tells Londoners where their nearest tube station is via their iPhone’s video function. RobotVision AR is a little more interesting; it integrates Bing local search, geotagged Flickr photos, and Twitter connections with an app that lets you simply point the camera in different directions to locate the shops, hotels, or tourist spots you’re looking for. The Austrian startup Mobilizy is developing AR driving directions with text-to-speech functionality called Wikitude Drive. They plan to include more “social navigation” features in future releases. Japanese company Tonchidot is introducing “airtagging” via their tool SekaiCamera. This is all incredibly cool stuff, but being the future-obsessed late adopter I am, I think I’ll hold out for the holographic version where life will be like one big “Pop Up Video”. Read the rest of this entry »

Living In America: It’s In Tents Lately

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 27, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

My righteous indignation is back, and it’s badder than ever.

We were worried about that whole Econopocalypse thing for a while, but not anymore. For starters, Timothy Geithner said in June that the economy’s okay, and Ben Bernanke still says so this month. So why are several of my most intelligent, hardworking friends unemployed? And why are Americans living in tents? In spite of rather shocking numbers on unemployment, homelessness, and poverty assembled by The Centre for Research on Globalization, the popular media in this country continues to do a fantastic job of making things seem fine. Even the global headquarters for weepy liberal extremism otherwise known as the Huffington Post plays down the “Tent City” phenomena, claiming accuracy in reporting because they asked their readers to share stories about about tent cities in their towns across America, forgetting that the only people that actually read Huffington Post are liberal elitist media types living in gated communities, or people that got Rickolled into it. I had misplaced my righteous indignation briefly, but all of this is bringing it back. Especially when you consider the fact that all the legislators in DC battling to ultimately deny us healthcare already have theirs, and WE pay for 75% of it. This all creates an amusing and perhaps comforting paradox: If you’re jobless, homeless, and have no insurance, you can’t call in sick and stay home for a day, and even if you could, you’d never get well, so you could never return to work anyway.

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