Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Met the Walrus

The story goes that this kid named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. Lennon's earnest vagueness makes a great soundtrack for some brilliantly executed (if comically literal) narrative animation. Let's watch, shall we?

Family Locator Makes Me Mad.

There was this Verizon ad on TV that sparked a long conversation between my wife and me. It was showcasing an app called Family Locator, which tracks your family members via their cell phones. The point of the ad was that this worrisome mom could track her daughter (who looked somewhere between 10 and 12) on her very first solo outing (with friends) in an indoor shopping mall.

I can't show you the ad, because Verizon has made it private, in its own channel, for some reason.

We saw pros and cons to this child-tracking software. On one hand, a parent armed with this technology may allow their child out of their sight sooner, possibly allowing a child to take the bus alone before a parent would have ordinarily let them.

On the other had, this app could be seen as a staggering and possibly development-stunting invasion of privacy; a technological cashing-in on modern parental paranoia. A real idiot's breakfast, if you will.

So many parents I've met are so terrified of letting children out of their sight that they simply don't. Parents can hardly be blamed for feeling like this--my parenting peers and I were raised at the dawn of cable news, which turned local, isolated incidents of child abduction into apparently pandemic national nightmares. I'm sure there's more to it than that. Maybe they love their kids more than I do mine. They way I see it, though, it's an irrational fear, and we have a duty to our children to overcome our irrational fears for the sake of our their mental health and development.

But what if your child gets abducted? Stranger Danger. Ugh. When I hear moms my age trading helpful tips on how to make their children terrified of strangers, I have to bite my tongue to keep from reminding them that their children have more to fear from their own family members than from real strangers [citation needed]. Maybe this is a case of parents just doing what they can to protect their children, but it really feels like a blunt and stupid shortcut to teaching their kids real skills for evaluating situations. Resorting to tracking their location is even lazier.

Moreover, what does it do a kid's brain, knowing that your mom or dad is monitoring your every move, ready at the drop of a hat to swoop in for immediate evac the moment things get even slightly out of hand? So much of growing up, for me, depended on being somewhere my parents may not have approved of--or even just being out on my own, knowing that I was the only one who knew where I was. Sure, I was alone or with friends in the tiny streams connecting suburban backyards, but even if independence is an illusion, I believe it's an important game for a child to play.

I'm not exempt from this, by the way--my instincts are to protect my boys in any way I can. I get nervous when I can't see them. I'm also a little scared of the dark, because I suspect there's a gorilla with human intelligence standing a few inches from my face. Again, though, there's a duty to understand and overcome fears like this, not to simply pass them on unexamined. All's I'm saying is that just because the technology exists to take advantage of your every whim don't mean you got's ta use it. I mean, in an emergency, sure. But all the time? As a matter of course? If you can put a chip in your daughter's brain so you can switch her off if she thinks about climbing a fence or smells alcohol or looks at a boy, are you protecting her? Yes, maybe, but in a really assy way. And you're robbing her of the ability to make a real decision on her own. There's also the larger (possibly smaller) question of the rightness of an action changing (or not changing) is that action becomes easier to perform, but that's probably another conversation.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm being reckless. Maybe my kids won't grow up to be mighty and self-reliant adventurers or captains of industry. Maybe they'll be captured and enslaved by a cult. I know while there aren't too many parents among you, a great many of you are former children. I'm interested to know what you think, despite the rantiness of this post, which started off as a 140-character tweet.


EDIT: If I'd seen this, I might have just linked to it. Lenore Skenazi, Author of Free Range Kids has written a more focused and succinct response to the same ad. The commenters are all similarly appalled, although to be fair, they are commenting on a blog called Free Range Kids. Some do make the interesting point that this app would be very useful if you lost your cell phone.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Internet 101

Some of these things may be new, but you'll have seen many of these things before. You won't have seen all these things one after the other, though. Unless you've seen these lists before, I guess.

Compiled by @greg_rutter

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Robot WTF dance thing

Posted by Galspanic via Fugu's 'puter.
This is mainly for Odori.
Enjoy ^_^

Upcoming photoshop magic

I'm sure this is a carefully staged demo from Adobe Labs, but wow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John Hodgman vs Patton Oswalt


Science Fiction Trivia Challenge: John Hodgman vs Patton Oswalt

From WFMU's Beware of the Blog

slap ya mama

Some kids in New Orleans just let me know about this seasoning while they were teaching us (me and my coworker) how to make gumbo over video conferencing equipment. I had never heard of it but apparently people swear by it. Not sure if it's supposed to feel like ya mama slapped you when you eat it or if you feel like slapping ya mama.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Loving the Prius

And loving South Park.

Honda's "Living with Robots"

Looks like Honda is laying the foundation for a line of home help aide robots it hopes to start selling in the U.S. about 10 or 20 years from now... It wants Americans to believe robots can be their friends. There would be little need for this kind of "documentary" (er, propaganda) in Japan because many people generally have positive impressions of robots. I'm generalizing like crazy here, but robots in Japanese popular culture are more often friendly and good, not scary and violent like the U.S.

My pet theory is that massive U.S. research, development and investment in robots that can find and kill people helps make Americans distrust and fear robots. In contrast, Japanese companies are building robots to do things like feed and carry the elderly. It's no wonder Americans are afraid of robots and Japanese see them as cute.

Thoughts, anyone?

Our babysitter's new girlfriend....

Is so fucking Hawt.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, Butchered by Vikings.

Basically heisted from kotaku, but I couldn't not post this. It sucks how bad these guys choke.

But to make things ok, I repost this from many many years back. hopefully it will soothe the savaged ears.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

immortal jellyfish

scientists have discovered an animal that can theoretically infinitely regenerate itself. why oh why did it have to be a jellyfish?? *shudder*

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hello, please see:

Best Electron Micrograph
Nanoscale soldiers in marching formation on the edge of a silicon substrate

Best Ion Micrograph:

Nano Space - The final frontier. The space ship Enterprise NCC-1701D of Star Trek was fabricated in one-billionth scale by 30 kV Ga+ focused-ion- beam CVD using phenanthrene gas. Length 8.8 µm.

- Dick

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Norm MacDonald: Hero

I'm generally not a fan of these Comedy Central roasts, but Norm MacDonald's set for the Bob Saget roast is worth a look. The purpose of a roast set is to tell jokes that are so off-color, even an audience of hardened comics laughs uncomfortably. Ol' Norm accomplishes that same goal in a different way.

The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget
Outtakes - Norm MacDonald Pt. 1
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget
Outtakes - Norm MacDonald Pt. 2
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget
Outtakes - Norm MacDonald Pt. 3
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

" is a Sci Fi Social Network for those with a passion for the arts. Whether you are a fan of Sci Fi, Horror or Fantasy or seeking a career in the Science fiction industry has much to offer. Register on the planet that host your talent, fill out a profile and connect with others in your field. Submit your resume for a Starship project that needs your talents. Whether you are an actor, writer, animator or gamer has a home for you."

"I made a dutch wife by myself"

I was deeply thankful that my Japanese is too poor to translate the text on this page. Mercifully, Google Translate only reveals veiled glimpses of the horrors being documented there.

via the delightful little blog Watashi to Tokyo, which may be the only evidence I've ever seen that Japanese culture is also strange to the Japanese.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dancing wrestlers

An ad for "Fat Noodles," a new product from Nisshin (maker of Cup Noodle.)

The commercial plays off this music video.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hey that you?

Another sighting of the Panic-Man. Well, sort of.

really hoping I'm not disappointed by this movie.

Super-Weird Beetle in Honolulu!

Saw (and caught) this on my back porch, in Palolo valley. Never seen anything like it. It was about an inch and half long (3.8cm in English). Seeing new animals here is totally shocking, because I've lived here almost two-thirds of my life, and I don't often see new species. Still, I shouldn't be surprised. Boats arrive here every day. Also, I don't really go outside that much.

Hey Mickey

My friend who is a neo-futurist is rewriting "hey mickey" to be about valmiki and the ramayana with bollywood dancing and she found this really weird video.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010